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Archive for May, 2014

Frome Congress Game (31.05.2014.)

The recent Frome Congress was won by Paul Byway on 4½/5 points, winning the Qualifying Place for this year’s British Champion in the process. This was a key win from Round 4 in which, having gained a small advantage, he kept everything as simple and risk-free as possible thereafter.

White: Paul Byway (185). Black: Theo Slade (173)

Queen’s Indian Defence. [E14]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.d4 e6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nc3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Qa4+ Bc6 9.Bb5 Bxb5 10.Nxb5 Nbd7 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Bd2 a6 13.Nc3 Qc7 14.0–0 Bd6 White can now win a central pawn that puts Black on the back foot for the rest of the game. 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qe4+ Ne5 Black cannot save the knight with 16…Ne7 because of 17.Qxa8+. 17.Qxd5 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 0–0 White is now concerned to minimise Black’s attacking opportunities and rely on his own endgame technique to utilise the extra pawn. 19.g3 Be5 20.Bc3 Bxc3 21.bxc3 Qe5 22.c4 Rfd8 23.Rad1 g6 24.Rd5 Rxd5 25.Qxd5 Qxd5 26.cxd5 From now on, Black finds himself in a straightjacket 26…f5 27.Rc1 Rc8 28.d6 Kf7 29.d7 Rd8 30.Rxc5 Rxd7 31.Rc6 Ra7 32.a4 a5 33.Kg2 Ke7 34.Kf3 Kd7 35.Rb6 Rc7 36.Rb5 Ra7 37.Kf4 Ke6 38.h4 Ra6 39.Kg5 Ra7 40.h5 gxh5 41.Kxh5 Kf6 42.g4 fxg4 43.Kxg4 Ra6 44.f4 Re6 45.Kf3 Ra6 46.e4 Ke6? Black is losing anyway, but this is probably the quickest way of ending it. 46…Ra8 would have kept things going a little longer.  47.Rh5 Ra7 48.Rh6+ Ke7 49.Rxh7+ Kd6 50.Rxa7 1–0

In last week’s position, White’s knight on b3 is “overloaded”, trying to both defend the rook and prevent …Nd2 mate, so Black can simply play QxR! threatening mate on b2.

This week’s 2-mover is the start of the 2014-’15 British Solving Championship. White is playing up the board and is able to mate on his 2nd move against any Black defence. Find the 1st move, the “key”, and submit that in any one of three ways:- (a) by post to Paul Valois, 14, Newton Park Drive, Leeds, LS7 4HH, (b) by e-mail to or (c) via the website Don’t forget to mention this publication when you do so and there is no entry fee this year. The closing date for this starter round is 14th August, after which all entrants will receive the answer and those who got it right will receive the postal round, comprising 8 more difficult problems. Best of luck with it.

White to play and mate in 2.

Two Frome Games (24.05.2014.)

Here are two games from the recent Frome Congress that had a bearing on the prizelist. This one is from the Open.

White: B. Morris (174). Black: D.Cordner (166)

1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 Most unusual. 2…d5 3.e5 f6 If White wanted to lure Black away from the well-lit paths of known opening theory, he has certainly succeeded. 4.Nf4 threatening 5. Qh5+ g6 6.Nxg6 4…Bf5 5.d4 fxe5 6.dxe5 Qc7 7.Be2 Qxe5 The queen is lured forward while the minor pieces are still waiting for the call to arms. 8.0–0 Nf6 9.Re1 threatening Bh5+ winning the queen. 9…Qc7 10.c4 e6 11.cxd5 Bd6 12.Nxe6 Bxe6 13.Bh5+! g6 14.Rxe6+ Kf7 15.Qf3 Nbd7 16.Bg5 cxd5 17.Bg4 Bxh2+ Black was happy to get his own check in, but it has no bearing on the main issues. 18.Kh1 Be5 19.Nc3 h6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Nxd5 Qd8 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bh3 Rf8 24.Nxf6 Kg7 25.Nxh5+! 1-0 and Morris came 2nd= in the Open.

This pair were clear leaders of the Major going in to the final round. Notes based on those by the philosophical loser.

White: I. Annetts (152). Black: T. Woodward (153).

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.a4 b4 9.d3 d6 10.a5 Bg4 11.c3 Rb8 12.Bc4 Qc8 13.Nbd2 bxc3 14.bxc3 Be6 15.Qa4 Nd8 16.Ba3 c5 17.Reb1 Bxc4 18.Nxc4 Nc6 19.Rb6 Rxb6 20.Nxb6? Better was 20.axb6 20…Qc7 21.Bc1 Rb8 22.Rb1 Bd8 23.Nd2 Be7 24.Nd5 Nxd5 25.Rxb8+ Nxb8 26.Qe8+ Bf8 27.exd5 Nd7 28.c4? Qxa5 29.Qxd7 Qc3 30.Qa4 Qxc1+ 31.Nf1 Qb1 32.Qxa6 Qxd3 33.h3 Qd1 34.Qc8 g6 35.Qd8 Qc1 36.Qf6? With both sides having seconds in which to reach move 40, each of us errs. 36…Qxc4 37.Ne3 Qf4 38.Qd8 c4? 39.Qc8 Qd4 40.Qxc4 Qxc4 41.Nxc4 Kg7 42.f3 Kf6 43.Kf2 Ke7 44.g4 Bh6 45.Ke2 f5 46.Kd3 Bf8 47.g5 h6 48.h4 hxg5 49.hxg5 Kd7 50.Ke3 f4+  51.Ke4 Be7 52.Nd2 Bxg5 53.Nf1 Kc7 54.Nh2 Kb6 55.Nf1 Kb5 56.Nh2 Kc4 57.Nf1 Kc3 58.Nh2 It was here that I realised my king was in a stalemate position. With the move and no horse, the game is drawn. 58…Kc4 59.Ng4 Kc5 60.Nh2 Be7 61.Ng4 Bf8 62.Nf6 Be7 63.Ng8 Bd8 64.Nh6 Bg5 65.Nf7 Be7 66.Nh8 g5 67.Nf7 Bf6 68.Nh6 Kc4 69.Ng4 Be7 70.Nf6 I was inside my last minute and I chose the stalemate. 70…Bxf6 He took and I held out my hand to acknowledge the draw. He, assuming I was resigning, graciously offered his and I then realised that his g-pawn had moved. Doooh! 71.Kf5 Kxd5 72.Kxf6 e4. 0–1

… and so Woodward took clear 1st prize.

In last week’s position, Black could play 1…Bxh2+ and White’s rook will be undefended. Here Black has a strong attack down the a-file, but the White knights seem to be just about holding the fort. What can Black do about it?

Black to play and win

25th Frome Congress Prizewinners (17.05.2014.)

The 25th Frome Congress finished on Sunday evening and attracted 145 players. The main winners were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st Paul Byway (Hertford) 4½. 2nd= Carl Bicknell (Horfield) & Barry Morris (Bath) 3½. The British Championship Place went to Byway. Grading prizes U-181: Theo Slade (Barnstaple). U-170: Stephen Appleby (Gillingham).

Major (U-170): 1st Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) 4½. 2nd= Paul Jackson (Coulsdon); Karl Biswas (Oxford); Mark Littleton (Wimborne) & Ivor Annetts (Tiverton) all 3½. Grading prizes U-156 Alan Papier (Bristol & Clifton); Paul Tew (S. Wales); Roger Knight (Yeovil); Mark Leonard (Trowbridge) all 3. U-145 Tim Chinnick (Hanham).

Intermediate (U-140): 1st Jamie Macdonald (Wimborne) 5. 2nd= Thomas Cooper (Trowbridge); Max French (Frome) & Keith Bateman (Salisbury). Grading Prize U-131: Greg Willett (Bath). U-120 Joe Clapp (Norton Radstock) both 3½.

Minor (U-115): 1st= Stephen Crockett (Redditch); Matthew Hutt (Wilts) & Frank Cheeseman (Kent). Grading Prize U-106: Gary Woods (Norton Radstock). U-90: Keith Sherlock (Yeovil).

The trophies for the highest placed Somerset players in each section were awarded as follows: Bonner Cup (Open) B. Morris. Leon York Cup (Major) T. Woodward. Roy Hossell Cup (Intermediate) T. Cooper. Cyril Chapman Cup (Minor) I. Stringer (Yeovil). Jean Mackereth Cup: Ungraded player in the Minor. M. Maber (Taunton).

The team competition was won by Bath, comprising Peter Cusick, John Leon, Greg Willett & Barry Morris).

Cornwall were the surprise package in this year’s Inter-county Championship, and here is one of their wins against Gloucestershire. Others can be found on their website

White: Grant Healey (165). Black: Phil Denison (158).

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nf6 5.c3 Nc6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.exd4 Bd6 8.Bg5 0–0 9.0–0 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Nd2 h6 13.Bh4 Qd6 14.h3 g5 15.Bg3 Bxg3 16.fxg3 Qxg3 17.Rxf6 Qxd3 18.Rxh6 g4 19.Rh5 Qg6 20.Rxd5 gxh3 threatening mate on g2. 21.Qf3 Qxg2+?? leading to a swift end. Black needed to develop his queenside pieces without delay with either 21…Be6 22.Rd6 Rad8 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Qf2 Bd5 25.Nf3 etc. Or; 21…Bg4 22.Qf4 f6 23.Rd4 Be6 etc. 22.Qxg2+ hxg2 23.Rg5+! Kh7 24.Kxg2 and mate on h1 cannot be avoided. 1–0

Last week’s position ended with 1.QxR+! and if 1…RxQ Black will get mated on the back rank.

How does Black win significant material in this position which arose from a top game earlier this year?

Black to play and win significant material.

Bristol Spring Congress – Winners List (10.05.2014.)

The Bristol League’s Spring Congress took place a few days before the West of England’s Easter Congress, which might explain the absence of Bristol players at the latter event. The winners were as follows:-

Open Section: 1st= James Cobb & Chris Beaumont (both Clifton) 4/5 points.

Cobb is Bristol champion on tie-break. 3rd= David Buckley (Bath), John Curtis (Clifton), Rob Hearne (Bath), Stephen Piper (Salisbury), Joseph Turner (Wales) all 3½.

Major: (U-155) 1st Matthew Wilson (Downend) 4½. 2nd= Adrian Champion & Alex Rossiter (both Bristol Cabot) 4.   

Minor: (U-125) 1st= Lee Bullock (London) Richard Porter (Bristol Uni.) & Amol Telang (Clifton) 4.

Although Cobb and Beaumont both scored 4 points, in their individual encounter Beaumont won, while drawing 2 of his other games, to make their scores level.

White: C. Beaumont (209). Black: J. E. Cobb (225).

English Opening [A13]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 a6 4.Bg2 b5 5.b3 Bb7 6.Nc3 b4 7.Na4 d6 8.a3 a5 9.axb4 axb4 10.0–0 Be7 11.d4 Nbd7 12.Bb2 0–0 13.Qd2 c5 14.dxc5 dxc5 15.Rfd1 Qc7 16.Qf4 Qc8 If 16…Qxf4 17.gxf4 and White might be able to utilise the open g-file for attacking purposes in conjunction with his dark-square bishop. 17.Ne5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Ra6 19.Nxd7 Nxd7 20.Rd3 e5 21.Qd2 giving White domination of the d-file, with Rad1 looking likely, so Black must give up a pawn. 21…Nf6 22.Bxe5 Ne4 23.Qf4 Ng5 24.Rad1 Qh3+ 25.Kh1 f5 Black had a chance to win his pawn back with 25…Rh6 26.g4 Qh4 27.Kg2 Re6 28.Qg3 Qxg3+ 29.Bxg3 Rxe2. 26.Bd6 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 Bxd6 28.Qxd6 Ne4 Looks strong, but White has a check. 29.Qe6+ Kh8 30.Kg1 Qh5 31.Qe7 Rg8 32.Rd8 h6 33.Rxg8+ Kxg8 34.f3 Nc3 35.Nxc5 f4 36.Qe6+ Kh7 37.Nd3 fxg3 38.hxg3 Qg5 39.Kg2 Qd2 40.Nf4 Qc2 41.c5 Nb5 42.Qd5 Nc3 43.Qd3+ 1–0 After 43…Qxd3 44.exd3 White should be able to nurse his 2 passed pawns up the board without too much trouble.

All games from the event are downloadable from the League’s own website,

The 25th Frome Congress started last night and continues over the weekend at Selwood Academy. Spectators are welcome to watch the games or peruse the excellent bookstall.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Kc5! and if 1…Kc5 2. Be7 mate or 1…Kd7 Qe7 mate.

Applying the coup de grace in the most clinical way is one of the joys of chess. How did White do that in this position?

White to win a.s.a.p.

WECU Championships 2014 Winners List (26.04.2014)

The West of England Championships finished on Monday with a new Champion in the form of Andrew Boyne of Exeter with 5/7 points. Richard McMichael of London had half a point more, but he was ineligible for the Westcountry title. Dr. Dave Regis of Exeter was 3rd. Grading prizes were won by:- (U-186) Dave Littlejohns (Taunton) & Graham Bolt (Railways London); (U-177) Robert Thompson (Bristol University).

Major Section (U-175): 1st= Bill Ingham (Teignmouth), John Bass, (Richmond) & Ivor Annetts (Tiverton). Annetts won the Wilkinson Cup on tie break. Grading prizes (U-159) Dave Rogers (Exmouth). (U-1146) Martin Worrall (Taunton).

Minor: 1st Norman Tidy (Teignmouth). 2nd= Paul Jackson (Bournemouth), Rob Wilby (Plymouth) & Ken Alexander (Tiverton). Grading prizes: (U-127) Ray Hunt (Bognor). (U-116) Dave Burt (Bournemouth), Greg Bailey (Netherton) & Edmund Kelly (Exeter Juniors).

Of his four wins, this was the one that McMichael liked best, involving as it does a queen pseudo sacrifice.

White: Martin Simons (191). Black: Richard  McMichael (213).

                 French Defence. [C10]

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 Transposing into a French Defence. 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e5 Ne4 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.a3 Bd7 9.Bd3 Ng5 10.Be2 Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 f6 12.exf6 Qxf6 13.Ne2 0–0–0 14.Qd2 g5 Having castled long, Black seeks to attack on the other wing. 15.0–0–0 h5 Threatening to win the bishop. 16.h3 Rdg8 17.Ng3 Be8 18.Qe3 Bf7 19.Kb1 Re8 20.Rhe1 Bg6 21.Be2 e5 Choosing this moment to break open the centre. 22.dxe5 Rxe5 23.Qf3 Qe6 24.Rd2 Kb8 25.Nf1 White’s queen currently has nowhere to retreat to. 25…Be4 26.Qg3 h4 27.Qb3 Bxg2 28.Ne3 Bxh3 29.Rh1 d4 30.Bc4 Black leaves his queen to be taken. 30…dxe3! 31.Bxe6 Bxe6 32.Qd3 exd2 33.Qxd2 After this skirmish, Black has rook, bishop, knight and a pawn for his queen – plenty of compensation. 33…h3 34.f4 gxf4 35.Qxf4 a6 36.Qf6 Rh7 37.b4 b6 38.c4 Kb7 39.c5 b5 With Black’s king as secure as White’s is exposed, White has no play, so he called it a day. 0–1

The 25th Frome Congress will be held on 9th – 11th May at Selwood Academy, Frome, with an increased prize fund in recognition of their silver anniversary. Full details may be found on their website ( where it is now possible to enter on-line.

In last week’s position, Smith won by force after 42…h2+ 43.Kxh2 Qh4+ 44.Kg1 Qh1 mate.

Here is a miniature 2-mover.

White mates in 2