Devon’s only resident Grandmaster, Keith Arkell, is 50 this morning. On leaving school he decided to try and become a chess professional. Almost 35 years later, he has survived the arduous chess circuit, winning over 325 tournaments around the world in the process, including the titles of British RapidPlay Champion and the first English Champion 2008 (jointly with Stuart Conquest).
Here is one of his favourite wins, against the Paignton-born Gary Lane, taken from the recent book on the history of the Paignton Congress, 60 Years In The Same Room (Keverel Chess £15.99 ISBN 0-9531321-5-3).
White: G. W. Lane (209). Black: K. C. Arkell (223).
Caro Kann Defence [B10]
This was one of Arkell’s seven straight wins in the 1988 event and his best as it won one of two Best Game prizes. 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 If 3.e5 Black would probably have played 3…c5 a line which has Arkell’s name attached to it. dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Ng5 e6 7.Qe2 Nb6 8.Bb3 Mestel v K. Arkell in the British Championship (Rd. 3) at Blackpool 5 weeks earlier had continued 8.Bd3 h6 9.N5f3 c5 10.dxc5 Nbd7 11.b4 Nd5 12.Bd2 Qf6 13.Rb1 a5 14.a3 g5 with sharp play. White won in 47 moves. 8…h6 9.N5f3 a5 10.a4 c5 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Ne5 Nbd5 13.Qb5+?! The start of ambitious play, but is it sound? 13…Ke7 14.dxc5 Nxf4 15.0–0–0 Bxe5! 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.c6
Perhaps White expected too much from this double attack, as after he gets a 2nd Queen his King comes under pressure and Black’s knight is a tower of strength on d5. 17…N4d5 18.cxb7 Rb8! White had anticipated 18…Bxb7? 19.bxc8=Q White is leading temporarily by 2 queens to nil! 19…Rdxc8 20.Qd3 Nb4 21.Qe2 Nxc2! 22.Bxc2 Bxb2+ 23.Kd2 Nd5 24.Nh3 Bc3+ 25.Kd3 Rb4! 26.Qf1 Rd4+ 27.Ke2 Rd2+ 28.Kf3 Rxc2 29.g3 Bd4 30.Qa6 R8c3+ 31.Ke4 Bxf2? A slight error caused by time trouble. 31…Bb6 retaining the attacking bishop is quicker, though Black still weaves a mating net this way too. 32.Nxf2 Re3+ 33.Kd4 Rxf2 34.Qxa5 Ree2 35.Qa7+ Kf6 36.a5 Rc2 37.Qb8 Rfd2+ 38.Ke4 Rc4+ 39.Kf3 Rc3+ 40.Kg4 Rd4+ 41.Kh5 Ne3 and White resigned if 42.Qa7 Nf5 planning 43…g6 mate. (Or alternatively if 42.g4 g6+ 43.Kxh6 Nf5+ 44.Kh7 Rh3+ 45.Kg8 Ne7+ 46.Kf8 Rh8 mate).
In last week’s position, White (Arkell) played Rxe7, and if Black takes it with the Queen he will lose it to Bg5, and if he doesn’t take it he faces a crushing discovered check.
Here is a position from later in his career, the 1991 Lloyd’s Bank Masters, in which he is White against Alex Cherniaev of Russia. What move did he now play to cause Black to resign immediately?