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Archive for April, 2012

Inter-County Union Stages – Final Positions (31.03.2012.)

At the West of England Chess Union’s executive meeting on Saturday, their Competitions Secretary, Phil Meade of Cheltenham, was able to give the full results of the inter-county tournament. In Division 1 (the Harold Meek Cup) the overall winners were Somerset who now go on compete in the National Stages, namely the quarter-final of the Open Section, probably against Yorkshire. Second equal were Devon and Hampshire with 2 wins and 2 losses each. Devon have elected to play in the U-180 section of the National Stages and will meet the runner-up of the SCCU.

Hampshire qualified for both the Minor Counties and U-140 sections. 4th= were Cornwall and Gloucestershire with a win and a draw each. Cornwall always choose not to go forward into the National Stages, while Glos have also qualified for the Minor Counties section.

In Division 2, Devon retained the Wayling Cup with a maximum 6 points, followed by Hants on 4, Somerset on 2 and Dorset bringing up the rear.

Here is a game from the recent Devon v Glos. match in which White sacrifices three pieces in order to press home his attack. The winner is 17 years old while his opponent is just 12.

White: Jeff Leung (165). Black: Michael Ashworth (149).

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation. [B76]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.f3 Bd7 10.0–0–0 White castles long before launching a fierce attack against the Black king in its strong fortress. 10…a6 11.h4 h5 11…Nh5 would both threaten Ng3 and allow Black to try and draw the sting of White’s attack by exchanging off some pieces. 12.Rdg1 Ne5 13.Nd5 Rc8 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.g4 Kh7 16.gxh5 gxh5 The open g-file is the key to White’s victory. 17.f4 Ng4 18.f5 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 Qb6 20.Qf3 Bg7 21.Rxg7+ the first of White’s exchange sacrifices. If 21.Qxh5+ Bh6+ 22.Kb1 Qxd4 leaving the Black pieces with enough space to both attack and defend. 21…Kxg7 22.f6+ exf6. If 22…Kh6 23.Qxh5#; or 22…Kg8 23.Rg1+ Bg4 24.Rxg4+ Kh8 25.Rg8+ Kxg8 26.Qg3+ Kh7 27.Qg7#. 23.Rg1+ Bg4 and now the 2nd  sacrifice. 24.Rxg4+ 24.Nf5+ would leave the rook unprotected. 24…hxg4 25.Qxg4+ Kh8 26.Nf5 There is no defence – just a bravado check. 26…Rxc2+ 27.Kxc2 Rc8+ 27…Qc5+ makes no difference. 28.Kb1 1–0 resigned in view of  28…Rg8 29.Qh5#.

In last week’s position, White plays Nf6! After which Black can move only his bishop or rook. If the bishop moves White has QxR mate, and if the rook moves he has Qxg7 mate. Any Black move only makes things worse, so he is in “Zugzwang”.

Here is another example from the game Sämisch vs Nimzowitch (1923). Black is making no specific threat at this point, but it is White’s move and he can only worsen his own position whatever he does, so Sämisch resigned. Could you have done any better?

Samisch vs Nimzowitsch - is White truly in zugzwang?