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A Forgotten Westcountry Chess Master.

An almost forgotten Westcountry chess master of the 19th century was William Henry Krause Pollock (1859-1896). He was born in Cheltenham, son of the Rev. W. J. Pollock and was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Somersetshire College, Bath. In 1882 he qualified as a doctor in Dublin, but chess took precedence from then on, becoming Irish Champion. He then spent time in the U.S. and Canada, before returning to England to play in the great Hastings International Tournament of 1895, one of the strongest tournaments ever held up to that point.  However, he was already in the grip of that scourge of 19th century chessplayers, TB, and his play there was irregular and fitful, though there were occasional glimpses of the old fire when he beat, among others, the English veteran H. E. Bird, the recently deposed World Champion, Steinitz, and in this game, the great Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch. Notes adapted from those by Pollock himself.

White: W. H. K. Pollock. Black: S. Tarrasch.

French Defence [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.e5 Tarrasch was a leading theoretician on the French Defence, and Pollock intended to take him out of the book immediately. 2…f6 3.d4 c5 A premature attempt to break up White’s centre. In a close game like the French the pawn centre is paramount. 4.Bd3 f5 Black has followed a line that Blackburne played, and lost, against Pollock 3 years earlier, that Tarrasch was fully aware of but played it anyway. 5.g4 Black now has to decide whether this advance is sound or not, and if not, how to prove it. 5…cxd4 6.gxf5 Qa5+ 7.c3 A key move, which White had thought through to his 10th move. 7…Qxe5+ 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.0–0 Bc5 So far, Tarrasch had spent 1 whole hour over his nine moves. 10.Re1 Qf6 11.Nd2 exf5 12.cxd4 Be7 Recapturing with 12…Bxd4 wins a piece. 13.Nxd4+. 13.Nf3 Kd8 Slightly better might have been 13…Kf8. 14.Bg5 As Tarrasch’s discomfort increases, so does the crowd of spectators around the board, wondering what is going on. 14…Qf7 15.Bxe7+ Ngxe7 16.Qd2 Occupying important diagonals and uniting the rooks. 16…h6 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.dxe5 b6 19.Nf4 The game is now virtually won. 19…Bb7 20.Bb5 Nc6 21.e6 Qe7 22.Ng6 Qg5+ 23.Qxg5+ hxg5 24.Nxh8 Nd4 25.e7+ 1-0. Resigns, for if 25…Ke8 26.Bxd7+ Kxd7 27.Rad1 Rxh8 28.Rxd4+ Ke8 29.Rd8+.

Pollock’s health went rapidly downhill from then on, dying on 5th October 1896 aged just 37 and was interred in Arno’s Vale Cemetery, Bristol.

One obituarist wrote of him, “As a chess expert he was brilliant rather than profound; a fanciful player delighting in prettiness, apt to lose to dull players of the exact school”.

In last week’s position, White won by 1.Rg8+! RxR (forced) 2.Qf6+ and White will mate on g7.

In this position, White has just lost his queen. Surely he should resign, shouldn’t he?

Should White resign?

The Rise and Fall of a Dawlish Girl.

The August issue of Chess will contain a short biography of a Dawlish girl, born Rhoda, the youngest of 7 daughters to William Knott a local tailor, who rose to fame in the chess world and became a pioneer of female emancipation, before tragically dying in obscurity.

She founded the Ladies Chess Club in London, a social phenomenon at the time, and in 1897 organised the 1st Ladies World Championship, won by the Bristolian, Mary Rudge. In the process of all this she became a great friend of the great American Grandmaster Harry Pillsbury. No one is suggesting that he let his fondness for her influence him in any way when he awarded her the Brilliancy Prize at the 1st Devon Congress in 1902; it’s a smart sacrificial attack that wins the game, which Pillsbury annotated in the British Chess Magazine.

White: Rhoda Annie Bowles. Black: Ellison Pearse (Devonport)

Ruy Lopez – Modern Steinitz Defence. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 A variation favoured by Steinitz, it being one of his many attempts to establish a valid defence to the Lopez attack. 4.0–0 Probably stronger would be 4.Nc3 and eventually d4 reserving the option of castling on either side at a later stage. 4…d6 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 Using wide discrimination in not exchanging pieces and queens, as it would rather be to Black’s advantage to remain with his king in the centre. 6.Bxc6+ Nxc6 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Nxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8+ etc. Possibly some would prefer 6.Bc4 for if Black continues 6…b5 7.Be2 and Black’s queenside would be weak. 6…b5 7.Bb3 Bg4 A distinct error. The only continuation from this point giving Black a playable game is 7…Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.Qh5 (not 9.Qxd4 c5 and …c4 wins.) 9…Ng6 for if 10.Qd5 (or if 10.f4 Be7 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.f5 Bf6 13.fxg6+ hxg6 14.Qd5+ Be6 15.Qxd4 Kg8 and White has no advantage.) 10…Be6 11.Qc6+ Bd7 drawn. 8.Bxf7+ Better than 8.dxe5 Bxf3 (Of course, if Black plays 8…Nxe5 White wins by 9.Nxe5) 9.Qxf3 Nxe5 10.Qg3 etc. 8…Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Kg8 Bad, although after 9…Ke8 10.Qxg4 Nxd4 11.Na3 (safest). Also, White can venture 11.Nc3; 11.Ne6 might easily lose as follows: 11…Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Bxg7 13.Qxg7 Rg8 14.Qxh7 Rxg2+ with a winning game. 10.Qxg4 Qc8 If now 10…Nxd4 11.c3 h5 12.Qh3 Ne2+ 13.Kh1 Qc8 (if 13…Rh6 14.Ne6 and wins.) 14.Qf3 Nf4 15.g3 winning a piece. 11.Qf3 Qe8 12.Qb3+ d5 13.exd5 g6 For Black’s obvious reply was 13…Nxd4 although even then White should win being a pawn ahead and positional advantage. 14.dxc6+ Kg7 15.Ne6+ Kf6 The mate following or decisive win of material is forced. 16.Bg5+ Kf5 17.Qh3+ Ke4 18.Qf3# 1–0

In last week’s position, White was on the brink of defeat but had 1.QxN+ to which Black has two options; 1…RxQ 2.Re8+ or 1…Kg8 2.Ne7 mate.

Like last week, Black is poised to mate on e1, but it’s not his move. What should White do?

What is White's best continuation?

Devon’s Narrow Loss in National Final (11.04.2015.)

Devon got close to getting a result against Middlesex on Saturday in the final of the National Under-180 Championship at Warwick, but fell tantalisingly short, finishing the losers by 7½-8½. The details were as follows (Devon names first in each pairing);

1. J. Underwood (180) ½-½ M. Tasker (187). 2. D. Regis (181) ½-½ C. Nettleton (169). 3. A. Brusey (181) 0-1 N. Chan (179). 4. B. W. Hewson (176) ½-½ I. Calvert (176). 5. S. Martin (175) 1-0 M. Crichton (176). 6. M. Abbott (171) 1-0 C. Mackenzie (175). 7. M. Shaw (173) ½-½ R. Kane (173). 8. W. Ingham (168) ½-½ W. Taylor (173). 9. M. Stinton-Brownbridge (168) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 10. S. Dean (167) ½-½ G. Dickson (167). 11. K. Atkins (160) 0-1 A. Fulton (173). 12. N. Butland (158)  0-1 L. Fincham (166). 13. I. Annetts (157) ½-½ D. White (165). 14. O. Wensley (151) 0-1 C. Kreuzer. (167). 15. C. Scott (154) ½-½ J. Kay (160). 16. P. Brooks (152) 1-0 L. Boy (159).

It’s almost inevitable that in such a tense situation players on both sides will let the pressure get to them and mistakes will follow, as in this game. Notes based on those by the winner.

White: M. Crighton (176). Black: Steve Martin  (175).

English Opening – 4 Knights Var. [A29]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.g3 Bc5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 Re8 7.d3 h6 8.Nd2 d6 9.Nde4 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Bb6 11.Nc3 a6 Black is trying to limit the scope of White’s minor pieces. 12.a3 Rb8 Defending the b-pawn before developing his other bishop. 13.b4 Bg4 14.h3 Bh5 15.Kh2 Bd4 16.Bd2 f5 Black is trying to build kingside pressure. 17.Rc1 Ne7 en route to the kingside. 18.Qe1 c6 Blocking the white-square bishop and so releasing Black’s rooks. 19.e3 Ba7 20.e4 Bg6 Also playable was 20…fxe4 21.f4 Qd7 22.Be3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Rbd8 White stands slightly better at this stage as his pieces are less constricted. 24.Rcd1 Kh7 25.Rf2 Ng8? The idea was to open the file for the rook to threaten the queen and give his knight a good post on c6, but White’s rooks are becoming more active. 26.Rdf1 exf4 27.Qxf4 fxe4 28.Nxe4 Re5 Although White looks threatening on the f-file it is difficult to see how he can break through with f7 defended by the bishop. 29.c5 Overlooked by Black. It loosens Black’s grip on the centre who responds by giving up his best defender. 29…Bxe4 30.Bxe4+ Kh8 31.cxd6? Better was 31.d4. 31…Qxd6 32.Qh4 Ree8 33.Rf7 33…Rf8 White now has mating chances e.g. 34.Qg4 Rxf7 35.Rxf7 Qe5 36.Qg6 Qb2+ 37.Kg1 Qc1+ 38.Rf1 etc.  But the strain of 5 hours concentration does strange things to one’s brain. 34.Qxd8?? White had assumed Black would retake with the queen and completely overlooked the rook. 34…Rxd8  0–1.

Last week’s game ended with 1.Bxh7+

Kxh7 2.Qh4+ Kg8 3.Ng5 and Black resigned in view of 3…g6 4.Rd7 and Black must lose his queen.

In this position, Black is lined up to either mate on h2 or win the bishop on b2, but it’s not his move. What can White do about it?

Can White avoid defeat?

So Near – So Far For Devon U-180 Team

Having got through the Quarter- & Semi-Finals of the National U-180 Inter-County Championships, Devon met Middlesex in the final at Warwick yesterday, and a tense affair it proved to be.

Team Captain, Brian Hewson, tells the story of the afternoon thus:- 

Unfortunately Devon lost 7.5-8.5. We were outgraded on the bottom 6 boards and half way through the match we looked like losing by more. We were 2 down with half the games complete; draws from Annetts, Ingham, myself, Shaw, Scott and Underwood but losses for Atkins and Wensley. Then Steve Martin won, Dean and Stinton-Brownbridge drew and Paul Brooks won. So we were level with 4 to play. Unfortunately boards 2,3 and 12 looked dodgy and Mark Abbott was in an intense battle despite being a piece up as his opponent had a pawn on the 7th. However Dave Regis pulled off a draw but then Alan Brusey lost. That left us with the prospect that if Mark won and Nick Butland drew we would win 8-8 on board count. Unfortunately Nick, despite a valiant effort, could not hold his game. Mark eventually won his tough game with a throng of players onlooking.  

I was able to present the Team’s Best Board Trophy for the season as a whole to Jonathan Underwood at the event. Jonathan travelled a long way for every match, showing great commitment and achieved a very good 6.5/8 in the season, with no losses, on the high boards. 

I would like all those who played and endured the long journey to Warwick and a very long tiring day.

Details of individual results at the end of this report.

Brian Hewson (r) presents DCCA's Best Player trophy to Dr. Jonathan Underwood before the match.

Underwood (l) gets down to some serious thought.

 

The details were as follows:

    DEVON  Grd Score   Score MIDDLESEX Grd
1 B Underwood, Jon 180 ½   ½ Tasker, Michael 187
2 W Regis, David 181 ½   ½ Nettleton, Charlie 169
3 B Brusey, Alan W 181 0   1 Chan, Nevil 179
4 W Hewson, Brian 176 ½   ½ Calvert, D Ian 176
5 B Martin, Steven 175 1   0 Crichton, Martin 176
6 W Abbott, Mark V 171 1   0 Mackenzie, Colin 175
7 B Shaw, Meyrick 173 ½   ½ Kane, Robert 173
8 W Ingham,  William 168 ½   ½ Taylor, William J 173
9 B Stinton-B, Michael 168 ½   ½ Dydak, Mateusz 170
10 W Dean, Steve K 167 ½   ½ Dickson, George 167
11 B Atkins, Keith P 160 0   1 Fulton, Anthony 173
12 W Butland, Nick J 158 0   1 Fincham, Leon 166
13 B Annetts, Ivor S 157 ½   ½ White, David J 165
14 W Wensley, Oliver 151 0   1 Kreuzer, Chris 167
15 B Scott, Chris J 154 ½   ½ Kay, Jonathan 160
16 W Brooks, Paul 152 1   0 Boy Lazoni, Victor 159
           

Bournemouth Congress Prizewinners (04.07.2015.)

A prize fund of £3,700 attracted 175 players to last week’s Bournemouth Congress, including a number of titled players. The winners were as follows:-

Open: 1st= GM Simon Williams (233) & IM Alfonso Llorente Zaro       (246) both 4½ and sharing £1,300. 3rd= GM Nick Pert (254); IM Gediminas Sarakauskas (233); FM Andrew Lewis (207) & FM Richard Britton (205) all 4pts. Grading prizes: U-209: WFM Jane Richmond (192) 3½. U-190 Harry Grieve (181)   3½. U-180: Kenny Harman (175) 3. U-170 Stephen Appleby (165) & Paul Rowan (158) 2½.

Challengers (U-165): 1st P. Chrysidis (156)  4½. 2nd= D. Butcher (162); S. Benson (159) & C. Purry (159) all 4. GPs U-156: P. Morton     (155) & J. Wright (152) 3½. U-145: Gillian Moore          (144) & M. Roberts         (142) 2½. U-140: J. Everson (139)   3.

Intermediate (U-135): 1st K. Alexander (128)         4½. 2nd= D. Agostinelli (134); C. Cornes (131); G. Taylor       (129) & S. Crockett (120) all 4. GPs U-120: J. Gilbert (112) 3. U-112: J. Wallman (110).

Minor (U-110): 1st A. Fraser (107) 5. 2nd W. Curry(106) 4½. 3rd C. Sheeran (102).

This was the crucial Rd. 4 game between the two Grandmasters.

White: Nick Pert. Black: Simon Williams.

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence. 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Black chooses not to open things up at this early stage. 5…Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.d3 d6 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Nc6 12.a4 b4 13.Nf1 Rb8 14.Ng3 Re8 15.h3 h6 16.d4 cxd4 17.cxd4 exd4 18.Nxd4 Nxd4 19.Qxd4 b3 20.Bb1 Qb6 21.Qd3 Qa8 22.Bd2 Qa6 23.Qf3 Be6 24.Bd3 Qa8 25.Nf5 Nh7 26.Ne7 Re7 27.Qg3 attacking both h & d pawns. 28.Bxh6 f6 29.Bf4 Rd8 30.Bd6 Red7 32.e5 f5 32.f4 Rxd6 already 2 pawns down Black now sacrifices the exchange in an effort to free up his cramped position. 33.exd6 Rxd6 34.Rad1 Qd8 35.Be2 Bf7 36.Qe3 Qh4 37.Qf2 Qf6 38.Rxd6 Qxd6 39.Rd1 Qc7 40.Bd3 g6 41.g3 Qd7 42.Qc5 Ne6 43.Qe3 Qa4 44.Rc1 Nf8 45.Qc5 Ne6 46.Qc4 Qe8 47.Qc8 Nd8 48.Kf2 Kh7 49.Rc7 Qh8 50.Ke3 Qf6 51.Rd7 Qe6 52.Kd2 Nc6 Black’s queen is now overloaded, allowing White to win more material. 53.Rxf7+ Qxf7 54.Qxc6 Qa7 55.Qf3 a4 56.Qe3 Qb7 57.Qc5 a3 White now faces threats on both wings. 58.Qxa3 Qg2+ 59.Kc3 Qxg3 60.Qe7+ Kh8 61.h4 Qf4 62.Qd8+ Kh7 63.Qd4 Qxd4 64.Kxd4 Kh6 and White went on to win as his king and bishop can both easily pick up the b-pawn and focus on preventing Black’s connected pawns from doing damage, leaving his own b-pawn to march forward unhindered.

In last week’s position, Alekhine found a combination that Black was powerless to do anything about. 1.Re8+ Nf8 2.Nh6+ Qxh6 3.Rxf8+ Kxf8 4.Qd8 mate.

It is said that every player should experience the pleasure of conducting a winning sacrifice on h7 at least once in their career. In this 1991 game, the sacrifice is obvious enough, but can you follow it through to a win? Is it sound?