One of the best things about this season in the Dyfed League has been the emergence of a number of new players. On Monday 2 December it was the turn of Chris King to make his debut for Aberystywth B against Haverfordwest A. On the way to the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, his team-mates were encouraging him by pointing out that, in club chess, no player is so strong that they never make a losing error. So Chris sat down on Board 3 to play the formidable John Miller, ranked some six hundred points higher, and after what seemed like only a few minutes he was standing up again. Some of us assumed it was a quick defeat, but in fact, in a chaotic opening, he had caught his opponent in a back-rank mate after only eleven moves. However many match games he plays in his life, he will find it hard to top the drama of his debut. The other games were more predictable. I am still learning the Dutch Defence, and, against Martin C.Jones, found myself facing the Staunton Gambit for the first time. I walked into a simple fork early on and never recovered from the loss of a piece. Tony Geraghty tried to take advantage of Colin Denham’s delay in castling to work up an attack, and subsequent analysis shows the opportunity was there, but his exchange sacrifice was unsound and he had no compensation for the material deficit. Jamie Friel lost a piece early on against Gavin Jones to a tactic that shouldn’t have worked, but the refutation was hard to see over the board. He played on but couldn’t find a way back. Haverfordwest A won the match 3-1.

Martin C. Jones – Matthew Francis 1-0

Tony Geraghty – Colin Denham 0-1

John Miller – Chris King 0-1

Jamie Friel – Gavin Jones 0-1

Two days later, the other teams of the same clubs faced each other. For Aberystwyth A Mark Talbot has tended to steer for endgames in his matches this season: here in a rook ending with an extra pawn against John Miller, now playing for Haverfordwest B, he calmly took control of the position for the win. Rudy van Kemenade played more aggressively; a pawn up in his favourite Petroff, he sacrificed an exchange to get at Gavin Jones’s weakened kingside. Tony Geraghty won an exchange instead of sacrificing one, getting his knight on to a weak square in Ron Wade’s position. Only James Corrigan failed to win for Aber, despite getting a comfortable position against Scott Hammett’s English Opening. A miscalculation led to the demolition of his queenside pawns and the unstoppable advance of a White passed pawn. 3-1 to Aberystwyth A, who are still making the running in the Dyfed League halfway through the season, but with Cardigan A still to play most of their games.

Mark Talbot – John Miller 1-0

Gavin Jones – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Tony Geraghty – Ron Wade 1-0

Scott Hammett – James Corrigan 1-0

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