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Devon vs Lincolnshire Results (16.06.2018.) 990

Devon failed in their bid to reach the Final of the Minor Counties tournament, losing to the current holders Lincolnshire 10-6 in the semi-final held on Saturday. This tournament’s regulations state that the playing grades of any 16 man team should not, when added together, exceed 2880 or an average of 180 per person. The fact that Lincolnshire chose to include Grandmaster Matthew Turner did not unduly worry Devon as they would have to pay the price in terms of grades lower down the order. On the top 6 boards Devon only lost 3½-2½, yet out-graded Lincs on all of the next 11 boards – grounds for cautious optimism, but it was in this area that the match was truly lost, going down 6½-3½.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing).

1. J. Underwood (191) 0-1 M. Turner (GM – 248). 2.J. Stephens (189) ½-½ N. Birtwistle (196). 3. J. Fraser (192) ½-½ S. Milson (193). 4. G. Bolt (188) 0-1 P. Cumbers (196). 5. S. J. Homer (181) 1-0 N. Stead (187). 6. T. Paulden (189) ½-½ M. Smith (197). 7. J. Wheeler (187) 0-1 J. Kilshaw (183). 8.M. Abbott (186) 0-1 I. David (169). 9.B. Hewson (179) 1-0 K. Palmer (163). 10. P. Hampton (175) 0-1 D. Georgiou (159). 11. J. Haynes (176) 0-1 P Cusick (169). 12. S. Martin (184) 0-1 F. Bowers (165). 13. D. Cowley (175) 1-0 C. Holt (160). 14. J. Duckham (164) 0-1 R. Herbert (161). 15.P. Brooks (166) ½-½  K. McCarthy (161). 16. W. Ingham (157) 1-0 A. Parnian (147).

One bright spot for Devon was this miniature that put them in the lead for a while. Analysis kindly supplied by the winner.

White: N. Stead. Black: Stephen Homer.

Nimzowitsch Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4+ 4.Nf3 Ne4 A move played by Karpov so it can’t be bad. It has the advantage of avoiding 5.Bg5, my opponent’s usual set-up. 5.Qc2 d5 5…f5 is the alternative. 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 f5 8.0–0 c6 9.cxd5 exd5 I’d seen White’s next move, with the pin of Black’s d-pawn against his king and the possible loss of a pawn on e4. 9…cxd5 is the alternative, but I decided to go for the pawn sacrifice after 10…Bd6 and 11. White takes twice on e4. 10.Qb3 Bd6 10…Qe7 is a better move, but the move played sets a deadly trap. 11.Nxe4?? This looks natural but in fact it’s a blunder. Correct is 11.Bxe4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Bc7 13.Ne5! when Black’s d-pawn remains pinned and Black will have to prove sufficient compensation for the lost pawn which will follow on 13.Nxe4 11…fxe4 12.Bxe4 Kh8! Breaking the pin and once White’s bishop moves away gives rise to a deadly exchange sacrifice on f3. 13.Bc2 Rxf3! The move I’d envisaged on move 9. The follow-up with 14.Qg5+ wins, as it allows the queen to transfer to h5 with a double attack on h2 and f3. 14.gxf3 Qg5+ 15.Kh1 Qh5 16.f4 Qf3+ 17.Kg1 Bh3 and mate cannot be avoided.0-1.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Qa8! waiting for Black to fall on his sword, as all moves lose.

This position arose in a game recently in which White played a conservative 1.Ne2. Did he perhaps miss something a little more enterprising?

White to play

Exeter & District League Prizegiving & RapidPlay Match 2018

24 players foregathered at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth on Tuesday evening (12.06.2018) for their annual end-of-season prizegiving and rapidplay match. It wasn’t too much of a prizegiving as two of the four trophies had been won by new Exeter University teams and they were all either busy with exams or had already finished their academic year. However, judging by the photos (see below), the other two teams  looked pleased enough to be there.

The final charts, as prepared by League Secretary, Tim Paulden, were as follows:

Premiership  (640 max)
Team W D L F A Pts
Uni. Pterodactyls 4 0 0 13 3 8
Just Seaton 1 2 1 8 8 4
Exeter Rooks 1 1 2 7 9 3
Exmouth Eagles 1 1 2 3
Sidmouth Scorpions 0 2 2 10½ 2
Championship  (480 max)
Team W D L F A Pts
Exeter Gambits 2 0 1 8 4 8
Sidmouth Stars 2 0 1 7 5 4
Colyton G. S. 1 1 2 3
Uni Stegasauri 1 0 0 3 1 2
E. Budleigh Explorers 0 1 2 1
Rapidplay   (600 rapid max)
Team W D L F A Bonus Pts
Uni. Velociraptors 6 2 2 24 16 3 17
Exeter Prestissimo 5 2 1 22½ 17½ 2 14
Uni. Triceratops 3 4 3 20 20 2 12
Fast Seaton 4 1 5 21 19 2 11
Exmouth Egrets 4 2 4 20 20 1 11
Exeter Gambits Rapid 2 1 7 12½ 27½ 0 5

After a short break, during which two teams of 12 of approximately equal strength were sorted out from those present, one belonging to the League President, Brian Aldwin, and the other owing allegience to its Secretary, Tim Paulden, play got under way, with two games of 30 minutes per player.  After all 24 games had finished, with the closest of wins for the Sccretary’s team, the table looked like this…..

Exeter & Dist. League End-of-Season RapidPlay Match – 2018
Bd President’s XII Grd Rd 1 Rd 2 Captain’s X!! Grd Rd 1 Rd 2
1 P. Hampton 194 0 ½ P. O’Neill 179 1 ½
2 J. Underwood 177 ½ 0 T. J. Paulden 178 ½ 1
3 S, K. Dean 165 1 1 I. S. Annetts 155 0 0
4 I. Simpson 152 1 0 S. Martin 156 0 1
5 S. Pope 148 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
6 W, Marjoram 136 ½ 0 R. H. Jones 139 ½ 1
7 R. Player 123 0 0 D. Thomson 124 1 1
8 R. Scholes 106 1 1 G. Fotheringham 121 0 0
9 M. Haines 98 0 0 S. Dean 102 1 1
10 H. Welch 96 1 0 G. J. Jenkins 100 0 1
11 B. Perchard 83 0 1 I. G. Grist 74 1 0
12 D. Gardner 80 1 0 R. Cubbon 61 0 1
7 5
11½ 12½

Hazel Welch receives the Runner-Up trophy for the Premiership on behalf of Seaton

The Exeter Prestissimo team, Runner=up in the RapidPlay League. l-r Will Marjoram; Brian Aldwin; Richard Scholes, Richard Player & Sean Pope at rear.

Pauls Hampton & O'Neill start their first game on Bd. 1

Bd. 5 (nearest) Alan Dean considers his reply to Sean Pope's previous move.

In the lower half, Player (W) and Thomson get under way.

50th Cotswold Congress Results (09.06.2018.) 989

The 50th Cotswold Congress took place over the Whitsun weekend at the King’s School, Gloucester, with the following results: (all points out of 6). Open Section; 1st Keith Arkell (237) 5. 2nd Peter Cusick (169-Grantham) 4½. 3rd= Dom Mackle (196-Torquay); Tim Headlong (188-Brown Jack) & Tim Spanton (163) all 4. Grading prize Andrew Waters. (158 – Kent).

Major: 1st Andrew Munn (150-Bristol) 5½. 2nd Jamie Morgan (149-Penzance); 3rd= Rich Weston (153-Cowley) & Andrew Price (151-Leamington) 4. Grading Prize(a) Dave Rogers (131-Exmouth). Grading prize(b) Ethan Gardiner (106-Manchester).

Minor: 1st Nigel Morris (123-Leamington) 5. 2nd= C. Costeloe (122-London); Rob Furseman (120-Newmarket), Georgina Headlong (116-Brown Jack) & Rohan Palet (85-Glos). Grading prizes: Christine Constable (105-Bude) & Paul Munroe.

Top grade was GM Keith Arkell and he duly won after conceding a couple of late draws. In this game he showed what he is more than capable of doing.

White: J. Jenkins (180). Black: K. Arkell.

Nimzo-Indian Defence – Rubinstein Variation.  [E41]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Signature moves of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, one of Black’s most potent weapons against the Queen’s Gambit. 4.e3 A quiet move developed by the Polish GM, Akiba Rubinstein, against which Black must strike quickly before White can develop his centre. c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 d6 7.0–0 Now that the bishop has served its purpose it can go, leaving Black free to concentrate on the enemy king’s position. Bxc3 8.bxc3 e5 9.e4 Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Nh4 h6 Both white bishops are now severely restricted in scope. 13.Qe2 g5 14.Nf5 Nxf5 15.exf5 Qe7 16.Re1 0–0–0 17.a4 Rdg8 18.g4 h5 19.a5 hxg4 20.hxg4 Rh4 21.f3 e4! Giving up a pawn to allow his queen access to the attack without interfering with his rooks’ open h-file – cheap at the price. 22.Bxe4 Qe5 23.Qg2 Rgh8 24.Re2 Rh3 Threatening Rg3 winning the queen. 25.Bc2 Qxc3 26.Ra3 Qxc4 27.Rd3 Nxg4 Continuing the break-up of White’s kingside, but equally effective is 27…Bxf5 28.gxf5 Qh4 and the triple attack down the h-file will again quickly exact heavy gains. 28.Qxg4 Rh1+ 29.Kf2 R8h2+ 0-1. Further resistance was hopeless. All 60 games from the Open Section may be found on Dave Tipper’s website, chessit.co.uk.

The last Westcountry team left in the National Stages is Devon who play on Saturday against Lincolnshire, the holders, at Kemerton, Worcestershire in the semi-final of the Minor Counties section. No Westcountry team has ever held this particular title, and Lincs are the current holders, so a tough battle is guaranteed.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.f3+! forcing 1…Kf4, then 2.Pxg7+ a discovered check from which there is no escape.

This week’s position is taken from David Howard’s 2005 book, My 100 Best Two-Movers. It looks fearsomely complicated but there are patterns to be discerned which should lead you to the solution.

White to mate in 2

Frome Congress Results (02.06.2018) 988

183 players entered the recent 29th Frome Congress, and the winners were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st= S. Jones, V. Stoyanov & R. de Coverley 4 pts. Grading prizes: U-2050 1st P. Anderson. 3½. U-1900 1st= J. Turner & S. Jukes 3.

Major Section: (U-165); 1st= D. Marshall; J. Fisher; S. Appleby & F. Pittman 4. Grading prizes: U-155: D. Watson & J. Lobley 3½. U-144: S. Williams 3½. Intermediate (U140) 1st G, Miller 5.        2nd= R. Millener; J. Beviss & B. Headlong 4. Grading: U-129: I. Kamotskiy 3½. U-116: T. Gough 3½. Minor (U-110) 1st= S. Walsh & M. Archbold 4½. 3rd J. Grover 4. GPs (U-100): D. Williams; E. Fields; M. Fields & P. Allaway. 3½. GP U-86: M. Cox 3½.

The Somerset champions for each section were as follows: Open: Tim Headlong (Brown Jack). Major: Dave Marshall (Trowbridge). Intermediate: Jamie Beviss (Langport). Minor: James Grover (Bath).

Entering the final round, Simon Jones was in with a chance of 1st place, but had the Black pieces.

White: J. Turner. Black: S. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Lasker Variation [B33]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 forces Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 This is a retreat, but the alternative 8…Ne7 constricts Black’s kingside development. 9.c3 Be7 10.a4 0–0 11.Be3 a6 12.Na3 f5 13.Bd3 Nd7 14.f4 Nf6 15.fxe5 Ng4 Ironically, the very piece that had to retreat earlier now forces the same fate on White. 16.Bg1 Nxe5 17.Be2 f4 18.Bf2 Qe8 Now all but one of Black’s pieces are heading for the enemy king’s position.19.0–0 Qg6 Also very strong was 19…Bh3 20.bf3 Nxf3+ and if 21.Qxf3 Bg4 wins the queen.  20.h4 Qh6 21.Nc2 g6 22.Bf3 Bxh4 23.Nd4 Bg3 Threatens mate. 24.Bxg3 fxg3 25.Re1 Qh2+ 26.Kf1 Bh3 27.Ke2 If 27.gxhe Qxf7 mate. Bxg2 28.Ke3 Nc4+ 29.Ke4 Qh4+ 0-1 30.Kd3 would be forced and 30…Nxb2+ wins the queen.

This miniature took place in the Major:

White: P. Markham.  White: A. Papier

Queen Pawn’s Game [D00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Ne7 8.f3 Nf5 Attacking a piece and opening lines for his other pieces to attack. What could possibly go wrong? 9.Qd2 Qh4+ 10.g3 Nxg3 Black jumps in, seeing attacking chances for himself. 11.Bb5+ 11…c6? Black needs to develop more pieces e.g. 11…Bd7! 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Bf2 e3 14.Qxe3 Qb4+ 15.c3 Qxb2 etc. 12.Bg5 Qh5 13.dxc6+- Be6 14.Qd7+! 1–0. If 14. ..BXQ 15 PxB mate.

Thanks to Dave Tipper for supplying these and many other game scores. Much more information may be found on the somersetchess.org website.

In last week’s 2-mover by David Shire, White should play 1.Nde5! after which Black will not be able to evade all the mating threats.

This week’s position is a return to the rooks-only theme of Alain White from his little book published in 1910. Because of the limited resources available. e.g. no knights beloved of composers, the vast majority in this category involve more than 2 moves, but this is one of the few.

White to play and mate in 2.