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Archive for May, 2016

Somerset & Devon Meet Varying Fortunes. (28.05.2016.)

Westcountry teams met with varying fortunes on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championships. Devon had entered the grade-limited U-180 section and were paired against Middlesex, to whom they lost in the Final last year. This time, however, fate intervened on Devon’s behalf, as a third of the Middlesex team were held up in heavy traffic and while most arrived late, two didn’t make it at all, thus gifting Devon a close win by 8½-7½ in a match they might otherwise have lost.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing). 1.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 W. Taylor (170). 2.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 3.John Wheeler (177) 1-0 G. Batchelor (176). 4.Trefor Thynne (167) 0-1 A. Hayler (170). 5.M. Gosling ½-½ R. Harper (172) 6.Paul Hampton 1-0 A. Fulton (170). 7.Dennis Cowley (160) 1-0 R. Kane (164). 8.G. Body (163) 1-0 def. 9.Bill Ingham (158) ½-½ W. Phillips (162). 10.P. Brooks (158) 1-0    J. Kay (162). 11.Brian Gosling (154) 1-0 def. 12.Martin Quinn (159) ½-½ P. Morton (160). 13.Mike Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 0-1 L. Fincham (160). 14.Nick Butland (155) ½-½ L. Boy (153). 15.Kevin Hindom (155) 0-1 A. McGuinness (151). 16.Ivor Annetts (151) 0-1 J. Sargent (152).

Devon thus avenged their 2015 final defeat, and now go on to meet Essex in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, it was a different story for Somerset who had entered the Minor Counties section, which, despite its title, is a much stronger tournament, as there is no grade limit. They were paired against Suffolk who turned up with a 16 man team whose average grade was 182 compared to Somerset’s 145, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Somerset lost the match, but nevertheless 14½-1½ is a crushing defeat. Gerry Jepps was their only winner and Chris Purry got the solitary draw.

Last week’s Frome Congress also incorporated the Somerset individual championships, which go to the highest-placed Somerset player in each section.

These went as follows:  Open: David Buckley (Bath) who received the Denys Bonner Trophy.  Major: Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) got the Leon York Trophy.

Intermediate: Hugo Fowler, (Millfield School) got the Roy Hossell Cup.

Minor: Alastair Drummond (Bristol Cabot) got the Cyril Chapman trophy, and Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) was awarded the Jean Mackereth Cup for the best ungraded player in the Minor.

The Cotswold Congress starts this morning at the King’s School, Gloucester and continues for 6 rounds until Monday evening. Results next week.

In last week’s position White simply played 1.Rd1! and Black’s forward rook is pinned in two diections, so must fall.

This week’s position is another world premier by Dave Howard. White can clearly spend time chasing the Black king with a series of checks, but how can he mate in just 3 moves?

White to mate in 3

Frome Congress 2016 Results

The Frome Congress finished on Sunday evening with the following prizewinners (all points out of 5).

Open: 1st David Buckley (Bath) 4½. 2nd= Tim Kett (Cardiff), Matthew Payne (Bath) & Jane Richmond – 4. Although there were no Grandmasters involved this year in this section it was all the more competitive for it, with a record entry of 42.

Major Section (U-165): 1st= Brendon O’Gorman; James Forster (Southbourne); Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) & Lynda Roberts (Thornbury), all 4 pts.

Intermediate (U-140): 1st= Robin Morris-Weston (Reading) & Hugo Fowler (Glastonbury) both 4½.

Minor (U-110): 1st= Alastair Drummond (Bristol) & Bill Read (Witney ) both 4½. 3rd= Georgina Headlong (Swindon), Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) & Alan Fraser (Beckenham).

The Frome event is now able to award more than one Qualifying Place for the British Championship to be held in Bournemouth in the summer, and places were awarded to David Onley (Combined Services); Scott Crockart (Didcot) & George Crockart (Bristol). This may be the first time in chess history that a father and son have both qualified in this way at the same event.

Going in to the final round of the Open, Kett was the clear leader on a perfect 4 points, followed by Buckley in clear 2nd place a half point behind. Kett had White and only needed to draw to be certain of 1st place, but his opponent had other ideas.

White: T. Kett (198). Black: D. Buckley. (212)

French Defence [C11]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 The Boleslavsky Variation. 7…Be7 8.Qd2 0–0 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Bxc5 Nxc5 11.0–0–0 By castling on the opposite side to Black, White is choosing to live dangerously. 11…Qa5 12.Kb1 Bd7 13.Bd3 Rac8 14.f5 exf5 15.Nxd5 Qxd2 16.Rxd2 Rfe8 17.Re1 Be6 18.Nf4 Nxd3 19.cxd3 If 19.Rxd3 Nb4 attacking both a- & c-pawns; or 19.Nxd3 Bd5. 19…Nb4 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.a3 Nd5 22.Rc1 Rxc1+ 23.Kxc1 Rc8+ 24.Kb1 Kf7 25.Ng5+ Ke7 26.Nxh7 White may feel the need to attack Black’s 3-2 kingside pawn majority, but this merely reduces it to 2–1 – an even more potent threat. 26…Rh8 27.Ng5 Rxh2 28.Nf3 Rh6 29.Rc2 Kd7 30.Nd4 Rh1+ 31.Ka2 Rd1 32.Nb3 b6 Not 32…Rxd3?? 33.Nc5+. 33.Nd4 Rxd3 34.Nc6 Nc3+ 35.Kb3 Kxc6 36.Kc4 Rd5 37.bxc3 Rxe5 continuing to hack down White’s pawns 38.Rd2 Rd5 39.Re2 e5 40.g4 f4 White has run out of all meaningful counterplay. 0–1

In last week’s position, White won after 1.Nd7+! and if 1…Ka8 2.Rc5 threatening Ra5 mate, or if Black takes the knight there’s Rc8 mate. If 1…RxN 2. RxR and White is the exchange and 2 pawns up, easily enough to win in the longer run.

In this top class game from last year, Black seems to be well set for an attack, but White spots a flaw in the position. White to play and force immediate resignation.

Find White's winning move.

Michael Ashworth Is Top WECU JUnior

The West of England Junior Championships were held at St. Joseph’s College, Swindon earlier this year. The age-group champions were as follows:

U-18: Michael Ashworth (Glos/Wilts).

U-16: Robert Ashworth (Glos/Wilts).

U-14: Charlie McLaren (Glos/Wilts).

U-14 Girls: Sophie Cottle (Wilts). U-12: Ben Headlong (Wilts). U-12 Girls: Georgia Headlong (Wilts). U-10: Samir Khan. U-10 Girls: Fiona Thet (Somerset).

U-9: Siddharth Venkatanarayana. (Wilts).

U-8: Matthew Timbrell (Somerset). U-8 Girls: Zohar Ashraf & Kaia Bhatoolaul (both Wilts).

Recently, an inter-county girls match was held in Swindon, involving teams of 12 players from Wiltshire, Somerset and Oxfordshire, playing 2 rounds. The latter were out-classed, but the overall win went down to the last 2 games to finish. 1st Wiltshire 17½ pts.; 2nd Somerset 13½ and 3rd Oxford 5. Somerset’s Team Managers, Chris Strong and Fenella Headlong, reported that the whole match was played in a very friendly atmosphere and many new friends were made, both within and between the teams.
St. Petroc’s, Cornwall’s charity that raises funds and takes action for the homeless in the county, is running an informal chess competition on

Saturday May 21st at Saint Augustine’s Church, St. Austell – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to all, young and old, novices to experts. Previously, the youngest was at primary school, the eldest was 70+, and the strongest was International Master Andrew Greet, who was born in the town. Entries to Jackie Davis email:Jackie.Davis@stpetrocs.org.uk.

Entry fee is £10 (pay on the day), which includes lunch, so you must enter before the event so the lunch numbers can be calculated!

Here is a win by M. Ashworth from last year’s Chess Challenge Terafinal.

White: J. Boswell. Black: M. Ashworth Sicilian Defence [B27]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 The Maroczy Bind, deterring …d5, which is a freeing move for Black. It is often said that if Black can get in …d5 without suffering any weakness elsewhere, he will have achieved at least parity. 5…Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0–0 10.Qd2 a5 Black is seeking ways to undermine the “Bind” simply by circumventing it. 11.0–0 a4 12.Rad1 Qa5 13.Bd4 Be6 14.f3 Rfc8 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.cxd5 Qxd2 17.Rxd2 Nd7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.b4 axb3 20.axb3 Rc3 21.Rb2 Ra3 22.b4 Nb6 23.Bb5 Kf6 24.f4 Rab3 25.Rbb1 Rxb1 26.Rxb1 Re3 White’s pawn centre will now crumble. 27.Kf2 Rxe4 28.g3 Nxd5 29.Be2?? Black spots the terminal error. 29…Rxe2+! 30.Kxe2 Nc3+ forking king and rook. 0–1

Last week’s position ended after 1…Rf1+ when White must lose his queen to either 2.Kg3 exposing his queen to the rook or 2.BxR Ne4+ forking king & queen.

This position is very near the end of the game Joe Gallagher (W) vs Gary Lane in 1990. How did White finish quickly?

White to play and win

Frome Congress Approaches (07.05.2016.)

The ever-popular Frome Congress starts next Friday evening at the Selwood Academy. Last year’s winner was Grandmaster Matthew Turner, chess master at Millfield School, where he looks after a number of highly-promising juniors who are there on a chess scholarship. This was his last round game against another former West of England Champion, Jane Richmond (née Garwell), the only lady to have won the title, and many times Welsh Ladies Champion.

White: Matthew Turner (2478). Black: Jane Richmond (2086).

English Opening  [A25]

1.c4 e5 The Sicilian Variation, so called because the pawns now resemble a Sicilian Defence, but with colours reversed. It is reckoned to offer Black the best chances of active counter-play. 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 h5 7.h3 Nh6 8.e4 Be6 9.d3 Qd7 10.Nd5 Nd8 11.Bg5 Ng8 12.Qd2 Black proceeds to push White back using pawn advances. 12…c6 13.Ndc3 f6 14.Be3 f5 15.b3 h4 She doesn’t intend to lie back and get run over, but will the pawn-pushing at the expense of natural piece development backfire at some point? 16.exf5 gxf5 17.d4 Ne7 18.0–0–0 Qc7 19.d5 cxd5 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.Bxd5 Rc8 22.Nc3 Qa5 23.Kb1 Bxd5 24.Nxd5 Qxd2 25.Bxd2 Nc6 26.g4 Kf7 27.gxf5 Nd4 28.f6 Bxf6 29.Nxf6 Kxf6 30.Bc3 Ne2 31.Rxd6+ Kf5 32.Kc2 Rcd8 33.Bxe5 Rxd6 Or 33…Kxe5 34.Rxd8 Rxd8 35.Re1 winning the piece back. 34.Bxd6 In a relatively open position like this, a bishop is often a little stronger than a knight and with a 2 pawn deficit the writing is on the wall for Black. 34…Ke4 35.f4 Kf3 36.f5 Ng3 37.Rd1 Rh6 38.Bf8 Ra6 39.Rd7 Nxf5 40.Rxb7 Ke4 Or 40…Rxa2+ 41.Kd3 Kf4 42.c5 and the c-pawn can run forward supported by the rook & bishop. 41.a4 Rf6 42.Bc5 1–0.

The Cornish Championship finished in a tie between James Hooker (Truro) and David Saqui (Camborne) on 4/5 points, although on tie-break Hooker retained his championship title and the Emigrant Cup.

The recent Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress finished as follows: Open: 1st= Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) & Jonathan Bourne (Swindon). Grading Prizes: U-172 – Peter Jaskiwskyj & Mark Littleton (Wimborne). U-160: Matthew Wilson (Teignmouth). U-150: John Bowley (Wimborne). Juniors U-16 – Felix Schulte.

Minor Section: 1st= Alan Dean,           Martin Worrall (Taunton) & Duncan McArthur. Grading Prizes: U-122 – Nigel Dicker (Glastonbury). U-100 Martin Maber (Taunton). Juniors U-16 : Joshua Blackmore (Newton Abbot) & Reece Whittington (Exeter Juniors). Juniors U-14: Nick Cunliffe & Kenneth Greenshields both Somerset.

Three weeks today sees the start of the 48th Cotswold Congress in their new home of the King’s School, Gloucester. Full details may be found on their own website cotswoldcongress.co.uk.

This position arose just before the end of a game last December. Black to move.

Black to move and win