An A-team missing regular players Julie van Kemenade and David Ferguson found it tough going against Gwyddbwyll.com at the St David’s Club on Tuesday 30 October, despite having a grading advantage on all boards. First to finish was my game on Board 2. Having found Owen Llywelyn’s Caro-Kann difficult to break down in earlier games, I had prepared a dangerous variation with some hidden traps. Black’s natural replies soon got him into trouble, and he was a rook down before getting out of the opening. At this point, things looked good for Aber who were up on Boards 1 and 4, and holding their own on Board 3, where James Cook was Black against the relatively inexperienced David Moore. Then he misjudged an exchange combination, losing a piece and a pawn, and White played the ending out calmly to secure a good win for Gwyddbwyll. On top board Rudy van Kemenade had taken the initiative with his Dutch Defence, winning the exchange and exerting pressure against the king, but Iwan Griffiths was making things as difficult as possible for him. Meanwhile, disaster had struck on Board 4, when Tony Geraghty picked up his queen without stopping to check his planned move and found that his only legal option was to sacrifice it – the kind of mistake every chess player makes at least once in their life, which doesn’t make it any easier to get to sleep afterwards. Tegwyn Jones seemed a bit nervous as he tried to force mate before his clock ran down, but got there in the end. Fortunately for Aber, Rudy finally broke through to level the match. The result was the third successive draw for the club, and the second successive draw for the A-team against lower-graded opposition – not the start we were hoping for.

Iwan Griffiths – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Matthew Francis – Owen Llywelyn 1-0

David Moore – James Cook 1-0

Tony Geraghty – Tegwyn Jones 0-1

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