The opening can be, as the word implies, merely a way of getting into the game; at other times the struggle can begin with the very first moves The match between Aberystwyth and Steynton B in the Dyfed Online League on Tuesday 2nd March saw some heavyweight openings which dictated the course of what followed. Rudy van Kemenade, anticipating a prepared variation from Paul Orton, chose the Bishop’s Opening, but in fact the game soon took on the character of a Ruy Lopez with the centre blocked and the players attacking on the flanks. The Ruy has retained its popularity because it makes for a complex battle, and both players made mistakes according to the engines, but when Rudy was able to push through his f5 advance, the Black kingside was broken and the attack crashed through. In my game against Jonathan Jones, I found myself facing an opening I had never even heard of, the sharp Orthoschnapps Gambit against the French Defence. I did my best to stick to strategic principles and somehow reached a middle game with an extra pawn without too many tactical fireworks. After further exchanges, only that extra pawn was left and it was enough to win the ending. The games on Boards 3 and 4 were both examples of the King’s Indian, another opening known for its complexity. Tom Gunn, taking a break from his usual Colle System, worked up a strong kingside attack against John Miller’s passive position. When he won a knight, it looked all over, but with an exposed king, and queens on the board, there were many chances for perpetual check, and he was lucky when Black went wrong and allowed him to finish the game off. In the other King’s Indian, both players seemed to be attacking on the kingside. Sam Holman’s attack was the more principled, since he had pressure on the White centre and his advanced pawns on the g and h files had gained space. Gwyn Evans tried to take advantage of the open f file by doubling his rooks, only to lose the exchange to a pin, and when he overlooked a threat to his queen the game was over.

 

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