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Devon vs Gloucestershire – The Result. (27.01.2018.)

The West of England Chess Union covers an area from Penzance c. 230 miles east to Portsmouth and c. 230 miles north-east to Tewkesbury, and because of the return mileages involved in an inter-county match it takes a good captain to get out a maximum strength team. For example, in their recent match against Cornwall held near Exeter, Gloucestershire arrived 4 players short for a 16 board match and lost 12-4.

On Saturday they were 2 players short for their match against Devon at Chedzoy Village Hall near Bridgwater, and although their top 8 boards did score 5-3, this was offset by losing 1-7 in the lower half, giving Devon a 10-6 win.

Devon names 1st in each pairing:-

1.D. Mackle (198) 0-1 J. Stewart (199). 2.J. Underwood (192) 1-0 M. Ashworth (192). 3.J. Stephens (189) 1-0 C. Mattos (190). 4.P. O’Neill (188) 0-1 J. Jenkins (185). 5.J. Wheeler (185) 0-1 P. Meade (178. 6.B. Hewson (184) ½-½ P. Kirby (177). 7.L. Hartmann 0-1 P. Masters (175). 8.T. Paulden ½-½ N. Bond (175). 9.M. Abbott (183) 1-0 R. Ashworth (161). 10.S. Homer (181) 1-0 M. Taylor (160). 11.P. Hampton (172) 1-0 A. Richards (133). 12.C. Lowe (176) 0-1 I. Blencowe (131). 13.J. Haynes (171) 1-0 P. Bending (112). 14.T. Thynne (170) 1-0 D. Walton (109). 15.S. Martin (186) 1-0 d/f. 16.D. Regis (166) 1-0 d/f.

Here is one of Devon’s wins.

White: Robert Ashworth. Black: Mark Abbott.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind [B36]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 The Hungarian’s plan to deter Black from playing the freeing d5, but here it’s White who becomes positionally tied up. Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.f3 0–0 10.Qd3 Be6 11.Be3 Qa5 12.Rc1 Rfc8 13.b3 Nd7 14.0–0 a6 15.Bd4 Bxd4+ 16.Qxd4 Rc7 17.f4 Qb6 18.Rcd1 Qxd4+ 19.Rxd4 f6 20.Rf3 Rac8 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 a5 23.Re3 Kf8 24.Bg4 f5 25.Bf3 Nf6 26.h3 h5 27.Kf2 h4 28.Re6 Kf7 29.Ke3 White’s rooks are disconnected, he’s running out of time and has already twice offered a draw, but Black, having denied White any opportunities for a quick king-side attack, is now set on exercising Black’s theme in the Sicilian of attacking the queenside. 29…a4 30.Kd2 b5 31.Kd3 Nd7 32.Re3 b4 33.Bd1 Nc5+ 34.Ke2 Ne4 Compare and contrast the roles of the bishop and knight. 35.Kf3 Nc3 36.Rd2 Ra8 37.Red3 Ne4 38.Rb2 Kf6 39.Rd4 Nc3 40.Bc2 a3 41.Rb1 Taking the rook may be superficially tempting but the text is better as it opens up the a-file, and in any case the knight is stronger than the rook. 41…Nxa2 42.Rd2 Nc3 43.Ra1 Rc5 44.Rd3 Rca5 45.Re3 a2 White is hamstrung. 46.Re6+ Kf7 47.Re3 Rc8 48.Re6 Nxd5 49.Bxf5 gxf5 50.cxd5 Rxd5 51.Rh6 Rd2 52.Rxh4 Rc3# 0–1

In last week’s position, Black played 1…Bd8! both attacking the queen and opening up the e-file with the threat of 2…Qe4+ 3.Kb1 and RxB mate. White can avoid this but would have to give up a rook in the process.

In this position from a recent tournament, it’s Black to play and he discovered a piece-winning move. Can you see what that was?

Exmouth’s January 2018 Grades

The January ECF Grading List was released earlier today.

Most folk are a few points up or down.

Dave Adams’s old Scottish grade has not yet been integrated with his new ECF one. Also, Susan Selley’s first grade is 89 RapidPlay, and will doubtless need a few more games before it rises to its rightful level.

Name Standard Previous Rapidplay Previous
Abbott, Mark V 186 A 183 A 172 177
Adams, David J 136 F
Adams, David John 132 E
Belt, Malcolm 116 C 119 B 122 118
Blake, Simon 102 E 106 E 107
Braun, Walter 197 D 203 D
Dean, Alan J 140 C 140 D 141 139
Grist, Ivor G 86 C 84 C 74 75
Jones, Robert H 128 C 128 B 139 138
Murray, J Stephen 146 C 147 A 145 144
Newcombe, Barbara 96 D 92 D 82 83
Rogers, David R 131 A 130 A
Scott, Chris J 163 C 160 B 141 150
Selley, Susan A 89
Shaw, Meyrick 176 A 169 A 186 186
Stephens, John KF 189 D 189 C 179
Wensley, Oliver E 175 A 172 A 169 164
Associates
Dean, Steve K 158 A 161 A 165 163
Hampton, Paul DJ 175 C 172 B 194 193
Martin, Steven 184 A 186 A 156 159
Underwood, Jonathan 191 C 192 C 177 180
Gosling, Brian GE 160 A 154 A 150 148

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree 2018 Results (20.01.2018.) 969

On Sunday, Devon’s annual jamboree took place at the Isca Centre in Exeter, involving teams of 12 players from three areas of the county. The East comprised players from clubs in the Exeter & District League, though not all clubs were represented. Similarly, the South team was made up of players from clubs involved in the Torbay League, while the West team drew from a solitary club, Plymouth, but a larger population base.

The team grade limit of 1,650 made it an average of 137 per player. The East succeeded in getting closest to that maximum, with the South & West both c.35 points lower. However, the South team emerged clear winners with 7½ points, ahead of East (5½) and West (4½). Full details of all players’ scores and photographs of the event may be found on keverelchess.com/blog.

Here is a win by a member of the Bacon family of the Sidmouth Club; father and 3 sons, of whom 15 year old Nicholas is the eldest. The whole family entered as a team of 4 in a recent rapidplay tournament

White: Nick Bacon (124). Black: Tony Tatam (114).

Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D26]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bxc4 e6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Nbxd2 0–0 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.Qe2 c5 10.Rfd1 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.Bb3 a6 13.Nc4 Nxc4 14.Bxc4 b5 Intending to push the bishop back, but overlooking White’s next move, which wins a pawn. 15.Nxb5 Qb6 16.Nd4 Bb7 17.Rac1 Qa5 18.Rc3 Rfd8 19.Ra3 Qb6 20.Rb3 Qa7 21.Nf3 Bxf3 22.Qxf3 Qc7 A second attack on the bishop, which doesn’t quite work. 23.Rxd8+ Qxd8 If 23…Rxd8 24.Rc3 and Black’s pawns are again in danger. 24.h3 The possibilities of back rank mates are tying down the pieces on both sides, so a flight square for the kings is in order.  24…h6 25.Qe2 a5 26.Qd3 Qc7 27.Rc3 Rd8 28.Qc2 Best. 28…Qb7 29.Bd3 Nd5 30.Be4 Qb8 White continues with his plan to keep it simple. 31.Bxd5 exd5 32.Rc5 Qa8 33.Qd2 a4 34.Qa5 Winning a 2nd pawn. 34…Qb8 35.Rb5 Qc8 36.Qxa4 Qc1+ 37.Kh2 Qc7+ 38.Qf4 Qd7 This time, an exchange of queens might have worked in Black’s favour as his unopposed d-pawn could become a problem. e.g. 38…Qxf4+ 39.exf4 d4 40.Rc5 d3 41.Rc1 Switching to White’s undefended pawns – Rb8 42.b3 Ra8 43.a4 Rb8 44.Rb1 d2 45.Rd1 Rxb3 46.Rxd2 Ra3 47.Rd8+ Kh7 48.Rd4 so White could probably hang on to his extra pawns, but only with best play. 39.Rc5 g5 40.Qf6 Kh7 41.Rc6 Kg8 42.Qxh6 Qf5 43.Qf6 1-0

In last week’s position, Keith Arkell noticed that Black’s queen was close to becoming trapped, so he played 1.Nb3xN which allows his queen to defend his other knight. 1…NxN and the simple 2.a3 attacks the trapped and powerless queen.

Devon’s Annual Graded Jamboree (15.01.2018.)

Devon’s annual jamboree took place at the Isca Centre in Exeter, involving teams from three quarters of the county. The East comprised players from clubs in the Exeter & District League, though not all clubs were represented. Similarly, the South team was made up of players from clubs involved in the Torbay League, while the West team drew from a solitary club, Plymouth, and a population base probably greater than either of the other two areas.

The team grade limit of 1,650 made it an average of 137 per player, with no player being allowed to be lower than 100. The East succeeded in getting closest to that maximum, with the South & West both c.35 points lower.

As there were 3 teams, players were paired on the Hutton pairing formula, which ensures that each team has six Whites, upfloats and opponents from the other two teams.

Two charts are needed to make full sense of the outcome. The first shows exactly who played who, and the result.

The 2nd shows each team’s total.

Bd White Black
1 Thynne, T. F. 170 S1 ½ ½ O’Neill, P 188 E1
2 Scott, C. J. 160 E2 ½ ½ O’Brien, M 159 W1
3 Schofield, J. 156 W1 0 1 Wilson, M 161 S2
4 Brusey. A. W. 158 S3 ½ ½ Stinton- M 154 W3
5 Butland, N 150 W4 1 0 Hafstad, L 159 E3
6 Ang, S. A. 139 E4 ½ ½ Kinder, A 147 S4
7 Quinn, M 146 W5 0 1 Blackmore, J 143 S5
8 Taylor, W 136 S6 0 1 Dean, A 140 E5
9 Southall, C 135 E6 1 0 Wilby, R. G. 140 W6
10 Hart-Davis, A 135 W7 1 0 Marjoram, W 128 E7
11 Jones, R. H. 128 E8 0 1 Allen, J. E. 134 S7
12 Cockerton, M 125 S8 ½ ½ McConnell, P 128 W8
13 Bacon, N 124 E9 1 0 Tatam, T 114 W9
14 Dean, J 112 W10 0 1 Ariss, J 115 S9
15 Sturt, B 116 S10 1 0 Palmer, E 129 E10
16 Scholes, R 112 E11 1 0 Tidy, N. F. 101 S11
17 Kennedy- I 100 S12 ½ ½ Crickmore, A. E. 108 W11
18 Proudfoot, A 106 W12 1 0 Aldwin, B 100 E12
East South West
1 P. O’Neill 188 ½ T. F. Thynne 170 ½ M. O’Brien 159 ½
2 C. J. Scott 160 ½ M. Wilson 161 1 J. Schofield 156 0
3 L. Hafstad 159 0 A. W. Brusey 158 ½ M. Stinton- 154 ½
4 S-A. Ang 139 ½ A. Kinder 147 ½ N. J. Butland 150 1
5 A. Dean 140 1 J. Blackmore 143 1 M. Quinn 146 0
6 C. Southall 135 1 W. Taylor 136 0 R. G. Wilby 140 0
7 W. Marjoram 128 0 J. E. Allen 134 1 A. Hart-Davis 135 1
8 R. H. Jones 128 0 M. Cockerton 125 ½ P. McConnell 128 ½
9 N. Bacon 124 1 J. Ariss 115 1 A. Tatam 114 0
10 E. Palmer 129 0 B. Sturt 116 1 J. E. Dean 112 0
11 R. Scholes 112 1 N. F. Tidy 101 0 E. A. Crickmore 108 ½
12 B. Aldwin 100 0 I. Kennedy 100 ½ A. Proudfoot 106 1
1642 1606 1608 5

Most years, the result is a close one, a triple-tie being recorded more than once. This time, however, the South (Torbay) won by a clear 2 points, losing only 2 games in the process.

Listening to the opening remarks and welcome by the host, Dr. Tim Paulden.

The game on Board 1 featured Trefor Thynne (W) and Paul O'Neill - game drawn.

General view of the higher boards - nearest is Mike Stinton-Brownbridge making a move against Alan Brusey.

Another view of the higher boards - Sara-Ann Ang in play against the Torbay Captain, Andrew Kinder.

Nearest is Phil McConnell facing Mark Cockerton on Bd. 12.

The victorious Torbay team, with team captain, Andrew Kinder, holding the trophy.

Hastings Winners (13.01.2018.) 968

Wise Men from the East arrived in Bethlehem shortly after Christmas bringing a gift of gold, so perhaps it was appropriate that they did well at the Hastings Christmas Congress, not bringing but taking much gold back with them in the form of prize money.

Indian GM Deep Sengupta and Chinese IM Yiping Lou, tied for 1st prize on 7 points, each receiving £1,600 and being jointly awarded the Golombek Trophy.  Third prize was shared between Uzbek GM Jahongir Vakhidov and two Indian IMs Stany and Das on 6½ points. Then came the English brigade in 6th place, Danny Gormally, Mark Hebden, Keith Arkell and Steve Mannion, with Iranian Borna Derakhshani and Norwegian Pal Royset all on 6 points.

A bright spot came with the award of the Best Game prize to Danny Gormally for his Rd. 6 game against Alexandr Fier, the tournament 2nd seed from Brazil.

White: D. Gormally (2477). Black: A. Fier (2576)

Torre Attack [A48]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 The signature move of the Torre Attack, named after the Mexican player Carlos Torre (1905-78) Bg7 4.Nbd2 0–0 5.e4 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Nb3 a5 8.a4 h6 9.Bd2 Nc6 10.Bb5 Ncb4 11.c3 c6 12.Be2 Na6 13.0–0 b6 14.Re1 c5 15.Bd3 cxd4 16.Nbxd4 Nc5 17.Bc2 Bb7 18.Ne5 All White’s minor pieces are bearing down on the enemy king’s position, with the queen able to support, leaving Black with choices to make. 18…Rc8 18…e6 would have given his queen a route out, eg 19.Ng4 Qh4. 19.Ng4! hitting h6. 19…Kh7 Not good enough is 19…h5 20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Nxf7+ Rxf7 22.Bxg6 Rf6 23.Qxh5+ Kg8 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Bh6 Bxh6 26.Qxh6+ Kg8 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Qh8#. 20.Nxh6 Nf6 If 20…Bxh6 21.Qh5 winning the bishop. 21.Nhf5 21.Ng4 was also good for White. e.g. 21…Qd5 22.Nxf6+ Bxf6 23.Qg4 Qd7 24.Qf4 Qc7 25.Qh6+ Kg8 26.Bg5 Bxg5 27.Qxg5 e6. 21…gxf5 22.Nxf5 e6 23.Nxg7+ Kxg7 24.Bh6+ Kg8 24…Kxh6 25.Qc1+ Kg7 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Qh6+ Kg8 28.Re3; If 24…Kxh6? 25.Qc1+ and White has several mating lines. 25.Qc1 Qd5 Black has his own mating threat, but it’s easily dealt with. 26.f3 Nh5 If Black tries to save his rook with 26…Rfd8 there would follow 27.Qf4 and Black’s king is quite trapped and vulnerable. 27.Bxf8 Kxf8 28.Qh6+ Ng7 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qxg7 Qd2 31.Rac1 Rd8 32.Qg3 Rd5 33.Qf2 Qh6 34.Rcd1 Rh5 35.Qd2 1-0 forcing off the queens, otherwise there might follow 35…Rxh2 36.Qd6+ Kf6 37.Qd4+ Kg5 38.Qd8+ and White has a number of mating lines.

Tomorrow, 3 teams of 12, from the East, West & South of Devon compete in a Jamboree at the Isca Centre, Exeter. Full details next week.

In last week’s position, it wasn’t hard for White to see 1.QxR! and if 1…QxQ 2.Re8+. The power of the e7 pawn was unanswerable.

This position arose recently in which Keith Arkell was White, who could doubtless see that his pieces had greater mobility than his opponent’s. How did he quickly profit from this slight advantage?

White to Play

Poor Blackburne (06.01.2018.) 967

The 93rd Hastings Congress finished yesterday evening, too late to report on today, but after 7 of the scheduled 9 rounds Keith Arkell was well placed at 3rd=. There was a prize fund of £5,250 to be shared between the top 7 players.

Meanwhile, the World RapidPlay Championship was taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where a 1st prize of £186,000 awaited the winner, who proved to be Vishi Anand of India. The World Blitz Championship also took place there, won by Magnus Carlsen (Norway), 2nd Sergey Karjakin (Russia) and 3rd Vishi Anand, with similar rewards.

All of which would suggest that the world’s top players today can make a reasonable living out of chess. But it was not always so. For example, Britain’s top player for decades was Joseph H. Blackburne (1841 – 1924). He became a chess professional in 1862 after having decided a career in a Manchester office was not for him.

He won the 2nd British Championship in 1869 after a tie-break against the holder, Cecil De Vere, and played all over Europe, 53 major tournaments in as many years, getting many prizes and winning so many games he was nicknamed “The Black Death”.

To keep up his income, in winter months he participated in long series of simultaneous matches all over the country – there can hardly have been a club in the kingdom not to have been visited by him at some point. On tours of the Westcountry, for example, he visited Plymouth in 1888 where he played members simultaneously and blindfold. He returned in 1891 playing 8 club members blindfold one evening and 37 members simultaneously the next. Later, he visited Redruth (10 opponents) and Truro. It was a precarious living for one so talented, and he never enjoyed the best of health throughout his life, so in 1911 the BCF launched a testimonial appeal, which raised £800 and suitably invested guaranteed Blackburne an income of £2 per week, which doubtless helped keep a roof over his head.

What would he think of today’s rewards?

Here is a game he played at Bristol in 1875 against an opponent who went on to become a Ladies World Champion. Blackburne was without sight of the board and playing nine others at the same time.

White: Blackburne. Black: Mary Rudge.

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 h6 6.0–0 d6 7.Nxc3 Nf6 8.Bf4 Be7 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Rad1 Nge5 11.Bxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.Qe2 Bd6 14.f4 0–0 15.f5 Qg5 16.Rf3 Qh5 17.Nd5 Kh7 18.Qd3 f6 19.Rg3 Miss Rudge has played very carefully, and though her game is cramped she here makes an ingenious attempt to win. 19…Bxf5 20.exf5 e4 21.Rh3 Qxf5 22.Qe2 Qe5 23.Ne3 c6 24.Ng4 Bc5+ 25.Kh1 Qg5 26.Rh5 Qxh5 27.Nxf6+ winning the queen. 1–0

The solution to last week’s NF letter problem was 1.Nc3! If 1…KxR 2.b7 discovered mate. If 1…e2 2. Qf2 mate or any other move 2.Rc4 mate.

This position arose during last year’s Hastings. White to play and win by force.

White to play