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Somerset Beat Yorkshire etc. (26.05.2012.)

Last weekend saw the Quarter-Finals of the National Stages of the Inter-County tournament, and Somerset was drawn against Yorkshire. It featured a breathtaking ending where, as the last game to finish reached its final few seconds, the northcountry player needed only a draw to win the match, but lost on time, making the result 8-8, and Somerset going through on the tie-break rules.

Meanwhile, Devon had entered the Under-180 section and was drawn against Surrey. This was also a close encounter, but Devon eventually went down 7½-8½.

I shall give a game from each match next week.

This Rd. 1 game from the recent Frome Congress put paid to the top seed’s chances of 1st prize.

White: Patryk Krzyzanowski (184). Black: Bruce Jenks (206).

Benko Gambit [A57]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 The Benko Gambit, in which Black gives up a pawn, hoping to undermine White’s pawn centre, while opening up the queenside for his own pieces.  4.cxb5 a6 5.b6 White does not wish to fall in with Black’s plans. 5…d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.e4 Bg7 8.Qb3 Bb7 9.a4 a5 10.Nb5 Qxb6? 11.Nxd6+ Qxd6 12.Qxb7 0–0 13.Qxa8 Nxe4 14.Nf3 c4 White may be a rook up but his king is still vulnerable, stuck in the centre. 15.Qxa5 c3 16.Rb1 Nc6 17.Qb5 Not 17.dxc6?? because of 17…c2 threatening the rook and mate on d1. 17…cxb2 18.Bxb2 Rb8 It’s probably best to give up his queen, a luxury he can afford by virtue of still being a rook up. 19.Bxg7! If, for example, 19.Qxc6 Qb4+ 20.Ke2 Nc3+ 21.Qxc3 Bxc3 22.Bxc3 Qe4+ 23.Kd2 Rxb1 24.Bd3 Qf4+ and White will have great difficulty in the face of Black’s two active pieces. 19…Rxb5 20.Bxb5 Nb4 21.Be5 Nc2+ 22.Kd1 Qc5 23.Bd3 Nxf2+ 24.Kd2 f6 25.Bxc2 fxe5 26.Rhe1 Ng4 27.h3 Nf6 28.Nxe5 Qxd5+ 29.Kc1 Qxg2 30.Rb8+ Kg7 31.Rb3 Nd5 32.Ng4 h5 33.Be4 Qa2 34.Bxd5 hxg4? Necessary was 34…Qa1+ to escape the potential attack on the queen. 35.Rxe7+ Kh6 Which brings us to this week’s position. White is materially ahead, but the Black queen could prove dangerous if permitted, and it is important to finish the game off quickly before that happens. In fact, White did just that – his next move, as unexpected as it was effective, prompted resignation. Can you spot it?

White to play and win quickly.


Dave Howard’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Rh6! with a threat of mate on d4 that Black cannot escape.

Inter-County Q-Final Results

Saturday was the day for several Quarter-Finals to be played involving westcountry teams.

Here is the first report to hand, with Somerset snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with just seconds of the playing time left. Report kindly sent in by Jack Rudd.

Somerset managed to beat Yorkshire in a thrilling match yesterday; it all came down to a final game where the Yorkshire player, needing only a draw with K+N+2P v K+N, managed to lose on time just a couple of moves before he could deliver checkmate. This led to the match’s finishing 8-8 and Somerset going through on board-count; our opponents in the semi-final will be Middlesex.

I don’t yet have access to the full scoresheet, but wins for the team were achieved by David Buckley, Rhys Cumming, Dave Littlejohns (the aforementioned crazy game), Peter Chaplin and Nikita Ayvazyan, and draws by Matthew Turner, Jack Rudd, James Sherwin, Nils Grotnes, Terry Stuttard and Mike Richardt.

Meanwhile, Devon, who had entered the Under-180 section of the National Finals, were playing Surrey at Stratford-sub-Castle, near Salisbury. The castle in question is the prehistoric hill fort of Old Sarum, which was abandoned in mediaeval times as Salisbury became the main town of the area, though its brooding presence still dominates  the area.

Like Somerset’s match, this one was also a close encounter, though a losing one. Brian Hewson’s report explains …

Despite outgrading Surrey by 5 points per board and at one stage 5-1 up, Devon lost 7½-8½ in the U180 Qtr Final. This defeat was partly self-inflicted as, at the delayed start (by 10 minutes), we still had 7 players missing. This has a negative impact on morale for those who are there on time and in particular affects my game, as I am in and out phoning players rather than concentrating on my own game. 

Mark Abbott turned up 15 minutes in. John Stephens thought it was a 2.30 pm start despite my letter saying “please be there by 1.15pm” and was 40 mins late. The other 5 were in a people carrier driven by Steve Homer – they got delayed as Dave Regis had to drive from Exeter to Exmouth to pick up Meyrick Shaw whose car did not start, but they still stopped for lunch and turned up 40 minutes late! Clearly this had a big impact as John Stephens, Dave Regis, Charles Keen and Meyrick Shaw all lost from decent positions as time pressure took hold. 

Despite all this disruption David Toms (one of the 5) started proceedings well by mating his opponent in 8 moves! Then Brian Gosling won well, Mike Stinton-Brownbridge had a fortunate win, draws from myself and Trefor Thynne and later a good win from Mark Abbott gave us a great start. Alan Brusey drew later, although John Wheeler lost after being over-ambitious in the opening, perhaps affected by his bad back. Paul Brooks and Andrew Kinder (last to finish) lost from reasonable positions. Steve Homer won a very well played game despite starting late. Bill Ingham (second last to finish) won on time but was winning the ending. So the fact is just a couple of draws out of the 7 losses and we would have won. 

I had 20 players decline the invitation to play in this match but we still put out a good team.

Bd Devon U-180 Grd     Surrey U-180 Grd
1 Steve Homer 179 1 0 Philip Stimpson 175
2 Brian Hewson 178 ½ ½ Geoff Marchant 174
3 John Wheeler 173 0 1 Alan Punnett 179
4 John Stephens 173 0 1 Julien Shepley 177
5 Dr. Dave Regis 175 0 1 Angus French 177
6 Mark Abbott 170 1 0 Owen Phillips 170
7 Alan Brusey 174 ½ ½ Angus James 164
8 Trefor Thynne 171 ½ ½ Nicholas Grey 164
9 Meyrick Shaw u/g 0 1 David Sedgwick 168
10 Bill Ingham 166 1 0 Francis Fields 158
11 Andrew Kinder 162 0 1 Albert Yiamakis 155
12 Paul Brooks 160 0 1 Chris Clegg 155
13 Charles Keen 155 0 1 Peter Horlock 150
14 Brian Gosling 150 1 0 Ian Deswarte 144
15 Dr. David Toms 153 1 0 Marek Turowski 141
16 Mike Stinton 150 1 0 David Charters 121

Frome Congress Prizewinners (19.05.2012.)

There were 153 players at last weekend’s Frome Congress, which, like most Westcountry  events recently, is a little lower than normal. In addition to the highest score winners there were cups for the best Somerset players in each section, as follows:

Open: 1st= Paul Byway (Hertford); Oliver Gill (Southampton) & Gareth Morris (Bristol). Byway got the Qualifying Place for the British Championship in August. Grading Prize (U-181): David Sully (Pentyrch). The Bonner Cup went to Patryck Krzyzanowski (Yeovil).

Major (U-170): 1st Ian Ponter (Bristol). 2nd Wiatt Ropp (Stratford). Grading prize (U-150); Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) & Dave Marshall (Trowbidge). The York Cup went to Mark Leonard (Frome).

Intermediate (U-140): 1st Peter Dimond (Bath) also the Hossell Cup. 2nd= Dave Cornes (Wimborne) & Dave Rogers (Exmouth). Grading prize (U-120): Derek Hadley.

Minor (U-115): 1st= Dave Woodruff (Keynsham); Stephen Crockett (Redditch) & William Curry (Fareham). Grading prize (U-95): Reg & Marian Cox (Southampton) & Lee Bullock (Coulsdon). The Mackereth Cup went to Dave McGeeney (Bristol).

The Cuprinol Trophy for the highest scoring westcountry junior in any section went to 9-year old Max French (Frome).

This game from the final round enabled Gill to get a share of 1st prize.

White: Tyson Mordue (201). Black: Oliver Gill (190).

Petroff Defence [C42]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 The Petroff Defence, which has become popular at the highest level in recent years as it cuts out having to learn a myriad other openings and variations after 3…Nc6, and has good drawing chances. 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 By far the most common continuation. 5…d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.c4 c6 9.Nc3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Nd7 Still following the main lines 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Bg5 Qc7 13.Qc2 h6 14.Bh4 Nb6 15.Rfe1 Nc4 16.Bg3 Bxg3 17.hxg3 Be6 18.Re2 Rac8 White decides the strong knight must go, but he pays a heavy price. 19.Bxc4 Qxc4 20.Ne5 Qxc3 21.Qxc3 Rxc3 22.Rb1 b6 23.Rb4 Ra3 24.Nc6 Re8 25.Rbb2 Kf8 26.f3 Rc8 27.Ne5 g5 28.g4 f6! The knight is seriously compromised, and Black will finish this skirmish with a 3–1 queenside pawn majority. 29.Nc4 dxc4 30.Rxe6 Kf7 31.d5 Rd3 32.Rbe2 c3 stronger than taking the d5 pawn. 33.Re7+ Kg6 34.Kh2 c2 35.f4 White’s last hurrah, as if Black is in too much of a hurry 35…c1=Q allows 36.f5 mate. 35…gxf4 0–1

The solution to last week’s cruciform position was 1.Qa6! allowing Black to take the knights on d5 (2.Qc6 mate) or f5 (2.Qg6 mate) and if 1…Kf3 then 2.Qe2 mate.

Dave Howard of East Harptree has sent in his latest 2-mover which he says is a little easier than usual. What do you think?

White to mate in 2.

23rd Frome Congress – Report

The 23rd Frome Congress finished earlier this evening with a triple tie for 1st place in the Open involving Paul Byway (191 – Hertford); Oliver Gill (190 – Southampton) and Gareth Morris (182 – Bristol), all on 4/5 points. 

Here’s the full prizelist, kindly sent by Gerry Jepps, after all due checking had been done:  

Open :-  

1st=: (4/5)  Paul Byway (Hertford) 

Oliver Gill (Southampton) 

Gareth Morris (Bristol & Clifton)          

British Championship Qualifying Place          Paul Byway (Hertford) 

Reserves: Oliver Gill (Southampton), 

Gareth Morris (Bristol & Clifton) 

 U-181 Grading prize (3½/5)              David Sully (Pentyrch) 

Major (U170):- 

 1st (4/5)                                                      Ian Ponter (Downend & Fishponds) 

2nd  (4/5)                                                     Wiatt Ropp (Stratford) 

3rd= (3½/5)                                     Roger Gamble (Spondon) 

                                                                 Paul Jackson (Coulsdon) 

                                                                 Paul Carlucci (Morley College) 

                                                                 Kevin Winter (Bingley) 

                                                                 Ewart Smith (Basingstoke) 

                                                                 Simon Bartlett (Tiverton) 

 U-150 Grading prize (3/5)                 Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 

                                                                 Dave Marshall (Trowbridge) 

    Intermediate  (U140):- 

1st (5/5)                                                      Peter Dimond (Bath) 

2nd= (4/5)                                               David Cornes (Wimborne) 

                                                                      David Rogers (Exmouth) 

 U-120 Grading prize (3½/5)              Derek Hadley (GLCC) 

 Minor (U115):- 

 1st= (4½/5)                                     David Woodruff (Keynsham) 

Stephen Crockett (Redditch) 

William Curry (Fareham) 

 U-95 Grading prize                          Marian Cox (Southampton) 

                                                                 Reg Cox (Southampton) 

                                                                 Lee Bullock (Coulsdon) 

 Somerset Trophies  

 Denys Bonner (Highest placed Somerset player in the Open):             Patrick Krzyzanowski (Yeovil) 

Leon York Memorial (Highest placed Somerset player in the Major):    Mark Leonard                (Frome) 

Roy Hossell (Highest placed Somerset player in the Intermediate):     Peter Dimond                (Bath) 

Cyril Chapman (Highest placed Somerset player in the Minor)             David Woodruff   (Keynsham) 

Jean Mackereth (Highest placed ungraded Somerset player in the Minor) David McGeeney  (Bristol Cabot) 

Cuprinol Trophy (Highest scoring West of England Junior in any section): Max French (Frome) 

Team Competition 


In the final round, Gill played Black against the experienced Tyson Mordue, and played a Petroff Defence. With minutes to go before his flag fell, he established an advanced pawn on d3 backed by both rooks, and it couldn’t be stopped, thus giving him a share of 1st prize. 

Mordue (w) faced with an unstoppable pawn.

Top boards in the Major: Bartlett v Gamble was drawn, but Ponter (l) went on to win and come 1st.


The Intermediate (U-140) was won by Peter Dimond (Bath – 135) with a perfect score. 

Peter Dimond (l) recieves this trophy from Chris Purry (section Controller).

The full prizelist will be found here v. shortly, as soon as available. It is complicated by having the Somerset Championships at all 4 levels, all mixed in with section winners and grading prizes.

A snapper snapped: Brendon O'Gorman adding to his massive collection of pictures, all accessible on-line.

Gloucester Girl’s Gambit (12.05.2012.)

The 8th World Schools Chess Championship finished on Sunday in laşi, Romania. The English Chess Federation arranged for 23 young players to participate in the many different sections, from U-7 to U-18, both boys and girls.

The only westcountry representative among them was 11 year old Eleanor Hapeshi of Gloucester, who competed in the Girls’ U-13 event. She is a pupil at King’s School, Gloucester and plays for the Wotton Hall Club in the city and the Musketeers Juniors Club in Cheltenham.

Here is a win of hers from Round 3.

White: Eleanor Hapeshi (92). Black: Georgeta Bulgaru (u/g).

Vienna Gambit [C28]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.d3 Nf6 4.f4 d6 5.Nc3 The opening has transposed into a Vienna Gambit, related to a King’s Gambit, but where White has played an early Nc3 5…Bg4 6.Nf3 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.h3 Bd7 9.Be3 Qc8 with an eye on the h3 pawn. 10.f5 a6 11.a4 Na5 12.Bd5 Nxd5 13.Nxd5 Re8 14.Qd2 Nc6 White has to balance up the risks of attacking Black’s kingside with defence of her own king. 15.f6 She opts for attack. Computer analysis suggests 15.Qf2 might be sounder in the longer term. 15…Bd8 16.Nh4 Bxh3 Black also opts for all-out attack, unwisely in this case as she sacrifices her only free-moving piece. 17.gxh3 Qxh3 Where are the re-enforcements when they’re needed? 18.Qh2 Qxh2+ 19.Kxh2 Black’s speculative sacrifice hardly seems worth it, as White’s pieces are now all poised for attack while the enemy’s are all hemmed in behind pawns. 19…gxf6 20.Nxf6+ Bxf6 21.Rxf6 Re6 22.Rg1+ Getting the final piece into play before exchanging to increase the differential. 22…Kf8 23.Rxe6 fxe6 24.Bh6+ Ke7 25.Rg7+ Kf6 26.Rxc7 Rg8 27.Rxb7 Nd4 28.c3 Ne2 29.Rb6 Nf4 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.Rxd6 Rg3 32.c4 1-0 Black resigned as there is nothing the solitary rook can achieve; e.g. 32…Re3 33.Nf5 Re2+ 34.Kh3 Ke5 35.Rxe6+ Kxe6 36.Nd4+. Or 32…Kg5 33.Ng2 Kg4 34.Rxe6 Rxd3.

Her win from Rd. 5 bore several similarities to the previous game.

White: Eleanor Hapeshi. Black: Andrada-Iona Hrib (1672).

Bishop’s Opening [C24].

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Be7 4.Nc3 0–0 5.Be3 Nc6 6.f4 d6 7.f5 Na5 8.Bb3 Nxb3 9.axb3 a6 10.Nf3 c6 11.0–0 Qc7 12.d4 Ng4 13.Qd2 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Bf6 15.d5 cxd5 16.Nxd5 Qxc2 17.Rac1 Qxb2 18.Nxf6+ gxf6 19.Qh6 Qxb3 20.Qxf6 Qb6+ 21.Kh1 Qd8 22.Qh6 f6 23.Nh4 Rf7 24.Rf3 Qf8 25.Rg3+ Rg7 26.Rcc3 Bd7

If 26…Rxg3 27.Rxg3+ Kf7 28.Qxh7+ Ke8 29.Rg8 Qxg8 30.Qxg8+ Kd7 31.Qf7+ Kc6 32.Qxf6 Bd7 33.Qg7. 27.Rxg7+ Qxg7 28.Rg3 1–0

In last week’s position, Yates won elegantly with 1.Qg6 threatening 2.Qh7 mate, and if 1…NxQ then 2.NxN mate.

This cruciform 2-mover was composed by G. Carpenter in 1873.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress – More Details (05.05.2012.)

Last week there was only space to give the names of section winners of the recent Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress, so here are the grading prizes from the Open Section. U-210: 1st= Don Mason (Shirley); R. Nevanlinna & Tony Corkett (Fareham). U-200: Walter Braun (Southbourne). U-190: David Cutmore (Wood Green). U-180: Ian Ponter (Downend). U-170: Arul Gupta (Kent). U-160: 1st= Cosmo Charles (Lewisham); Toby Brookfield (Guernsey); Vincent Homolka (Dulwich) & Akshaya Kalaiyalahan (Richmond).

The names of all other winners, as well as many of the games, may be found on the event website

Gupta and Kalaiyalahan are, in fact, two of the country’s top 10 year olds, with grades of 153 and 152 respectively. Here is how Gupta dealt with one of Dorset’s senior players.

White: Ian C. Clark (188). Black: Arul  Gupta (153).

Giucco Piano [C54]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 The Giucco Piano or Italian Opening. 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Qb3 Nce7 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rfe1 So far, this is all well-known theory. 12…c6 13.Ne5 Qb6 14.Qxb6 axb6 15.a4 Be6 16.Ndf3 h6 17.h3 Rad8 18.Ra3 Nf4 19.Rb3 Ned5 20.Kh2 Ra8 White now miscalculates a combination. 21.g3 Nxh3 22.Bxd5 but 22…Bxd5 forces the rook to move, which gives Black’s knight time to escape and cause more mischief.  23.Rbe3 Nxf2 24.Kg2 Ne4 25.Nd7 Nd2 26.Nxb6 Nxf3 27.Rd1 If 27.Rxf3 Bxf3+ 28.Kxf3 leaves White the exchange and a pawn down. 27…Ng5+ 28.Kf2 Rae8 29.Rde1 Re4 30.Rxe4 Nxe4+ 31.Kf3 Re8 32.Nxd5 Ng5+ 0-1 White resigned as the Black knight escapes yet again and will be the only piece left after the final exchanges. viz 33.Kf2 Rxe1 34.Kxe1 cxd5.

The Frome Congress starts on Friday evening at Oakfield School, Frome, BA11 4JF, which includes the Somerset Championships for eligible players. There are 4 sections; the Open, the Major (U-170); Intermediate (U-140) and Minor (U-115). Enquiries about late entries should go to Gerry Jepps on 01749-344191 or e-mail I hope to have the list of winners and a key game or two by next week.

Last week’s problem by Chris Reeves was solved by 1.d4! threatening 2.Rc5#. Black taking the rook with 1…Bxc4 enables the queen to take Black’s rook on f3.

This week’s position is taken from a simultaneous display by Fred Yates, the Yorkshire champion, not the Cornish artist. White has several ways to win, but can you find the shortest and most elegant of them?

White to play and win quickly & elegantly.

Bournemouth Congress Results (28.04.2012.)

With a prize fund of £3,200 and an excellent venue at a 3-star hotel, the Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress last weekend attracted 170 entries overall and some top talent in the Open Section where there were 20 players graded over 190. After 5 rounds, it was David Howell who scooped the top prize of £1,000 with a 100% score. GM Alexander Cherniaev (229) and strong English junior, 15 year-old Peter Williams (224) shared second prize of £200 each with 4½/5. Clear 4th was GM Simon Williams (232) on 4 pts.

Challengers’ Section (U-155) 1st Roger Greatorex (Llangollen) 4½. Upper Minor (U-125) 1st Martin Pope (Camborne) 4½. Lower Minor (U-106) 1st Barry Childs (Cornwall) 4½

Here is Howell’s 1st Round game against the 2010 West of England Champion.

White: Paul Helbig (179). Black: David Howell (251).

Scotch Game [C47]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 The Scotch Game; White tries for an open, active position, rather than risk getting steamrollered. 3…exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Bd3 0–0 8.0–0 Re8 9.Re1 d6 10.Bd2 Ng4 11.h3 Ne5 This knight manoeuvre has only been seen once in on-line databases, but the knight exerts great influence on e5 and proves to be the killer piece. 12.Bf1 Qf6 13.Na4 Bxd2 14.Qxd2 g5 This looks risky as it weakens his own king’s position, but with White’s knight sidelined on the other wing, Black now has his queen and minor pieces all bearing down on the enemy king. 15.Re3 Kh8 16.Rg3 Rg8 17.Be2 Be6 18.Rf1 Rg6 19.f4 gxf4 20.Rxf4 Qg7 21.Rxg6 Qxg6 22.Kh1 Rg8 23.Bg4 Bxg4 24.hxg4 Qh6+ 25.Kg1 Rxg4 0–1. White must lose material after 26.Rf2 Nf3+ 27.Kf1 and now there are forced mating lines. 27…Nxd2+ 28.Rxd2 Qh1+ 29.Kf2 Qxg2+ 30.Ke1 Rxe4+ etc.

The next big event in the region is the 23rd Frome Congress which starts a week on Friday, 11th – 13th May at Oakfield School, a new venue for the event. Enquiries to Gerry Jepps on 01749-344191 or e-mail

Last week’s position was taken from the game Arkell-Holland at the recent High Wycombe tournament. White seemed to be in great trouble with both rooks attacked and a forced mate just 1 move away, but he found 1.Qd8! where it is undefended and can be taken by two pieces, but it is sufficient to unravel all Black’s threats. There’s a lot of play left, but White now has enough initiative to win in the end.

The Cornish problemist, Christopher Reeves, recently sent me a current copy of the excellent Serbian magazine Mat Plus, which contained a 10 page article by David Shire on Reeves’ 2-movers. Of his 120 published problems, this is one of the earliest from 1962.

White to mate in 2.