The Club Championship had been much anticipated this year, with some new players promising to make it exceptionally competitive. Unfortunately, when the appointed day came, a combination of illness and pressure of work meant that only four people turned up for the planned weekend tournament at the St David’s Club on Saturday 17th March. We decided to go ahead anyway, and make it a one-day round robin tournament.

In Round 1, Ian Finlay didn’t seem to make any major mistakes against Rudy van Kemenade’s Budapest Gambit, but Black’s counter-attack can come very suddenly in this opening against an unprepared White player, and before Ian could get safely castled Rudy’s pieces were all over him. Meanwhile Tony Geraghty and I had an epic struggle in the London System, the play moving all over the board as the advantage switched from one player to the other. I thought I had clinched the win with queen, bishop and pawns against queen, knight and pawns, but misplayed the position and found myself with a nasty-looking bishop versus knight ending. By now we were both short of time and I was happy to accept Tony’s draw offer.

In round 2, Tony tried his French Winawer against Rudy for the first time in a rated game, and got an excellent position from the opening. Unfortunately for him, a tactic went wrong immediately afterwards and he dropped a piece, at the same time opening lines against his king in a failed attempt to get counterplay. Ian again developed a bit too slowly, this time in a Sicilian, and I was able to take advantage of his undeveloped queenside to win a rook. We played on, and I missed several chances to finish his resistance before eventually finding the winning tactic.

Finally, in round 3, I couldn’t find a coherent plan against Rudy’s kingside counterattack in the Modern. Attempting to stay active, I merely lost material and opened up my king’s position with no compensation at all. I have seldom known Rudy to spend so long thinking, but he was only looking for the most efficient way to finish me off. Ian lost an exchange in the Queen’s Gambit Declined, and Tony gave it back again, reaching a bishop ending with an extra pawn which he converted quite comfortably. So ended what we are calling the first Aberystwyth Quadrilateral Tournament, in a victory for Rudy van Kemenade with 3/3. Congratulations to him. Tony and I were equal second with 1½/3, while Ian finished last with 0/3.

Ian Finlay – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Tony Geraghty – Matthew Francis ½-½

Rudy van Kemenade – Tony Geraghty 1-0

Matthew Francis – Ian Finlay 1-0

Matthew Francis – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Ian Finlay – Tony Geraghty 0-1

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