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Archive for February, 2015

East Devon Congress Gets Under Way (27.02.2015.)

There had been a few question marks over the future of this event earlier earlier in the year, but the committee of 2 decided to go ahead anyway, and a late rush of entries took the total above the hundred mark.

By a quirk of fate, the funeral of the event’s first secretary 40 years ago, Guy Sparke, was held a few hours before the start of Rd. 1. and in the opening remarks from the stage, the players were reminded of his contribution to creating and establishing the event on the chess calendar.

There were about 30 byes being taken on the Friday evening, but there were enough present to give the large playing area a busy look.

Dominic Mackle and committee member Mark Abbott had a chance to catch up in the 2 minute wait between the end of the speeches and the 7 p.m. start.

.... and then it was time to shake hands and start the clocks.

General view of the hall.

Bill Adaway of Bridport (l) was a winner at the Exmouth Seniors' Congress in November and could figure in the prizelist here.

 

Simon Bartlett and Dr. Tim Paulden start their Rd. 1 game.

 

Somes games in the Minor Section.

A Problem for Alice (28.02.2015.)

Bristol’s Winter Congress ended on Sunday and the winner of the top section was Patryk Krzyzanowski (Yeovil) on 4/5 points, with a 5-way tie for 2nd. Theo Slade (Barnstaple) won the Grading Prize. I hope to have more details next week. Meanwhile, games may be found on the Bristol League website, chessit.co.uk.

In last week’s position, Black finished with the no-nonsense 1…Rg1+ 2.KxR Qh2+ 3.Kf1 Qh1 mate.

WMN reader Jonathan Brewer of St. Columb has written in to remind me that it’s 150 years since the first publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. There have been newspaper articles and commemorative stamps issued, so perhaps we should follow suit.

Carroll, or the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, to give him his full name, was a leading mathematician, lecturing in the subject at Oxford and with a dozen treatises to his credit; a pioneering photographer; an entertaining story-teller and a chess enthusiast.

Although in his first story, Alice encountered a kingdom of playing cards after falling down the rabbit hole, in the sequel, Through The Looking-Glass, she stepped through a mirror to find a new wonderland populated by anthropomorphic red and white chessmen.

The story was designed around a game of chess. This is made clear at the outset when the reader is confronted with a chess problem and the following note: “White Pawn (Alice) to play, and win in eleven moves.”

The following little sketch, which has had to be further foreshortened, is Mr. Brewer’s own commemorative offering.

“Alice and her older sister were trying to decide how to spend the afternoon. Alice was very tired because she had been up late trying to master her French homework. ‘Perhaps you would be content to pass an hour or two with a book, but I’m afraid you do find some books boring. Why don’t you have a quick look through Father’s books to see if you can find one you like, before we go outside. Some will surely be to your taste, Alice’, said the sister as she rose from the sofa, walking over to the standing bookcase that held so many books. Alice joined her and for the next few minutes both sisters browsed over the books in the study trying to find a good, hopefully engrossing, read. Alice spotted a dark blue covered volume entitled Chess Fun. Turning the crisp pages she came across a chess problem that caught her eye. After unsuccessfully trying to solve this tricky little puzzle Alice asked her sister if she could help, for you see the older sister was a far stronger player. After glancing at the problem she said mysteriously “Alice, maybe your French lessons yesterday could help you!”

Black to mate in 1. What did Alice’s sister mean?

Alice's problem - how does Black mate in 1?

E. Budleigh vs Exmouth – Chess History in the Making (25.02.2015.)

A very small piece of chess history was made when the small fledgling East Budleigh club played their first ever match against Exmouth, the current Devon champions. 

In fact, the relative strengths of the clubs had little to do with it, as the competition involved was the local League’s new Handicap RapidPlay Competition. The rules state that the total team grade must not exceed 560 (140 average) and stronger players will be handicapped in the time they are allocated on the clock, as indicated below. Team captains can thus select their teams working in two dimensions. East Budleigh chose to play their two strongest players in the hope and expectation that they would be able to rattle off their moves quickly enough to offset their time handicaps. Exmouth chose to play 76 grading points short of the permitted maximum in the hope that their extra time on the clock would make up the difference. Doubtless a delicate balance to try and judge, and get right. 

In the event the different factors seemed to balance themselves out and the match finished 4-all. The only player to finish on 100% was Simon Blake, who played on level terms timewise.  Although these matches are meant to be a bit of fun, (results don’t go for grading) in fact it was an exhausting encounter for all concerned – the players were totally shattered at the end. 

  25.02.2015                    
  Exmouth Grd mins rd 1 rd 2   rd 1 rd 2 E. Budleigh Grd mins
1 O. Wensley 149 44 ½ 0   ½ 1 K. Hurst 191 16
2 R. Jones 129 38 0 ½   1 ½ B. Gosling 157 22
3 I. Grist 108 28 0 1   1 0 M. Lester 80 32
4 S. Blake 102 30 1 1   0 0 T. Miner 70 30
  Totals 484       498  
        4   4      

 

Ready for the off. E. Budleigh on the left - Bd. 4 nearest.

 

Rd. 2 gets started.

 

Ivor Grist & Simon Blake look happy with their 3 points out of a possible 4.

Exmouth vs Tiverton in the Bremridge Cup (21.02.2015.)

Exmouth’s 2nd match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition, the Bremridge Cup, was against Tiverton (A). Their loss of Somerset players, Edgell and Littlejohns has been offset by the acquisition IM Jack Rudd and Theo Slade, which meant that they were probably even a little stronger than before. However, both teams turned out to be missing key players. Tiverton were missing Slade and Duckham, while Exmouth were without Mark Abbott and Steve Martin, which probably cancelled each other out. Another cancelling out was on Bds. 1 & 6 where Exmouth were outgraded by 28 points on Bd. 1, while Tiverton were similarly situated on Bd. 6. Overall, the total difference was just 4 points, so anything could be expected – even the unexpected. Tiverton won the toss and chose white on odd-numbered boards.  

The first game to finish was Rudd-Stephens, both regular quick starters. After just 15 minutes’ play they had reached move 15 (i.e. 30 seconds per move). Stephens went in for the Sicilian Defence with White playing 6. Bb5. Black played 7…Qb3 attacking White’s b-pawn newly abandoned by the bishop. White ignored the threat, leaving Black with the thought “shall I take it and risk the inevitable counter-threats to the advanced queen – or play safe?” Known as the Poisoned Pawn variation, for obvious reasons, top players with either colour wouldn’t go in for it if they didn’t know the risks. Rudd not only sacrificed the pawn but a knight as well, in order to achieve active play, but he chose the wrong follow-up line and after a number of equal exchanges Black finished up with the only piece on the board which was more than enough to deal with the remaining scattering pawns. 1-0 to Exmouth in under 2 hours. On Bd. 6 the game ended rather suddenly when Black resigned, even though there still seemed to be some play in it, although he had been under attack for some time. 2-0 to Exmouth. Meanwhile, Oliver Wensley had been successful in cramping his opponent’s position, while gradually building up his own kingside attack with all his pieces bearing down on the enemy king to a point where mate was unavoidable. 3-0.  

The one game spectators had mentally written off in favour of the home side was on Bd. 4 where Scott looked to be dead in the water. A pawn down, his queen and 2 rooks were cramped in a corner around his king, trying to stave off further material loss, while Black had the freedom of the board. Somehow, and nobody, least of all the losing player himself, could explain how and when it all started to go wrong, but Scott gradually extricated his queen and rook, got counter-play and finished with a sharp mating combination. 4-0.  

With the match result now decided, and there being little advantage to either side in the two remaining games, they quickly agreed draws, and everyone was left scratching their heads about what they had just witnessed.  

This left Tiverton on 50% after 3 matches, while Exmouth have 2 wins out of 2, with another tight-fought match against Exeter next up. 

  Tiverton Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 Jack Rudd 224 0 1 John Stephens 196
2 Brian Hewson 174 ½ ½ Jon Underwood 180
3 Simon Bartlett 169 ½ ½ Meyrick Shaw 173
4 Ivor Annetts 162 0 1 Chris Scott 154
5 Keith Atkins 157 0 1 Oliver Wensley 151
6 Kelvin Hunter 120 0 1 Brian Gosling 148
  Totals 1,006 1 5   1,002

  

Bd. 1 Rudd vs Stephens (furthest) & Underwood vs Hewson.

The Poisoned Pawn variation is under way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Scott vs Annetts (nearest) - a great turn-round at the end.

Atkins vs Wensley (nearest) & Gosling vs Hunter

General view of Tiverton's club room

Successful New Schools’ Tournament (21.02.2015.)

Chess activity in secondary schools has suffered something of a decline in recent years, and in response the national Manager of Secondary Schools’ Chess, Neill Cooper, has started a new event called the Team Chess Challenge. The format is teams of 4 playing four rounds of 25 minutes each. The first South-West Regional final took place last week at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, organised by Trefor Thynne. The entry was surprisingly large and varied, which suggests the event has succeeded in its aim and might become a regular item on the chess calendar.                                                       

Results: (All points out of 16) 1st Torquay Boys’ Grammar School “A” 12½ pts. 2nd TBGS “B” 12. 3rd Clyst Vale Community College 11½. 4th= Devonport High School; Great Torrington School “B”; TBGS “C” & TBGS “D” all 9½. 8th= St. Boniface’s  Catholic College, Plymouth “A”; Great Torrington School “A” & Millfield School “A” all 9. 11th Dawlish Community College “A” 8½. 12th Millfield School “B” 8. 13th= Shebbear College & St. Boniface’s Catholic College, “B” 7½. 5th= Coombeshead Academy, Newton Abbot “A”; Great Torrington School “C”; St. Cuthbert Mayne School, Torquay “A” 7. 18th= Coombeshead Academy, “B”; Dawlish  Community College “B” & Great Torrington School “D” 6. 21st St. Cuthbert Mayne School “B” 4½.

The death was announced this week of the West of England’s Life Vice President, Frank Kingdon at the age of 85. He first appeared on the westcountry chess scene in 1962, when he became Secretary of the Dorset C.C.A. and their delegate to W.E.C.U. This was his introduction to chess organisation, going on to fill a number of posts in Dorset and the Westcountry.

He was a founding member of the chess club at the Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment in 1962, and 2 years later started the Dorset Congress at Winfrith, before transferring it to Weymouth.   Although a naturalised Dorset man, Frank was born in Plymouth in 1929 before moving to Exeter in 1932. He attended Hele’s School in Exeter before starting his national service in 1947 with REME where he trained on servicing computers, which in those days were often as a big as a house. After being demobbed he became a pioneering atomic scientist, working first at Harwell and later transferring to Winfrith, a UK Atomic Energy Authority site, near Dorchester, which opened in 1958 and was used for nuclear reactor research until 1995.The funeral is on Friday 27th Feb. at St. Aldhelm’s Church, Spa Rd. Weymouth at 2 p.m.

Mrs. Baird’s Valentine’s Day problem was solved by 1.Qh6! threatening QxR mate. The only move to prevent this would be 1…Re3, but this cuts off the Black king’s only flight square after 2.Nxc6#.

In this game from last year, how did Black finish sharpishly?

Black to finish off quickly

Cornwall Beat Devon (14.02.2015.)

Cornwall met their only neighbours on Saturday in the annual Inter-County match, beating Devon by 8½-7½. This was their first victory over Devon in 23 years and only the third since 1973. Individual scores were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing)

1. D. Mackle 1-0 J. Menadue 2. J. Stephens 0-1 T. Slade. 3. S. Homer 0-1  M. Hassall 4. P. Sivrev 0-1 G. Healey 5. J. Wheeler 1-0 Csuri. 6. J. Fraser 1-0 D. Saqui 7. J. Underwood 1-0 R. Kneebone. 8. D. Regis 0-1 J. Hooker. 9. A. W. Brusey ½-½  S. Bartlett 10. B. W. Hewson ½-½ L. Retallick 11. M. Shaw 0-1 J. Wilman. 12. G. Body 0-1 G. Trudeau. 13. W. Ingham ½-½ J. Nicholas 14. T. F. Thynne ½-½ R. Smith. 15. M. Stinton-Brownbridge ½-½ M. Hill 16. I. S. Annetts 1-0 R. Stephens. Cornwall won 8½-7½.

2nd team (U-160): 1. K. P. Atkins ½-½ D. R. Jenkins. 2. C. J. Scott 0-1 N. Robinson 3. N. Butland 1-0 M. Richards. 4. P. Brooks ½-½ A. Barkhuysen. 5. J. Duckham ½-½ D. Lucas. 6. O. E. Wensley 1-0 D. Hutchinson. 7. A. Kinder 1-0 M. Jones. 8. W. Taylor 0-1 I. Renshaw. 9. V. Ramesh 1-0 J. Rodrigo. 10. R. Wilby 0-1 B. Childs. 11. N. Hodge 1-0 R. Pascoe. 12. N. Bacon ½-½ A. Slade. Devon won 7-5.

This was the second game to finish and seemed to galvanise the other Cornish players to a great collective effort. It contains what Jeremy Menadue called “what they used to call a gold coins on the board moment”. Notes kindly supplied by Menadue and the winner. 

White: M. Shaw (173) Black: John Wilman (150).

King’s Indian Defence [A48]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3 b6 4.Bf4 g6 5.e3 Bg7 6.Nbd2 A London system. 6…cxd4 7.exd4 0–0 8.Bd3 Bb7 A quiet start. 9.Nc4 Rather committal. 9.Qe2; 9.0–0. 9…d6 10.0–0 Nh5 A typical plan against the London. 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bd2 b5 13.Ne3 this looks a great square for the knight. 13…Qd7 14.Nh4? Decentralising and weakening the d4 square. Better might have been 14.Qb3 with a double attack on g6 and b5. 14…Nf4 covering the g6 weakness. 15.Bc2 e5 16.Ng4 White seems to be building up pressure on Black’s king. 16…h5 17.Ne3 Qh3!! That gold coins moment! 18.Nf3 Nxg2 The combinations play themselves. 19.Ng5 19.d5 Nf4. 19…Nf4! a memorable move. 20.Re1 White has to play 20.d5 but it’s not nice. If 20.Nxh3 Nxh3#. 20…Qh4 The queen knows when it’s not wanted. 21.Nf3 Nh3+ 22.Kf1 Of course this is wrong but other king moves also lose. e.g. 22.Kg2 Ng5; 22.Kh1 Nxf2+ 23.Kg1 wins. White resigned before Black could play Qxf2 mate. 0-1.

Dr. Jago’s problem last week was solved by 1.Qh3! If 1…Kxd5 or 1…Pe1=Q then 2.Qd3 mates. If Pe1=N to protect d3 then 2.Be6 is also mate.

As today is St. Valentine’s Day here is an appropriate 2-mover from the darling of the problem composers a century ago, Devon’s own Edith Baird. Can you see how the four islands of pieces spell out the word LOVE?

White to mate in 2.

New Cornish Champion (07.02.2015.)

After several years at Stithians, the Cornish Congress moved back to Truro College last weekend. After 5 rounds the new county champion was James Hooker (Truro) with 4/5 points. 2nd= were Simon Bartlett (Newquay), Lloyd Retallick (Newquay), David Saqui (Falmouth) and Mark Watkins (Camborne), all a half point behind. As champion, Hooker now holds the Emigrant Cup for the first time since his last victory in 2002.

In the Falmouth Cup section for players graded below 145 the winner was 15 year old Richard Stephens (Penryn College) playing in his first tournament.

2nd= were Hamad Aljaber (Falmouth), Mick Hill (Truro), David Jenkins (Camborne), Ian Rescorla (Bude) and Jan Rodrigo (Falmouth) a half point behind on 3½.

The Penwith Cup for players new to tournament chess was shared between the promising junior, Harvey Richings (Marazion School & Camborne), and the editor of Athletics Weekly, Jason Henderson, with 5½/6.

Some of the games will eventually be found on the website cornwallchess.org.uk.

In the meantime, here is one of Hooker’s games from 15 months ago, after several years absence from the chess scene.

White: James Hooker. Black: John Wilman.

Indian Defence [A47]

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 b6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0–0 Bg7 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.e4 d6 8.e5 Ne8 9.e6 f6? It cannot be good to leave the pawn on e6, strangling the life out of any possible defence. 10.Nh4 c5 In view of the e6 pawn, White feels justified in sacrificing a piece in order to break open the king’s position. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bxg6 f5 13.Qh5 Nf6 14.Bf7+ Rxf7 15.Qxf7+ Kh8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Qg6 Na6 18.Qxf5 Nc7 19.Nf3 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Rb8 21.Rb1 Qe8 Black still can’t take the e-pawn with 21…Nxe6 because of 22.Qh3+ 22.Re1 Rb6 23.Bd2 Qa4 24.b3 Qg4 25.Qxg4 Nxg4 26.Re4 Nf6 27.Rh4+ Kg8 28.Ba5 Rc6 29.Bxc7 Rxc7 30.c4 Rc8 31.f3 Rf8 32.b4 cxb4 33.Rxb4 1-0 A well-placed knight and bishop is often at least as good as a rook, but here it’s the pawns that make the difference. Black hardly has a decent move on the board.

In last week’s position, White won quickly after 1.Nd5! attacking the queen and opening lines towards the Black king’s position which involve at least heavy material loss.

In tune with the Cornish theme this week, here is a 1944 composition by Dr. Maurice Jago. His most prolific period was during the war when he was a lieutenant in the RAMC, and probably had long periods of inactivity between actions. He was generally attracted by the more exotic forms of problems – helpmates, selfmates, fairy chess, etc. but this is one of his more conventional 2-movers.

White to play and mate in 2