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Archive for July, 2016

British Championships Get Under Way (29.07.2016.)

The British Championship started on Monday at the Bournemouth Pavilion and continues until next Friday. Of the 86 entries in the Championship section itself, 11 are GMs, namely, in order of strength, Michael Adams; David Howell; Gawain Jones; Nick Pert; Mark Hebden; Tamas Fodor; Danny Gormally; John Emms; Keith Arkell; Chris Ward & Peter Wells. Cornishman Adams must be clear favourite, but there are other Westcountry residents in the mix, including Jack Rudd (Bideford), Brian Hewson (Tiverton), Jeremy Menadue (Truro), Steve Dilleigh & Carl Bicknell (both Bristol).

Games may be followed live on the event website –

A feature of the early rounds in this kind of tournament, the Swiss system, is that the grandmasters are drawn against opponents from halfway down the list and one can expect quite a few “massacres”, but this time most lasted up to 50 or 60 moves as the GMs played carefully, having no wish to finish up with egg on their faces by starting off with a surprise loss.

Here is an exception from Rd. 2.

White: K.C. Arkell (241). Black: Freddy Hand (192)

Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D23]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 Unusual, but White clearly wishes to guide his highly-graded, 13 year old opponent onto less familiar territory, and gets his queen active on the queenside right from the start. 4…dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bg4 6.Nbd2 Nbd7 7.g3 e6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Ne5 Bh5 Not 10…Nxe5? because of 11.dxe5 and Black must lose either bishop or knight. 11…b5. 11.Ndf3 Rc8 12.Bg5 c5 13.Rac1 h6 14.Nxd7 Nxd7 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.Rfd1 The rooks are connected laterally and have the promise of activity down the files ahead of them. 16…Nb6 16…cxd4 17.Qxc8 Rxc8 18.Rxc8+ Kh7 19.Nxd4 and given their open lines, the 2 rooks should be slightly stronger than the queen. 17.Qb5 Rfd8 18.Qa5 continuing the queenside probing. 18…Bxf3 19.Bxf3 cxd4 20.Qxa7 Qb4 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Bxb7 Establishing 2 passed pawns. 22…Rc5 23.b3 Ra5 Black rightly wants to attack the pawns, but White’s open lines enable him to prevent this.  24.Qb8+ Kh7 25.Be4+ f5 26.Bb1 Rb5 27.Qf4 Threatening d4. 27…Rd5 28.Rc1 Rightly grabbing the open file. 28…Rd7 29.Qe5 Threatening e5.  29…Re7 30.Rd1 Nd5 Black’s hoping to get in Nc3 forking rook and bishop, but White has a clever resource. 31.Bxf5+ winning 2 pawns. 31…exf5 32.Qxf5+ Kh8 33.Qxd5 Rxe2 34.Qxd4 1–0 Resigns. Not 34.Rxd4? because of 34… Qe1+ 35.Kg2 Qxf2+ 36.Kh3 Qxh2+ 37.Kg4 Rxa2 and the win seems to have evaporated.

Last week’s position was easily solved by 1.QxR+! If Black takes the queen either of the white rooks can come to the h-file to administer mate, or if he retreats to g8 the queen herself mates on g7.

Here we have a position from a 1999 game by John Emms (W). What winning move did he have?

White to play

Exmouth’s New Grades 2016/17

The new Grading List is just out and here is a simplified version of the Exmouth Club’s details. Mostly it shows a few minor shifts up and down, but the main point of interest is Jonathan Underwood achieving the magic 200 grade for his rapidplay track record.

The biggest change is a drop of 15 points by Meyrick Shaw, who can be consoled by the fact that he came 5th in the ECF’s Player of the Year poll. If he drops a few more points next year he might come 4th. The 12 yr old girl who came 1st had the advantage of every one of her fellow pupils voting for her, it is alleged.

Ref Member Name 16/17 15/16 Rapid 15/16
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 172 177 170 172
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 127 133 114 115
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 105 111 102 100
304385L Bronze Dye, J 67 57 77
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 159 157
181711F Bronze Grist, Ivor G 87 91 80 86
140874E Bronze Hodge, Fred R 96 96 128
266234G Bronze Hurst, Kevin J 174 175 178 168
113895K Silver Jones, Robert H 123 118 134 133
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 182 183 156 157
116002D Bronze Murray,  Steve 151 150 138 140
118154D Gold Rogers, David 134 137
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 151 150 151 152
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 163 178 175 178
155629A Gold Stephens, John 192 196 176 182
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 99 104
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 161
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 183 184 200 192
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 168 171 157 154

Chess on the Radio? (23.07.2016.)

Back in the day, when Adam was a lad, or more precisely the late 1950s, the BBC radio put on a regular chess programme on Network 3 on a Sunday afternoon. Chess on the radio was always going to be a challenge, but they rose to it, and included talks, reminiscences and consultation matches, in which I clearly remember hearing a teenage Bobby Fischer’s New York twang, as he consulted with Barden against Peter Clarke & Jonathan Penrose.

Another idea was to invite listeners to send in their best game, from which the experts would select the most promising six and these would take on, in a simultaneous match, the Yugoslav GM, Svetozar Gligoric, their games being analysed on air later by an expert.

One of the six was 19 year old Roger Scowen; now 76 he regularly plays in World and European Seniors events, and on the Westcountry congress circuit.

This was his game, with notes greatly reduced from those supplied by Leonard Barden from the book based on the series, The Chess Treasury of the Air.

White: S. Gligoric. Black R. S. Scowen.

French Defence -  Winawer Variation

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 This has been tried before with varying success, but it’s probably slightly inferior to 6…Ne7 and if 7.Qg4 Nf5. 7.Qg4 f5 8.Qg3 8.exf6 would only develop Black’s game after 8…Nxf6. 8…Ne7 Black was rather unlucky to fall into an opening variation that was thought to be quite good in Jan. 1960, but highly suspect by March. 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7 cxd4 So far the game has followed the textbooks, but now Gligoric played  11.Kd1 Mr. Scowen probably didn’t know that White had already been successful with this move against Tal, Botvinnik & Petrosian, as development of the KB is unhindered. 11…dxc3 12.Nf3 Nbc6 13.Bg5 Bd7 14.Bb5 This powerful move virtually refutes Black’s opening play. White’s aim is to exchange all the minor pieces except his knight and Black’s bishop, which will be severely handicapped by its own pawn chain. 14…a6 15.Bxc6 Bxc6 16.Bxe7 Rf8 17.Nd4 Qxe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 Black’s advanced pawn is weak, while on the other wing White has a pawn ready to advance. Now see how a GM transforms these advantages into a win. 19.Ke2 Rh8 20.f4 Rag8 21.Kf3 Rh7 22.Rab1 Kd7 23.Rb3 Rhg7 24.g3 Rh7 25.Rxc3 Rh3 Now Black threatens to regain material with R1xg3+. 26.Rb1 Rxh2 27.Nxc6 bxc6 28.Rb7+ Kc8 29.Re7 Rh3 30.Kg2 Rh4 31.Rxc6+ Kd8 32.Rexe6 Resigns.

This game illustrates the advantage you have when your opponent is saddled with a permanent weakness like a vulnerable pawn or blocked-in piece.

In last week’s position, Mordue (W) played 1.Bxh7+ which is not exactly the prelude to a spectacular mating attack, but does win the defending pawn. 1…Kxh7 2.Qd3+ and he gets the d6 bishop back.

This position occurred in the 2007 West of England Championship in Exmouth, between Joshua Hall (W) and Alan Brusey. Can you advise White on a good move?

White to play and win

Next Up …… the Paignton Congress (16.07.2016.)

Like football, no sooner has the old chess season been put to bed than the next looms quickly over the horizon. This means the Paignton Congress cannot be so far away – in fact it starts seven weeks tomorrow, Sunday 4th September. Entry forms may be downloaded from the website If necessary, further details may be obtained from the event Secretary, Alan Crickmore on 01752-768206 or e-mail

After his recent run of tournament successes the likely winner is local Grandmaster Keith Arkell, who has made this event virtually his own for over 20 years, so much so that other GMs seem to leave it to him without challenge, one exception being 2008 when Gawain Jones shared 1st prize with him. An extra 2 GMs would greatly add to the interest.

60 years ago, the winner at Paignton was Francis Kitto (5/7) with Andrew Thomas and Wolfgang Heidenfeld both on 50%. This was their individual game.

White: A. R. B. Thomas. W. Heidenfeld.

Grünfeld Defence  [D78]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.0–0 0–0 6.c4 c6 7.Nc3 h6 8.Ne5 Thomas was not one to hold back from taking the high ground when the opportunity arose. 8…Be6 9.f4 Nbd7 10.b3 dxc4 11.bxc4 Nxe5 12.fxe5 Nh7 13.Qd3 Qd7 14.Bb2 Bh3 15.Ne4 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Rfd8 17.Nc5 Qc8 18.e6 f5 Taking the pawn would allow in the White Queen with 18…fxe6 19.Qxg6 to be followed by Nxe6. 19.Nd7 There is no immediate threat from the knight and pawn, and Black could bring his knight in from the rim, with something like Ng5. But Black opts to eliminate the knight & pawn immediately. 19…Rxd7. If 19…Ng5 20.Qa3. 20.exd7 Qxd7 21.Rad1 White is planning to control the d-file after playing d5 when possible. 21…Ng5 22.Ba3 Re8 23.d5 e6 24.h4 Ne4 25.dxc6 Qxc6 26.Qd7 Rc8 27.Qxc6 Rxc6 28.Rd8+ Kh7 29.Rd7 White’s bishop threatens to move to either b2 or f8. 29…Rb6 29…Kg8 Black could try 30.Rxb7 Rxc4 but after 31.Rd1 there is little hope. 30.Bf8 The bishop cannot be further defended. 1–0

This was only revenge for Thomas as the two had met just a few days earlier in Rd. 4 of the British Championship at Blackpool, when Heidenfeld (B) won after sacrificing a rook in a French Defence.

The Jewish Heidenfeld (1911-81) was born in Berlin but ahead of the rise of Nazism emigrated to South Africa where he became National Champion eight times. After the war he moved to Ireland where he became their Champion six times. His autobiographical book of games is called Lacking The Master Touch, (1970) now highly sought after.

The solution to Dave Howard’s 3-mover last week was 1.Bd7! after which White has four 2 move mates depending on what Black tries. For example, 1…Kf4. 2.Qf6+ Ke4. 3.Qf5 mate or 2…Kg3 3.Qf2 mate.

This position arose between fellow Bristolians Tyson Mordue (W) and Steve Dilleigh in a tournament in Torquay a decade ago. How did White win a small but significant amount of material?

White to play and win material

Bristol Summer Congress Results (09.07.2016.)

In the Bristol League’s Summer Congress last month top seed in the Open was GM Keith Arkell, and though his Rd. 3 victory over IM Chris Beaumont, the second seed, was compensation for Chris’ victory two weeks earlier at the Cotswold Congress, his Rd. 2 draw against Steve Dilleigh prevented him from winning this year’s Grand Prix outright.

Open: 1st Keith Arkell (242 – Paignton). 2nd Carl Bicknell (201 – Horfield). 5 players came 3rd=.

Major (U-155):  1st Vladimir Bovtramovics. 2nd= Robert Wallman (142 – Olton), Ian Bush (142 – Magdalen College School) and Lynda Roberts (148 – Thornbury).

Minor (U-125): 1st Lance Carter (113e – Maidenhead). 5/5. 2nd= Kevin Markey (Glos)& L. Abecassis.

White: C. Beaumont – Black: K. Arkell

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind.  [B39]

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 Contravening the unwritten rule of not moving the same piece twice in the opening. 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 Ne6 10.Rc1 Qa5 11.Bd3 d6 12.0–0 Bd7 13.f4 Bd4 14.Bxd4 Nxd4 15.Nd5 Nc6 Not 15…Qxa2?? allowing 16.Nc7+ winning a rook or 16.Bb1 Qxb2 17.Rf2 winning the knight. 16.b4 Nxb4 17.f5 Nc6 18.c5 dxc5 19.Bb5 a6 Not 19…Qxb5?? 20.Nc7+. 20.Bxc6 Bxc6 21.f6 Bxd5 22.Qxd5 exf6 23.Rxf6 0–0 The key to the endgame lies in the pawn structure – Black’s two islands of 3 pawns against White’s isolanis. 24.Rcf1 Qc7 25.h4 Rae8 26.Rd6 Rxe4 0-1 White loses another pawn, so resigns. If 27.Rd7 Qe5.

His last round game was not without interest, as a crowd gathered round.

White: K. Arkell. Black: J. Marco.

King’s Indian Defence [E60]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d5 Nb6 8.Nbd2 e6 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Nd4 c6 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.c5 dxc5 13.Qc2 Qe7 14.Nb3 Nbd7 15.Be3 b6 16.Bxc6 Rac8 17.Bb7 Rc7 18.Bg2 Nd5 19.Bxd5 exd5 20.Rad1 Nf6 21.Bg5 Qe4 22.Qxe4 Nxe4 23.Bf4 Rxf4 24.gxf4 Bxb2 25.Rxd5 Although Black is the exchange down, his 3 queenside pawns may yet play a part in the outcome. 25…c4 26.Nd4 Nc3 27.Rd8+ Kf7 28.Kg2 Nxa2 29.Nc2 a5 30.Rb8 Rc6 31.Rb7+ Kf6 32.Rb1 c3 33.e4 g5 34.Nd4 c2 35.e5+ Kg6 36.Nxc2 Rxc2 37.Rxb6+ Kf5 38.R1xb2 Rxb2 39.Rxb2 The queenside issues are resolved and attention switches to the other wing.  39…Nb4 40.fxg5 Kxg5 41.Re2 Nd5 42.e6 Kf6 43.Ra2 Nf4+ 44.Kg3 Nxe6 45.Rxa5 Ng7 46.Kg4 Ne6 47.f4 Ng7 48.Ra6+ Kf7 49.Rh6 Kg8 50.f5 Ne8 51.Kg5 Kg7 52.Ra6 Kg8 53.Ra8 Kf7 54.Ra7+ Kg8 55.Rd7 Ng7 56.h4 1–0

In last week’s position, only Black’s knight is preventing Qb5 mate, so RxN removes that defence and Black must do something about it, which does not include taking the rook, which is free to move away.

This new 3-mover from Dave Howard is unusual in having no White pawns.  White to play.

White to mate in 3.

Teignmouth Chess Club History (02.07.2016.)

Chess history can be a fascinating aspect of the game. This generally takes the form of biographies of great players with a collection of their best games. It can also take the form of the story of great tournaments or head-to-head matches, St, Petersburg 1914 being a classic.

Less common are the histories of individual chess clubs. In my archives I have several, including A History of the Metropolitan Chess Club 1890-1990, by Moore & Deery, and histories of the Plymouth and Exeter clubs.

The latest addition to this list is Teignmouth Chess Club 1901 – 2016 compiled by Bill Frost with numerous contributions from fellow members past and present and a joint publication by Chess Devon and Keverel Chess. It comprises 66 A4 pages with 46 photographs and numerous games, and costs £13 plus p&p. For copies, contact Bill Frost via

An excellent and valuable project, beautifully executed and finished.

The Teignmouth club was founded in 1901 and competed for the county championship (the Bremridge Cup) that year and every year it has been held thereafter. Although they had to wait a hundred years before they won it, their consistency is admirable.

The book recalls how, in 1965, ten club members took on the great Andrew Thomas in a simultaneous match.

White: A. R. B. Thomas. Black: R. H. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Wing Gambit [B40]

1.e4 c5 2.b4 Having just given a talk on the virtues of the opening, A.R.B. felt duty bound to play it on this occasion. 2…cxb4 3.d4 e6 4.Nf3 Ne7 5.a3 d5 6.axb4 dxe4 7.Ne5 Nf5 8.Bb5+ Nd7 9.0–0 Bxb4 10.c3 Be7 11.Nd2 e3 12.Ne4 If 12.fxe3 Nxe3 winning the exchange. 12…exf2+ 13.Rxf2 0–0 14.Bxd7 Bxd7 15.Qh5 Bc6 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Bg5 Bxg5 18.Nxg5 h6 19.Ne4 a5 Once Black’s a-pawn starts to advance in this opening it can become a nuisance. 20.Re1 a4 21.g4 Qh4 22.Qxh4 Nxh4 23.Ra1 Ra7 24.Ra3 Rb8 25.Rfa2 Nf3+ 26.Kf2 Nxh2! 27.Kg3 Nxg4 28.Kxg4 f5+ (a) winning the piece back and (b) obtaining 2 passed pawns. 29.Kf4 fxe4 30.Rxa4 Rxa4 31.Rxa4 Rb3 32.Rc4 Rb6 33.Kxe4 Kf7 34.Ra4 g5 35.Ke5 g4 36.Ra7+ Kg6 37.Ra8 Kh5 38.Kxe6 c5+ 39.Ke5 cxd4 40.cxd4 By this time, the other 9 games had finished and it was just him and me. 40…g3 41.d5 Rg6! vital to get the rook behind the pawn and in a position to protect the king and other pawn. 42.Ra1 If 42.d6 g2 43.Ra1 g1Q 44.Rxg1 Rxg1 45.d7 Rd1 and the h-pawn will queen. 42…g2 43.Rg1 Rg8 44.d6 Kh4 45.d7 Kh3 46.Rd1 Kh2 47.Rd2 Kh1 48.Rd6 g1Q 49.Rxh6+ Kg2 50.Rg6+ Rxg6 51.Ke4 If 51.d8Q Qe3+ 52.Kd5 (52.Kf5 Qe6+ 53.Kf4 Rg4#) 52…Qd3+ winning the queen. 51…Re6+ 52.Kf4 Qe3+ 0–1

Last week’s Mansfield 2-mover was solved by 1.Nd3! and, because the rook is pinned, Black can do nothing about the threat of 2.Qf5 mate.

This week’s position is taken from a game earlier this year. How does White win significant material?