Aberystwyth’s A and B teams both suffered setbacks in their most recent matches. The A team, looking to confirm their position at the top of the league, had every reason for confidence against Cardigan B at the St David’s Club on Tuesday 8th April, when the visitors turned up a player short because of a misunderstanding over lifts. On top board, Mark Talbot got nothing much out of his irregular defence to Tony Haigh’s 1.d4, and should have settled for a draw; instead, he overpressed and lost the ending to a lower-rated but very solid player. Julie van Kemenade nearly suffered a similar fate against Awne Osinga. Her typically aggressive piece sacrifice was sound, but the follow-up was not, and she was fortunate that Black misplayed the defence when he looked about to score an upset. I was playing the same player, Howard Leah, and opening, the French, as in the previous week’s match against Cardigan A. This time I got a better middlegame but a worse result. With both players short of time, I lost the exchange, missed a winning line in the complications and finally allowed a mate in one just before the time control. A 2-2 draw, including the default on bottom board, was not the result Aber wanted.

Tony Haigh – Mark Talbot 1-0

Julie van Kemenade – Awne Osinga 1-0

Howard Leah – Matthew Francis 1-0

Next week, on Monday 14th April at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, it was the B team’s turn to put in an unconvincing performance, against Haverfordwest B. I seemed to have the game under control against John Miller, eventually reaching an ending with an extra pawn and a bishop against a knight. After a long hard struggle, though, I blundered horribly, dropping the bishop to a knight fork. Tony Geraghty went wrong against Gavin Jones after some slow manoeuvring, giving Black what should have been a winning ending, but inaccuracies by his opponent allowed him to salvage the draw. Ian Finlay seemed to have equalized with his Sicilian against Scott Hammett, but gave away the crucial c-pawn, after which White’s dominant central pawns proved too difficult to stop. Finally, Georgina Gray, a bit rusty after a season in which she has not had much competitive chess, miscalculated her queenside attack against Robbie Coles, dropping material instead of winning it. A 3½-½ defeat was a very disappointing result for Aber B.

John Miller – Matthew Francis 1-0

Tony Geraghty – Gavin Jones ½-½

Scott Hammett – Ian Finlay 1-0

Georgina Gray – Robbie Coles 0-1

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