Grandmaster Keith Arkell has made the Paignton Congress virtually his own personal fiefdom during the past two decades, having come 1st, either clear or shared, almost every year. This time, however, he had just lost 7 rating points at his previous event at Coulsdon and was determined to make this up by scoring a maximum 7/7 points at Paignton, something he’d done only once before. In spite of his superior skills and rating at this event, this is not so easy to achieve in practice, as all or any one of his seven opponents are inclined to raise their game against the master and thereby force a draw, or even an unexpected win. But he stayed focussed throughout, kept things simple, and made it to the finishing line with the 7 points he wanted.
2nd= on 5 points were Stephen Berry (Wimbledon) and local player Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) who had his best-ever result, after many years taking part. 4th on 4½ was 14 yr. old Theo Slade (Barnstaple). Grading prizes (U-2005) went to Graham Bolt (London Railways) and Adrian Pickersgill (Hastings). The slow starter prize (0/2) went to Jason McKenna (Oxford).
Arkell’s two best games were against Berry and this one from Rd. 6. Note how he keeps everything as simple as possible by exchanging off Black’s active pieces, thereby leaving Black completely without any piece activity.
White: Keith Arkell (241). Black: Steve Dilleigh (187).
Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Variation [D35]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.0–0 g6 11.Re1 0–0 12.e4 dxe4 13.Bxe4 Qd8 14.d5 cxd5 15.Nxd5 Ndf6 16.Rc1 Nxe4 17.Rxe4 Nf6 18.Rd4 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qf6 20.Qd4 Qxd4 21.Nxd4 Re8 Suddenly Black is left with only one active piece against three. 22.h4 h5 23.Rc7 a6 24.Rd6 Rb8 25.f3 The bishop doesn’t have a decent move on the board, which in turn leaves the rooks unconnected. 25…Kf8 26.Rb6 Ra8 27.Kf2 Re7 28.Rxe7 Kxe7 The rook & knight now have control of the board, and there’s little Black can do about it. 29.a4 Ra7 If 29…Rb8 30.Nc6+ wins the exchange viz 30…bxc6 31.Rxb8. 30.a5 Bd7 In the absence of any threats, White’s king can stroll up the board at leisure to add his own two-pennyworth to the attack. 31.Ke3 Bc8 32.Kf4 f6 33.g4 hxg4 34.fxg4 Bd7 35.g5 fxg5+ 36.Kxg5 Be8 37.Re6+ Kf8 38.Kf6 Ra8 39.Re7 Rb8 40.Ne6+ Kg8 41.Rg7+ Kh8 42.Rc7 Kg8 43.b4 Kh8 44.Re7 Kg8 45.Nc5 Kf8?? 46.Rg7 and in order to avoid the knight’s immediate mating threat, Black must incur more material loss. 1–0
In last week’s game ending, Rowena Bruce finished with a queen sacrifice, possibly the most satisfying finishes of all. 22.Qxh7+! Black’s next three moves are forced. 22…Nxh7 23.Nxf7+ Kg8 24.Ne5+ Kh8 25.Nxg6# 1-0. The mysterious “Mr. Black” was, in fact, her husband, Ron.
In this position how does White mate in 2?