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Devon & Somerset Both Lose (25.05.2013.)

Saturday was scheduled as the quarter-final round of the National Stages of the Inter-counties tournament, with several West of England teams featuring in the various sections. Devon were drawn against Middlesex in the U-180 section and they met under the shadow of Old Sarum, near Salisbury. Devon players were hampered by the County Show traffic, causing a delayed start and one player misunderstanding the start time, all of which contributed to their 6–10 loss. However, the match was closer than the score suggested and several games could have gone either way. Devon’s three winners were Kevin Hurst, Mark Abbott and John Fraser. Here is the win on Board 4, with notes based on those kindly supplied by the winner.

White: K. J. Hurst (176). Black: A. Fulton (178).

Caro-Kann – by transposition. [B15]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 c6 4.Nc3 d5 5.e5 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 e6 8.Be3 Qa5 If 8…Qb6 9.0–0–0 still with advantage to White in space and development. 9.Be2 Nd7 10.0–0 a6 11.a3 c5 12.b4 cxb4 13.axb4 Qd8 14.b5 White toyed with the sacrifice 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Qxd5 after which might have followed 15…Qc7 16.Bf3 Rb8 17.e6 fxe6 18.Qxe6+ and Black’s king is stuck in the centre and struggling. e.g. If 18…Ne7 19.Bg5 Nb6 20.Rfe1 Nbc8. 14…a5 15.b6 White offers a pawn in order to open up lines on the queenside. 15…Ne7 16.Nb5 0–0 17.Rfb1 Nc6 18.c3 White takes care to consolidate his centre before continuing with his attack 18…Nxb6 19.Qg3 h6 20.Bd3 Ne7 21.Nd6 Qc7 22.Bd2 Rfb8 23.Qh4! Having tied up most of Black’s piece-power on the queenside, White exploits his flexibility by switching quickly to the other wing. 23…Nf5 24.Bxf5 exf5 25.Bxh6 Bxh6 26.Qxh6 Nc8?? A blunder that loses immediately. Ne8 threatening both the queen and mate. 1–0. Black’s best chance was 26…Nc4! but it would still be a struggle after 27.Nxc4 Qxc4 28.Rb6 Ra6 29.Rab1 Rxb6 30.Rxb6 with a breakthrough planned on e6.

In the Open Section Somerset lost 5½-10½ to Lancashire, Mike Richardt and Peter Chaplin being their only winners. In the Minor Counties section, Gloucestershire lost by the same score to Lincolnshire, with Daniel Lambourne and Matthew Claypole being their only winners.

(NB: Please note that since going to press, it was ascertained that Richardt did lose his game, but his opponent was subsequently found to be ineligible. So, for the purposes of the match, the result of that game was reversed and Lancashire penalised an additional point. However, for grading purposes, Richardt’s loss will stand.)

Hants had a walkover against Warwickshire in the U-140s.

In last week’s position, World Champion Anand had no choices in losing to 1.Qxf7+ RxQ 2.Ng6+ Kg8 3.Rh8 mate.

Here is reader Dave Howard’s latest composition, hitherto unpublished. There are several mates in 3, but can you spot the only 2 move mate?

White to mate in 2

The 24th Frome Congress took place last weekend, and the prizewinners were as follows (with club & grade).

Open: 1st David Buckley (Bath – 218). 2nd= Tyson Mordue (S. Bristol – 195); Chris Ross (Peterborough – 207) & Paul Bonafont (H. Hempstead – 187).

Grading prize (U-170): 1st= Graham Steer (Frome – 171) & Martin Clancey (Ringwood – 175).

Major (U-170): 1st= R. Radford (S. Bristol – 159) & P. Jackson (Coulsdon – 165). 3rd= C. Bellers (Wimborne – 167); G. Crockart (Yeovil – 166); S. Appleby (Gillingham – 165); A. Gregory (Bath – 145); R. Bennett (Newport -147): D. Marshall & D. Weston (both Trowbridge). Grading prize (U-50): 1st= K. Winter (Bingley – 147) & B. Macreamionn  (Wilts).

Intermediate (U-140): 1st A. Champion (Frome – 134). 2nd= C. Brown (Bath – 126); O. Bennett (Newport – 128) & Phil Foley (Upminster – 129).  Grading prize: P. Horne (N. Radstock – 125)

Minor (U-115): 1st Marian Cox (Southampton – 107). 2nd= A. Fraser (Beckenham – 104) & R. Porter (Bristol Uni. – 110). Grading prize (U-90): M. Watson (Taunton – 79) & C. Bennett (Newport – 74).

This Rd. 5 game clinched Buckley’s 1st place.

White: D. Sully (189). Black: D. Buckley (218).

Alekhine’s Defence – Spielmann Variation. [B02]

1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Nfd7 4.e6 Rudolf Spielmann’s move, typical of his aggressive style. 4…fxe6 5.d4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bb5 g6 8.0–0 Bg7 9.dxc5 Nxc5 10.Re1 0–0 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Be3 Qd6 13.Bd4 Rxf3 White feels this offer too risky, for if 14.gxf3 e5 15.Bxc5 Qxc5 16.Qd2 Bf5 and Black’s bishop pair and 4 central pawns will prove difficult to deal with, so 14.Bxg7 Rf5 15.Qd4 Nd7 16.Bh6 e5 17.Qd2 Nf6 18.h3 Bb7 19.Qe2 Rh5 20.Bd2 c5 21.f3 Rf8 22.g4 Now the rook is doomed anyway. 22…Rxh3 23.Kg2 Rh4 24.Qxe5 d4 25.Qxd6 exd6 26.Kg3 dxc3 27.bxc3 If 27.Bxc3 g5 allows the rook to escape. 27…Rxg4+ 28.fxg4 Ne4+ winning the exchange back. 29.Rxe4 Bxe4 30.Bf4 g5 31.Bxg5 Rf3+ 32.Kh4 Rxc3 33.Rf1?? Bg2 Threatening mate and the rook. 0–1

Coming up next weekend is the 45th Cotswold Congress at St. Edward’s School, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham. Enquiries to Mike Powis on 077-4801-4988 or

In last week’s position, Carlsen lost to 1.Bc6! and he must lose a piece in order to prevent a back rank mate.

He is due to meet the Indian, Vishy Anand, to contest the World Championship later this year. This week it is Anand’s turn to lose. How did White mate him in 3 moves?

White to play and mate in 3.

Liz Neat Memorial Tournament – May 2013

Former member of the Exmouth Chess Club and Devon President, Dr. Roger Neat lost his wife to cancer last year, and was determined to commemorate her support for his, and his sons, chess efforts, with a special tournament. To give it its full title, The Mary Elizabeth Neat Memorial Seniors Invitation RapidPlay Tournament, Roger had decided it should be an 8-man American, with 20 minutes per player per game, with the invitees being players he had known in his Exmouth days.

To give it some edge, he was offering prizes of £100, £50 & £25 for the first 3 places, and was funding a splendid lunch. 

The Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s sea-front Beacon, was booked, and the 8 players duly assembled, together with local Arbiter John Ariss.

Front: Norman Tidy; Seated: John Ariss. Roger Neat, Brian Gosling. Standing: Ivor Annetts, Malcolm Belt, Greg Pond, Fred Hodge, Bob Jones.

After 3 rounds, only Brian Gosling had a maximum score, and everyone retired to the bar for drinks and a splendid repast, while considering the chances for the afternoon; e.g. could Brian be stopped? After lunch he continued in much the same vein, reaching 5/5, but then the wheels came off, trying the Polish Opening against a Polish veteran, Bob Jones. Going in to the final round, Gosling had Black against Neat, who was also having a good tournament, while Jones had White against Hodge. If Neat could hold Gosling and Jones could beat Hodge, the individual encounter between Gosling and Jones would determine the winner.

The first bit went according to plan, as Neat agreed a draw, but the second bit went sadly awry, as Jones not only failed to win, but came within a whisker of losing. So Brian Gosling got the £100 1st prize, while Neat and Jones, the only undefeated players, shared 2nd & 3rd.

All agreed it had been a splendid day, blessed by cloudless skies and a most agreeable venue.

No. Name Grd 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Tot. Pos.
1 I. S. Annetts 143* X 1 0 1 ½ ½ 0 1 4 4th
2 M. Belt 136 0 X 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8th
3 B. G. Gosling 154 1 1 X 1 0 ½ 1 1 1st
4 F. R. Hodge 123* 0 0 0 X ½ ½ 1 0 2 7th
5 R. H. Jones 149* ½ 1 1 ½ X ½ ½ 1 5 2nd=
6 R. Neat 136e ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ X 1 1 5 2nd=
7 G. Pond 126e 1 1 0 0 ½ 0 X 0 ½ 6th
8 N. F. Tidy 105* 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 X 3 5th


Bd Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4 Rd. 5 Rd. 6 Rd. 7
1 5v8 8v2 6v8 8v3 7v8 8v4 8v1
2 4v6 1v3 5v7 2v4 6v1 3v5 7v2
3 3v7 7v4 4v1 1v5 5v2 2v6 6v3
4 2v1 6v5 3v2 7v6 4v3 1v7 5v4

 Winners in bold 

Rd. 2 gets under way: Tidy-Belt (nearest) & Annetts - Gosling.

Rd. 3: The desired Neat & Tidy game.

Rd. 3: Hodge v Annetts (nearest) & Gosling v Belt.

Break for lunch

Spoilt for choice

Jones & Neat congratulate each other and share 2nd & 3rd


Brian Gosling - clear 1st and £100 winner

Amaurosis Scachistica Outbreak In Exmouth (12.05.2013.)

The term Amaurosis scachistica is an ailment diagnosed in some detail by the physician, Tarrasch, the main symptom being the making of obvious but uncharateristic blunders, better known in English as Chess Blindness. Tarrasch claimed there was no sure preventative treatment and he had some evidence that it may actually be infectious, calling this amaurosis scachistica chronica communis.

After Exmouth’s final home match of the season yesterday, against Teignmouth in a Division 2 match, we have further evidence to support the infection theory. In a small room with just 8 players, it can be deadly, spreading like wildfire in a very short time, each blunder more profound than the one commited just minutes earlier.

It all started on Bd. 3, where White, tempted by a hot pawn on the other side of the board, took it with his queen, thereby abandoning her protection of a rook that was being eyed up by the Black queen.  There swiftly followed …QxR+ and the game was over. The stars on top board seemed to have some natural immunity to this craziness, and Stephens, having recently realised that his strength might lie in rook+pawn endgames, true to his instincts quickly reached such a position and ran his a-pawn to queen, forcing a win. Exmouth at this stage were 2 up with 2 to play, but the infection was spreading rapidly.

On Bd. 4, the Teignmouth player attacked the enemy queen with a bishop. White responded by advancing a pawn, discovering a check by the queen. What a blunder – but instead of taking the queen, Black simply moved his king aside. Both players obviously badly infected and the outcome clearly impossible to predict. Teignmouth reduced the arrears by winning this game, but at least the Bd. 2 game was safe, where the home player was never seriously troubled and the game seemed to be heading for at least the draw required to win the match. They had got down to rook + bishop vs rook + knight, where the former had the positional advantage. But you know what knights are like……  The knight checked on a square where it could be taken by the bishop, the perpetrator fully expecting an exchange of the minor pieces. White saw the check, but not the fact that it also forked his rook. As on Bd. 4 earlier, he moved his king away and was amazed to see his rook snaffled. End of game – end of match. Exmouth had snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.

Several players considered calling in to the local A & E Dept. on the way home, but it would have done no good. As Tarrasch correctly predicted, there is no known cure.

  Mamhead Cup       11.05.2013.  
  Exmouth Grd     Teignmouth Grd
1 J. K. F. Stephens 192 1 0 A. W. Brusey 174
2 M. Shaw 166 0 1 J. G. Gorodi 148
3 Dr. D. A.Toms 159 1 0 N. F. Tidy 119
4 I. G. Grist   96 0 1 J. Ariss 120
    613 2 2   561


An Exmouth team confident of victory.

The Teignmouth team.

View from the other end.

The first victim of amaurosis scachistica - but not the last.

2nd Grand Bournemouth Congress (11.05.2013.)

The 2nd Grand Bournemouth Congress took place recently with one of the largest prize funds on the local circuit. The main prizewinners were as follows:

Open: 1st GM Nick Pert (£1,000). 2nd= Zhuo Lim; IM Robert Bellin; FM Tony Corkett; Steve Homer (Exminster) & Roger de Coverley (£120 each). De Coverley and Homer got the British Championship qualifying places.

Challengers (U-160): 1st Brendan O’Gorman (£300). 2nd= Armel Collard & Barry Sandercock (£100 each).

Intermediate (U-130): 1st= Ian Blencowe (Gloucester) & Patrick Reid (£187 each).

Minor (U-110): 1st Tony Tatam (Plymouth – £200).

Here are a couple of instructive miniatures from the Open Section. Over-hasty attacks before piece development is completed can often rebound on the aggressor, as here.

White: Ray Gamble (167). Black: Ian Clarke (179).

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nbd2 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Bc4 Be7 Almost universal here is 6.c3 but White chances his arm for short-term gain. 6.Bxf7+ 6…Kxf7 7.Ng5+ Kg8 8.Ne6 Qe8 9.Nxc7 Qg6 10.Nxa8 exd4 11.Nc7 Ne5 12.Rg1 Nxe4 13.Nd5 Bh4 14.Qe2 By now, White must be regretting his earlier foray. 14…Nxd2. If 14…Bg4?? 15.Qxe4; 14…Nxf2? is answered by 15.g3; If 14…Bxf2+?? 15.Qxf2 Nxf2 16.Ne7+ Kf7 17.Nxg6 Kxg6 18.Kxf2 and White is a rook up. 15.Kxd2 Bg4 16.f3 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Qxg1 18.c4 Be1+ 19.Kd1 19.Kc2 d3+ wins the queen. 19…Ba5+ wins it anyway. 0–1.

White: M. Clancy (175). Black: K. Goater (191).

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.a3 Ne7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 a6 7.Bd3 d6 8.Nf3 Nd7 9.0–0 g5 10.Bg3 Bg7 11.Bc4 Ng6 12.Re1 g4 13.Nd2 h5 threatening 15…h4 winning the bishop. 14.f4 giving the bishop a flight square at the cost of his d-pawn. 14…Bxd4+ 15.Kf1 h4 16.Qxg4 White might have tried 16.Bf2 Bxf2 17.Kxf2 g3+ 18.Kg1 Nxf4 but things are little better. 19.Qg4 gxh2+ 20.Kxh2 Ng6 21.Nf3 h3 22.Qg3 (22.gxh3 Nde5 23.Nxe5 Nxe5 24.Qg7 Qh4). 16…hxg3 17.Qxg3 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qf6 0–1 White is a piece down and facing a strong attack.

In last week’s position, Adams won by playing 1…QxR+! 2.RxQ NxB 3.RxR+ RxR and White cannot both save his queen and avoid mate on e1.

Magnus Carlsen won the recent Candidates’ Tournament for the right to challenge for the World Champion, Vishy Anand, a match that will take place later this year. Here is a game he lost when still a child prodigy, aged 13. How did White end the game at a stroke?

White to play and win.

Devon’s Div. 1 (Bremridge Cup) Exmouth vs Exeter.

The 5 teams in Devon’s 1st Division, play each other once, giving a total of 4 matches. Both Exeter and Exmouth have been a little slow off the mark this season, for one reason or another, and this was the third match for each, with Exeter having won their 1st two matches, while Exmouth had won one and drawn one. So there was everything to play for.

Luck played a part in the team selection for both sides. Exmouth were lucky in that former player, Ken Derrick, had decided to play a more active part in Devon chess, playing both for the county and his old club of Exmouth. This, combined with Dr. Underwood’s recent return from a two year stint in Connecticut, enabled the home team to be at full strength. On the other hand, one Exeter player found himself in another country and had to be substituted at short notice. 

The first game to finish was on Bd. 4 where Kevin Hurst gained the upper hand against Simon Waters in a Petroff Defence, and it was all over in 21 moves. This was balanced by a win for Dr. Paulden who broke through Dr. Underwood’s king’s position, utilising long open lines for his pieces, queen, rook and bishops. Then Exeter took the lead as Andy Boyne got a knight established on the 6th rank, and kept all his other pieces working harmoniously. At this point, 2-1 down, and two players a pawn down, for little obvious compensation, even a drawn match looked optimistic. 

It was, in fact, like a match of two halves, with the first 3 games finishing in 21, 28 and 32 moves respectively, while the other three all went right down to the wire; in 59, 63 & 64 moves. The 6 free players and non-playing captain all looked on nervously as the games went into extra time and fortunes gradually swung around. 

Mark Abbott had looked the only one with a superior position, but this was gradually whittled away until an ending was reached where he only had 3 pawns against a rook. Fortunately, his king was able to protect them as they shuffled forward, like a shepherd coralling his last 3 sheep. The rook alone could do little as his king was trying to catch up with the action. Abbott finished prettily, underpromoting a pawn to a knight with check, allowing a 2nd pawn to queen.

Now 2-all, and the other two games, in which both Exmouth players had been a pawn down, were gradually turning around. The Stephens/Regis game had been positionally congested with 13 pawns still on the board late on, but Stephens was able to grab an open file for his rook, before invading Black’s position to winning effect.  The Pope/Shaw game came down to a N + B each with a scattering of pawns, when Shaw opted to swap his bad bishop for Pope’s good knight, after which he was able to grab a few pawns and ran his h-pawn forward to queen, which Pope was unable to prevent.

So it finished 4 – 2, which sounds a healthy margin, but the result was in doubt to the very end. It was unusual at this level to have all six games ending decisively, with no draws, indicative of how all 12 players were committed to the cause.

  Bremridge Cup       04.05.2013  
Bd. Exmouth Grd     Exeter  Grd
1 K. W. Derrick 207 0 1 A. Boyne 195
2 J. K. F. Stephens 192 1 0 D. Regis 179
3 J. Underwood 177 0 1 T. Paulden 177
4 K. J. Hurst 176 1 0 S. R. Waters 168
5 M. Shaw 166 1 0 S. Pope 158
6 M. V. Abbott 167 1 0 P. Dobber 142
  Totals 1,085 4 2   1,019


General view - Bd. 1 nearest.

Bds. 1 - 3 in early action.

Bds 4 - 6 in action.

Somerset vs Glos Result (04.05.2013.)

The snow-delayed match between Somerset and Gloucestershire was finally played at Cheltenham last weekend, resulting in a win for the visitors by 11-5. Somerset thereby won the 1st Division of the WECU Inter-county competition (the Harold Meek Cup) and now go forward to the National Stage Quarter-Finals to meet Lancashire at Bloxwich in a fortnight.

Somerset’s winners were Jack Rudd, Peter Chaplin, Andrew Footner, Chris Purry, Gerry Jepps, Chris McKinlay, Adrian Champion and team captain, Roger Knight. Gloucestershire’s two winners were Matthew Claypole and Pat Baker.

This was Somerset’s win from Bd. 5.

White: P. J. Meade (168). Black: A. F.  Footner (186).

Chigorin Defence [D02].

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bf4 Bg4 4.e3 f6 Usual here is an immediate 4…e6 but the text prepares the more assertive …e5. 5.Be2 e5 6.dxe5 Bxf3 7.Bxf3 fxe5 8.Bg3 e4 This advance gives Black a grip on the centre. 9.Be2 An interesting, if unpredictable alternative, was 9.Bh5+ g6 10.Nc3 and now if 10…gxh5 11.Qxh5+ Kd7 12.Nxd5 Bd6 13.Bxd6 cxd6 14.Qg4+ Ke8 15.Qg7 Qa5+ 16.Nc3 Qe5 17.Qxb7 Nge7 18.Qxa8+ Kf7 19.Qb7 Rb8 20.Qa6 Rxb2 21.Qa3 Rb4 22.0–0 leaving White the exchange and 2 pawns up. 9…Bd6 10.c4 Bxg3 11.hxg3 dxc4 12.Nc3 Nf6 13.Bxc4 Qe7 14.Qa4 14.0–0 would have prevented Black from castling on either side in the short term. 14…0–0–0 Preventing White from also castling long. 15.Bb5 Rd6 16.Bxc6 Rxc6 17.Rd1 a6 18.0–0 Qe5 19.Qd4 White would like to exchange pieces, but Black can see the weakness of the h-file. 19…Qh5 20.Nxe4 Ng4 21.Rfe1 Also not good enough is 21.Qd7+ Kb8 22.Rfe1 Rh6 23.Kf1 Rf8 24.Ke2 (24.Qxg7 Nxe3+ 25.Rxe3 Qxd1+ 26.Re1 Rh1#) 24…Nxf2+. 21…Rh6 0–1. White resigned. Play might have continued 22.Kf1 Nh2+ 23.Kg1 Nf3+ 24.Kf1 Nxe1 25.Qd7+ Kb8 26.Kxe1 Qg6 27.Rd4 Rh2.

Somerset resident Mickey Adams is currently playing in the Alekhine Memorial Tournament and after 5 rounds was lying 2nd jointly with Boris Gelfand, Lev Aronian and Laurent Fressinet a half point behind Vachier-Lagrave.

In last week’s position, Evans played 1.Bc6! offering his queen, but if taken he had 2.RxB mate, and Black can’t take the rook because his queen is pinned.

Here is an Adams finish from 1998. How did Black (to move) force resignation with a 2-move combination?

Black to move and win.