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Devon Inter-Area Jamboree Results (22.01.2011.)

Devon’s annual Inter-Area Jamboree took place in Exeter on Sunday, with evenly-matched teams of 12 from the four quarters of the county. The West team draws mostly on the membership of the Plymouth Club; The North players come from Tiverton and Barnstaple; the South team comes from the clubs around Torbay, while the East comprises clubs on the Devon section of the Jurassic Coast plus Exeter.

The match was well-contested with the outcome in doubt right up to the end, but when the last game finished it was Tony Tatam, captain of the West team that was to receive the trophy from the Organiser, Alan Maynard. The East were runners-up followed by the North and South.

This game from Board 5 was soon over.

White: P. J. Kennedy (151). Black: A. Billings (148).

Reti Opening  [A04]

1.Nf3 f5 Key move of the Dutch Defence. White would normally have fianchettoed and castled Kingside waiting to see what his opponent does, but this unusual move calls for a more immediate response. 2.d3 Nf6 3.e4 White gambits a pawn to gain space for piece development, while destroying Black’s defensive position before it is even completed. 3…fxe4 4.dxe4 Nxe4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Ng5 d5 7.Nxh7 Black is in trouble already. 7…Be6 Certainly not 7…Nxh7?? 8.Bg6+ Kd7 forced  9.Qxd5 mate. Perhaps better might have been 7…e5 allowing the black-squared bishop out at some point – certainly its subsequent inability to do so proves fatal. 8.Bg6+ Bf7 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Ng5+ Ke8 11.Qd3 Ne4 Normally Black would want to swap pieces off in the hope of drawing the sting of the attack, but this doesn’t help here. 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Qxe4 Winning another pawn and threatening both a check on g6 and the pawn on b7. 13…Nc6 14.Be3 Qd6 15.Nc3 Rd8 16.Nb5 Qb4+ 17.Qxb4 Nxb4 18.0–0 Preparation before the finale begins. 18…Nxc2 19.Nxc7+ Kf7 20.Rac1 Nxe3 21.fxe3+ Kg8 22.Ne6 Rb8 and now the end of the wretched trapped bishop spells the end of the game. 23.Rxf8+ Rxf8 24.Nxf8 Resigned, in view of … 24…Kxf8 25.Rc8+ winning the rook. 1–0

The scores of all 24 games and other details may be found on the chessdevon website, while charts and photographs of the action are on

Dave Howard’s original composition last week was solved by 1.Kf2! Black’s best chance is Ra2+ although this is answered by Be2 both blocking the check and unleashing a check with his own rook, from which the King cannot escape.

This position is taken from the Quality Chess Puzzle Book by John Shaw, and comes from the game Jack Rudd v Khamroev. What move did Jack now play that earned him a double exclamation mark in the book and a win 4 moves later?

White to play

Devon vs Hants – A Match of Two Halves (22.01.2011.)

Devon’s encounter with Hampshire on Saturday was truly a match of two halves in the sense that Devon I were beaten as soundly by Hants I as were Hants II beaten by Devon II.  Devon were not helped by having several players drop out at short notice and their Boards 1 – 8 were all outgraded and a 6-2 loss there was not a great shock in itself, but on Boards 9 – 16 the teams were much more closely matched, yet Devon lost that section by an even wider margin, 6.5 – 1.5. 

Meanwhile, it was a case of roles reversed in the 2nd team match. Former British Ladies Champion, Gillian Moore led the way for Hampshire, but a run of 9 consecutive losses lower down the order, helped by two defaults, helped Devon II to an equally comprehensive win. Here are the details of both sections:-

  Hants I Grd       Devon I Grd
1 I. D. Thompson 209   1     0 J. F. Wheeler 185
2 M. J. Yeo 195   1     0 J. K. Stephens 181
3 D. R. Tunks 191   1     0 S. J. Homer 180
4 B. C. Jenks 187   ½     ½ A. W. Brusey 175
5 A. McDougall 184   ½     ½ R. Thompson 173
6 W. McDougall 181   1     0 T. F. Thynne 177
7 O. Gill 177   0     1 J. Underwood 172
8 A. Ganesan 175   1     0 J. Duckham 165
9 D. W. Fowler 172   1     0 S. W. Schofield 166
10 F. N. McLeod 171   1     0 W. H. Ingham 164
11 C. J. Bellers 170   1     0 R. M. Pollock 164
12 S. J. Smith 158   ½     ½ P. Brooks 160
13 D. Thompson 157   1     0 C. V. Howard 158
14 T. Chapman 153   ½     ½ S. Clarke 155
15 B. A. Kocan 150   1     0 O. Demerger 157
16 P. Barker 145   ½     ½ P. J. Kennedy 151
  Hants II         Devon II  
17 G. A. Moore 144   1     0 J. V. Morrison 152
18 K. Steele 138   1     0 J. G. Gorodi 150
19 D. Culliford 135   ½     ½ P. E. Halmkin 148
20 D. P. Priestly 132   0     1 M. H. Stinton-B 149
21 R. F. Smith 123   0     1 J. Leung 145
22 J. Barnett 118   0     1 K. Alexander 146
23 S. Murphy 118   0     1 J. Munsey 146
24 J. Davis 112   0     1 F. Sugden 127
25 A. J. Elborne 112   0     1 R. Wilby 131
26 Keven Lamb 102   0     1 O. E. Wensley 120
27         Def    -   0     1 J. Dzenis 120
28         Def    -   0     1 R. H. Jones 138

General view - Dr. Underwood awaits his opponent.

John Wheeler (Devon) plays I. D. Thompson.

Former Devonian Chris Bellers (r) plays new Devonian Richard Pollock.

Boards 2 - 5 in action.

Former British Ladies Champion, Gillian Moore, plays John Morrison.

West’s Winning Ways In Devon Jamboree (16.01.2011.)

This annual event is scheduled for a Sunday in January, when teams of 12 players are invited from each of quarter of Devon. It usually involves three teams, but this year all areas were able to raise a side, and they met at Exeter, at the Isca Centre, a comfortably appointed indoor bowls and bridge club, recently built on the site of the old County Show Ground. The North team is drawn from the membership of Tiverton and Barnstaple, South comes from the various clubs in Torbay, while the East comprises clubs in the Exeter & District League and the West comes from the membership of the large Plymouth Club. The overall population base of each area is approximately equal at 250,000, so to that extent it tends to make for a close contest.    

Players are matched according to the Hutton Pairing system, which ensures that although the teams are mixed up, the formula guarantees that, for example where 4 teams are involved, four players from any one team will play each of the other teams, and of those four, 2 will have the white pieces and the other two being black. And, where there is an even number of teams, all players will be matched with someone on the same board number as themselves. It’s complicated, but it works and it’s fair.    

Before the start, the organiser, Alan Maynard, was the only person to have seen all the team lists and ventured that the winners would be either East or West, but no-one was fooled by that prophesy as anything can happen in this kind of match – and usually does.    

Certainly, the East started well, winning two of their 1st 3 games, while the West lost their 1st games, but from then on there was never more than a point between them. In the end, it came down to the very last game to finish, David Toms of the East against Richard Pollock of the West, Toms needing to win for East to share 1st place. In the early endgame, Toms had blundered away a bishop, having seen the trap in earlier analysis, but had two extra pawns for it. It came down to a bishop + 3 vs 5 pawns. Toms fought gamely to give himself a chance, and indeed both queened a pawn. But Pollock was able to force them both off immediately and was left with a solitary pawn free to get his 3rd queen. So the matter was settled by the last pawn in the last game to finish - it was that close.   

Summary Chart.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Pos.
East 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 0 1 6 2nd
North 1 1 ½ 1 0 1 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 5 4th
South 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 3rd
West 1 1 ½ 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 7.5 1st


Bd   WHITE Grd     BLACK Grd  
1 E1 J. Stephens 181 0 1 J. Duckham 165 N1
2 S1 A. Clarke 164 0 1 D. Twine 170 W1
3 N2 S. Bartlett 162 1 1 W. Ingham 164 S2
4 W2 R. Pollock 164 1 0 D. A. Toms 159 E2
5 E3 P. J. Kennedy 151 1 0 A. Billings 148 S3
6 N3 S. Clarke 155 ½ ½ M. Stinton-B 149 W3
7 S4 R. Wilby 133 0 1 I. Annetts 155 N4
8 S4 E. J. Smith 143 1 0 B. Gosling 156 E4
9 S5 J. E. Allen 140 1 0 J. Morrison 152 N5
10 E5 J. S. Murray 143 1 0 K. Bloodworth 122 W5
11 N6 J. Knowles 133 1 0 G. Body 140 E6
12 W6 A. Tatam 127 1 0 J. W. Clarke 129 S6
13 E7 R. H. Jones 138 1 0 R. Dooley 114 N7
14 S7 N. F. Tidy 129 0 1 R. Greenhalgh 117 W7
15 N8 S. T-Tracey 114 ½ ½ F. Sugden 127 S8
16 W8 C. Peach 114 0 1 O. Wensley 120 E8
17 E9 J. Dzenis 120 ½ ½ K. Hindon 124 S9
18 N9 B. Aldwin 111 0 1 J. Ariss 111 S9
19 W10 D. Scantlebury 112 1 0 B. Connor 88 N10
20 S10 G. Bramley 110 ½ ½ H. Welch 115 E10
21 S11 J. Doidge 106 1 0 J. Wheadon 88 N11
22 E11 F. R. Hodge 111 0 1 J. Dean 109 W11
23 N12 A. Barclay 35 0 1 W. Fairbairn 101 E12
24 W12 C. Zisimides 97 0 1 N. Mills 93 S12

The Top 4 Boards Get the Show on the Road.


Kennedy vs Billings on Bd. 5 Make Their Opening Moves


All 4 Whites Here Won their Games; Allen, Murray, Knowles & Tatam.


General view of the action - John Duckham in the foreground



The last and decisive game to finish - Pollock vs Toms


Organiser Alan Maynard (r) presents the trophy to Tony Tatam, Captain of the West team.



Hastings 2011 – Crucial Game

The venerable post-Christmas Hastings Congress finished a few days ago, with Indian players dominating the prizelist. Deep Sengupta and Das Atghyadir shared 1st prize, while David Howell and Danny Gormally, both of England came 4th=.

The strongest competitor in the top section, the Masters in which 48 competed, was Romain Edouard of France and he went into the last round in the clear lead by a half point, but then fell at the final hurdle in this wild Sicilian Defence.

White: D. Sengupta (2527). Black: R. Edouard (2620)

Sicilian Defence – Richter Attack. [B66]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0–0–0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Be7 10.f4 Black knows he must act quickly against the White king or risk being overrun on the opposite wing, a typical theme in this opening. 10…b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 If 11…Bxf6 12.e5 dxe5 13.Qc5 Bd7 14.Nxb5 Be7 15.Nc7+ preventing castling 15…Kf8 16.Qxe5 Ra7 17.Nxa6. 12.e5 d5 13.Be2 Bb7 14.f5 fxe5 15.Qxe5 Bf6 16.Qg3 Qb8 17.Qh3 d4 18.fxe6 The sensible move would have been 18.Nb1 to save the knight, but White prefers attack to defence. 18…Qf4+ 19.Kb1 dxc3 20.exf7+ Kf8 21.a3 h5 22.Rhf1 White may be a piece down but at least all his pieces are developed and have scope to attack. Black’s rooks, meanwhile are still unconnected and his defences are fatally cramped. 22…Qe5 23.Bd3 Qg5 24.Qd7 Bxg2 25.Rde1 threatening Re8+ 25…Be7 If 25…Bxf1 26.Re8+ and there are 2 mates in 1. 26.Rf5 Qh4 threatening the rook, but it merely helps White to consolidate his forces even more. 27.Rfe5 Rd8 28.Qc7 Rxd3 29.cxd3 and Black resigned as the attack on e7 is too strong to resist.

Westcountry interest in the prizelist was rather thin. Jack Rudd of Bideford scored a creditable 5/9 points but was out of the prizes. Geoff Taylor of Gloucester, on the other hand, shared a Grading Prize in one of the lower sections.

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree takes place tomorrow afternoon in Exeter, involving four teams of 12 players, from the North, South, East and West of the county. The North won this event last year for the first time and will be hoping to retain the trophy, though there will be tough resistance from the other teams.

Next weekend sees a resumption of the Inter-County competition, which includes Hampshire taking on Devon at Wincanton.

In last week’s position, Keith Arkell finished off with 1.Rc1c7+ which left Cherniaev powerless to avoid massive material loss.

This unpublished 2-mover has been sent in by reader Dave Howard of West Harptree, near Bristol. Black’s two pieces have considerable flexibility, so how can White allow for that yet still mate in 2?

White to mate in 2.

Ray Keene – O.B.E. & Tweeter

Got an unexpected e-mail from Ray Keene this afternoon containing two announcements.

Firstly, he says he doing a full review of the Paignton Congress book in his column in The Times on Saturday, and hinted that it would be positive. Can’t wait to see that.

Secondly, he’s gone down the tweeting route, and asks that people follow his tweets, as this will demonstrate an interest in the game, impressing potential sponsors and enriching the game that way.


Birthday Boy (08.01.2011.)

Devon’s only resident Grandmaster, Keith Arkell, is 50 this morning. On leaving school he decided to try and become a chess professional. Almost 35 years later, he has survived the arduous chess circuit, winning over 325 tournaments around the world in the process, including the titles of British RapidPlay Champion and the first English Champion 2008 (jointly with Stuart Conquest).

Here is one of his favourite wins, against the Paignton-born Gary Lane, taken from the recent book on the history of the Paignton Congress, 60 Years In The Same Room (Keverel Chess £15.99  ISBN 0-9531321-5-3).

White: G. W. Lane (209). Black: K. C. Arkell (223).

Caro Kann Defence [B10]

This was one of Arkell’s seven straight wins in the 1988 event and his best as it won one of two Best Game prizes. 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 If 3.e5 Black would probably have played 3…c5 a line which has Arkell’s name attached to it. dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Ng5 e6 7.Qe2 Nb6 8.Bb3 Mestel v K. Arkell in the British Championship (Rd. 3) at Blackpool 5 weeks earlier had continued 8.Bd3 h6 9.N5f3 c5 10.dxc5 Nbd7 11.b4 Nd5 12.Bd2 Qf6 13.Rb1 a5 14.a3 g5 with sharp play. White won in 47 moves. 8…h6 9.N5f3 a5 10.a4 c5 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Ne5 Nbd5 13.Qb5+?! The start of ambitious play, but is it sound? 13…Ke7 14.dxc5 Nxf4 15.0–0–0 Bxe5! 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.c6

Perhaps White expected too much from this double attack, as after he gets a 2nd Queen his King comes under pressure and Black’s knight is a tower of strength on d5. 17…N4d5 18.cxb7 Rb8! White had anticipated 18…Bxb7? 19.bxc8=Q White is leading temporarily by 2 queens to nil! 19…Rdxc8 20.Qd3 Nb4 21.Qe2 Nxc2! 22.Bxc2 Bxb2+ 23.Kd2 Nd5 24.Nh3 Bc3+ 25.Kd3 Rb4! 26.Qf1 Rd4+ 27.Ke2 Rd2+ 28.Kf3 Rxc2 29.g3 Bd4 30.Qa6 R8c3+ 31.Ke4 Bxf2? A slight error caused by time trouble. 31…Bb6 retaining the attacking bishop is quicker, though Black still weaves a mating net this way too. 32.Nxf2 Re3+ 33.Kd4 Rxf2 34.Qxa5 Ree2 35.Qa7+ Kf6 36.a5 Rc2 37.Qb8 Rfd2+ 38.Ke4 Rc4+ 39.Kf3 Rc3+ 40.Kg4 Rd4+ 41.Kh5 Ne3 and White resigned if 42.Qa7 Nf5 planning 43…g6 mate. (Or alternatively if 42.g4 g6+ 43.Kxh6 Nf5+ 44.Kh7 Rh3+ 45.Kg8 Ne7+ 46.Kf8 Rh8 mate).

In last week’s position, White (Arkell) played Rxe7, and if Black takes it with the Queen he will lose it to Bg5, and if he doesn’t take it he faces a crushing discovered check.

Here is a position from later in his career, the 1991 Lloyd’s Bank Masters, in which he is White against Alex Cherniaev of Russia. What move did he now play to cause Black to resign immediately?

White to force immediate resignation.

London Chess Classic Game

The following game from the recent London Chess Classic involved the 2010 British Champion, Taunton resident Mickey Adams, and his immediate predecessor.

White: M. Adams (2723). Black: David Howell (2611).

Ruy Lopez – Berlin Defence.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Inviting Black to take the e-pawn and accept the consequences of a more open game. Black usually declines and opts for a more closed position with something like 4…Be7. Howell, however, is in a pawn-grabbing mood. 4…Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 7…dxc6? can lead to problems after 8.dxe5 Nf5 9.Rd1 Bd7 (forced) 10.e6! fxe6 11.Ne5 Bd6 12.Qh5+ 12…g6 13.Nxg6 etc. 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.c4 0–0 10.Nc3 f6 11.Re1 fxe5 12.Qxe5 Bf6 13.Qg3 13…Nc5 14.Bg5 Nd3? Black is chasing rainbows when he should be continuing with sensible development – getting more pieces out. 15.Re3! Nxb2 Black is committed to the capture though it doesn’t help his cause at all. 16.Rae1 All White’s army is now poised for the attack. 16…Bxg5?! 17.Nxg5 Qf6. 18.Rf3 Qd8 19.Nce4 White has a choice of good moves, one being 19.Qe5, which craftily closes on the black knight, e.g. 19…Nxc4 20.Rxf8+ Qxf8 21.Qe4 with twin threats of Qxh7 mate and Qxc4. 19…Ba6 Adams now sounds the charge. 20.Nxh7! 20.Rxf8+ is also very good, e.g. 20…Qxf8 21.Nxh7! Kxh7 22.Ng5+ Kg8 23.Qh3! and it’s all over e.g. 23…Qb4 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Qh8#. 20…Rxf3 21.gxf3 Kxh7 22.Ng5+ Kg8 23.Qh4 Bxc4 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Re5 White could also have played, 25.Qh8+ though it is not quite as neat – e.g. 25…Bg8 26.Re5 Qf6 27.Nh7+ Kf7 28.Nxf6 Kxf6 29.f4. 25…Be6 26.Qh8+ Ke7 27.Qxg7+ Kd6 The only other move 27…Ke8 also leads to mate in 1. 28.Ne4# 1–0

The Open Section was won jointly by Grandmasters Gawain Jones and Simon Williams on 7½/9 who received £2,000 each. Somewhat off the leading pace were Jack Rudd (Bideford) 6 and Keith Arkell (Paignton) 5½.

Devon’s Champion of Champions 2010 is the Exmouth representative, Mark Abbott, who beat Torquay’s Andy Dunn last week in a replayed final. His will be a new name on one of the Westcountry’s oldest and largest trophies, the Winter-Wood Shield.

In this position from 1977, Arkell was white and on his way to his first chess title, the Worcestershire Junior Championship. What did he now play to cause his opponent’s instant resignation?

White to force immediate resignation.