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East Devon Congress 2013

The East Devon Congress starts next Friday evening at Exeter’s Corn Exchange. Late entries should go to Sean Pope on tel: 01392-436420 or

Last year’s top section finished in an unusual 3-way tie between Dave Littlejohns of Taunton and local players Brian Bolt and Oliver Wensley.

This Rd. 1 game from that event set Littlejohns on his way.

White: D. Littlejohns. Black: Dr. C. Keen.

Sicilian Defence – Closed System [B24]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 White is not going to open up the centre with the more usual, and well-analysed d4. 3…d6 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.d3 e6 6.f4 Be7 7.Nf3 Nd4 8.0–0 0–0 9.Ne2 Nxe2+ 10.Qxe2 Qb6 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.c3 Bb5 13.c4 Bc6 14.Be3 Ng4 15.Bc1 e5 16.h3 exf4? Black should withdraw his knight to f6, as he does not have enough compensation for this sacrifice. 17.hxg4 fxg3 18.Be3 Rae8 19.Bf4 g6?? losing more material unnecessarily. 20.Bh6 f5 21.Bxf8 Bxf8 22.gxf5 gxf5 23.Nh4 Qd8 24.Nxf5 Fortunately, the knight defends h4 from the queen, which would have spelled the end. 24…Qg5 24…Re5 to attack the defending knight merely allows 25.Qg4+ Kh8 26.Rf3 etc. 25.Qf3 Re5 26.Nxg3 Qh4+ 27.Kg1 Bg7 28.Nf5 Rxf5 29.Qxf5 Bd4+ 30.Rf2 Kg7 31.Kf1 Bf6 31…Bxf2 White decides to return some of the material he has been gifted in order to keep things simple and end the game quickly. 32.Qxf6+ Qxf6 33.Rxf6 Kxf6 34.e5+ Kxe5 35.Bxc6 bxc6 36.Ke2 d5 37.Rh1 1–0

The Wiltshire and West of England Junior Championships were held in Swindon at the weekend but results were not available at the time of going to press.

The British Chess Problem Solving Championship is taking place this weekend at Eton College, and I hope to have the results next week.

Last week’s problem by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Re4! after which Black cannot prevent 2.f4 mate.

Cyril Kipping (1891-1964) was a prolific composer and this 2-mover is taken from his book 300 Chess Problems (1916). It was originally published in the Western Daily Mercury in 1912, when he was a science teacher at Weymouth College. White is clearly bound to mate quickly, but only one move can do it in 2.

White to mate in 2.

Bremridge Cup-Div.1: Teignmouth vs Exmouth

A look at the team lists before the match started would suggest that Exmouth could anticipate being in for a relatively easy afternoon. A look at the completed result chart would suggest that that is exactly how it turned out, especially after John Stephens on Bd. 1 had a quick, 18 move win, to put the visitors 1-0 up.

How wrong can one be. The remaining 5 games were all tense affairs right up to the fourth hour of play, and at one stage it looked as if Exmouth could lose the match. The Gorodi-Hurst match was unclear for most of the time until Hurst finally broke through, while Wensley never had any advantage against Peter Halmkin and went on to lose his last piece and with it the game. Norman Tidy had much freedon in the centre of the board to deploy his queen and rooks, and Shaw had to defend very carefully. Eventually Shaw broke through to record a hard-earned point.

Ariss played in his usual aggressive way, and Gosling countered well, but used much time to find the right moves which put the pressure on. With a minute or two left on White’s clock a draw was agreed, securing the necessary 3.5 points for an Exmouth win.

Meanwhile, Abbott had entered a long endgame with Q+N vs Q+R, but found a clever resource to win the exchange back. But Black’s queen had many checks available and drove his opponent’s king to the opposite side of the board. With seconds of extra time left, Abbott managed to force the queens off, leaving him with c. 25 seconds to queen his 2 pawns and mate his opponent. He managed it with 5 seconds left.

It was all very hard work, especially watching it from the sidelines.

  Bremridge Cup       16.02.’13.  
Bd Teignmouth Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 A. W. Brusey 174 0 1 J. K. Stephens 192
2 H. W. Ingham 158 0 1 M. V. Abbott 167
3 J. G. Gorodi 148 0 1 K. J. Hurst 176
4 P. E. Halmkin 140 1 0 O. E. Wensley 172
5 N. F. Tidy 119 0 1 M. Shaw 166
6 J. A. Ariss 120 ½ ½ B. G. Gosling 164
    859   1,037

All 6 games here ▼

General view of the match.

Abbott vs Ingham (nearest) & Brusey vs Stephens

Wensley vs Halmkin (nearest) & Gorodi vs Hurst.

Gosling vs Ariss (nearest) & Tidy vs Shaw.

Somerset v Devon Result (16.02.2013.)

In last Saturday’s round of the Inter-County Championship, Cornwall lost to Hampshire 3½ – 12½ at Gittisham, while at Norton Fitzwarren, in a closer match Somerset beat Devon by 9-7. The home team’s winners were Messrs Rudd, Buckley, Edgell, Krzyzanowski, Footner, Fewkes and Senior, while Devon’s victors were Messrs Sivrev, Medina, Brusey, Underwood and Kinder.

In contrast, Devon’s 2nd team ran out comfortable winners by 7½ – 4½, with wins by Messrs Thynne, Ingham, Body and Stinton-Brownbridge.

This game from Board 8 showed White seeking to exploit his speed of piece development.

White: A. F. Footner (174). Black: B. W. Hewson (174).

Caro-Kann – Spielmann Var. [B11]

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Qf3 e6 4.d4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Qxd4 6.Ne2 Qb6 7.N2c3 Nd7 8.Be2 Ngf6 9.Bf4 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 e5 11.Bd2 Nc5 12.Bc3 Qc7 13.0–0–0 Be6 14.Rhe1 Bd5 White is looking for something spectacular as he is fully developed while Black is not. 15.Nf6+!? He could also have tried 15.Rxd5 cxd5 16.Bb5+ Nd7 17.Ng5 threatening f7 and e5 17…0–0–0 18.Nxf7 d4 19.Bxd7+ Rxd7 20.Nxh8 Bd6 21.Bd2 and White is a piece up. 15…gxf6 16.Qxf6 Ne4 17.Qxh8 Nxc3 18.Bg4 Preventing castling and threatening e5. 18…Ne4 If 18…Nxd1 19.Rxe5+ Be6 20.Bxe6 Qd6 21.Bg4+ Kd8 22.Rf5 Ke7 23.Kb1 the threat is …Bh6+ winning the queen. 19.f4 Qe7 19…Nf2?? looking for the fork is answered by 20.Rxe5+. 20.Bf3 Qf6 21.Qxf6 Nxf6 22.Rxe5+ Kd7 Black now has 2 minor pieces for a rook, so White needs a move. 22…Be7 23.Rde1 Ng8 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Rxd5 23.c4 Bd6 24.cxd5 Bxe5 25.dxc6+ Kc7 26.fxe5 Ng8 27.cxb7 Re8 Black gets his rook out, but it must stay on the back rank to guard against the b7 pawn. 28.Rd4 Ne7 29.Rf4 White probes and Black must respond immediately as his time has almost gone. 29…Rf8 30.e6 f6 31.Rh4 Rh8 32.Rh6 Ng6 33.e7 Nxe7 34.Rxf6 h6 1-0 and Black’s flag fell, but he is lost anyway, being 3 pawns down. Play might have continued – 34…h6 35.Rf7 Re8 36.Rh7 Kd6 37.Rxh6+ Kc7 etc.

In an earlier game ending from Prague 1938, (given on 26th Jan.) White pulled off a near-miraculous win after 1.Rc8+ Kh7 2.Rh8+ KxR 3.Qh6+ Kg8 (the pawn was pinned) 4.Qxg7 mate.

Last week’s game ended with White powerless against this combination: 1…Qh2+ 2.Kf1 Qh1+ 3.Ng1 Nd2+ 4.RxN QxN+ 5.KxQ Re1 mate.

This week’s 2-mover is another world premier by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 2

E. Devon League Div.1 Exmouth vs Exeter

The League rules state that 1st division teams must not exceed a total grade of 640 (as distinct from Under-640, as in DCCA’s Div. 2). For this match, on Wednesday 13th February 2013,  both captains were quietly pleased to have assembled a team of maximum strength, only revealed when team lists were exchanged. No pressure, then.

Exmouth won the toss and took white on Bd. 1.  Shaw on Bd. 3 built up his position slowly at first, but opened it up with a couple of pawn captures and mated on move 24. This inevitably put pressure on the other Exeter players, but no clear advantages were perceptable for some time on the other boards. The Amos-Hodge game proceeded to a roughly equal B vs N endgame, but Hodge’s knight was eventually pushed to the back rank, while the king invaded his pawns and he had to resign – all square.

The Paulden-Abbott game proceeded to an endgame, without a clear advantage to either side, and as White’s time ran to the last minute of extra time, a draw was agreed.

In the top game, Black allowed his pieces to become constricted on the queenside, which allowed White to probe for openings on the undefended king’s wing. There was just enough time for the h-pawn to run through for a 2nd queen, forcing Black to give up a rook for it.

Bd Exmouth Grd     Exeter Rooks Grd
1 John Stephens 192 1 0 Dr. Dave Regis 179
2 Mark Abbott 167 ½ ½ Dr. Tim Paulden 177
3 Meyrick Shaw 166 1 0 Dr. Charlie Keen 155
4 Fred Hodge 115 0 1 Jeremy Amos 129
    640   640


Stephens & Abbott (nearest) in action.

Meyrick Shaw (W) heading for a quick (-ish) win.

Amos vs Hodge amid the daffodils.


A release of tension amid post-match analysis.

Dominic Mackle – Chess Tutor.

Former joint West of England Champion, Dominic Mackle, is retiring from his career as an Independent Financial Adviser and taking up that of chess coach. As such he will be joining the number of excellent chess  teachers already working in different areas of the county. These include Vic Cross (Torbay); Tim Onions (Dawlish), Dave Regis (Exeter) and Kevin Hurst (Budleigh Salterton), who between them have put in many years valuable work in this area. Devon’s junior chess-players are certainly well-provided for when it comes to looking for that bit of extra help and inspiration to improve their game.

Dominic’s contact details are:


Postal address: 2, Bradley Rd., Newton Abbot. TQ12 1LT

Tel: 01626-356868

Mobile: 07792-619850

Dominic with the WECU Championship trophy.

e2e4 Congress Torquay (10.02.2013.)

In answer to the question “How many Arkells play chess?” most will give the answer ‘one’. Those who have read his autobiography Arkell’s Odyssey, knowing Keith has a brother Nick, may answer ‘two’. Wrong again. The answer’s ‘four’, as Nick has two children, Charlie-ann and Daniel, and all four were playing in the e2e4 Congress at Torquay this weekend.

At the end of the day, Wells beat the clear leader, Dave Ledger, on Bd. 1 and Arkell (K. C.) beat Dominic Mackle to join Wells as joint-winners of the Open on 4/5, while a last round win by Martin Burrows allowed him to catch Ledger in 3rd= place.

There was a 4-way tie for 1st place in the Major (U-160), between Arthur Hibbitt (Bristol), Russell Barlow (Somerset), Brendan O’Gorman (DHSS) & Keith Osborne, all on 3.5.

Likewise, the Minor (U-125) finished with a 4-Way tie between Jacqui Barber-Lafon (Newton Abbot), Miles Davies (Bristol & Clifton), STephen CRockett (Redditch) and Lee Bullock (Hackney), all on 4 points.

The next two Arkells, with Mum and private coaches, Keith & Nick.

Daniel Arkell starts his last round game, with Brixham & Berry Head in the background.

Charlie-ann starting Rd. 5 against Andrew Slade, father of Theo, England Squad junior.

General view of the playing area.

GM Peter Wells considers his options against clear leader Dave Ledger.

Local residents Dominic Mackle and Keith Arkell face up in Rd. 5

Theo Slade (W) vs Robert Thompson.

WECU Inter-County Results (09.02.2013.)

The previous round of WECU’s Inter-County Championship was beset by the cold snap and matches had to be postponed. This weekend’s round had an added dimension in that the e2e4 organisation had arranged a congress in Torquay for the same weekend. It seems they had checked that no other congresses were to be held in the area that weekend, but were unable to avoid the clash with the county match cycle. to which many of the region’s top players were already committed.

Naturally, these players felt torn, many wishing to play in both, but not seeing how they could be in Torquay and Taunton on the same day. There were way rounds it – one Devon player, for example, took a double bye in Torquay for Saturday. Another arranged to play his county game in Torquay. This was the top game, where Dominic Mackle knew he was Devon’s top-graded player and would be on Bd. 1 facing Jack Rudd, who was controlling the e2e4 event. Thus the two agreed to play at the Imperial Hotel, Torquay, allowing Mackle to play in the Congress as well.

Unusual, maybe, but by no means the first occurance of this happening. A similar thing happened in the early 1900s when the Devon-born, London resident, Samuel Passmore, played his Board 1 game for the county in London, while the rest of his team were playing elsewhere.

This latest encounter took place at Norton Fitzwarren Village Hall, where Somerset edged out their neighbours by 9-7. Somerset took the top 4 games with their higher-graded players, a difference that Devon’s higher-graded lower could not quite make up. 

1st team games available here

It was a different story in the 2nd team match where Devon won by 4 wins to 1, with the rest drawn.

2nd team games available here

Bd Somerset 1 Grd     Devon 1 Grd
1 J. Rudd 220 1 0 D. Mackle 214
2 D. Buckley 208 1 0 J. Stephens 191
3 B. Edgell 199 1 0 J. F. Wheeler 188
4 P. Krzyzanowski 191 1 0 D. Regis 181
5 R. Hearne 181 0 1 P. D. Sivrev 175
6 D. Littlejohns 180 0 1 P. Medina 176
7 P. E. Chaplin 176 ½ ½ K. J. Hurst 174
8 A. F. Footner 174 1 0 B. W. Hewson 168
9 D. Painter-Kooiman 172 0 1 A. W. Brusey 171
10 Meg Owens 170 ½ ½ J. Leung 180
11 G. Steer 169 ½ ½ O. E. Wensley 173
12 C. S. Purry 165 0 1 J. Underwood 177
13 J. E. Fewkes 162 1 0 M. V. Abbott 175
14 N. N. Senior 162 1 0 M. Shaw 168
15 G. N. Jepps 161 0 1 A. S. Kinder 164
16 D. Freeman 156 ½ ½ B. G. Gosling 154
    2,846 9 7   2,829


Bd Somerset 2 Grd     Devon 2 Grd
1 P. Humphries 154 0 1 T. F. Thynne 158
2 C. T. McKinley 152 0 1 W. H. Ingham 158
3 S. Pickard 151 0 1 G. Body 159
4 D. Peters 148 ½ ½ P. Brooks 157
5 A. Bellingham 147 ½ ½ D. A. Toms 159
6 A. Champion 147 ½ ½ A. Frangleton 157
7 L. J. Cutting 144 0 1 M. H. Stinton-B 159
8 P. S. Wojcik 143 ½ ½ J. Fraser 153
9 G. Daniel 142 ½ ½ J. Duckham 152
10 J. Wilkinson 137 ½ ½ I. S. Annetts 152
11 C. M. Strong 136 1 0 J. S. Murray 149
12 M. R. Baker 133 ½ ½ J. E. Allen 149
    1,734   1,862

Meanwhile, the two furthest-apart counties, Cornwall and Hampshire, met at a new venue in the village of Gittisham, near Honiton. Simon Bartlett showed his commitment to both events by taking a bye in the e2e4 event, while driving from Torqauy to Honiton to do his best for Cornwall; indeed, he proved to be their only winner. Cornwall held their own over the top 5 boards, but from thereon gained but 2 draws.

Bd Cornwall Grd     Hampshire Grd
1 J. F. S. Menadue 187 ½ ½ D. R. Tunks 193
2 M. I. Hassal 185 ½ ½ M. J. Yeo 203
3 L. Retallack 183 ½ ½ I. D. Thompson 199
4 R. Kneebone 176 0 1 D. W. Fowler 174
5 S. Bartlett 164 1 0 A. S. Dekker 182
6 J. Wilman 159 ½ ½ P. F. Cooper 169
7 G. Trudeau 152 ½ ½ C. J. Bellers 170
8 C. Sellwood 140 0 1 T. Davis 161
9 J. Nicholas 140 ½ ½ G. A. Jones 153
10 D. R. Jenkins 135 ½ ½ J. Chilton 144
11 M. Hill 132 ½ ½ Miss G. Moore 145
12 D. R. Jenkins 125 0 1 S. D. LeFevre 133
13 A. Barkhuysen 124 0 1 D. Culliford 134
14 P. Spargo 119 0 1 C. P. Priest 147
15 default   0 1 A. Syed 131
16 default   ½ ½ B. Diaper 115
      3½  12½    

Bristol Winter Congress Winners (09.02.2013.)

The prizewinners of the recent Bristol Winter Congress were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st  G. Morris (182) Horfield & Redland 4½. 2nd= C. Beaumont (208) Bristol & Clifton and         T. Brown (174) Wales 4.

Grading prizes: U-182: R. Thompson (176) Bristol University 3. (U-170)  P. Bahra (169) Bristol University 3. (26 players).

Major Section: (U-155). 1st= R. Hardy (153) Bristol Grendel; J. Fisher (129)   Horfield & Redland & J. Hendy (148)  Keynsham, all 4.

Grading prizes: (U-145) P. Dimond (140) Bath 3½. (U-130) J. Budd (124)   Bristol & Clifton. (23 players).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st=  P. R. Jackson (117) Morecambe; J. Wallman  (99) Dorset &  J. Walpole  (111) Bristol University, all 4.

Grading prizes (U-115) Reece Whittington (105) Exeter Juniors        3½. (U-100) R. Turner (99) Somerset 2½ (22 players).

The West of England Junior Championships start next Saturday in Swindon, with titles winnable at all ages. Details and late entries to Bev Schofield on 01793-487575 or e-mail

The East Devon Congress starts a fortnight on Friday, the 1st March. Enquiries and late entries should go to Sean Pope on 01392-436420 or e-mail

In last week’s position from the Gibraltar Festival, White finished in style with 1.Qxb5 Qxb5 (forced) 2.Nc7 mate.

There’s another sharp finish to the end of this game from the same tournament. Jack Rudd keyed in almost 1,000 games for the tournament website, and sent in this one for readers to enjoy working out.

White: C. Nwachukwu (1962). Black: D. Jameson (2143).
Ruy Lopez – Open Defence [C80].
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Black dares to take the proffered e-pawn – not everyone does. This constitutes the Open Defence. 5…Nxe4 6.Re1 Nc5 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 Be7 9.d4 Ne6 10.Be3 0-0 11.Qd3 Bd6 12.Nc3 c5 13.Nf3 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Nc5 15.Qe2 Qh4 16.Nf3 Qh5 17.h3 Re8 18.Rad1 Qg6 19.Rd5 h6 20.Nh4 Qf6 21.Qh5 Bd7 22.Red1 Ne4 23.Bd4 Qf4 24.Ne2 Which brings us to this week’s position, in which Black finishes with a forced 5 move checkmate. Can you spot it?

Black to mate in 5

Exmouth V Barnstaple – What could possibly go wrong!?

Saturday was a beautiful cloudless day with the air like wine and the prospect of a trip across Devon, from the south to north coast for a chess match excited the sense of anticipation. All 8 people involved were experienced players and organisers, and although it was only a 2nd division match, it involved an International Master, 2 qualifiers for this year’s British Championship, 2 former and one current contender for British junior titles and a former World record holder – so what could possibly go wrong!?

Well, quite a lot actually. 30 minutes before I set off, the Home captain phoned to say he’d just realised he’d assembled a team whose total grade came to 640, when the rules clearly stated it should be Under 640. He wasn’t sure what to do about it at that late juncture, and I left him worrying about who, if anyone, he could call in and who should be left out at such short notice.

Minutes later, my two passengers arrived and we set off, heading north. Almost immediately one passenger was taken violently ill (nothing to do with my driving, I hasten to add) and we had to turn back and take him home, which, at best,  left us having to play a strong team with only three players.

Once in Barnstaple, we parked and arrived at the venue with 10 minutes to spare, only to find that the home team were locked out of their room. A local friend of the club usually arrives with a key, opens up and provides the refreshments, but he was nowhere to be seen. Their Plan B is to have a player with a spare key. In this case, he arrived only to find he’d left his key at home, and had to drive all the way back to Bideford to get it.

At 3 p.m. after half an hour waiting, someone came down from upstairs and said he had a key and would let us in, which he did, but then no-one had the key to the equipment cupboard, so we were little better off. We could at least now have tea or coffee, but someone had forgotten the biscuits. To fill the time, the captains tossed for colours; Barnstaple won and naturally took the two whites on 1 and 3, with Bd. 4 already in the bag.

Eventually, the second keyholder arrived from Bideford and a silence descended as play started about 45minutes late. However, it was not long before a security van drew up outside and its uniformed driver came in wanting to know who had set off the alarm. No alarm had been heard, but the system was wired up to the firm’s offices and it went off silently, so as not to scare off any intruder. It took him a half hour to satisfy himself that nothing untoward had occurred, but on leaving, warned us all, loudly, to watch out for possible trouble.

It wasn’t long thereafter before John Stephens fell to ‘Jumping’ Jack Rudd. Stephens, playing an opening he knows well, played his 10th move too quickly, getting the move order mixed up. Jack pounced and it was soon over. He played 34 moves in 11 minutes’ thinking time, at a rate of 19 seconds per move, quite usual for him. Quite apart from whatever’s happening on the board, this inevitably puts time pressure on all his opponents, as a scheduled 4 hour game isn’t going to last much longer than half that time at most, with the opponent’s clock running most of that time.

So it was 2-0 and any hope of a miracle win flown out of the window. Fortunately Jones, playing against the English Opening (which he hates), had managed to turn round an early reverse, and was finding the greater freedom for his pieces, with probing threats on both sides of the board, and eventually, his opponent resigned.

Meanwhile, Meyrick Shaw was having to cope with the dangerous Theo Slade, currently in the England Junior squad. Slade played the French Defence, and White managed to set up a strong early kingside attack, Black having to sacrifice the exchange in order stay in the game. This allowed Shaw the luxury of being able to sacrifice material back in order to continue his winning attack. leaving the match drawn. The captains reflected afterwards that after all that had gone before, probably neither side deserved to win.

All of which proves the old saying – “If a thing can go wrong, it probably will”, and it certainly did for both sides on this particular Saturday afternoon.

  Barnstaple Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 Jack Rudd 220 1 0 John Stephens 192
2 Theo Slade 145 0 1 Meyrick Shaw 166
3 Jon Munsey 135 0 1 Bob Jones 130
4 A. Rinvolucri 122 1 0 Fred Hodge (def) 115
    622 2 2   603


Bds 1 & 2 - two white wins.

Theo Slade plays the French Defence.

John Stephens facing Rudd - a possible rehearsal for this year's British.