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Archive for January, 2016

Exmouth Club’s New Grades – Jan. 2016

The ECF’s new grades are out today, and those listed under the Exmouth heading are as follows.

Mostly the changes are little more than a point or two up or down, although worthy of mention are John Dye’s appearance on the list for the 1st time and Simon Blak’s 6 point increase (standard) and 8 point rise in rapidplay.

The new grades won’t affect a member’s eligibility for club teams in the DCCA as the July 2015 grades remain in force throught the subsequent season, but for individual entries into congress, these must be used, as the change may affect which section one can play in. 

Ref Member Name Standard Previous Rapid Previous
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 177 A 178 A 172 D 166 D
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 133 B 133 B 115 D 112 D
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 111 B 105 B 100 C 92 C
304385L   Dye, John 57 F            
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 157 B 154 A        
181711F Bronze Grist, Ivor G 91 C 100 C 86 E 87 E
140874E Bronze Hodge, Fred R 96 C 92 C 128 F 135 E
266234G Bronze Hurst, Kevin J 175 C 183 E 168 D    
113895K Silver Jones, Robert H 118 B 118 B 133 B 137 C
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 183 B 184 B 157 C 166 E
116002D Bronze Murray, Stephen 150 B 151 B 140 E 141 E
118154D Silver Rogers, David R 137 A 140 A        
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 150 A 149 B 152 C 157 B
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 178 A 177 A 178 A 171 B
155629A Gold Stephens, John 196 A 196 B 182 E 182 D
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 104 F 105 F        
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 B 162 B        
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 184 C 186 C 192 D 202 D
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 171 A 170 A 154 D 156 C

Peter Keffler Remembered.

Continuing my tribute to the late Peter Keffler, this fascinating struggle from the 1960 West of England Championship was awarded the Best Game Prize by Dr. Jim Aitken, former WECU and Scottish Champion, whose annotations these are, taken from the souvenir bulletin.

White: Y. P. Keffler. Black: D. G. Wells.

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation [B90]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 a6 8.f3 Qc7 9.Qd2 Be7 10.0–0–0 Na5 11.g4 b5 A game of attack on different wings now seems well under way; but for once appearances are deceptive 12.b3 White probably considered this apparently weakening move as a  necessary preliminary to his combination, and in fact an immediate 12.g5 Nd7 13.Ndxb5 axb5 14.Nxb5 would be drastically refuted by 14…Nb3+ which mates or wins the queen. 12…Rb8 13.g5 Nd7 14.Ndxb5! An interesting exchange combination that can arise in a number of Sicilian positions. Here the 3 united passed pawns and strong bishop pair give White good long range chances. 14…axb5 15.Nxb5 Qd8 16.Nxd6+ Bxd6 17.Qxd6 Qe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rd2 e5 20.Rhd1 Nc6 Preparatory to …Rd8. An immediate 20…Rd8 is refuted by  21.Bc5+ Ke8 22.Bd6 followed by Bxe5. 21.a4 Rd8 22.Bb5 Bb7 23.a5 Ba8 24.Ba4 Rbc8 25.b4 Ndb8 26.Bc5+ Ke8 27.Rxd8+ The rook exchanges should have been avoided if possible as they relieve the pressure on Black considerably and so jeopardise the win. I think 27.Rd5 threatening 28.Rxe5+ would win quickly, as after 27…Nd7  28.Bd6 Black is terribly tied up, and 27…f6 28.gxf6 gxf6 29.Bg1 is also much against him. 27…Rxd8 28.Rxd8+ Kxd8 29.Bb6+ Kc8 30.b5 Nd8 31.Be3 Ne6 32.Bb3 Nd7 33.Bxe6 fxe6 34.c4 Kc7 35.c5 Nb8 36.Kc2 Nc6! correctly fearing that the White pawn mass will win against normal lines, Black finds an ingenious piece sacrifice to break them up – an idea that as the next move shows deserved a better fate. 37.bxc6 Kxc6 38.h4 Kb5 39.h5 Kxa5? Missing his chance. 39…g6! leaves a dead draw, as White can never break through. Black probably thought the position was blocked anyway, overlooking White’s 42nd move. 40.g6 hxg6 41.hxg6 Bc6 42.Bh6! Be8 43.Bxg7 Bxg6 44.Bxe5 Kb5 45.Bd6 Bh5 46.f4 Kc4 47.f5 Still trying for a swindle. If now 47.c6? Bf3! draws. 47…exf5 If 47…Bf3 not 48.fxe6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Kd5 and Black will draw, but 48.f6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Bg6 50.c6 wins.  Fine’s rule for the ending B+2 disconnected passed pawns vs B is very relevant – “if the pawns are 2 or more files apart, they win; if they are only one file apart, they draw”. 48.exf5 Kd5 49.f6 0–1

This is one of Peter Keffler’s game endings that I gave last year, but is worth another look. How does he beat Dr. Aitken (W)? Black to move.

Black to play and win

In last week’s position Spassky won after 1.Bxh7+ Kxh7 2.g6+ Kg8 3.Ng5 fxg6 4.Qf3 forcing 4…Qxg5 5.Bxg5 dxe5 6.Rac1.

Devon Jamboree 2016

Devon’s annual Jamboree is a get-together of teams of 12, hopefully from the four quarters of the county. The maximum permitted total team grade is 1,650, giving an average of 137 per player.  This year the North (comprising the membership of the Barnstaple and Tiverton clubs) were unable to raise the requisite 12 players, so Tiverton players reverted to the East team. It was held in the very pleasant setting of the Royal Beacon Hotel, above Exmouth sea front.

This was the line-up.

                                                    The Teams
  East Grd   South Grd   West Grd
1 S. Bartlett 167   D. Mackle 207   S. Levy 177
2 I. S. Annetts 151   M. Wilson 159   M. Quinn 159
3 C. J. Scott 147   B. Ingham 158   M. Stinton-B 158
4 K. Hunter 130   P. Brooks 158   N. Butland 155
5 E. Palmer 124   A. Kinder 151   R. Wilby 142
6 W. Marjoram 115   V. Ramesh 144   D. Archer 138
7 R. Scholes 111   W. Taylor 131   N. Hodge 131
8 G. J. Jenkins 106   M. Cockerton 117   M. O’Brien 126
9 M. Baber 103   N. Narayanan 109   B. Wilkinson 124
10 S. Blake 101   J. Blackmore 101   P. McConnell 115
11 M. Haines 95   S. Wilkes 100   J. Dean 112
12 S. Thorpe-T 94   B. Lockett 100   A. Tatam 105
  Totals 1,444     1,635     1,642
  shortfall 206     15     8

 It was clear from the start that the East team were woefully under-strength, conceding on average the best part of 20 grading points on every board, and were due for a hard afternoon.  It was good to see Dom Mackle back in action after a year’s absence from the board, the downside being that the South team had to concede points on the lower boards. The North team, on the other hand were able to pack their middle order with players not far away from the permitted average strength of 137 grade.

The outcome (see chart below) was a fairly predictable win for the West team, drawn entirely from the Plymouth club membership, who thus retain the trophy for another year.   

Team Bd 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 total
East   ½ 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 4
South   1 0 1 ½ 1 0 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 6
West   0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 8


Bd. name team grd     name team grd
1 D. Mackle S1 207 1 0 S. Levy W1 177
2 M. Quinn W2 159 ½ ½ S. Bartlett E1 167
3 I. S. Annetts E2 151 1 0 M. Wilson S2 159
4 B. Ingham S3 158 1 0 C. J. Scott E3 147
5 K. Hunter E4 130 0 1 M. Stinton-B W3 158
6 N. Butland W4 155 ½ ½ P. Brooks S4 158
7 A. Kinder S5 151 1 0 R. Wilby W5 142
8 D. Archer W6 138 1 0 E. Palmer E5 124
9 W. Marjoram E6 115 1 0 V. Ramesh S6 144
10 W. Taylor S7 131 ½ ½ R. Scholes E7 111
11 G. J. Jenkins E8 106 0 1 N. Hodge W7 131
12 M. O’Brien W8 126 1 0 M. Cockerton S8 117
13 N. Narayanan S9 109 0 1 B. Wilkinson W9 124
14 P. McConnell W10 115 ½ ½ M. Baber E9 103
15 S. Blake E10 101 ½ ½ J. Blackmore S10 101
16 S. Wilkes S11 100 1 0 M. Haines E11   95
17 S. Thorpe-T E12   94 ½ ½ J. Dean W11 112
18 A. Tatam W12 105 1 0 B. Lockett S12 100

Devon vs Cornwall 1902 & Remembering Peter Keffler.

The very first match between Cornwall and Devon took place in Truro in October 1902, with the home team winning 15½-9½. No games are known to have survived, but the names alone give an indication of where the clubs and centres of activity were situated, and might strike a chord among some readers. Cornish names 1st in each pairing & Plymouth Club membership reduced to (P):

1. P. J. Dancer (Helston) 0-1 T. Taylor (P). 2. H. M. Fox (Falmouth) 1-0 H. L. Bowles. 3. R. Davy (Penzance) 0-1 G. M. Frean (Torquay). 4. A. Mayne (Falmouth) 0-1 C. F. Cooper (P). 5. F. H. Pascho (P) 1-0 E. D. Fawcett (Totnes). 6. F. H. Carlyon (Truro) 1-0 W. W. Rickeard (P.). 7. S. Y. Williams (Penzance) 1-0 W. H. Phillips (P). 8. C. E. Trethewey (Truro) ½-½ W. W. Hooper (P). 9.C. Dowsall (Wadebridge) 1-0 Rev H. Bremridge. 10. T. G. Mead (Falmouth) 1-0 A. S. Stoneman (P). 11. W. E. Grenfell (Truro) 0-1 E. Pearse (Devonport). 12. Dr. Butlin (Camborne) 1-0 Col. Bennett (P). 13. C. E. Harby (Wadebridge) ½-½ Mrs. R. A. Bowles. 14. F. R. Pasco (Truro) ½-½ C. T. Blanshard (Totnes). 15. A. Menhennick (Wadebridge) 1-0 T. Whitby (Devonport). 16.H. Tonkin (Penryn) 1-0 S. Word (P). 17. W. Boxhall (St. Austell) F. Langdon (Devonport). 18. L. Hall 1-0 Rev. H. R. Kruger (Exeter). 19. C. Hoadley (Helston) H. D. Nicholson (P). 20. E. Retchford (Penryn) 0-1 C. W. Wood (P). 21. A. E. Preston (St. Mawes) 0-1 R. S. Nicole (Exeter). 22. H. Knowles (Helston) 1-0 E. A. Pryor (Axminster). 23. F. Marsh 1-0 W. H. Daw (Teignmouth). 24. H. T. Robinson (Camborne) 0-1 Rev. Moyle (P). 25.C. Jenkin 1-0 Miss M. Hunt.

Peter Keffler, a veteran of Somerset chess, died just before Christmas at the age of 92. Yvon Peter A. G. Keffler was born in the West Derby district of Liverpool in 1923, his mother’s maiden name being Desplanches. An older brother, Guy, was killed in May 1943 during the last days of the North Africa campaign. Peter attended Oxford University where he was a contemporary of Leonard Barden. After graduating he went to Bath and in 1952 married a Miss Heaven in Stroud. In the 1950s he was a hugely enthusiastic organiser of Somerset teams in the County Correspondence Championships, having between 7 and 11 teams (depending on who you listened to) entered in the Ward-Higgs and lower divisions. Even after moving to Essex he continued in this role. As a player he would have been graded at about 200, with a bold attacking style that was sometimes brilliant but not always sound. Back in June I gave one of his best games in the WECU Championship in which he beat the Scottish Champion, Dr. Jim Aitken.

In last week’s position, Geller salvaged a half point after 1.Bxf6! Black can retake 3 ways. If 1…Qxf6 2.Qg8 mate, or 1…Kxg6 2.Qg6 mate. So 1…Pxg6 is the only option, after which White can keep checking on d7 and d8.

In this 1965 game Geller was not so lucky. How did White finish him off?

White to play and win

Exmouth’s Defence of Bremridge Cup Continues (09.01.2016.)

Exmouth’s defence of the DCCA Div. 1 tournament continued with a match against Tiverton. Originally scheduled as a home match for Exmouth, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. Finding 5 hrs parking in Exmouth on a Saturday afternoon is near impossible at the best of times, but add to this the £50 hire charge being asked by several places, and the Manor Hotel being closed for the week, led Exmouth to asking whether Tiverton could host the match. This was agreed and Exmouth were happy to  pay their £17.50 hire charge.

So far so good; but the weather conditions driving up the motorway towards Tiverton were atrocious to the point of being potentially dangerous, with torrential rain and spray all the way. John Stephens driving up from Plymouth found the main A38 blocked and he was redirected to minor roads and phoned in to say he would be late, and Steve Martin didn’t know where the venue was situated in the town. Thus the omens were not good, but at least all the Exmouth team were in place by 2.30. The Tiverton team was somewhat compromised by the unavailability for one reason or another of several of their top players; Rudd, Richardt, Duckham, Hunter et al. and they had drafted in 2 other Cornish players besides Simon Bartlett to make up a competitive team.

In spite of all this, play got under way at the appointed hour (14.30); quiet descended and a drama slowly unfolded.

The first games to finish were on Bds 5 &6.  On bottom board, Chris Scott was able to fork 2 rooks with his knight on move 24 and it was all over 3 moves later. On Bd. 5 Oliver Wensley reported on his game tus: “White abandoned his regular Kings’ pawn opening in light of a recent match against his opponent, albeit rapid play, where his Caro-Kann defence was extremely effective.

Whether or not this shocked Black, he seemed completely fine with his Dutch defence until move eleven where, with White as yet uncommitted to castling, he decided to go on the offensive with 11…. Qh5. This allowed White to win a key central Pawn as Blacks’ back rank defences had been abandoned. Having analysed the position, Black stood equal by developing his Queens’ Bishop to e6 instead. Here White probably would have played Ng5 attacking it.

White had earlier ceded the Bishop pair advantage to Black in order to prevent Ne4. The better way forward for Black would be to develop his Bishop to e6 and potentially allow white to equalise by allowing the exchange of his Bishop for Whites’ Knight.

After the text move, White realised the e5 space was in the offing for his Knight should a series of exchanges take place & this is what occurred. In the end, White took advantage of the open e-file & with Black’s queenside not developed, managed to get the advantage.” After playing 21.Ne5 getting his knight established in a forward position with threats, Black resigned.

White plays 22.Ne5 and Black resigns.

Scott played 22...Ne4 and White resigned 3 moves later.


And the games continued to finish in sequence – Bds. 4,  3,  2, and finally Bd. 1 which went to the last few seconds of extra time, and each one went to the visitors. Mark Abbott got the upper hand with just a rook and 2 minor pieces left.  Jon Underwood’s game revolved around control of the long dark-square diagonal towards his opponent’s king, which finished with a fatal skewer. This left the top two games which were very finely balanced throughout, until the clock eventually decided the outcome.  Bd. 2 featured a R+4 vs R+5 pawn ending. Martin had the extra pawn, but Retallick, with great concentration, managed to create his own threats. Looking at the clocks it appeared both players had the same amount of time left – a few minutes each, but in his concentration on the board, Retallick hadn’t fully appreciated that his few minutes left was of his 20 minutes extra time, while Martin’s few minutes left was of his original allocation of 100 minutes to reach move 40.  Suddenly his clock started flashing red to indicate all his time had elapsed. 5-0.  The Stephens-Hewson game looked completely blocked with pieces being shuffled around behind a barrier of pawns. When Stephens was down to 3 minutes left, compared to his opponent’s 7 minutes, he launched a pawn advance that opened the a-file and he won a piece. His own pieces now had some room to manoeuvre and Black had to use up his time advantage in trying to work out the better lines. Eventually, his time ran out with Stephens’ own clock well into  his final minute.

Such results at this level are rare, but not unique, as Brian Hewson recalled a Plymouth 6-0 Exeter result between 2 evenly matched teams; the following year the same two teams in the same competition recorded Plymouth 0-6 Exeter. 

  Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                         09.01.2016.    
1 B. W. R. Hewson 176 0 1 J. K. F. Stephens 196
2 L. Retallick 171 0 1 S. Martin 184
3 P. Hampton 175 0 1 Dr. J. Underwood 186
4 S, Bartlett 167 0 1 M. V. Abbott 178
5 I. S. Annetts 151 0 1 O. E. Wensley 170
6 G. Fotheringham 135 0 1 C. J. Scott 149
    975 0 6   1,063


Lloyd Retallick moves against Steve Martin.

Chris Scott (nearest/facing) & Oliver Wensley awaiting a move.

Shirtsleeved Mark Abbott & Jon Underwood with Martin in foreground.

General view of playing area.

Hastings Congress Results (09.01.2016.)

The Masters’ Section of the Hastings Congress, which finished on Tuesday, consisted of an eclectic mix of 76 players, including strong contingents from Eastern Europe and India. After the 9th and final round, two players tied on 7 points, J. Vakhidov (Uzbekistan) and A. Mista (Poland), with a raft of 5 players a half point behind, namely I. Khenkin (Germany); F. Berkes (Hungary); T. Fodor (Hungary); S. Sulskis (Lithuania) and J, Sarkar (USA).

Keith Arkell started well, but fell away in rounds 6-8, before finishing with a win which lifted him up to 5½ pts and 13th=. As he was the 6th highest graded player, this was a slightly below par performance compared to some of his successes of recent months. Jack Rudd’s last round loss left him on 5.

However, his play is never less than entertaining, and here is his Rd. 2 win against a 14 year old Sussex junior.

White: J. Rudd (216). Black: C. Brewer (188).

Bogo-Indian Defence  [E11]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.Nc3 b6 6.e3 Bb7 7.Bd3 d6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 White commits to castling queenside, even though it looks as if Black could launch an early attack. 9.0–0–0 Qe7 10.e4 0–0–0 11.Rhe1 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 e5 13.d5 Nc5 14.Bf1 g6 15.b3 completing a protective shield around his king, which Black quickly attacks. 15…Kd7 With the aim of swinging his rooks over to attack. 16.a3 a4 17.b4 Nb3+ 18.Kb2 Ra8 19.c5 bxc5 20.Bb5+ Kd8 21.bxc5 Nxc5 22.Nxe5! Now it’s White’s turn to attack. 22…dxe5 23.Bb4 Nfd7 24.Bxd7 Qxd7 25.Qxc5 White has opened lines to the king’s position. 25…Ra6 26.f4 Re8 27.Ba5 Kc8 28.Rc1 Rxa5 The least worst option. 29.Qxa5 exf4 30.Rc4 Re7 31.Rec1 Qd6 32.Qxa4 g5 33.Qa7 f3 34.gxf3 Qxh2+ 35.R1c2 Qe5+ 36.Ka2 Qd6 37.Rb4 Ba6 38.Rb6! 1-0 Already a minor piece down, Black must not only lose more material, but White has, with best play, a mating combination. E.g. 38.Rb6 Kd7 39.Rxd6+ Kxd6 40.Qc5+ etc.

The 41st East Devon Congress in Exeter  is now less than 8 weeks away and takes place Fri. 4th – 6th March. Entry forms are downloadable from and the new Entry Secretary is Dr. T. Paulden, contactable on

This is followed 3 weeks later by the West of England Congress in Exmouth over the Easter weekend. Entry forms are downloadable from

The solution to last week’s 3-mover was 1.Bg2! to which Black has a number of ineffective replies. For example, 1…Rxb2 2.d7 Kxc7 3.d8=Q mate; or 1…Ra4 2.Rb7+ Ka8 (if 2…Kc8 Pd7 mate) 3.Rb4 mate.

In tournaments where the players are not allowed to agree a draw verbally, they can sometimes achieve the draw by generating by a threefold repetition of moves. This is especially useful where one player is materially down, as in this 1958 game between Geller and Gurgenidze. White is the exchange down yet managed to force a draw by repetition. How did he do it?

White to play and draw by repetition.

The post-Christmas period is traditionally the time of the Hastings Chess Congress, one of the longest established in the world. The first was held in 1895 when all the world’s top players took part. It was won by the rank outsider, Harry Pillsbury, barely known in his own country (the US) let alone the wider chess community. However, Hastings did not become an annual event until after WWI when it found its present niche in the chess calendar. All the world champions have played there, with the exceptions of Fischer and Kasparov.

It has to be said that the playing strength of the Hastings Premier has declined in recent decades due to the worldwide proliferation of other events with greater financial backing to attract the top players. Yet the glories of the past are recorded for all time, as with this game from the 1895 tournament that won the event’s Brilliancy Prize. Notes based on those by Tarrasch from the tournament book.

White: W. Steinitz. Black: Curt Von Bardeleben.

Italian Game [C54]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.0–0 Be6 If 9…Nxc3 10.bxc3 Bxc3 White gets a dangerous attack by 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.Qb3+. 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bxd5 Bxd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Re1! The point of all the exchanges as White now obtains command of the board, prevents Black from castling and initiates a powerful attack on the king. 14…f6 This keeps out the knight for the time being but at the cost of weakening his pawns which proves costly later. Better was 14…Kf8. 15.Qe2 Qd7 16.Rac1 c6? It would have been preferable to play 16…Kf7 as White then has nothing better than  17.Qxe7+ Qxe7 18.Rxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rxc7+ Kd6 20.Rxb7 and Black has drawing prospects. 17.d5 A pawn sacrifice, breaking up Black’s position and making way for the knight to strengthen the attack. 17…cxd5 18.Nd4 Kf7 19.Ne6 Threatening both Rc7 and Qg4. Rhc8 20.Qg4 g6 21.Ng5+ Ke8 To protect his queen. This is the position that appears in numerous chess problem books challenging the reader to find the best move. 22.Rxe7+!! and this is the move that won Steinitz the Brilliancy Price. Note how every White piece is en pris and yet Steinitz pursues his prey without flinching. 22…Kf8 If 22…Kxe7 23.Re1+ Kd6 24.Qb4+ Kc7 25.Ne6+ Kb8 26.Qf4+ and wins. 23.Rf7+ Kg8 24.Rg7+ Kh8 25.Rxh7+ 1-0 At this point Bardelben didn’t resign but simply left the tournament hall and didn’t return. He had probably seen what was in store. 25…Kg8 26.Rg7+ Kh8 27.Qh4+ Kxg7 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7+ Ke8 31.Qg8+ Ke7 32.Qf7+ Kd8 33.Qf8+ Qe8 34.Nf7+ Kd7 35.Qd6#.

Steinitz eventually came 5th, receiving £40 for his month’s work and an extra £5 for this timeless creation.

Last week’s 3-mover was solved by

1.Ne5! If 1…Kc7 2.Qc6+ and the queen will mate on the 7th rank. If 1…Ke7 2.Qd7+ Kf6 3.Ng4 mate.

Here is a third original 3-mover by Dave Howard. White to play.

White to mate in 3