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Archive for December, 2016

Gloucestershire’s Varying Fortunes (24.12.2016.)

Last month, Gloucestershire beat a Somerset side, weakened by defaults, by 9½-6½ points, the details being as follows:- (Glos. names 1st in each pairing). 1.P. Townsend (200) 0-1 J. Rudd (213). 2.J. Stewart (191) 1-0 P. Krzyzanowski (183). 3.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 M. Stanforth (179). 4.M. Ashworth (186) 1-0 A. F. Footner (175). 5.J. Jenkins (181) ½ -½ M. French (170). 6. P. Masters (179) 1-0 Default. 7.J. Jones (176) ½ -½ D. Freeman (163). 8.C. Mattos (174) 1-0 G. N. Jepps (159). 9.P. Kirby (171) 0-1 A. A. Champion (153). 10.P. J. Meade (163) 1-0 R. Knight (150). 11.J. Fowler (158) ½ -½ C. Purry (149). 12.R. Dixon (155) ½ -½  J. E. Fewkes (142). 13.R. Ashworth (153) ½ -½ T. Wallis (142). 14.P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Strong (133). 15. A. Killey (138) 1-0 Default. 16.I. Blencowe (129) 1-0 d/f.

It was a different story when they subsequently met a strong Devon side. The top half of the match was competitive with Gloucestershire sharing the points 5 – 3, but from board 9 down Devon were able to field a raft of 170+ players, too strong for their opponents to cope with. The details as follows:- (Glos. names first). 1.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Ashworth (186) ½-½ J. K. Stephens (192). 3.J. Jenkins (181) 1-0 Dr. T. J. Paulden (187). 4.P. Masters (179) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.C. Mattos (174) ½-½ S. Homer (190). 6.D. Dugdale (172) 0-1 Dr. J. Underwood (183). 7.P. Kirby ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson (182). 8.P. J. Meade (163) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.J. Fowler (158) 1-0 Dr. D. Regis (175). 10.R. Ashworth (153) ½-½  P. Sivrev (175). 11. P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 12.A. Papier (143) 0-1 J.  F. Wheeler (174). 13.A. Killey (136) ½-½ T. F. Thynne (170). 14.I. Blencowe (129) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 15.A. Richards (123) ½-½  O. E. Wensley (168). 16.P. Bending (115) 0-1 M. O. Marshall (166).

This was the complex game from Bd. 4 in which both players became very short of time.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bg5 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.d5 a6 9.0–0 Rb8 10.Qc2 Qa5 11.a4 Re8 12.h3 Nf8 13.Rfd1 Bd7 14.Bf4 Qb4 15.Ne1 Qb6 16.Ra3 Rbd8 17.a5 Qc7 18.Bf3 Bc8 19.Qd2 N8d7 20.Nd3 b6 21.axb6 Nxb6 22.b3 Nfd7 23.Ne4 Bb7 24.Ra2 h6 25.g4 e5 26.dxe6 26.Bh2 Might have been better in the longer term. 26…Rxe6 27.Nxd6 Bxf3 28.Nxf7 attacking queen & rook. 28…Ne5 Better might have been 28…Qc8 29.Nxd8 Qxd8 30.Rc1 29.Nxd8 Rd6 Not 29…Qxd8? 30.Nxe5 Qxd2 31.Rdxd2 leaving Black the exchange & 2 pawns down. 30.Nxe5 Bxd1? Better would be 30…Rxd2 31.Rdxd2 Bxe5 31.Nd3 Bxb3 An alternative continuation might be 31…Qxd8 32.Bxd6 Bxb3 33.Nxc5 Bxa2 34.Ne6 leaving Black with a bishop for 2 pawns. 32.Ne6! Qc6 33.Bxd6 Bxa2 Black also had 33…Nxc4 34.Qe2 Qxd6 35.Nexc5 Bxa2 but White has threats after 36.Qxa2. 34.Ndxc5 Bxc4 35.Nxg7 Kxg7 35…Nc8 36.Be5 Qxc5 37.Qd8+ Qf8 38.Ne8. 36.Qd4+ Kh7 37.Bf4? 37.Qf6 would have threatened mate after 38.Qe7+ K moves, 39.Qe8. 37…Qd5? 38.Qxd5? 38.Qf6 followed by 39.Be5 would threaten mate. 38…Nxd5 39.Bd6 Kg7 40.e4 Nc3?? 41.Be5+ Kf7 42.Bxc3 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe4!

This new 3-mover is a little more difficult than usual, so you might need to find a quiet spot somewhere after the Christmas dinner.

White to play and mate in 3

New Kids on the Block (17.12.2016.)

The recent 3rd Plymouth Rapidplay tournament was won jointly by Grandmaster Keith Arkell (Paignton) and Paul Hampton (Seaton). Arkell has been one of Britain’s most active and best-known players for several decades, whereas Hampton is a recent arrival on the Westcountry scene. As a schoolboy back in the mid-‘80s he represented his native Scotland in the World U-16 Championship in Colombia (won by the Russian, Alexey Dreev), and in the Glorney Cup in the Netherlands. His recent move to East Devon has rekindled his interest in the game and he is rapidly getting back to his old form, as evidenced by his draw against Arkell, one of the country’s leading rapidplay specialists. Other prizewinners were:-

3rd= C. Archer-Lock (Reading), A. W. Brusey (Newton Abbot) & P. Sivrev (Plymouth). Grading prizes as follows: U-166: G. Body (Exeter), J. Haynes (Tiverton) & M. Stinton-Brownbridge (Plymouth). U-155: C. Sellwood  (Camborne) & S. Dean (Seaton). U-144: M. Quinn (Plymouth). U-130: M. O’Brien (Plymouth).U-119: J. Fowler (S. Hams). U-103: M. Richards (Liskeard) & S. Franks.

Another new face to the area won the recent Bristol Winter Congress. This was Daniel E. Malkiel who arrived in Bristol last year from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 2nd seed to Chris Beaumont in the Open Section, and they met in Rd. 4 with decisive results.

White: D. E. Malkiel (201) Black: C. Beaumont (209)

Grünfeld Defence [D85]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Qa4+ c6 8.Qa3 Nd7 9.Nf3 0–0 10.Bg5 c5 11.Bd3 h6 12.Be3 b6 13.Rd1 Qc7 14.Qc1 Kh7 White now decides not to bother with castling, but goes for the throat immediately… 15.h4 Nf6 16.Bf4 Qb7 17.h5 Nxh5 … starting with an exchange sacrifice. 18.Rxh5 gxh5 19.e5+ Kh8 20.Bxh6 f6 Obviously not 20…Bxh6 21.Qxh6+ Kg8 22.Qh7#. 21.Qf4 Bg4 21…fxe5 might have looked as if it was attacking the queen, but in reality it allowed a forced mate in 4 – viz 22.Bxg7+ Kxg7 23.Qg5+ Kh8 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Qh7#. 22.Nh4 e6 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.f3 Bf5 25.Bxf5 exf5 26.e6 Rfd8 27.d5 Re8. Black could try 27…Bxh6 28.Qxh6 Qh7 29.Qxh7+ Kxh7 30.Ne7 Re8 31.d6 Kg7 32.Nxf5+ Kg6 33.Nh4+ Kg7 but the 2 central pawns are mighty powerful. 34.e7 Rad8 35.Kf2. 28.Bxg7 Qxg7 29.Qxf5 c4 30.d6 1–0 After the game, Beaumont complained “I can’t get out of the opening against this guy!”

The other prizewinners were as follows: Open: 2nd= C. Beaumont, C. Bicknell, S. Dilleigh & M. Payne. Major Section (U-155): 1st = T. Jones & Alice Lampard. 3rd= R. Ashworth & N. Towers. Minor Section (U-125): 1st G. Daly. 2nd E. Ko. 3rd= D. Clarke, N. Cunliffe, T. Golding & B. Parnian.

In last week’s position Magnus Carlsen played the unlikely looking 1.Qh6+ which can be taken 2 ways, neither of which helps: e.g. KxQ 2.Rh8 mate or PxQ 2.RxP mate.

The previous week’s position was quickly sorted by Black’s queen sacrifice viz. 1…QxR+ 2.B or N xQ then Rd1+ leads to mate.

Here is the latest 3-move offering from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and mate in 3

Carlsen Shades It (10.12.2016.)

Last weekend in New York, the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, narrowly beat his challenger, the Russian Sergei Karjakin.

The match was over 12 games, at the end of which both players had one win, the rest being drawn. Many on-line observers around the world thought these games were pretty thin gruel, as neither player wished to take risks.

Then came a tie-break match of 4 rapidplay games, with approx 30 minutes thinking time for each player for all moves. After 3 of the 4 games, Carlsen led 2-1 and the Russian had to win the next in order to stay in the match and take it to the final tie-break stage of games played at 5 minutes per player, although viewed by many as an unsatisfactory way of deciding such a prestigious title.

This is that final rapidplay game that Carlsen only needed to draw.

White: Magnus Carlsen. Black: Sergei Karjakin.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind. [B55]

1.e4 c5 Karjakin is 2–1 down and needs to win this last Rapidplay tie-break game in order to stay in the match, so, for the first time, he adopts Black’s most potent weapon against 1.e4 – a Sicilian Defence. 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3 e5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.c4 The Maroczy Bind, named after the Hungarian master, Géza Maróczy (1870- 1951), aimed at preventing Black from playing an early …d5 which usually frees up Black’s position, and preventing it often secures a lasting positional edge for White. 7…a5 8.Be3 a4 9.Nc1 0–0 10.Nc3 Qa5 11.Qd2 Na6 12.Be2 Nc5 13.0–0 Bd7 14.Rb1 Rfc8 15.b4 axb3 16.axb3 Qd8 17.Nd3 Ne6 18.Nb4 Bc6 19.Rfd1 h5 20.Bf1 h4 21.Qf2 Nd7 22.g3 Ra3 23.Bh3 Rca8 24.Nc2 R3a6 25.Nb4 Ra5 26.Nc2 Black is stuck for any good move and time is ticking by. 26…b6 27.Rd2 Qc7 28.Rbd1 Bf8 29.gxh4 White is taking a bit of a gamble by weakening his kingside pawn structure, though Black has no immediate threats. 29…Nf4 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.Bxd7 Qxd7 32.Nb4 Ra3 33.Nxc6 Qxc6 34.Nb5 Forcing further simplification. 34…Rxb3 Losing the exchange, but it’s the least worst option. 35.Nd4 Qxc4 36.Nxb3 Qxb3 37.Qe2 Be7 38.Kg2 Qe6 39.h5 Ra3 40.Rd3 Ra2 41.R3d2 White would like to simplify at this stage in order to increase the possibly of getting the draw he requires to win the match, but Black must try and avoid this. 41…Ra3 42.Rd3 Ra7 43.Rd5 Rc7 44.Qd2 winning either the d- or f-pawn. 44…Qf6 45.Rf5 Qh4 46.Rc1 Ra7 47.Qxf4 Ra2+ 48.Kh1 Qf2 Threatening mate on g2, which Carlsen blithely ignores, because he’s seen something special. 49.Rc8+ Kh7 which brings us to this week’s position.

Carlsen (W) is about to be mated on g2, and his world championship title is on the line. Should he now defend or continue to attack? You may have seen it elsewhere during the week, but enjoy the moment again anyway. The move had spectators purring and forgiving the Norwegian for all the earlier dross. Not only that, but it was Carlsen’s birthday that day, and this was his gift to the whole chess world.

White to play and win