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Devon vs Middlesex U-180 Semi-Final. 25.06.2016.)

in the WMN 80 years ago exactly.

As reported last week, Black lost 5-9 to Middlesex, a score that doesn’t do justice to the close struggle involved. Devon names 1st in each pairing.

1.Brian Hewson (179) 1-0 P. Gregory (175). 2.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 T. Whitton (176). 3.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ L. Marden (174). 4.John Wheeler ½-½ N. Twitchell (177). 5.Plamen Sivrev (175) 0-1 I. Hunnable (177). 6.Paul Hampton (173) 0-1 P. Jaszkiwskyi (180). 7.Oliver Wensley (171) 0-1 J. White (166). 8.Trefor Thynne (168) ½-½ C. Ramage (164). 9.Paul Brooks (159) 0-1 P. Kenning (171). 10.Brian Gosling (157) 1-0 D. Millward (169). 11.Martin Quinn (151) 0-1 C. Westrap (172). 12.Nick Butland  (153) ½-½ J. Davenport (163). 13.Chris Scott (150) ½-½ G. Strachan (159). 14.Andrew Kinder (145) ½-½ P. Haddock (124). Here is one of Devon’s 2 wins, with notes by the winner.

White: Brian Gosling. Black: D. Millward

Scandinavian Defence.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Nf6 6.d3 c6 7.0–0 e6 8.g3 Aiding the bishop coming to f4. 8…Qc7 9.Nd4 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Bc5 11.Bf4 Qe7 If 11…Bd6?? 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Qxe6. 12.Nf3 Nbd7 13.d4 Bd6 14.Ne5 avoiding the exchange of bishops. 14…0–0 15.Rfe1 Bxe5 16.dxe5 Nd5 17.Ne4 The exchanges had led to a hole at d6, just waiting for a knight. 17…Nxf4 18.gxf4 White’s pawn structure is compromised but he had the open g-file for attack. 18…f5 19.Nd6 Nb6 20.c4 Kh8 21.Qh5 Rab8 Play now revolved around the open g-file. 22.Kh1 g6 23.Qh3 Rg8 24.Rg1 Rg7 25.Rg3 Rbg8 26.Rag1 Qd7 26…g5? would be a bad mistake because after the exchanges on g5 White has the knight fork on f7. 27.b3 Nc8 28.Rd3 The knights could not be exchanged as White would infiltrate via the d-file. 28…Qc7 29.Qh4 Nb6?? Black had to stop the queen coming to f6. The pin on the rook was devastating. 29…Qe7 30.Qxe7 Rxe7. 30.Qf6+ Qe7 31.Rxg6!! Mating attack. 31…Qxf6 If 31…hxg6 32.Rh3#. 32.exf6 Rd7 32…Rxg6?? allows a smothered mate 33.Nf7#. 33.Rxg8+?? Throwing away the advantage. 33.Rh6 would secure victory 33…Rf8 34.Rdh3 with the threat of pushing the f-pawn. 33…Kxg8 34.f7+ Kf8 35.c5 Nd5 36.Rg3 Nf6 37.b4 b5 38.Kg2 Re7 39.a3 Rd7? 39…a5 40.Rd3 40…Ne4 41.Rg3?? Better is 41.Rh3. 41…Nxg3 42.fxg3 Rxd6 43.cxd6 Kxf7 44.h3 Ke8 Black should not allow White to get his kingside pawn majority moving, e.g. 44…h5. 45.Kf3 Ke8 46.d7+ Kxd7 etc. 45.g4 Kd7 46.g5 Black’s king is tied to the kingside coping with White’s extra pawn. 46…Kxd6?? Throwing away the draw. If 46…c5 47.bxc5 a5 is drawn, as the opposing pawn majorities balance. 47.h4+Ke7 48.h5 Kf7 49.Kf3 Kg7 50.Ke3 Kf7 51.Kd4 Kg7 52.Ke5 Kf7 53.Kd6 a6 54.Ke5 Ke7+ 55.g6 hxg6 56.hxg6 Kf8 57.Kxe6 1–0

The key to last week’s study was 1.Kf2! forcing Kh2 2.Kf3 Kh3 3.Kf4 Kh4 4.b4 g5+ 5.Ke3! to avoid checks g4 6.b5 g3 7.b6 Kh3 8.b7 g2 9.Kf2  The only way to defend his pawn is …Kh2, and then 10.b8=Q+.

Here is a 2-mover by Comins Mansfield, first published in the WMN 80 years ago exactly.

White play & mate in 2

Victor Korchnoi RIP

Victor Korchnoi, who died last week, would probably have become World Champion at some point, had he not been a Soviet dissident who regularly incurred the wrath of the authorities and was denied many opportunities to travel freely to important international events, and who, he asserted, devised subtle ways to prevent him winning any of his World Championship matches. The story up to 1977 was told in his autobiography, Chess Is My Life, but the shenanigans continued beyond that until he eventually escaped the Soviets’ clutches and settled in Switzerland.

He was particularly good with the Black pieces, often favouring the French Defence. This was a typical example, that he listed in his book My Best Games Vol. 2 – Games With Black. (Edition Olms – 2001).  Notes much condensed from those in the book.

White: Dr. J. Nunn. Black: V. Korchnoi.

World Team Championship 1985

French Defence – Advance Variation.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Black aims to create pressure on d4 a.s.a.p. 7…cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 Bxd4 This series of moves that Black now makes quickly leads to an endgame position. 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Qb6 12.Qxb6 Nxb6 (Having lost to him earlier in the year at Wijk aan Zee Korchnoi had a great respect for John Nunn as an attacker and sought to keep things relatively simple by exchanging pieces). 13.0–0–0 Another good move in this position is 13…h4 introduced by Kasparov in the 1990s. Bd7 14.Bd3 h5 Limiting White’s chances of advancing the kingside pawns. 15.Ne2 Ke7 16.Nd4 g6 17.g3 Preventing an immediate f4. 17…Bc6 18.Rde1 Nd7 19.c3 Rag8 20.Rhf1 g5! 21.f5 g4! Possibly it was this move that Nunn overlooked – Black will inevitably open the h-file for his rooks. It is also important for him to secure the g5 square, to have the possibility of attacking the e5 pawn from the side. 22.Re2 h4 23.b4 hxg3 24.hxg3 Ba4 25.Kb2 Rh3 26.Rg1 Rgh8? Better was 26…Rc8 after which White has no active moves and Black can develop his offensive. 27.Ka3 Rc8 28.Kb2? This move concedes the initiative for good. 28…a6 29.Rgg2 intending to exchange the rook on h3. 29…Bd1 30.Re3? Losing. 30…Nb6 31.Rf2 Rh1! Weaving a mating net around White’s king. 32.fxe6 fxe6 33.Rf1 Na4+ 34.Kc1 Rxc3+ 0-1. If, for example, 35.Nc2 then …Rxf1 36.Bxf1 Rxc2+ 37.Kxd1 Rxa2 etc.

Last weekend, Devon lost 5-9 to Essex in the National semi-finals of the U-180 championship.  Full details next week.

Last week’s study by Troitsky was won by 1.f6! Black is forced to take it …gxf6. 2.Kxg2 Kf4 and the key move is 3.a4 forcing an outside passed pawn that Black cannot prevent from queening 3…bxa3 4.bxa3 etc. though careful play is still required with the queen as Black will have 4 pawns all advancing.

Here is another pawn-only study, this time by the Swiss, Samuel Isenegger (1899-1964). White to move and clearly he can queen quickly, but so can Black.

How is this resolved?

White to move and win

E. Devon League’s Climactic Finish

The League’s prizegiving and end-of-term match has been held at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth, at the kind invitation of the management, for the past 12 years or more, and it was no different this time.

First, the presentations……

Div. 1 was won by Exeter Rooks and Felix Schulte received the trophy from League President, Brian Aldwin.

Div. 1 Runners-Up were Newton Abbot and Mark Cockerton received the trophy.

Div. 2 winners were Tiverton Thinkers and Jon Duckham accepted the trophy.

Runners-Up In Div 2 were Exeter Gambits and Brian Aldwin made sure he took the cup home.

Exeter Prestissimo won the RapidPlay League and John Maloney received the trophy.

The match changed in format last year, due to the rise and rise of the Exeter Club’s membership and the decline in interest of the Tiverton and Sidmouth clubs. No blame is attached here – it’s just how clubs always gradually rise and fall, both in numbers and  and strength over the years, and ’twill ever be so. However, one must adjust accordingly.

Therefore, this year the match took the form of an Exeter vs The Rest double round rapidplay. Last year’s match was drawn 9-9, but this year’s line-up looked to favour the city team, though it proved to be a little closer than expected.

Details were as follows: (Tim’s Team – named after League Secretary Tim Paulden – consisted of Exeter players on the top 16 boards. Bob’s Team – named after the League’s Jamboree team captain, Bob Jones).

Bd Tim’s Team Grd R1 R2 Bob’s Team Grd R1 R2
1 Paulden, T 185 1 ½ Underwood, J. 186 0 ½
2 O’Neill, P 185 1 1 Abbott, M. V. 178 0 0
3 Hartmann, L 184 1 ½ Wensley, O. E 170 0 ½
4 Schulte, F 180 0 1 Duckham, J 158 1 0
5 Chan, J 151 1 0 Gosling, G. 153 0 1
6 Dean, A 145 1 1 Annetts, I. S. 151 0 0
7 Amos, J 141 1 0 Scott, C. J. 149 0 1
8 Simpson, I 133 0 0 Keen, C 138 1 1
9 Palmer, E 124 0 1 Belt, M 133 1 0
10 Maloney, J 120 0 1 Fotheringham, G 130 1 0
11 Player, J 115 0 1 Cockerton, M 125 1 0
12 Marjoram, W 115 1 1 Jones, R. H. 118 0 0
13 Scholes, R 111 1 0 Haines, M 100 0 1
14 Jenkins, G. 106 1 0 Maber, M 100 0 1
15 Dean, S 100 0 0 Thomson, D 100 1 1
16 Murray, T 60 0 0 Thorpe-Tracey S 90 1 1
17 Lee, Mike 80 1 0 Grist, I. G. 87 0 1
18 Lee, Max 40 0 0 Minor, T 68 1 1
19 Cubbon, R 50 1 1 Dye, J 50 0 0
11 9 8 10
Grand Totals 20 18

Korchnoi Dies (11.06.2016.)

The grand old man of world chess, Viktor Korchnoi, who died on Monday at the age of 85, was often reckoned to be the best player never to become World Champion. This was partly accounted for by his being an outspoken critic of the Soviet system, and consequently given fewer opportunities to travel. Even the Russians didn’t want to see him beating their younger, up-coming favourites like Karpov and Spassky. His battles against Karpov for the World title were noted more for the almost bizarre claims and counter-claims of off-the-board psychological warfare than the actual chess. He wrote several books including the autobiographical Chess Is My Life His great career was blighted by Cold War politics, but it was still great.

The recent Frome Congress was the second time that Jane Richmond had finished 2nd in the Open, and this was her last round win.

White: Jane Richmond (2123). Black: Roger de Coverley (2076).

Pirc Defence  [B07]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 Ng4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.h4 Nbc6 11.hxg5 hxg5 12.Rxh8+ Bxh8 13.Nd5 Be6 14.0–0–0 Ng6 15.Ne2 Bxd5 16.exd5 Qf6 17.Qe3+ Nce7 18.Nd4 Kf8 The natural move would be 18…0–0–0 to keep the kings on the same side of the board. 19.Qb3 Rb8 20.c3 Nf4 21.Nb5 c6 22.Nxa7 cxd5 23.Nb5 Nc6 24.Kb1 d4 25.cxd4 Re8 26.a3 Rd8 27.Qf3 d5 28.Bxf4 gxf4 29.g3 fxg3 30.Qxf6 Bxf6 31.fxg3 Kg7 The king’s ready to join the fray and there now follows a period of cat & mouse, as both sides seek an advantage. 32.Kc2 Rh8 33.Kd3 Rh1 34.Ke3 Rh2 35.b4 Rb2 36.Bd3 Rg2 37.Kf3 Rh2 38.Bf5 Rb2 39.Bc8 Nd8 40.Re1 Rc2 41.Bf5 Rh2 42.Bd7 Ra2 43.Rc1 Rd2 44.Rc8 Rd3+ 45.Kf4 Nc6 46.Bxc6 bxc6 47.Rxc6 Bxd4 48.Nxd4 Rxd4+ 49.Ke3 From now on it’s a pure rook & pawn ending, in which White has the advantage of 2 connected pawns, but the kings have to play their full part. 49…Rd1 50.a4 d4+ 51.Ke2 Ra1 52.a5 Ra3 53.Rd6 Rxg3 54.a6 Ra3 It needs careful planning to work out who will succeed in queening a pawn. 55.b5 Ra5 56.Rd5 Kf6 57.Kd3 Ke6 58.Kxd4 f5 59.Re5+ Kf6 60.Rc5 Kg5 61.Kd5 Kg4 62.Kc6 f4 63.Kb6 Ra2 64.Rc4 Kg3 65.Kb7 f3 66.Rc3 As White cannot be prevented from queening, she has the luxury of being able to sacrifice the rook in order to prevent Black from doing likewise. 66…Kg2 67.Rxf3 Kxf3 68.a7 Ke4 69.a8=Q Rxa8 70.Kxa8 Kd5 71.b6 1–0

In last week’s position the Black queen was overstretched, trying to prevent mate on g7 while fighting off any incursion by White’s other pieces and it can’t be done, so White plays 1.Bb5 attacking the queen, and when it moves aside White has 2.BxR.

Studies are specially composed positions, but are slightly different from problems in that they usually more resemble an actual game and involve longer lines of play. Here is an example composed in 1905 by the Russian A. A. Troitsky (1866 – 1942). White to play and win.

White to play and win.

WECU Council Meeting 2016

The West of England Chess Union’s Council Meeting (or AGM) was held at the Shrubbery Hotel, Ilminster on Saturday 4th June, with President, Brian Hewson, in the chair and Roger Morgan taking notes.

It was mostly routine, but essential stuff. There was some discussion as to the best way of determining the Ladies Champion in the annual WECU Congress. As things stand at the moment, getting  4/7 points in the Minor Section beats getting 3.5 in the Open, but which is the better performance? Several possible alternatives were mentioned, from maintaining the status quo to abolishing the Ladies trophy altogether, and several in between; e.g. tournament grade and, most radical of all, asking the ladies their opinion.

The role of presidential succssion usually takes up a fair amount of time each year, both at and before the meeting. Brian Hewson (Devon) was due to complete his second year in the Chair, with a Deputy President stepping up to the plate. Except that, in the previous 12 months, no Deputy had been identified/persuaded to take this on. Apparently, Robin Kneebone had toyed with the idea, but eventually decided that he was so fully committed to Cornish chess and keeping that particular boat afloat, that he wouldn’t be able to do justice to the Union role. Former President, Fenella Headlong, had also been approached, but the combination of work and family commitments made it very difficult for her to accept. In the end, former President , Gerry Jepps (Somerset), was persuaded to reprise the role. He tried to protest that the art of chairmanship was not his greatest skill, but the room was convinced that his great experience as a successful organiser over many years far outweighed this, and he was readily voted in, and will take the chair at the 2017 Executive Meeting. All other officers were re-elected en bloc.

Both trophies were available for presentation, the Harold Meek Cup for the 1st team competition and the Wayling Cup for the 2nd team. Normally, the President will hand each cup to the delegate of the winning county, but this was complicated by the fact that the President was also the match captain of both teams. So the Fixtures Secretary, Phil Mead, readily stepped in to the breach.

Phil Mead (l) presents the Harold Meek Cup to the Devon 1st team captain, Brian Hewson.

Brian Hewson also receives the Wayling Cup, the 18th consecutive year Devon have won it.

Cotswold Congress Results (04.06.2016.)

Keith Arkell was the first Grandmaster to enter the Cotswold Congress for many years, and on Monday he hit the chess headlines in the Daily Telegraph when their correspondent, Malcolm Pein, noted the fact that Arkell had achieved the remarkable feat of coming 1st in his last 7 consecutive weekend events, namely Bristol, Exeter, Exmouth (the West of England Championship), Hereford, Nottingham, Great Yarmouth and Rhyl. Such was his current form and the relatively modest opposition, by his standards, that one could be forgiven for expecting him to make this his 8th success.

Yet it was not to be. In Round 3 he faced his nearest opponent, Chris Beaumont, who was not prepared to go down without a fight and proceeded to win with the white pieces. He conceded a draw in the following round, but didn’t allow Arkell to catch him, finishing a half point ahead.  The full prizelist was as follows (all points out of 6)

Open Section: 1st Chris Beaumont (Bristol & Clifton) 5½. 2nd Keith Arkell (Paignton) 5.  3rd Matt Gillings (Wimbourne) 4.  U-170 grading prize: William Phillips (Hatchend) 3. 16 players competed.

Major (U-155) 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5. 2nd= Robert Ashworth (Wotton Hall); Ian Bush (Magdalen College School, Oxford) & Martyn Harris (Newcastle under Lyme) 4½. Grading Prize (U-138) Rich Wiltshir (Rushall) 3½. (U-120) David Williams 3½. 37 players competed.

Minor (U-125). 1st Mark Forknall (Cheltenham) 5½. 2nd= Steve Clare (Wallasey) & Rezza Gorsi Pour (Gloucester) 5.  Grading Prizes (U-102) Douglas Bramley (Spondon) 4.

U-100: Paul Broderick 3½. 35 competed.

As a way of raising funds for their forthcoming trip to Borneo, pupils from the host venue, King’s School Gloucester, provided a service to the players by running the refreshment stall.

In the recent Frome Congress, father & son George and Scott Crockert, both won with Black in the final round, to qualify for the British Championship. This is one of those games.

White: P. Orgler (2132). Black: G. Crockart (2012).

Dutch Defence – Staunton Gambit [A83]

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qh6 Nc6 9.Nf3 b6 10.c3 Bb7 11.Bd3 Qe7 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.Qg5 0–0 14.Qxf6 Rxf6 15.Ne5 d6 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.0–0 Re8 18.Rfe1 Kf7 19.b4 g5 20.b5 Bb7 21.a4 e5 22.a5 Rfe6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Ra7 Rb8 25.Be4?? Much better was 25.Bc4 and if d5 26.Rxb7 Rxb7 27.Bxd5. Rb8 28. f4 gxf4 29. Rxe5 Rbe8 30.Kf2 Kf6 and after the pieces come off White should win. 25…exd4 26.f3 d5 0–1.

Last week’s original 3-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Be4! If 1…Kg1 2.Qf3 with mate on g2. If 1…g2 2.Qg4 g1=Q 3.Qh4 mate. If 1…e2 2.Qf3 e1=Q (if 2…e1=N 3.Qh1 mate) 3.Qg2 mate.

In this position from a recent game, Black is clearly on the back foot, but White still needs a clinical finish to end all resistance.

Find White's winning move