It seemed as if every player in the Dyfed League was gathered at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Monday 22nd April, when Aberystwyth B arrived to find players from Cardigan A and Carmarthen there as well as their opponents for the evening. This is the business end of the season, with clubs rushing to get through their last few matches. Haverfordwest A are a strong team these days, with all four players graded in the 1600s. On top board, I was paired against one of the season’s form players, Martin Jones, and got a nice position against his Pirc Defence, before letting the advantage slip. I was a bit surprised when he turned down my draw offer and, finding myself with some more thinking to do and very little time to do it in, panicked and dropped a rook right away. James Cook was faced with an unusual response by John Miller to his Caro-Kann which produced a sharp position early on. Black came off worse in the tactics, losing material. Tony Geraghty has been playing very well recently and once again got a promising kingside attack with his London System against Colin Denham. However, he allowed the tension to dissipate and neither side had a way through in the resulting blocked position. Ian Finlay is another player who has had an excellent run. He dropped a pawn with his Sicilian against Ron Wade, but had a good initiative in compensation. Missing the best chance of attack, he compounded the error by allowing a fork on queen and rook, after which the game was soon over. The match finished 3½-½ to Haverfordwest A.

Matthew Francis – Martin Jones 0-1

John Miller – James Cook 1-0

Tony Geraghty – Colin Denham ½-½

Ron Wade – Ian Finlay 1-0

Next evening, the A-team were in action, a home match at the St David’s Club against Cardigan A. The Dutch Defence is an uncompromising opening that can give Black a ferocious attack or fall apart dramatically: Rudy van Kemenade is a great exponent of it, but it all went wrong for him against Howard Williams, whose pieces were suddenly dominating the board, leading to a quick demise. Julie van Kemenade is another player who likes a fight; finding herself in trouble with her Four Knights Opening against Iolo Jones, she went for an enterprising exchange sacrifice which gave her attacking chances. Unfortunately she missed the best move and lost further material in the complications. I have been making a habit of bamboozling Tony Haigh in the opening recently, though it would be more satisfactory from my point of view if I could do the same in the other phases of the game. This time he was surprised by my Tarrasch Defence to the Queen’s Gambit, and quickly got a worse position. I looked hard for the winning continuation, but couldn’t see it (Rudy and Howard soon found it afterwards), and settled for a draw by repetition. Finally, James Cook went a pawn down in his English Opening against Jamie Sen but was able to hold the difficult ending for a draw. 3-1 to Cardigan A.

Howard Williams – Rudy van Kemenade 1-0

Julie van Kemenade – Iolo Jones 0-1

Tony Haigh – Matthew Francis ½-½

James Cook – Jamie Sen ½-½

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