February 2016
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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

This section contains news specifically about Exmouth’s Chess Club.

Currently, it meets at Age Concern, 8, New Street, Exmouth. EX8 1RT, on Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m.

The club welcomes new members who are keen to make the most of their chess skills by playing real opponents, face to face. Queries should be addressed to the Club Secretary via e-mail. jones_r53@sky.com.

Above: Look for the Age Concern sign.

Below: The door to the club premises.

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

East Devon Congress Approaches.

County captains are having to beef up their teams these days if they are to keep up with their opponents, and that means getting their very best players out at weekends. In the Somerset vs Gloucestershire match earlier in the season, this was the game from Board 1.

White: GM Matthew Turner (238) – Black: Joey Stewart (200).

Semi-Slav Defence [D46]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.e4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 11.Bc2 Re8 12.b3 Bf8 13.Ne5 h6 14.Qd3 g6 15.Re1 Qe7 16.Qh3 Nd7 17.Bxh6 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Bxh6 Black’s queen has some scope to probe the queenside, but mustn’t neglect queenside development e.g. 18…Qa3 19.Rae1 Rd8 20.Bxf8 Qxf8 21.Rd1. 19.Qxh6 Bd7 20.Rg5 From now on, White conducts a relentless kingside attack. 20…Qf8 21.Qh5 Re7 22.Qf3 How carefully did White check out the possibilities after 22.Bxg6 fxg6 23.Rxg6+ Rg7 24.Rh6 threatening 25.Rh8 mate 24…Re7 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.Rxf8 Rxf8 27.Qg5+ and Black has R+B for the queen, though they are both somewhat hemmed in and Black will find it hard to shake off the shackles. 27…Kf7 28.Re1 Rg8 29.Qf4+. Clearly he decided not to risk it. 22…Qg7 23.h4 Be8 24.h5 f6 25.Rg3 g5 26.h6 Qxh6 27.Rh3 Qf8 28.g4 Rg7 29.Rh6 Rd8 30.Rxf6 Rf7 31.Qe4 Qe7 If 31…Rxf6?? 32.Qh7 mate. 32.Rxe6 Qd7 33.Re1 Rf8 34.Re7 threatening 35.Qh7 mate 34…Qxe7 35.Qxe7 Rd7 36.Bh7+ 1-0. There would follow 36…Kh8 37.Qxf8+ Kxh7 38.Rxe8 etc.

The 41st East Devon Congress starts 4 weeks on Friday at the Exeter Corn Exchange. The new January grades were published last week, so potential entrants can now be sure of which sections they are eligible for, and need not delay their entries further. These should go to the Entry Secretary, Tim Paulden (e-mail  timpaulden@gmail.com). If needed, entry forms are downloadable from the chessdevon website. The available sections are the Open; the Major for under-155 grades and the Minor for under-125 grades.

Here is a game from last year’s congress by one of the joint winners.

White: Dominic Mackle (208). Black: Stephen Dilleigh (185)

Queen’s Gambit [D30]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.e3 Be7 5.Nbd2 0–0 6.Bd3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Ne4 10.Qc2 Black is now faced with either losing a key central pawn or weakening his pawn structure in order to defend his knight. 10…f5 11.Rad1 Rc8 12.a3 Ndf6 13.Ne5 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nd7 15.f4 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Bg5 17.Qe2 Qe7 18.Ra1 a5 19.a4 dxc4 20.bxc4 Qd7 21.Kh1 c5 22.Rad1 Qxa4 23.d5 Qe8 24.e4 The weakness of Black’s pawns now becomes apparent as White’s queen cuts loose. 24…fxe4 25.Rxf8+ Qxf8 26.Qxe4 g6 27.Qg4 Qh6 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qxb6 Ba8 30.Rf1 Rf8 31.Qxc5 Rxf1+ 32.Bxf1 Bf4 33.Qc8+ winning the bishop. 1–0

Taken from a recent game, this position is materially level, but Black has a knockout blow available. Can you see it?

Black to play and win by force.

Exmouth Club’s New Grades – Jan. 2016

The ECF’s new grades are out today, and those listed under the Exmouth heading are as follows.

Mostly the changes are little more than a point or two up or down, although worthy of mention are John Dye’s appearance on the list for the 1st time and Simon Blak’s 6 point increase (standard) and 8 point rise in rapidplay.

The new grades won’t affect a member’s eligibility for club teams in the DCCA as the July 2015 grades remain in force throught the subsequent season, but for individual entries into congress, these must be used, as the change may affect which section one can play in. 

Ref Member Name Standard Previous Rapid Previous
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 177 A 178 A 172 D 166 D
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 133 B 133 B 115 D 112 D
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 111 B 105 B 100 C 92 C
304385L   Dye, John 57 F            
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 157 B 154 A        
181711F Bronze Grist, Ivor G 91 C 100 C 86 E 87 E
140874E Bronze Hodge, Fred R 96 C 92 C 128 F 135 E
266234G Bronze Hurst, Kevin J 175 C 183 E 168 D    
113895K Silver Jones, Robert H 118 B 118 B 133 B 137 C
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 183 B 184 B 157 C 166 E
116002D Bronze Murray, Stephen 150 B 151 B 140 E 141 E
118154D Silver Rogers, David R 137 A 140 A        
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 150 A 149 B 152 C 157 B
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 178 A 177 A 178 A 171 B
155629A Gold Stephens, John 196 A 196 B 182 E 182 D
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 104 F 105 F        
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 B 162 B        
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 184 C 186 C 192 D 202 D
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 171 A 170 A 154 D 156 C

Peter Keffler Remembered.

Continuing my tribute to the late Peter Keffler, this fascinating struggle from the 1960 West of England Championship was awarded the Best Game Prize by Dr. Jim Aitken, former WECU and Scottish Champion, whose annotations these are, taken from the souvenir bulletin.

White: Y. P. Keffler. Black: D. G. Wells.

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation [B90]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 a6 8.f3 Qc7 9.Qd2 Be7 10.0–0–0 Na5 11.g4 b5 A game of attack on different wings now seems well under way; but for once appearances are deceptive 12.b3 White probably considered this apparently weakening move as a  necessary preliminary to his combination, and in fact an immediate 12.g5 Nd7 13.Ndxb5 axb5 14.Nxb5 would be drastically refuted by 14…Nb3+ which mates or wins the queen. 12…Rb8 13.g5 Nd7 14.Ndxb5! An interesting exchange combination that can arise in a number of Sicilian positions. Here the 3 united passed pawns and strong bishop pair give White good long range chances. 14…axb5 15.Nxb5 Qd8 16.Nxd6+ Bxd6 17.Qxd6 Qe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rd2 e5 20.Rhd1 Nc6 Preparatory to …Rd8. An immediate 20…Rd8 is refuted by  21.Bc5+ Ke8 22.Bd6 followed by Bxe5. 21.a4 Rd8 22.Bb5 Bb7 23.a5 Ba8 24.Ba4 Rbc8 25.b4 Ndb8 26.Bc5+ Ke8 27.Rxd8+ The rook exchanges should have been avoided if possible as they relieve the pressure on Black considerably and so jeopardise the win. I think 27.Rd5 threatening 28.Rxe5+ would win quickly, as after 27…Nd7  28.Bd6 Black is terribly tied up, and 27…f6 28.gxf6 gxf6 29.Bg1 is also much against him. 27…Rxd8 28.Rxd8+ Kxd8 29.Bb6+ Kc8 30.b5 Nd8 31.Be3 Ne6 32.Bb3 Nd7 33.Bxe6 fxe6 34.c4 Kc7 35.c5 Nb8 36.Kc2 Nc6! correctly fearing that the White pawn mass will win against normal lines, Black finds an ingenious piece sacrifice to break them up – an idea that as the next move shows deserved a better fate. 37.bxc6 Kxc6 38.h4 Kb5 39.h5 Kxa5? Missing his chance. 39…g6! leaves a dead draw, as White can never break through. Black probably thought the position was blocked anyway, overlooking White’s 42nd move. 40.g6 hxg6 41.hxg6 Bc6 42.Bh6! Be8 43.Bxg7 Bxg6 44.Bxe5 Kb5 45.Bd6 Bh5 46.f4 Kc4 47.f5 Still trying for a swindle. If now 47.c6? Bf3! draws. 47…exf5 If 47…Bf3 not 48.fxe6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Kd5 and Black will draw, but 48.f6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Bg6 50.c6 wins.  Fine’s rule for the ending B+2 disconnected passed pawns vs B is very relevant – “if the pawns are 2 or more files apart, they win; if they are only one file apart, they draw”. 48.exf5 Kd5 49.f6 0–1

This is one of Peter Keffler’s game endings that I gave last year, but is worth another look. How does he beat Dr. Aitken (W)? Black to move.

Black to play and win

In last week’s position Spassky won after 1.Bxh7+ Kxh7 2.g6+ Kg8 3.Ng5 fxg6 4.Qf3 forcing 4…Qxg5 5.Bxg5 dxe5 6.Rac1.

Devon Jamboree 2016

Devon’s annual Jamboree is a get-together of teams of 12, hopefully from the four quarters of the county. The maximum permitted total team grade is 1,650, giving an average of 137 per player.  This year the North (comprising the membership of the Barnstaple and Tiverton clubs) were unable to raise the requisite 12 players, so Tiverton players reverted to the East team. It was held in the very pleasant setting of the Royal Beacon Hotel, above Exmouth sea front.

This was the line-up.

                                                    The Teams
  East Grd   South Grd   West Grd
1 S. Bartlett 167   D. Mackle 207   S. Levy 177
2 I. S. Annetts 151   M. Wilson 159   M. Quinn 159
3 C. J. Scott 147   B. Ingham 158   M. Stinton-B 158
4 K. Hunter 130   P. Brooks 158   N. Butland 155
5 E. Palmer 124   A. Kinder 151   R. Wilby 142
6 W. Marjoram 115   V. Ramesh 144   D. Archer 138
7 R. Scholes 111   W. Taylor 131   N. Hodge 131
8 G. J. Jenkins 106   M. Cockerton 117   M. O’Brien 126
9 M. Baber 103   N. Narayanan 109   B. Wilkinson 124
10 S. Blake 101   J. Blackmore 101   P. McConnell 115
11 M. Haines 95   S. Wilkes 100   J. Dean 112
12 S. Thorpe-T 94   B. Lockett 100   A. Tatam 105
  Totals 1,444     1,635     1,642
  shortfall 206     15     8

 It was clear from the start that the East team were woefully under-strength, conceding on average the best part of 20 grading points on every board, and were due for a hard afternoon.  It was good to see Dom Mackle back in action after a year’s absence from the board, the downside being that the South team had to concede points on the lower boards. The North team, on the other hand were able to pack their middle order with players not far away from the permitted average strength of 137 grade.

The outcome (see chart below) was a fairly predictable win for the West team, drawn entirely from the Plymouth club membership, who thus retain the trophy for another year.   

Team Bd 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 total
East   ½ 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 4
South   1 0 1 ½ 1 0 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 6
West   0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 8


Bd. name team grd     name team grd
1 D. Mackle S1 207 1 0 S. Levy W1 177
2 M. Quinn W2 159 ½ ½ S. Bartlett E1 167
3 I. S. Annetts E2 151 1 0 M. Wilson S2 159
4 B. Ingham S3 158 1 0 C. J. Scott E3 147
5 K. Hunter E4 130 0 1 M. Stinton-B W3 158
6 N. Butland W4 155 ½ ½ P. Brooks S4 158
7 A. Kinder S5 151 1 0 R. Wilby W5 142
8 D. Archer W6 138 1 0 E. Palmer E5 124
9 W. Marjoram E6 115 1 0 V. Ramesh S6 144
10 W. Taylor S7 131 ½ ½ R. Scholes E7 111
11 G. J. Jenkins E8 106 0 1 N. Hodge W7 131
12 M. O’Brien W8 126 1 0 M. Cockerton S8 117
13 N. Narayanan S9 109 0 1 B. Wilkinson W9 124
14 P. McConnell W10 115 ½ ½ M. Baber E9 103
15 S. Blake E10 101 ½ ½ J. Blackmore S10 101
16 S. Wilkes S11 100 1 0 M. Haines E11   95
17 S. Thorpe-T E12   94 ½ ½ J. Dean W11 112
18 A. Tatam W12 105 1 0 B. Lockett S12 100

Devon vs Cornwall 1902 & Remembering Peter Keffler.

The very first match between Cornwall and Devon took place in Truro in October 1902, with the home team winning 15½-9½. No games are known to have survived, but the names alone give an indication of where the clubs and centres of activity were situated, and might strike a chord among some readers. Cornish names 1st in each pairing & Plymouth Club membership reduced to (P):

1. P. J. Dancer (Helston) 0-1 T. Taylor (P). 2. H. M. Fox (Falmouth) 1-0 H. L. Bowles. 3. R. Davy (Penzance) 0-1 G. M. Frean (Torquay). 4. A. Mayne (Falmouth) 0-1 C. F. Cooper (P). 5. F. H. Pascho (P) 1-0 E. D. Fawcett (Totnes). 6. F. H. Carlyon (Truro) 1-0 W. W. Rickeard (P.). 7. S. Y. Williams (Penzance) 1-0 W. H. Phillips (P). 8. C. E. Trethewey (Truro) ½-½ W. W. Hooper (P). 9.C. Dowsall (Wadebridge) 1-0 Rev H. Bremridge. 10. T. G. Mead (Falmouth) 1-0 A. S. Stoneman (P). 11. W. E. Grenfell (Truro) 0-1 E. Pearse (Devonport). 12. Dr. Butlin (Camborne) 1-0 Col. Bennett (P). 13. C. E. Harby (Wadebridge) ½-½ Mrs. R. A. Bowles. 14. F. R. Pasco (Truro) ½-½ C. T. Blanshard (Totnes). 15. A. Menhennick (Wadebridge) 1-0 T. Whitby (Devonport). 16.H. Tonkin (Penryn) 1-0 S. Word (P). 17. W. Boxhall (St. Austell) F. Langdon (Devonport). 18. L. Hall 1-0 Rev. H. R. Kruger (Exeter). 19. C. Hoadley (Helston) H. D. Nicholson (P). 20. E. Retchford (Penryn) 0-1 C. W. Wood (P). 21. A. E. Preston (St. Mawes) 0-1 R. S. Nicole (Exeter). 22. H. Knowles (Helston) 1-0 E. A. Pryor (Axminster). 23. F. Marsh 1-0 W. H. Daw (Teignmouth). 24. H. T. Robinson (Camborne) 0-1 Rev. Moyle (P). 25.C. Jenkin 1-0 Miss M. Hunt.

Peter Keffler, a veteran of Somerset chess, died just before Christmas at the age of 92. Yvon Peter A. G. Keffler was born in the West Derby district of Liverpool in 1923, his mother’s maiden name being Desplanches. An older brother, Guy, was killed in May 1943 during the last days of the North Africa campaign. Peter attended Oxford University where he was a contemporary of Leonard Barden. After graduating he went to Bath and in 1952 married a Miss Heaven in Stroud. In the 1950s he was a hugely enthusiastic organiser of Somerset teams in the County Correspondence Championships, having between 7 and 11 teams (depending on who you listened to) entered in the Ward-Higgs and lower divisions. Even after moving to Essex he continued in this role. As a player he would have been graded at about 200, with a bold attacking style that was sometimes brilliant but not always sound. Back in June I gave one of his best games in the WECU Championship in which he beat the Scottish Champion, Dr. Jim Aitken.

In last week’s position, Geller salvaged a half point after 1.Bxf6! Black can retake 3 ways. If 1…Qxf6 2.Qg8 mate, or 1…Kxg6 2.Qg6 mate. So 1…Pxg6 is the only option, after which White can keep checking on d7 and d8.

In this 1965 game Geller was not so lucky. How did White finish him off?

White to play and win

Exmouth’s Defence of Bremridge Cup Continues (09.01.2016.)

Exmouth’s defence of the DCCA Div. 1 tournament continued with a match against Tiverton. Originally scheduled as a home match for Exmouth, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. Finding 5 hrs parking in Exmouth on a Saturday afternoon is near impossible at the best of times, but add to this the £50 hire charge being asked by several places, and the Manor Hotel being closed for the week, led Exmouth to asking whether Tiverton could host the match. This was agreed and Exmouth were happy to  pay their £17.50 hire charge.

So far so good; but the weather conditions driving up the motorway towards Tiverton were atrocious to the point of being potentially dangerous, with torrential rain and spray all the way. John Stephens driving up from Plymouth found the main A38 blocked and he was redirected to minor roads and phoned in to say he would be late, and Steve Martin didn’t know where the venue was situated in the town. Thus the omens were not good, but at least all the Exmouth team were in place by 2.30. The Tiverton team was somewhat compromised by the unavailability for one reason or another of several of their top players; Rudd, Richardt, Duckham, Hunter et al. and they had drafted in 2 other Cornish players besides Simon Bartlett to make up a competitive team.

In spite of all this, play got under way at the appointed hour (14.30); quiet descended and a drama slowly unfolded.

The first games to finish were on Bds 5 &6.  On bottom board, Chris Scott was able to fork 2 rooks with his knight on move 24 and it was all over 3 moves later. On Bd. 5 Oliver Wensley reported on his game tus: “White abandoned his regular Kings’ pawn opening in light of a recent match against his opponent, albeit rapid play, where his Caro-Kann defence was extremely effective.

Whether or not this shocked Black, he seemed completely fine with his Dutch defence until move eleven where, with White as yet uncommitted to castling, he decided to go on the offensive with 11…. Qh5. This allowed White to win a key central Pawn as Blacks’ back rank defences had been abandoned. Having analysed the position, Black stood equal by developing his Queens’ Bishop to e6 instead. Here White probably would have played Ng5 attacking it.

White had earlier ceded the Bishop pair advantage to Black in order to prevent Ne4. The better way forward for Black would be to develop his Bishop to e6 and potentially allow white to equalise by allowing the exchange of his Bishop for Whites’ Knight.

After the text move, White realised the e5 space was in the offing for his Knight should a series of exchanges take place & this is what occurred. In the end, White took advantage of the open e-file & with Black’s queenside not developed, managed to get the advantage.” After playing 21.Ne5 getting his knight established in a forward position with threats, Black resigned.

White plays 22.Ne5 and Black resigns.

Scott played 22...Ne4 and White resigned 3 moves later.


And the games continued to finish in sequence – Bds. 4,  3,  2, and finally Bd. 1 which went to the last few seconds of extra time, and each one went to the visitors. Mark Abbott got the upper hand with just a rook and 2 minor pieces left.  Jon Underwood’s game revolved around control of the long dark-square diagonal towards his opponent’s king, which finished with a fatal skewer. This left the top two games which were very finely balanced throughout, until the clock eventually decided the outcome.  Bd. 2 featured a R+4 vs R+5 pawn ending. Martin had the extra pawn, but Retallick, with great concentration, managed to create his own threats. Looking at the clocks it appeared both players had the same amount of time left – a few minutes each, but in his concentration on the board, Retallick hadn’t fully appreciated that his few minutes left was of his 20 minutes extra time, while Martin’s few minutes left was of his original allocation of 100 minutes to reach move 40.  Suddenly his clock started flashing red to indicate all his time had elapsed. 5-0.  The Stephens-Hewson game looked completely blocked with pieces being shuffled around behind a barrier of pawns. When Stephens was down to 3 minutes left, compared to his opponent’s 7 minutes, he launched a pawn advance that opened the a-file and he won a piece. His own pieces now had some room to manoeuvre and Black had to use up his time advantage in trying to work out the better lines. Eventually, his time ran out with Stephens’ own clock well into  his final minute.

Such results at this level are rare, but not unique, as Brian Hewson recalled a Plymouth 6-0 Exeter result between 2 evenly matched teams; the following year the same two teams in the same competition recorded Plymouth 0-6 Exeter. 

  Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                         09.01.2016.    
1 B. W. R. Hewson 176 0 1 J. K. F. Stephens 196
2 L. Retallick 171 0 1 S. Martin 184
3 P. Hampton 175 0 1 Dr. J. Underwood 186
4 S, Bartlett 167 0 1 M. V. Abbott 178
5 I. S. Annetts 151 0 1 O. E. Wensley 170
6 G. Fotheringham 135 0 1 C. J. Scott 149
    975 0 6   1,063


Lloyd Retallick moves against Steve Martin.

Chris Scott (nearest/facing) & Oliver Wensley awaiting a move.

Shirtsleeved Mark Abbott & Jon Underwood with Martin in foreground.

General view of playing area.

Hastings Congress Results (09.01.2016.)

The Masters’ Section of the Hastings Congress, which finished on Tuesday, consisted of an eclectic mix of 76 players, including strong contingents from Eastern Europe and India. After the 9th and final round, two players tied on 7 points, J. Vakhidov (Uzbekistan) and A. Mista (Poland), with a raft of 5 players a half point behind, namely I. Khenkin (Germany); F. Berkes (Hungary); T. Fodor (Hungary); S. Sulskis (Lithuania) and J, Sarkar (USA).

Keith Arkell started well, but fell away in rounds 6-8, before finishing with a win which lifted him up to 5½ pts and 13th=. As he was the 6th highest graded player, this was a slightly below par performance compared to some of his successes of recent months. Jack Rudd’s last round loss left him on 5.

However, his play is never less than entertaining, and here is his Rd. 2 win against a 14 year old Sussex junior.

White: J. Rudd (216). Black: C. Brewer (188).

Bogo-Indian Defence  [E11]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.Nc3 b6 6.e3 Bb7 7.Bd3 d6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 White commits to castling queenside, even though it looks as if Black could launch an early attack. 9.0–0–0 Qe7 10.e4 0–0–0 11.Rhe1 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 e5 13.d5 Nc5 14.Bf1 g6 15.b3 completing a protective shield around his king, which Black quickly attacks. 15…Kd7 With the aim of swinging his rooks over to attack. 16.a3 a4 17.b4 Nb3+ 18.Kb2 Ra8 19.c5 bxc5 20.Bb5+ Kd8 21.bxc5 Nxc5 22.Nxe5! Now it’s White’s turn to attack. 22…dxe5 23.Bb4 Nfd7 24.Bxd7 Qxd7 25.Qxc5 White has opened lines to the king’s position. 25…Ra6 26.f4 Re8 27.Ba5 Kc8 28.Rc1 Rxa5 The least worst option. 29.Qxa5 exf4 30.Rc4 Re7 31.Rec1 Qd6 32.Qxa4 g5 33.Qa7 f3 34.gxf3 Qxh2+ 35.R1c2 Qe5+ 36.Ka2 Qd6 37.Rb4 Ba6 38.Rb6! 1-0 Already a minor piece down, Black must not only lose more material, but White has, with best play, a mating combination. E.g. 38.Rb6 Kd7 39.Rxd6+ Kxd6 40.Qc5+ etc.

The 41st East Devon Congress in Exeter  is now less than 8 weeks away and takes place Fri. 4th – 6th March. Entry forms are downloadable from exeterchessclub.org.uk and the new Entry Secretary is Dr. T. Paulden, contactable on timpaulden@gmail.com.

This is followed 3 weeks later by the West of England Congress in Exmouth over the Easter weekend. Entry forms are downloadable from chessdevon.co.uk.

The solution to last week’s 3-mover was 1.Bg2! to which Black has a number of ineffective replies. For example, 1…Rxb2 2.d7 Kxc7 3.d8=Q mate; or 1…Ra4 2.Rb7+ Ka8 (if 2…Kc8 Pd7 mate) 3.Rb4 mate.

In tournaments where the players are not allowed to agree a draw verbally, they can sometimes achieve the draw by generating by a threefold repetition of moves. This is especially useful where one player is materially down, as in this 1958 game between Geller and Gurgenidze. White is the exchange down yet managed to force a draw by repetition. How did he do it?

White to play and draw by repetition.

The post-Christmas period is traditionally the time of the Hastings Chess Congress, one of the longest established in the world. The first was held in 1895 when all the world’s top players took part. It was won by the rank outsider, Harry Pillsbury, barely known in his own country (the US) let alone the wider chess community. However, Hastings did not become an annual event until after WWI when it found its present niche in the chess calendar. All the world champions have played there, with the exceptions of Fischer and Kasparov.

It has to be said that the playing strength of the Hastings Premier has declined in recent decades due to the worldwide proliferation of other events with greater financial backing to attract the top players. Yet the glories of the past are recorded for all time, as with this game from the 1895 tournament that won the event’s Brilliancy Prize. Notes based on those by Tarrasch from the tournament book.

White: W. Steinitz. Black: Curt Von Bardeleben.

Italian Game [C54]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.0–0 Be6 If 9…Nxc3 10.bxc3 Bxc3 White gets a dangerous attack by 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.Qb3+. 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bxd5 Bxd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Re1! The point of all the exchanges as White now obtains command of the board, prevents Black from castling and initiates a powerful attack on the king. 14…f6 This keeps out the knight for the time being but at the cost of weakening his pawns which proves costly later. Better was 14…Kf8. 15.Qe2 Qd7 16.Rac1 c6? It would have been preferable to play 16…Kf7 as White then has nothing better than  17.Qxe7+ Qxe7 18.Rxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rxc7+ Kd6 20.Rxb7 and Black has drawing prospects. 17.d5 A pawn sacrifice, breaking up Black’s position and making way for the knight to strengthen the attack. 17…cxd5 18.Nd4 Kf7 19.Ne6 Threatening both Rc7 and Qg4. Rhc8 20.Qg4 g6 21.Ng5+ Ke8 To protect his queen. This is the position that appears in numerous chess problem books challenging the reader to find the best move. 22.Rxe7+!! and this is the move that won Steinitz the Brilliancy Price. Note how every White piece is en pris and yet Steinitz pursues his prey without flinching. 22…Kf8 If 22…Kxe7 23.Re1+ Kd6 24.Qb4+ Kc7 25.Ne6+ Kb8 26.Qf4+ and wins. 23.Rf7+ Kg8 24.Rg7+ Kh8 25.Rxh7+ 1-0 At this point Bardelben didn’t resign but simply left the tournament hall and didn’t return. He had probably seen what was in store. 25…Kg8 26.Rg7+ Kh8 27.Qh4+ Kxg7 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7+ Ke8 31.Qg8+ Ke7 32.Qf7+ Kd8 33.Qf8+ Qe8 34.Nf7+ Kd7 35.Qd6#.

Steinitz eventually came 5th, receiving £40 for his month’s work and an extra £5 for this timeless creation.

Last week’s 3-mover was solved by

1.Ne5! If 1…Kc7 2.Qc6+ and the queen will mate on the 7th rank. If 1…Ke7 2.Qd7+ Kf6 3.Ng4 mate.

Here is a third original 3-mover by Dave Howard. White to play.

White to mate in 3

London Chess Classic Results (19.12.2015.)

Wiltshire marked their return to the West of England Inter-County competition with an 8-4 win over Cornwall in the U-160 section at Chudleigh Knighton Village Hall. Compensation for the Cornish was the continuing emergence of 9 year old Adam Hussein as a force to be reckoned with. Details as follows: (Wilts names first in each pairing).

1. T. Woodward (154) 1-0  C. Sellwood (157). 2. M. Bowhay (152) 1-0  R. Smith (143). 3. D. O’Byrne (149) 1-0 R. Stephens (142). 4. Fenella Headlong (148) 0-1 M. Hill (136). 5. C. Snook-Lumb (139) 1-0 N. Robinson (129). 6. T. Cooper (133) 1-0 D. R Jenkins (124). 7. C. Callow (130e) 1-0 D. Lucas (124). 8. B. Headlong (126) 0-1 R. Clark (124). 9. R. Morris (122) 0-1 I. Renshaw (121). 10. R. Carver (115) 1-0 D. Hutchinson (UG). 11. M. Walters (104) 1-0 B. Parkin (115). 12. R. Sparks (80) 0-1 A. Hussein (82).

The London Chess classic finished on Sunday evening in a 3-way tie for 1st place, after top seed Magnus Carlsen (Norway) won from what was at one stage was a lost position to draw level with Anish Giri (Holland) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France). This necessitated a play-off which Carlsen won, thus going from potential zero to hero in the space of a few hours.

The other notable achievement was that of Cornishman Michael Adams who drew every one of his 9 games against the World’s best. His defensive qualities were severely tested at times but no one could get the better of him. In fact, wins were rare throughout. Of the 45 games played there were only 9 wins.

Here is the Rd. 9 game that brought Carlsen level with the other leaders.

White: Magnus  Carlsen. Black: Alex Grischuk [B51]

1.Nf3 c5 2.e4 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.0–0 a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 b5 7.c4 g5 8.Nxg5 Ne5 9.Be2 bxc4 10.Nc3 Rb8 11.Rf1! h6 12.Nf3 Nd3 13.Ne1 Nxb2 14.Bxb2 Rxb2 15.Bxc4 Rb4  16.Qe2 Bg7 17.Nc2 Rb6 18.Rab1 0–0 19.Rxb6 Qxb6 20.Ne3 e6 21.f4 Kh8 22.f5 a5 23.a4 White has a positional and time advantage and seems destined for an easy win.  Qd8 24.h3 Qe7 25.Ba6 Bxa6 Black could have defended his a-pawn but thinks there might be chances for himself. 26.Qxa6 Nh5! Opening lines for his queen and bishop, with an eye on g3. 27.Rf3 Rg8! 28.Nb5? Moving a piece away from his attacked kingside. Be5 29.Ng4 Qh4 30.fxe6!? fxe6? 30…Rxg4! would lead to winning chances for Black. 31.Nxe5 dxe5 32.Qxe6 Qe1+? 32…Qg5! would have been good enough to draw. 33.Kh2 Rxg2+ 34.Kxg2 Qxd2+ 35.Kg1 Qe1+ 36.Rf1 Qe3+ 37.Rf2 Qe1+ 38.Kg2 Black suddenly realises he has no perpetual check in hand. 38…Qxe4 39.Kh2 and suddenly it’s all over.1–0

In last week’s position, White played 1.Nxc6 and Topolov blundered by retaking with his bishop instead of rook, which allows 2.BxN and Black can’t retake because there is a back-rank mate, so he loses significant material.

This week’s position is a hitherto unpublished 3-mover by Dave Howard. Black is clearly set to lose, but how can it be done neatly in just 3 moves?

White to mate in 3

Gloucestershire beat Devon & The London Chess Classic (12.12.2015.)

Gloucestershire beat Devon recently for the first time in years, probably due to a combination of Devon missing several of their top players for this match and the fact that Gloucestershire is starting to draw more on players from the north Bristol League area. Details as follows:- (Devon names 2nd in each pairing).

1.M. Townsend (203) ½-½ J. Stephens (196) 2.J. Stewart (200) 1-0 J. Underwood (186). 3.I. Robson (199) 1-0 L. Hartmann (190). 4.M. Ashworth (190) ½-½ T. Paulden (185). 5.J. Jenkins (185) ½-½ S. Martin (184). 6.N. Hosken (184) 1-0 D. Regis (180). 7.P. Masters (182) ½-½ C. (179). 8.P. Kirby (181) ½-½ B. Hewson (176). 9.C. Jones (180) ½-½ J. F. Wheeler (177). 10.P. Meade (169) ½-½ P. Sivrev (172). 11.P. Dodwell (14 9) ½-½ O. Wensley (170). 12.R. Ashworth (145) ½-½ T. Thynne (167). 13.P. Baker (141) ½-½ G. Body (163) 14.C. Haynes (138) ½-½ W. Ingham             (158). 15.B. Whitelaw(137) ½-½ P. Brooks (158). 16.A. Richards (125) 0-1 N. Butland (155).

Another feature of the match was the high percentage of draws (75%).

This is also the case in the London Chess Classic, with only 3 wins from the first 20 games. They are using a different scoring system, sometimes referred to as “Bilbao Rules”, players earning 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. “Sofia Rules” also apply, whereby players cannot agree a draw without the arbiter’s permission, and then only granted when there is deemed to be no purposeful play left in the position. There is also the added incentive of best game prizes.

Yet the preponderance of draws continues. Most of the games have been well-contested, but almost inevitably, when the world’s top players are involved, things will gravitate towards a draw as irresistible attack meets immovable defence. Striving too hard for wins will certainly invite the danger of losses, handing 3 pts to an opponent. Early on, sharp attacking openings like the Sicilian Defence have been largely absent, in favour of the more solid and safer, Ruy Lopez. The event finishes today.

Here’s a rare win from the early stages.

White: V. Topalov. Black: A. Giri.

Grünfeld Defence [D71]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Qa4 Nfd7 6.cxd5 Nb6 7.Qd1 cxd5 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.e3 Bg7 10.Nge2 0–0 11.0-0 Re8 12.b3 e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.h3 Bf5 15.Nd4 Bd3 16.Re1 Ba6 17.Qd2 Nd3 18.Rd1 Bxd4 19.exd4 Qf6 20.a4!? Qxd4!? 21.a5 Nd7 22.Ra4 Qe5 23.Nxd5 Nxc1?! 24.Rxc1 Nf6 25.Nc7 Rad8 26.Qf4 g5 27.Qb4 Qb2 28.Raa1 Re2 29.Qc5 h6 30.Nxa6 bxa6 31.Rab1 Qd2 32.Bf3 Ne4! 33.Qxa7?? Nxf2! 34.Bxe2 Nxh3+ 35.Kf1 Qd5! 36.Bh5 Qh1+ 37.Ke2 Qg2+ 38.Ke1 Re8+ 39.Kd1 Nf2+ 40.Kc2 Ne4+ 0-1 After 41.Kd3 Qd2+ 42.Kc4 Rc8+ it’s mate next move.

In last week’s position, Anand lost to the queen sacrifice 1.QxP+! forcing 1…RxQ 2.Ng6+ Kg8 3.Rh8 mate. Here’s a Topolov loss from some years ago. White to play and win.

White to play & beat Topolov