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December 2011
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Archive for December, 2011

London Chess Classic – 2011 – Open Section.

During the recent London Chess Classic, while most attention was directed at the nine chosen elite players in the top section, there was much going on among the massive Open Section, where the entry of 222 included a number of grandmasters and titled players from around the world. Paignton resident, Keith Arkell had several draws in the early rounds, but wins in rounds 6, 7, and 8 projected him up to top board for the 9th and final round, where he was one of only a handful who had a chance of winning the £2,500 1st prize. This caused him to play for a win, and in over-pressing led to a mistake which cost him the game and an appearance in the prizelist.

Here is his win from the penultimate round.

White: Adam Hunt (2458); Black: K. Arkell (2418). Caro-Kann Defence – Arkell/Khenkin Variation.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 In the late 1980s Arkell made a study of this move, feeling it had been neglected, despite seeming to offer Black dynamic possibilities. The leading magazine, New In Chess, christened it the Arkell/Khenkin Variation in recognition of the work they had both done, independently. 4.c4 e6 5.Nf3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nc6 7.Nc3 Bc5 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Qg4 Bf8 10.Bd3 Ne7 11.0–0 Ng6 12.f4 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 0–0 14.Na4 Be7 15.Be3 d4 16.Bd2 c5 17.Be4 Rb8 18.b3 Bb7 19.Bxb7 Rxb7 20.Nb2 Qd7 21.Nd3 Qc6 22.f5 exf5 23.Rxf5 a5 24.Raf1 a4 25.bxa4 Qxa4 White now sacrifices his  weak e-pawn in order to get some play in the centre. 26.e6 fxe6 27.Rxf8+ Nxf8 28.Qf3 Qa8 29.Ne5 Qc8 30.a4 Bf6 31.Ng4 Rf7 32.a5 Qb7 33.Qe2 e5 34.Nf2 Bh4 35.Nd3 Qe4! The white queen is overloaded, trying to protect f1 and e4 – it cannot do both, and must lose a piece. 36.Qd1 Qxd3 37.Rxf7 Kxf7 38.a6 Nd7 39.a7 Nb6 40.g3 Bg5 41.Qh5+ Kf8 Now White’s bishop and a mate on f1 are threatened and he cannot avoid both. 42.Kg1 Bxd2 0–1

The final of the British Chess Problem Solving Championship has been held at Oakham School every year since 1995, but this has now come to an end since the school felt unable to offer the venue in the future. Fortunately, the gap has been filled by Eton College, and the 2012 final will be held there in School Hall, on Saturday 18th February.

Reshevsky concluded last week’s position by 1.QxB+! RxQ forced and ending the threat of a back rank mate, allowing RxQ, leaving White a bishop and 2 pawns ahead.

This week’s 2-mover is another world premier by David Howard of East Harptree, near Bristol. In spite of the maximum number of knights, the problemist’s favourite piece, it’s not one of his most difficult, so the Christmas festivities are no excuse for not having time to solve it.

White to mate in 2

Royal Beacon Hotel Goes Into Administration.

In today’s Exmouth Journal, nestling among articles on the themes of Boy Stuck in Railings and dog bites dog, lies the rather more concerning headline “Bank takes over top hotel“, the hotel in question being the Royal Beacon, home of the West of England Championships and the Beacon Seniors Congress these past 12 years.

Hotel staff there assured me tonight that all bookings for the immediate future, including the 2012 WECU Easter Congress, would be honoured. The hotel was fundamentally profitable and it was in no-one’s interests to close it down as a knee-jerk reaction.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and their subsidiary, Nat West, foreclosed on Tuesday after giving the former owner, Paul Nightingale, a final 3 hours notice to come up with loan and overdraft payments. The RBS/NatWest have put in administrators RSM Tenon Recovery, a spokesman for whom told the Journal, “The hotel continues to trade as we review the hotel’s financial position. We will be looking to sell it as a going concern. It has generated quite a lot of interest. Those who have booked weddings have been contacted and current bookings will be honoured“. I am assured this includes the chess events.

So from this, I would estimate that this year’s Easter Congress is reasonably secure, as things stand; there’s no need for panic at this stage. The question is whether the new management,whoever they may eventually be, will be as kindly disposed towards these events as were the former owners, who could both take the wider view of how the presence of these events benefitted both the hotel’s and Exmouth’s local economy.

The Paignton – Doeberl Connection.

Gary Lane has  just sent this e-mail from Australia, where a chess colleague of his is, apparently, putting together a book to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their Doeberl Cup  (Now where have I heard that kind of thing before?!). It seems Gary brought the Paignton book to his attention

Hi Bob,

I thought you might be interested to know that you are proving to be an inspiration to a guy writing a book celebrating 50 years of the Doeberl Cup which is Australia’s leading weekend tournament.

Bill Egan writes:

“I got a copy of the Paignton book after you made me aware of it.

I found it very interesting. There are many parallels with the approach I have been using but also some significant differences.

I think these are probably warranted by the different nature of the two events; Paignton has not had the central significance in the English scene that the Doeberl has in Australia, and the book makes it clear that it is in some ways in decline, whereas the Doeberl has been growing in significance.

Robert Jones made his task a bit simpler by simply incorporating a lot of available archival material whereas I have complicated mine by starting from scratch, just using historical info as a base resource. My main problem at present is that I am going to have to trim back quite severely to keep the book to a reasonable (and affordable) size. 

One obvious parallel is the use of profiles of leading players.”

For those less familiar with the Ozzie chess scene, the Doeberl Cup event runs over every Easter weekend in Australia’s federal capital of Canberra. It was originally funded by the architect, Erich Doeberl, who may have been involved in the construction from scratch of the city from its founding in the early 1900s. Like the Paignton Congress, it has grown in popularity, but the Doeberl has also grown in national significance, as it often attracts more entries than the Australian Championships, whereas Paignton’s original kudos of 1951 started to decline as the number of other events mushroomed in the wake of the British chess explosion of the 1970s.

There are connections between the two as several players have played in both events. The Doeberl’s original winner in 1963, John Purdey, son of the venerable Cecil, played at Paignton in 1955, where he came equal last.  Max Fuller came 2nd= behind Ray Keene at Paignton in 1969 and went on to win the Doeberl in 1974, ‘75 & ‘83. More recently, Gawain Jones has played in both events.

Anyway, the potentially inspirational Paignton book is still available to any would-be chess history recorders. Available from all good chess book sellers. Failing that, contact me via e-mail ( jones_r53@sky.com) £15.99 post free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McShane Shines (17.12.2011.)

Malcolm Pein’s excellently organised London Chess Classic, ended on Monday with a win for the Russian, Vladimir Kramnik who finished with a score of 16 points from 4 wins, 4 draws and no losses. Hikaru Nakamura was runner-up with 15 pts. and Magnus Carlsen third on 14.

The star of England’s quartet was Luke McShane, the only other player with a double digit score (13), while Westcountryman Michael Adams was completely out of form, coming last of the nine on just 3 points, having lost 5 games. This is in stark contrast to his recent performance at the European Team Championship where he won the gold medal for the best score by any Board 1 player. The two are probably not unconnected as, although a sedentary game, top level chess is extremely draining on the brain and nervous system and one needs adequate time to recuperate fully and be fresh for the next challenge.

McShane, who now works for Goldman-Sachs, beat all his English opponents, including this game between the two former child prodigies.

White: Nigel Short (2698). Black: Luke McShane (2671).

King’s Gambit Accepted [C34]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 h6 The Becker Defence, named after Albert Becker (1896–1984) not Boris, although he was present at the tournament. 4.d4 g5 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 fxg3 7.hxg3 Bg7 8.Be3 Nf6 9.Qd3 Ng4 10.0–0–0 c6 11.Re1 Nd7 12.e5 dxe5 13.Bh3 Nxe3 14.Rxe3 0–0 Black must take the risk of castling K-side as his Q-side pieces will take too long to develop. 15.Ne4 Nf6 16.Bxc8 exd4 17.Bxb7 dxe3 18.Bxa8 Nxe4 19.Qxe4 Qb6 Protecting his advanced pawn and threatening mate. 20.Ne5 Rxa8 21.Qxc6 Qxc6 22.Nxc6 Re8 23.c3 Re6 24.Nxa7 Black doesn’t mind giving up this pawn as it sidelined the knight and allows him to concentrate on maximising his own dangerous e-pawn. 24…Be5 25.Nb5 e2 26.Kd2 Bxg3 27.Re1 Bxe1+ 28.Kxe1 White has sacrificed his e-pawn to win the exchange, but now his other pawns must race on. h5 29.Nd4 Ra6 30.a3 h4 31.Kxe2 g4 32.c4 h3 33.Kf2 h2 34.Kg2 Rh6 35.Kh1 g3 36.Nf5 g2+ 0-1 To the h-pawn goes the honour of queening, except that White has seen enough.

In last week’s position, Reinfeld’s “obvious” move was 1.Nf5 forcing Black to play Rg8, but then 2.Be5! adds a second mating threat that cannot be avoided.

This position came near the end of a 1953 game between Reshevsky (W) and Kotov. Black has just played 34…Qd3-e2 threatening the rook in the knowledge it can’t be taken because of the back rank mate. Yet White now found a winning move. Can you see it?

White to play and win.

“JB”’s Headstone Renovation Project – an Update.

My club colleague, Brian Gosling, tells me he has made a start at re-newing the headstone of “JB of Bridport”, the pioneering 19th century problem composer.

Brian has spent several years researching a book on John Brown’s life and chess work, which was published earlier this Autumn – (see covers below).

It was always Brian’s intention that any proceeds would be put towards the cost of renovating his headstone in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Bradpole, and he has already made a start in the process, as witnessed by his pictures here.

East Window, Holy Trinity Church, Bradpole. JB's grave next to drainpipe.

 

JB's headstone close-up; inscription is mostly illegible.

 

Making a start.

 

Cover of Brian's book on "JB".

 

The back cover bearing details of the publication.

Devon vs Cornwall Result (10.12.2011.)

Cornwall may have been rocked by an earthquake last Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with their chess match against Devon earlier in the day, which involved no such shocks and went mostly according to expectations. It was the same old story for the Cornish – quite capable of holding their own on the top boards, but liable to fall away as their lack of strength in depth took its toll. In this case, the top 5 games were shared 2½ each, featuring four Black wins, but the lower 11 boards could only muster 4 draws. An illustration of the difference in strength can be seen by comparing the match on Bd. 5, where the experienced Simon Bartlett (162) was reasonably close in grade to John Stephens (173) and quite capable of securing a result. Yet whereas the Cornish team fell away sharply below that, Devon’s Bd. 16 player was the same grade as Bartlett (Pollock – 162). Having said this, playing the Cornish side is never a formality and they can never be taken lightly - they are quite capable of beating any WECU team who thinks otherwise, and Devon’s captain, Brian Hewson, knows better than to fall into that particular trap for the unwary.

The details were as follows (Cornish names first and were White on the even numbered boards):

1. J. Menadue 1-0 K. Hurst. 2. L. Retallick 0-1 S. Homer. 3. M. Hassall 1-0 B. Hewson. 4. R. Kneebone 0-1 J. Wheeler. 5. S. Bartlett ½-½ J. Stephens. 6. G. Healey 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. G. Trudeau 0-1 A. Brusey. 8. J. Nicholas 0-1 T. Thynne. 9. J. Wilman 0-1 D. Twine. 10. C. Sellwood ½-½ W. Ingham. 11. A. Barkhuysen 0-1 J. Leung. 12. G. Lingard ½-½ O. Wensley. 13. C. Reeves ½-½ A. Kinder. 14. M. Hill 0-1 A. Billings. 15. D. R. Jenkins 0-1 P. Brooks. 16. R. Smith ½-½ R. Pollock.

Saturday also saw the start of the London Chess Classic at Olympia, where the World’s top 4 take on England’s top 5 players in an 8-round All-Play-All. The tournament is unusual in that it follows football’s lead in awarding 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw. This is in the hope that the Grandmasters will fight more tenaciously for a win, rather than settle for tepid draws, as they often tend to do.

Last week’s position ended with 1.Rxg7+ Kxg7 2.Re7+ Kg8 3.Qxf6 followed by Qf6+ and Qh7 mate.

The New Yorker, Fred Reinfeld, (1910-64), was a controversial writer  of chess books, derided by some who equate the rapidity of his output for superficiality, and praised by others for making the game accessible to the general public. This position is taken from one of his 100+ books. His heading for the diagram is “The first move is obvious…”, and for the solution “The end comes with surprising suddenness”.

White to play and win.

Devon beat Cornwall (03.12.2011.)

Cornwall may have been rocked by an earthquake on Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with their chess match against Devon earlier in the day, which involved no such shocks and went mostly according to expectations. It was the same old story for the Cornish – quite capable of holding their own on the top boards, but liable to fall away as their lack of strength in depth took its toll.

In this case, the top 5 games were shared 2.5 each, including 4 Black wins on Bds 1 – 4, but the lower 11 boards could only muster 4 draws. An illustration of the difference in strength can be seen by comparing the match on Bd. 5, where the experienced Simon Bartlett (162) was reasonably close in grade to John Stephens (173) and quite capable of securing a result. Yet whereas the Cornish team fell away sharply below that, Devon’s Bd. 16 player was  the same grade as Bartlett (Pollock – 162).

Having said this, playing the Cornish side is never a formality and they can never be taken lightly - they are quite capable of beating any WECU team who think otherwise, and Devon’s captain, Brian Hewson, knows better than to fall into that particular trap for the unwary.

The match was played at a new venue, the Burraton Community Centre, Saltash, and Devon had White on the odd-numbered boards.

Bd. Cornwall Grd Club     Devon Grd Club
1 Jeremy Menadue 192 Truro 1 0 Kevin Hurst 186 Exmouth
2 Lloyd Retallack 178 Newquay 0 1 Steve Homer 179 N. Abbot
3 Mark Hassall 175 Truro 1 0 Brian Hewson 178 Tiverton
4 Robin Kneebone 172 Camborne 0 1 John Wheeler 173 Cosham
5 Simon Bartlett 162 Newquay ½ ½ John Stephens 173 Exmouth
6 Grant Healey 149 Falmouth 0 1 Mark Abbott 170 Exmouth
7 Gary Trudeau 147 Liskeard 0 1 Alan Brusey 174 Teignmouth
8 Jeff Nicholas 146 Camborne 0 1 Trefor Thynne 171 N. Abbot
9 John Wilman 141   0 1 David Twine 170 Plymouth
10 Colin Sellwood 140 Camborne ½ ½ Bill Ingham 166 Teignmouth
11 Anton Barkhuysen 139 Camborne 0 1 Jeff Leung 165 N. Abbot
12 Geoff Lingard 135 Bude ½ ½ Oliver Wensley 164 Exmouth
13 Chris Reeves 133 Truro ½ ½ Andrew Kinder 162 S. Hams
14 Michael Hill 130 Liskeard 0 1 Alex Billings 157 N. Abbot
15 David Jenkins 127 St. Austell 0 1 Paul Brooks 160 S. Hams
16 Richard Smith 123 Truro ½ ½ Richard Pollock 162 Plymouth
        11½      

Adams’ Fine Performance in Europe.

The European Team Championship was held recently in Porto Carras, Greece. After a dramatic final round, Germany, 10th seeds, came 1st, ahead of Azerbaijan (2nd) and Hungary (3rd). England were 8th seeds but came a disappointing 22nd. The only bright spot was the performance of Taunton resident Michael Adams, whose score of 6½/9 was the best of all the Board 1 players and gave him a tournament rating of 2841.

His best game was his win against former World No. 2 Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine.

White: M. Adams (2734). Black: V. Ivanchuk (2775).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.  [B85]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Be3 0–0 9.f4 characteristic of the thematic early King-side attack against the Sicilian Defence. 9…Nc6 10.Kh1 Bd7 11.a4 Rc8 12.Qe1 d5 13.e5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.c3 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Bc5 17.Bxc5 Rxc5 18.b4 In spite of his earlier 9.f4 White mobilises his Q-side pawns. 18…Rc8 19.Rd1 Qc7 20.b5 axb5 21.axb5 Rfd8 22.c4 Be8 23.Qf2 f6 24.exf6 gxf6 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.c5 f5 27.Bc4 Bf7 28.h3 Rc8 29.c6 bxc6 30.b6 Qe7 31.Qb2 Adams was also tempted by 31.Qg3+ Kh8 32.Qc3+. 31…Rb8 32.Ra1 Qc5 After 32…Qd8 33.Qe5 Rxb6 34.Bxe6 and Black’s defences are collapsing. 33.b7 Adams had planned this sacrifice, perhaps thinking it would be more decisive than it is. 33…Qxc4 34.Qe5 Rxb7 35.Ra8+ Be8 36.Rxe8+ Kf7 37.Rh8 Qb5 38.Qd6 threatening Qf8+. Not so good is 38.Rxh7+? Kg6 39.Rxb7 Qxb7 40.Qxe6+ Kg7 41.Qxf5 Qe7 42.Qg5+ Qxg5 43.fxg5 c5 44.Kg1 c4 45.Kf1 c3 46.Ke1 e3 47.Kd1 Kg6 48.h4 Kf5 49.g3 Ke4 etc. 38…Qb4 Better might have been 38…Qb2. 39.Qd8 Qb2 40.Rf8+ Kg7 41.Rg8+ 1-0. Black cannot avoid mate, for if 41…Kf7 42.Qf8# and if 41…Kh6 42.Qg5#.

Meanwhile, Devon’s Grandmaster, Keith Arkell, has won his 5th tournament of the Autumn, following 1sts at the Paignton (6/7) and Torbay Congresses (4/5), Coulsdon (8/9) and the 4NCL Rapidplay (6/7) with clear 1st on 4½/5 at the latest e2e4 event at Brighton on Sunday.

Today the 3rd London Chess Classic starts at Olympia, with the top section featuring Englishmen Adams, Short, Howell and McShane due to face five of the world’s best; Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik and Nakamura.

In last week’s position White finished quickly after 1.Qxf5! Black cannot retake because of 2.Re8 mate and faces 2.Qf7+ if she doesn’t.

In this game from this year’s British Championship, White is poised to strike, but what is his quickest winning continuation?

White to win quickly