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Archive for July, 2012

Olympic-style Problem Challenge (28.07.2012.)

The British Championship started on Monday at North Shields, with the Westcountry’s only interests lying in Keith Arkell (Paignton), Jack Rudd (Bideford) and Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot). They all had Black in Round 1, but Mackle enjoyed this quick win to settle the nerves.

White: C. Whitfield (2020). Black: D. Mackle (2130).

French Defence – Lasker Var. [C12]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.Bxc3 Ne4 8.Qg4 0–0 9.Bd3 Nxc3 10.bxc3 c5 11.Nf3 Qa5 12.Kd2 The only way to protect his c-pawn. 12…c4 Further squeezing the Q-side. 13.Be2 Qa3 14.h4 Nc6 15.Nh2 b5 16.Qg3 a5 17.Ng4 Threatening the h-pawn. 17…Kh7 18.h5 b4 19.Qe3 Bd7 20.Rhb1 Rfb8 21.Bd1 Ra7 22.Nh2 Kg8 23.Nf3 Ne7 24.g4 Rab7 25.cxb4 axb4 26.Ke1 Ra7 27.Qxa3 Rxa3 28.Ng1 Nc6 29.Ne2 Rba8 30.c3 bxc3 31.Rb7 Be8 32.Rc7?? Nb4 White’s bishop is trapped and his Queenside is bound to collapse. 0–1

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Qe5+! then if 1…Kxe5 2.Rxc5 mate, or 1…Rxe5 2.Nf4 mate.

The Olympic Games proper gets under way today, and to get into the spirit of things here is an Olympic themed 2-mover.

The British Chess Problem Society recently challenged the world’s composers to come up with “an imaginative interpretation of the Olympic symbol, the five interlaced de Coubertain rings by means of a chess compositional theme or form”. For the purposes of this tourney composers could represent the rings by means of a circular or closed chain (A-B-C-D-E-A). The chain could be shown by means of either changed play, try play or a series of linked variations. The sequence had to be confined to 5 stages or component elements and be demonstrated in the written solution by means of the letters A-E.

The judge, Cornwall’s Dr. Christopher Reeves, received 22 entries and deemed this one to be by far the best.

Now here is your Olympic challenge – if you can (a) solve the problem and (b) work out how it complies with the Olympic theme as outlined above, there is a £25 prize available by sending me the correct solution with the most lucid explanation. Entries to R. H. Jones, 40, Phillipps Avenue, Exmouth, EX8 3HZ no later than Saturday 11th August. The solution and winner’s name will be published the following Saturday. It’s not easy, but neither is becoming an Olympic champion.

White to play and win in 2 moves.

New Grades Now Out.

The ECF’s latest  grading list is now out and here are Exmouth’s details.

As ever, it’s a tale of ups & downs, but this time considerably more up than down, as can be seen from the chart below. Congratulations to all those who’ve worked hard to get their performances up this season.

Let’s not forget the work of the Devon graders, Sean Pope and Ray Chubb, in getting this all done in good time.

  July ‘12 Last Yr. + -
John Stephens 192 173 +19  
Kevin Hurst 176 186   10
Oliver Wensley 172 164 +8  
Mark Abbott 167 170   3
Meyrick Shaw 166 150e +16  
Brian Gosling 164 150 +14  
David Toms 159 153 +6  
Phil Kennedy 154 147 +7  
Steve Murray 149 151   2
Dave Rogers 139 138 +1  
Malcolm Belt 138 120 +18  
Juris Dzenis 136 139   3
Tony Hart 135 135e 0 0
Robert Jones 130 130 0 0
Fred Hodge 115 118   3
Obie Ebanks 101 100 +1  
Tom Badlan 99 110   11
Simon Blake 96 90e +6  
    Total 96 32

Bristol League Congress 2012 – Open Winner (21.07.2012.)

David Buckley of the Bath Club retained his title when he won the Open Section of the recent Bristol League Congress. Here is his win from Round 3.

White: Stefan Lehmann (159). Black: David Buckley (208).

Alekhine’s Defence [B04]

1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine’s Defence, in which the idea is to tempt White’s pawns forward in order to make them objects of attack later on. 2.e5 Nd5 3.Nf3 The most common continuations here are 3.d4 or 3.c4. 3…d6 4.d4 g6 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.exd6 cxd6 Black has succeeded in creating doubled pawns on his open c-file. 8.Bd3 0–0 9.0–0 Qc7 10.c4 e5 11.c3 Nc6 12.Be3 f5 13.c5 dxc5 13…e4 achieves nothing after 14.Bc4+ Kh8 15.Bf4 exf3 16.Bxd6 Qd8 17.Bxf8 Qxf8 18.Qxf3 leaving White with a small material advantage. 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Bf4 attempting to pin the knight, but fortunately Black has a check. 15…Nxf3+ 16.Qxf3 Qf7 17.Bd6 Rd8 18.Bxc5 Be6 19.Rac1 Bxa2 20.Rfe1 Bd5 21.Qg3 Re8 22.h3 b6 23.Ba3 Rac8 24.c4 Be4 25.Bf1 Kh8 26.Qb3 Rcd8 27.Qa4 All White’s five pieces are now on the edge of the board and not attacking anything specific. 27…Qb7 28.Rcd1 h6 29.Qb3 Kh7 30.Bb2 Qc7 31.Ba3 Bd4 With White’s bishops on the fringe of things, the black bishops take centre stage and cause major problems. 32.Qa4 Bc6 33.Qc2 Be4 34.Qa4 Bc3 35.Re3 Rxd1 36.Qxd1 Rd8 37.Qa4 Bd4 38.Re2 a5 Necessary to keep White’s queen quiet and free up his own to attack. 39.Rd2 Qf4 Attacking f6 and its defending piece. 40.Rxd4 Giving up the exchange. The alternative was 40.Bc1 but still loses a pawn to 40…Bxf2+ 41.Rxf2 Qxc1; 40.Qd1 loses even more material. 40…Qxf2+ 41.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 42.Kxf2 Rxd1. 40…Rxd4 41.Qe8 Threatening a perpetual check 41…Qc7 42.Be7 cutting off the defence. 42…Qe5 43.f4 Qg7 44.c5 bxc5 45.Bxc5 Rd1 46.Bf8 Qa7+ 47.Kh2 Rxf1 48.Bc5 Qc7! 48…Qxc5 allows avoidable counter-play. 49.Qf7+ Kh8 50.Qf6+ Kg8 51.Qxg6+ Kf8 52.Qxh6+ Ke7 53.Qg7+ etc. 49.Kg3 If 49.g3 Rh1#; The game is lost anyway, but  49.Qe5 avoids immediate mate. 49…Qxf4# 0–1

Last week’s game ended 1.Bg6 forcing Qf8 2.Bh7+ forcing Kh8 and allowing the knight to drop into g6 forking king and queen.

This week’s position resembles a real battlefield, in which Black is poised to mate or get a second queen at the very least, yet White can mate in 2.

White to play and mate in 2.

More Qualifying Places for the Westcountry. (14.07.2012.)

Many congress organisers like to be able to offer among their prizes a qualifying place for the British Championship, as it attracts a few better players to enter and adds a certain kudos to the event. The Championship organisers have hitherto granted four such places annually to the West of England Union to be dispersed as they see fit. These currently go to the Frome, Torbay, Exmouth and the Wiltshire Junior events. At the last Union meeting, however, it was noted that the Steve Boniface Memorial event in Bristol and the new Bournemouth congress wished to be added to the list.

Rather than devising a rota in which the four places are shared fairly between the six events, forcing two to miss out each year, I wrote to the British Championship organiser asking for two extra qualifying places, knowing these are not handed out like cheap sweets. However, I got word this week that these have been agreed to, so Bournemouth and Bristol will be able to advertise this on their entry forms for 2013.

The National Counties’ U-18 Finals were held recently at Eton College. Of the 15 teams competing, Devon came 10th with 9½/24 ahead of Middlesex, an improvement on their last place last year. Devon’s heroes, scoring a maximum 2 points were Arthur Rinvolucri (Petroc College) and Jeff Leung (Torquay Boys’ G.S.) 

Keith Arkell came clear 1st in the recent e2e4 tournament at Buxton with the help of this win from Rd. 2.

White: Keith Arkell (2435). Black: Joseph McPhillips (2136).

English Defence.

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Ba6 5.b3 Be7 Already this position can only be found in three other games on record. 6.Nc3 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 exd5 9.g3 Bf6 10.Bg2 0–0 11.0–0 Re8 12.Ra2 c6 13.Be3 Nd7 14.Qd2 Nf8 15.Rc1 Bb7 16.Bg5 Bxg5 17.Nxg5 f6 18.Nf3 Qd6 19.e3 a5 20.Ne1 Ne6 21.Nd3 Ba6 22.h4 a4 White wishes to keep the queenside closed and concentrate on the other wing. 23.b4 Nd8 24.Rac2 Bb5 25.Nf4 Ra7 26.Qd1 Qd7 27.Bh3 Qf7 28.Rc3 Rae7 29.h5 Re4? This gives succour to White’s attack. 30.Bf5 R4e7 31.Qc2 h6 White’s  next move caused Black to resign. Can you spot the move and work out the combination that wins considerable material?

White to play and win much material.

National U-18 Team Championship.

In 2011, after an absence of some years, Devon entered the National U-18 Team Championship. Even though they came last on that occasion, they were sufficiently encouraged to have another shot this year. The organiser, Trefor Thynne, has sent in this report on their experiences. 


ECF National Counties’ Under-18 Finals:  30th June 2012

Following last year’s successful experiment in entering a Devon team into this event, a real effort was made this year to turn out a stronger and more representative team. Although clearly not in the same league as the “big guns” from the South-East, the Devon boys put up a good showing in coming 10th out of 15 competing counties.

Although the bulk of the team came either from Torbay or Exeter with Torquay Boys’ Grammar School providing 6 players and the ex-Broadclyst Primary School contingent making up another 3, it was good to see a new face from North Devon, 17 year-old Arthur Rinvolucri  who won both his games as did Jeffrey Leung of TBGS.

Another encouraging feature of the Devon team was the wide age spread with 4  boys in their final year at school or college balanced by 3 players under 12, including Theo Slade who has recently represented England in a tournament in the Czech Republic. 

  team Pts/24     team Pts/24
1st Herts 18½   9th Manchester 11½
2nd Berks 18   10th Devon
3rd Kent 18   11th Surrey ‘B’
4th Sussex 17½   12th Middx
5th Warks 16½   13th Norfolk 5
6th Surrey 16   14th Lincs 4
7th Bucks 14   15th Hants ‘B’
8th Hants 13        

Devon’s individual results were as follows:-

Bd. Player Grd School Pts/2
1 Alex Billings 163 Torquay Boys’ G. S. 1
2 Jeff Leung 165 Torquay Boys’ G. S. 2
3 Theo Slade 147   0
4 John Fraser 125 Torquay Boys’ G. S.
5 Daniel Nie 123 Torquay Boys’ G. S. 0
6 Arthur Rinvolucri 100   2
7 Nathan Mills 100   0
8 Jared WRay 100 Torquay Boys’ G. S. 0
9 Tomas Trott   92   1
10 James Royle   89   ½
11 Reece Whittington   85   ½
12 Rafe Whitehead (Rd. 1)   66 Torquay Boys’ G. S. 0
12 Greg Susevee   (Rd. 2)   84 Colyton G. S. 1

It is certainly an event worth making the effort to attend and will prove to be valuable experience for those boys eligible for the team next year. The august surroundings of Eton College make an extra attraction for players and spectators alike. I am grateful to Dave Regis of Exeter CC who shared the minibus driving and team management with me and who will in due course provide annotations on all the Devon boys’games.

Trefor Thynne

8th July 2012


British Championships 2012

This year’s winners in the Bristol League were as follows:

Div. 1; Clifton A (10 clubs participated); Div. 2; Clevedon A (9 clubs); Div. 3; Downend C (11 clubs) and Div. 4; Thornbury B (9 clubs). Anyone interested in playing chess in the Bristol area should contact Dave Tipper for more information on 01454-856938 or

Keith Arkell won last weekend’s e2e4 congress in Buxton, with 4½/5 points, ahead of GM Mark Hebdon, IM Daniel Fernandez and Alan Merry.

As the late entry deadline for this year’s British Championship passed on Tuesday, there were just 39 entries listed on the event website. Of these, Gawain Jones and David Howell are the top seeds, both being over 2600, with local interest currently centring on the fortunes of Keith Arkell (Paignton), Jack Rudd (Bideford) and Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot). It will be held in North Shields, far away from the hustle and bustle of the London Olympics, starting on Monday 23rd July and the last round on Friday 3rd August.

Next year will be the 100th British Championships and will be held at the Riviera Centre, Torquay, so will be a very special event, and as there will not be a Paignton Congress at Oldway Mansion, the entry is likely to be very high.

Here is last week’s position again, as you may need to see it to be able to appreciate its strange logic. At the time it was composed (1989), Article 9.1 of the Laws of Chess stated that “the king is in check if it is attacked by one or two of the opponent’s pieces”. Article 9.2 states that “the check must be parried by the move immediately following”.

On this basis, the solution is 1.g6 Nd7+ forking king & rook. 2.Kf7+ NxQ+  3. g7+. The point of this is that the White king is now attacked by three pieces and so is not in check as defined by the Laws as they then stood, which can only be by 1 or 2 pieces. Meanwhile, Black is now in check, so there follows 3…Kh7 4. g8=Q Kh6 5.Qg7 mate 

As a result of this problem, in 1992 FIDE amended the Laws to “…one or more pieces” to cover all eventualities. It is also interesting in that it involves just one of each kind of piece, kings excepted. A remarkable novelty.

White to play and win.