After an encouraging start in their first match of the New Year, Aberystwyth B were looking to continue their improvement away to Haverfordwest B at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, on Tuesday 29th January. I returned to a line against John Miller’s French that we had explored in an earlier match, where Black had eventually prevailed after a sharp struggle. Sacrificing a pawn, I got some pressure against his kingside but found no way through, and as he castled out of danger it looked as though the result might be the same as in our previous encounter, when, perhaps relaxing too soon, he dropped a piece and resigned at once. The second-board game was also decided by a blunder; Tony Geraghty had reached a comfortable position against Gavin Jones’s unusual opening (the Grob), when he too made a move that dropped a piece. The match was clinched by two strong performances on the lower boards. James Cook has been out all season with a (non-chess-related) injury, but was at his positional best in a Ruy Lopez against Ron Wade, keeping firm control as the game moved into a rook and pawn ending. And Ian Finlay did equally well in his very different style against Robbie Coles in a King’s Indian, sacrificing a knight to strip the defence from the White king. The match finished 3-1 to Aber B.

Matthew Francis – John Miller 1-0

Gavin Jones – Tony Geraghty 1-0

James Cook – Ron Wade 1-0

Robbie Coles – Ian Finlay 0-1

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