Although the club has suspended face-to-face chess for the year, members are continuing to take part in online events. The first round of the Dyfed Closed Online tournament recently took place and it will run until January. The WCU online leagues have also resumed, and we are greatly helped here by the fact that Rudy and Julie van Kemenade are still available to play for us. We are taking part in the formidably strong Open section, with Rudy as our captain and top board. We don’t have enough available members to field an under-1800 team as well, so Tom Gunn and Sam Holman, as well as taking their turns in the Open team, will be playing for Steynton at the lower level.

Our first match in the Open was against White Knights. Rudy’s Petroff against Bill Hewitt reached an unbalaced middlegame where Black had two pieces for a rook. The advantage was with Rudy, who managed to convert the imbalance to a clear extra knight, only to get it trapped in the endgame. After that he was still a pawn up in the queen ending but could only draw. I spent most of the game trying to shore up the weaknesses in my position against Allan Pleasants’s Modern Defence, but was beginning to feel more comfortable as time started to run out for both of us. I then thought I saw an opportunity to go on the attack, but it was an illusion and my position quickly collapsed. Julie took too long getting her counter-attack started against Jason Garcia in a King’s Indian Defence. White’s centre was very dominant, and, as she tried to mix things up, she walked into a pawn fork and resigned at once. Tom’s Queen’s Gambit gave Tomasz Miga the two bishops and an imposing phalanx of pawns on the queenside, which ultimately proved impossible to stop. White Knights won the match 3½-½.

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