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Archive for February 11th, 2012

Civil Service Chess Championship – West of England Qualifier.

On Friday 10th February, the West of England regional qualifying tournament for the annual Civil Service Chess Championship, took place at the Met Office, Exeter. There were 7 entries, all from Devon, even though all civil servants from Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucestershire, and Dorset were eligible. There must be many thousands of civil servants in these counties, but why none of them entered this prestigious event is not clear, especially as the impressive venue stands at the junction of the M5 and A30 and is easily accessible from all directions.

This tournament was held on an All-Play-All basis at RapidPlay rates, and the outcome was as follows:

     Grd     Dept.  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Pts
1 Alan Brusey 176 HMRC X ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 5
2 Steve Murray 145 Met Office ½ X ½ ½ 1 1 1
3 Sean Pope 152 RPA ½ ½ X ½ 1 1 1
4 Neville Lane UG RPA 0 ½ ½ X 0 1 1 3
5 Wilf Taylor 142 Met Office 0 0 0 1 X 0 1 2
6 David Thompson UG Met Office 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 2
7 Patrick Gwynne 86 RPA 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0

Brusey, Murray and Pope thus qualify for the finals, due to be held at Leeds University in July. The current holder of the national title is Alan Brusey, who won the very first championship over 20 years ago.

Teignmouth – Exmouth Draw In Div. 2.

Exmouth travelled to Teignmouth for their 2nd match in the Mamhead Cup (Devon’s division 2), fielding their secret weapon, Mike Redman, in what may be his only match for the club this season.

The first game ended when Jones coolly and quickly placed a rook en prise, with no compensation whatsoever. However, Teignmouth are nothing if not even-handed, and Bill Ingham marooned his last rook, leaving Murray to pick it up at leisure, levelling the scores. Gosling got short of time in what might have been a slightly better position, and he accepted the offer of a draw. This left everyone to gather around the top board game, as fortunes swung to and fro.

In the middlegame, Redman seemed to have a positional bind and merely needed to open the centre and exploit his advantage. However, he inadvertantly placed a piece on a bad square and Brusey could counter-attack. He went 2 pawns up and seemed sure to win himself. Material came off and with minutes to go, they were in a knight+pawns endgame. Redman’s knight perfomed minor miracles, winning  3 pawns and threatening to queen. From nursing a loss, to looking drawn, he was suddenly sniffing a win again. With the last seconds running out on the digital clocks, both sides queened and after a flurry of checks a draw was agreed. Nerves frayed all round, but honours even.

  Teignmouth Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 A. W. Brusey 174 ½ ½ M. Redman 194
2 W. H. Ingham 166 0 1 J. S. Murray 151
3 P. E. Halmkin 150 ½ ½ B. G. E. Gosling 150
4 J. G. Gorodi 149 1 0 R. H. Jones 130
    639 2 2   625


Bds 1 & 2 get down to action.

Gosling (l) vs Halmkin.

Gorodi (l)vs Jones.


Tense knight and pawns ending reaches a climax.

E. Devon Congress Needs More Entries (11.02.2012.)

The East Devon Congress starts a fortnight on Friday and the organiser, Alan Maynard, tells me he has only received 50 entries to date, whereas he hopes for a further 100 if the event is to remain viable. Therefore, he urges everyone considering entering to get their forms to him a.s.a.p. If necessary, the brochure may be downloaded from the chessdevon website.

Last year’s joint winners were Jack Rudd and Mark Taylor, and these were their last round wins that guaranteed 1st prize.

White: Jack Rudd. Black: Steve Homer. Sicilian Defence [B89]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.0–0–0 White castling q-side in the Sicilian Defence is usually the precursor to a quick and violent attack on the other wing. However, that doesn’t happen in this game. 9…Qc7 10.f3 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 e5 12.Be3 Be6 13.Bb3 b5 14.Kb1 b4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Bd7 17.f4 This is about the extent of a king-side attack; not much but very significant. 17…e4? Black is already in difficulties; he started his own attack before getting castled and now that has stalled, he is faced with losing vital pawns. 18.Rd4 0–0 19.Rxe4 Bf5 20.Rxb4 With the q-side broken open, full attention is on attack and defence in this area. 20…a5 21.Qc4 Qd8 22.Rb7 a4 23.Bxa4 Qa5 24.Bc6 Bf6 Four black pieces now bear down on the enemy king’s position. 25.a4 Rfb8 26.Qb5 Qd8 Black cannot afford to exchange material due to the pawn deficit he acquired earlier on. 27.Bb6 Qc8 28.Rxb8 Rxb8 29.Re1 Threatening to win the queen with a fork on e8. 29…Bxc2+ pure desperation. 30.Kxc2 Qf5+ 31.Qd3 Qxf4 32.Qe4 1-0 At last, the Black queen can no longer run away, thanks to the threat of mate on the back rank. Queens must come off and White’s extra q-side material will easily win the day.

White: P. Kryzanowski. M. V. Taylor.

Dutch Defence [A85]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 d6 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Nd4 Qd7 11.Nxe6 Qxe6 12.Be2 c6 13.Qb3 Rab8 14.0–0 Kh8 15.Rfd1 h6 The start of a Black attack. 16.Bh4 g5 17.Bg3 Nfd7 18.f3 f4 19.exf4 gxf4 20.Bf2 Having opened lines to the White king, Black marshalls his forces to exploit the weakness. 20…Rg8 21.Kh1 Qg6 22.Rg1 Qh5 23.Ne4 Nf6 24.Nxf6 Bxf6 25.Rad1 Rg5 26.g3 Rbg8 27.Rxd6 fxg3 28.Bxg3 Black needs to calculate the various possible outcomes carefully before launching his final assault.  28…Rxg3 29.Rxg3 Rxg3 30.Rxf6 Qh3 31.Rxh6+ Qxh6 32.Qc3 Qh5 33.Qd4 Kg8 34.Qd6 Qh3 0-1 The White queen has some bravado checks but cannot break the stranglehold on g2.

There were two solutions to last week’s position. One is 1.Nxf6+ exf6 2.Bf3 mate, and the other is 1.Qd3+ kxd3 2.Nxf2 mate. To be fair, it was not composed by a dedicated problemist, who would be posing only one difficult-to-spot solution, but was taken from a collection of positions intended for training purposes.

This week’s 2-mover by A. Gulyaev won 1st prize in a Soviet composing tournament in 1946.

White to mate in 2.