It’s an exceptionally busy week for Aberystwyth Chess Club, with matches for the A and B teams, to be followed by the Club Championship at the weekend and a match between the A and B teams almost immediately afterwards. At the time of writing, only the first two of these events have taken place, both with very satisfactory results. First, on Monday 12th March, the B team played away to close rivals Cardigan B. On top board, I got an advanced passed pawn against Tony Haigh, but, with only queens left and my king a long way from the action, could not find a way to promote it (needless to say, there was one) and offered a draw. James Cook also missed a chance against Jamie Sen, with a dangerous attack against the queenside-castled White king – a well-timed sacrifice would have broken through. It was a similar situation on third board, except that Tony Geraghty made his well-timed sacrifice, giving up an exchange to open lines against Nick McIlvenna’s king, but missed the correct follow-up. So three good positions for Aber and three draws, but team captain Ian Finlay clinched the match, 2½-1½, with a comfortable win on Board 4 against Jamie Sen’s father, Alex. The result keeps Aber B in third place in the league.

Matthew Francis – Tony Haigh ½-½

Jamie Sen – James Cook ½-½

Tony Geraghty – Nick McIlvenna ½-½

Alex Sen – Ian Finlay 0-1

On Wednesday 14th March at the Emlyn Cafe, Tanygroes, Aber A (featuring a couple of the players from the B team’s match two days earlier) played a strong Carmarthen team. Aber had quick wins on the top two boards. In a queenless middlegame Mark Talbot harried Gerry Heap into undeveloping his pieces, causing Black’s position to collapse abruptly, while Rudy van Kemenade got a crushing kingside attack from his Leningrad Dutch against Keith Downey. On third board, I continued my recent good form with a positional win against Huw Morcom. That left Tony Geraghty, who had successfully defended against Paul Orton’s pawn sacrifice and looked to have a certain draw against his higher-rated opponent when his concentration slipped, losing him a piece and the game. 3-1 to Aber, who remain in contention for the league title.

Mark Talbot – Gerry Heap 1-0

Keith Downey – Rudy van Kemenade 0-1

Matthew Francis – Huw Morcom 1-0

Paul Orton – Tony Geraghty 1-0

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