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Archive for August, 2012

Books on Chess Pieces.


Chessmen: Frank Greygoose. David & Charles 1st ed. 1979. 160pp. 183 pictures in colur and b&w. DW in protective plastic sleeve. The evolution of chess through the representation of its pieces. VG+  £20.

Another copy : without plastic sleeve o/w VG+ £20.00

Chessmen For Collectors: Victor Keats. Batsford 1st ed. 1985. 240 pp large format. DW in protective clear plastic sleeve. This sumptuous publication includes 270 b&w and 50 colour illustrations. Highly collectable. Fine-. £70.00

Another copy: without plastic sleeve o/w F- . £70.00.

Olympic-Themed Problem Solution (25.08.2012.)

This weekend sees the Steve Boniface Memorial Congress taking place in Bristol, while next Sunday will be the start of the Paignton Congress at Oldway Mansion. This will be the last congress there for a bit, because the developers will have moved in by next summer as they start to convert the mansion into a hotel. Although they are planning to retain the Ballroom for functions, it’s unclear whether the congress will be able simply to slot back in as before.

Last week’s pawn promotion problem was solved by 1.Qc8 and after any king move 2.Pd8=Q mate.

This week’s diagram is a repeat of the one given three weeks ago, the winner of a world-wide competition which challenged any composer to find an imaginative interpretation based on the Olympic’s symbolic five interlocking rings. The judge of the 2-move section was Christopher Reeves of the Truro club and he felt this entry was head and shoulders above the others. Although the 22 entries he saw were nameless, this one turned out to be by Marjan Kovačević of Serbia, generally recognised to be currently the world’s best 2-move composer.

The solution is 1.Qf8! threatening 2.Nb5. Black has five attempts to stop this but each is met in a different way: viz. 1…Rg6 2.Nxf3; 1…Na3 2.bxc3; 1…Qxb2 2.Be3; 1…Bf5 2.Rxd5; 1…e4 2.Qf6.

The allusion to five rings may be found in the fact that White had five unsuccessful attempts at mate:

viz. (a) 1.Rc8 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Bf5.

(b) 1.Bf8 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Qxb2.

(c) 1.Qc8 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Na3.

(d) 1.b4 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Na3 and

(e) 1.Nd3 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Rg6.

White’s unsuccessful tries are, in sequence, moves by a rook, bishop, queen, pawn and knight, and the refutations are, again in sequence, moves by bishop, queen, pawn, knight and rook – a cyclic shift in attack and defence.

Fiendishly difficult for the casual solver, of course, but ingenious when explained.

The reader who got this spot on was Mr. Giles Body of Lympstone, near Exmouth who wins the £25 prize.

Bristol’s Boniface Attack Tankard Award 2012 (18.08.2012.)

The Bristol League’s Steve Boniface Memorial Congress starts next Saturday and runs over the Bank Holiday weekend. In addition to the usual prizes will be the new Steve Boniface Attack Tankard. This is a prize awarded to the winner of any game played in the League this season that displays the spirit of successful all-out attack. I was sent 8 nameless entries to judge and after playing them through several times found this one repeatedly caught the eye.

White: Tom Thorpe (165). Black: Anthony Carver (120).

Sicilian Defence – Closed Var. [B23]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bc4 Nh6?! 6.0–0 a6 7.d3 b5 8.Bb3 Na5 9.Qe2 to prevent c4 9…Nxb3 10.axb3 Bb7 11.f5 The attack commences. 11…g6 12.fxe6 fxe6 13.Bg5 Qd7 14.Nd5 White offers his knight for no immediate material gain, but it would be dangerous to accept. e.g. 14…exd5 15.exd5+ Be7 16.Rae1 (It would be tempting to claw back some material with 16.Bxh6 but that allows Black to get castled and the attack slows right down.) 16…Nf5 17.g4; 14…exd5 15.exd5+ Be7 16.Rae1. 14…Bxd5 15.exd5 Bg7 If Black tries to block up the centre with 15…e5 there would follow 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.Qxe5+ Be7 18.Qxh8+. 16.dxe6 Qc7 17.Nh4 The Black king is trapped in the centre. 17…Rf8 18.Qe4 Ra7 19.Nxg6 another proffered gift, but Black wants to draw the sting of the attack by swapping off material. 19…Bd4+ 20.Kh1 Rxf1+ 21.Rxf1 Bg7 22.Rf7 More material is thrown into the fray. Black accepts, but has little choice from hereon. 22…Nxf7 23.exf7+ Kxf7 24.Qf5+ Kg8 25.Ne7+ Kh8 26.Qf7 Threatening mate on g8 26…Qb8 27.Bf6 Rxe7 If 27…Bxf6 28.Qxf6#  28.Bxg7# 1–0

White mates while his queen is en prise – a clinical finish.

The original plan was for the tankard to be filled with some of Steve’s beloved real ale, but a Plan B will be needed as the winner is only 15, recently coming 4th in the British U-16 Championship.

The solution to Dave Howard’s latest creation was 1.Qd7! and if Black tries 1…Kxc4 there follows 2.Qa4 mate as Black’s bishop is pinned and unable to intervene.

This problem by William Shinkman (1847-1933) is taken from one of the early books in Alain White’s “Christmas Series” that I recently acquired, entitled “The Theory of Pawn Promotion” (Stroud 1912). How does White promote his pawn and mate in 2 moves?

White to mate in 2.

British Championship 2012 – Play-off

In the British Championship, Stephen Gordon went into the final round as clear leader on 8½/11 points, followed by top seed Gawain Jones in clear 2nd place on 8. This placed Gordon in a dilemma familiar to several players in the past – should he press for a win with White against the dangerous Jonathan Hawkins, thereby chancing his arm to become British Champion, or risk losing and allowing Jones to overtake him and take the title. Having already experienced the pain of the former scenario (in 2007 at Great Yarmouth) he opted for safety, agreeing a short draw in 18 moves. He then watched as Jones won, to catch him on 9 points. The cash prizes could be shared, £4,575 each (another factor in the mix) but it necessitated a 2 game play-off to determine the title.

This proved to be a true Battle of the Roses as the Lancastrian Gordon locked horns with Yorkshire-born Jones. Gordon had the advantage of White in Game 1, an extraordinary affair in which he succeeded in winning Black’s queen for a bishop, yet still contrived to lose. Somewhat demoralised, he lost the 2nd game too. Here is that 1st game.

White: S. Gordon. Black: G. Jones. King’s Indian Defence. [E92]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Nbd7 8.0–0 c6 9.d5 c5 10.Ne1 Kh8 11.Kh1 Qe7 12.Qd2 Ng8 13.g3 f5 14.exf5 gxf5 15.Ng2 Ndf6 16.Rae1 Bd7 17.Bg5 Qf7 18.f4 e4 19.Nd1 b5 20.Nde3 Rab8 21.b3 b4 22.Qd1 Ne8?? 23.Bh5 Bc3 24.Bxf7 Rxf7 25.Re2 Ng7 26.Rc2 Bd4 27.h3 Nf6 28.g4 fxg4 29.hxg4 Rg8 30.f5 Ngh5 31.Bxf6+ 31.gxh5 allows counterplay against the White king, after 31…Rxg5. 31…Nxf6 Nevertheless, equal exchanges like this should help White. 32.Rf4 Rfg7 33.Rd2 Be5 34.Rdf2 Rg5 35.Kg1 Be8 36.Kf1 R8g7 37.Qc2 h5 38.Rxe4 Nxe4 39.Qxe4 hxg4 40.f6 Rh7 41.Ke2 Bg6 42.f7 Rxf7 43.Nf5 Rfxf5 44.Rxf5 Bxf5 They are back to approximate material equality, though the bishop pair and extra pawn will prove superior. 45.Qe3 Rh5 46.Nf4 Rh2+ 47.Kf1 Kh7 48.Ne6 Rh1+ 49.Kg2 Rh2+ 50.Kg1 Rh5 51.Kg2 g3 52.Ng5+ Kg7 53.Nf3 Bh3+ 54.Kg1 Rf5 55.Qe4 Rf4 56.Qd3 Rxf3 0–1 White resigned as he cannot prevent the return of the Black queen e.g. 57.Qxf3 Bd4+ 58.Kh1 g2+ 59.Kh2 g1=Q+.

Last week’s position was finished off by 1.Rxh6+ Kg7 2.Rg1+ Kxh6 3.Rg6 mate. This 2-mover is another new composition by Dave Howard of East Harptree, near Bristol.

White to mate in 2 (D. Howard 2012)

British Championship – the Final Lap (04.08.2012.)

After 8 of the 11 rounds in the British Championship, top seed Gawain Jones was in the clear lead on 7 points, ahead of Stephen Gordon (6½) and level on 6 were GMs David Howell, Matthew Turner and Danny Gormally, and the eventual winner  looks likely to come from these five. The event was due to finish on Friday with the possibility of a play-off this morning in the event of a tie.

The westcountry’s other three representatives were doing well enough with Arkell, Rudd and Mackle on 5½, 5 and 4½ respectively.

Rudd especially was making his usual stop/go progress through the tournament, losing his first two games and then winning five on the trot.

This sharp win from Rd. 4 brought him back to 50%. 

White: Jack Rudd (2295). Black: M. Wadsworth (2037).

French Defence – Leningrad Variation [C05]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ndf3 cxd4 8.cxd4 A line played in the Leningrad championship in 1949, though its name is not commonly used in Russia. 8…a5 9.Bd3 a4 10.a3 Nb6 11.Ne2 Na5 12.0–0 Nb3 13.Rb1 Nc4 14.Nc3 Bd7 Rudd seeks an early break in the forward centre, away from Black’s dangerous knights. 15.f5 Qb6 16.fxe6 Bxe6 17.Kh1 Be7 18.Bxc4 dxc4 19.d5 Bf5 20.d6 Bd8 If Black tries to grab material with 20…Bxb1 he faces a strong attack with many variations. e.g. 21.Nd5 Qc6 22.Nc7+ Kd7 23.Nxa8 Rxa8 24.e6+ Kxe6 25.dxe7 Kxe7 26.Ne5 Qe6 27.Rxf7+ Ke8 28.Bg5. 21.Ng5 White presses on with his attack, taking advantage of the fact that the Black rooks are still at home. 21…Bxg5 22.Bxg5 Be6 23.d7+! Bxd7 24.Rxf7! White gives up more material to press home his attack, knowing Black’s rooks are powerless.  24…Kxf7 25.Qxd7+ Kg6 26.Nd5 Qa6 26…Qd4 would have kept the queen centralised, but now mate cannot be avoided. 27.h4 h5 28.Ne7+ 1–0 Black resigned because of 28…Kh7 29.Qf5+, or 28…Kf7 29.Nc6+ Kg8 30.Qe6+ Kh7 31.Qf5+ g6 (31…Kg8 32.Ne7#) 32.Qf7#.

The Boniface Memorial Congress will be held in Bristol over the Bank holiday weekend starting Friday 25th August. Entry forms may be downloaded from the League website ( or details from G. Mill-Wilson on 0779-0167-415.

This is from a game played earlier this year. How did White win by force in 3 moves?

White to mate in 3