The B Team have made a much more encouraging start to the season than last year, and the match against Cardigan B at the St David’s Club on 8th November was another success, though it owed something to luck. On top board, Julie van Kemenade was facing an opponent who, though lower rated, has sometimes given her problems in the past. Her Philidor Defence led to a cramped game this time, and Howard Leah was able to invade on the white squares. While the computer shows some counter-attacking possibilities for Black, it was a desperately difficult position, and she eventually allowed the mate. On Board 2, I mishandled my 150 Attack against Roland Spencer’s Pirc. Black seemed to hesitate between several ways of gaining an advantage and I was able to create complications in which both sides in turn went wrong. I was fortunate to be the player who, as the old chess adage has it, made the last mistake but one. Jamie Sen against James Cook reached a complex position with opposite-coloured bishops, queens and pawns. White was objectively worse, but ahead on the clock and turned down a couple of draw offers. As often happens in such cases, he then blundered, dropping a piece, which made the win a formality even with only a few minutes left. Finally on Board 4, Awne Osinga played ultra-cautiously against Tony Geraghty’s London System, allowing White to build a strong attack. The ending was unexpectedly quick, as Black, in defending a threat to a piece, forgot about the mate threat he had stopped the previous move. The match finished 3-1 to Aber. Once again, it was played on a lively club night with the Heartsong choir singing in the next room. Aber home matches have an atmosphere all their own.

Howard Leah – Julie van Kemenade 1-0

Matthew Francis – Roland Spencer 1-0

Jamie Sen – James Cook 0-1

Tony Geraghty – Awne Osinga 1-0

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