Aberystwyth faced some of our most formidable opponents yet in the form of Newport and Friends in the Welsh Chess Union Online League Open Section on Tuesday 11 May. Part of the problem in dealing with such a challenge is coontinuing to believe in yourself; all four of us in the Aber team started well enough but were unable to last the distance. On top board Rudy van Kemenade had achieved a comfortable opening against FM Grzegorz Toczek by transposing into a McCutcheon French when a miscalculation cost him a pawn. The closed postion then began to work against him, and his uncastled king became a target. Adam Watkin-Jones’s unorthodox English against Ernest Gibiec arrived at a Stonewall formation, with both players having strong central knights. Moving his own knight away from its outpost proved fatal, as White’s position collapsed quickly. Having declined Adam Rakos’s Wing Gambit against my Siclian, I had to work fast to undermine his extended pawn centre before his kingside attack could get going, but was too defensive. Tom Gunn arrived via a Semi-Slav route at the sort of solid but dynamic queen’s pawn game he likes and seemed at least equal against Chris Boyd when he dropped a pawn; again things turned against him quickly after that. A 4-0 win for Newport and Friends could have been so much better for Aber. By way of consolation I finish with a good win for Aber’s Sam Holman, moonlighting for Cardigan against a strong opponent, David Pinch of Steynton A, in the Under 1800 section.

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