In this the third year of the competition in memory of Geof, the judges (Stuart Hutchings, Dave James and Howard Williams) identified as many as 18 games which met our basic criteria: in short wins or draws by Welsh players against foreign opposition rated both 2250 or over and 150 points or more above the Welsh player. Special mention should be made of Olivia Smith who contributed three of these games by fearless and resourceful play, whether for Wales in the Women’s Olympiad in Istanbul or in the 4NCL. Another fruitful source of games was the European Seniors (Over 60) Team Championship in Slovenia where all five members of our team played at least one game which qualified. Disappointingly, no game played by a member of our Olympiad team in the Open Section qualified.
The judges had therefore to discard some good games, not least Tim Kett’s quick smash of Nicholas Ivell in the 4NCL, in reaching their short list. This consisted of games by Rudy van Kemenade, Allan Pleasants and Ioan Rees. Rudy’s win in the Seniors against a player 280 points above him shows how his rapid grasp of the difficult positions which arise from the Leningrad Dutch (this one with colours reversed) can force even strong opposition to go astray. Allan’s win in the South Wales International featured an unusual way of meeting and getting the better of the Sicilian followed by highly competent play in ensuring the advantage obtained did not slip from his grasp. Ioan had two games in the short list which quite remarkably were against the same grandmaster opponent, played at either end of 2012. The second of these games is a very nice sacrificial kingside attack against the French which could well have taken the 2013 prize, had it been played a few days later. There are fewer fireworks in the first but in it Ioan as Black first equalises and then develops a strong kingside attack, refuting neatly his opponent’s exchange sacrifice to muddy the waters. What made Ioan’s mature and determined play in this game the more commendable was his position in the tournament, as explained in his notes. The judges unanimously considered that this game takes the prize. Congratulations / Llongyfarchiadau, Ioan!
Other Short-listed games:
[Notes: Howard, Howard, Rudy]
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