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Archive for January, 2014

Devon v Cornwall – Latest Contest (25.01.’14)

Devon took note of Cornwall’s good results this season and fielded a strong team in their match at Ashtorre Rock, Saltash at the weekend, eventually running out 11½ – 4½ winners, a score that rather belies the closeness of the contest. Cornish names first in each pairing:-

1.M. Hassall 0-1 D. Mackle. 2.J. Menadue ½-½ A. Boyne. 3.R. Kneebone ½-½ J. Stephens. 4.S. Bartlett 0-1 T. Paulden. 5.D. Saqui 0-1 P. Sivrev. 6.L. Retallick 0-1 D. Regis. 7.G. Healey 0-1 A. Brusey. 8.T. Slade 1-0 J. Fraser. 9.C. Sellwood 1-0 J. Underwood. 10.G. Trudeau 1-0 M. Shaw. 11.J. Hooker 0-1 B. Hewson. 12.J. Nicholas ½-½ T. Thynne. 13.J. Wilman 0-1 P. Brooks. 14.M. Hill 0-1 W. Ingham. 15.B. Parkin 0-1 N. Rahimili. 16.D. R. Jenkins 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge.

This game from Board 4 demonstrates (a) the importance of acting quickly against the enemy king and (b) the power of the check.

White: S. Bartlett (174). Black: T. J. Paulden (186).

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 a6 4.f4 d5 5.e5 h5 6.Bd3 Nh6 7.Qf3 c6 8.Nge2 Bg4 9.Qf2 e6 10.Be3 Nd7 11.0–0–0 White chooses to castle long, so Black responds immediately. 11…Qa5 12.h3 Bxe2 13.Bxe2 b5 14.a3 b4 15.Nb1 bxa3 16.Nxa3 Bf8 17.Bd2 Qb6 18.Nb1 Nf5 19.Bc3 c5 20.g4 hxg4 21.hxg4 Rxh1 22.Rxh1 Nxd4 winning a pawn 23.Bxd4 cxd4 24.Nd2 Rb8 25.b3 Ba3+ 26.Kd1? d3 White must do something about his undefended queen, allowing PxB+ next move. 0–1

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Ke2! forcing 1…Ke3 and then 2.R1c4 mate.

An inter-area match between the Torbay-based South Devon team and Plymouth-based West at the Plymouth Chess Club finished in a win for the hosts, by 6½ – 5½.

This position appears in Grandmaster Glenn Flear’s latest book, Tactimania, (Quality Chess 2011) in which he gives hundreds of instructive positions from his own games. It’s taken from a 1986 game in France against Trefor Thynne, not J. Thynne as given in the book. The whole game was as follows:

White: G. C. Flear. Black: T. F. Thynne.  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.Qxc4 c6 9.Rd1 Nb6 10.Qc2 Bd7 11.Ne5 Rc8 12.Nd3 Nbd5 13.a3 Be8 14.e4 Nc7 15.Nc3 Na6 16.b4 Nh5 17.e5 g6 18.Ne4 Kh8 19.Ndc5 Nxc5 20.dxc5 Qc7 21.Nd6 Rb8 22.Bh6 Rg8 23.g4 Ng7 24.Qc3 b6 25.Rac1 b5 26.Rc2 Ra8 27.Rcd2 Rd8 28.Qf3 Bxd6 29.Rxd6 Ra8 30.Qf6 a5 31.Rd8 Rc8. From this position, how did White now force a win, with a possible mate in 4?

White to play and win

Ian Ponter (1972 – 2013)

Ian Ponter, who died in December at the age of 41, was a well-known figure in the Bristol League and westcountry congresses. He was a strong club player who relished complex positions, which may have led him to lose a number of games against the strongest opposition, but gave him a number of scalps. Typical is this 2004 game in which he beats a fellow Bristolian and future West of England Champion.

 White: Paul Helbig (2040). Black: Ian Ponter. (1920).

King’s Gambit Accepted – Berlin Defence. [C39]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 White gambits a pawn in the hope of getting more activity for his pieces. 2…exf4 Ponter accepts the challenge. 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 Constituting the Berlin Defence.  6.d4 d6 7.Nd3 Nc6 If 7…Nxe4 8.Qe2 Qe7 9.Bxf4. 8.d5 Ne5 9.Bxf4 Nxd3+ 10.Qxd3 Qe7 11.Nc3 Bg7 12.0–0–0 Nh5 13.Qb5+ Bd7 If 13…c6? 14.dxc6 0-0 15.Bxd6 winning material – or 14…bxc6 15.Qxc6+ Bd7 16.Qxa8+. 14.Qxb7 0–0 15.Bg5 f6 16.Bd2 Ng3 17.Rg1 f5 18.Bg5 Qe5 Getting a grip on the long diagonal. 19.Qxc7 Rf7 20.Qb7 Rc8 21.Bb5 With Black’s pieces now focussed on the enemy king, it’s time to attack.  21…Rxc3! 22.Bxd7 Ne2+ 23.Kb1 Rc7 24.Qb8+ Of course not 24.Qxc7?? Qxb2#. 24…Rf8 25.Be6+ Kh8 26.Qb4 Rc4 The rook can harry the queen with impunity as Black dominates the black square diagonal, threatening mate. 27.Qb7 Qxe4 28.Rge1 Rxc2 29.Ka1 Rxb2 0–1

Ian was a member of the Downend Club, where their annual Christmas “Buzzer” Tournament was held again recently. Clear 1st was Ben Edgell with a maximum 10pts, followed by Nigel Hosken and Peter Chaplin on 8. The Best Junior prize was won by M. Wilson.

The Bristol Winter Congress is taking place this weekend at the Holiday Inn. Of the 20+ players in the Open Section, the clear favourites must be David Buckley (Bath) and Chris Beaumont (Clifton) both graded 221. All entries in the three sections are listed on the League’s chessit website.

The 39th East Devon Congress takes place at Exeter’s Corn Exchange during the weekend commencing Friday 28th February. Entry forms are now available and should be returned to John Stephens, who may also be contacted on 07891-648689 or e-mail –

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bg3! Kxe3 (forced) 2. Qd3#. Here is another 2-mover by the same composer from the same book.

White to mate in 2

89th Hastings Congress (11.01.14.)

The 89th Hastings Congress finished on Sunday when 7 players tied on 6½/9 with Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Georgia) taking first place on tie-break from Khenkin (Germany), Qun Ma (China), Mark Hebden (England), Vakhidov (Uzbekistan), Sarkar (USA) and Radovanovic (Serbia). A further 11 players from all round the world came just a half point behind. Here is Hebden’s last round win.

White: M. Hebden (2560). Black: Jens Kipper (Germany – 2378).

Queen’s Gambit [D30].

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d5 4.Bg5 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Qb3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.e3 0–0 10.dxc5 Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 12.bxc3 Grandmasters often like to make early exchanges against lower-graded players, aiming to keep things simple in the expectation that their superior endgame technique will carry them through. However, in this case, White has landed himself with doubled pawns, usually deemed a weakenss. 12…Be6 13.Nd4 Rc8 14.Rb1 Nd7 15.c4 Nxc5 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.cxd5 exd5 The doubled pawns have been eliminated and it is Black that has a weak isolated pawn in the centre. 18.Be2 Ne4 19.Bf3 Rc2 20.0–0 Rxa2 21.Rxb7 Rc8 22.Rd7 Rc5 White has a 4-2 pawn majority on the kingside, and he must activate this advantage before the a-pawn becomes a threat. 23.h4 Nf6 24.Rb7 Rcc2 25.h5 Kf8 26.g3 Kg8 27.Kg2 a5 28.Ra7 Rd2 29.g4 a4 30.Kg3 Ne4+ 31.Bxe4 dxe4 32.Re7 a3 33.Rxe4 Rab2 34.Ra4 a2 35.f3 Kf7 36.Kf4 Rdc2 37.Rd1 Ke7 38.Ra7+ Ke6 39.Rd4 1-0 White will eventually play Rda4 which will cover the queening threat, leaving him able to mobilise his own pawns.

Dave Howard’s latest problem was solved by 1.Kd7! and Black’s tries are answered thus:- 1…Ke5 2.Nd3#; 1… dxe3 2.Bh2# or 1…c1=Q 2.Qh2#.

There has been quite a lot of chess coverage on Radio 4 over the holiday period, including a drama based on the early lives of the Hungarian Polgár sisters who were taught at home by their idealistic father, Lázló, mainly to excel at chess. To this end, from his personal library of over 5,000 chess books, he collected thousands of problems that were suitable for his young daughters to solve, as the positions were relatively simple yet elegant. These were eventually published in a massive book entitled Chess Training in 5333+1 Positions, (Könemann 1994  1104pp) a resource I have drawn on several times for this column. Here is another 2-mover from his archive, one of a number composed by his fellow Hungarian, Ernö Szentgyörgyi.

White to mate in 2

To Sacrifice or Not? (04.01.2014.)

Speculative sacrifices in the opening are best made in rapidplay games when there is far less time for the defender to work out whether it is safe to accept the proffered piece and to negotiate the many variations after doing so. Here is a recent example in which White accepts the risk and walks a tightrope, always seeking to exchange off pieces in order to draw the sting from the attack. As time runs out, Black finally justifies his earlier gamble.

White: S. Martin (Seaton – 162). Black: M. Shaw (Exmouth – 164).

Alekhine’s Defence – Maróczy Var. [B02]

1.e4 Nf6 inviting the e-pawn forward. 2.d3 Invitation declined, as recommended by the Hungarian GM Geza Maróczy (1870–1951). d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.g3 dxe4 5.dxe4 Bc5 6.h3 Black decides to give up his bishop for 2 pawns and a major reconstruction of White’s kingside position. 6…Bxf2+ 7.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 8.Kg2 Not 8.Nxe4?? Qxd1. 8…Qd4 Threatening Qf2# 9.Qe1 Bf5 10.Bd3 Nxd2 11.Qxd2 If 11.Bxd2 Qd5+ 12.Nf3 e4 13.g4 Bg6 14.Bc3 0–0 15.Be2 exf3+ 16.Bxf3 Qb5 17.a4. 11…Qd5+ 12.Kh2 e4 13.Be2 Qc5 Again threatening Qf2# 14.Bd1 Nc6 15.Qe3 Qc4 16.b3 Qe6 17.Bb2 0–0–0 18.Be2 Kb8 19.Bc4 Qd7 20.Bc3 h5 21.h4 f6 22.Kg2 22.Ne2 uniting the rooks might have been better. 22…Rhe8 23.Ne2 Bg4 24.Rad1 Bf3+ 25.Kh2 Qg4 26.Rxd8+ Rxd8 27.Re1 The last of White’s pieces to be developed, and he is still a piece up. How can Black retain the initiative? 27…Ne7 28.Nd4 Nf5 29.Nxf5 Qxf5 30.Be2 g5 31.Bxf3 exf3 32.hxg5 Qxc2+! with several mating threats. 33.Re2 fxe2 34.Kh3 Qf5+ 35.Kg2 Qf1+ 36.Kh2 fxg5 37.Qxg5 Rf8 38.Bd4 e1Q 39.Bxa7+ A final cast of the dice. 39…Kxa7 40.Qc5+ Kb8 41.Qxf8+ Qxf8 42.Kg2 Qef1+ 0–1

The loser was at school with the late, great Tony Miles, Britain’s first GrandMaster.

Bristol’s Winter Congress starts a week on Friday, the 17th January at the Holiday Inn. Details may be obtained from Graham Mill-Wilson on 0779 0167415 or e-mail

In last week’s position, Black’s aim is to eliminate any chance of counterplay by exchanging queens: e.g. 1…Qf3+. 2.Ke5 Qf6+. 3.Ke4 or Kc4 then Qe6+ forces off the queens and Black’s pawns should romp home.


If you have any time or mental energy left before Twelfth Night tomorrow, here is another hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 2.

London Chess Classic (28.12.2013.)

In the recent London Chess Classic, Britain’s top professional, Adams, and top amateur player were both among our home contingent in the top event. When they met in this game, there was, in the main, little difference during the course of the game, but in the end it was the professional who edged home.

White: Luke McShane (268). Black:  Michael Adams (281).

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence  [C84]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 To take the pawn with 5…Nxe4 constitutes the Open Defence and invites White to attack the centre with 6.Re1 Nc5 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 Be7 9.d4 etc. 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 exchanging pawns generally favours White, so 8…b4 9.c3 Rb8 10.Nbd2 0–0 11.Re1 Na5 12.Ba2 c5 13.Nc4 Nc6 14.Bg5 Be6 15.h3 h6 16.Bd2 Re8 17.Rc1 Bf8 18.Bb3 Re7 19.Be3 Reb7 Black’s forces are massing of the queenside, especially the down the b-file. 20.Bc2 bxc3 21.bxc3 Nxe4 22.Ncxe5 If 22.dxe4 Bxc4. 22…Nxe5 23.dxe4 Nc4 24.Bf4 Rb2 25.Qd3 g6 White was threatening e5 with a threat of mate. 26.Nd2 Nxd2 27.Bxd2 d5 28.Bf4 Rc8 29.exd5 Bf5 30.Qd1 Rxc2 31.Rxc2 Bxc2 32.Qxc2 Qxd5 After these exchanges the position looks exactly level. 33.Qe2 c4! Constricting White’s position somewhat. 34.Qg4 Qc6 35.Qd1 Re8 36.Be3 Bg7 37.Qc2 Rb8 38.a5 Rb3 Black is resuming control of the queenside. 39.Bd2 Rb5 40.Ra1 Qd5 41.Qa2 Rb3 42.Rc1 Rb5 43.Ra1 0–1 Black’s dominance is now winning. Play might have continued 43…Qd3 44.Rc1 Rd5 45.Be3 Bxc3 46.Qc2 Be5 47.g3 Qxc2 48.Rxc2 c3 etc.

Cornwall’s annual championship and congress will be held from Friday 31st January – 2nd February at their usual Stithians venue. The top section is the Emigrant Cup, the winner of which will become county champion, if eligible. The Falmouth Cup is for players graded U-145, while the Falmouth Cup is for relative beginners. Further details may be found on their new website, or contact the Organiser Robin Kneebone on 01872 858602, or e-mail:

In last week’s problem by Mansfield there were several quick mates but only one in 2 moves, and that was 1.Ba4! after which Black has four tries. i.e. 1…Qxd6 2.Bc6#; 1…Qxc4 2.Bb5#; 1…Qxa7 2.Qxa1# or 1…Kxa4 2.Qa2#.

This position is taken from a recently acquired book, 606 Puzzles for Chess Nuts, by Albertson and Wilson. Black has a winning advantage, but the position is very open, so how can he minimise all risk of allowing White any counterplay?

Black to simplify out to a win