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Archive for December, 2010

Exmouth President Becomes Champion of Champions

The Final gets under way.

The champions of all clubs affiliated to the Devon CCA are eligible to compete in the Winter-Wood Shield, a knockout tournament to identify a “Champion of Champions”, usually played in the summer, between seasons. This year it has dragged on a bit, but eventually the Exmouth and Torquay Champions met in the Final at the Newton Abbot club. The 1st game (Dunn vs Abbot) was drawn, but in the replay on Thursday, with colours reversed, Abbott came out the winner. So 2010 finishes on a bright note for the club which has had an indifferent season, compared to recent years.

The photographs show Andy Dunn in red.

The Winter-Wood Shield oversees the game.

2nd London Chess Classic – Results.

The 2nd London Chess Classic, which finished on Wednesday, proved a very open affair with as many as 5 of the 8 players being possible winners going into the last round, namely McShane, Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik and Nakamura. That the games were well-contested throughout, rather than featuring a run of anodine draws, was at least partly accounted for by the adoption of the rule giving 3 points for a win, a move that has proved so popular in the football world. Also, it started with a bang when the English former child prodigy, Luke McShane, beat the World No. 1 player, Magnus Carlsen in the following game.

White: L. McShane (2645). Black: M. Carlsen (2802).

English Opening – Symmetrical Defence.

1.c4 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.0–0 Nh6 7.d4 White has no intention of holding back and, at worst, will go down fighting. 7…cxd4 8.Bxh6 Bxh6 9.Nxd4 Ne5 10.Qb3 0–0 11.Rfd1 Nd7 Black’s Queenside is looking very cramped and will take time to unravel. 12.Qa3 a5 13.b4 Ra6 14.b5 Ra8 15.e3 a4 16.Rab1 Bg7 17.Ne4 Qb6 18.Nc6! Re8 The offer of a knight is declined in view of the possible consequences of acceptance. e.g. 18…bxc6 19.bxc6 Qa5 (Not 19…Qxc6 because 20.Nf6+ wins the queen.) 20.cxd7 Bxd7 21.c5 Bg4 22.Rdc1 giving the white pieces a lot of freedom. 19.Nb4 f5 20.Nc3 Qc5 21.Nxa4! Qa7 If 21…Qxc4?? 22.Bd5+ 22.Na6! bxa6 23.b6 Nxb6 24.Rxb6 Rb8 25.c5 Be6 26.Rdb1 dxc5 27.Rb7 Rxb7 28.Rxb7 Qa8 29.Nxc5 Qc8 30.Qxa6 Bf7 31.Bc6 White is crowding in Black’s 2 major pieces. 31…Rd8 32.Nd7 White is threatening Qb6 and Rb8 winning the queen, so Black gives up material in order try and break out. Not 32.Rxe7?? because of Bf8 32…Rxd7 33.Bxd7 Qc1+ 34.Qf1 Not 34.Kg2?? Bd5+ etc. 34…Qxf1+ 35.Kxf1 Bc4+ 36.Kg1 Bxa2 37.Ba4 e5 38.f3 Bh6 39.Bb3+. 1–0 After the forced 39…Bxb3 40.Rxb3, crucially the rook defends its pawn on e3 and the rest should be a routine win for White.

Notwithstanding this loss and another to Anand, the fact that Carlsen won 4 other games, earning him 3 points for each, and a draw, meant that he came clear 1st  winning 50,000 euros in the process. McShane, the surprise of the tournament, came 2nd= with Anand on 11 pts. Adams came 6th, ahead of Howell, while Short came last with just 2 draws to his name.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bg4! with the threat of 2.Bf5 mate, and Black’s attempt to counter this with, for example, 1…g6 allows 2.Nf6 mate, or 1…f5 allows 2.Bf3 mate.

This position occurred in a Devon League match last weekend. White’s previous move was 16.Nd4xe6 and in desperation Black has replied by taking a knight with 16…Qc7xc3. After a few moments panic, White found the winning move. Can you?

White to play and win.

2nd London Chess Classic – Results.

So, the 2nd London Chess Classic that ended yesterday evening appears to have been a great success. Two fellow club members travelled up independently at the weekend, and at the Club last night confirmed that the whole thing had exceeded their expectations, which were already high. Other members had been following the event closely on-line, indicating that the grassroots interest has been high generally.

Not least among the interesting departures of this tournament was the introduction of 3 points for a win in an attempt to address the perennial complaint by the chess fraternity about what is ironically called “the grandmaster draw”. For generations people have moaned about the plethora of drawn games in top tournaments, not so much at the actual result as the anaemic nature of many encounters as, for example, two top players tacitly agree to conserve their energies against their closest opponents to concentrate on crushing weaker players in later rounds; fear of losing being greater than the will to win.

The football authorities tackled this problem by introducing a bonus point for winning a game. This has had the effect of seeing teams in almost every league match, increasing their efforts to win as the final whistle approaches, rather than being content to hang on to the point they have. In terms of points, a win and 2 losses is just as good as 3 draws. In rugby, a bonus point has been introduced for scoring a 4th try, which ensures that even a team winning, for example, by 3 tries to nil, with a hatful of penalty points etc. thrown in, will still be playing all-out for that often crucial extra point.

Now, it seems, it has slowly, very slowly dawned on chess organisers that this might be a good idea in tackling the problem of lazy play. Mike Basman, organiser of the world’s biggest chess competition, the UK Chess Challenge, introduced a version of this system some years ago. In this particular tournament, it is the secret of Magnus Carlsen’s clear 1st win, in spite of 2 early losses. This was more than compensated for by his ability to win 4 of the other games. The new tariff has not eliminated draws, as half the 28 games were drawn, but at least they were not feeble affairs.

Will we now see this idea introduced more widely in chess?

Here is the X-table of the tournament. Note that Nakamura and Kramnik were split on the basis of their individual result, another example of an increased emphasis being put on the win.

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Tot  
1st Carlsen, M X 0 0 3 1 3 3 3 13  
2nd= Anand, V 3 X 1 1 1 1 1 3 11  
2nd= McShane, L 3 1 X 1 1 1 1 3 11  
4th Nakamura, H 0 1 1 X 3 1 1 3 10  
5th Kramnik, V 1 1 1 0 X 1 3 3 10  
6th Adams, M 0 1 1 1 1 X 3 1 8  
7th Howell, D 0 1 1 1 0 0 X 1 4  
8th Short, N 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 X 2  

Exmouth Draw With Newton Abbot In Mamhead Cup.

Exmouth played their first match in Devon’s 2nd Division, the Mamhead Cup, against Newton Abbot. The team was just 3 grading points below the permitted maximum of 639 and outgrading their opponents by 12 points, and entertained hopes of getting a result, for the 1st time this season.

On the top 2 boards, John Stephens and Brian Hewson, seemed to have their games under control throughout, and barring mistakes looked destined to win, which left the captain looking for a halfpoint from Bds 3 & 4. However, Gosling, on 3, looked to be on the back foot, the more so as the game went on, with pawns dropping left and right. Meanwhile, Oliver Wensley, playing in only his 3rd ever match as an adult, was giving his experienced opponent much to think about, until, in a finely balanced endgame, his opponent, with 2 minutes left on his clock and c. 10 moves to make, offered a draw. Scenting a win, he declined, but the time control was reached and things gradually turned around until he was forced to resign, leaving the match drawn 2- 2.




Newton Abbot

1 J. K. F. Stephens 181 1 0 A.Kinder 166
2 B. W. R. Hewson 176 1 0 P. Brooks 160
3 B. G. E. Gosling 156 0 1 C. V. Howard 158
4 O. E. Gosling 120e 0 1 J. E. Allen 140
    636 2 2   624

 In the following position from Bd. 1, White has played the Morra Gambit and Black has grabbed all the pawns on offer. From the resulting position below, White is well-developed while Black seems to be somewhat cramped on the back rank. However, Black is comfortable with his queen on b8 and he does, after all, have two extra pawns and the bishop pair. His next 2 moves are to castle and then play f5, mobilising the extra central pawns, which ultimately prove decisive.

Kinder vs Stephens: Position after 16...Be7.

 In the position below from Bd. 2, having broken through on the kingside after a game which featured much shuffling by all 16 pawns, White is about to play the winning move 37.Be6 threatening immediate mate on g8, denying the b-pawn any chance of reaching its 8th rank.

Hewson vs Brooks: position after 36...Kf8

 In the next position, Black had less than 2 minutes to reach the time control on move 40 and offered a draw. White declined, sensing a win, but the 2 unopposed pawns soon broke forward; the time control was safely reached and pawns were impossible to stop. Black win.

Wensley vs Allen: position after Black's 33rd move.

Exmouth players on right.

Facing: John Stephens (left); Brian Hewson & Brian Gosling.

Oliver Wensley (left) vs John Allen

Devon Junior Championships (11.12.2010.)

Last weekend’s Devon v Cornwall match fell victim to the bad weather in the Duchy which contributed to the difficulties of the Cornish captain in trying to raise a team, forcing them to concede the match to their neighbours.

Meanwhile Devon’s Junior Championships were able to go ahead at the Teign School, Kingsteignton. In the U-15 section, there was a multiple tie for 1st place between John Fraser and Alex Gow-Smith, both of Torquay Boys G. S. and Ben Newman and Tomas Trott, both of Clyst Vale C. C. Sai Ramesh was the Best Girl. Clear winner of the U-11 Section was Theo Slade, now of Shebbear College, closely followed by Thomas Koyla, Cameron Walters and Becky Trott, all of Broadclyst P.S., Becky becoming Devon’s girl champion. The U-9 section was won by Nicolas Bacon of Offwell P.S. with Guy Susevee of Awliscombe in 2nd place.

Broadclyst won the U-11 team championship for the 8th consecutive year, as well as the recently introduced U-9 tournament.

Here is a game from the recent Torbay Congress in which, at the height of battle, neither player was sure how best to proceed.

White: J. K. Stephens (181). Black: A. T.  Mordue (200)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation. [B99]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 White is going for a quick all-out Kingside attack, thematic of how to tackle the Sicilian Defence. 10…b5 Black must respond on the opposite wing or risk being overrun. 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.f5 Nc5 14.f6 gxf6 15.gxf6 Bf8 16.Rg1 Bd7 17.Bh3 0–0–0 18.Qh5 b4 19.Nce2 Nxe4 20.Qxf7 Bh6+ 21.Kb1 Rdf8 22.Qe7 Re8 23.Qf7 Ref8 24.Qe7 Rxf6 25.Nxe6 Bxe6 26.Bxe6+ Kb8 27.Qxc7+ Kxc7 The exchanges take the sting out of White’s attack and Black gradually assumes the initiative. 28.Bd5 Nd2+ 29.Ka1 Rf2 30.Nd4 Kb6 31.Ne6 Rc8 32.Rg4 a5 33.Rh4 Nf1 34.Bb3 Bd2 35.Rxh7 Ne3 36.Rb1 Rxc2 37.Rh3 Not 37.Bxc2?? Nxc2# 37…Rxb2 38.Rxe3 If 38.Rxb2 Rf1+ 39.Rb1 Bc3#. 38…Rxb1+ 39.Kxb1 Bxe3 leaving Black the exchange and a pawn up. This should be enough for a player of Mordue’s experience, though there is still work to do. 40.h4 Rh2 41.h5 Rxh5 42.Kc2 Kb5 43.Kd3 Bb6 44.Bc4+ Ka4 45.Nf4 Rh2 46.Nd5 Bc5 47.Nc7 Ka3 48.Nb5+ Kb2 49.Bb3 Rh3+ 50.Kc4 Rg3 51.Nc7 a4 52.Bxa4 Kxa2 53.Nd5 Ka3 54.Bd1 b3 55.Nc3 Rxc3+ 56.Kxc3 b2 0–1

The solution to last week’s problem by Ehrenstein was 1.Nc6!

This hitherto unpublished 2-mover was sent in by reader David Howard of East Harptree, Somerset. What innocuous-looking move by White leaves Black with no escape?

White to play & mate in 2.

WMN & WDP Joint Project.

In the wake of the IT revolution and its effect on news-gathering and dissemination, all newspapers are constantly having to adapt and evolve in order to maintain economic viability. To this end the Plymouth-based Western Morning News and the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, both titles in the Northcliffe stable, are pooling their resources to produce a new 48 page supplement, which will go out with both papers as from 11th December.

The chess column in the WMN is one of the oldest of any provincial daily, having been started in 1891, with the first correspondent being Carslake Winter-Wood writing under the nome-de-plume “Queen’s Knight”. It adopted its present format in 1956 when J. E. Jones of Totnes took it on and concentrated on purely local activity. In 1963 it was taken on by Ken Bloodworth of Plymouth, who wrote it for 35 years before handing on the job to me in 1999. Meanwhile, chess coverage in the WDP has had a somewhat more chequered history (pun intended but unavoidable); a regular column was started in 1965 by R. Myers, quickly followed by C. Welch who continued with it for a decade when it was taken over by A. C. Brown of Westbury-upon-Trym until 1989 when it stopped, and there hasn’t been one since.

Happily, the new supplement will continue with the WMN’s chess column, meaning it will now get a much wider readership, which will include most of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, in fact, most of the area covered by the West of England Chess Union. The implication of this is that the term “local coverage” takes on a slightly different dimension, as it has to try and cover activities in the whole of the West of England, from Penzance to Cheltenham, a mere 220 miles apart. So unless it is to be allowed more column inches, Devon and Cornwall must expect rather fewer mentions in future.

The other side of the coin is that I can now give an airing to activity in the wider readership – providing it is sent to me. So could I ask organisers in these “new” counties to send me details, such as results, game scores, up-coming events etc. and I will do what I can to raise their profile, within the constraints imposed by the Editor.

Please send to:-  e-mail:

Exmouth 1-3 Tiverton in Div. 3

Exmouth’s 2nd match of the season and 1st at home was in Devon’s 3rd Division, the Schofield Cup, where their opponents again were Tiverton. In short they lost again by a similar margin to the 1st encounter in the Newman Cup.

  Exmouth Grd.     Tiverton  Grd.
1 B. G. E. Gosling 156 0 1 I. S. Annetts 155
2 R. H. Jones 138 0 1 J. Morrison 152
3 J. Dzenis 120e 0 1 J. Knowles 133
4 O. E. Wensley 120e 1 0 E. A. Maynard 104
    534 1 3   544

Jones was the first to fall, blown away in 20 moves by a brilliant sacrificial attack. In the position below, Morrison (W) ignores the attack on his queen and plays 16.Nxe6.  Probably Black’s best reply was 16…Qb6 (not spotted), covering the fork on c7 and leaving White with 2 pieces en pris. Black, in fact, played 16…Qxc3, causing White momentary panic before he found 17.Bxb5! threatening mate and there is little Black can do.

White to play and win.

Oliver Wensley temporarily restored parity when his opponent had a senior moment in the following position. After a game in which both sides were level throughout, White played 36.Rf3?? thinking he was threating a back rank mate but missing the fact that his bishop is dropping.

White to move

 Juris Dzenis got his Queen trapped in the centre and struggled on gamefully but Knowles was too canny to let things slip. At the very end, Brian Gosling found himself as White in this position, but desperately short of time. He played 30.Nd5? which releases the Black Queen to come to d3 forking rook and knight. In fact, 30.Qxa4 would have almost forced the exchange of queens and left him with 2 connected, passed pawns, enough to win the game, all other things being equal.

White to play and either win or lose.

Annetts plays 2...Bf5

Maynard vs Wensley gets under way on Bd. 4

2nd London Chess Classic Approaching (04.12.2010.)

The 2nd London Chess Classic starts at Olympia on Wednesday with the main attraction being the 8-man, invitation-only Classic section, which comprises an equal mixture of four top world players and four top English players. These are the World Champion Vishy Anand of India; World No. 2 Magnus Carlsen, of Norway; ex-world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and US No. 1 Hiraku Nakamura. The English contingent is led by Mickey Adams of Cornwall, followed by Nigel Short, Luke McShane and David Howell. With a prize fund of 145,000 euros at stake, they will certainly be fighting for every half point.

There is local interest, too, among the 119 entrants in the Open Section. 15th seed is Grandmaster Keith Arkell, currently resident in Paignton, while at 31 is Jack Rudd of Bideford. 10 year old Theo Slade of Marhamchurch nr. Bude, has entered one of the weekend sections.

Last year’s Brilliancy Prize was awarded for this win in Rd. 5.

White: H. Nakamura. Black: L. McShane.

King’s Indian Defence [E94]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0–0 6.Nf3 e5 7.0–0 Na6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.c5 exd4 11.Nd5 Be6 If Black took the proffered pawn 11…Qxe4 the queen would be harassed as other white pieces join the fray: e.g. 12.Ne7+ Kh8 13.Bd3 Qe6 14.Re1 etc. The text, however, allows a rook to become trapped. 12.Be7 Bxd5 13.Bxf8 Qxf8 14.exd5 dxc5 White emerges from this skirmish the exchange down, but with 5 pawns vs 3 on the queenside, the decisive factor in the end. 15.Qb3 Rb8 16.Rfe1 Qd6 17.h3 Nf6 18.Bxa6 Qxa6 19.Rac1 Bf8 20.Ne5 Qb6 21.Qf3 Qd6 22.g4 Bh6 23.Rc2 Re8 24.Rce2 Rf8 25.Nc4 Qxd5 26.Qxf6 Bg7 27.Qh4 Qxc4 Now it’s 2v5 pawns  28.Re8 Qd5 29.Rxf8+ Bxf8 30.Re8 Kg7 31.g5 Qd6 The bishop will need defending in case White plays 32.Qh5+. With the Kingside stabilised, attention switches to the opposite wing. 32.Kf1 b5 33.Ke1 c4 34.Qe4 c5 35.h4 c3 36.bxc3 dxc3 37.Qe5+ Qxe5+ 38.Rxe5 a5 39.Kd1 a4 40.a3 b4 41.Kc2 h6 42.Rd5 hxg5 43.hxg5 Kh7 44.Rd7 Bg7 45.Rxf7 b3+ 46.Kb1 Kg8 47.Ra7 Bd4 48.Rxa4 Kf7 49.Ra6 Be5 50.Ra4 Ke6 51.Rh4 Kd5 52.a4 c4 53.Rh1 c2+ 54.Kc1 c3 55.Rh4 White has to counter the threat of Bf4 mate but cannot cope with the other threat. 55…Bd6 0–1

The solution to last week’s 2-mover by the problem pioneer, John Brown of Bridport, was 1.Bf4! after which White has seven different mates, depending on how Black tries to defend.

Here is another early 2-move teaser by the Hungarian Moritz Ehrenstein (1858-1923).

White to play and mate in 2.

Devon Junior Championships 2010

Andrew Ashenhurst, teacher at nearby St. Peter’s School, Lympsone, has just collected 30 sets of equipment for the Devon Junior Championships, to be held on Saturday at the Teign School, Kingsteignton, near Newton Abbot.

There will be sections for the U-9s, U-11s and U-15s, plus a team competition. Broadclyst Primary are entering 2 teams and are favourites to win. Theo Slade, whose home is in Marhamchurch, N. Cornwall, but now attends Shebbear College in N. Devon, thus qualifying him for this tournament, must be favourite for the U-11s. But nothing’s written in stone – it’s a funny old game. Watch this space for details of winners.