Any idea that online chess is less competitive than the over-the-board equivalent was dispelled by the fourth round of the Dyfed Closed Online tournament, played between Monday 25th and Wednesday 27th January. (The online format allows this kind of flexibility.) Aberystwyth’s players were involved in some exceptionally exciting games. In a Scandinavian with players castled on opposite sides Adam Watkin-Jones got his kingside attack going faster than that of Gareth Williams on the queenside, and Black was forced to defend. But with only a couple of minutes left on the clock, Adam wasn’t able to calculate the winning sacrifice and settled for a draw. I had prepared for 1…e5 against Robert Lovegrove, and played weakly against his unexpected Sicilian, coming out of the opening with a much worse position. However, in his anxiety to finish me off quickly, he let me back in with a sequence that won me the exchange, after which the ending was no problem. Tom Gunn found himself with a knight against a bishop in the ending for the second week in a row, after a Nimzo-Indian. At the crucial moment he missed the chance to push his passed pawn and Joshua Brewer’s pawns overwhelmed him. Rudy van Kemenade was in some trouble with his Petroff against the much-lower-rated Ray Greenwood. Losing his queen was not the worst thing that could have happened, because the resultant complications suited his style and greater experience, and he managed to turn the tables. Sam Holman played a razor-sharp line of the Austrian Attack against David Pinch’s Pirc Defence. When the initial attacks on both sides had come to a halt, Black had a material advantage but there were still chances for both players. The game continued with all sorts of twists and turns, till Sam was able to stop Black’s connected passed pawns with his king and bishop. With one round to go, I am on 3/4, Adam on 2½, Rudy on 2 and Tom and Sam on 1½, while the tournament’s strongest player, Howard Williams, has a maximum 4.

 

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