Club Championship Rounds 2-7 of the Aberystwyth Club Championship took place at the St David’s Club over the weekend of 12-13 March, 2011. Cai Lewis, who had played in the first round the previous week, was unable to take part, allowing the remaining eight players to have an all-play-all (though a couple of games would be left over for the next week). Here is the report of Saturday’s play.

Rudy van KemenadeRudy van Kemenade against Georgina Gray was a Ruy Lopez, Bird’s Defence. Rudy took control as expected, but surprisingly missed a chance to win a piece. He got a nasty pin instead, which she failed to break. Mark Talbot unexpectedly chose Alekhine’s Defence against John Basterfield and was outplayed in the opening. Finding himself a pawn up against the stronger player but beginning to come under pressure, John offered a draw, which was declined, and Mark went on to win the ending. Julie van Kemenade also varied from her usual repertoire in her game against me, playing a Philidor. I had the advantage for a while but allowed it to fizzle out and the draw was agreed. Tony Geraghty’s win against Ian Finlay was the only result to go against grading, as Tony worked up a powerful kingside attack from his London System. He missed several easier wins, but eventually won the ending.

At the end of Round 2 (with Round 1 still not completed), the scores were: Mark Talbot 2/2, , Matthew Francis 1½/2, Rudy van Kemenade 1/1, Tony Geraghty 1/2, Julie van Kemenade ½/1, Georgina Gray, John Basterfield 0/1, Ian Finlay 0/2.

Rudy van Kemenade -Georgina Gray 1-0

John Basterfield – Mark Talbot 0-1

Matthew Francis – Julie van Kemenade ½-½

Tony Geraghty – Ian Finlay 1-0

Ian FinlayThe key game of Round 3 was between the two highest rated players, Rudy and Mark. Both Petroff specialists, they met in their favourite opening, and Rudy, playing Black, got the advantage. It came down to a knight versus bishop ending, where Rudy missed several opportunities, and eventually they agreed a draw after more than 80 moves. I won a rook early on against Georgina Gray in a Sicilian. Tony was bemused by Julie’s unorthodox treatment of his French and soon lost the thread of the position. Ian agreed a draw against John in a complex Nimzo-Indian position where he was in fact winning.

At the end of Round 3, the scores were: Mark Talbot, Matthew Francis 2½/3, Rudy van Kemenade, Julie van Kemenade 1½/2, Tony Geraghty 1/3, John Basterfield ½/2, Ian Finlay ½/3, Georgina Gray 0/2.

Mark Talbot – Rudy van Kemenade ½-½

Georgina Gray – Matthew Francis 0-1

Julie van Kemenade – Tony Geraghty 1-0

Ian Finlay – John Basterfield ½-½

Julie van KemenadeIn Round 4 the two current leaders met. Mark played a Sicilian, his fourth defence to e4 in recent games. I had my chances but was eventually outplayed. Ian found himself on the receiving end of the Queen’s Gambit for once. Rudy won a pawn but had to work hard for victory. Georgina lost material early against Julie’s Philidor, and her attempts at counterplay were futile. Tony and John played a quiet London System game and agreed an early draw.

At the end of Round 4, the scores were: Mark Talbot 3½/4, Rudy van Kemenade, Julie van Kemenade 2½/3. Matthew Francis 2½/4, Tony Geraghty 1½/4, John Basterfield 1/3, Ian Finlay ½/4, Georgina Gray 0/3.

Matthew Francis – Mark Talbot 0-1

Rudy van Kemenade – Ian Finlay 1-0

Georgina Gray – Julie van Kemenade 0-1

Tony Geraghty – John Basterfield ½-½

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