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Welcome to the Keverel Chess website, which will be covering all chess matters relating to Exmouth and Exmouth players, whether played or written in the town or further afield.

In addition, there will be a selection of chess books available to discriminating collectors. Lists will be updated regularly and enquiries about books listed may be e-mailed.


Here are some short biographies of chessplayers who have made above-average contributions to chess at some level, whether in Devon or further afield.

The 1st editions of some of these articles got their first airing on the chessdevon website, and the author is grateful to its webmaster for that opportunity. These early ones have now all been reviewed and updated where new information has come to light before posting here.

Copyright remains with the author who will be pleased to receive further information for inclusion, or make corrections where necessary. Family history researchers should contact the author in the first instance with a view to a possible useful exchange of information.

Introduction to Exmouth Chess Club

Weekly Chess Column.

The Plymouth-based Western Morning News carries one of the oldest chess columns in any provincial daily paper. It was started in 1891 and has continued ever since in one form or another, in spite of having shifted for a short spell to another title in the same stable, the Illustrated Western Weekly News.

For the past 55 years it has had just three correspondents: J. E. “Eddy” Jones (1956 – 63); K. J. “Ken” Bloodworth (1963 – 1999) & R. H. “Bob” Jones from 1999.

For all this time, it has reported weekly on the chess activities within its readership’s area, Devon & Cornwall, However, since December 2010, in a cost-cutting exercise and rationalisation, the WMN joined forces with its Northcliff Group neighbour, the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, to produce a weekend supplement in common, called Westcountry Life. Fortunately, they retained the chess column, which means it now gets a much wider readership, and this must be reflected in the scope of what it records. So the activities in Somerset and Gloucestershire must get equal billing, as it were, with those of Devon & Cornwall.

One must hope this experiment will prove successful and continue. We hope chess followers will purchase the two papers in question, at least their Saturday edition, as this is the point of the exercise. However, I have permission to reproduce it on this website for the benefit of those outside the readership area.

To that end, I aim to post it here a day or two after its appearance in the paper.

Bob Jones

Devon vs Lincolnshire Results (16.06.2018.) 990

Devon failed in their bid to reach the Final of the Minor Counties tournament, losing to the current holders Lincolnshire 10-6 in the semi-final held on Saturday. This tournament’s regulations state that the playing grades of any 16 man team should not, when added together, exceed 2880 or an average of 180 per person. The fact that Lincolnshire chose to include Grandmaster Matthew Turner did not unduly worry Devon as they would have to pay the price in terms of grades lower down the order. On the top 6 boards Devon only lost 3½-2½, yet out-graded Lincs on all of the next 11 boards – grounds for cautious optimism, but it was in this area that the match was truly lost, going down 6½-3½.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing).

1. J. Underwood (191) 0-1 M. Turner (GM – 248). 2.J. Stephens (189) ½-½ N. Birtwistle (196). 3. J. Fraser (192) ½-½ S. Milson (193). 4. G. Bolt (188) 0-1 P. Cumbers (196). 5. S. J. Homer (181) 1-0 N. Stead (187). 6. T. Paulden (189) ½-½ M. Smith (197). 7. J. Wheeler (187) 0-1 J. Kilshaw (183). 8.M. Abbott (186) 0-1 I. David (169). 9.B. Hewson (179) 1-0 K. Palmer (163). 10. P. Hampton (175) 0-1 D. Georgiou (159). 11. J. Haynes (176) 0-1 P Cusick (169). 12. S. Martin (184) 0-1 F. Bowers (165). 13. D. Cowley (175) 1-0 C. Holt (160). 14. J. Duckham (164) 0-1 R. Herbert (161). 15.P. Brooks (166) ½-½  K. McCarthy (161). 16. W. Ingham (157) 1-0 A. Parnian (147).

One bright spot for Devon was this miniature that put them in the lead for a while. Analysis kindly supplied by the winner.

White: N. Stead. Black: Stephen Homer.

Nimzowitsch Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4+ 4.Nf3 Ne4 A move played by Karpov so it can’t be bad. It has the advantage of avoiding 5.Bg5, my opponent’s usual set-up. 5.Qc2 d5 5…f5 is the alternative. 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 f5 8.0–0 c6 9.cxd5 exd5 I’d seen White’s next move, with the pin of Black’s d-pawn against his king and the possible loss of a pawn on e4. 9…cxd5 is the alternative, but I decided to go for the pawn sacrifice after 10…Bd6 and 11. White takes twice on e4. 10.Qb3 Bd6 10…Qe7 is a better move, but the move played sets a deadly trap. 11.Nxe4?? This looks natural but in fact it’s a blunder. Correct is 11.Bxe4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Bc7 13.Ne5! when Black’s d-pawn remains pinned and Black will have to prove sufficient compensation for the lost pawn which will follow on 13.Nxe4 11…fxe4 12.Bxe4 Kh8! Breaking the pin and once White’s bishop moves away gives rise to a deadly exchange sacrifice on f3. 13.Bc2 Rxf3! The move I’d envisaged on move 9. The follow-up with 14.Qg5+ wins, as it allows the queen to transfer to h5 with a double attack on h2 and f3. 14.gxf3 Qg5+ 15.Kh1 Qh5 16.f4 Qf3+ 17.Kg1 Bh3 and mate cannot be avoided.0-1.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Qa8! waiting for Black to fall on his sword, as all moves lose.

This position arose in a game recently in which White played a conservative 1.Ne2. Did he perhaps miss something a little more enterprising?

White to play

Exeter & District League Prizegiving & RapidPlay Match 2018

24 players foregathered at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth on Tuesday evening (12.06.2018) for their annual end-of-season prizegiving and rapidplay match. It wasn’t too much of a prizegiving as two of the four trophies had been won by new Exeter University teams and they were all either busy with exams or had already finished their academic year. However, judging by the photos (see below), the other two teams  looked pleased enough to be there.

The final charts, as prepared by League Secretary, Tim Paulden, were as follows:

Premiership  (640 max)
Team W D L F A Pts
Uni. Pterodactyls 4 0 0 13 3 8
Just Seaton 1 2 1 8 8 4
Exeter Rooks 1 1 2 7 9 3
Exmouth Eagles 1 1 2 3
Sidmouth Scorpions 0 2 2 10½ 2
Championship  (480 max)
Team W D L F A Pts
Exeter Gambits 2 0 1 8 4 8
Sidmouth Stars 2 0 1 7 5 4
Colyton G. S. 1 1 2 3
Uni Stegasauri 1 0 0 3 1 2
E. Budleigh Explorers 0 1 2 1
Rapidplay   (600 rapid max)
Team W D L F A Bonus Pts
Uni. Velociraptors 6 2 2 24 16 3 17
Exeter Prestissimo 5 2 1 22½ 17½ 2 14
Uni. Triceratops 3 4 3 20 20 2 12
Fast Seaton 4 1 5 21 19 2 11
Exmouth Egrets 4 2 4 20 20 1 11
Exeter Gambits Rapid 2 1 7 12½ 27½ 0 5

After a short break, during which two teams of 12 of approximately equal strength were sorted out from those present, one belonging to the League President, Brian Aldwin, and the other owing allegience to its Secretary, Tim Paulden, play got under way, with two games of 30 minutes per player.  After all 24 games had finished, with the closest of wins for the Sccretary’s team, the table looked like this…..

Exeter & Dist. League End-of-Season RapidPlay Match – 2018
Bd President’s XII Grd Rd 1 Rd 2 Captain’s X!! Grd Rd 1 Rd 2
1 P. Hampton 194 0 ½ P. O’Neill 179 1 ½
2 J. Underwood 177 ½ 0 T. J. Paulden 178 ½ 1
3 S, K. Dean 165 1 1 I. S. Annetts 155 0 0
4 I. Simpson 152 1 0 S. Martin 156 0 1
5 S. Pope 148 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
6 W, Marjoram 136 ½ 0 R. H. Jones 139 ½ 1
7 R. Player 123 0 0 D. Thomson 124 1 1
8 R. Scholes 106 1 1 G. Fotheringham 121 0 0
9 M. Haines 98 0 0 S. Dean 102 1 1
10 H. Welch 96 1 0 G. J. Jenkins 100 0 1
11 B. Perchard 83 0 1 I. G. Grist 74 1 0
12 D. Gardner 80 1 0 R. Cubbon 61 0 1
7 5
11½ 12½

Hazel Welch receives the Runner-Up trophy for the Premiership on behalf of Seaton

The Exeter Prestissimo team, Runner=up in the RapidPlay League. l-r Will Marjoram; Brian Aldwin; Richard Scholes, Richard Player & Sean Pope at rear.

Pauls Hampton & O'Neill start their first game on Bd. 1

Bd. 5 (nearest) Alan Dean considers his reply to Sean Pope's previous move.

In the lower half, Player (W) and Thomson get under way.

50th Cotswold Congress Results (09.06.2018.) 989

The 50th Cotswold Congress took place over the Whitsun weekend at the King’s School, Gloucester, with the following results: (all points out of 6). Open Section; 1st Keith Arkell (237) 5. 2nd Peter Cusick (169-Grantham) 4½. 3rd= Dom Mackle (196-Torquay); Tim Headlong (188-Brown Jack) & Tim Spanton (163) all 4. Grading prize Andrew Waters. (158 – Kent).

Major: 1st Andrew Munn (150-Bristol) 5½. 2nd Jamie Morgan (149-Penzance); 3rd= Rich Weston (153-Cowley) & Andrew Price (151-Leamington) 4. Grading Prize(a) Dave Rogers (131-Exmouth). Grading prize(b) Ethan Gardiner (106-Manchester).

Minor: 1st Nigel Morris (123-Leamington) 5. 2nd= C. Costeloe (122-London); Rob Furseman (120-Newmarket), Georgina Headlong (116-Brown Jack) & Rohan Palet (85-Glos). Grading prizes: Christine Constable (105-Bude) & Paul Munroe.

Top grade was GM Keith Arkell and he duly won after conceding a couple of late draws. In this game he showed what he is more than capable of doing.

White: J. Jenkins (180). Black: K. Arkell.

Nimzo-Indian Defence – Rubinstein Variation.  [E41]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Signature moves of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, one of Black’s most potent weapons against the Queen’s Gambit. 4.e3 A quiet move developed by the Polish GM, Akiba Rubinstein, against which Black must strike quickly before White can develop his centre. c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 d6 7.0–0 Now that the bishop has served its purpose it can go, leaving Black free to concentrate on the enemy king’s position. Bxc3 8.bxc3 e5 9.e4 Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Nh4 h6 Both white bishops are now severely restricted in scope. 13.Qe2 g5 14.Nf5 Nxf5 15.exf5 Qe7 16.Re1 0–0–0 17.a4 Rdg8 18.g4 h5 19.a5 hxg4 20.hxg4 Rh4 21.f3 e4! Giving up a pawn to allow his queen access to the attack without interfering with his rooks’ open h-file – cheap at the price. 22.Bxe4 Qe5 23.Qg2 Rgh8 24.Re2 Rh3 Threatening Rg3 winning the queen. 25.Bc2 Qxc3 26.Ra3 Qxc4 27.Rd3 Nxg4 Continuing the break-up of White’s kingside, but equally effective is 27…Bxf5 28.gxf5 Qh4 and the triple attack down the h-file will again quickly exact heavy gains. 28.Qxg4 Rh1+ 29.Kf2 R8h2+ 0-1. Further resistance was hopeless. All 60 games from the Open Section may be found on Dave Tipper’s website,

The last Westcountry team left in the National Stages is Devon who play on Saturday against Lincolnshire, the holders, at Kemerton, Worcestershire in the semi-final of the Minor Counties section. No Westcountry team has ever held this particular title, and Lincs are the current holders, so a tough battle is guaranteed.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.f3+! forcing 1…Kf4, then 2.Pxg7+ a discovered check from which there is no escape.

This week’s position is taken from David Howard’s 2005 book, My 100 Best Two-Movers. It looks fearsomely complicated but there are patterns to be discerned which should lead you to the solution.

White to mate in 2

Frome Congress Results (02.06.2018) 988

183 players entered the recent 29th Frome Congress, and the winners were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st= S. Jones, V. Stoyanov & R. de Coverley 4 pts. Grading prizes: U-2050 1st P. Anderson. 3½. U-1900 1st= J. Turner & S. Jukes 3.

Major Section: (U-165); 1st= D. Marshall; J. Fisher; S. Appleby & F. Pittman 4. Grading prizes: U-155: D. Watson & J. Lobley 3½. U-144: S. Williams 3½. Intermediate (U140) 1st G, Miller 5.        2nd= R. Millener; J. Beviss & B. Headlong 4. Grading: U-129: I. Kamotskiy 3½. U-116: T. Gough 3½. Minor (U-110) 1st= S. Walsh & M. Archbold 4½. 3rd J. Grover 4. GPs (U-100): D. Williams; E. Fields; M. Fields & P. Allaway. 3½. GP U-86: M. Cox 3½.

The Somerset champions for each section were as follows: Open: Tim Headlong (Brown Jack). Major: Dave Marshall (Trowbridge). Intermediate: Jamie Beviss (Langport). Minor: James Grover (Bath).

Entering the final round, Simon Jones was in with a chance of 1st place, but had the Black pieces.

White: J. Turner. Black: S. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Lasker Variation [B33]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 forces Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 This is a retreat, but the alternative 8…Ne7 constricts Black’s kingside development. 9.c3 Be7 10.a4 0–0 11.Be3 a6 12.Na3 f5 13.Bd3 Nd7 14.f4 Nf6 15.fxe5 Ng4 Ironically, the very piece that had to retreat earlier now forces the same fate on White. 16.Bg1 Nxe5 17.Be2 f4 18.Bf2 Qe8 Now all but one of Black’s pieces are heading for the enemy king’s position.19.0–0 Qg6 Also very strong was 19…Bh3 20.bf3 Nxf3+ and if 21.Qxf3 Bg4 wins the queen.  20.h4 Qh6 21.Nc2 g6 22.Bf3 Bxh4 23.Nd4 Bg3 Threatens mate. 24.Bxg3 fxg3 25.Re1 Qh2+ 26.Kf1 Bh3 27.Ke2 If 27.gxhe Qxf7 mate. Bxg2 28.Ke3 Nc4+ 29.Ke4 Qh4+ 0-1 30.Kd3 would be forced and 30…Nxb2+ wins the queen.

This miniature took place in the Major:

White: P. Markham.  White: A. Papier

Queen Pawn’s Game [D00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Ne7 8.f3 Nf5 Attacking a piece and opening lines for his other pieces to attack. What could possibly go wrong? 9.Qd2 Qh4+ 10.g3 Nxg3 Black jumps in, seeing attacking chances for himself. 11.Bb5+ 11…c6? Black needs to develop more pieces e.g. 11…Bd7! 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Bf2 e3 14.Qxe3 Qb4+ 15.c3 Qxb2 etc. 12.Bg5 Qh5 13.dxc6+- Be6 14.Qd7+! 1–0. If 14. ..BXQ 15 PxB mate.

Thanks to Dave Tipper for supplying these and many other game scores. Much more information may be found on the website.

In last week’s 2-mover by David Shire, White should play 1.Nde5! after which Black will not be able to evade all the mating threats.

This week’s position is a return to the rooks-only theme of Alain White from his little book published in 1910. Because of the limited resources available. e.g. no knights beloved of composers, the vast majority in this category involve more than 2 moves, but this is one of the few.

White to play and mate in 2.

Quarter Final Results of Devon & Cornwall (19.06.2018.) 986

The West of England’s 2 teams that went forward to the National Stages were Devon & Cornwall, and they played their quarter-final matches on Saturday. Devon faced Worcestershire in the Minor Counties section, and cruised through 9½-6½. Devon won the toss and had white on the odd-numbered boards. Devon names 1st in each pairing: 1. D. Mackle 0 – 1  K. Hurney. 2. J. Underwood ½ – ½ Z. Koneki. 3. J. Stephens 1 – 0 E. Osbourne. 4. T. Paulden ½ – ½ D. Lambourne. 5. J. F. Wheeler ½ – ½ L. Davis. 6. S. Martin 0 – 1 P.Kitson. 7. G. Ross-Andrews ½ – ½ G. Jackson. 8. B. W. Hewson. 1 – 0 I. I Clarke. 9. C. Lowe ½ – ½ P. Barker. 10. J. Haynes 1 – 0 S. Mellor. 11. P. Hampton 1 – 0 N. Towers. 12. D.Cowley 1 – 0 S. Woodhouse.  13. T. F. Thynne 0 – 1 J. Welch. 14. P. Brooks 1 – 0 G. Dyett. 15. J. Duckham 1 – 0 M. Hadley. 16.  Y. Wang 0 – 1 B. Fuller.

Meanwhile, Cornwall faced a sterner examination, losing 4-12 to a Surrey team that was at maximum strength. Cornish players 2nd in each pairing. 1. C. Briscoe ½ – ½ J.Menadue. 2. R. Granat 1 – 0 J. Hooker. 3. R. Haldane 1 – 0 L. Retallick. 4. D. Rosen 1 – 0 M. Hassall. 5. D.Young. 0 – 1 G.Healey. 6. J. Shepley 1 – 0 T.Manton. 7. I. Heppell 1 – 0 C. Sellwood. 8. S. Galer ½ – ½ R. Smith. 9. P. Stimpson 0 – 1 A. Hussain.  10. O. Phillips ½ – ½  T. Willis. 11. N. Faulks 1 – 0 G. Trudeau. 12. I.McLeod ½ – ½ J. Morgan. 13. H. Jones 1 – 0 M. Hill . 14. J. Eckert 1 – 0  J. Henderson 15. J. Fox 1 – 0 D. R. Jenkin. 16. N. Grey 1 – 0. (def.)

No game scores have yet emerged from either match. Surrey will now play Suffolk, while Devon face last year’s champions, Lincolnshire, in the semi-finals

In last week’s position, Spassky lost out to 1.Qg3+ Kh8 2.Rf7! 1-0 Play might have continued 2… Rg2 3.Rxf7+ Kh6 4.Qh3+ Kg6. 5.Qhf+ etc.

This week’s 2-mover is the starter problem for the Winton British Chess Solving Championship 2018-19. White is playing up the board, has the move and must mate in 2 against any Black defence. There is no entry fee and is open only to British residents. Competitors need only send White’s first move, known as the key move, to either Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Rd., Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1QY, or by e-mail to  Don’t forget to mention that you saw the problem in the Western Morning News.

All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 31st July 2018 and must give the entrant’s name & home address. Juniors U-18 on 31st July 2018 must also give their date of birth.

After the closing date, all competitors will be sent (a) the answer to the starter problem and (b) those who got it right will receive the Postal Round, consisting of 8 more difficult and varied positions.

In due course the best competitors and 5 best juniors will be invited to the Final at Eton College on Saturday 23rd February 2019. The ultimate winner will win the right to represent Great Britain at the World Solving Championships 2019.

White to mate in 2.

Chess – The Musical – is back!

Among his many skills and interests, Sir Tim Rice is a keen chessplayer. After his early successes as a lyricist teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber for musicals like Evita, he drew up plans for an old idea of his in which the Cold War was acted out over a chessboard, much as the Fischer-Spassky match of 1972 had been. In 1982 he approached his regular tunesmith partner with the idea, but by then Lloyd Webber was unable to help, being fully committed with his own project, Cats. It was suggested to him that as Abba was at that moment in the act of breaking up, the two Bs in that particular partnership, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, might be looking for fresh opportunities. They jumped at the chance, and Chess -The Musical was born.

Notoriously difficult to stage, especially trying to cater for different audiences as it toured the world, but the songs quickly became all-time classics. Its latest incarnation opened recently at the London Coliseum to excellent reviews.

While the sociopathic Fischer-based  character was largely retained, Spassky was just too nice a gentleman to be a sparky on-stage persona, and it was thought to be loosely based on someone like Victor Korchnoi.

In this latest production, this character is played by Michael Ball, former pupil at Plymouth College.

Here’s a game from that epic 1972 encounter. Fischer had virtually given his opponent a 2 point start, but Spassky hadn’t won any of the next 8 games and was 6½– 3½ down. Here is Game 11, in which the Russian knows he has to come up with something special.

White: B. V. Spassky. Black R. J. Fischer Sicilian Defence [B97]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 Fischer went for the Poisoned Pawn variation for a second time in the match, but Spassky had done some homework on it.  9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 This was one “improvement”, as it breaks up Black’s kingside pawns and makes it difficult for him to castle there. 11.Be2 h5 Denying White’s bishop that square.  12.0–0 Nc6 13.Kh1 Avoiding a possible check later. 13…Bd7 14.Nb1! A remarkable idea, intended to keep Black’s queen trapped in a cage of her own making. 14…Qb4 If 14…Qb2 15.a3 followed by Nc3 & Ra2 trapping the queen. 15.Qe3 Denying b6 as an escape route. 15…d5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.c4 Nf5 18.Qd3 h4? 19.Bg4! Nd6? 20.N1d2 f5 21.a3 Qb6 22.c5 Qb5? 23.Qc3! Now White has threats to rook & knight while a4 wins the queen. There’s no way out., but Fischer plays on anyway 23…fxg4 24.a4 h3 25.axb5 hxg2+ 26.Kxg2 Rh3 27.Qf6 Nf5 28.c6 Bc8 29.dxe6 fxe6 30.Rfe1 Be7 31.Rxe6 Rh8 1-0. Spassky’s best game so far played, but it was not enough in the long run.

The answer to last week’s position was 1.Qxf5+ KxQ 2. Bd3 mate, as the king has nowhere to go.

Here is your chance to beat Spassky. He is all set to mate with Qxa3#, but it’s not his move. Is there anything you, as, White, can do about it?

White to play against Spassky

End of Season matches (05.05.2018.) 984

Devon’s last match in Division 1 was played out on Saturday between Exmouth and Newton Abbot. As both teams had already lost home and away to Exeter, there wasn’t much to play for, except to avoid the wooden spoon. In this, Exmouth succeeded narrowly, but there were wins for both teams.

At quickplay Paul Hampton has few equals on the local circuit. He won this game, but missed a mating combination.

White: P. D. Hampton (172). Black: C. V.  Howard (154).

Bird’s Opening  [A03]

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.b3 Be7 5.Bb2 c5 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 b6 8.Qe1 Bb7 9.d3 Qc7 10.Ne5 Bf8 11.Nd2 0–0–0 12.Ndf3 Ne8 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.c4 Now knowing which side Black has castled, White wastes no time in launching an attack against it. 14…Nd6 15.b4 Nf5 16.cxd5 exd5 17.bxc5 Bxc5 18.d4 Bd6 19.Rc1 threatening Bb5. White can ignore the threat to his e3 pawn as the knight would be needed to defend the white-square bishop, especially with Black’s king & queen are in line. 19…Kb7 20.Ne5 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Nxe3 White gifts the e-pawn as it frees up all his pieces.  22.Ba6+ Kxa6 23.Qxe3 Qd7 24.Rf3 Rc8 25.Rcf1 f6 26.exf6 gxf6 27.Rxf6 Rc7 28.Ba3 Qg7 29.Bd6 Bb5 30.R1f2 Rc4 31.Be5 Re8 Welcome to the game. Now Black has options. 32.Qa3+ Ra4 33.Qd6 Qg4 34.h3 Qe4 35.Kh2 Rc8 36.Rf7 Bd3 The killer move. 37.Rxa7+! The killer move. 37…Kxa7 38.Qd7+ Check and forking both rooks. 38…Ka6 39.Qxc8+? Wrong rook; White missed a mate in 4 by taking the other rook viz 39.Qxa4+ Kb7 40.Rf7+ Rc7 41.Rxc7+ Kb8 42.Qe8# 39…Ka5 40.Qc3+ Ka6 41.Rd2 1-0

A rapidly-improving junior, Ramesh showed his growing class with this win over a more experienced opponent.

White: V. Ramesh (164). Black: S. Martin (186)

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation [B72]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 Nf6 8.f3 Bd7 9.Qd2 a6 10.h4 h5 11.0–0–0 b5 White having committed to castling long, Black moves to launch a pawn storm, but it takes a lot of moves to get the a & b pawns onto really threatening squares, which perhaps could be better used completing piece development  12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Kb1 Qc7 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Bd7 16.Rhe1 a5 17.Bd3 b4 18.Qf2 Rb8 19.Bd4 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Black has left castling too late 20…Rg8 If 20…0–0 21.Rxe7. 21.Re2 e6 22.dxe6 Bxe6 23.Rde1 Kd7 24.Re5 Ke7 25.R5e4 Qc5 26.Qxc5 dxc5 27.Re5 Rgc8 28.Bxg6! Not difficult to see; just the fruit of everything that’s gone before. 28…Kf6 29.Bxh5 Re8 30.b3 Rbc8 31.Bg4 Rc6 32.Bxe6 fxe6 It’s now a pure R&P endgame, except that Black doesn’t have enough of the latter. 33.Kc1 a4 34.g4 axb3 35.axb3 c4 36.bxc4 Rxc4 37.R5e4 Rc3 38.R1e3 Rec8 39.Rxe6+ Kf7

The solution to last week’s ancient teaser was 1.Rhg7! Wherever the king or knight move will allow one of the rooks to mate on the back rank.

In this level-looking position from 1995 White noticed a breakthrough move.

What did he play?

Revd. Bremridge’s Wooden Spoon Avoided (28.04.2018.)

Exeter having already won the Bremridge Cup by beating home & away the other two teams, Exmouth and Newton Abbot, these were left “playing for peanuts” as the Tournament Secretary put it. However, this proved more difficult than usual. On the first occasion, Newton Abbot couldn’t raise a team for their away leg and the match was postponed until 28th April. For their home leg, it was Exmouth that couldn’t raise a team, but it was too late in the season for a postponement, so that was declared “unplayed”.

In an effort to infuse a small element of significance to the match it was felt the teams could be fighting to avoid the wooden spoon. And so the games were played slowly and seriously. The first point went to the visitors in the shape of Vignesh Ramesh who overcame a 22 point deficit to beat his experienced opponent. Then nothing happened for some time, when four games seemed to finish in a flurry. John Stephens exploited his extra pawn in a R&P ending, got it to the 7th rank and Black could do nothing about it.

Underwood’s and Hampton’s games also finished at this time with wins for the home team. Meanwhile, Walter Braun was struggling to defend his position a piece down, Steve Homer, who, being the player he is, was never going to let up.

With the score at 3-2 it was left to Brian Gosling and Josh Blackmore to finish things off. They were down to a black-square bishop each and a sprinkling of pawns. The game went on for some time long after the other players had gone. Blackmore was making all his moves in the last 5 seconds of each incremental 30 seconds, but Gosling managed to retain a very slight edge, and chipped away at the pawns. There was a moment when Blackmore might have been able to sacrifice his bishop for his opponent’s last pawn to leave a draw, but the chance passed, and Gosling was able to mop up pawns on his was to a win, leaving the final score 4-2 and the Wooden Spoon was avoided.

Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)   28.04.2018.
1 Dr. W. Braun 203 0 1 S. J. Homer 181
2 Dr. J. Underwood 192 1 0 P. Brooks 170
3 J. K. F. Stephens 189 1 0 T. F. Thynne 170
4 S. Martin 186 0 1 V. Ramesh 164
5 P. G. Hampton 172 1 0 C. V. Howard 154
6 B. G. E. Gosling 160 1 0 J. Blackmore 147
1,102 4 2 986

Walter Braun vs Steve Homer (Bd.1)

Bd. 2: Paul Brooks vs Jonathan Underwood

Charlie Howard makes a move against Paul Hampton on Bd. 5

Josh Blackmore vs Brian Gosling on Bd. 6 last to finish after a tight endgame.

left: John Stephens vs Trefor Thynne with Steve Martin in view on right.

Westcountry Juniors in Albania (28.04.2018.) 983

The Cornish junior, Adam Hussein of the Truro Club, is currently playing in the U-13 section of FIDE’s World School Championship in Durres, on Albania’s beautiful Adriatic coast. Also in the English team of 8 players is Georgia Headlong of the Brown Jack Club near Swindon who recently became the West of England Ladies Champion in Exmouth. Their progress may be followed on the or event websites.

The Sicilian Defence leads to very active play for both sides, with lines of play more numerous and harder to evaluate than any other opening. Whole libraries could be assembled on this opening alone. Almost every game has something to teach us, like this one from a match last weekend. A seemingly innocuous move by White enables Black to take complete control of the kingside almost immediately.

White: Yuyang Wang (155). Black: John Stephens (196).

Sicilian Defence – Opocensky Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 This move is named after the Czech expert analyst, Karel Opocensky (1892–1975). 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 Interestingly, every square on the e-file is occupied with a piece, four of them bishops. 9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.exd5 Bf5 11.c4 Nd7 12.0–0 0–0 13.Bg4? This manoeuvre allows Black to obtain a grip on the kingside, which he keeps for the rest of the game. 13…Bxg4 14.Qxg4 f5 forcing White back. 15.Qe2 f4 16.Bc1 Qe8 17.Nd2 Qg6 18.f3 Qh5 19.Ne4 Nf6 20.Qf2 Rac8 21.b3 b5 22.Nxf6+ Rxf6 Completing Black’s kingside mastery. 23.Qb6 White is forced to seek counterplay on the other wing. 23…Rh6 24.h3 Qg5 25.Qxa6 Rf8 26.Kh1 Qg3 27.Qb6 Black is still a pawn down, but his positional superiority gives him the freedom to hammer at the castle walls. 27…Rxh3+ 28.Kg1 Certainly not 28.gxh3?? Qxh3+ 29.Kg1 Qg3+ 30.Kh1 Rf5 and mate follows. 28…Qh2+ 29.Kf2 Bd8 30.Qa7 Bh4+ 31.Ke2 Qxg2+ 32.Rf2 Bxf2 33.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 34.Kxf2 This skirmish leaves Black with 2 lively rooks, while White’s 2 pieces are on their original squares, though he does have a 3–1 queenside pawn majority, which perhaps needs dealing with before it becomes a possible threat. 34…bxc4 35.Kg2 Rg3+ 36.Kf2 cxb3 37.axb3 Rb8 38.Rb1 Rb5 39.b4 h5 40.Bd2 h4 41.Rh1 Rxd5 42.Be1 g5 43.Ke2 Rg2+ 44.Bf2 Kf7 It’s now safe for the king to join the party. 45.Kf1 And finally an exchange sacrifice to finish things off. 45…Rxf2+ 46.Kxf2 Rd2+ 47.Ke1 Rb2 48.Rh3 Rxb4 49.Ke2 Kf6 50.Rh1 Kf5 51.Rd1 Rb2+ 52.Ke1 h3 and the h-pawn must queen. 0–1

In last week’s position, White should play 1.Rh2! and either rook will be able to mate next move, depending on what Black does with his pieces.

From the same book that last week’s 2-mover was taken is this one, on the same theme of White Rook’s Only. Alain White introduced it as…”one of the most famous 2 movers of antiquity”, first seen in 1350, “but the theme is fresh and full of life even today”.

Two Games from the Champion. (14.04.2018.) 981

In the recent WECU Championship, the absence of the 2017 winner, Keith Arkell, opened up the way for about 10 other players to seize their opportunity. Of these, it was Dominic Mackle who led the charge. In this Rd. 4 game he pounces of an early error by one of the Scandinavian juniors and quickly takes full advantage.

White: D. Mackle. Black: Leif Halfstad.

King’s Indian Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 c5 6.Nc4 d5 7.Nce5 a6? Necessary was 7…Nfd7 to counter the twin knight threat. 8.Ng5 Rg8 9.Ngxf7 Qe7 10.c3 b5 11.Bd3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 Qxf7 13.Ne5 Qe7 14.Bg5 g6 15.dxc5 Bg7 16.c6 Bc8 17.0–0 Qc7 18.Bf4 Qd6 19.a4 b4 20.a5 Qc5 21.cxb4 Qxb4 22.Qc2 Qe7 23.Rac1 Ra7 24.c7 with the twin threats of Nc6 forking Q & N or Qc6+ 1-0

In the penultimate round he faced the experienced FIDE Master, Mike Waddington, so couldn’t expect any blunders to help him.

White: M. Waddington. Black: D. Mackle.

French Defence.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 The Burn Variation, played regularly by the Yorkshireman Amos Burn (1848–1925) and later taken up by World Champion, Tigran Petrosian. 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 Black doesn’t mind opening up the g-file and later exploits it with fatal results. 7.Nf3 a6 8.Bd3 f5 9.Ned2 c5 10.c3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc6 12.Nb3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 White could block the check but decides to castle the long way round, which takes up valuable time. 13…0–0 14.a3 Be7 15.Re1 Bf6 16.Bc2 a5 17.a4 Nb4 18.Kf1 b6 19.Ne5 Ba6+ 20.Kg1 Rc8 21.Bb1 Kh8 22.Qh5 Threatening to fork K&Q. 22…Rc7 23.Re3 Bxe5 24.dxe5 f6 25.h3 Bc4 26.Qf3 Rg8 27.g3 f4 28.Rc3 Nd5 29.Rc2 White has 4 pieces stuck in the corner while Black is opening lines against the white king. How does he retain the initiative? 29…fxg3 30.fxg3 f5 31.Kh2 Nb4 Attacking a rook while vacating d5 for his bishop to further pressure to bear on the white king’s corner. 32.Rd2 Bd5 33.Qe3 Rcg7 34.g4 fxg4 35.Be4 Black’s bishop is well enough protected which gives Black the chance to further strip away the castle walls. gxh3 36.Rf1 Qh4 37.Bxd5 Nxd5 38.Qe1 Rg2+ 39.Kh1 Qg5 40.Rdf2 h2 41.Qe4 Rg1+ There’s no escape as there are several other mates. e.g. 41…Rxf2 42.Rc1 Qg1+ 43.Rxg1 42.Kxh2 Qg3#.

Cornwall qualified for the National Stages of the Inter-County Competition and entered the Minor Counties Section, where they have been drawn against Surrey, the match to be played on Sat. May 12th at East Huntspill TA9 4RA.

In last week’s position, White played 1.Qd3 which threatens mate on one side of the board and wins a knight on the other.

Imagine you were playing Bobby Fischer in a simultaneous match in which he’s given all his opponents the White pieces. Even so, they’ve all lost and it’s up to you to salvage some collective pride, but he’s attacking your rook. Where should it go?

White to play.