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Archive for May, 2011

Exmouth Club’s 2011 Champion – Mark Abbott.

John Stephens has led the Club Championship all season, while Mark Abbott, the defending Champion, has lagged behind in games played, often failing to secure an opponent on a club night. However, he was never far behind and on the penultimate clubnight of the season managed to beat Steve Murray, against whom he’d only managed a draw in their first game. Then on the final night he faced Phil Kennedy, always dangerous when given even half a chance to attack.

Their game proved a worthy climax to the tournament as they went at it with gusto, matching threat with counter-threat. However, early in the middlegame Kennedy had weakened his kingside with a bold pawn move and in the final analysis Abbott was able to exploit the resulting weakness, mounting twin threats until his opponent was forced to concede.

Abbott thus leapfrogged Stephens to lead by a half point. Throughout the long season he had never been in the lead until the last few minutes of the last game – not unlike the Premiership’s relegation battle the Sunday before, but in reverse. However, no-one would begrudge him being able  to add the title to the Devon Individual Championship he won earlier in the year.

Mark Abbott in action at the WECU Championship in Exmouth at Easter.

Devon Beat Warwickshire – U-180s (28.05.2011.)

Devon met a strong Warwickshire team at Frampton-on-Severn on Saturday in the quarter-final of the U-180 championship. As teams were very evenly matched, it was clearly going to be a tight match – and so it proved.

It started with draws for B. Hewson,  I. Annetts, J. Duckham, D. Regis and P. Brooks. Later, a win by A. Kinder left Warwickshire 7-5 up with 4 games still in progress. D. Toms and R. Thompson then won to level the scores and P. Kennedy drew after stout defence against a strong attack.

This left Brian Gosling vs Fahy as the last men standing, locked in a tense struggle and a fast finish. Both had chances and all 3 results were possible. At the critical point both players had a pawn on the 7th rank waiting to queen.

White: B. Gosling (159) J. Fahy (156)

Dutch Defence [A90]

1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0–0 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.b3 0–0 8.Ba3 Ne4 9.Bxd6 Qxd6 10.Qc2 Nd7 11.Qb2 Ndf6N 12.Ne5 Qe7 13.f3 Ng5 14.Nd2 Nf7 15.Nxf7 Rxf7 White now decides to open up the centre before Black’s queenside pieces get out. 16.e4 Qc7 17.cxd5 exd5 18.e5 creating a supported passed pawn – small advantages are accruing to White. 18…Ne8 19.f4 Qb6 20.Rfc1 Nc7 21.a4 Ne6 22.Nf3 a5 23.h3 Bd7 24.Rab1 h6 25.b4 axb4 26.Qxb4 Qxb4 27.Rxb4 g5 28.fxg5 hxg5 29.Ra1 b5 30.a5 …and a second passed pawn eyes up the finishing line. 30…Be8 31.Nd2 Kg7 32.Nb3 f4 33.g4 f3 34.Bf1 Rf4 35.Rb1 Bg6 Black threatens to win material. 36.Rb2 Be4 37.Kf2 c5?? releasing the pressure and enabling White to open the position up. 38.Nxc5+- Nxc5 39.dxc5 a third pawn makes a charge for the line. 39…Rxa5 40.Rxb5 Rxb5? 41.Rxb5 With most of the heavy armour now gone, the Kings must play their part. 41…Kf7 42.Rb6 Ke7 43.Rd6 Rf8 44.c6 Ra8 45.Ke3 Ra1 46.Bb5 Ra3+?? another step towards the grave. 47.Kd4 f2 48.c7 Ra4+ 49.Kc5 Ra5 See the position below. Imagine there are just minutes left on the clock, a breathless crowd gathered around your board and both sides about to queen a pawn. What should you do? White found an ingenious solution to the problem, but there is an even quicker resolution if you can spot it. 50.c8=N+ An amusing under-promotion – good enough to win, but not the very best (see below). 50…Kf7 51.Rf6+ Kg7 52.Rxf2 Bd3 53.Nd6 Bxb5 54.Nxb5 d4 Now 2 more pawns try their luck. 55.e6 d3 56.e7 Ra8 57.Rf3 57…Re8 58.Re3 58…d2 59.Nc3 Kf7 And Black’s flag fell, but he is a piece and a pawn down with no compensation.

    In last week’s position, Black can quickly wrap up the game with    1.Bg3+ forcing the King away from f1   so Black can follow up with 2.Rf1 mate.

From  the game above, Can you spot a decisive move for  White, other than under-promoting his pawn?

Find a move for White to retain the initiative

Frome Congress Winners (21.05.2011.)

170 players competed in the Frome Congress recently and the winners were:

Open Section :- 1st Chris Jenks (Southbourne) 4½/5 pts. 2nd= David Buckley (Bath) & Andrew Smith (Bourne End) 4. The British Championship Qualifying Place went to Jenks. Grading prize (U-175) 1st William Foo (Reading) 3½. Buckley won the Bonner Cup.

Major (U-170): 1st= Stephen Williams (Colchester); Russel Barlow (South Bristol) & Paul Jackson (Coulsdon) 4 pts. Grading prize (U-150) Paul Tew (Bridgend) 3½.

Intermediate (U-140): 1st= Roger Walker (Belper) 4½.  2nd= John Symons (Salisbury); Paul Errington Bournemouth); George Hollands (Kent); Paul Brackner (Weymouth); Thomas Thorpe (Pete’s Potentials) & Mark Stone (Orpington). Grading prize (U-125) Simon Denney (Bristol Uni.) 3½.

Minor (U-115): 1st= Geoff Gammon (Downend) & Phil Summers (Kent) 4½. 3rd= John Ariss (Teignmouth); Roger Fenton (Glastonbury) & Michael Harby (Glastonbury) all 4. Grading prize (U-90) Reg Cox (Southampton).

The Venezuelan Arturo Wong of the Ilminster Club has won several tournaments recently but had a miserable time here, finishing on one point. His Rd 4 game is an example.

White: Arturo Wong (188) – Black: Richard Truman (169).

Two Knights Defence [C59]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 If Black had played 5…Nxd5 White would have the option of continuing with the lively Fegatello Attack, e.g. 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 etc. 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 Already it is apparent that White has had to retreat from his early foray, leaving Black with far more space to exploit. 9…e4 10.Ne5 Bd6 11.d4 Thus far it is all well-known theory, known as the Knorre Variation. 11…exd3 12.Nxd3 Qc7 13.h3 Nc4!? 14.b3 Ne5 15.Nxe5? White should be concentrating on bringing pieces into play, not swapping off those few that already are. 15…Bxe5 16.c3 Bf5 17.0–0 0–0 18.Bb2 Rad8! Black’s pieces now are all well-placed and ready to attack, whereas White’s queenside is still underdeveloped and his queen subject to constant harassment. 19.Qe1 Rfe8 20.f4 White is desperate to create space for his pieces, but in vain. 20…Bxf4 21.c4 Ne4 22.Rf3 Ng3 23.Rxg3 It’s desperate times for White but he could still have tried piece development with 23.Nc3 Nxe2+ 24.Nxe2 Rd7 23…Bxg3 24.Qf1 Bd3 25.Nc3 If 25.Bxd3 Rxd3 26.Na3 Rde3 27.Nc2 Re2. 25…Bxe2 26.Nxe2 Rd2 27.Nxg3 Qxg3 28.Bc1 Rf2? Good enough to win, but missing a mate in 2 28…Rxg2+! 29.Qxg2 (29.Kh1 would give Black a choice of 3 immediate mates) 29…Re1# 29.Qxf2 Re1+ 30.Qxe1 Qxe1+ 31.Kh2 Qe5+ 32.Bf4 Qxa1 0–1

All games from the Open may be found on the Bristol League website.

In last week’s position from the website, White could finish quickly with 1.R1h7+ forcing the king to f6 after which 2.Qg5 mates.

Here is another position from the 2-move checkmate section.

White to mate in 2

Devon Squeeze Past Warwickshire

In spite of Devon’s miserable season in the West of England stages through the winter, they never the less qualified for the National Stages of the U-180 Section. This was because, before the season even starts, all counties must decide whether they wish to go forward into the National Stages, and if so, which of the several available sections they would opt for. Devon chose the Under-180 section as it suits the number and strength of Devon’s active players. As none of the other WECU teams had opted for this section, there was no barrier to Devon going forward.

So, without only a handful of their strongest players who were thus ineligible, they met a strong Warwickshire team at Frampton-on-Severn on Saturday. The teams were very evenly matched and it was clearly going to be a tight match – and so it proved.

It started with five draws, followed by a win for each team. Later, Warwickshire reached 7 – 5 up with 4 games still in progress. Toms and Thompson then won to level the scores and Kennedy drew after stout defence against a strong attack.

This left Brian Gosling vs Fahy as the last men standing, locked in a tense struggle and a fast finish. Both had chances and all 3 results were possible. At the critical point both players had a pawn on the 7th rank waiting to queen. Deep in time trouble and with an engrossed crowd around the board, Gosling missed the strongest winning continuation, but found instead an ingenious line that involved under-promoting his pawn to a knight which crucially gave check and bought a vital tempo to deal with the opposing pawn threat and emerge a piece up with a winning position.

As the tension was suddenly released, the crowd burst out into spontaneous applause – one of the highlights of Gosling’s chess career, so far.

Devon now go on to meet Yorkshire who swept aside their rather under-strength opponents, Cambridgeshire.

Details of both matches:-

Bd. Devon  Grd     Warwickshire Grd
1 Brian Hewson 176 ½ ½ Nick Roberts 176
2 Mark Abbott 177 ½ ½ Keith Escott 179
3 Alan Brusey 175 0 1 Alan Agnew 178
4 Robert Thompson 173 1 0 Simon Smith 175
5 Trefor Thynne 177 0 1 Dave Ireland 175
6 Dr. Jonathan Underwood 172 1 0 Robert Walker 171
7 Dr. Dave Regis 166 ½ ½ Mark Cundy 169
8 Andrew Kinder 166 1 0 Robert Wallman 165
9 Bill Ingham 164 0 1 Tom Robinson 159
10 Jon Duckham 165 ½ ½ Robert Reynolds 155
11 Paul Brooks 160 ½ ½ Mike Doran 153
12 Dr. David Toms 159 1 0 Ed Goodwin 157
13 Alex Billings 148 0 1 Roy Lawrence 156
14 Brian Gosling 156 1 0 John Fahy 151
15 Ivor Annetts 155 ½ ½ Gary Hope 151
16 Phil Kennedy 151 ½ ½ Andrew Moxley 154


Bd. Cambridgeshire Grd     Yorkshire Grd    
1 A. Stewart 169 ½ ½ M. Webb 178    
2 R. McCorry 175 0 1 A. Lang 175    
3 M. Misson 171 ½ ½ R. Jennings 178    
4 B. Duff 169 0 1 J. Hamm 176    
5 J. Daugman 167 0 1 I. Lewyk 177    
6 C. Davison 155 1 0 A. Slinger 172    
7 M. Szymanski 157 1 0 C. Davies 169    
8 P. Ribbands 151 0 1 P. Weller 163    
9 G. Alcock 150 0 1 A. Hards 164    
10 J. Beck 147 0 1 A. Bak 162    
11 M. Lim 149 0 1 I. W. Smith 165    
12 S. Foster 151 0 1 M. Edwards-Wright 162    
13 J. Dunn 147 ½ ½ H. Baxter 164    
14 S. Bazuk 134 0 1 J. Carpenter 164    
15 J. Cooke 130 0 1 D. Patrick 160    
16 C. Richmond 118 0 1 M. Bramson 159    



Forthcoming Yeovil Congress

Looking ahead, the Yeovil Congress takes place from the 24th – 26th June at Westfield Lower School. Apart from the new venue, another new feature is that both the Open and Major sections will be FIDE-rated, which means that all those players must be members of the ECF adding, for some, another £20 on top of the entry fee. The pros and cons of this move are currently being debated in various on-line forums, and the organiser, Jack Rudd, will assess its effect on the entry before making a decision for next year. He will be pleased to furnish further details on

Meanwhile, here is a game from a previous Yeovil Congress.

White: A. Mordue. Black: G. Jepps. Scandinavian Defence [B01].

Notes supplied by Jack Rudd.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4!? The Portuguese Gambit; much used by well-prepared aggressive players trying for a win with the black pieces. 4.f3 Bf5 5.Bb5+ Nbd7 6.c4 a6 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Ne2 e6 9.dxe6 Bxe6 A typical position from this opening. White has an extra central pawn while Black has a lead in development and the two bishops. This probably favours White but anything can happen. 10.b3 0–0–0 11.0–0 h5 Black immediately launches his attack against the King. 12.Nbc3 h4 13.Bg5?! Possibly the source of many of White’s subsequent difficulties as the bishop proves to be a target. 13…Rh5 14.Qd2 Be7 15.Rad1 Bf5 16.Bf4? Making matters worse. While the bishop was uncomfortably placed on g5, it was at least holding up Black’s kingside expansion. The text allows Black to bring his entire army into the attack. 16…Rg8 17.Be5 g5 18.d5? 18.g4! looks horrible, opening up lines for black’s attack, but it does allow White to bring pieces back for the defence. 18…hxg3 19.Nxg3 Rh3 20.Rf2 is not fun for white, but it may be survivable. 18…g4 Black’s rooks and pawns are asking all the questions. 19.Nd4 gxf3 20.Nxf3 Bh3 21.Rf2 Ng4 22.Re2 Now begins a series of exchanges which results in Black winning the queen. 22…Nxe5 23.Nxe5 Rxe5 24.Rxe5 Rxg2+ 25.Qxg2 Bxg2 26.Rxe7 Qxe7 27.Kxg2 Qe3 28.Rf1 h3+ 0-1 Backing the king back into a corner before the queen starts to mop up.

In last week’s position, the only way for White to mate immediately before Black can queen his pawn is to get castled – he shouldn’t have left it so long!

I have just been sent an unsolicited e-mail with news about a new website where anyone can practice various aspects of their chess, from honing endgame technique, to tactics and finding checkmates. The site is inter-active and one can play whole games against the computer at various levels of difficulty. The site is called; it is free and looks a useful addition to an improving player’s learning tools. Here is a position taken at random from the 2-move checkmate section.

White to play and mate in 2.

WECU’s British Championship Qualifying Place

The English Chess Federation annually reserves four places in the British Championship for players nominated by the West of England Chess Union. WECU passes on three of these to events in its area that meet certain criteria, like the Torbay and Frome Congresses, while retaining one place for its own Easter Congress. This place is offered to the highest-placed, eligible player in the Open section. Eligibility depends on the player being either born or currently resident in, or attending a school or college in one of the seven counties comprising the Union, and not already qualified by some other route.

This year, the winner of the Open, Steve Berry was ineligible on all counts. Equal 2nd were M. Turner and D. Mackle, but the former is pre-qualified by virtue of being a GM and Mackle could not spare the time off, so the offer was made to Patryk Krzyzanowski who has lived in Yeovil for about three years. He seems likely to accept, once he has worked out the details.

He recently won the Teignmouth RapidPlay and here scored 4 points and is clearly very strong for his grade which is sure to rise when the new grading list comes out. Here is his game against the current Devon Champion.

White: P. Krzyzanowski (177). Black: M. V. Abbott (177).

Benko Gambit  [A57]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 3…b5 The signature move of the Benko Gambit. 4.cxb5 4a6 5.b6 5.bxa6 is more usual, but White does not wish to play into Black’s hands, as he correctly assumes Black will know well all the common lines. 5…g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.e4 d6 8.Qb3 Bb7 9.a4 a5 10.Bb5+ Nbd7 11.Bc6 Bxc6 12.dxc6 Nxb6 13.Nd5 Nbxd5 14.exd5 White’s two advanced pawns now look well-entrenched. 14…Rb8 15.Qf3 0–0 16.Ne2 e6 17.Bg5 h6 18.c7! The Black Queen is now compromised and cannot defend both c7 and f6 at the same time. 18…Qxc7 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Qxf6 exd5 Black comes out of this skirmish having lost a piece for 2 pawns. 21.0–0 d4 22.Rae1 Qd8 23.Qf4 Rxb2 24.Qxh6 Qf6 25.Nf4 Qg7 26.Qg5 c4 Black’s 3 passed pawns must shuffle forward as and when they can if he is to stand any chance. White must generate his own threats, possibly using his extra piece rather than being solely defensive as the advancing pawns with soon become increasingly powerful. 27.Re7 d3 28.Nd5 Qd4 The threat is 29.Nf6+ Kh8 30.Qh4+ etc. 29.Re4 Qc5 If 29…Qxe4 30.Nf6+. 30.Ne7+ Kg7 31.Nd5 Kg8 32.Rh4 Rxf2 33.Rxf2 Rb8 34.Rh8+ and Black resigned in view of  34…Kxh8 35.Qh6+ Kg8 36.Nf6 mate or 34…Kg7 35.Qf6 mate 1–0

Last week’s problem by G. F. Anderson was solved by 1.Rb4-b6! If that was tricky, try this easier one. Black is about to queen but doesn’t get the chance as White mates next move.

White to play and mate immediately.