The St David’s Club was the venue for a rare Sunday match on 10th February when Aberystwyth took on Cwmbran in first round of the Welsh Under-1800 Knock-out Cup. On paper the two teams were fairly evenly matched, but it didn’t work out like that, though all the games were interesting. First to finish was the Board 3 encounter, where James Cook was surprised by Brian Heath’s unorthodox response to the Alapin variation in the Sicilian. The position quickly became double-edged, and, though James should have been OK he lost his queen to a trap rather similar to the one he had sprung on Jamie Sen in his most recent match, resigning after only twelve moves. On bottom board, Georgina Gray also went wrong in the opening against the strong junior Nyasha Katsande, dropping three pawns. She did her best to complicate the position but there was no way back. And it was a similar story on top board, where Julie van Kemenade unsoundly sacrificed a piece in pursuit of a kingside attack. Dennis Jones was too experienced to allow her back into the game. Meanwhile, I was involved in another double-edged struggle against Steven Williams’s Torre Attack, each player controlling a powerful open file. In time trouble, I missed a chance for a clear advantage, and, seeing the match had gone, I was happy to offer a draw in a position that was now rather worse. Cwmbran won the match 3½-½, and now go forward to the second round, while Aber have a chance to redeem themselves in the Plate.

Julie van Kemenade – Dennis Jones ½-½

Steven Williams – Matthew Francis ½-½

James Cook – Brian Heath 0-1

Nyasha Katsande – Georgina Gray 1-0

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