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Archive for April, 2013

Somerset win the WECU Championship (27.04.2013.)

Last Saturday, Somerset beat Gloucestershire 11-5 and so win the West of England Championship.

This was one of Devon’s wins in their recent match against Hampshire.

White: Trefor Thynne (158). Black: Barry Kocan (140).

King’s Indian Defence  [E69]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 An immediate 4.Nc3 is commonest here with the top players. 4…0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.Nc3 e5 8.e4 c6 9.h3 h6 10.Be3 Better here to continue developing with either Qc6, Qe7 or Re8. 10…Ne8 11.Qd2 g5 12.Rad1 f5 13.exf5 Rxf5 14.b3 Qe7 15.g4 Rf8 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nd4 Bd7 18.f4 With all his pieces developed and nicely placed, White now contests the centre. 18…gxf4 19.Bxf4 Nf7 20.Rde1 Qd8 21.Ne6 Bxe6 22.Rxe6 Qh4 23.Ne4 Qd8 24.Ng3 merely a temporary retreat en route to f5 24…Qb6+? Losing a tempo, which helps White’s knight to join the attack. 25.Be3 Qc7 26.Nf5 Rd8 27.Ne7+ Kh8 28.Ng6+ winning the exchange. 28…Kg8 29.Nxf8 Kxf8 30.Bxh6! Kg8 If 30…Bxh6 31.Qxh6+ Ng7 (31…Kg8 32.Rg6+) 32.Qh8# 31.Bxg7 Nxg7 32.Rg6 Ne5 33.Rgf6 a5 34.Be4 b5 35.Qf4 Qe7 36.cxb5! White needs d5 for his bishop.  36…cxb5 37.Bd5+ 1-0 Black resigned, in view of 37…Nf7 (37…Kh8?? 38.Qh6#) 38.Rxf7 Qh4 39.Rf8+ Kh7 40.Be4+.

The 2nd Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress started last evening at the Carrington House Hotel, with a £1,000 prize for the winner of the Open Section, and a total prize fund of over £3,000, which attracts a large entry. Last year’s winner was the 2009 British Champion, David Howell, with the help of this quick win against the 2010 West of England Champion.

White: Paul Helbig. Black: David Howell.

Scotch Game [C47]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 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 12.Bf1 Qf6 13.Na4 Bxd2 14.Qxd2 g5 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 resigned in view of  26.Rf2 Nf3+ 27.Rxf3 Qxd2.

Last week’s game ended 1.PxP+ Kh8 2.Rf8+ Rg8 3.RxR+ KxR and the coup de grace is 4.Bc4 pinning the knight which cannot be defended.

This position arose in a game in the 1958 US Championship, between Larry Melvyn Evans and Arthur Bisguier. Both trailed in behind the first three, Fischer, Reshevsky and Sherwin, but Evans did have his moment of glory here. How did he (W) end the game at a stroke?

White to play and win immediately.

Exmouth Win Devon’s Newman Cup (RapidPlay)

The Newman Cup is DCCA’s RapidPlay trophy. As in recent years, the only entries were Exmouth, Tiverton and Seaton, playing each other at home and away. Last Wednesday evening was Exmouth’s last match, entertaining Seaton at their Age Concern Day Centre in New Street. Having beaten and drawn  against Tiverton, and beaten Seaton away, and knowing that Seaton had beaten Tiverton in their first encounter, the title was Exmouth’s to lose. Not that anything was to be taken for granted as Seaton were able to field a much stronger team for this 2nd match.

In fact, after losing the toss and having Black on Bds. 1 & 3 Seaton won the first round. With colours reversed the crucial moment came after Stephens and Wensley won on Bds 1 & 2. Jones was locked into a rook and pawn ending against the dangerous M. Adams (Martyn, not Mickey). With two minutes left each, the play was getting wild, and although Jones had what was probably a winning position – with best play -  anything could go wrong, and knowing that a draw would ensure at least a drawn match, and with it, the title, offered a draw which was quickly accepted. Another factor in his offer, was that Blake was winning on Bd. 4. but in the last few seconds the win evaporated, and the match was, in fact, drawn.

Exmouth thus finished this tournament with a win and draw against both opponents.

  Newman Cup                
  Exmouth Grd Rd. 1 Rd. 2   Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Seaton Grd
1 J. K. F. Stephens 184 1 1   0 0 S. K. Dean 152
2 O. E. Wensley 136 0 1   1 0 K. Alexander 129
3 R. H. Jones 148 ½ ½   ½ ½ M. Adams 127
4 S. Blake   96 0 0   1 1 A. Dowse 110
    564     518
        4     4    

Hampshire v Devon’s Re-Scheduled Match (14.04.2013.)

Originally scheduled for January, the Hants vs Devon match was postponed due to snow; not so much Devon’s problem, but a number of the Hants players could not only not get to the Wincanton venue, some couldn’t even get home from work on the Friday evening. Whatever date was chosen, re-scheduling would almost inevitably mean bumping into other planned events. In this case, Devon had the Teignmouth RapidPlay the prevous day, while there were other distractions for the Hants players.

The Devon captain managed to hang on to most of his players, but the Hants team was much below what would been expected on the original date. Not only in strength, but numbers too, as Hampshire could only raise 7 players for what was planned as a 12 board match, thus defaulting 5 boards. Nevertheless, in spite of the comfortable-looking scoreline,  many of the Hampshire players put up a brave fight, and seven 1st team Devonians failed to find a win against opponents c. 20 grading points lower.

The details were:

Bd. Hampshire Grd     Devon  Grd
  1 D. Tunks 207 ½ ½ K. W. Derrick 207
  2 O. Gill 196 0 1 A. Boyne 195
  3 D. Fowler 174 ½ ½ J. K. F. Stephens 192
  4 C. J. V. Bellers 167 ½ ½ J. F. Wheeler 186
  5 S. Knox 163 0 1 D. Regis 179
  6 S. J. Smith 161 ½ ½ P. Medina 175
  7 A. Manning 158 0 1 A. J. Billings 171
  8 T. Davis 156 1 0 J. Leung 169
  9 G. Jones 155 ½ ½ J. Underwood 177
10 R. Ashmore 150 0 1 B. W. R. Hewson 174
11 D. Thompson 147 ½ ½ M. V. Abbott 167
12 Ms G. Moore 141 ½ ½ O. E. Wensley 172
13 S. Le-Fevre 141 ½ ½ A. S. Kinder 162
14 T. Chapman 141 0 1 M. Shaw 166
15 B. Kocan 140 0 1 T. F. Thynne 158
16 D. Culliford 135 ½ ½ B. G. E. Gosling 164
  Hampshire II       Devon II  
  1 C. Priest 132 0 1 W. H. Ingham 158
  2 A. Syed 132 0 1 P. Brooks 157
  3 K. Steele 130 1 0 D. A. Toms 159
  4 J. Young 130 ½ ½ J. Fraser 153
  5 J. Barnett 119 0 1 M. Stinton-B 159
  6 S. Murphy 106 0 1 J. Duckham 153
  7 K. Lamb   91 0 1 I. S. Annetts 152
  8 def   0 1 A. Frangleton 157
  9 def   0 1 D. R. Cowley 159
10 def   0 1 C. E. Keen 155
11 def   0 1 J. E. Allen 149
12 def   0 1 R. G. Wilby 145
      1½  10½     


General view at St. Alfred's School, Wincanton.


General view of play.


4 games follow - all drawn. Ken Derrick vs Dominic Tunks.


Bd. 3: Fowler vs Stephens.


Former British Ladies Champion, Gillian Moore, earned a draw against Oliver Wensley.


Chris Bellers (W) vs John Wheeler.

Teignmouth RapidPlay Tournament (13.04.2013.)

Under grey and lowering skies that deposited rain all day long, 69 players assembled at Trinity School,Teignmouth for their annual RapidPlay event. This number was a little down on average, probably due to the proximity on the calendar of other events. However, the faithful were treated to some rewarding activity.

There were 21 contesting the Open with some seriously strong players in the mix. In the event, Patryk Krzyzanowski, fresh from coming 1st= in the West of England Open a fortnight earlier, cruised through the first 5 rounds with a maximum score, enabling him to take a quick draw in the final round to be sure of clear 1st place, although he was given a stern examination in the penultimate round by local schoolboy,  John Fraser. John Stephens and Richard Webster were a point behind in joint 2nd.

If the Open was something of a procession, the same cannot be said of the Major, where a host of players fought it out in the final round for a share of 1st place. However, it was Clive Pemberton, who had started with a couple of draws and was thus off the pace throughout, who stole through with a win, as all the others could only draw, and took it by a half point.

The event was organised by Ray Chubb and the Arbiter was John Ariss.

The full prize list was as follows:

Section Pos. Name /6 Grd. Club
Open 1st P. Krzyzanowski 5 196 Yeovil
  2nd= J. K. Stephens 186 Exmouth
    R. Webster 196 Ashfield
U-170 1st F. Pitman 4    
U-150 1st J. Fraser   134 Torquay
(U-140) 1st C. Pemberton 5 136 S. Birmingham
  2nd= M. Adams 127 Seaton
    B. Wilkinson 137 S. Hams
    M. Quinn 133 Plymouth
    D. Mcarthur   Keynsham
    N. Derrick 130 Bristol
U-120 1st A. Tatam 113 Plymouth
U-100 1st V. Ramesh 4   78  
U-16 1st Zoe Strong     99 Clevedon
U-14 1st T. McLaren   124 Cheltenham
Team 1st= Seaton      


General view of the action

A tough test for Krzyzanowski (facing) against John Fraser in Rd. 5.

Final round gets under way.

Jt. Runner-up John Stephens (in red) starts his last game.

Top boards in the Major, but Pembleton overtook them all.

Krzyzanowski regains the Walker Cup and a new permanent one to keep.

Flaunting his two £5 notes, John Stephens was level with Richard Webster.

Clive Pemberton crept in on the blind side to win the Major.

Major runners-up: Macarthur; Derrick; Quinn; Tatam & Adams.

U-100 grading prize winner, V. Ramesh.

U-16 winner, Zoe Strong (Clevedon) with Organiser, Ray Chubb.


U-14 winner, Tom McLaren.

West of England Championship (13.04.2013.)

At the end of the recent West of England Championship, held over the Easter weekend, there was a four-way tie at the top of the Open Section and although the cash prize could easily be calculated (£155 each), there was some uncertainty about who should get the title of WECU Champion and the qualifying place for this year’s British Championship. Richard McMichael was the first to be eliminated under the eligibility rule as he has no connection to the West of England by birth or residence. Next to go was Patryk Krzyzanowski of Yeovil as he had the lowest sum-of-opponents’ scores, the next level of tie-break.  This left Dominic Mackle and Robert Thompson, both of the Newton Abbot Club, but it took 3 days to be absolutely sure that Mackle had already qualified for “the British” via his success at the Paignton Congress in September. Therefore this place went to Thompson. However, as Mackle had the superior sum-of-opponents’ score, he became the new West of England Champion.

Here is a game from Rd. 4 in which two players from Hull battled it out.

White: D. Stephenson (169). Black: T. Paulden (177).

Robatsch Defence [B06]

1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 a6 4.f4 d5 5.e5 h5 6.Be3 Bg4 7.Qd2 Nh6 8.h3 Bf5 9.Nf3 e6 10.0–0–0 White has built up a strong centre, but his castled position looks vulnerable to a quick pawn-storm – and here it comes. 10…b5 11.Be2 Nd7 12.Nh2 h4 13.Nf3 Bf8 14.Bf2 Be7 15.Ng5 Ng8 16.Bg4 Nb6 17.Bxf5 gxf5 18.b3 c6 19.Kb1 a5 As Black’s attack proceeds, White must try to some activity on the other wing. 20.g4 hxg3 21.Bxg3 a4 22.h4 Qb8 23.h5 Nh6 Developing a piece and blocking the h-pawn. 24.Ka1 Qa7 25.Nf3 White’s kingside ambitions are thwarted so he must attend to his defences. Bb4 26.Rc1 Qa5 27.Be1 Kd7 28.Ng1 Rhg8 29.Nge2 Rg2 30.Rh3 Ba3 31.Rb1 b4 32.Nd1 Qb5 33.Bf2 Ng4 34.Rg3 Rxf2! 35.Nxf2 Nxf2 36.Rg7 Ne4 37.Qe1 axb3 38.cxb3 Qd3 39.Rxf7+ White is trying to get some counterplay but  a single piece is not enough.  39…Ke8 40.Rb7 which brings us to this week’s position in which Black found a winning move before White could threaten mate himself with Qh4. Can you find it?

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Rh3! Kf4 (forced) 2.Rf3 mate

Black to play and win

West of England Championship (06.04.2013.)

The West of England Championship finished on Monday in Exmouth after the coldest Easter weekend since records began, but although it was bitter outside there was plenty of hot chess inside, with a very open Championship section. After 7 hard-fought rounds the winners were as follows (All scores out of 7):

Open: 1st= Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot); Richard McMichael (King’s Head); Robert Thompson (Bristol Uni.) & Patryk Krzyzanowski (Yeovil) all 5 points. Grading prizes: (U-188) Steve Dilleigh (Bristol) 4½. (U-180) Dave Littlejohns (Taunton) 4½.

Major Section: (U-175). 1st= Yasser Tello (Wimbledon); David Razzell (King’s Head) & John Nyman (Sutton) all 5. C07Grading prizes: (U-158) Theo Slade (Barnstaple) & Joshua Higgs (Worth School) both 4½. (U-150) Andrew Farthing (Worcester) 4½.

Minor (U-140) 1st Graham Shepherd (Church Stretton) 6. 2nd= Dave Rogers (Exmouth) & Nathan Mills (Brixham) both 5½. Grading prizes: (U-124) John Dean (Plymouth) & Nigel Mills (Yeovil) both 4½. (U-109) Alan Fraser (Beckenham) 4.

The standard in the Open section was high and there were very few short draws, many games being long drawn out affairs. Going in to the last round, 8 players, a third of the section, were either in the lead or a half point off it.

Here is a sharp finish from round 7 by two non-prizewinners.

White: Steve Homer (183 – Newton Abbot). Black: Alan Brusey (171 – Teignmouth).

French Defence – Tarrasch Variation [C07]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Ne4 6.Nxe4 dxe4 7.Ng5 cxd4 8.Nxe4 Qa5+ 9.Bd2 Qxe5 A nice manoeuvre to win a pawn, but it leaves his queen in the centre, vulnerable to harassment. 10.Bd3 Nc6 11.0–0 Bd7 12.f4 Now, as the position opens up, Black’s tardy development proves fatal. 12…Qc7 13.Ng5 g6 14.f5 exf5 15.Bc4 Nd8 16.Qe2+ Ne6 17.Bxe6 Bxe6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Qxe6+ Qe7 20.Qc4 Qc5 Now the Black king is really exposed. 21.Rae1+ Kd7 If 21…Be7?? 22.Qxc5. 22.Qe6+ Kc7 23.Bf4+ Bd6 24.Qe7+ Again, the bishop is pinned. Kc6 the least worst move. 25.Bxd6 Qxd6 26.Re6 the Black queen falls. 1–0

The key move in last week’s problem was 1.Nd6!

In this position, how can White mate in 2 while avoiding stalemate.

White to mate in 2

A. S. Hollis (30.03.2013.)

The death occurred recently of former West of England Champion and Britain’s 6th Grandmaster, A. S.  Hollis.  Born in 1940, Adrian Swayne Hollis was the only child of Sir Roger Hollis and Evelyn Esme (née Swayne) whose families came from Wells and Burnham-on-Sea respectively. At the time of Adrian’s greatest chess activity, his father was Director-General of MI5 (1956 – 1965) a period that saw a string of high profile spy cases, including the Burgess, Philby, Blunt, Blake and Vassall affairs and the Profumo scandal.

He went to Eton and read Classics at Oxford. He was a contemporary of future WECU President, Philip Meade, of Queen’s College, Cambridge, and the two played each other on Bd. 1 in the 1961 Varsity match.  Adrian had learned the game at 13 and within 7 years had become the then youngest West of England Champion at Weymouth in 1961. He was also British Universities Champion and played in six Anglo-Dutch matches scoring 7½ / 12.

His first teaching post was at St. Andrews University before moving to Keble College, Oxford, where he lectured in Classics from 1967 until his retirement in 2008. The twin demands of academic and family life led him to abandon any serious ambitions in over-the-board play and to concentrate instead on postal play from 1965. Ironically, his retirement from active chess coincided with the award of International Master. However, greater recognition came when he became England’s 6th Grandmaster in 1976, for postal play. After retirement he returned to his roots in Wells.

Here is a lively win of his from the 1961 WECU Championship.

White:A. S. Hollis. Black: J. A. Henley.

 Queen’s Gambit Declined [D61]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.e3 0–0 7.Qc2 h6 8.h4! c6 9.0–0–0 b5 10.cxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5 Bb7 12.Kb1 hxg5 13.hxg5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Rh3 Bxg5 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Rdh1 f5 18.Bxd7 Bd5 19.Qc7 Qe7 20.Bxe6+ 1–0 Mate cannot be avoided.

In last week’s position, Magnus Carlsen broke through after…1.Bxf7+! 2.Qf3+ Kg8 3.Rxh8+ Kxh8 4.Rh1+ Kg8 5.Qh5 Rf8 6.Bf6 and Black resigned in view 6…gxf6 7.exf6 Rxf6 8.Qh8+ Kf7 9.Rh7+ Kg6 10.Qg8+ Kf5 11.Rh5+ Ke4 12.Qg4+ Kd3 13.Qd1+ Ke4 14.Qe2#.

This 2-mover, resembling a mass brawl, was composed by Gerald Frank Anderson (1893-1983) and first appeared in the Western Daily Mercury in 1919.

White to mate in 2

West of England Congress – Day 4

Easter Monday morning saw the 7th and final round of the Congress. Often this is the opportunity for many players, already exhausted and not in line for a prize, are only too happy to agree to a quick draw and get off home, but this was unlikely to feature in the Open Section as no less than 8 players were either in the lead or just a half point behind.

One exception featured two of the joint leaders, Thompson & McMichael. Keen to be in the mix for the Qualifying Place, Robert Thompson kept an eye on the adjacent board where Steve Dilleigh (W) was playing fellow leader Patryk Krzyzanowski, and reckoned that (a) the Pole had no discernable advantage and in any case his sum-of-opponents’ score was likely to be lower than his own, and (b) Dilleigh was a solid player, not liable to unforced errors or blunders. So he made a calculated gamble and offered a draw after just 16 moves, which was accepted. That left Kryzyzanowski to try for a win in order to become clear winner. And try he certainly did, but to no avail. The game went right down to the final minute of extra time, but there was nothing in the position for Patryk, in fact, in danger of over-pressing, he came close to losing. As the last game to finish in the hall, there was a crowd, four deep in places, pressing for a view of how it would turn out. The last moves were either indecipherable or they stopped recording, but as I recall it, when the last 2 pawns came off, they were left with a minor piece each, and a draw was agreed.

This left a 4-way tie for 1st place, between, Kryzyzanowski, McMichael, Mackle (who had caught up by winning his game against Smith) and Thompson. The cash prize was shared equally, each getting £155. The question of the British Championship Qualifying Place was to be determined and proved more complicated than in most years. It can only go to an eligible player, i.e. someone either born in, or resident in the one of the 7 counties that comprise the Union, Cornwall to Gloucestershire to Hampshire.

Richard McMichael told me afterwards he would dearly have loved to have qualified but had to confess he was a proud Lancastrian by birth. Kryzyzanowski lives in Yeovil but had the lowest Sum-of-Opponents’ score of the four, so he was out of the reckoning as well. That left Mackle and Thompson, Mackle with the better S-o-S.  There was some confusion as to whether Mackle had actually got a qualifying place at the Paignton Congress, as there were some anomalies surrounding it. It took a couple of days to ascertain that he had done so, and was thus pre-qualified, which left Robert Thompson the last man standing.

So Torbay  resident, Robert Thompson, has qualified for the Torquay British Championship, later in the year, and will receive a £100 bursary towards the entry fee.

Dominic Mackle, on the other hand, became West of England Champion.

At the end of the day, the complete prizelist looked like this. Special mention should be made of Graham Shepherd, the highest scorer and only clear section winner. The Major was even more closely contested that the Open, with no less than 10 players with the highest score or within a half point of it. Of the 6 who got a winner’s cheque, only Theo Slade qualified for the WECU Trophy (see below). 

Recently retired ECF Chief Executive, Andrew Farthing, kindly agreed to present the prizes, and the ceremony was moved forward to 2.30p.m. in the hope that more would stay for the prizegiving. In this respect it was a good move as about half the players clapped and cheered the winners as they stepped into the spotlight. The only hiccup was that there had not been time to identify which of the 4 Open winners should get the QP and which the Champion’s title. In fact, it took a further 3 days to do this, so it was, perhaps, just as well we didn’t wait.

Section   Name Grd Club Pts
Open 1st= Dominic Mackle 214 Newton Abbot 5
    Richard McMichael 207 King’s Head, London 5
    Patryk Krzyzanowski 193 Yeovil 5
    Robert Thompson 180 Bristol University 5
GP   U-188 1st Stephen Dilleigh 187 Horfield, Bristol
GP   U-180 1st David Littlejohns 169 Taunton
        25 competed  
Major (U-175) 1st= Yasser Tello 166 Wimbledon 5
    David Razzell 157 King’s Head, London 5
    John Nyman 156 Sutton 5
GP   U-158 1st= Theo Slade 157 Barnstaple
    Joshua Higgs 153 Worth School, Sussex
GP   U-150 1st Andrew Farthing 143 Worcester
        35 competed  
Minor (U-140) 1st Graham Shepherd 129 Church Stretton 6
  2nd= David Rogers 135 Exmouth
    Nathan Mills 135 Brixham
GP   U-124 1st= John Dean 116 Plymouth
    Nigel Mills 122 Yeovil
GP   U-109 1st Alan Fraser 104 Beckenham & Bromley 4
        34 competed  
R. Burton Prize   Dr. Robert A. Ryan   95 Lyme Regis 3


The 2 top games; one very short - the other (nearest) very long.

Steve Dilleigh receiving top grading prize from Andrew Farthing.

Robert Thompson won the British Championship QP

Lancastrian Richard McMichael receives his winner's cheque.

Patryk Krzyzanowski made a brave shot at becoming clear winner, but had to be content with a quarter share

New WECU Champion, Dominic Mackle.

Hazel Welch retained her Ladies Championship.

Graham Shepherd, clear winner of the Minor with 6/7 points

The problem of Andrew Farthing presenting a cheque to himself was solved by Section Controller, John Arris.

Of the 6 Major Section cheque winners, only Theo Slade was eligible for the trophy.