The Christmas holiday cuts the Dyfed League season in two, and, as a new rating list is published at the end of the year, January can feel like a chance to start all over again. After a lacklustre autumn, Aberystwyth B needed a break, and it wasn’t till Monday 13th January that the team had its first match, against a very strong Carmarthen at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. The first surprise was that none of the games was over quickly, despite a ratings mismatch on all boards. I tried an Open line for the first time against Gerry Heap’s Sicilian, and was soon in trouble, having to give up a pawn to castle safely. Black kept up the pressure, but there was no easy breakthrough and I was even allowed to win the pawn back, though still clearly worse. Suddenly, though, Black lost patience, and was tempted by a tactical trick that didn’t work, dropping a rook for an unexpected defeat. Tony Geraghty is becoming a specialist in piece sacrifices, some more successful than others. In a French Defence, he gave up a knight to destroy Nick Jackson’s centre, but White was able to shore up the position and make his extra material count in the end. On bottom board, James Corrigan was involved in a hard struggle with Paul Orton, an exchange down but with dangerous advanced pawns. As in the Board 1 game, the Carmarthen player unexpectedly went wrong, dropping a rook, though in this case time pressure was a factor. For a while, then, it seemed that Aberystwyth could pull off an unlikely victory; Ian Finlay had given up a couple of pawns against David Buttell and was trying to get counterplay with an advanced passed pawn and some pressure against the king. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t enough, and White lost a hard-fought game. 2-2 represents an encouraging start to the New Year for Aber B.

Matthew Francis – Gerry Heap 1-0

Nick Jackson – Tony Geraghty 1-0

Ian Finlay – David Buttell 1-0

Paul Orton – James Corrigan 0-1

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