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WELCOME to KEVEREL CHESS

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.

Introduction

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

A Forgotten Westcountry Chess Master.

An almost forgotten Westcountry chess master of the 19th century was William Henry Krause Pollock (1859-1896). He was born in Cheltenham, son of the Rev. W. J. Pollock and was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Somersetshire College, Bath. In 1882 he qualified as a doctor in Dublin, but chess took precedence from then on, becoming Irish Champion. He then spent time in the U.S. and Canada, before returning to England to play in the great Hastings International Tournament of 1895, one of the strongest tournaments ever held up to that point.  However, he was already in the grip of that scourge of 19th century chessplayers, TB, and his play there was irregular and fitful, though there were occasional glimpses of the old fire when he beat, among others, the English veteran H. E. Bird, the recently deposed World Champion, Steinitz, and in this game, the great Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch. Notes adapted from those by Pollock himself.

White: W. H. K. Pollock. Black: S. Tarrasch.

French Defence [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.e5 Tarrasch was a leading theoretician on the French Defence, and Pollock intended to take him out of the book immediately. 2…f6 3.d4 c5 A premature attempt to break up White’s centre. In a close game like the French the pawn centre is paramount. 4.Bd3 f5 Black has followed a line that Blackburne played, and lost, against Pollock 3 years earlier, that Tarrasch was fully aware of but played it anyway. 5.g4 Black now has to decide whether this advance is sound or not, and if not, how to prove it. 5…cxd4 6.gxf5 Qa5+ 7.c3 A key move, which White had thought through to his 10th move. 7…Qxe5+ 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.0–0 Bc5 So far, Tarrasch had spent 1 whole hour over his nine moves. 10.Re1 Qf6 11.Nd2 exf5 12.cxd4 Be7 Recapturing with 12…Bxd4 wins a piece. 13.Nxd4+. 13.Nf3 Kd8 Slightly better might have been 13…Kf8. 14.Bg5 As Tarrasch’s discomfort increases, so does the crowd of spectators around the board, wondering what is going on. 14…Qf7 15.Bxe7+ Ngxe7 16.Qd2 Occupying important diagonals and uniting the rooks. 16…h6 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.dxe5 b6 19.Nf4 The game is now virtually won. 19…Bb7 20.Bb5 Nc6 21.e6 Qe7 22.Ng6 Qg5+ 23.Qxg5+ hxg5 24.Nxh8 Nd4 25.e7+ 1-0. Resigns, for if 25…Ke8 26.Bxd7+ Kxd7 27.Rad1 Rxh8 28.Rxd4+ Ke8 29.Rd8+.

Pollock’s health went rapidly downhill from then on, dying on 5th October 1896 aged just 37 and was interred in Arno’s Vale Cemetery, Bristol.

One obituarist wrote of him, “As a chess expert he was brilliant rather than profound; a fanciful player delighting in prettiness, apt to lose to dull players of the exact school”.

In last week’s position, White won by 1.Rg8+! RxR (forced) 2.Qf6+ and White will mate on g7.

In this position, White has just lost his queen. Surely he should resign, shouldn’t he?

Should White resign?

The Rise and Fall of a Dawlish Girl.

The August issue of Chess will contain a short biography of a Dawlish girl, born Rhoda, the youngest of 7 daughters to William Knott a local tailor, who rose to fame in the chess world and became a pioneer of female emancipation, before tragically dying in obscurity.

She founded the Ladies Chess Club in London, a social phenomenon at the time, and in 1897 organised the 1st Ladies World Championship, won by the Bristolian, Mary Rudge. In the process of all this she became a great friend of the great American Grandmaster Harry Pillsbury. No one is suggesting that he let his fondness for her influence him in any way when he awarded her the Brilliancy Prize at the 1st Devon Congress in 1902; it’s a smart sacrificial attack that wins the game, which Pillsbury annotated in the British Chess Magazine.

White: Rhoda Annie Bowles. Black: Ellison Pearse (Devonport)

Ruy Lopez – Modern Steinitz Defence. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 A variation favoured by Steinitz, it being one of his many attempts to establish a valid defence to the Lopez attack. 4.0–0 Probably stronger would be 4.Nc3 and eventually d4 reserving the option of castling on either side at a later stage. 4…d6 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 Using wide discrimination in not exchanging pieces and queens, as it would rather be to Black’s advantage to remain with his king in the centre. 6.Bxc6+ Nxc6 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Nxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8+ etc. Possibly some would prefer 6.Bc4 for if Black continues 6…b5 7.Be2 and Black’s queenside would be weak. 6…b5 7.Bb3 Bg4 A distinct error. The only continuation from this point giving Black a playable game is 7…Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.Qh5 (not 9.Qxd4 c5 and …c4 wins.) 9…Ng6 for if 10.Qd5 (or if 10.f4 Be7 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.f5 Bf6 13.fxg6+ hxg6 14.Qd5+ Be6 15.Qxd4 Kg8 and White has no advantage.) 10…Be6 11.Qc6+ Bd7 drawn. 8.Bxf7+ Better than 8.dxe5 Bxf3 (Of course, if Black plays 8…Nxe5 White wins by 9.Nxe5) 9.Qxf3 Nxe5 10.Qg3 etc. 8…Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Kg8 Bad, although after 9…Ke8 10.Qxg4 Nxd4 11.Na3 (safest). Also, White can venture 11.Nc3; 11.Ne6 might easily lose as follows: 11…Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Bxg7 13.Qxg7 Rg8 14.Qxh7 Rxg2+ with a winning game. 10.Qxg4 Qc8 If now 10…Nxd4 11.c3 h5 12.Qh3 Ne2+ 13.Kh1 Qc8 (if 13…Rh6 14.Ne6 and wins.) 14.Qf3 Nf4 15.g3 winning a piece. 11.Qf3 Qe8 12.Qb3+ d5 13.exd5 g6 For Black’s obvious reply was 13…Nxd4 although even then White should win being a pawn ahead and positional advantage. 14.dxc6+ Kg7 15.Ne6+ Kf6 The mate following or decisive win of material is forced. 16.Bg5+ Kf5 17.Qh3+ Ke4 18.Qf3# 1–0

In last week’s position, White was on the brink of defeat but had 1.QxN+ to which Black has two options; 1…RxQ 2.Re8+ or 1…Kg8 2.Ne7 mate.

Like last week, Black is poised to mate on e1, but it’s not his move. What should White do?

What is White's best continuation?

Devon’s Narrow Loss in National Final (11.04.2015.)

Devon got close to getting a result against Middlesex on Saturday in the final of the National Under-180 Championship at Warwick, but fell tantalisingly short, finishing the losers by 7½-8½. The details were as follows (Devon names first in each pairing);

1. J. Underwood (180) ½-½ M. Tasker (187). 2. D. Regis (181) ½-½ C. Nettleton (169). 3. A. Brusey (181) 0-1 N. Chan (179). 4. B. W. Hewson (176) ½-½ I. Calvert (176). 5. S. Martin (175) 1-0 M. Crichton (176). 6. M. Abbott (171) 1-0 C. Mackenzie (175). 7. M. Shaw (173) ½-½ R. Kane (173). 8. W. Ingham (168) ½-½ W. Taylor (173). 9. M. Stinton-Brownbridge (168) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 10. S. Dean (167) ½-½ G. Dickson (167). 11. K. Atkins (160) 0-1 A. Fulton (173). 12. N. Butland (158)  0-1 L. Fincham (166). 13. I. Annetts (157) ½-½ D. White (165). 14. O. Wensley (151) 0-1 C. Kreuzer. (167). 15. C. Scott (154) ½-½ J. Kay (160). 16. P. Brooks (152) 1-0 L. Boy (159).

It’s almost inevitable that in such a tense situation players on both sides will let the pressure get to them and mistakes will follow, as in this game. Notes based on those by the winner.

White: M. Crighton (176). Black: Steve Martin  (175).

English Opening – 4 Knights Var. [A29]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.g3 Bc5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 Re8 7.d3 h6 8.Nd2 d6 9.Nde4 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Bb6 11.Nc3 a6 Black is trying to limit the scope of White’s minor pieces. 12.a3 Rb8 Defending the b-pawn before developing his other bishop. 13.b4 Bg4 14.h3 Bh5 15.Kh2 Bd4 16.Bd2 f5 Black is trying to build kingside pressure. 17.Rc1 Ne7 en route to the kingside. 18.Qe1 c6 Blocking the white-square bishop and so releasing Black’s rooks. 19.e3 Ba7 20.e4 Bg6 Also playable was 20…fxe4 21.f4 Qd7 22.Be3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Rbd8 White stands slightly better at this stage as his pieces are less constricted. 24.Rcd1 Kh7 25.Rf2 Ng8? The idea was to open the file for the rook to threaten the queen and give his knight a good post on c6, but White’s rooks are becoming more active. 26.Rdf1 exf4 27.Qxf4 fxe4 28.Nxe4 Re5 Although White looks threatening on the f-file it is difficult to see how he can break through with f7 defended by the bishop. 29.c5 Overlooked by Black. It loosens Black’s grip on the centre who responds by giving up his best defender. 29…Bxe4 30.Bxe4+ Kh8 31.cxd6? Better was 31.d4. 31…Qxd6 32.Qh4 Ree8 33.Rf7 33…Rf8 White now has mating chances e.g. 34.Qg4 Rxf7 35.Rxf7 Qe5 36.Qg6 Qb2+ 37.Kg1 Qc1+ 38.Rf1 etc.  But the strain of 5 hours concentration does strange things to one’s brain. 34.Qxd8?? White had assumed Black would retake with the queen and completely overlooked the rook. 34…Rxd8  0–1.

Last week’s game ended with 1.Bxh7+

Kxh7 2.Qh4+ Kg8 3.Ng5 and Black resigned in view of 3…g6 4.Rd7 and Black must lose his queen.

In this position, Black is lined up to either mate on h2 or win the bishop on b2, but it’s not his move. What can White do about it?

Can White avoid defeat?

So Near – So Far For Devon U-180 Team

Having got through the Quarter- & Semi-Finals of the National U-180 Inter-County Championships, Devon met Middlesex in the final at Warwick yesterday, and a tense affair it proved to be.

Team Captain, Brian Hewson, tells the story of the afternoon thus:- 

Unfortunately Devon lost 7.5-8.5. We were outgraded on the bottom 6 boards and half way through the match we looked like losing by more. We were 2 down with half the games complete; draws from Annetts, Ingham, myself, Shaw, Scott and Underwood but losses for Atkins and Wensley. Then Steve Martin won, Dean and Stinton-Brownbridge drew and Paul Brooks won. So we were level with 4 to play. Unfortunately boards 2,3 and 12 looked dodgy and Mark Abbott was in an intense battle despite being a piece up as his opponent had a pawn on the 7th. However Dave Regis pulled off a draw but then Alan Brusey lost. That left us with the prospect that if Mark won and Nick Butland drew we would win 8-8 on board count. Unfortunately Nick, despite a valiant effort, could not hold his game. Mark eventually won his tough game with a throng of players onlooking.  

I was able to present the Team’s Best Board Trophy for the season as a whole to Jonathan Underwood at the event. Jonathan travelled a long way for every match, showing great commitment and achieved a very good 6.5/8 in the season, with no losses, on the high boards. 

I would like all those who played and endured the long journey to Warwick and a very long tiring day.

Details of individual results at the end of this report.

Brian Hewson (r) presents DCCA's Best Player trophy to Dr. Jonathan Underwood before the match.

Underwood (l) gets down to some serious thought.

 

The details were as follows:

    DEVON  Grd Score   Score MIDDLESEX Grd
1 B Underwood, Jon 180 ½   ½ Tasker, Michael 187
2 W Regis, David 181 ½   ½ Nettleton, Charlie 169
3 B Brusey, Alan W 181 0   1 Chan, Nevil 179
4 W Hewson, Brian 176 ½   ½ Calvert, D Ian 176
5 B Martin, Steven 175 1   0 Crichton, Martin 176
6 W Abbott, Mark V 171 1   0 Mackenzie, Colin 175
7 B Shaw, Meyrick 173 ½   ½ Kane, Robert 173
8 W Ingham,  William 168 ½   ½ Taylor, William J 173
9 B Stinton-B, Michael 168 ½   ½ Dydak, Mateusz 170
10 W Dean, Steve K 167 ½   ½ Dickson, George 167
11 B Atkins, Keith P 160 0   1 Fulton, Anthony 173
12 W Butland, Nick J 158 0   1 Fincham, Leon 166
13 B Annetts, Ivor S 157 ½   ½ White, David J 165
14 W Wensley, Oliver 151 0   1 Kreuzer, Chris 167
15 B Scott, Chris J 154 ½   ½ Kay, Jonathan 160
16 W Brooks, Paul 152 1   0 Boy Lazoni, Victor 159
           

Bournemouth Congress Prizewinners (04.07.2015.)

A prize fund of £3,700 attracted 175 players to last week’s Bournemouth Congress, including a number of titled players. The winners were as follows:-

Open: 1st= GM Simon Williams (233) & IM Alfonso Llorente Zaro       (246) both 4½ and sharing £1,300. 3rd= GM Nick Pert (254); IM Gediminas Sarakauskas (233); FM Andrew Lewis (207) & FM Richard Britton (205) all 4pts. Grading prizes: U-209: WFM Jane Richmond (192) 3½. U-190 Harry Grieve (181)   3½. U-180: Kenny Harman (175) 3. U-170 Stephen Appleby (165) & Paul Rowan (158) 2½.

Challengers (U-165): 1st P. Chrysidis (156)  4½. 2nd= D. Butcher (162); S. Benson (159) & C. Purry (159) all 4. GPs U-156: P. Morton     (155) & J. Wright (152) 3½. U-145: Gillian Moore          (144) & M. Roberts         (142) 2½. U-140: J. Everson (139)   3.

Intermediate (U-135): 1st K. Alexander (128)         4½. 2nd= D. Agostinelli (134); C. Cornes (131); G. Taylor       (129) & S. Crockett (120) all 4. GPs U-120: J. Gilbert (112) 3. U-112: J. Wallman (110).

Minor (U-110): 1st A. Fraser (107) 5. 2nd W. Curry(106) 4½. 3rd C. Sheeran (102).

This was the crucial Rd. 4 game between the two Grandmasters.

White: Nick Pert. Black: Simon Williams.

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence. 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Black chooses not to open things up at this early stage. 5…Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.d3 d6 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Nc6 12.a4 b4 13.Nf1 Rb8 14.Ng3 Re8 15.h3 h6 16.d4 cxd4 17.cxd4 exd4 18.Nxd4 Nxd4 19.Qxd4 b3 20.Bb1 Qb6 21.Qd3 Qa8 22.Bd2 Qa6 23.Qf3 Be6 24.Bd3 Qa8 25.Nf5 Nh7 26.Ne7 Re7 27.Qg3 attacking both h & d pawns. 28.Bxh6 f6 29.Bf4 Rd8 30.Bd6 Red7 32.e5 f5 32.f4 Rxd6 already 2 pawns down Black now sacrifices the exchange in an effort to free up his cramped position. 33.exd6 Rxd6 34.Rad1 Qd8 35.Be2 Bf7 36.Qe3 Qh4 37.Qf2 Qf6 38.Rxd6 Qxd6 39.Rd1 Qc7 40.Bd3 g6 41.g3 Qd7 42.Qc5 Ne6 43.Qe3 Qa4 44.Rc1 Nf8 45.Qc5 Ne6 46.Qc4 Qe8 47.Qc8 Nd8 48.Kf2 Kh7 49.Rc7 Qh8 50.Ke3 Qf6 51.Rd7 Qe6 52.Kd2 Nc6 Black’s queen is now overloaded, allowing White to win more material. 53.Rxf7+ Qxf7 54.Qxc6 Qa7 55.Qf3 a4 56.Qe3 Qb7 57.Qc5 a3 White now faces threats on both wings. 58.Qxa3 Qg2+ 59.Kc3 Qxg3 60.Qe7+ Kh8 61.h4 Qf4 62.Qd8+ Kh7 63.Qd4 Qxd4 64.Kxd4 Kh6 and White went on to win as his king and bishop can both easily pick up the b-pawn and focus on preventing Black’s connected pawns from doing damage, leaving his own b-pawn to march forward unhindered.

In last week’s position, Alekhine found a combination that Black was powerless to do anything about. 1.Re8+ Nf8 2.Nh6+ Qxh6 3.Rxf8+ Kxf8 4.Qd8 mate.

It is said that every player should experience the pleasure of conducting a winning sacrifice on h7 at least once in their career. In this 1991 game, the sacrifice is obvious enough, but can you follow it through to a win? Is it sound?

Somerset Lose To Essex In Close Match (27.06.2015.)

Of the Westcountry teams that qualified for the various sections of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championship, only one remains. In the Minor Counties section, Somerset lost narrowly to Essex by 8½-7½ in the semi-final, while in the Under-140 section Hampshire lost 9-7 to Nottinghamshire. On the other hand Devon drew with Lancashire 8-all in the semi-final of the Under-180 section, but won on the tie-break rule, in which  the numbers of the boards on which each team won, are added together and the team with the lower total goes through. Thus wins by the better players are given greater weighting. The Finals will be played next Saturday at Trident College, Warwick, where Devon are due to play Middlesex who beat Warwickshire 11½-4½ in the other semi.

Although losing to a stronger Essex team, Somerset’s match was only decided by the last game to finish. Here are the individual results, with Essex names 1st in each pairing: 1. J. Rogers (216) ½-½ J. Rudd (221). 2. A. P. Lewis (207) 0-1 T. Goldie (208). 3. D. Sands (205) ½-½       B. Edgell (197). 4. J. H. Hodgson (187) ½-½  A. Footner (182). 5. T. Hebbes (193) 1-0 B. Morris (178). 6. D. Spearman (188) 0-1 D. Littlejohns (177). 7. I. Reynolds (186) 0-1 S. Whatley (172). 8. J. Goldberg (185)       0-1 G. N. Jepps (171). 9. I. Myall (185) 1- 0 D. Peters (171). 10.K. White (181) ½-½ P. Cusick (167). 11. S. Rix (178) 1-0  C. Purry (159) 12. J. White (177) ½-½ A. Gregory (157) 13.        N. Twitchell (161) 1 R. D. Knight (157). 14. M. Murrell (158)    1-0 C. Strong, (155). 15. D. Smith (148) 0-1 M. French (154). 16. E. Cocks (144) 1-0 M. Baker (148). (Essex average grade 181 :: Somerset average grade 173).

This was the game won by Max French, a pupil at Millfield School.

White: D. Smith (148). Black: M. French (154).

Caro-Kann Defence – Exchange Variation.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.c3 e6 6.Bf4 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Nc6 10.Re1 a6 11.Nbd2 b5 12.Ne5 Bd7 13.Ndf3 b4 14.Qe2 bxc3 15.bxc3 a5 16.Rab1 Rab8 17.Ng5 h6 18.Rxb8 Qxb8 Black now has to tread carefully, but it’s White who loses his way. 19.Nxd7 Nxd7 20.Nxe6? An idea that loses a piece. Alternatively  20.Nxf7 Rxf7 21.Qxe6 Qf4 22.Rf1 Qf6 23.Qxd5 at least leaves White with 3 pawns for his piece deficit. 20…Re8 If now 20…fxe6 21.Qxe6+ Rf7 22.Bg6 Qf4 23.Bxf7+ Qxf7 24.Qxc6 21.Qg4 fxe6 22.Rxe6 Nf8 23.Rxe8 Of course, not 23.Rxc6?? Re1+. 23…Qxe8 24.Qf5 Qe1+ 25.Bf1 Ne7 26.Qf3 Nd7 27.Qe2 Qxe2 28.Bxe2 Nb6 29.f3 Nf5 30.Kf2 Na4 31.g4 Nd6 32.Bd1 Nxc3 33.Bb3 a4 and White must lose his a-pawn and his bishop can’t cover the queening square of a1. 0–1

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.d6! and if 1…KxN 2. Qh8# ; or 1…RxN 2.Qd5#.

This week you are in the shoes of World Champion Alexander Alekhine in the 1920s, looking for a sharp finish against Black. Can you help him?

White to play

Small Clubs’ Survival Struggle (20.06.2015.)

The smaller chess clubs have always struggled to survive. In Exeter alone the list of casualties is a long one. Those at the Wyvern Barracks Officers’ Mess and Sidwell St. YMCA disappeared over a century ago, to be followed by St. Luke’s and St. Loye’s Colleges, the Civil Service and even the once-mighty University. In the wider county, the clubs at Dawlish, Buckfastleigh, Winkleigh, Tavistock and Dartington have also long since gone. Other counties are doubtless the same.

It is refreshing, therefore, to see, bucking the trend, a new club created at East Budleigh (pop.650), where they recently invited the Grandmaster Keith Arkell to give a simultaneous display. He won every game, of course, but commended Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott for their resilience in adversity for which they received book prizes, and for this one Arkell also kindly added his own instructive insights.

White: C. J. Scott (154). Black: K. C.  Arkell (234.)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Be7 5.Bd3 d5 6.h3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 0–0 8.Ngf3 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Re1 Perhaps White should play 10.Qc2 to prevent 10…Ne4. 10…Ne4 11.Ne5 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qg4 f5 16.Qg3 Qxg3 17.fxg3 Rac8 18.Nc4 It’s a nice idea to try and bring the knight to the outpost on e5, but there is a tactical problem. 18…Rfd8? Better would have been 18…cxd4 19.Nd6 Rc6! 20.Nxb7 dxc3 21.bxc3 Rfc8 and Black is near to winning. 19.Ne5 cxd4 20.exd4 b5 21.Rac1 Rc7 22.b3 g6 22…g5! is more to the point. 23.Red1 Kg7 24.Kf2 Nicely played. It is important to prevent Black from getting in …f4 24…g5 25.Ke3 Rf8 26.Rf1 h5 27.h4! Again well played. Black was threatening 27…h4 28 gxh4 f4! with a clear advantage. 27…gxh4 28.gxh4 Kf6 29.g3 Rg8 30.Kf4 Rcg7 31.Rg1 Rd8 32.Ke3 Ba8 33.Rc2 The idea of my previous move was to meet a possible 33.c4 bxc4 34.bxc4 Rb8 grabbing the b-file. The position is about equal here. 33…a5 If 33…Rdg8 34.Kf4 Rg4+ 35.Nxg4+ Rxg4+ 36.Ke3 f4+ 37.Kf2 e3+ 38.Ke2 but my connected passed pawns won’t last very long. 34.c4? A mistake on which I failed to capitalise. 34…bxc4? I should have played 34…f4+ 35.Kxf4 Rxd4 and the more you look at this position the more you realise White is completely lost. 35.Rxc4! Not giving me a second chance. 35…Bd5 36.Ra4 Ra8 37.Nc4? The losing move, as it allows me to break through on the kingside. Better would have been 37.Kf4 Rc7 and although Black stands a little better, there is still a lot of work to do. 37…Rag8 38.Kf2 f4 39.Ne5 e3+ 40.Ke2 Rxg3 41.Rxg3 Rxg3 42.Rxa5 Rg2+ 43.Ke1 f3 44.Rxd5 Rg1# 0–1

Last week’s game between Aitken and Keffler ended with the combination 1…QxR+! forcing 2.NxQ Nf3+! and 3.Re1 mate cannot be avoided.

The problemist Arthur G. Pike of Redlands, Tiverton, died recently at the age of 92. Several of his 2-movers have appeared in this column over the years, and this is one of his best.

White to mate in 2 moves

Devon Reach National U-180 Final (13.06.2015.)

On Sunday, Devon met Lancashire at Worcester in the semi-final of the Inter-County Championship U-180 grade section. It was a close match that finished 8-8, with 4 wins to each team and 8 drawn games. As replays are not possible a tie-break rule called board count is invoked. Under this system the score of the bottom game is discounted, until a clear winner emerges. As Lancs won the game on Bd. 16, that win was eliminated, leaving Devon the winners, going through to the Final in Warwick on July 4th.  The details were: (Devon names 2nd in each pairing) 1. J. Cooper ½-½ Dr. J. Underwood. 2. S. Riley 1-0 Dr. D. Regis. 3. R. Newton 0-1 A. Brusey. 4. M. Whitehead ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson. 5. M. Parker 0-1 S. Martin. 6. P. Jackson 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. R. Ashcroft  ½-½ M. Shaw. 8. J. Lyth ½-½ W. Ingham. 9. A. Clarkson 1-0 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 10. C. Rutlidge ½-½ K. P. Atkins. 11. P. Taylor 0-1 Dr. D.Toms. 12. R.Collins ½-½ O. E. Wensley. 13. D. Owen ½-½ C. J. Scott. 14. C. Fisher ½-½ P. Brooks. 15. W. O’Rourke 1-0 A. Kinder. 16. N. Jayawarna 1-0 V. Ramesh.

The ending to last week’s game was 1…Rxc3+ smashing open the White king’s position. If 2.b2xc3 then Ba3 is mate.

The Hungarian Laszlo Polgar was an assiduous collector of chess material that he used in the early tuition of his 3 daughters, Susan, Sofia and Judith. He later published this material in two large tomes, one on problem-like mates and another on winning middlegame combinations, the latter consisting of 4,158 positions in its 1,015 pages. From it, this position caught my eye, marked up only as “Aitken – Keffler: Newquai 1951”. This sparked a hunt for the actual game score from which the diagram was taken. I guessed it probably referred to a West of England Championship, held at the Penolver Hotel, Newquay at Easter 1951, but the problem was that neither Aitken nor Keffler played in that event. However, the Championship did return there 3 years later, and Aitken became joint champion with A. R. B. Thomas. Thomas was unbeaten but Aitken did lose one game – in Rd. 4 to Peter Yvon Keffler, then of Somerset. Polgar simply got the year wrong. The full game score, taken from the souvenir bulletin, was as follows:

White: J. M. Aitken. Black: P. Y. Keffler.

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Var. [B70]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd7 10.Bxc6 Rb8 11.exd6 0–0 12.0–0 Ne5 13.dxe7 Qxe7 14.Bg2 Bg4 15.Qe1 Rfe8 16.Qe3 Qd7 17.Qf4 Bh3 18.Rd1 (see diagram). White is 2 pawns up and this seems a natural enough move as it (a) unpins the fianchetto bishop (b) develops the rook and (c) attacks Black’s queen. But it’s not quite as good as it looks, as Keffler now demonstated. Peter Keffler now lives in Suffolk, aged 92, and plays for the Braille Chess Association.

Black to play and win by force

Keith Arkell Simul. (10.06.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell visited the fledgling chess club at East Budleigh at the weekend. Popular though the hard-working GM is, attendance was affected by the fact that, quite by chance,  there were a number of other activities that weekend, not least the WECU Council Meeting at Ilminster and Devon were due to play Lancashire in the Semi-Final of the National Stages. Wives will only permit so much chess activity in any one weekend. That was bad luck on the Organiser and founder of the new club, Brian Gosling. 

Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable session. Keith took on all-comers, playing everyone twice, and afterwards going through the games from memory, giving advice on the run of play. He picked out the 2 games that gave him the most trouble and they were awarded book prizes. These were Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott of the Exmouth Club, and their prizes, suitable inscribed, were presented to them at their Club in the Royal Beacon Hotel. Keith had analysed their games, the scores of which were posted on the ECF website together with an account of the occasion.

Arkell in action: Belt nearest and Scott furthest.

 

Belt & Scott play through one of the games, with their book prizes on show.

 

They found a better move - but too late!

Cotswold Congress at New Venue (06.06.2015.)

The 47th Cotswold Congress was held over the recent bank holiday weekend at a new venue, King’s School in Gloucester. It followed close on the heels of the recent Frome event, but this didn’t seem to affect the local players’ appetite for chess as about 100 took part.

The Open was won at a canter by 13 year old Pavel Asenov (Witney) who scored 5½/6 and is rapidly becoming one of the top players on the Westcountry circuit. 2nd= on 4 pts were the more familiar names of Chris Beaumont (Bristol), Joey Stewart (Gloucester), Ian Robson (Wotton Hall) and Graham Bolt (Exeter).

Major Section: (U-155) 1st Andrew Munn (Downend). 2nd= Max French (Frome); Richard Dixon (Gloucester); Tim Acton (St. Albans) & Brendon O’Gorman (DHSS).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st Stephen Crockett (Redditch). 2nd Neil Graham. 3rd= Peter Sartain (Hanham) & John Constable (Bude).

Joint winner of the Frome Congress was Grandmaster Matthew Turner, chess master at Millfield School, who enjoyed the finish to this game.

White: Matthew Turner (237). Black: Jeremy Fallowfield (180).

English Opening – Anglo-Dutch Defence.

1.c4 f5 Black goes in for a Dutch Defence style of position. 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.e4 fxe4 7.dxe4 0–0 8.Nge2 c5 9.0–0 Nc6 10.h3 e5 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Kh2 Anticipating Black’s next move. 12…Qd7 13.Bg5 Rf7 14.Qd2 Raf8 15.f3 Supporting the e4 pawn and blocking out the potential threat of the doubled rooks down the f-file. 15…Nd4 16.Nxd4 cxd4 17.Rac1 Kh8 18.Qa5 b6 19.Qa3 Ng8 20.Bd2 Bh6 21.Bxh6 Nxh6 22.f4 Ng8 Or 22…Bxd5 23.cxd5 exf4 24.gxf4 Rxf4 25.Rxf4 Rxf4 26.Qb4 winning the d-pawn. 23.fxe5 dxe5 24.Rxf7 Rxf7 25.c5 bxc5 26.Rxc5 Qd6 27.b4 Qf8 28.Qc1 h6 29.Rc6 Bxd5 30.exd5 Both sides have their major pieces cooperating nicely and Black’s central passed pawns have potential.  30…Rf2 Normally rooks do their best work along their 7th rank in the later stages of the game, but in this case it leads to problems. 31.Rc8 Qf3 Black’s queen has to move so it may as well threaten mate… except that he is mated first. 32.Qxh6# The “defending” knight was pinned.1–0

In last week’s position, White had overlooked that after 1.Nd5+ Black could simply take it with 1…Qxd5 as after 2.Rxd5 Rc1+ is mate.

In 2009, a record was set at the British Championships when Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) and Andrew Greet (St. Austell), representing their respective counties, met in a match in a helium balloon tethered 400 ft above Torquay sea-front. If that’s difficult to believe, the film is still available in 2 parts on YouTube (just type in “balloon chess” – it had 1,500+ views at last count).

They met again recently, this time at ground level, in the 4Nations Chess League. In this position, how did Greet (Black) finish the game sharply?

Black to play and win.