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A Busy Fortnight Ahead. (04.11.2017.) 958

It’s certainly proving to be a busy start to the season, with Devon’s Team Blitz tournament, a county match, and two congresses… and that’s just in the space of a fortnight.

Devon’s Team Blitz tournament has been a regular calendar item for decades, but has recently proved increasingly attractive, with teams, greater in number and strength entering year on year. This time, thanks to the efforts of the organiser, Trefor Thynne, there were 15 teams of 4 players assembling at the Newton Abbot Chess Club, eager for 6 rounds of mayhem, and just 12 minutes per player thinking time for all moves. After a brain-addling afternoon the winning team was Exeter Ninjas (20/24 pts) thus retaining the Thomas Cup, and comprised Tim Paulden, Paul O’Neill, Graham Bolt & Giles Body. 2nd Bideford (15); 3rd Exeter University “A” (14½); 4th Newton Abbot “A” (14); 5th Exmouth Eagles (13½); 6th Exeter Uni. “B” (13) winning the Hodge Cup for the highest score by a team graded U-600; 7th= Tiverton; Weymouth & Dorchester and Sidmouth (all 12½); 10th= Seaton & Torquay Boys’ G.S. (both 12). 12th Newton Abbot “B” (11½); 13th Torquay (11); 14th= Barnstaple & Exmouth Egrets (9). The only player to win all 6 games was International Master, Jack Rudd, of the Bideford team. But interestingly, the title of the cup-winning Sidmouth team concealed the fact that it comprised just one family, Julian Bacon and his 3 sons Nicky (16), Ollie (13) & Benny (10) – a remarkable achievement. A fuller report with charts & photographs of this and the other events may be found on keverelchess.com.

This afternoon, Devon and Cornwall will be meeting at Altarnum Village Hall, just off the A30, in an U-160 match – the first step on the road to the ECF Inter-County U-160 team final next June. On Monday the Royal Beacon Seniors’ Congress starts in Exmouth, finishing on Friday, and that evening the Torbay Congress starts at the Livermead House Hotel, and continues through the weekend. They were placed back-to-back, and informally called the South Devon Chess Festival, so that players travelling from north and east of the Watford Gap can enjoy a full week of chess with 10 games making the long journey more worthwhile.

Here is a game from the winning team of the Blitz tournament on Sunday.

White: T. Paulden. Black: J. Stephens.

1.b3 Larsen’s Opening: when there is so little time to think, it’s a good idea to try something a little off the well-beaten track. 1…e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 a6 4.Ne2 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 d5 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 Bd6 9.Nd2 Bf5 10.Nf3 0–0 11.0–0 Re8 12.c4 a5 13.Rc1 Ne4 This loses a tempo to a mating threat, and Black seems to be on the back foot hereafter. 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.c5 Bf8 16.Ne5 Re6 17.b4 Bg6 18.f4 Be4 19.f5 Rxe5 20.Qxe5 Nd7 21.Qf4 Bxc5 22.f6 Bd6 23.Qg5 g6 24.Rxc6 Bf8 25.Rfc1 Ra7 26.Bd4 Nb6 27.Bxb6 cxb6 28.Rc8 Qd6

Which brings us to this week’s position. Black has just played Qd8–d6 to escape the attention of White’s rook. How can White now end it quickly?

White to play

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