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Arkell Loses! (29.04.2017.)

As reported last week, Keith Arkell retained his West of England Championship over the Easter weekend by winning his first 6 games. However, in the 7th and final round he met his nearest rival and lost for the first time in the 21 games he’s played here in the past 3 years. It was a Dutch Defence, not dissimilar to the one being played at the same time, and given last week.

White: K. C. Arkell Black: R. McMichael

Dutch Defence [A90]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 Here we go with another Dutch Defence. 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 c6 5.Nf3 d5 6.0–0 Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 0–0 9.Nbd2 Bd7 10.Ne5 Be8 11.a4 Nbd7 12.a5 White may be aware that Black intends the thematic king-side attack, and before that happens needs to create some space for himself on the other wing. 12…a6 13.Ndf3 Bh5 14.Qc2 Rad8 15.cxd5 Bxf3 16.exf3 Nxd5 17.Nc4 Bb4 18.f4 N7f6 19.Ne5 Nc7 20.Bxc6! Ncd5 The preferred move of computer analysis. If 20…bxc6 21.Nxc6 forking 3 pieces. 21…Qd6 22.Nxb4 (or if 22.Nxd8 Rxd8 23.Rfc1 leaving White with a rook & 2 pawns for 2 knights, but it’s unclear who has the better  chances, especially if Black’s 3 minor pieces start to get really active.) 22…Qxb4 23.Qxc7 Qxb3 24.Ba3 Rfe8 25.Bc5. 21.Bxd5 Nxd5 22.Nd3 Bd6 23.Nc5 Rf6 Black’s backward e-pawn needs reinforcement in view of White’s next move. 24.Rae1 Rh6 25.f3 Rg6 26.Kh1 h5 Now follows the kingside pawn storm that we saw in last week’s example of the Dutch. 27.Rg1 h4 28.Bc1 hxg3 29.hxg3 Kf7 30.Rg2 Rh8+ 31.Kg1 If 31.Rh2 Rxh2+ 32.Kxh2 (Of course, not 32.Qxh2?? Rh6 33.Qxh6 gxh6 34.Nxe6) 31…Rh3 32.Qf2 Rgh6 33.Kf1 Rh1+ 34.Ke2 Bxc5 35.dxc5 Qd7 36.Qd4 Nxf4+ 37.Qxf4 Rxe1+ 38.Kxe1 Rh1+ 39.Kf2 Qd1 Threatening mate on e1 40.Bd2 Qf1+ winning a piece back. 41.Ke3 Qxg2 42.Qc7+ Kg6 43.Bc3 Now Black has to tread carefully to counter the threat to g7. 43…Qg1+ 44.Kd3 The game went on for another 20 moves but unfortunately both scoresheets are indecipherable as the tension got to both players. However, Black remained the exchange ahead and with that advantage managed to keep threatening White’s king to the point of resignation.

Photographs of this, and many other games being played throughout the tournament, and the prizewinners receiving their trophies may be found on keverelchess.co.uk/blog.

There are two Westcountry congresses next month. Firstly, one at Frome, to be held Fri. 12th – 14th May  at Selwood Academy, Frome, BA11 2EF (website somersetchess.org/frome_congress). This is followed by the Cotswold Congress over the Bank Holiday Weekend Sat. 27th – Mon. 29th May at King’s School, Gloucester, GL1 2BG.

website:(http://dmshome.co.uk/CotswoldCongress/.

In last week’s position (above) Black could play …1.Qg2+ and depending which piece takes it, Black has either …2.Nh3# or Ne2# as the White king is smothered by his own defenders.

Here is a 2 mover by Dave Howard.

White to Play

West of England Championship & Congress 2017

For 50 years after its inaugural event in 1947, the WECU Championship was (a) always held at Easter-time as that was when folk had their holidays and were therefore free to attend a 4 day event, making it the first seaside holiday of the year for many and (b) it rotated around the constituent counties – Newquay, Weymouth, Weston-Super-Mare and Torquay were the most regular hosts, and all took a turn. It was relatively easy to organise because the towns themselves were keen to host it, as it was seen to be a boost to the local holiday business. Civic buildings were offered as venues, the Mayor would gladly open and close the event, and would organise a free Civic Reception for players and their families. But the days when town councils had that degree of largesse gradually dimished as they became increasingly hit by financial strictures, and it became left to the Congress Secretary of the day to try and find suitable venues, on his own in towns he didn’t know.

Eventually, the Union Executive decided to see if holding it in one place would help to stabilise the entry by regularising the arrangements from year to year. Thus in 1999 it came to Exmouth, which had never hosted the event before. As the Union’s General Secretary at the time, it was left to me to find a suitable venue. My first port of call was a visit to see a former member of the Exmouth Chess Club, John Fowler of Eagle Investments, who I knew dealt with properties in the town. “That’s a coincidence”, he said “I’ve just bought a hotel – the Royal Beacon Hotel”. It was that easy, and it’s been there ever since.

The Beacon area of Exmouth has been described as one of the best-kept secrets of the south coast, situated as it is where the Exe estuary, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) for its flora and faunam, meets the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site. A series of late 18th century houses, in which lived Lady Nelson and Lady Hamilton as neighbours,  lead up from the town centre to a point high above the promenade, where the hotel is situated. In mediaeval times, a beacon was situated at the cliff edge, outside where the hotel now is, ready to be lit in times of threatened invasion by foreign forces, as it was when the Spanish Armada approached. Today there is a symbolic beacon in metalwork to mark the site.

That explains the Beacon part of its name – the Royal bit is explained by the King of Saxony, who was conducting a private journey around the British Isles in the 1840s, staying there … for one night. The owner at the time spotted his opportunity and Royal it has been ever since.

The Hotel has proved a very satisfactory venue, both for its situation, residential accommodation and playing conditions. This was the 19th consective year it’s been held there.

The overall entry this year was 76, with the Minor Section, usually the biggest section, strangely this year being the smallest at 22.

In the Open, although there were 2 FIDE Masters and a Candidate Master among the ranks there was never any question that GM Keith Arkell would retain his championship title, although even for him, having secured that particular aim after Rd. 6, there was a sting in the tail and he lost to McMichael in the final round.

The wallcharts below, tell the whole story:

The Championship Section

The Major Section

The Minor Section

West of England Congress – Easter 2017

Prizelist

Grd Club /7
Championship (Open)
1st K. C. Arkell 2411 Paignton 6
2nd= R. McMichael 2230 Kings Head 5
M. Waddington 2061 Dorchester 5
GPs D. Littlejohns 1999 Taunton
R. De Coverley 1988 Bourne End
R. Bryant 1984 Oswestry
M. Shaw 1944 Exmouth
O. E. Wensley 1798 Exmouth
Major (U-2000)
1st= P. Brooks 1915 Newton Abbot
R. Hutchings 1845 Woodpushers
3rd= J. Hickman 1897 5
J. McDonnell 1863 Streatham 5
GP C. Sellwood   (U-1750) 1668 Camborne
Minor (U-130)
1st= J, Barber-Lafon 128 Newton Abbot 5
1st= K. Alexander 124 Seaton 5
1st= D. Burt 104 Bournemouth 5
GP A. Fraser        (U-110) 107 Beckenham 4

And now, the story in pictures …..

Rd. 1: Mitchell vs McMichael 0-1

Rd. 1: General view of the playing area - right side from the stage.

Rd. 1: Generel view of the playing area - left side from stage.

Rd. 1: Ingham vs Waddington (nearest) 0-1 & Bolt vs Shaw. 1-0

Rd. 1: Up & coming Cornish junior, Adam Hussain, faces the top seed in the Major, Ronnie Burton. 2nd seed, Paul Brooks opens against Phil Foley.

Rd. 2: Clubmates Walter Braun and event secretary, Meyrick Shaw, get their 2nd game under way, while Littlejohns plays Tim Paulden.

Rd. 2: John Bass plays Patryk Krzyzanowski alongside Menadue and Helbig.

Rd. 2: Eventual winner, Keith Arkell, moves against eventual joint runner-up, Mike Waddington.

Rd. 2: In the Minor, Bracken Lockett faces the eventual Grading Prize winner, Alan Fraser, alongside Wendy Carr and N. Thatte.

Rd. 5: MsMichael plays Alan Crombleholme, a well-known name in chess circles, especially in the Midlands, but his first visit to this event.

Rd. 5: Sellwood vs Brooks & Hutchings vs Hickman

Rd. 6: Graham Bolt makes a move against Mike Waddington.

Rd. 6: Top 2 boards in the Major - Brooks vs Hutchings & Price vs Sellwood.

Rd. 7: Top 2 games in the Minor - Rogers vs Tidy (drawn) & Dave Burt vs Paul Errington. 1-0. A remarkable achievement for the 14th seed, and 80+ years young to come 1st=.

Rd 7: The top 2 seeds meet at last. Arkell had already won the title with 6/6, which may have affected his sharpness in this game, which he lost after a long tactical endgame.

Final round; final game to finish, and a crowd gathers around as a small drama unfolds - Arkell loses a game!

Ken Alexander and Jacquie Barber-Lafon, 2 of the 3 joint winners of the Minor, accept their prize from WECU Treasurer, Oliver Wensley, who features in every photo from now on!

Jacquie Barber-Lafon was clearly delighted to become West of England Ladies Champion.

Joint winners in the Major, "Superman" Hutchings and Paul Brooks.

The Grading Prize winners from the Open, messers Shaw, Wensley, de Coverly and Bryant.

Runners-Up: Waddington & McMichael.

He's won it twice before, he's just lost a game, but that obviously doesn't spoil the moment for GM Keith Arkell.

West of England Congress – Easter 2017

Prizelist

Grd Club /7
Championship (Open)
1st K. C. Arkell 2411 Paignton 6
2nd= R. McMichael 2230 Kings Head 5
M. Waddington 2061 Dorchester 5
GPs D. Littlejohns 1999 Taunton
R. De Coverley 1988 Bourne End
R. Bryant 1984 Oswestry
M. Shaw 1944 Exmouth
O. E. Wensley 1798 Exmouth
Major (U-2000)
1st= P. Brooks 1915 Newton Abbot
R. Hutchings 1845 Woodpushers
3rd= J. Hickman 1897 5
J. McDonnell 1863 Streatham 5
GP C. Sellwood   (U-1750) 1668 Camborne
Minor (U-130)
1st= J, Barber-Lafon 128 Newton Abbot 5
1st= K. Alexander 124 Seaton 5
1st= D. Burt 104 Bournemouth 5
GP A. Fraser        (U-110) 107 Beckenham 4

WECU Congress Entries (13.04.2017.)

West of England Championships

Current entries as at Thurs. 13th April 2017.

1 Day to go!

FIDE ECF OPEN CLUB Bye
1 2408 240 K. C. Arkell Cheddleton
2 2230 208 R. McMichael Kings Head
3 2202 208 D. Mackle Newton Abbot
4 2160 212 W. Braun Exmouth
5 2098 186 P. Helbig S. Bristol
6 2072 194 J. Menadue Truro
7 2066 197 G. Bolt Railways 5
8 2061 186 M. Waddington Dorchester
9 2048 193 P. Krzyzanowski S. Bristol
10 2041 185 S. Dilleigh Horfield
11 2034 185 O. Garcia Poole (Spain)
12 2030 166 J. W. Bass Richmond 1
13 2019 175 A. Crombleholme None
14 1997 175 D. Littlejohns Taunton 1
15 1994 183 R. Bryant Oswestry
16 1994 173 S. Mitchell None 4
17 1979 184 R. de Coverley Bourne End
18 1975 165 T. F. Thynne Newton Abbot 2
19 1971 185 T. Paulden Exeter
20 1944 159 M. Shaw Exmouth
21 1860 165 W. Ingham Teignmouth
22 1850 161 M. Wilson Newton Abbot
23 1798 168 O. Wensley Exmouth
MAJOR U-1950
1 1927 167 R. Burton Weymouth 4
2 1915 162 P. Brooks Newton Abbot
3 1911 158 R. Gamble Derby
4 1897 169 J. Hickman None
5 1884 142 I. S. Annetts Tiverton 5
6 1876 163 J. Morgan Exeter
7 1855 164 J. McDonnell Streatham
8 1860 165 W. H. Ingham Teignmouth
9 1840 159 S. K. Dean Seaton 4
10 1821 159 B. G. Gosling E. Budleigh
11 1791 156 A. Price Leamington
12 1794 150 M. Page Insurance
13 1790 165 P. G. Jackson Coulsdon
14 1777 167 J. Nyman Kings Head
15 1773 143 D. McArthur Keynsham
16 1738 153 A. Hibbitt Banbury 1
17 1735 138 A. Hussain Carrick
16 1716 147 P. Foley Upminster
17 1705 134 P. Jackson Bournemouth
18 1703 140 D. Watson Bourne End
19 1694 137 M. Roberts Holmes Chapel
20 1690 132 I. Blencowe Gloucester
21 1675 130 C. Brown Bath
22 1670 132 G. Parfett Athenaeumn 6
23 1668 155 C. Sellwood Camborne
24 1655 133 L. Hafsted Exeter Juniors
25 1653 133 D. Lawrence Kings Head
26 1647 132 J. Robertson E. Kilbride
27 1598 137 N. Thatte Ealing
28 1522 132 T. Greenaway Torquay
29 1390 138 P. Foster Medway 4
MINOR U-130
1 128 P. Wood Hastings
2 128 J. Barber-Lafon N. Abbott 1
3 128 D. R. Rogers Exmouth
4 125 S. Barry Battersea
5 124 K. Alexander Seaton
6 123 R. Hunt 5
7 123 P. Errington Bournemouth
8 119 R. Waters Taunton
9 119 E. Westlake Liskeard
10 119 N. Tidy Teignmouth
11 117 T. Crouch Kings Head
12 116 J. Dean Plymouth
13 107 A. Fraser Beckenham
14 104 D. Burt Bournemouth
15 97 Nan Thatte Ealing
16 93 H. Welch Seaton
17 93 John Carr —-
18 92 A. Davies S. Hams
19 89 M. Cox Southampton
20 81 R. E. Cox Southampton
21 71 B. Lockett N. Abbot 4
22 36 Wendy Carr —–
Total Entries   23+29+22 = 74

Teignmouth RapidPlay & Jersey Festival Results (08.04.2017.)

The Teignmouth RapidPlay tournament took place on Saturday, with these players emerging with prizes after 6 gruelling rounds.

Open Section: 1st Lorenz Hartmann (Exeter Uni.) 5 pts. 2nd= Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) & John Fraser (Exeter Uni.) both 4½. Grading prizes: U-166: Steve Dean (Seaton) 3½. U-151: Alan Dean (Exmouth). 2½

Graded Section (U-137): 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5½. 2nd Reece Whittington (Exeter) 5. U-122: Macey Rickard (Teignmouth); Graham Mill-Wilson (Yate & Sodbury); John Constable (Bude); Gregor Fotheringam (Tiverton) & Zoe Strong (Clevedon) all 4. U-111: Nicholas Cunliffe (Wells); David Thomson (Exmouth) & Christine Constable (Bude) all 4. U-94: Peter Strong (Exeter Uni.) 4.

Team Prize: Exeter University (Hartmann, Fraser & P. Strong).

Juniors:U-16; John Skeen (Churchill Academy) 3½. U-14: Max Walker (Churchill Academy) 4½. Photographs of the action may be found on keverelchess.com/blog

All this week, the Jersey Festival Congress has been taking place with Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) the focus of Westcountry interest. He is 7th seed overall, some way behind Jon Speelman and Hillarp Persson. In Rd. 2 on Sunday he faced the Swede with the following result:- notes kindly supplied by the winner.

White: Jack Rudd (2177). Black: Tiger Hillarp Persson (2503)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 Be7 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.g3 b5 13.f4 This break changes the character of the position, but White couldn’t see what else to do. 13…Nb6 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Bxb6 Qxb6 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Rd8 18.Bg2 0–0 19.Na5 Re-routing the knight to c6 from where it does a good defensive job, as Black has little play if he cannot access the c- & d-files. 19…Bd6 20.Nc6 Rde8 21.Rhf1 Ng4 22.Rde1 f5 23.Qg5 e4 24.Qxh5 24.Qg6 was a better way to drive the advantage home. 24…Qc5 25.Rxf5 Rxf5 26.Qxe8+ Rf8 27.Qxe4 24…Ne3 25.Bh3 Nxf1 26.Rxf1 Qe3 White had missed this route back for the queen. 27.Bxf5 Qh6 28.Qg4 e3 29.Nd4 g6 30.Re1 Qh5 31.Be6+ Kh8 32.Qe4 Black now played 32…Rf2 and offered a draw, which was declined. 33.Qxe3 Ref8 34.a3 A flight square for the king may be needed later. 34…Qxh2 35.Ka2 Kh7 36.Bg4 Qxg3 the best move. 37.Rh1+ 1-0 Rh2 would have been OK, but Black mistakenly picked up his queen. This may have been a stroke of luck for Rudd, but 2 games later he was leading the field by a clear point. He lost to Speelman in Rd. 5 but was still joint leader on 4/5 points.

NB:  Since going to press on Wednesday, Rudd kept his nerve and his form and was always in 1st place, either clear or shared. He won his last game on Saturday and finished 1st= with Alan Merry. More details next week.

In last week’s position (above) White could ignore Black’s attack as he had 1.RxB+ KxR 2.Rb8 mate.This 2-mover is more difficult, having been one of the problems in the recent British Solving Championships. What is White’s one move to enable mate next time against any Black defence.

Teignmouth RapidPlay 2017.

The Teignmouth Club has had its problems in recent years, mainly due to the ill-health of several senior members, and this has forced other members, perhaps less experienced in the administrational and organisational side of chess, to step up to the plate and ensure this popular event stayed on the road. This they did, and the event went ahead successfully on April Fools’ Day at its usual venue, Trinity School.

The table below lists all the prizewinners. All scores out of 6, and rapidplay grades are given, current preferably or failing that last year’s. Where no rapidplay is given on the ECF website, the current standardPlay grade is given.

There were no major speedkings this year – no Jack Rudd (playing in Jersey) or Keith Arkell, but this just seemed to make the Open all the more competitive, as any one of the top 6 had a chance of 1st prize. In the final round, Bd. 1 consisted of top seed Paul Hampton (Seaton/Exmouth – 193) vs Hartmann which went right down to the wire, with, at the end, both players making c. 20 moves instantaneously, until Hampton’s clock ran out when Hartmann had just 4 seconds left. Bd. 2 consisted of John Fraser, whose loyalties this season have switched from Newton Abbot to Exeter University, vs 2nd seed Jonathan Underwood (Seaton/Exmouth – 185) and this game went to Fraser who thus came 2nd=. He was matched by Oliver Wensley who beat Exeter’s Graham Bolt in their last game.

The details were:-

Teignmouth RapidPlay     01.04.2017.
Open
Name Club Grd /6
1st Lorenz Hartmann Exeter University 179 5
2nd= Oliver Wensley Exmouth 160
John Fraser Exeter University 178
U-166 Steve Dean Seaton 154
U-151 Alan Dean Exmouth 141
Graded Section (U-137)
1st Duncan Macarthur Keynsham 139
2nd Reece Whittington Exeter 136 5
U-122 Macey Rickard Teignmouth 111 4
Graham Mill-Wilson Yate & Sodbury 113 4
John Constable Bude 121 4
Gregor Fotheringam Tiverton 121 4
Zoe Strong Clevedon 121 4
U-111 Nicholas Cunliffe Wells 98 4
David Thomson Exmouth 99 4
Christine Constable Bude 106 4
U-94 Peter Strong Exeter University 4
Team Exeter University
Hartmann
Fraser
P. Strong  (14/18)
Juniors
U-16 John Skeen Churchill Academy 110
U-14 Max Walker Churchill Academy 126

General view of the Open Section, Wensley vs Hartmann nearest.

General view of the Minor Section (top bds nearest)

Oliver Wensley vs Lorenz Hartmann with Bolt vs Fraser in background.

Top seed Paul Hampton (193) White - starts a last round game that finished in a nerve-shredding finale. Fraser vs Underwood in the background.

Wensley on his way to a win against Graham Bolt to take 2nd=.

Lorenz Hartmann - clear 1st - with trophy & cheque.

John Fraser receives his 2nd= prize from Congress Director, Mark Cockerton.

Oliver Wensley radiates pleasure at his 2nd prize.

Regular Bristolian visitor, Duncan Macarthur, wins the Minor.

Reece Whittington took clear 2nd prize in the Minor.

Winners of the Team Prize l-r Peter Strong, Lorenz Hartmann & John Fraser.

Gold Fever! (01.04.2017.)

There must be some gene in the Devonian make-up that compels them to go to the other side of the world on crackpot missions looking for vast quantities of gold. This was first displayed by Sir Walter Raleigh, late of East Budleigh, who in 1617 led a second expedition up the Orinoco in search of the fabled city of El Dorado. It was a doomed venture and many of his men, including his only son, Watt, died in the attempt. Raleigh reported back to King James I, who had him executed for his failure.

300 years later gold fever broke out again when Col. Percy Fawcett, born in Torquay and brought up in Teignmouth, led several expeditions into the Brazilian interior on the same mission. The very name El Dorado was, by this time, tainted, so Fawcett called it the Lost City of Z. Out this week is a major film of the story.  Like Raleigh, Fawcett took his son on his final expedition, which simply vanished without trace. Several expeditions were subsequently sent to look for the expedition that was looking for gold, but no trace of Fawcett or cities of gold has ever been found.

Meanwhile, Percy’s older brother, Douglas was living a life every bit as exotic as his sibling. He was a pioneering science fiction writer well ahead of H. G. Wells, philosopher, mountaineer, photographer, racing motor cyclist and motorist. For many more details on his life visit keverelchess/biographies/edouglas fawcett.

He was also a keen chess player all his long life, last playing at Paignton in 1959.

In 1904 he took part in a special Rice Gambit tournament, financed by the US millionaire, Isaac Rice, who had devised a gambit in a line of the King’s Gambit and wished to test it out with top players.

White: D. Fawcett. White: James Mortimer

Kings Gambit – Rice Gambit [C39]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bd6 8.0–0 White is gambitting not just a pawn but his central knight. 8…Bxe5 All games in this tournament had to start from this position. 9.Re1 Qe7 This was the defence most favoured by Black in the tournament, and was Prof. Rice’s own choice. 10.c3 and this was White’s preferred response. 10…g3 11.d4 Ng4 12.Bxf4 Bxf4 Less favoured by computer analysis is 12…Qxh4 13.Qf3 Qh2+ 14.Kf1 f6 15.dxe5 fxe5 16.Bxe5 Qh1+ 17.Ke2 Nxe5 18.Qf6 leaving Black’s Queen, rook & knight all attacked. 13.Rxe7+ Kxe7 14.Qf3 Be3+ 15.Kh1 f5 16.d6+ cxd6 17.Qd5 Rf8 18.Na3 Nf6 19.Qf3 f4 20.Re1 Nc6 21.Qxf4 Ng4 22.Rxe3+ Nce5 23.Qg5+ Ke8 24.dxe5 d5 25.Bb5+ Bd7 26.Bxd7+ Kxd7 27.Qxg4+ 1–0 The check is vital, giving White time to cover Black’s threatened back rank mate.

In last week’s position (above) it’s Black’s knight that is trying to hold everything together, but unsuccessfully as White won easily after 1.RexB and if 1…NxR 2.Rb7+ forcing 2…RxR 3.PxR and the pawn cannot be stopped from queening.

In this position White is facing a strong attack. How should he proceed?