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Archive for February, 2016

Exeter-Exmouth Bremridge Cup Result (27.02.2016.)

It was time for another top level encounter between near neighbours on the Exe, Exeter & Exmouth. 

Exmouth were without 2 of their top players, Stephens and Shaw, while Exeter had been able to beef up their team with 2 new acquisitions from the University. Matthew Best is a 2nd year economics student, while Chris Lowe is on the University staff, teaching English Grammar to anyone who needs it.  However, although he has just arrived in Exeter this season after 20 years in Sussex, he is not new to Devon, having been part of the Paignton Palace crew in the early 1980s. This was situated in Paignton but distinct from the old town club, and was based in Palace Avenue. Its membership consisted mainly of older Juniors, centred around future IM, Gary Lane, and included players like Paul Aston, A. K. Swift,  Brian Boomsma, the Hawthorne brothers et al.  They won the Bremridge Cup in 1982, ‘83 and ‘86, so Lowe was no stranger to this tournament. As the teenagers grew up they went their separate ways and the club eventually broke up. 

These changes made the teams very closely matched on every board, and the outcome impossibe to predict.  The games ended in 2 rafts of three, the first batch being all draws. Firstly, the Regis-Martin game came to an agreeable end when neither player had any advantage. Abbott vs Lowe came down to a R&Ps ending in which neither player felt inclined to push too hard in case it collapsed against them, as can happen all too often. There was nothing placid about Body vs Wensley, in which White quickly got a strong kingside attack in a Scotch Game. However, White spent so much time looking for the killer blow, that he ran short of time and agreed a draw. 

There was then a lull as the other 3 games played out. Pope vs Scott was eventually drawn in an even position, leaving the last 2 games which were definitely not even in any way. Underwood-Paulden had been a complex position from the start in which pieces were left en prise while Black probed for weakenesses all over the board. Eventually, White cracked, and attention then suddenly focussed on Gosling’s game. He had only c. 2 minutes left and was reduced to just ticking off his last few moves before move 40 was reached. He was a piece up but there were pieces and pawns all over the board. However, right at the death he found the far-from-obvious winning move that offered a piece back, but if taken would enable him to queen a pawn. A win and the match was saved. 3-3 was about what one would expect, the grades being what they were.

     Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                               27.02.2016.
  EXETER  Grd     EXMOUTH Grd    
1 Dr. Tim Paulden 185 1 0 Dr. Jon Underwood 184    
2 Dr. Dave Regis 180 ½ ½ Steve Martin 183    
3 Chris Lowe 179 ½ ½ Mark V. Abbott 177    
4 Giles Body 163 ½ ½ Oliver E. Wensley 171    
5 Matthew Best 155 0 1 Brian G. E. Gosling 157    
6 Sean Pope 142 ½ ½ Christopher J. Scott 150    
  Totals 1,004 3 3   1,022    


Exeter's Dave Regis (nearest) and Tim Paulden make their first moves.

Chris Lowe (facing) getting back to the Devon chess scene, against Mark Abbott.

Boards 4 (nearest) & 5.

Exeter's captain, Sean Pope in action.

Schols’ Chess Challenge – Regional Heats Results (27.02.016.)

The Inter-Schools chess tournament, in the past often sponsored by The Times newspaper, seemed to have become the preserve of the top private/public schools, with little to offer the smaller, less chess-ambitious establishments. The English Chess Federation addressed this problem by last year introducing a new Schools Chess Challenge, with regional heats, the winners of which go forward to national finals.

The inaugural Devon heat was deemed a great success in that it attracted teams from schools where no chess activity was known to exist. This year was no different, with 12 teams of 4 players participating.

The Organiser, Trefor Thynne, was quoted as saying that “enjoyment and participation was the keynote of the afternoon, and it is very much hoped that the schools involved will continue to foster chess as an activity with much to offer all ages.”

The detailed results were as follows (all points out of 16): 1st Torquay Boys’ G.S. “A” 13 pts. 2nd= Clyst Vale Community School  & Torquay Boys’ G.S. “C” (yr. 7) 12 pts. 4th Torquay Boys’ G.S. “B”. 10½.

5th= Teignmouth CommunitySchool  &                Coombeshead College, Newton Abbot “A” 9 pts. 7th Cuthbert Mayne School, Torquay “B” 7½. 8th Coombeshead College “B” 6.  9th Great Torrington School “A” 5½. 10th=  Great Torrington School “B” & Cuthbert Mayne School “A”    4½. 12th Great Torrington School “C” 2½.

Today, Cornwall can claim to have fostered the early careers of Super-GM Michael Adams and International Master, Andrew Greet. Way back in the last century they had three players of great merit, all very different in character, yet each family was rooted in the Cornish mining industry of the late 18th century. The forebears of F. E. A. Kitto (1915–64) were mining engineers, while the family of H. V. Trevenen (1921-82) was also involved in mining. The father and grandfather of Reginald Pryce Michell (1873–1938) were both assayers of copper, who had to use their scientific skills to assess the quality of the metal ore being surfaced. Reginald, the youngest of 7 children was born above his aunt’s millinery shop in Market Jew Street in Penzance, and went on to become a senior civil servant in the Admiralty. He represented Britain 9 times in international matches, and won numerous tournament prizes.

The Bristol Spring Congress is being held this weekend, not last as reported last week. Apologies for any confusion caused. Full results and a top game from the event guaranteed next week.

Last week’s 2-mover by Sam Loyd was solved by 1.Bg2! with mating threats of both 2.Be4 or 2.Bh3.

Here are two great World Champions, Alekhine (W) and Lasker, battling it out in a strong international tournament in Zurich in 1934. The former was a master of the irresistible attack, while the latter was one of the world’s finest defensive players. In this position, White is probing on the kingside, but Black is pushing the queen away. Who won? (White to play).

Alekhine (W) to play and win by force.

Bristl Spring Congress 2016 (20.02.2016)

The Bristol Spring Congress started on Friday evening 19th February in the 6th Form Common Room of Bristol Grammar School, and will run through till Sunday evening. As well as the Open Section there is the Major, open to players graded Under-150, and the Minor for the Under-125s. The detailed results and games will eventually be downloadable from the Bristol League website; www.

Last year’s winner of the Open was Grandmaster Keith Arkell with a perfect score of 5/5. His strongest adversary was Chris Beaumont, and this was their game from Round 3.

White: C. Beaumont. Black: K. C. Arkell.  

1.Nf3 b5 2.e4 Bb7 A kind of Polish Opening in reverse. Clearly both players wanted to steer clear of well-known opening lines and rely on their skill at the board. 3.Bxb5 Bxe4 4.d4 Nf6 5.0–0 e6 6.c4 c6 7.Ba4 Na6 8.Nc3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nc7 10.Bf4 Rc8 11.Rfe1 Be7 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bc2 d5 Black wishes to establish a presence in the centre. 14.c5 Rb8 15.Qg3 Rb7 16.Be5 Nce8 17.Rb1 Nd7 18.Qd3 g6 19.Bf4 Nc7 20.b4 Bg5 21.Bd6 Be7 22.Bxe7 Qxe7 Black’s pawns are well-established on white squares, which frustrates the white-square bishop, and the best place to attack a pawn chain is at the base.  23.b5 Nb8 24.bxc6 Rxb1 25.Rxb1 Nxc6 26.Ba4 Na5 27.Qg3 Rd8 28.h4 Kg7 29.Bc2 Ne8 30.Ba4 Nf6 31.Bd1 Nc6 Black looks to have a solid king-side position, though White does have a passed pawn which may come in handy later. 32.Qf4 e5 33.dxe5 Nxe5 34.h5 Nd3 35.h6+ White is keen to try and break open Black’s king’s position. 35…Kg8 36.Qd4 Qe1+ 37.Kh2 Qe5+ 38.Qxe5 Nxe5 39.Rb7 Rc8 40.Bb3 Neg4+ White doesn’t have to worry about protecting his  c-pawn as the attacking rook must not leave the back rank just yet. 40…Rxc5 41.Rb8+ But Black’s acknowledged mastery of the endgame enables him to start taking control. 41.Kg3 Nxh6 42.Nxd5 Nxd5 43.Bxd5 Rxc5 44.Bb3 a5 45.Kf3 Re5 46.Ra7 g5 47.g4 Kg7 48.Bc2 Rc5 49.Bb3 Rc3+ 50.Ke4 Nxg4 51.Rxf7+ Kg6 52.Ra7 Nxf2+ With 2 connected passed pawns corralled by their king, the win is assured. 53.Kd4 Rc6 54.Bf7+ Kh6 55.Rxa5 Rf6 56.Bd5 g4 57.Ra7 g3 58.a4 Rd6 59.Ra8 Nh3 60.Rg8 Ng5 61.Re8 g2 0–1.

Here is the shortest decisive game from the Open.

White: N. Ralphs. Black: M. Staniforth.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nxd4 5.Qxd4 Ne7 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Qe3 d6 8.Bd2 Be7 9.0–0–0 0–0 Now who can get their attack in first. 10.Bd3 Ne5 11.f4 Nxd3+ 12.Qxd3 c6 13.f5 b5 14.Bf4 b4 15.Ne2 Qa5 16.Kb1 Ba6 17.Qf3 d5 Both are doing well at this stage. 18.Ng3 c5 19.e5 Bb7 20.f6 gxf6?? 21.Nf5 1-0 The knight both attacks the unguarded bishop and will help with a forced mate.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Bb6! and if 1…Bxb6 2.Rd4 mate. Black has other “tries”, but none is sufficient.

This 2-mover was composed by Sam Loyd in 1904 for Lasker’s Chess Magazine.

White to move and mate in 2

Dwvon Beat Somerset (13.02.2016.)

After a number of losses to Somerset in recent years, Devon managed to pull one back last weekend in their match at Chedzoy Village Hall, by winning 8½-7½. It was a close but fair result as Devon outgraded their opponents, often significantly, on 11 of the 16 boards. Somerset were a couple of top players light, while Devon had two new strong players, which tipped the balance. The details were: (Devon names first in each pairing). 1.D. Mackle (207) 1-0 J. Rudd (216). 2.J. Stephens (196) 0-1 D. Buckley (205). 3.J. Underwood (186) ½-½ B. Edgell (199). 4.S. Homer (181) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (197). 5.S. Martin (184) 0-1 D. Littlejohns (182) 6.A. Brusey (184) ½-½ J. Byrne (173). 7.B. Hewson (176) 1-0 A. Gregory (166). 8.C. Lowe (179) ½-½ D. Freeman (165). 9.D. Regis (180) 1-0 B. Morris (174). 10.J. Wheeler (177) ½-½ G. N. Jepps (167). 11.P. Hampton (175e) 1-0 C. Purry (160). 12.O. Wensley (170) 0-1 R. D. Knight (157). 13.T. Thynne (167) 1-0 L. Bedialauneta (151e). 14.G. Body (163) ½-½ M. Baker (150). 15.W. Ingham (158) 1-0 J. E. Fewkes (147). 16.V. Ramesh (143) 0-1 A. Bellingham (152).

The 2nd team match was a one-sided affair with the more highly-graded Devon team in the ascendant, winning 9½-2½. The details were as follows:- 1.P. Brooks (158) 1-0 J. Lee (141). 2.B. Gosling (154) 1-0 M. Worrall (147). 3.M. Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 1-0 T. Wallis (137). 4. M. Quinn (159) ½-½ (131). 5.N. Butland (155) ½-½ A. Champion (128). 6.K. Hindom (155) 1-0 S. Pickard (138). 7.I. S. Annetts (151) 0-1 C. Strong (155). 8.A. Frangleton (147) 1-0  C. McKinley (142). 9.A. Hart-Davis (151) ½-½ N. Mills (129). 10.C. Scott (149) 1-0 P. Wojcik (119).  11.M. Best (155) 1-0 R. Fenton (104). 12.R. Wilby (142) 1-0 B. Lee (112).

Here is the Devon captain’s win.

White: Brian Hewson (179). Black: Andrew Gregory (165).

Sicilian Defence [B27]

1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c3 c5 4.e4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.h3 Nc6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 a6 9.Rc1 0–0 10.Bd3 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.0–0 Qa5 13.Qa4 Re8 14.Rfd1 b5 15.Qxa5 Nxa5 16.b4 Nb7?! 16…Nc4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Nd5 (18.Bg5 Be6 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Rac8 22.Rc5 Be7 23.R5xc4 Rxc4 24.Rxc4) 18…Nxd5 19.exd5 Bd7 20.Rxc4 Ba4 21.Rd2. 17.a4! bxa4 18.Nxa4 with the threat of Nb6. 18…Nd7? Better might have been 18…Nd6 19.Nb6 Rb8 20.Nxc8 Nxc8 21.Bxa6 Black cannot retake on b4 and that pawn can then make significant progress up the board under the protection of bishops and rooks. 19.Bc4 Nd8 20.Bd5 Rb8 21.Ba7! Rxb4 22.Rxc8 1–0. 22…Rf8 If 22…Rxa4 23.Bb3 White’s rooks and bishops are cutting swathes across the queenside, and Black must lose material. Slightly better would be 22…Rf8, but Black is lost anyway.

In last week’s position Black won decisively with a queen sacrifice. 1…QxR 2.NxQ Nd2+ forcing 3.Ka1 or a2 Ra8 mate.

Here is another new 2-mover from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and win in 2

East Devon Congress Approaches.

County captains are having to beef up their teams these days if they are to keep up with their opponents, and that means getting their very best players out at weekends. In the Somerset vs Gloucestershire match earlier in the season, this was the game from Board 1.

White: GM Matthew Turner (238) – Black: Joey Stewart (200).

Semi-Slav Defence [D46]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.e4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 11.Bc2 Re8 12.b3 Bf8 13.Ne5 h6 14.Qd3 g6 15.Re1 Qe7 16.Qh3 Nd7 17.Bxh6 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Bxh6 Black’s queen has some scope to probe the queenside, but mustn’t neglect queenside development e.g. 18…Qa3 19.Rae1 Rd8 20.Bxf8 Qxf8 21.Rd1. 19.Qxh6 Bd7 20.Rg5 From now on, White conducts a relentless kingside attack. 20…Qf8 21.Qh5 Re7 22.Qf3 How carefully did White check out the possibilities after 22.Bxg6 fxg6 23.Rxg6+ Rg7 24.Rh6 threatening 25.Rh8 mate 24…Re7 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.Rxf8 Rxf8 27.Qg5+ and Black has R+B for the queen, though they are both somewhat hemmed in and Black will find it hard to shake off the shackles. 27…Kf7 28.Re1 Rg8 29.Qf4+. Clearly he decided not to risk it. 22…Qg7 23.h4 Be8 24.h5 f6 25.Rg3 g5 26.h6 Qxh6 27.Rh3 Qf8 28.g4 Rg7 29.Rh6 Rd8 30.Rxf6 Rf7 31.Qe4 Qe7 If 31…Rxf6?? 32.Qh7 mate. 32.Rxe6 Qd7 33.Re1 Rf8 34.Re7 threatening 35.Qh7 mate 34…Qxe7 35.Qxe7 Rd7 36.Bh7+ 1-0. There would follow 36…Kh8 37.Qxf8+ Kxh7 38.Rxe8 etc.

The 41st East Devon Congress starts 4 weeks on Friday at the Exeter Corn Exchange. The new January grades were published last week, so potential entrants can now be sure of which sections they are eligible for, and need not delay their entries further. These should go to the Entry Secretary, Tim Paulden (e-mail If needed, entry forms are downloadable from the chessdevon website. The available sections are the Open; the Major for under-155 grades and the Minor for under-125 grades.

Here is a game from last year’s congress by one of the joint winners.

White: Dominic Mackle (208). Black: Stephen Dilleigh (185)

Queen’s Gambit [D30]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.e3 Be7 5.Nbd2 0–0 6.Bd3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Ne4 10.Qc2 Black is now faced with either losing a key central pawn or weakening his pawn structure in order to defend his knight. 10…f5 11.Rad1 Rc8 12.a3 Ndf6 13.Ne5 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nd7 15.f4 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Bg5 17.Qe2 Qe7 18.Ra1 a5 19.a4 dxc4 20.bxc4 Qd7 21.Kh1 c5 22.Rad1 Qxa4 23.d5 Qe8 24.e4 The weakness of Black’s pawns now becomes apparent as White’s queen cuts loose. 24…fxe4 25.Rxf8+ Qxf8 26.Qxe4 g6 27.Qg4 Qh6 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qxb6 Ba8 30.Rf1 Rf8 31.Qxc5 Rxf1+ 32.Bxf1 Bf4 33.Qc8+ winning the bishop. 1–0

Taken from a recent game, this position is materially level, but Black has a knockout blow available. Can you see it?

Black to play and win by force.