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British Championships 2010 (Rds. 1-5.)

After having been the event’s Publicity Officer for most of the last 12 years, it’s a little strange not being in the thick of it and having to try and monitor it through the website, excellent though that is.

In my additional capacity as chess columnist for the Western Morning News, I have tried to concentrate on monitoring the progress of players in the Championship with at least some local connection; Devon residents, Jack Rudd, Keith Arkle and Dominic Mackle, and Cornish ex-pats, Mickey Adams and Andrew Greet. Not a wasted policy, either, as it turned out, as the early headlines seem to have centred around these very folk.

Rudd started off like the runaway train that he always is, knocking over 2 GMs and a GM norm holder (Arkell, Williams and the new Scottish Champion, Andrew Greet), and finding himself in the joint lead with Adams. If Rudd is unpredictable, however, Adams is not, and Adams then forced Rudd’s train into the buffers, and carried on to notch up 5 straight wins without any trouble whatever. How Rudd will finish up is anyone’s guess. Last year he started with 1/4 points, then finished with 6 points from 7 games, to record his best score in this event. Will this be the reverse of that?

Followed Arkell’s game last night (FridayNight Live) as it went on and on and on. I know from experience that by 9 p.m. on most nights the playing hall is practically deserted as almost all games have finished, but this game went on until way past 10 p.m. and the number of moves crept up and up – 100; 110, 120; (the longest in a World Championship match is 124); up to 160 moves, when a draw was finally agreed. Nor was it idle woodpushing; With a rook each and bishops of opposite colours, Arkell was making gradual progress all the time and eventually had the only 2 pawns ensconced on the 6th & 7th ranks. But it proved another classic example of how the advantage of an extra pawn or two can be negated by the best defence where the bishops are on oppposite coloured squares. And so it proved once again.

Adams must be the hottest favourite for many a year and could easily reach 10/11 points (surely not more?). The reason he hasn’t entered in the past 13 years is his understandable concern for his FIDE rating points, and his attempts to keep in the topmost band of world players. Even in winning the British title, he could have actually lost rating points in the process, as many of his opponents’ grades would have been so far below his own. It may be that he has now reached a point in his career where he has less concern for that when he sees £5,000 there for the asking.

British Championship Begins (31.07.2010.)

The British Championships started on Monday at Canterbury and after three rounds was proving a very Devon & Cornwall affair, with Jack Rudd of Bideford and Cornishman Mickey Adams the only two players on maximum points.

In Round 1, Rudd beat Paignton resident Keith Arkell after the latter left his queen en prise. He was then paired against the new Scottish Champion, Andrew Greet of St. Austell for a repeat of their balloon match at Torquay last year, won then by Greet. Rudd would doubtless be looking for some kind of revenge. This is how it went.

White: Jack Rudd (211). Black: Andrew Greet (232).

Petrosian System [A56]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Nbd7 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Ne8 Black’s plan of mobilising his kingside pawns involves locking up his queenside pieces for the time being, with fatal consequences. 10.Rb1 f5 11.Ng5 Threatening 12.Ne6 winning the exchange. 11…Nc7 12.exf5 gxf5 The black pawns are drawn forward, away from the defence of their King. 13.f4 e4 14.g4 Nb6 If 14…fxg4 15.Qxg4 and White has a strong attack. 15.gxf5 Bxf5 16.Bxe4 Bxc3 17.bxc3 Qf6 18.Rb2! ready to join the attack immediately with great effect. 18…Rae8 The cavalry finally arrive, but too late to save the day. 19.Rg2 Kh8 20.Nxh7! Bxh7 If 20…Kxh7 21.Qh5+ Qh6 22.Bxf5+ Rxf5 23.Qxf5+ Kh8 24.Rf3 and mate must follow. 21.Bxh7 Kxh7 and Black resigned without waiting for White to play 22.Qh5+ Qh6 23.Qxh6+ Kxh6 24.Rf3 and Black can’t avoid the mate. 0–1

Adams, once the World No. 4 player, is hot favourite to win the £5,000 1st prize, but it is Rudd who has caught the eye early on. Last year he scored a solitary point from his first 4 games, yet recovered to record his best-ever score of 7/11 points. This year he’s approaching half-way to that total already with 8 games still to play.

This miniature was the Game of the Day from Round 1.

White: R. Eames (207). Black: M. Adams (267).

Bishop’s Gambit – Bledow Variation [C36]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nxd5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qf5 8.0–0 Nc6 9.d4 Be6 10.Ne2 g5 11.b3 0–0–0 12.Bb2 Bg7 13.c4 g4 14.Ne1 f3 15.gxf3 Rhg8 16.f4 g3 17.Nf3 gxh2+ 18.Kh1 Bf6 19.Qd2 Qg4 20.Rf2 Bf5 21.Qe3 Nb4 0-1 The knight will invade on c2 or d3 causing havoc.

The solution to last week’s problem by Heathcote was 1. Rc8! With the threat of 2.Nc6 mate, and 1…Rxa4 allows 2.Rc5 mate instead.

Here is another of his from the 1911 book More White Rooks.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Dutch Invade Again (24.07.2010.)

In November 1688, William of Orange and his army of 30,000 men and horse set sail from the Dutch port of Hellevoetsluis bound for the northeast coast of England. However, autumnal gales blew the fleet westward and they landed unexpectedly at Brixham, from where the invited invaders marched on London to depose the highly-unpopular James II. That geographical connection was further cemented in 1988 when Torbay twinned with Hellevoetsluis, and one of the strongest links since then has involved the Hellevoetsluis Chess Club whose members regularly visit Torbay and play various clubs in the area. The latest visit was last weekend when their team of 4 played Exmouth on Saturday (lost 4-0), then came 3rd in a six team rapidplay tournament at Newton Abbot and on Monday played a match against Teignmouth (drawn 2-2) at Forde House, the same building where the future King William III spent his 2nd night on English soil.

There have been a number of Scottish winners of the British Championship, including Robert Combe and Jonathan Rowson. On the other hand, the number of English players who have won the Scottish Championship is rather less, because of the eligibility rules. However, the Cornishman, Andrew Greet, overcame this as he has been living and working in Glasgow for the past two years, and in coming 1st in their 117th Championship last weekend, he is the new Scottish Champion. The key game came in the last round when he was paired against the confusingly-named Andrew Green, a game that Greet won.

Here is a miniature from the Saturday match.

White: Bonne Faber. Black: Brian Hewson.

Scandinavian Defence [B01]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 a6 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Nf3 b5 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.Qd2 e6 9.0–0–0 it was brave to castle long where Black’s pawns are already advanced. 9…Nbd7 10.h3 Rd8 11.Rhg1 Be7 Black is not tempted to exchange bishop for knight as it would open lines to Black’s kingside. 12.Be2 0–0 13.Bf4?! Qb6 14.g4 each side is poised to attack, but Black’s is the more potent. 14…b4 15.Na4 Qa5 16.b3 Bc6 resigned, in view of  17.Nb2 (or 17.Nc5 Nxc5 and White cannot re-take without losing his queen). 17…Qxa2 18.c4 bxc3 19.Qxc3 Ba3 20.Ng5 Rb8 and Black’s threats cannot all be met.

The solution to last week’s problem by Sam Loyd was 1Qa5!, a waiting move that threatens nothing in itself, but whichever rook or bishop moves a mating move will arise.

This 2-mover of 1914 was by Godfrey Heathcote (1870-1952), one of Britain’s finest composers.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Exmouth vs Hellevoetsluis (17.07.2010.)

The Borough of Torbay has been twinned with the port of Hellevoetsluis in Holland since 1988. This is no accident , for that year was the tercentenary of the landing at Brixham of William of Orange on his way to assume the British throne in the “Glorious Revolution”.

The background to this great event in 1688 lay in the growing unpopularity of King James II. In fact, the British had had an uneasy relationship with the Sturat Kings for most of the 17th century. From 1603 James I was a Catholic assuming the monarchy of a Protestant country; Charles I was famously executed; his son Charles II was restored to the throne and became the “Merrie Monarch”. He died without legitimate issue (though with 12 illegitimate ones) and was succeeded by his brother James II, who possessed the ability to alienate great swathes of the country to the point where they wished to be rid of him. William of Orange, who had pragmatically married his own 1st cousin, Mary Stuart, was invited to “invade” the country whereupon he would be acclaimed as the new king.

He set sail from Hellevoetsluis with an army of 30,000, heading for the North East under the terms of Plan A. However, unfavourable winds took the ships down the English Channel instead, and they landed at Brixham unexpectedly and unforeseen on November 5th, anniversary of an earlier plot to usurp a Catholic Stuart king. Nevertheless, this plan was successful, James fled into exile and William & Mary reigned as joint monarchs.

The tradition of a small fighting army of Dutch, leaving Hellevoetsluis and landing in Torbay continues to this day, in the form of a group of chessplayers under the leadership of Jan Straatman. As in 1688, they are welcomed by the English before commencing a token battle. In fact, this chess link is one of the most fruitful and regular aspects of the twinning connection as they have visited at least 8 times.

The latest encounter is taking place this weekend. A small group of 4 players flew in to Exeter Airport on Saturday morning, and their first match was against Exmouth the same evening. It had been difficult for the home team to field a team that more closely matched that of the visitors as their identities were unknown until the day of the match. After drinks in the bar of the Manor Hotel and an exchange of souvenirs, the match got under way.

  Exmouth       Hellevoetsluis  
1 Brian Hewson 184 1 0 Bonne Faber 133e
2 Dave Rogers 149 1 0 Jan Straatman 117e
3 Bob Jones 140 1 0 Wim Nordermeer 108e
4 Malcolm Belt 119 1 0 Wim Heijer   95e
      4 0    

Hewson’s game ended fairly quickly after he followed a policy of sensible piece development before initiating a quick winning attack. The other games, however, were all more closely fought. Jones had won a piece in the opening, but  without due care and attention could easily have fallen to one of several back rank mates. Belt was left with Bishop + 3 pawns against Rook and 2, yet somehow managed to usher two pawns to the 7th rank on opposite sides of the board; the rook could stop one but not the other from queening. Rogers had positional pressure, but could only win after swapping off all pieces and leaving himself with a strong extra pawn.

Their visit continues on Sunday with a team rapidplay tournament taking place at Forde House, Newton Abbot, where William stayed on his 2nd night, with his army encamped on Milber Downs nearby.

Here are some scenes from the Saturday match:-

Seated (l-r): Wim Heijer; Bonne Faber; Jan Straatman; Wim Nordermeer. Standing: Brian Hewson; Dave Rogers, Malcolm Belt, Bob Jones.

The Dutch team in action.

Hewson makes a move against Faber

Jan Straatman makes a move.

R+2 vs B+3 - which way will it go?

Local Successes In UK Land Chess Challenge (17.07.2010.)

The world’s largest chess tournament is the UK Land Chess Challenge which usually attracts around 70,000 entries from juniors each year. Regional finals have already been held and the better players went forward to the Southern area “Gigafinals” held recently at Wellington College, Berkshire. There were several outstanding performances from Devon and Cornwall players. Here they are – all scores out of 6.

U-7s: James Lloyd (Kelly College); Connor Golding (Stover); Jason Stephens (Perran-ar-Worthal).

U-9s: Theo Slade (Marhamchurch) 5½; Thomas Koyla 4½ & Ella Bibby (both Broadclyst);  Edmund Kelly (Exeter School) & Henry Snelson (St. Just). Elsa Frangleton (S. Tawton). U-10s: Tom Adams 4 & Taylor Finch 4 (both Exeter School); Sophie Robinson 4½, Simon Priddle 3½ & Reece Whittington 3 (all Broadclyst). Sam Kingsland (Morchard Bishop). Joshua Young (Lympstone). U-11s: Joe Gabriel 4 & Tomas Trott 4 (both Broadclyst); Bailey Watling (Trewirgie); Ebony Jeffries (St. Uny). U-12s: Ben Newman (Broadclyst); David Richards (Penair). U-15s: Adam Simmonds (Launceston). U-16s: Samuel Crouch (S. Dartmoor). U-17: Robert Thompson 4½ (Torquay Boys’ G.S.); Daniel Miller (Launceston).

The top performances were by Theo Slade who was clear 1st, Robert Thompson who was 2nd= and Thomas Koyla who was 3rd=, all in their respective sections, while the sheer number of players from Broadclyst Community Primary School was remarkable.

Here is a game from Round 4 of the Under-9s.

White: Theo Slade (123). Black: Liam Reed.

Nimzowitsch Defence [B00]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 Nc6 3.d5 Nb4 4.a3 Na6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bc5 7.Nxe5 0–0 8.Bd3 Re8 9.Nf3 Ng4 attacking f2 10.0–0 d6 11.Bg5 f6 12.Bh4 Bd7 13.h3 Ne5 14.Nxe5 dxe5 15.Kh1 Bd4 16.Ne2 Bxb2 17.Rb1 Bd4 18.Nxd4 18…exd4 19.Qh5 Nc5 20.Bc4 Kh8 21.f3? White intended to protect his pawn on e4 but in doing so has cut off his queen’s retreat. 21…Re5 22.Qf7 the queen’s only square. For a moment, Black thinks he’s cut off all the queen’s escape routes and just has to be attacked. 22…Be8?? Unfortunately, in doing so he has created a new possibility. 23.Qf8#

The solution to the Mansfield problem last week was 1.Qe7! which closes all Black’s possible escape routes.

In this clever 2-mover by the 19th century genius Samuel Loyd, Black’s formation of rooks and bishops, invented by him, was known as “Organ Pipes”. White is materially down but has one move that wins against any defence.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Exmouth vs Hellevoetsluis (17.07.2010.)

It is now 8 years since the Club entertained a team of 8 from the Dutch club of Hellevoetsluis (See Club History section for details). Now we are due to host them again, this time involving only teams of 4.

Trefor Thynne of the Newton Abbot Club is acting as host for the weekend and will bring them over from Torbay on Saturday afternoon, ready for a 5.30 p.m.  start at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth.

Exmouth’s team will be:- 1. Brian Hewson; 2. D. R. Rogers. 3. R. H. Jones. 4. M. Belt,  which reportedly will be a fair match with the Dutch team.

Manor Hotel, Exmouth.

Map showing the whereabouts of the Manor Hotel.

British Championships 2010 (10.07.2010.)

 The British Championships start a fortnight tomorrow in Canterbury with a total of only 554 entries at the moment. Although a number of late entries will be coming in, it will probably fall well short of last year’s entry of almost 1,000 at Torquay.

In the top section, Michael Adams is overwhelming favourite with a grade of 267, well ahead of the other four Grandmasters so far entered, Peter Wells & Stephen Gordon (both 238), Keith Arkell (237) and Simon Williams (234).

The last time Adams played in the event (Hove 1997) he became joint champion after an unresolved play-off. In the last round, he needed a win to be sure of being involved in that play-off. This is that game.

White: M. Adams (260) – A. C. Kosten (241)

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence [C88]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Black has the choice of taking the proffered e-pawn (Open Defence) and having to endure sharp attacking play, or continuing with sensible development as here with the Close Defence   5…Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 White now continues somewhat cautiously for a few moves, watching and waiting. 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Qd7 11.Nc3 Rae8 12.Nd5 Na5 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Ba2 White retains both bishops, a small advantage as the position opens up later. 14…c5 15.Nh4 Nc6 16.c3 Bc8 17.Bg5 Kh8 18.Bd5 Nd8 19.Nf5 Qc7 If 19…Bxf5 20.exf5 and Black’s kingside pawns are going to be broken up, a second small advantage. 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Qf3 Rg8 22.g3 Ne6 23.Kh2 Ng5 24.Qe3 Rg6 25.a4 a thematic freeing move in this opening, though it usually comes earlier. 25…bxa4 26.Rxa4 Reg8 27.Rea1 Ne6 28.Nh4 Rg5 29.Qf3 threatening the weak pawn on f6, brought about by the exchange on move 20. 29…Qe7 30.Nf5 Qf8 31.Rxa6! with Black’s pieces tied up in defence, White offers to sacrifice material in order to monopolise the open spaces on the queenside. 31…Nc7 If Black had accepted the offer play might have continued 31…Bxa6 32.Rxa6 Nc7 33.Nxd6 Nxd5 34.exd5 R5g6 35.h4 and all the attacking options are with White. 32.Nxd6 Nxd5 33.Nxc8 Qxc8 34.exd5 Rf5 35.Qe2 Qd8 36.c4 Qf8 37.Ra8 Qh6 38.d6 1–0 The advancing d-pawn will prove decisive.

Cornwall’s other player in the Championship is Andrew Greet (231) while Devon’s interests centre around Jack Rudd (214) and Dominic Mackle (200).

had accepted the offer play might have continued 31…Bxa6 32.Rxa6 Nc7 33.Nxd6 Nxd5 34.exd5 R5g6 35.h4 and all the attacking options are with White. 32.Nxd6 Nxd5 33.Nxc8 Qxc8 34.exd5 Rf5 35.Qe2 Qd8 36.c4 Qf8 37.Ra8 Qh6 38.d6 1–0 The advancing d-pawn will prove decisive.

Cornwall’s other player in the Championship is Andrew Greet (231) while Devon’s interests centre around Jack Rudd (214) and Dominic Mackle (200).

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Qa6! and if 1…Kxf3 2.Qe2 mate or 1…Qxf3 2.Qxe5 mate or 1…Bxd5 2.Qd3 mate.

This 2-mover is by the brilliant Devon composer, Comins Mansfield.

White to mate in 2.

Theo Slade Wins U9 Chess Challenge Tournament.

Continuing on from my blog of 3rd April 2010, young Theo Slade of Bude passed another milestone in his early chess career when he won the Boys U-9 B group at last weekend’s UK Chess Challenge Southern Area Gigafinal held at Wellington College, Berkshire. He got a trophy, cheque for £100 and goes forward to the ultimate final for all age groups, when the winners from the Southern and Northern regions play off for the national titles. This will be held in Warwick next month.

Theo Slade with prizes in the grounds of Wellington College.


As reported earlier, although living in Cornwall, close to the border with Devon, Theo is being drawn into the sphere of Devon’s junior chess activities as there is more going on there. He receives tuition through the internet from Dave Regis, leader of the Exeter Junior Club, and plays in as many tournaments as he can fit in. Devon already has a number of promising juniors, especially those centred around Torquay Boys’ Grammar School where Modern Languages master Trefor Thynne has influence, but Theo’s potential must be as great as anyone’s, if he continues at this rate.

Watch this space…..

Devon Chess Dates 2010 – 2011

At last night’s Devon A. G. M. the following dates were identified as being of potential concern to Devon players and/or administrators.

This is a summary.











Sun. 5th Sept. 60th Paignton Congress Oldway Week long – 7 Rds
Sun. 19th Sept. WECU Jamboree Taunton Usual venue
Mon. 20th Sept. E&D League AGM Exeter School  
Fri.   1st Oct.   DCCA Autumn Meeting Met. Office 18.45 start
Sun. 3rd Oct. Team RapidPlay Newton Abbot Teams of 4
Fri.   8th Oct Dorset Congress Bournemouth Weekend
Sat. 16th Oct. Devon vs Dorset Luppitt 16 bds.
Mon. 8th Nov. Seniors Congress Exmouth Week long – 5 Rds.
Fri.  18th Nov. Torbay Congress Riviera Centre Weekend
Sat. 4th Dec. Devon vs Cornwall   16 bds.


Sun. 9th Jan. Inter-Area Jamboree Exeter N. Devon hosting.
Sat. 22nd Jan. Devon vs Hants    
Sat. 22nd Feb Devon vs Somerset    
Fri.  4th Mar. E. Devon Congress Exeter Weekend
Sat. 12th Mar. Devon vs Glos.    
Fri.  25th Mar. Devon Spring Meeting Met. Office 18.45 start
Sat. 26th Mar. WECU Spring Meeting Taunton 14.00 start
Sat. 9th April Teignmouth RapidPlay Trinity School  
Fri.  22nd April WECU Congress Exmouth Easter weekend
Sat. 4th June WECU AGM Ilminster 14.00 start
Fri. 10th June Devon AGM Met. Office 18.45 start
Tues.14th June Coast v Country match Exmouth  


Howard’s Bright Win For Devon. (03.07.2010.)

Of Devon’s five wins in their recent match against Warwickshire, this one was probably the most entertaining, in which White plays a sharp opening with brio, winning material before returning it to leave him with a simple win.

White: C. V. Howard (154). Black: G. Hope (161)

King’s Gambit – Kolisch Defence [C39]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 The King’s Gambit, from the 19th century handbook of swashbuckling gambits. 2…exf4 3.Nf3 Essential to prevent an immediate 3…Qh4+ 4. g3 fxg etc. Only the very brave would play 4.Ke2 with expectations of winning, as did Cornishman Dr. Jago vs A. R. B. Thomas in a correspondence game from 1954. 3…g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 d6 Kolisch’s favoured move which adopted his name. 6.Nxg4 Nf6 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.d4 Rg8 9.Nc3 c6 10.Qf3 Bh6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Ne4 Qe7 13.Bc4 exd4 14.0–0 Bg4 15.Qb3 Be6 White must keep developing pieces rather than exchange. 16.Bxf4 Bxf4 17.Rxf4 Nd7 White develops his knight at the cost of 2 pawns. Another way was 17…Bxc4 18.Qxc4 Nd7 19.Qxd4 0–0–0 20.Nd6+ Kb8 21.Nxf7 Rde8 22.Qd6+ Qxd6 23.Nxd6 Re2 24.Rf2 and Black would be just a pawn down rather that the exchange. 18.Qxb7 Rb8 19.Qxc6 Bxc4 rather than simply retaking, White can win a rook with… 20.Nf6+ Kd8 21.Nxg8 Qe3+ 22.Rf2 White had had to calculate at move 20 that he had this defence available. 22…Rc8 23.Qd6 Be6 24.Rd1 Rxc2 Being the exchange ahead, White can afford to try to make equal exchanges. 25.Qxd4 Qxf2+ 26.Qxf2 Rxf2 27.Kxf2 f5 28.Nf6 Ke7 White’s pawn structure allows him to continue his policy of swapping off all pieces, in this case leaving a simple win. 29.Nxd7 Bxd7 30.Rxd7+ Kxd7 31.Kf3 Ke6 32.Kf4 Kf6 33.b4 Ke6 34.a4 1–0.

The Black King must move over to deal with the extra pawn, leaving the White King free to clear up on the opposite wing and queen a pawn or two – a hopeless prospect.

The British Championships start at Canterbury three weeks tomorrow, where Michael Adams, the Cornish former World No. 4, returning to the event after a long absence, must be hot favourite to win. Shortly after that he will be coming down to the 60th Paignton Congress, possibly as the new British Champion, to put on a simultaneous display against 30 opponents. Follow his progress on his own website

In last week’s position, 1.Qa5! leaves Black helpless.

This composition by Thomas and Frideswide Rowland (née Beechey) in 1882 was judged the Best 2-Mover by J. Paul Taylor of Exeter in an annual competition in the Weekly Irish Times.

White to mate in 2 moves