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WECU Inter-County Jamboree 2015 — Devon Dig Deep.

A quick look at the team lists before the start of play showed that Somerset were making a big effort to wrest the Open trophy from Devon’s grip of recent years. The top half of their team were all graded higher than Devon’s No. 1, the new County Champion, John Stephens, with a Grandmaster and International Master among them. Their team total grade exceeded Devon’s by 118 points, or 10 points per board on average. The only chink of light for the holders was that Devon slightly out-graded Somerset on the bottom 3 boards, and by way of a gallows humour, there was a view that if the top boards could get a few draws, while the bottom ones could harvest a win or two, all might not be lost. But there wasn’t much conviction in the way it was said.

However, as the first results came in, the “plan” (if it could be so called) seemed to be taking shape. After a quick win for Rudd,  early draws from the middle order were recorded, including Hurst, Regis, Underwood, Hui and Paulden. In fact the draws continued to roll in, while in the bottom 3 games, Wheeler and Fraser notched up the hoped-for wins. With 5.5 points in the bag and 3 games still in progress, it was team captain Brian Hewson’s win that took his team past the winning post. Devon’s last 2 games were against Grandmsters: John Stephens had taken the view from the start that all-out attack was the best policy, and he reached a rook & pawn endgame with 3 & 2 pawns on the same side of the board, and his rook kept Turner’s king from taking part in the action, so a draw was agreed; Stephens’ best-ever result. Alan Brusey was last to finish, with another rook & pawn ending against Grandmaster Christopher Jones (problem composer). With the match won, there was no pressure but neither player made any mistakes and an amicable draw agreed.

Amazingly, Devon’s “plan” had actually come about, and there was some incredulity in the room that such a strong team as Somerset had, could only win the one game. It has to be recorded, too, that Gloucestershire had also made a great effort to turn out a competitive team, which was their strongest for some years.

There was some compensation for Somerset captain, Roger Knight, in that in the Grade-limited section, Somerset S & E romped home with 8 points, a clear win against 3 very closely matched teams.

Full details:

Bd Devon  Grd   Glos. Grd   Somerset  Grd
1 John Stephens 196   Joey Stuart 200   Matt Turner (GM) 238
2 Lorenz Hartmann 190   Michael Ashworth 190   Jack Rudd   (IM) 216
3 Jon Underwood 186   John Jenkins 185   Arturo Wong 202
4 Tim Paulden 185   Nigel Hosken 184   Thomas Goldie 201
5 Mark Hui 185   Paul Masters 182   Ben Edgell 199
6 Alan Brusey 184   Chris Jones  (GM) 180   Pat Krzyzanowski 197
7 Kevin Hurst 181   Mike Levene 179   Matthew Payne 192
8 Dave Regis 183   Kajetan Wandowicz 170   Peter Chaplin 186
9 Mark Abbott 180   Phil Meade 169   Dave Littlejohns 182
10 John Wheeler 178   Robert Ashworth 145   David P-Kooiman 173
11 John Fraser 177   Barry Whitelaw 137   Gerry Jepps 167
12 Brian Hewson 176   Ainsley Killey 128   Andy Gregory 166
    2201     2049     2319


Bd   White Grd       Black Grd
1 D1 J. K. Stephens 196 ½ ½ S1 M. Turner 238
2 S2 J. Rudd 216 1 0 G1 J. Stuart 200
3 G2 M. Ashworth 190 ½ ½ D2 L. Hartmann 190
4 D3 J. Underwood 186 ½ ½ G3 J. Jenkins 185
5 G4 N. Hosken 184 ½ ½ S3 A. Wong 202
6 S4 T. Goldie 201 ½ ½ D4 T. Paulden 185
7 D5 M. Hui 185 ½ ½ S5 B. Edgell 199
8 S6 P. Krzyzanowski 197 ½ ½ G5 P. Masters 182
9 G6 C. Jones 180 ½ ½ D6 A. W. Brusey 184
10 D7 K. J. Hurst 181 ½ ½ G7 M. Levene 179
11 G8 K. Wandowicz 170 ½ ½ S7 M. Payne 192
12 S8 P. Chaplin 186 ½ ½ D8 D. Regis 183
13 D9 M. V. Abbott 180 ½ ½ S9 D. Littlejohns 182
14 S10 D. P-Kooiman 173 ½ ½ G9 P. J. Meade 169
15 G10 R. Ashworth 145 0 1 D10 J. F. Wheeler 178
16 D11 J. Fraser 177 1 0 G11 B. Whitelaw 137
17 G12 A. Killey 128 1 0 S11 G. N. Jepps 167
18 S12 A. Gregory 166 0 1 D12 B. W. Hewson 176


Open 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Devon ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 7½ 
Glos 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 5
Somerset ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 5½ 


Bd Torbay Gd   Som. S&W. Gd   Som. E&N Gd   Wilts  
1 P. Brooks 158   D, Freeman 165   F. Felicio 165   A. Cooper 177
2 M. Stinton 158   R. Knight 157   C. Purry 160   M. Bowhay 152
3 W. Ingham 158   M. Baker 150   C. Strong 155   D. O’Byrne 149
4 A. Kinder 151   J. Fewkes 145   C. Fewtrell 145   C. S-Lumb 139
5 V. Ramesh 143   C. Mckinley 142   J. Lee 141   P. Musgrove 135
6 R. Wilby 142   S. Pickard 138   A. Champion 128   T. Cooper 133
7 M. O’Brien 126   R. Challoner 136   G. Daniel 123   G. Williams 128
8 J. Ariss 121   R. McClatchy 131   Z. Strong 121   R. Ludlow 118
9 M. Cockerton 116   I. Stringer 116   H. Fowler 121   E. Hughes 110
10 J. Dean 112   G. Greenland 108   R. Waters 110   M. Walters 107
11 C. Peach 105   M. Cooper 105   C. Fowler 95   D. Brown 98
12 A. Tatm 105   R. Fenton 104   M. Walker 70   R. Sparks 80
    1595     1597     1534     1526


Bd   White Grd       Black Grd
1 T1 P. Brooks 158 ½ ½ N1 F. Felicio 165
2 W1 A. Cooper 177 ½ ½ S1 D. Freeman 165
3 N2 C. Purry 160 1 0 W2 M. Bowhay 152
4 S2 R. Knight 157 ½ ½ T2 M. Stinton 158
5 T3 W. Ingham 158 ½ ½ W3 D. O’Byrne 149
6 N3 C. Strong 155 0 1 S3 M. Baker 150
7 S4 J. Fewkes 145 ½ ½ N4 C. Fewtrell 145
8 W4 C. S-Lumb 139 ½ ½ T4 A. Kinder 151
9 W5 P. Musgrove 135 1 0 N5 J. Lee 141
10 T5 V. Ramesh 143 1 0 S5 C. McKinley 142
11 N6 A. Champion 128 1 0 T6 R. Wilby 142
12 S6 S. Pickard 138 1 0 W6 T. Cooper 133
13 T7 M. O’Brien 126 1 0 N7 G. Daniel 123
14 W7 G. Williams 128 0 1 S7 R. Challoner 136
15 N8 Z. Strong 121 1 0 W8 R. Ludlow 118
16 S8 R. McClatchey 131 0 1 T8 J. Ariss 121
17 T9 M. Cockerton 116 0 1 W9 E. Hughes 110
18 N9 default          —– 116
19 S10 G. Greenland 108 1 0 N10 R. Waters 110
20 W10 M. Walters 107 1 0 T10 J. Dean 112
21 W11 D. Brown  98 0 1 N11 I. Stringer 116
22 T11 C. Peach 105 ½ ½ S11 M. Cooper 105
23 N12 M. Walker 70 ½ ½ T12 A. Tatam 105
24 S12 R. Fenton 104 1 0 W12 R. Sparks 80


Open 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Torbay ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ 6
Somerset S&W ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 8
Somerset E&N ½ 1 0 ½ 0 1 0 1 - ½  - 0 4½ 
Wiltshire ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 4½ 


Open Section: Stephens vs Turner nearest.

The bottom boards: Abbott vs Littlejohns (probably at the bookstall).

Brookes vs Felicio: top game in the Graded Section.

Vignesh Ramesh (nearest) on his way to a win vs McKinley.

Young Max Walker (70 grade) on his way to a creditable draw against Tony Tatam.

Gareth William flanked by Megan O'Brien and Zoe Strong on his left. He lost; they both won.

Event organiser Ben Edgell (r) presents the Open cup to Devon Captain, Brian Hewson. Does he look pleased - or what?

Roger Knight receives the Graded Cup.

The very pleasant venue of the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre. Thanks are due to staff member Martin Worrall for making it available.

Arkell’s Paignton Max. (26.09.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell has made the Paignton Congress virtually his own personal fiefdom during the past two decades, having come 1st, either clear or shared, almost every year. This time, however, he had just lost 7 rating points at his previous event at Coulsdon and was determined to make this up by scoring a maximum 7/7 points at Paignton, something he’d done only once before. In spite of his superior skills and rating at this event, this is not so easy to achieve in practice, as all or any one of his seven opponents are inclined to raise their game against the master and thereby force a draw, or even an unexpected win. But he stayed focussed throughout, kept things simple, and made it to the finishing line with the 7 points he wanted.

2nd= on 5 points were Stephen Berry (Wimbledon) and local player Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) who had his best-ever  result, after many years taking part. 4th on 4½ was 14 yr. old Theo Slade (Barnstaple). Grading prizes (U-2005) went to Graham Bolt (London Railways) and Adrian Pickersgill (Hastings). The slow starter prize (0/2) went to Jason McKenna (Oxford).

Arkell’s two best games were against Berry and this one from Rd. 6. Note how he keeps everything as simple as possible by exchanging off Black’s active pieces, thereby leaving Black completely without any piece activity.

White: Keith Arkell (241). Black: Steve  Dilleigh (187).

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Variation [D35]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.0–0 g6 11.Re1 0–0 12.e4 dxe4 13.Bxe4 Qd8 14.d5 cxd5 15.Nxd5 Ndf6 16.Rc1 Nxe4 17.Rxe4 Nf6 18.Rd4 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qf6 20.Qd4 Qxd4 21.Nxd4 Re8 Suddenly Black is left with only one active piece against three.  22.h4 h5 23.Rc7 a6 24.Rd6 Rb8 25.f3 The bishop doesn’t have a decent move on the board, which in turn leaves the rooks unconnected. 25…Kf8 26.Rb6 Ra8 27.Kf2 Re7 28.Rxe7 Kxe7 The rook & knight now have control of the board, and there’s little Black can do about it. 29.a4 Ra7 If 29…Rb8 30.Nc6+ wins the exchange viz 30…bxc6 31.Rxb8. 30.a5 Bd7 In the absence of any threats, White’s king can stroll up the board at leisure to add his own two-pennyworth to the attack. 31.Ke3 Bc8 32.Kf4 f6 33.g4 hxg4 34.fxg4 Bd7 35.g5 fxg5+ 36.Kxg5 Be8 37.Re6+ Kf8 38.Kf6 Ra8 39.Re7 Rb8 40.Ne6+ Kg8 41.Rg7+ Kh8 42.Rc7 Kg8 43.b4 Kh8 44.Re7 Kg8 45.Nc5 Kf8?? 46.Rg7 and in order to avoid the knight’s immediate mating threat, Black must incur more material loss. 1–0

In last week’s game ending, Rowena Bruce finished with a queen sacrifice, possibly the most satisfying finishes of all. 22.Qxh7+! Black’s next three moves are forced. 22…Nxh7 23.Nxf7+ Kg8 24.Ne5+ Kh8 25.Nxg6# 1-0. The mysterious “Mr. Black” was, in fact, her husband, Ron.

In this position how does White mate in 2?

White to play and mate in 2.

The Exmouth Blitz.

Exmouth may have been blitzed several times during WW2, but Exmouth Chess Club had its first taste of true Blitz Chess last night, when they managed to borrow 4 new digital programmable clocks, which were set at 3 minutes per player per game, with an added increment of just 2 seconds per move made. This meant games could last little longer that 8 minutes – if that, making it a true baptism of fire.  Seven members turned up and played each other twice, with colours reversed, that’s if they could actually remember what colours they’d had in the first game, such was the mind-numbing qualities of the process, otherwise they tossed again.

After 12 games each, these were the results:- (current Rapidplay grades are indicated – not quite the same as blitz, but near enough). 

  Name Grd 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Tot. Pos.
1 Meyrick Shaw 171 X 2 2 1 1 2 2 10 1st
2 Chris Scott 157 0 X 1 2 2 2 2 9 2nd
3 Malcolm Belt 112 0 1 X ½ 1 2 2 3rd=
4 Steve Murray 141 1 0 X 2 1 1 3rd=
5 Bob Jones 137 1 0 1 0 X 1 2 5 5th
6 Ivor Grist 87 0 0 0 1 1 X ½ 6th=
7 Fred Hodge 135 0 0 0 1 0 X 6th=


Shaw (r) plays Scott & Belt vs Grist.


Hodge vs Murray (nearest).

Arkell’s Optimism (19.09.2015.)

I wrote recently of the disappointment Grandmaster Keith Arkell must have felt at his anticlimactic finish to the recent British Championship. It seems he wasn’t downhearted for long, however, as immediately after, he took part in the massive Vienna Open tournament, where 460 players competed, and he came away 1st=, having beaten four other GMs on the way, and getting a career-best tournament rating of 2700+. It was a performance that so far seems to have been somewhat under-reported in the chess press.

So he arrived at the Paignton Congress full of optimism and a wish to add to his twenty 1st places since 1986, hopefully with a maximum score of 7/7.

In this Rd. 3 game, a former WECU President beats a former WECU Champion.

White: John Wheeler (177) Black: Maurice Staples (171).

Queen’s Gambit – Chigorin Defence.  [D07]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.c4 forcing Black onto the back foot, 8…Qd6 9.d5 Ne7 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxd2 12.Nxd2 f5 13.e4 0–0 14.Qb3 Kh8 15.Qc3 c5 16.0–0–0 Now the test is who can be first to mount a telling attack against the enemy king. 16…f4 17.Be2 Ng8 18.Nf3 Nf6 19.Nd2 Bd7 20.g3 The start of line-opening operations. 20…Rae8 If 20…fxg3 21.hxg3 and White will be able to attack down the h-file. 21.Rhg1 a6 22.g4 On the other hand, White can now run his pawns forward at will. 22…b5 23.g5 Ng8 24.Bh5 Re7 25.Bg4 b4 26.Qh3 Rfe8 27.Nf3 Bxg4 28.Rxg4 Rb7 29.Rd3 b3 30.axb3 Qb6 31.Nh4 g6 32.Nf3 32…Qa5 33.Kb2 Reb8 34.Nd2 The 8th time this overactive horse has moved. Qc7 35.Rh4 White’s greater manoeuvrability is paying off. 35…Qg7 36.Qe6 a5 37.Rdh3 a4 38.Rxh7+, and Black resigned because although after 38…Qxh7 39.Rxh7+ Rxh7 Black has 2 rooks for the queen, usually slightly stronger, White has 40.Qxe5+ winning one of the rooks 1–0.

In last week’s position White could win by 1.Qc5! threatening 2.QxQ mate. If Black takes the queen, apparently for nothing, White has 2.c3 mate. If 1…exf2 2.Nd2 mate.

Here is the game that the 11-times British Ladies Champion, Rowena Bruce of Plymouth, said on BBC Radio was her favourite. The notes are her actual words as spoken.

White: Rowena Bruce. Black: Mr. Black.

1.f4 Nf6 2.e3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.Nbd2 d6 9.h3 Nbd7 10.Qe1 Qc7 11.g4 e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Qg3 Putting an extra piece on the e-pawn, and preventing Black from playing …e4. So Black plays… 13…Nd5 14.Ne4 Rae8 15.Bd2 Kh8 16.Qh4 N5f6 Black smells trouble on his king’s wing. 17.Nfg5 Threatening to win a piece by Rxf6. 17…Bxe4 18.Bxe4 exd4 One pawn down. 19.Bd5 dxe3 Two pawns down. 20.Rae1 exd2 Might just as well give him the bishop also! 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 Any idea what the next move might be?

White to play and win by force.

Paignton Congress 2015 Day 5

Keith Arkell has an added incentive to finish on 7/7 pts, not only to be clear 1st, but also to keep his rating points up, after losing a few at his previous tournament at Coulsdon. Today he was paired with his own pupil, 13 yr old Theo Slade, which might favour one side or the other, – but which one? Each will be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the other. As things turned out, the maestro was not to be denied, and cruised to 5/5. Slade will certainly be disappointed and still has a good chance of a very good final score.

On the other boards, local star, Alan Brusey, seems to have hit a fine vein of form, and looks set to post an impressive final total.

Master & pupil play for real.


John Wheeler vs Alan Brusey on Bd. 2 after a good start by both.


Devon's Match Captain, Brian Hewson, takes on 2nd seed, Steve Berry.


Bolt vs Pickersgill on Bd. 7 with Hempson vs Staples.


"3 little girls from school are we" (G & S). Marian Cox, Wendy Carr & Hazel Welch, side by side in the Minor.


The Analysis Room - A room with a view. Looking out over the hotel pool towards Brixham & Berry Head.

Paignton Congress 2015 Day 4

  Paignton   Premier       Round   4    
Bd. White         Black    
1 Gostelow, D. W. 2042 (2½) 0 1 Arkell, K. C 2505 (3)
2 Berry, S. H. 2294 (2) ½   ½ Dilleigh, S. P 2064 (2)
3 Pickersgill, A. O. 1991 (2)  0 Wheeler, J. W. 2117 (2)
4 Brusey, A. W. 1998 (2) 1 0 Hewson, B. W. 2080 (2)
5 Littlejohns D 1994 (2) 0 1 Slade, T 1998 (2)
6 Bass, J. W. 2018 (1½)  ½  ½ Bolt, G 2004 (1)
7 McKenna, J. P. 2138 (1)  1 Toms, D. A. 1908 (1)
8 Brown, A. M. 2088 (1)  1 Hempson, P. W. 2059 (1)
9 Staples, M. J 1975 (1)  ½  ½ Spanton, T. R. 1958 (½)
10 Byway, P. V. 2158 (0)  1 Gibbs, D. C. 1784 (½)

The first result in, before play even started, was the win awarded to Theo Slade after Dave Littlejohns was taken ill and had to retire to his room. Gostelow seemed to have decided that rather than risk suffering a long, lingering death, came out from the start with all guns blazing, but Arkell was not one to be panicked and soon had all his pieces on active squares, and his biggest problem was trying to decide which of the potentially good lines to select. He soon got the full point, to maintain his 100% score.

Gostelow vs Arkell

David Toms (nearest); the Brown vs Hempson & Staples vs Spanton.

Top boards in the Challengers.

Top boards in the Intermediate.

The well-known blind player, Philip Gordon, vs Ray Chubb in a quiet corner of the room.

Paignton Congress 2015 – Day 3

The Congress has usually started to take shape by Rd. 3. In the Premier there were already only 2 players on a maximum 2/2; naturally being the top 2 seeds, Arkell and Berry had to meet this early. Having started with the white pieces, it was Arkell’s turn to have White again, always a slight advantage. Indeed, he did manage to establish the kind of position he’s probably best at, with all rooks on, and his good knight against a poorer bishop. It was a potent piece, defending well and covering potential threats while having some itself, and Arkell is not the kind of player to let slip these small advantages, even if he has to sit on his hands all evening, content to play the long game.

Further down the order, a former WECU President, John Wheeler (W) faced a former WECU Champion, Maurice Staples, who played the Chigorin Defence. After castling on opposite wings, it was Wheeler who mananaged to secure open lines for his pieces to attack down the kingside. Black’s counter on the opposite wing was a move or two too slow, and Wheeler finished with a sharp combination.

  Paignton Premier       Round 3    
Bd. White         Black    
1 Arkell, K. C 2505 (2) Berry, S. H. 2294 (2)
2 Hewson, B. W 2080 (1½)  ½  ½ Littlejohns, D 1994 (1½)
3 Dilleigh, S. P 2064 (1½)  ½  ½ Pickersgill, A. O. 1991 (1½)
4 Hempson, P. W. 2059 (1)  0 Gostelow, D. W. 2042 (1½)
5 Wheeler, J. W. 2117 (1) 1 0 Staples, M. J. 1975 (1)
6 Slade, T 1998 (1)  1 Brown, A. M. 2088 (1)
7 Bolt, G 2004 (1)  0 Brusey, A. W. 1998 (1)
8 Gibbs, D. C. 1784 (½)  0 Bass, J. W. 2018 (½)
9 Spanton, T. R. 1958 (½)  0 McKenna, J. P. 2138 (0)
10 Toms, D. A. 1908 (0)  1 Byway, P. V. 2158 (0)

No sooner had the calm of the afternoon descended on the playing hall at the back of the hotel, than a party broke at the front, where the hotel management had laid on a bit of a do for the guests in celebration of the Queen’s record-breaking longevity. I came across this quite by chance, and as a reporter always on the look-out for a good story, asked the lady at the door if I could perhaps take a few photographs of the colourful scene and was welcomed in, treated to champagne (choice of red, white or blue) and afterward tea, sandwiches and cakes. The guests were mostly made up a coach party of pensioners from Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas, who joined in whole-heartedly with the entertainment provided by Spencer, the resident organist, and a female duo calling themselves “The Two Jonnies”, referring to their costume, typical of the so-called stage door Jonnies of the late Victorian and Edwardian era. They gave it their all, with a range of war-time songs like Underneath The Arches – a couple of real old pros, adept at working the crowd.

Arkell & Berry chat before hostilities break out.

The top boards on the Challengers section.

Would Sir prefer red, white or blue champagne?

Waiting for the show to start.

Getting into the spirit.

Spencer the organist is up for it, too.

The Two Jonnies can't wait to get on stage!

... and off they go!

The chess congress going on in the background, while exciting to the players, could hardly expect to match this for sheer spectacle and pizzazz.

Paignton Congress Starts

Chess players from all quarters started to assemble at the Livermore House Hotel on Sunday 13th September for the next in the long series of Paignton Congresses. On bumping into the resident GM, Keith Arkell, I opened by commiserating him on his anti-climactic finish to the British Championship, in which he lost to Jonathan Hawkins, who then became British Champion, while Keith slipped to 11th= and out of the prizelist. Bad luck, and Caissa can be a cruel mistress, was my opening gambit, but not a bit of it. He pointed out that he had just returned from the titanic Vienna Open, held in the magnificent Vienna Rathaus, – 461 competitors from all over the world - where he came 1st with a career-best rating of 2700+, beating 4 other GMs in the process. While Keith came 1 st in Vienna, Jonathan Hawkins (they are team-mates, friends and had travelled together) came 11th – positions perfectly reversed from their previous event. The phrase “Swings & Roundabouts” springs to mind.

He was undoubtedly on a high and had already put Warwick well behind him. It must be said that the Vienna event has been somewhat under-reported in the British press, as I was far from being the only one who had missed this.

At 1.45, players were called to take their seats after which DCCA President, Paul Brooks, made an excellent welcoming speech, while reviewing some of the highlights of the event over the years. Congress Secretary, Alan Crickmore then added his own remarks, and lay commenced at 2 p.m. precisely. 

Here are a few shots of the opening day.

DCCA President Paul Brooks opens the Congress, framed by former President Ivor Annetts (l) and current Secretary, Trefor Thynne.

Alan Crickmore addresses the assemblage, with Arbiters Tony Tatam and John Ariss looking on.

Keith Arkell greets his first opponent.

The 2 Doctors, Peter Hempson and David Toms, get stuck in.

General view of the playing area.

Another view of the setting.

Paignton Congress Starts (13.09.2015.)

The Paignton Congress starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Livermead House Hotel in Torquay. The Premier section has almost become the private preserve of Grandmaster Keith Arkell, who has won it far more times than anyone else, and judging by the entry so far, he’s still the favourite this year.

Here’s a game of his from nearly a quarter of a century ago, which appears in his autobiography, Arkell’s Odyssey, from which these notes are taken. Lane was a Paignton resident then, and Arkell lives there now.

White: Gary Lane (2336). Black: Keith Arkell (2430).

Caro-Kann Defence  [B17]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 3. Nc3 is more usual here. dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Ng5 e6 7.Qe2 Nb6 8.Bb3 h6 9.N5f3 a5 10.a4 c5 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Ne5 Nbd5!? Here starts the fun. I can only play this move if I intend to part with my queen. 13.Qb5+ Ke7 14.dxc5 Nxf4 15.0–0–0 Bxe5! I would be clearly worse after 15…N6d5 16.cxd6+ Qxd6 17.Ngf3 so I stuck to my plan. 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.c6 N4d5!? Or 17…N6d5. 18.cxb7 Rb8 19.bxc8Q Rdxc8. I have rook & knight for queen & knight, but look at the difference in development! White has trouble in defending the weak points on b3, c2, & b2; given the choice, I would always take Black here. 20.Qd3 Nb4 21.Qe2 Nxc2 I made this further sacrifice in order to expose his king to my remaining four pieces. 22.Bxc2 Bxb2+ 23.Kd2 Nd5 Now I’ve only got a rook and pawn for the queen, but I made the judgment that in practice it would be nigh on impossible for White to find a satisfactory defence. 24.Nh3 Bc3+ 25.Kd3 Rb4 26.Qf1 If 26.Bd1 Rd4+ 27.Kc2 Bd2+ 28.Kb3 Rb8+ 29.Ka3 Bc1+ 30.Ka2 Nc3+ 31.Ka1 Rb1 mate. 26…Rd4+ 27.Ke2 Rd2+ 28.Kf3 Rxc2 29.g3 Bd4 30.Qa6 R8c3+ 31.Ke4 Bxf2 32.Nxf2 Re3+ 33.Kd4 Rxf2 34.Qxa5 Ree2 35.Qa7+ Kf6 36.a5 Rc2 37.Qb8 Rfd2+ 38.Ke4 Rc4+ 39.Kf3 Rc3+ 40.Kg4 Rd4+ 41.Kh5 Ne3 42.Qb6 If 42.Qb2 Rc5 mate. 42…Rd5+ 43.Kh4 Rc4+ 44.Kh3Rh5 0–1.

With a prize fund approaching £5,000 there will be many chances for everyone to win something.

The England International and noted chess author and columnist, Peter Clarke, died last December in North Cornwall, and a tournament in his memory has been organised for Saturday 3rd October at the Bude New Life Centre. For details, contact John Constable on 07771-544721. The river, canal, castle, beach and shops are all within a 5-minute walk of the playing venue, so could make a good day out for players and non-playing relatives.

In last week’s position, Black could play 1…Rg6 threatening Rxh6 mate. White can only play 2.PxR but 2…PxP is mate anyway.

The American Sam Loyd (1841 – 1911) was an undisputed genius at problem composition as well as a range of logic games and party tricks that he invented and marketed. Here is one of his 2-movers. White to play.

White to play

Exmouth’s Pre-Season “Buzzer” Tournament – 2015.

This has been an annual pre-season jaunt for decades, designed to get the brainwaves back into operation after the summer break. The buzzer itself was constructed by Fred Hodge in his garden shed many moons ago, and works perfectly. 

The organisation is simple. Set the buzzer going at opening time, in our case 6 p.m. and anyone can arrive at any reasonable time. (a) Write your name on the results chart. (b) Wait for a fellow member to be free. (c) Toss for colour. (d) White makes the 1st move on the next convenient “buzz”. However obvious the reply, Black must wait the 10 seconds till the next buzz before making his/her reply. And so on. (e) Fill in the result on the chart 

 At the start of each game,  those 10 seconds seem like an eternity, but once in the middlegame that same time span is reduced to the blinking of an eye, as one searches desperately for the best continuation; is it better to attack or defend in this fiendishly complicated position?! 

Here is the completed chart. The grades are their current rapidplay grades, or standard grade where they don’t have a rapidplay grade. Of course, the Buzzer tournament is technically not rapidplay (it’s much worse than that) but it does give a clue as to relative skills.

  Name Grd 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 Chris Scott 149 X ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Meyrick Shaw 177 ½ X 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 6
3 Kevin Hurst 183 0 0 X 1 1 ½ 1 1
4 Bob Jones 137 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 4
5 Simon Blake 105 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 3
6 Steve Murray 141 0 ½ ½ 0 0 X 1 0 2
7 Ivor Grist 87 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1
8 Fred Hodge 135 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1

RapidPlay is proving to be a forte of Chris Scott, who certainly played above his grade on this occasion. 

Nearest facing: Murray vs Scott: Hurst vs Grist; Hodge awaiting an opponent & Blake vs Shaw.

Shaw makes the winning move against Blake