Following the A-team’s hard-fought win against Cardigan B, Aberystwyth B had the tough task of hosting league champions Cardigan A at the St David’s Club on Tuesday 27th November – the first occasion we have been able to take advantage of the new facilities (an electric kettle) to offer tea and coffee to our opponents. On top board, I used a lot of time against Howard Williams, but still dropped a pawn to his persistent queenside pressure. Seeking compensation and with my flag about to fall, I blundered more material and resigned. James Cook, on the other hand, looked well set against Iolo Jones, having outplayed him in the opening. White was about to place an unassailable knight on d5 when some hesitancy seemed to creep into his game and he took a weaker option, giving his strong opponent the chance to show off his endgame technique. On Board 4, Ian Finlay also let his chance slip against Awne Osinga; one moment he was attacking, the next, an apparently minor error left him the exchange and a couple of pawns down and faced with a terminal attack on his king. That left Tony Geraghty on Board 3, playing the higher-graded Howard Leah. Tony has faced the Alapin variation against his French Defence before – it is a favourite of Aber player Julie van Kemenade – but seemed bemused by it now, and got into a position so cramped he felt compelled to sacrifice a piece to relieve the pressure. This time, though, it was the Cardigan player who went wrong, returning the piece and letting Black right back in. Both were now very short of time, and agreed a draw in a position where Tony was clearly winning. Cardigan A won the match 3½-½.

Howard Williams – Matthew Francis 1-0

James Cook – Iolo Jones 0-1

Howard Leah – Tony Geraghty ½-½

Ian Finlay – Awne Osinga 0-1

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