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Arkell’s Optimism (19.09.2015.)

I wrote recently of the disappointment Grandmaster Keith Arkell must have felt at his anticlimactic finish to the recent British Championship. It seems he wasn’t downhearted for long, however, as immediately after, he took part in the massive Vienna Open tournament, where 460 players competed, and he came away 1st=, having beaten four other GMs on the way, and getting a career-best tournament rating of 2700+. It was a performance that so far seems to have been somewhat under-reported in the chess press.

So he arrived at the Paignton Congress full of optimism and a wish to add to his twenty 1st places since 1986, hopefully with a maximum score of 7/7.

In this Rd. 3 game, a former WECU President beats a former WECU Champion.

White: John Wheeler (177) Black: Maurice Staples (171).

Queen’s Gambit – Chigorin Defence.  [D07]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.c4 forcing Black onto the back foot, 8…Qd6 9.d5 Ne7 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxd2 12.Nxd2 f5 13.e4 0–0 14.Qb3 Kh8 15.Qc3 c5 16.0–0–0 Now the test is who can be first to mount a telling attack against the enemy king. 16…f4 17.Be2 Ng8 18.Nf3 Nf6 19.Nd2 Bd7 20.g3 The start of line-opening operations. 20…Rae8 If 20…fxg3 21.hxg3 and White will be able to attack down the h-file. 21.Rhg1 a6 22.g4 On the other hand, White can now run his pawns forward at will. 22…b5 23.g5 Ng8 24.Bh5 Re7 25.Bg4 b4 26.Qh3 Rfe8 27.Nf3 Bxg4 28.Rxg4 Rb7 29.Rd3 b3 30.axb3 Qb6 31.Nh4 g6 32.Nf3 32…Qa5 33.Kb2 Reb8 34.Nd2 The 8th time this overactive horse has moved. Qc7 35.Rh4 White’s greater manoeuvrability is paying off. 35…Qg7 36.Qe6 a5 37.Rdh3 a4 38.Rxh7+, and Black resigned because although after 38…Qxh7 39.Rxh7+ Rxh7 Black has 2 rooks for the queen, usually slightly stronger, White has 40.Qxe5+ winning one of the rooks 1–0.

In last week’s position White could win by 1.Qc5! threatening 2.QxQ mate. If Black takes the queen, apparently for nothing, White has 2.c3 mate. If 1…exf2 2.Nd2 mate.

Here is the game that the 11-times British Ladies Champion, Rowena Bruce of Plymouth, said on BBC Radio was her favourite. The notes are her actual words as spoken.

White: Rowena Bruce. Black: Mr. Black.

1.f4 Nf6 2.e3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.Nbd2 d6 9.h3 Nbd7 10.Qe1 Qc7 11.g4 e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Qg3 Putting an extra piece on the e-pawn, and preventing Black from playing …e4. So Black plays… 13…Nd5 14.Ne4 Rae8 15.Bd2 Kh8 16.Qh4 N5f6 Black smells trouble on his king’s wing. 17.Nfg5 Threatening to win a piece by Rxf6. 17…Bxe4 18.Bxe4 exd4 One pawn down. 19.Bd5 dxe3 Two pawns down. 20.Rae1 exd2 Might just as well give him the bishop also! 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 Any idea what the next move might be?

White to play and win by force.

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