The first match this season between the Aberystwyth A and B teams was, unusually, split by agreement of the captains, to enable both sides to field their preferred teams. Boards 2, 3 and 4 played at the St David’s Club on 15th November, while the top boards played two weeks later. On Board 2 for the Bs, James Cook held his own well into the middlegame with his Caro-Kann against Rudy van Kemenade. Both made mistakes in the complications, but it was the lower-graded player who made the fatal errors just before the time control. Tony Geraghty was also punching above his weight, winning the exchange from the new A-team player Matthew Holborow. However he underestimated the potential counterplay in the position and was overwhelmed by a tactical fightback. Julie van Kemenade and Ian Finlay are both aggressive players, and their battles are usually exciting. Julie deserved a brilliancy prize in this one for her spectacular double piece sacrifice, a combination worked out, as Rudy pointed out in his subsequent analysis, eight moves deep. That left the A team 3-0 ahead. In the postponed Board 1 game, I played a line against the Petroff that I had used to score an upset against Mark Talbot last year. This time he was ready for it; a pawn up in a double-edged position he chose to continue attacking rather than try to simplify to a winning ending, and prevailed in the complications. So a whitewash in two instalments to the A team, but the B team put up a good fight.

Matthew Francis – Mark Talbot 0-1

Rudy van Kemenade – James Cook 1-0

Tony Geraghty – Matthew Holborow 0-1

Julie van Kemenade – Ian Finlay 1-0

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