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Frome Congress Prizewinners. (30.05.2015.)

The Frome Congress was held successfully recently with the following emerging as winners: Open Section:

1st= Matthew Turner (Millfield) &
Gediminas Sarakauskas (Guildford)

(4½/5). 3rd= Jane Richmond (Brown Jack), Jeremy Fallowfield (Stourbridge), Stephen Whatley (Millfield) & Allan Pleasants (Weymouth) 3½. British Championship Qualifying Places went to Fallowfield, Jeremy Menadue (Truro) & Sam Gower (South Bristol), who also got a grading prize.  

Major (U-165): 1st= M. Wilson (Torquay), A. Rossiter (Bristol Cabot), P. Jackson (Coulsdon) all 4. U-146 Grading Prizes: S. Williams (Cwmbran). Intermediate (U-140): 1st C. Snook-Lumb (Clevedon) 4½. 2nd= K. Osborne (Lewes), D. Agostinelli (Southampton), R. Rowland (London) all 4. Grading Prize U-129: A. Sage (Bath). Minor (U-115): 1st M. Cockerton (Torquay) 4½. 2nd= G. Ford (Salisbury), C. Gardiner (Falmouth), I. Stringer (Yeovil), M. Davidson (Wimbourne) & J. Macdonald (Kings Head) all 4. Grading Prizes: U-105: B. Childs (Lerryn). U-91: M. Watson (Taunton). The highest-placed Somerset players were as follows: Open: M. Turner. Major: A. Gregory (Bath). Intermediate: C. Snook-Lumb. Minor: Ivan Stringer.

Team Prizes: Millfield: (T. & E. Goldie, Whatley & French) & Yeovil 2. (A. Footner, R. Knight, T. & A.  Alsop).

Games from the event were not available at the press deadline, but here is a sample of the 37 year old Latvian’s play from the 2012 London Classic.

White: Gediminas Sarakauskas (2408). Black: Arianne Caoili (2202).

Ruy Lopez – Chigorin Defence. [C96]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 Taking the proffered e-pawn generally leads to an open game in which Black can get into a tangle trying to hang on to his extra pawn. 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 This constitutes the Chigorin Defence.11.d4 White’s almost automatic response. 11…Nd7 12.dxc5 dxc5 13.Nbd2 Qc7 14.Nf1 Rd8 15.Ne3 Nb6 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 f6 18.Nh4 Facing the threat of Qd3, Black continues 18…g6 With all Black’s pieces tied up on the opposite wing, White can afford the luxury of a sacrifice to break open the king’s defences. 19.Nxg6 hxg6 20.Bxg6 Nc4 21.Qh5 Bf8 22.Re4 Ra7 23.a4 Nd6 24.Rh4 Qg7 25.axb5 Nxb5 26.c4 Nd4 27.Ra3 Ne2+ 28.Qxe2 Qxg6 29.Rg3 Qxg3 30.fxg3 Rh7 With this particular configuration of Black’s pieces, White can afford to exchange. 31.Rxh7 Kxh7 32.Qh5+ Kg8 33.Qg6+ 1–0 After 33…Kh8 34.Bh6. Little better is 33…Bg7 34.Bh6 Rd7 35.Qe8+.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bg5! after which Black has 6 possible moves, each one met with a mate administered by White’s queen.

This position arose in the recent Devon vs Notts match, Steve Hunter (W) vs Mark Abbott (Devon). Black’s king is very constricted, and White played Nd5+ seeing several good reasons why that would hasten the end after the king moves. It did that, all right, but can you see how?

Devon beat Notts (23.05.2015.)

Devon enjoyed a narrow win against Notts on Saturday, by 8½-7½.

Devon names 1st in each pairing.

1.J. Underwood 1-0 T. Walker. 2.D. Regis ½-½ A. Walker. 3.A. Brusey ½-½ J. Swain. 3.B. Hewson ½-½ B. Thompson. 5.M. Shaw 0-1 J. Willow. 6.M. Abbott 1-0 S. Hunter. 7.T. Thynne ½-½ S. Burke. 8.W. Ingham ½-½ T. Poole. 9.S. Dean 0-1 M. Naylor. 10.K. Atkins ½-½ B. Hayward. 11.D. Toms 0-1 D. Flynn. 12.N. Butland ½-½ T. Lane. 13.I. Annetts ½-½ N. Graham. 14.O. Wensley 1-0 P. Brace. 15.C. Scott ½-½ P. Marshall. 16.P. Brooks 1-0 S. Scott.

This was the top game, with notes kindly supplied by the winner. N.B. Jonathan’s original annotations had to be cut right down in order to fit the newspaper column’s space, but here they are  in full.  

White: Dr. Jonathan Underwood. Black: Tim Walker.

English Opening – Sicilian Variation [A20]:

1.c4 e5 2.g3 f5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nf3 Challenging Black to defend his e5 pawn by advancing it, hitting the knight. 4…Nc6 Black chickens out allowing white to castle, which frees e1 for the knight. 5.0–0 e4N Black threatens to win material: e4xf3 6.Ne1 Bc5 7.d3 The point of the knight’s retreat – Black’s centre is now tottering and the capture on d3 will just give White a free move as the c5 bishop is attacked. 7…Qe7 Now the bishop’s retreat is blocked and the queen lined up against the king – which could cause problems if the e-file opens. 8.Nc2 Qe5? This was to prevent d4 which leads to problems for the bishop – but now leaves the queen vulnerable to a bishop arriving on f4. 9.Nc3 Nh5 Keeps out the bishop.. but now White’s queen eyes that knight. 10.dxe4 White grabs the pawn at the risk of a Black attack. 10…f4 11.e3 Actually, White could have taken the pawn but I was too scared and this move shuts out the bishop. 11…fxg3 Amazingly Black has used a full hour of his allotted two by this stage. 12.hxg3 White threatens f4 kicking the queen away from defending the knight. If Black castles then f4 followed by Qd5+ wins the bishop instead. 12…Bb6 Leaves the queen somewhere to escape.. but Black is in big trouble now. 13.Nd5 0–0 14.b4 14.c5 forces the bishop away from protecting c7 allowing a forced sequence which wins a rook – but it makes a mess of White’s kingside and I was too cowardly to play it! 14…Bxc5 15.f4 Qe8 16.Nxc7 Qf7 17.Nxa8 Nxg3. 14…d6 15.Nxb6? White suddenly panics as Black’s pieces are getting active – a4! would have been winning easily. 15…axb6 16.b5?! Another daft move. By this stage Black was down to about 30 minutes and I was playing quick, complicated moves to put him under pressure – unfortunately this is not very good. 16…Na5 17.f4 Qc3?? 17…Qe8!? Is the only decent move here. 18.g4 Nf6 18.Qxh5? 18.Bd2 would have won – as taking c4 leads to disaster after QxN, QxN, Qd5+ defending the bishop and allowing Rc1 18…Qb2 19.Rb1 Qxa2 20.Nb4 Qxc4 21.Qxh5. Or 18.Bd2 Qxc4 19.Qxh5 Qxc2 20.Qd5+. 18…Qxc2 19.Rf2! Qxc4 20.Bb2 White lets the pawn drop to get his bishop into the attack. 20…Qc5? 20…c6 21.e5! Bf5 21…Qxb5 22.Be4 Black can’t take the pawn as this is fatal. 22.Rc1! Qxe3 With about 5 minutes left and still 18 moves to make in a very awkward position black grabs a pawn.. but White’s rook is about to arrive on the 7th rank to menace his king. 23.Rxc7 Qe1+ 24.Bf1 Bg6 25.Qg5 Rac8 26.exd6 Rxc7 27.dxc7 White is only pawn up but it’s about to give birth a new queen – and there are also mate threats to worry Black who has only a couple of minutes left. 27…Nc4 28.Qd8 28.Re2 is lethal here but the queen is quite safe on d8 and threatens to capture the rook and allow the pawn to promote. 28…Bf5 29.Qd5+ Playing to put time pressure on Black allows him some breathing room – Bd4 would be the easier win. 29…Be6 30.Qd4 Nxb2 31.Qxb2 Rc8 32.Qd4 The pawn is quite safe – Qd8+ wins the rook if it is captured. 32…h6 The Black king gets a bit of breathing space but there is now a forced sequence to win the bishop without allowing the annoying capture on g3. 33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Qd3+ g6 35.Re2 Qb4 36.Rxe6 Qc5+ 37.Qe3 There are lots of better moves, but this forces the exchange of queens after which Black is a piece down for nothing. 37…Rxc7 38.Qxc5 bxc5 39.Bc4 Kg7 40.Re4 Rd7 Black makes the time control with seconds to spare, but the position is completely lost. 41.Kf2 h5 42.Ke3 Rc7 43.Re6 Rd7 44.Bd3 Kf7 45.Rb6 Rc7 46.Bxg6+ 1–0

The problemist J. Paul Taylor (1843 – 1923) spent his later life in Exeter, and published a book of his work entitled Elementary Chess Problems, From it is this 2-mover.

White to play and mate in 2.

Gold Coins Raining Down (16.05.2015.)

Cornwall’s venture into the National Stages of the Inter-County Championship ended at the first hurdle when they lost to Bedfordshire 5-11 at Weston-Super-Mare. They were outgraded on every board bar one, but not greatly so. In any case, they cannot but be delighted with their overall performance this season. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1. Andrew Greet (229) 1–0 C. Ross (201). 2. Jeremy Menadue (190) ½-½ S. Ledger (195). 3. Theo Slade (178) ½-½ G. Kenworthy (190). 4. Mark Hassall (173) 0-1 A. Elwin (184). 5. Grant Healey (176) 0–1 P. Habershon (182). 6. David Saqui (170) 0-1 G. Borrowdale (181). 7. Robin Kneebone (173) 0-1 R. Freeman (178). 8. Simon Bartlett (168) 0-1 K. Williamson (177). 9. Lloyd Retallick (167) 1-0 M. Botteley (176). 10. Colin Sellwood (153) 0–1 S. Pike (176). 11. Gary Trudeau (157) 1-0 B. Valentine (166). 12. John Wilman (150) 0-1 N. Collacott (165). 13. Jeff Nicholas (150) ½-½ A. Matthews (160). 14. Richard Smith (147) ½-½ T. Lawson (154). 15. David R Jenkins (127) 0-1 C. Sollaway (140). 16. Richard Stephens U/G 0-1 B. Pike (92).

Referring back to their historic win against Devon in March and the game M. Shaw vs Wilman, given earlier, in which Black’s winning move was described by Jeremy Menadue as “what they used to call ‘a gold coins on the board moment’”. Where did that saying come from?

Apparently, it derives from the 1912 game S. Lewitzky vs Frank Marshall at Breslau. In his “autobiography”, ghosted by Reinfeld, Marshall introduces it thus:- “Perhaps you have heard about this game which so excited the spectators that they showered me with gold pieces! I have often been asked whether this really happened. The answer is – yes, that is what happened, literally”. Here is the game, shorn of most of his analysis.

White: S. Lewitzky. Black F. J. Marshall

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Bg5 0–0 9.dxc5 Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Rad1 Qc5 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Rxd5 Nd4 20.Qh5 Ref8 21.Re5 Rh6 22.Qg5 Rxh3 23.Rc5 Qg3!! (see diagram)

Black's gold coin moment?


The gold coin moment. “The most elegant move I have ever played!” wrote Marshall.” The queen is offered 3 ways and White cannot accept the offer in any form. (a) If 24.hxg3 Ne2 mate. (b) If 24.fxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, and (c) if 24.Qxg3 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Nxg3+ 26.Kg1 Nxf1 and Black will be a piece up”.

However, a number of authorities are unsure as to the truth of the story. Golombek, in his A History of Chess, casts doubt on it, as does Edward Winter in his Chess Notes. Did the citizens of Breslau in 1912 really have gold coins jangling in their pockets in case they felt a sudden urge to shower them on folk, however deserving? The Cornish certainly didn’t.

Dave Howard’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Ne4!

Frome Congress Approaches (09.05.2015.)

White: S. A. Whatley (182). Black: P. Byway (185).

Sicilian Defence – Sveshnikov Variation.  [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 The signature move of the Sveshnikov line, which is intended to produce lively chess. 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.c3 Nc6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Nb3 Bb6 12.Bf4 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.g5 This early aggression soon rebounds on him. 15…Nh5 16.Bc1 hxg5 17.Nxg5 Qf6 18.Qg4 Ne5 19.Qh4 Nd3 20.Bxd5 Rad8 21.Bf3 Nhf4 22.Bxf4 Nxf4 23.Qg4? Black now cleverly wins a piece, thanks to White’s weakening of his own king’s position. Better was 23.Bg2. 23…Qxg5! 24.Qxg5 Nxh3+ 25.Kg2 Nxg5 26.Bxb7 Having won a piece, Black will now be seeking to make equal exchanges whenever he can to increase the material differential. 26…Be4+ 27.Bxe4 Nxe4 28.Rh1 Nxf2 29.Rh4 Rd1 30.a4 Rfd8 31.a5 Rxa1 32.Nxa1 The bishop will be forced to abandon its protection of the knight, but Black still has enough to win. 32…Bxa5 33.Kxf2 Rd2+ 34.Ke3 Rxb2 35.Kd3 Rg2 36.Rh3 g5 37.Nb3 g4 38.Re3 Bb6 39.Re8+ Kg7 40.c4 Rg3+ 41.Kc2 Re3 42.Rc8 g3 43.c5 g2 44.cxb6 axb6 45.Nd4 g1Q Now it is White’s turn to administer a knight fork, but it’s too little, too late. 46.Nf5+ Kh7 47.Nxe3 Qxe3 48.Kb2 Qe5+ 0–1

The odds against either of them winning this year, or anyone else of that grade level, lengthened considerably after entries were received from the Lithuanian IM, Gediminas Sarakauskas (226) and Portuguese David Martins (212), with the possibility of other top players entering at the last minute, as they often do.

The popular IM, Colin Crouch, passed away recently at the age of 58 after a second brain haemorrhage. His first, a decade ago, had left him almost blind, but this had not prevented him from becoming a top class writer of chess books, coaching juniors and playing regularly on the congress circuit. His last book, Magnus Force – How Carlson beat Kasparov’s Record, was published by Everyman in 2013. He was a top junior in his day, winning the British U-16 title in 1972, subsequently adding the U-18 title.

Last week’s position ended much like the previous week’s but on the other side of the board, and, as before, all Black’s moves are forced – there is nothing better for him to play. Morphy (W) played 1.Nc5 discovered check; 1…Kb8. 2.Nd8+ Kc8 3.Nb6 double check. 3…Kb8. 4.Qc8+ and the rook must take, allowing 5.Nd7 mate. This sequence is also known as an epaulet mate, as in the final position the king has his two rooks apparently at his shoulder like a pair of military-style epaulets.

Reader Dave Howard of East Harptree has just sent in this new 2-mover.

White mates in 2 against any defence.

Plus ca Change… (02.05.2015.)

During the recent West of England Championship I celebrated my Golden Wedding and was able to reassemble the whole wedding party, bridesmaids, Best Man and ushers, which set me thinking on the lines of how some things have changed and some haven’t. The French have a phrase – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The same applies to the WECU Championship of half a century ago. It was held in Weymouth that year and attracted 94 players, divided into 10 smaller sections, including sections for ladies, girls, juniors, reserves A & B etc. Today, all entries are consolidated into just 3 sections, Open, Major and Minor, based on grade alone.

Many of those players involved at Weymouth have since moved on to the great chequerboard in the sky, of course, but a significant number are still very involved in the game, both as players and organisers. Trefor Thynne, Ivor Annetts, Brian Gosling, John Wheeler, Phil Meade and Leon Burnett, for example, all did well that year and have been very active in westcountry chess ever since. Scillonian David Ellis went on to become Champion the following year before emigrating to Perth, Australia, where he still conducts a chess column in his local paper. Burnett became Champion in 1966 and was still playing strongly in the recent Bristol Congress.

The winner of this game was awarded the Brigadier Morris Trophy for the best game by a junior in 1965. Today, David Shire is a noted problem composer – but what happened to the trophy is a mystery.

White: D. J. Shire. Black: B. G. Gosling. Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 Rb8 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.Rg1 b5 14.a3 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.Bh3 Nc5 17.f5 All moves so far are identical to the Hindle-Gligoric game at the 1965 Hastings Christmas Congress; the boys really knew the latest opening theory. 17…Qb7 Attacks b2 and prevents e5. For example, Gligoric played 17…Bd7 18.e5! opening up attacking possibilities, and the game went on… 18…d5 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Nxe6 Bxe6 21.Bxe6 Nxe6 22.Nxd5 and Hindle won, something of a sensation at the time. 18.f6 Bf8 19.b3 Rg8 20.Rde1 gxf6 21.Nd5! Threatening a knight fork on f6. 21…exd5 22.exd5+ And now White proceeds to wreak havoc. 22…Kd8 23.Qxf6+ Kc7 24.Qxf7+ Kb6 25.Qxg8 Bxh3 26.Qxf8 Qc7 27.Nc6! Threatening Re7 1–0.

Last week’s Morphy game ended with a combination that is well-known because of its ingenuity but one that rarely occurs in practice. 1.Qa3+ Kg8 (if Ke8 then Qe8 mate) 2.Ne7+ Kf8 3.Ng6+ Kg8 4.Qf8+ Rxf8 5.Ke7 mate, known as a smothered mate, as the king is hemmed in by its own pieces, in this case the rooks.

Having indicated how rare it is in actual play, here is another example, incredibly also by Morphy – in the same year. Just repeat the drill.

White to play and win in 5

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