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Quarter Final Results of Devon & Cornwall (19.06.2018.) 986

The West of England’s 2 teams that went forward to the National Stages were Devon & Cornwall, and they played their quarter-final matches on Saturday. Devon faced Worcestershire in the Minor Counties section, and cruised through 9½-6½. Devon won the toss and had white on the odd-numbered boards. Devon names 1st in each pairing: 1. D. Mackle 0 – 1  K. Hurney. 2. J. Underwood ½ – ½ Z. Koneki. 3. J. Stephens 1 – 0 E. Osbourne. 4. T. Paulden ½ – ½ D. Lambourne. 5. J. F. Wheeler ½ – ½ L. Davis. 6. S. Martin 0 – 1 P.Kitson. 7. G. Ross-Andrews ½ – ½ G. Jackson. 8. B. W. Hewson. 1 – 0 I. I Clarke. 9. C. Lowe ½ – ½ P. Barker. 10. J. Haynes 1 – 0 S. Mellor. 11. P. Hampton 1 – 0 N. Towers. 12. D.Cowley 1 – 0 S. Woodhouse.  13. T. F. Thynne 0 – 1 J. Welch. 14. P. Brooks 1 – 0 G. Dyett. 15. J. Duckham 1 – 0 M. Hadley. 16.  Y. Wang 0 – 1 B. Fuller.

Meanwhile, Cornwall faced a sterner examination, losing 4-12 to a Surrey team that was at maximum strength. Cornish players 2nd in each pairing. 1. C. Briscoe ½ – ½ J.Menadue. 2. R. Granat 1 – 0 J. Hooker. 3. R. Haldane 1 – 0 L. Retallick. 4. D. Rosen 1 – 0 M. Hassall. 5. D.Young. 0 – 1 G.Healey. 6. J. Shepley 1 – 0 T.Manton. 7. I. Heppell 1 – 0 C. Sellwood. 8. S. Galer ½ – ½ R. Smith. 9. P. Stimpson 0 – 1 A. Hussain.  10. O. Phillips ½ – ½  T. Willis. 11. N. Faulks 1 – 0 G. Trudeau. 12. I.McLeod ½ – ½ J. Morgan. 13. H. Jones 1 – 0 M. Hill . 14. J. Eckert 1 – 0  J. Henderson 15. J. Fox 1 – 0 D. R. Jenkin. 16. N. Grey 1 – 0. (def.)

No game scores have yet emerged from either match. Surrey will now play Suffolk, while Devon face last year’s champions, Lincolnshire, in the semi-finals

In last week’s position, Spassky lost out to 1.Qg3+ Kh8 2.Rf7! 1-0 Play might have continued 2… Rg2 3.Rxf7+ Kh6 4.Qh3+ Kg6. 5.Qhf+ etc.

This week’s 2-mover is the starter problem for the Winton British Chess Solving Championship 2018-19. White is playing up the board, has the move and must mate in 2 against any Black defence. There is no entry fee and is open only to British residents. Competitors need only send White’s first move, known as the key move, to either Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Rd., Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1QY, or by e-mail to winton@theprobleist.org.  Don’t forget to mention that you saw the problem in the Western Morning News.

All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 31st July 2018 and must give the entrant’s name & home address. Juniors U-18 on 31st July 2018 must also give their date of birth.

After the closing date, all competitors will be sent (a) the answer to the starter problem and (b) those who got it right will receive the Postal Round, consisting of 8 more difficult and varied positions.

In due course the best competitors and 5 best juniors will be invited to the Final at Eton College on Saturday 23rd February 2019. The ultimate winner will win the right to represent Great Britain at the World Solving Championships 2019.

White to mate in 2.

Chess – The Musical – is back!

Among his many skills and interests, Sir Tim Rice is a keen chessplayer. After his early successes as a lyricist teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber for musicals like Evita, he drew up plans for an old idea of his in which the Cold War was acted out over a chessboard, much as the Fischer-Spassky match of 1972 had been. In 1982 he approached his regular tunesmith partner with the idea, but by then Lloyd Webber was unable to help, being fully committed with his own project, Cats. It was suggested to him that as Abba was at that moment in the act of breaking up, the two Bs in that particular partnership, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, might be looking for fresh opportunities. They jumped at the chance, and Chess -The Musical was born.

Notoriously difficult to stage, especially trying to cater for different audiences as it toured the world, but the songs quickly became all-time classics. Its latest incarnation opened recently at the London Coliseum to excellent reviews.

While the sociopathic Fischer-based  character was largely retained, Spassky was just too nice a gentleman to be a sparky on-stage persona, and it was thought to be loosely based on someone like Victor Korchnoi.

In this latest production, this character is played by Michael Ball, former pupil at Plymouth College.

Here’s a game from that epic 1972 encounter. Fischer had virtually given his opponent a 2 point start, but Spassky hadn’t won any of the next 8 games and was 6½– 3½ down. Here is Game 11, in which the Russian knows he has to come up with something special.

White: B. V. Spassky. Black R. J. Fischer Sicilian Defence [B97]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 Fischer went for the Poisoned Pawn variation for a second time in the match, but Spassky had done some homework on it.  9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 This was one “improvement”, as it breaks up Black’s kingside pawns and makes it difficult for him to castle there. 11.Be2 h5 Denying White’s bishop that square.  12.0–0 Nc6 13.Kh1 Avoiding a possible check later. 13…Bd7 14.Nb1! A remarkable idea, intended to keep Black’s queen trapped in a cage of her own making. 14…Qb4 If 14…Qb2 15.a3 followed by Nc3 & Ra2 trapping the queen. 15.Qe3 Denying b6 as an escape route. 15…d5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.c4 Nf5 18.Qd3 h4? 19.Bg4! Nd6? 20.N1d2 f5 21.a3 Qb6 22.c5 Qb5? 23.Qc3! Now White has threats to rook & knight while a4 wins the queen. There’s no way out., but Fischer plays on anyway 23…fxg4 24.a4 h3 25.axb5 hxg2+ 26.Kxg2 Rh3 27.Qf6 Nf5 28.c6 Bc8 29.dxe6 fxe6 30.Rfe1 Be7 31.Rxe6 Rh8 1-0. Spassky’s best game so far played, but it was not enough in the long run.

The answer to last week’s position was 1.Qxf5+ KxQ 2. Bd3 mate, as the king has nowhere to go.

Here is your chance to beat Spassky. He is all set to mate with Qxa3#, but it’s not his move. Is there anything you, as, White, can do about it?

White to play against Spassky

End of Season matches (05.05.2018.) 984

Devon’s last match in Division 1 was played out on Saturday between Exmouth and Newton Abbot. As both teams had already lost home and away to Exeter, there wasn’t much to play for, except to avoid the wooden spoon. In this, Exmouth succeeded narrowly, but there were wins for both teams.

At quickplay Paul Hampton has few equals on the local circuit. He won this game, but missed a mating combination.

White: P. D. Hampton (172). Black: C. V.  Howard (154).

Bird’s Opening  [A03]

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.b3 Be7 5.Bb2 c5 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 b6 8.Qe1 Bb7 9.d3 Qc7 10.Ne5 Bf8 11.Nd2 0–0–0 12.Ndf3 Ne8 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.c4 Now knowing which side Black has castled, White wastes no time in launching an attack against it. 14…Nd6 15.b4 Nf5 16.cxd5 exd5 17.bxc5 Bxc5 18.d4 Bd6 19.Rc1 threatening Bb5. White can ignore the threat to his e3 pawn as the knight would be needed to defend the white-square bishop, especially with Black’s king & queen are in line. 19…Kb7 20.Ne5 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Nxe3 White gifts the e-pawn as it frees up all his pieces.  22.Ba6+ Kxa6 23.Qxe3 Qd7 24.Rf3 Rc8 25.Rcf1 f6 26.exf6 gxf6 27.Rxf6 Rc7 28.Ba3 Qg7 29.Bd6 Bb5 30.R1f2 Rc4 31.Be5 Re8 Welcome to the game. Now Black has options. 32.Qa3+ Ra4 33.Qd6 Qg4 34.h3 Qe4 35.Kh2 Rc8 36.Rf7 Bd3 The killer move. 37.Rxa7+! The killer move. 37…Kxa7 38.Qd7+ Check and forking both rooks. 38…Ka6 39.Qxc8+? Wrong rook; White missed a mate in 4 by taking the other rook viz 39.Qxa4+ Kb7 40.Rf7+ Rc7 41.Rxc7+ Kb8 42.Qe8# 39…Ka5 40.Qc3+ Ka6 41.Rd2 1-0

A rapidly-improving junior, Ramesh showed his growing class with this win over a more experienced opponent.

White: V. Ramesh (164). Black: S. Martin (186)

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation [B72]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 Nf6 8.f3 Bd7 9.Qd2 a6 10.h4 h5 11.0–0–0 b5 White having committed to castling long, Black moves to launch a pawn storm, but it takes a lot of moves to get the a & b pawns onto really threatening squares, which perhaps could be better used completing piece development  12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Kb1 Qc7 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Bd7 16.Rhe1 a5 17.Bd3 b4 18.Qf2 Rb8 19.Bd4 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Black has left castling too late 20…Rg8 If 20…0–0 21.Rxe7. 21.Re2 e6 22.dxe6 Bxe6 23.Rde1 Kd7 24.Re5 Ke7 25.R5e4 Qc5 26.Qxc5 dxc5 27.Re5 Rgc8 28.Bxg6! Not difficult to see; just the fruit of everything that’s gone before. 28…Kf6 29.Bxh5 Re8 30.b3 Rbc8 31.Bg4 Rc6 32.Bxe6 fxe6 It’s now a pure R&P endgame, except that Black doesn’t have enough of the latter. 33.Kc1 a4 34.g4 axb3 35.axb3 c4 36.bxc4 Rxc4 37.R5e4 Rc3 38.R1e3 Rec8 39.Rxe6+ Kf7

The solution to last week’s ancient teaser was 1.Rhg7! Wherever the king or knight move will allow one of the rooks to mate on the back rank.

In this level-looking position from 1995 White noticed a breakthrough move.

What did he play?