Aberystwyth Town’s “home” match against Carmarthen A on Monday 13th February at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, was a convivial affair like the old days of the Dyfed League, with the University team’s match against Carmarthen B taking place on adjacent tables. On Board 1, Murray Smith reached a rook ending a pawn up against Ewan Ferguson’s Grand Prix Attack in the Sicilian Defence. White looked able to hold for a while, but once the rooks came off the win followed quickly. In the only non-Sicilian of the match, a Scotch Four Knights, Luis Sanchez also had an extra pawn and the initiative, but Black’s position looked solid until a blunder which should have cost him material. White went wrong in the complications that followed but clinched the win anyway after another error by his opponent. Peter Windows was facing the sharp Smith-Morra Gambit for the first time on Board 3, but White was too generous with his pawns and the attack didn’t materialize: by the time White had recovered some material the Black passed pawns were unstoppable. I missed a chance for an advantage with my Closed Variation of the Sicilian against Grenville Brazener and the game was level until I was able to break in the centre. Both players were down to their last few minutes, with the top three boards having already finished when the team captain, Murray, came up and asked if we knew that the clocks weren’t giving us the intended 20-seconds per move increment; they’re new and we hadn’t set them properly. Fortunately for me, I was now in control of the game if not the technology, and mate followed shortly. It was a good night for the Aber teams, less so for Carmarthen, with 4-0 whitewashes in both matches.

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