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West of England Chess Championship 016 – Rd. 1

88 players foregathered at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth on Good Friday for the annual WECU Congress. A new development this year was in extending the FIDE rating rules to the Major as well as the Open, and using the latest digital clocks for both sections, which added a 30 second increment each time a move was made.

Many of the faces were returnees, familiar with the town, the venue and the congress routine. However, it’s always good to have a few new people around, if only to add interest to the mix. One such in the Open was Thomas Broek from the Wisver Turen club in the Netherlands, while at the other end of the scale, John Stone from Horley, with an estimated grade of 100, entered the Minor.

Both gave a statement of intent from the off, when Broek beat a local player, Oliver Wensley, in just 12 moves, Wensley having been joint winner of the East Devon Open just a couple of years before. Stone not only won his Rd. 1 game but went on to carve up the field with 7 straight wins, making him the only one to score a maximum, and casting some doubt on the accuracy of his grade estimate.

Everything went according to form, as the day finished with the 5 top seeds in the Open, being the only ones on 2/2 – Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd, Richard McMichael, Thomas Broek and Russell James.


White Black
1 Bolt, Graham 2028 0 1 Arkell, Keith 2451
2 Rudd, Jack 2263 1 0 Menadue, Jeremy 2021
3 Gamble, Raymond 1996 0 1 McMichael, Richard 2189
4 Broek, Thomas 2180 1 0 Wensley, Oliver 1983
5 Woodward, Tim 1975 0 1 James, Russell 2168
6 Smith, Andrew 2127 1 0 Burton, Ronnie 1952
7 Hickman, John 1920 0 1 De Coverley, Roger 2075
8 Jamroz, Krzysztof 2073 ½ ½ French, Max 1857
9 Benson, Sean 1779 0 1 Dilleigh, Steve 2072
10 Bass, John 2035 1 0 Wilson, Matthew 1754
11 Snook-Lumb, Chris 1741 1 0 Shaw, Meyrick 2031
12 Fallowfield, Jeremy 2112 1 0 Bye
13 Littlejohns, Dave 1998 ½ - Bye
14 Bartlett, Simon 1953 ½ - Bye

General view of the playing hall from the stage.

General view from the other end.

Gamble vs McMichael (nearest) and Broek (W) about to record a quick win against Wensley.

West of England Chess Championship – Games From the Past (26.03.2016.)

The West of England Championship and Congress started yesterday at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth, and finishes at lunchtime on Monday after 7 hard-fought rounds. Top seed is Grandmaster Keith Arkell, but, as the recent East Devon Congress demonstrated, nothing is pre-determined in chess.

This game is from the first official WECU Championship in 1947, which consisted solely of 8 invited players. Both finished 2nd= on 4/7 behind the winner A. R. B. Thomas. Notes are a synthesis of those by C. H. O’D Alexander in the British Chess Magazine & Capt. P. D. Bolland.

White: Francis E. A. Kitto.  Black: Harold V. Trevenen.

Caro-Kann Def. – Knight Variation. [B15]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3 This pawn sacrifice, as played in the game Alekhine-Winter (Hastings 1937), offers White adequate compensation for the pawn.  5…Qxd4 Black grabs the pawn, but has to be very careful – the least slip leading to disaster, as in this game. 6.Nf3 Qd8 7.Qe2 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nd7 Here Black could have got rid of White’s dangerous king’s bishop by 8…Bf5 9.Bxf5 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Qxf5 11.0–0–0 Nd7 but White is well ahead in development. 9.0–0 Nf6 10.Bg5 Bg4 11.Rfe1 e6 12.Rad1 Qc7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.h3 Bh5 15.Rd3 Bd6 16.Qe3 Ke7? Black has defended himself reasonably well so far, but the text move is wrong. He must exchange off his queen’s bishop, which is merely a liability, for the knight, and he cannot afford to leave his king in the centre. So   16…Bxf3 17.Bxf3 (If 17.Qxf3? f5! 18.Bxf5 0–0–0 winning a piece.) 17…0–0–0 18.Qxa7 Bh2+ 19.Kh1 Rxd3 20.cxd3 Rd8 with equal chances. After 16…Ke7 Black is lost and White finishes the game off in excellent style. 17.Nd4 Qb6 18.Qh6 Bg6 19.Bxg6 hxg6 20.Rxe6+! Kd7 If 20…fxe6 21.Qg7+ winning a rook. 21.Rxd6+ Kxd6 22.Nf5+ Ke6 23.Re3+ Kd7 If 23…Kxf5 24.g4#. 24.Re7+ Mate follows quickly. 1–0

Here is a miniature from the 1962 event.

White: F. Kitto. Black: A. R. B. Thomas.

Vienna Game [C29]

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.Qf3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Nxc3 7.Bxc6+ This leads to great complications, which prove very much in Black’s favour. 7…bxc6 8.Qxc3 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qe4+ 10.Kf2 c5! 11.Nf3 d4 12.Qb3 Be6! The start of a subtle Bishop manoeuvre. If 12…Bb7 13Re1 and…Qf5 cannot be played as it would leave the Bishop en prise. As played, the Bishop gets onto the long diagonal at c6  13.Qa4+ Bd7 14.Qb3 Bc6 15.Re1 Qf5 16.e6 This attack is finely refuted by Black but White can’t save the game now. The fatal weakness is his inability to develop by d3  16…0–0–0 17.e7 Bxe7 18.Rxe7 c4 19.Qa3 Rhe8 0–1

In last week’s 2-mover by Sam Loyd, White plays 1.Rg4! If Black’s queenside knight moves anywhere, there is 2.Bd4 mate. If 1…Nf3 2. Nh3 mate. Wherever else it moves, there follows 2.g5 mate.

This week’s 2-mover is another world premier poser by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 2

Devon’s Hat Trick (19.03.2016.)

The final rounds of the West of England inter-county tournament have been taking place recently. On Saturday Devon met Wiltshire in a 2nd team match at West Buckland. Devon’s 10½-5½ victory means they have won the 2nd division, the Wayling Cup, for the 18th consecutive year, to add to the 1st Division championship, the Harold Meek Cup, as well as the Inter-Area Jamboree back in September – a marvellous hat trick of wins, rarely achieved by any county. Details as follows (Devon names first in each pairing). 1.W. Ingham (161) ½-½ M. Bowhay (158) 2.P. Brooks (159) 1-0 D. O’Byrne (153). 3.B. G. Gosling (157) ½-½ Mrs. Fenella Headlong (141). 4.M. Stinton-Brownbridge (151) 0-1 G. Georgiou (141). 5.M. Quinn (151) ½-½ C. Callow (135). 6.N. Butland (153) ½-½ G. Williams (130). 7. M. Best (150) 1-0 Ben Headlong (126). 8. K. Hindom (153) 1-0 R. Morris (123). 9. I. S. Annetts (151) ½-½ R. Carver (118). 10. C. J. Scott (150) 1-0 G. Chapman (111). 11. A. Frangleton 1-0 Default. 12. V. Ramesh (146) 0-1 A. Copping (110). 13. N. Hodge (144) 1-0 M. Walters (102) 14. R. Wilby (140) 1-0 D. Brown (96). 15. Nicolas Bacon (126) 0 -1 Georgia Headlong (91). 16. R. H. Jones (118) 1-0 R. Sparks (85).

The match seemed closer than the final score suggests, and with only 4 games to finish, Devon had still not passed the winning line. One bright spot for Wiltshire was the performance of 10 year old Georgia Headlong, who played with a self-possessed aplomb to beat her more highly rated opponent in an endgame involving 4 knights.

White: N. Bacon (126). Black: G. Headlong (91).

Albin Counter Gambit [D08]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 The Albin Counter Gambit, a provocative reply to the Queen’s Gambit. 3.e3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Qxd7 7.exd4 Qxd5 8.dxe5 Qxe5+ Best. If 8…Qxg2 9.Qf3 Bb4+ 10.Ke2 Qxf3+ 11.Nxf3 9.Qe2 Qxe2+ 10.Nxe2 Nc6 11.0–0 0–0–0 12.Nbc3 Nf6 13.Bg5 Be7 14.Rad1 Rhe8 15.Rfe1 h6 16.Bh4 g5 17.Bg3 Bb4 18.f3 Bc5+ 19.Bf2 Bxf2+ 20.Kxf2 g4 21.Ng3 Rxe1 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8 23.Kxe1 Now there are just the 4 knights left. 23…Kd7 24.Ke2 Ke6 25.Ke3 a6 26.Nce4 Nd5+ 27.Kf2 gxf3 28.Kxf3 Ne5+ 29.Ke2 b6 30.Nh5 Kf5 31.Neg3+?  Much better was 31.Nhg3+. 31…Kg6 Now neither of White’s knights can move without the other being taken. Black shows an understanding of the subtleties of the position beyond her years. 32.Kf1 f5 33.Ng7 She correctly ignores the temptation just to grab the en pris knight. 33…Ne3+ 34.Ke2 f4 35.N3h5 Nxg2 36.Kf2 f3 37.Ne6 Kxh5 38.Nd4 Kg4 39.Nxf3 Nxf3 40.Kxg2 Ng5 41.b4 h5 42.a4 h4 43.b5 axb5 44.axb5 h3+ 45.Kf2 Ne4+ 46.Ke3 Nc30–1. White must lose his b-pawn and will be unable to ward off Black’s advancing pawns.

Bacon vs Headlong - Final Position.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe1! threatening 2.c4 mate.  Black had 5 “tries” to avoid the inevitable but each was met with a different mate.

This 2-mover follows this week’s 4 knights theme, but with added material. It’s an 1895 composition by Sam Loyd.

White to mate in 2


Nicky Bacon considering his 3rd move.

West of England Congress 25th – 28th March 2016. Entries as at 16.03.2016.

  Open FIDE ECF Club
1 Keith Arkell 2451 243 Paignton
2 Richard McMichael 2189 207 King’s Head
3 Thomas Broek 2180 197 Wisver Turen
4 Russell James 2168 197 Solihull
5 Andrew Smith 2127 196 Bourne End
6 Roger de Coverley 2075 184 Bourne End
7 Krzysztof Jamroz 2073 180 Petts Wood
8 Steve Dilleigh 2072 186 Horfield
9 John Bass 2035 182 Richmond
10 Graham Bolt 2028 187 Railways
11 Jeremy Menadue 2021 187 Truro
12 Dave Littlejohns 1998 182 Taunton
13 Raymond Gamble 1996 158 Derby
14 Oliver Wensley 1983 171 Exmouth
15 Tim Woodward 1975 156 Trowbridge
16 Simon Bartlett 1953 165 Newquay
17 Ronnie Burton 1952 161 Weymouth
18 John Hickman 1920 172  
19 Max French 1857 164 Frome
20 Matthew Wilson 1754 155 Newton Abbot
  Major (U-170)      
1 James McDonald 1942 173 Streatham
2 Jamie Morgan 1930 164 Penwith
3 Steve Dean 1923 163 Seaton
4 Bill Ingham 1908 161 Teignmouth
5 Joseph Skielnik 1907 157 Battersea
6 Ivor Annetts 1873 151 Tiverton
7 Brian Gosling 1870 157 E. Budleigh
8 Colin Sellwood 1863 155 Camborne
9 Roger Hutchings 1841 164 Woodpushers
10 Andrew Price 1830 159 Leamington
11 Martin Page 1815 146 Insurance
12 Peter Wood 1805 148  
13 John Nyman 1794 169 Kings Head
14 Philip Walters 1773 143 Carslisle
15 Richard Wiltshire 1765 142 Rushall
16 Phil Foley 1691 147 Upminster
17 David Lawrence 1678 120 Kings Head
18 Jim Robertson 1660 139 E. Kilbride
19 Martin Worrall 1604 139 Taunton
  Minor  (U-135)      
1 Peter Dimond   134 Bath
2 Ian Blencowe   133 Gloucester
3 Malcolm Roberts   132 Holmes Chapel
4 Paul Jackson   131 Bournemouth
5 Ken Alexander   131 Seaton
6 Ray Hunt   130  
7 Nigel Dicker   128 Glastonbury
8 Geoff Taylor   128 Gloucester
9 Tim Crouch   128 King’s Head
10 Tim Allen   126 Battersea
11 Graham Neil   124 Nottingham
12 Jacquie Barber-Lafon   123 Newton Abbot
13 Paul Foster   123 Medway
14 Viktor Jamroz   123 Kent Juniors
15 Paul Errington   122 Bournemouth
16 Alun Richards   121 Cheltenham
17 John Dean   120 Plymouth
18 Joshua Blackmore   120 Newton Abbot
19 Gerald Parfett   119 Athenaeum
20 Norman Tidy   119 Teignmouth
21 Michael Ingram   116 Peterborough
22 Keith Spooner   112 Wimborne
23 Barry Childs   112 Lerryn
24 Roger Waters   107 Taunton
25 Alan Fraser   106 Beckenham
26 Martyn Maber   104 Taunton
27 Peter Hughes   101 Mutual Circle
28 Dave Burt   101 Bournemouth
29 John Carr   100 Portsmouth
30 Hazel Welch   99 Seaton
31 Reg Cox   86  
32 Wendy Carr   47  

E. Devon Congress 2016 Results (12.03.2016.)

The East Devon Congress concluded successfully on Sunday evening with the following emerging as winners in the various categories (all points out of 5). 

Open: 1st= K. Arkell (Paignton) & J. Rudd  (Barnstaple) 4½. 3rd A. Smith (Bourne End) 4. Grading prizes: U-180 D. Regis (Exeter) 3½. U-164 A. Waters (Rainham) 3.  The entry of 53 for this section alone indicates the event’s enduring popularity. 

Major Section (U-155): 1st  M. Harris (Newcastle-u-Lyme) 4½. 2nd= M. Best (Exeter) 4; S. Ross (Newport) 4. Grading prizes: U-142: R. Wilby (Plymouth); D. R. (Exmouth); J. Nielsen  (Wimborne) & Leif Hafstad (Exeter School) all 3. (U-131)  E. Palmer (Exeter) 3. 

Minor Section: (U-125) 1st A. Poyser (Exeter Uni.) 5.  2nd= A. Stonebridge (Wellington); N. Tidy (Teignmouth); J. Blackmore (Newton Abbot) & R. Scholes (Exeter) all 4. Grading prizes: (U-111) 1st= D. Burt (Bournemouth); K. Huntley (Salisbury): & A. Fraser (Beckenham) all 3. (U-99) 1st= Christine Constable (Bude) & G. Behan (Plymouth) both 3.   

Team Prize: Exeter Uni. A  15½/20 pts. 

Among the new faces lending a cosmopolitan flavour was Andrei Rozanov, a Russian recently arrived in Plymouth. This was his last round game in a battle for a share of 1st place. 

White A. Rozanov – J. Rudd. 

Giucco Piano – Classical Variation [C50] 

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nc6 The classic Guicco Piano position. 5.0–0 d6 6.h3 h6 7.a3 g5 Black opts to attack the castled king’s position. 8.b4 Bb6 9.Nd5 g4 10.hxg4 Bxg4 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Bb2 Rg8 13.b5 Na5 14.Be2 Nh5 15.d4 exd4 16.Nxd4 Bxe2 17.Nxe2 Nc4 18.Bc1 Ne5 19.f4 Ng4 20.Qe1 Qf6 21.e5 dxe5 22.fxe5 Qe7 23.Nf4 Nxf4 24.Bxf4 0–0–0 White’s king is much more vulnerable than Black’s. 25.a4 Qc5+ 26.Kh1 Rg5 threatening Rh5 mate. 27.Qh4 Kb8 28.Bxg5 hxg5 29.Qxg4 the rook threat down the h-file returns. 29…Rh8+ 30.Qh3 Qxe5 31.Qxh8+ Qxh8+ 32.Kg1 a rook pair is often slightly stronger than a queen, but here Black has an extra pawn and his queen has long open lines. 32…g4 33.Kf2 f5 34.Kg3 Qc3+ 35.Kh4 Qxc2 36.Kg5 Qxg2 37.Kxf5 g3 38.Rfd1 Qf3+ 39.Ke6 g2 40.Kd7 Qf7+ 41.Kd8 c5 42.Re1 c4 43.Red1 c3 44.Re1 c2 45.Rg1 Qd5+ 46.Ke8 Kc7 47.Ke7 Qe4+ 48.Kf6 Kd6 49.Rge1 Qf4+ 50.Kg6 Kc5 51.Kg7 Kb4 0–1 

In last week’s endgame position, White’s correct move was 1.Kb2, preventing Black from playing 1…c3. He can now hold the 2 Black pawns while White will not be able to prevent a white pawn from queening. 

The British Chess Problem Solving Championship took place at Eton College late last month, with the following familiar prizewinners: 1st John Nunn; 2nd Jonathan Mestel; 3rd Colin McNab & 4th David Friedgood. Devon was represented by David Hodge (6th) and Jon Lawrence (12th). Nunn and Mestel actually got the same number of points for solving, but Nunn completed his in 2 minutes less. 

This was probably the easier of the three 2-movers in the competition. 

White to mate in 2 moves

East Devon Congress – 3rd & Final Day.

The final round found 3 players in the joint lead on 3.5/4. Arkell’s draw had been at the expense of John Wheeler, and Rudd’s was due to requesting a bye in order to play for his county on Saturday afternoon. However, the computer draw dictated that they should not not meet, and Arkell was paired against local player Graham Bolt, while Rudd faced the enigmatic Russian, Andrei Rozanov. Both won their games, and the two ECF titled players, master and pupil, shared the honours.

Andrew Smith, who had surprisingly lost his 1st Rd. game, came through with 4 straight wins to finish clear 3rd. Exeter player, Dr. Dave Regis secured the U-180 Grading Prize, and Andrew Waters (Rainham) won the U-164 prize. 

The full prize list as supplied by Sean Pope is as follows.

Section Position Name Club Points Prize (£)
OPEN 1st= Keith Arkell (GM) Cheddleton 170.00
  1st= Jack Rudd (IM) Barnstaple 170.00
  3 Andrew Smith Bourne End 4 80.00
  Grading <180 Dave Regis Exeter 40.00
  Grading <164 Andrew Waters Rainham 3 40.00
MAJOR U-155 1st Martin Harris Newcastle-u-Lyme 160.00
  2nd= Matthew Best Exeter 4 90.00
  2nd= Stuart Ross Newport 4 90.00
  Grading <142 Robert Wilby Plymouth 3 10.00
  Grading <142 David Rogers Exmouth 3 10.00
  Grading <142 Jorgen Nielsen Wimborne 3 10.00
  Grading <142 Leif Hafstad Exeter School 3 10.00
  Grading <131 Eddy Palmer Exeter 3 40.00
MINOR U-125          
  1st Alex Poyser Exeter Uni. 5 160.00
  2nd= Alan Stonebridge Wellington 4 45.00
  2nd= Norman Tidy Teignmouth 4 45.00
  2nd= Josh Blackmore Newton Abbot 4 45.00
  2nd= Richard Scholes Exeter 4 45.00
  Grading <111 David Burt Bournemouth 3 14.00
  Grading <111 Kevin Huntley Salisbury 3 14.00
  Grading <111 Alan Fraser Beckenham 3 14.00
  Grading <99 Christine Constable Bude 3 20.00
  Grading <99 Gary Behan Plymouth 3 20.00
  Team Prize   Exeter Uni. A 15½ 40.00
TOTAL         1382.00


Final round: Bd. 1 - Graham Bolt vs Keith Arkell

Bd. 2: Rozanov vs Rudd.

Top game in the Major, won by Harris (Black)


Top game in the Minor, won by Alex Poyser (W) the only player with a maximum 5/5 pts.

East Devon Congress 2016 – Day 2

Rd. 2 started with Keith Arkell down among the pack, after his draw against John Wheeler, and due to face Stephen Appleby. Steve knew this in advance and collared me to ensure that when Keith came in, a little late as per usual, I would be present to take a commemorative snap. This was duly done (see below). Several new faces appeared, those who’d taken a Friday evening bye.

However, several byes were taken in the afternoon, mainly by the Cornish players involved, plus Jack Rudd, as Cornwall were due to play Somerset at Exminster, a couple of miles outside Exeter. This displayed an admirable loyalty to both their county team and the Congress, but did little for their form, as all three, Saqui, Sellwood and Constable, all lost, in a heavy defeat.

1 Jack Rudd 215 1 0 Jeremy Menadue 187
2 Ben P Edgell 200 1 0 James Hooker 178
3 Patryk Krzyzanowski 199 0 1 Robin Kneebone 177
4 Stephen AJ  Whatley 195 1 0 David Saqui 175
5 James Byrne 178 1 0 Gary Trudeau 160
6 Andrew F Footner 174 1 0 Colin Sellwood 155
7 Andrew M Gregory 165 1 0 Richard Stephens 147
8 Darren Freeman 165 1 0 John Wilman 141
9 Barry Morris 163 1 0 Adam Hussain 130
10 Chris S Purry 154 ½ ½ David R Jenkins 119
11 Roger D Knight 153 1 0 John Constable 119
12 Lander Bedialauneta U/G 1 0 Barry Childs 112
13 Mark R Baker 151 0 1 Jason Henderson UG
14 Neville N Senior 151 1 0 Hugh Brown 94
15 Adrian W Champion 134 1 0 Gabriel Rusalowitz UG
16 Chris TJ McKinley 129 1 0 Chris Hussain UG

One thing began to emerge during the day was the burgeoning strength of the Exeter University players. There were two University teams of 4 in for the Team Prize, and there were other players not included. Since the demise of the University Chess Club some decades ago, after an illustrious history, the number of notable players emerging from the campus to participate in local matches and tournaments, have been few and far between. Past efforts by Exmouth and Exeter club members to revive things on site have met with little positive response. These days, however, players are coming out of the University in significant numbers. Some are joining the local City Club to augment their teams, but there are surely enough to form their own University teams to particiapte in DCCA and Exeter & Dist. Leagues. It just needs a good student organiser to get a grip on things.

A special moment in the chess career of Stephen Appleby, though ultimately it didn't end well for him.


Rd. 2: Rudd vs Littlejohns & Regis vs the Russian Andrei Rozanov


Rd. 2 - Bd. 1 in the Major - Devon elder, Ivor Annetts vs Exeter School pupil, Leif Hafstad.

East Devon Congress 2016 Rd. 1

If ever a sign were needed of the enduring popularity of this Exeter-based event, in spite of its financial problems of recent years, the entry of 53 in the Open was surely it, in spite of the fact that the Committee always seem to issue their entry forms much later on than most congresses – often a matter of weeks rather than months. The list of entries, (see below) shows much more than the “usual suspects”, but an eclectic mix, with a good sprinkling of new faces. Russia and Norway appear in the Club column; there’s a significant Cornish contingent; Devon ex-pats returning to the fold (e.g. Piper – Holsworthy// Shapland & Hutchings – Barnstaple // Lowe – Paignton), not to forget former Kenyan Champion, Humphrey Andolo.

At the top of this exotic pile, by some margin, was Paignton-based GM Keith Arkell, fresh from his 1st= at Bristol the previous weekend. Just before the start, his Rd. 1 opponent, John Wheeler, was sitting patiently behind the black pieces awaiting his opponent’s arrival, and I jokingly warned him against trying the Caro-Kan as Keith was an acknowledged expert, which of course he already knew. But he needed no words of warning from me as he set about squeezing a draw from the game. In fact, at the beginning of  a double rook and pawns ending John was a pawn up. Keith was able to win it back but could make no further progress. and a draw was agreed.

The entry for the Open Section.

Arkell arrives a little late.


Bill Adadway moves against No. 2 seed, Jack Rudd.


General view of a well-filled playing hall.

Bristol League Spring Congress 2016 – Results.

Bristol’s Spring Congress took place last weekend at Bristol Grammar School. The winners were as follows, with grade and club after each name:

Open Section: 1st= Keith Arkell (243- Paignton) & Ezra Kirk (225 – Cheddleton). 3rd Stephen Meek (185 – S. Bristol). Grading prize: Cherupali Ramprasad (110 – India). Major Section (U-155): 1st Chris Purry (154 – Frome). 2nd James Hennefeld (141 – Downend). 3rd Howard Millbank (125 – Horfield). Grading prize; Anthony Carver (129 – Hanham). Minor Section (U-125). 1st Jason Blaxill (117 – S. Bristol). 2nd David McGeeney (123 – Bristol Cabot). 3rd Geoff Ainsley (123 – Calderdale). Grading prize: Grant Daly (100 – Downend). Junior Prize: Max French: (164 – Millfield School).

Arkell did not have it all his own way, as he did last year, and had to fight hard in some endgames. But he made excellent use of his knights, as in this game from round 3.

White: Carl Bicknell (201). Black: Keith Arkell. (243)  Caro-Kan Defence – Arkell/Khenkin Variation. [B12].

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 Signature move of this variation, much analysed by Arkell and the Russian-born Igor Khenkin, independently, in the 1980s and given their name by the magazine New In Chess. 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 Ba6 8.0–0 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 e6 10.c4 Ne7 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Be3 Nf5 13.Bc5 Bxc5 14.Qb5+ Qd7 15.Qxc5 Rc8 16.Qb4 Ne7 17.f4 0–0 18.Nc3 Rb8 19.Qa3 Nf5 20.Rac1 Ne3 21.Rf2 Nc4 Knight and rook combine to harass White’s queen. 22.Qa4 Qe7 23.b3 Rb4 24.Qa6 Rb6 25.Qa4 Ne3 26.Qd4 Nf5 27.Qd3 Rc6 28.Rcc2 If 28.Rfc2?! Qc5+ 29.Kh1 Ne3 30.Na4 (If 30.b4 for example, Qb6 31.Na4 Rxc2 32.Rxc2 Qxb4 33.Qxe3 Qxa4) 30…Qxc2!! 31.Rxc2 Rxc2 32.Qxe3 d4! 33.Qxd4 Rc1+ 34.Qg1 Rxg1+ 35.Kxg1 Rc8. Meanwhile, back to the game. 28…Qb7 29.h3 g6 30.Qb5 Rb6 31.Qd3 Rb4 32.Na4 Rd4 33.Qc3 Rd1+ 34.Kh2 d4 35.Qc6 Qe7 36.Nc5 Ne3! seriously embarrassing the white rooks. 37.Rfd2 If 37.Rb2 Ng4+ 38.Kg3 (not 38.hxg4?? Qh4#) 38…Nxf2 39.Rxf2 and Black is the exchange up with a very dangerous d-pawn waiting to charge forward. 37…Rxd2 38.Rxd2 Nf1+ forking king and rook 0–1.

This weekend the action moves to the East Devon Congress at the Corn Exchange, Exeter, which started yesterday evening and continues until Sunday afternoon. The Open Section has an unusually large entry this year, probably nearing 60 players, which should make for some interesting games.

In last week’s position, Alekhine beat Lasker after 1.Nf5+ forcing 1…Kh8 2.Qxg6 and if 2…PxQ 3.Rh3 mate.

This position was taken from actual play and appeared in Tattersall’s A Thousand Endgames Vol 1, published in 1901. White to move and should win, of course, but only if he makes the right moves, otherwise Black may be able to draw.

White to play and ensure the win.