We had the sad news recently that Roland Spencer had died at the age of 84. Roland was a stalwart of the Dyfed League, and served as its treasurer for many years. He also ran the annual Dyfed Congress in Fishguard, always a highlight of the Welsh chess year, and it was a moving occasion when he retired from this role in 2012. As a player he was unorthodox and tricky, always at his most dangerous when defending with his back to the wall. Roland was the first opponent I ever played in a Dyfed League match, and we had many battles over the years. Away from the board the ferocious determination vanished, and he was urbane and charming. There is a tribute to him on the Welsh Chess Union website.

On Monday 30 November, Aberystwyth B played a depleted Carmarthen at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes. Playing Black on top board against Paul Orton, I had a stroke of luck such as I had not known since my Latin O Level more than forty years earlier. On that occasion I arrived at school without realizing the exam was due and revised two passages of text at the last minute, both of which came up in the paper. This time, I found myself in a line of the Scandinavian I had played the night before on the internet and subsequently looked up in David Smerdon’s superb book on the opening. Nevertheless, the game became very hard for both players once we were out of the book, and we had little time left when it ended in a win for me after only 23 moves. Mike Weston was also short of time at the end of his complicated game on Board 2 against Robert Narayan-Taylor. Although the ending was now won for him, he settled for a draw, which seemed a fair result after some mistakes on both sides. Ian Finlay had a tough opponent in Richard Thomas, returning to the game after many years, but still a strong player. Ian weakened himself too much on the queenside and in the centre, leaving a technical win for white. With the default by Carmarthen on bottom board, the result was 2½-1½ to Aber.

Paul Orton – Matthew Francis 0-1

Mike Weston – Robert Narayan-Taylor ½-½

Richard Thomas – Ian Finlay 1-0

Meanwhile the new-format Club Championship is continuing. Here are the latest games.

Julie van Kemenade – Matthew Francis 1-0

Francis Headley – Sam Holman 0-1

Rudy van Kemenade – Damien Clarke 1-0

Matthew Francis – Sam Holman 1-0

Rudy van Kemenade – Alexander Cooney 1-0

Julie van Kemenade – Alexander Cooney 1-0

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