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Exmouth’s New Grades July 2014

1 129415F G Abbott, Mark V 173 +1   167 -9
2 242270A B Badlan, Tom W 82 +3   78 -2
3 173289E B Belt, Malcolm 128 -1   124  
4 286681L B Blake, Simon 102 -2   91 +1
5 214854H B Derrick, Ken W 197 -7      
6 111446D G Gosling, Brian GE 153 +1      
7 181711F B Grist, Ivor G 108 +3   88 -2
8 140874E B Hodge, Fred R 97 +1      
9 266234G S Hurst, Kevin J 191 +9   157 0
10 181711F B Grist, Ivor G 108 +3   88 -2
11 113895K S Jones, Robert H 129 -3   147 -1
12 116002D B Murray, J Stephen 138 -3   140 0
13 118154D S Rogers, David R 158 +12      
14 248908K B Scott, Chris J 157 +12   157 +6
15 290163J G Shaw, Meyrick 170 -6   167 -7
16 155629A S Stephens, John KF 194 +8   178 -2
17 242384E G Toms, David A 151 +9      
18 242283K B Underwood, Jon 179 +8      
19 285021H S Wensley, Oliver E 149 -8   151 +3

After the false start a little while ago, having confused a June re-adjustment with the new list, here is the new, definitive  grading list as it applies to anyone who has played in or for the Exmouth teams during the past season.

Top improvers are Chris Scott, who did extremely well in both internal and external tournaments throughout the season, and Dave Rogers who did equally well in congresses, winning a number of prizes en route. Not far behind are Kevin Hurst, John Stephens, and Drs. Toms & Underwood, all of whom went up significantly.

Jones has slipped 3 points to 129, his consolation being that he will now be automatic top grade in any U-130 tournaments, like the new Thynne section of the 5 Rd. Morning tournament at Paignton, coming up in just over 4 weeks time. 1st prize £300 – no pressure there, then.

British Championship 2014 Rd. 3 Ward vs Hebden.

At the British Championship in Aberystwyth, the anticipated late rush of entries from the better players did not materialise as several of them were preparing for the forthcoming Olympiad. This left defending champion David Howell as the clear favourite, ahead of a small number of talented aspirants, eager to snatch the crown, given half a chance and a following wind.

The Round 3 draw on Monday paired up two of the seven competing Grandmasters, the 1996 champion, Chris Ward (46) against Mark Hebden (56). Hebden is currently the stronger of the two, and has always featured in the ultimate destination of the title, without actually winning it himself.

White: C. G. Ward (2422). Black: M. L. Hebden (2554).

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 White makes a positive bid for the centre ground. 4…d6 5.Nge2 0–0 6.Ng3 c5 Black has transposed into a Sicilian Defence with an early fianchetto, an opening on which Ward is an expert. 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Taking towards the centre files is the correct thing to do, and now Black is stuck with an immobile backward pawn. 9…Na6 10.0–0 Nc7 11.a4 Na6 12.Bg5 h6 13.Be3 Re8 14.Qd2 h5 15.Bg5 Now the bishop can return to its intended spot. 15…Qc7 16.f4 White commits another pawn to the centre.  16…Nh7 17.Bh4 Bh6 18.Bc4 Nb4 19.Rae1 All White’s pieces are now beautifully placed, and he is almost spoiled for choice as to how best to continue. 19…Bd7 20.Qf2 Unpinning his f-pawn. 20…a6 21.e5 Bxa4 22.exd6 If 22.Nxa4 b5 winning the piece back and netting a pawn. 22…Qa5 If 22…Qxd6 23.Nge4 and Black has several ways of losing material – e.g. 23…Qxf4 24.Qxf4 Bxf4 25.Rxf4. 23.Ra1 There now follows a very finely balanced series of threats and counter-threats. 23…b5 Attacking the bishop, countered by 24.d7 Red8 25.Qxc5 Now the Black queen is unguarded, preventing PxB. 25…Bf8 26.d6 Rxd7 27.Rxa4 Bxd6 If 27…Qd8. 28.Qxd6 bxa4 29.Qxg6+! The “defending” pawn is actually pinned. The end is near. 29…Kh8 30.Bf6+ Nxf6 31.Qxf6+ Kh7 32.Nf5 1–0. Black resigned in view of White’s several mating combinations, which can be worked out from here.

At the end of Round 3, Ward was one of only three of the 58 players still on a maximum score, the others being Justin Tan (17) and Jonathan Hawkins (31), but there’s a long way to go yet, with 8 more gruelling games ahead.

In last week’s position, White won a piece with 1.QxN QXQ 2.Nxe6+ forking the queen, after which the win should be routine.

In this position from a game earlier this year, how did Black launch a stinging attack?

Black to play and win significant material.

Penrose at Aberystwyth (19.07.2014.)

The British Championship starts today at Aberystwyth University for the 3rd time in its history. It was first held there in 1955 when Harry Golombek won the last of his 3 British titles, and again in 1961 when Jonathan Penrose won the 4th of his 10 titles. Although the many other sections will get under way on Monday, as the Championship itself used to, this year it will start and end two days earlier than usual. Games may be followed live on britishchesschampionships.co.uk/

Here are two wins by Jonathan Penrose in the 1961 campaign, from Rds. 2 and 4 respectively,

White: J. Penrose. Black: Derek Ellison.

Ruy Lopez – Steinitz Defence – Siesta Variation. [C74]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c3 f5 The sharp Siesta Variation popularised by Capablanca in 1928. However, Penrose was the sharpest of sharp players and could easily handle this kind of play. 6.exf5 Bxf5 7.0–0 Bd3 8.Qb3! White ignores the threat to his rook. 8…b5 9.Qd5 Bxf1 10.Qxc6+ Ke7 An ugly move but the only option. 11.Bc2 Bc4 12.d4 Nf6 13.Bg5 h6 14.dxe5 hxg5 15.exf6+ gxf6 16.Nbd2 Freeing up White’s rook. 16…Kf7 17.Nxc4 bxc4 18.Qd5+ Kg7 19.Nd4 Threatening Ne6+ winning the queen. Black has surrendered all the white squares. 19…Kh6 20.Qf7 White now has a choice of mates, either Qg6 mate or Nf5 mate. 1–0

The next game was against Tiverton’s Andrew Thomas, who fell for a little-known trap in a familiar opening.

White: Jonathan Penrose. Black: A. R. B.  Thomas.

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence [C88].

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.d4 Nxd4? Tempting, but it’s a trap that loses the exchange and a pawn. 9.Bxf7+ Rxf7 10.Nxe5 Should Black save his rook or knight? 10…Ne6 11.Nxf7 Kxf7 12.e5 The point. 12…Bb7 If 12…Ne8?? 13.Qf3+ winning the other rook. 13.exf6 Bxf6 Leaving White the exchange up, but Black’s minor pieces are well-placed and White is made to work for his full point. 14.Nc3 Bxc3 15.bxc3 Kg8 16.a4 Qf6 17.Be3 Rf8 18.Qd3 Ng5 19.Bd4 Qh6 20.Re3 c5 21.Be5 c4 22.Qxd7 Bc6 23.Qd6 Qxd6 24.Bxd6 Rd8 25.Be7 Rd5 26.a5 Rf5 27.Rd1 Now White has extricated both rooks, the end is near.  27…Ne4 28.f3 Nf6 and Black resigned without waiting for a reply. Rd6 will be a killer blow. 1–0

Penrose finished a clear point ahead of his nearest rival, while Ellison and Thomas finished level on just 4 points.

In last week’s position, David Howell played 1…Qg3! hitting both knights and setting up an unstoppable attack on g2.

In a Bristol Tournament last year, Megan Owens fell to White’s clever little combination.

White to play and win.

British Championships Fast Approaching (12.07.2014.)

For the next three weeks, attention will be focussed on the British Championships that get under way next weekend at Aberystwyth University.

Although late entries will still be coming in, the current favourite, and strongest entry so far, is defending champion David Howell. He always appears to be calm and impassive at the board and plays a steady risk-free game, but applying increasing pressure as the game goes on. This Rd. 3 game against the 1996 Champion from last year’s championship at Torquay, put Howell on his way to the title.

White: Chris Ward (2432). Black: David Howell (2639).

Nimzo-Indian Defence [E32]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Ward published a book on this opening in which he said he had “employed it ever since the word go”. Here, Howell uses Ward’s own best weapon against him. 4.Qc2 The Classical Variation – Capablanca’s favoured continuation, but often criticised as being relatively innocuous. Other popular options at this point are 4.a3 the Sämisch Variation, immediately challenging the pinning knight; 4.e3 The Rubinstein Variation, probably the most popular way for White to develop patiently but effectively or 4.Qb3 Spielmann’s Variation. 4…0–0 5.e4 d6 6.e5 dxe5 7.dxe5 Ng4 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 Nc6 10.Nf3 f6 11.exf6 Nxf6 12.Be3 e5 13.Rd1 Qe8 14.Be2 Bg4 15.h3 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Nd4! 17.Rxd4 Having to give up the exchange but probably better than the alternatives. Certainly not 17.Bxd4?? exd4+ winning the queen. 17…exd4 18.Qxd4 c6 19.0–0 Qe7 20.b4 Rfd8 21.Qc5 Being materially down, White would normally want to avoid exchanges which only serve his opponent’s best interests e.g. 21.Qc3 or 21.Qf4 would keep the queens on. 21…Qxc5 22.Bxc5 Rd3 23.b5 Nd7 24.Bb4 a5 25.bxa6 Rxa6 26.c5 Rdxa3 27.Be2 If 27.Bxa3 Returning material in order to obtain other advantage elsewhere e.g. 27…Rxa3 28.Rc1 Ra5 and Black will have the winning advantage of 2 passed pawns. 27…R3a4 28.Bc3 Ra8 29.Rd1 Nxc5 0–1

Westcountry interest in the championship will centre on the fortunes of Jeremy Menadue and Theo Slade from Cornwall; Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd, Alan Brusey and John Fraser from Devon and Martin Simons and Allan Pleasants from Dorset.

In last week’s new 2-mover by Dave Howard, White should play 1.Rf6! threatening 2.Rxe6 mate. Black has four inadequate ”tries” viz. 1…Rxd6 or 1…exf5 then 2. f4 mate. If 1…Kxd6 2. Bf4 mate and if 1…Bc6 2.Rxe6 mate.

David Howell is Black in this position and has a winning move ready. Can you spot it?

David Howell (B) to play and win.

Martin Simons Qualifies For the British (05.07.2014.)

Martin Simons of Southbourne is the player from the West of England’s Easter Congress who has accepted the Qualifying Place for the British Championship to be held at Aberystwyth University later this month. This Rd. 3 win against a 12 year old is one that helped him to a good score.

White: M. Simons (191). Black: T. Slade (173).

Sicilian Defence – Closed System [B25]

1.g3 c5 2.Bg2 g6 3.e4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.d3 The position has evolved into the Closed System in which White declines to open up with d4. 5…e6 6.f4 Nge7 7.Nf3 0–0 8.0–0 d6 9.Be3 Nd4 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nef5 12.Bf2 Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 Qc7 14.Ne4 Bxe5 15.Bxc5 Bd4+ 16.Bxd4 Nxd4 17.c3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 f5? The f-pawn can’t actually take the knight at the moment and it leaves behind the e-pawn which will become problematic. 19.d4 Bd7 20.Nc5 b6 21.Nxd7 Qxd7 22.Rae1 Rfe8 23.Re5 Blockading the backward e-pawn, which will become increasingly difficult to defend once White’s heavy pieces gang up on it. This future problem leads Black to overlook present realities. 23…Re7?? 24.Qxa8+ 1–0.

Martin tends to show little respect for youth when it comes to chess. Here he trounces a 9 year old in the same event in 2000.

White: D. Howell. Black: M. Simons (203).

Scandinavian Defence. [B01]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.f3 Bf5 5.c4 e6 6.dxe6 Nc6 Black allows the check, calculating it will actually help his development. 7.exf7+ Kxf7 8.Be3 Bb4+ 9.Nc3 Re8 10.Kf2 Qe7 11.Qd2 Rad8 Black is now fully developed and sets about his task with relish. 12.Nge2 Ne5 13.Bg5 Nxc4 14.Qd1 Ng4+ 15.fxg4 Qxg5 16.gxf5 Qe3+ 17.Ke1 Nxb2 Normally, one is advised against pawn-grabbing but this threatens both BxN mate and the queen. With his knight on e2 pinned, blocking in 2 much-needed pieces, White’s position is a mess, but Black still has to win it. 18.Qb3+ Kf6 19.Rc1 If 19.Qxb4 Nd3+ 20.Kd1 Nxb4; or 19.Rb1 Bxc3+ 20.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 21.Kf2 Qe3+ 22.Ke1 Rxd4 with several mates in 3. 19…Qxc1+ 20.Kf2 Qe3+ 21.Ke1 Bxc3+ 22.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 0–1

Far from demoralising the youngster Martin was actually helping him in his career, as today David Howell is one of the world’s top players, a Grandmaster and twice British Champion. They might even meet again over the board in Aberystwyth, in which case there might be a whiff of revenge in the air!

In last week’s position, White can simply push his pawn to f7+, and if the king takes it, he has Rh7+ winning the rook. If Black therefore plays Ke7 he plays Rh7 and sets the same problem.

Here’s another hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 2.