This blog has been rather behindhand recently, so here are two match reports. In a match played mainly on Wednesday 7th April, Aberystwyth took on the University’s B team. On top board, Adam Watkin-Jones’s Bird’s Opening against Marcus Perry did not yield any early advantage. With queens, dark-squared bishops and pawns on the board and time running out, Adam looked to complicate things, but it didn’t quite work out and he eventually accepted the draw. I missed the win of a piece in my O’Kelly Sicilian against Toby Bates, instead losing a pawn, though the position was more or less level. Both of us went wrong in the ending, but it was still level when White blundered, losing a rook. Tom Gunn had pressure against Harry Fox’s backward c-pawn in a Queen’s Pawn Game, and Black’s attempt to free himself was a tactical error losing a piece, after which Tom had no problems in the ending. In another Queen’s Pawn Game, Sam Holman missed a number of chances to win a piece, but retained the upper hand in a minor piece ending thanks to his powerful bishops. A 3½-½ win to the town side, but it could have been very different.

Aber’s opposition in the WCU Online League is formidable, and on Tuesday 13th April we took on Morriston Alekhine. Adam’s Queen’s Gambit Declined against Moss McCarthy developed into a battle between Black’s dangerous-looking queenside passed pawns and White’s attack against the kingside. White never really looked to be breaking through, but managed to exert enough pressure to get a draw. I found myself in a Queen’s Gambit also, more or less by accident as I misplayed my English against Peter Bevan and couldn’t think of anything better after 2…d5. Nevertheless my position was OK until I grabbed a pawn and ended up having to try to defend against Black’s doubled rooks on my second rank, which was never going to end well. Tom also looked comfortable against Chris Howells’s King’s Indian Attack until he missed the threat posed by the White queen, which finished the game very suddenly. Sam got in trouble in a Ruy Lopez against Duncan Williams allowing a favourable version of the Marshall Attack against his Ruy Lopez, which would have been highly dangerous even for experienced players in this line. He soon lost a rook in the ensuing tactics. The result was a win to Morriston by 3½-½.

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