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Bournemouth & Guernsey Congresses (05.11.2011.)

The annual Dorset Congress has recently moved eastwards from Weymouth to a new Bournemouth venue, and the main winners this year were as follows: Open Section: 1st Martyn Simons (Bournemouth -4/5). Major: 1st= Matthew Wilson (Basingstoke) & David Helsby (Lewisham) 3½. Intermediate: 1st Nigel Dicker (Glastonbury – 4½). Minor: 1st Alan Fraser (Beckenham – 5) – the only 100% score of the weekend.

The recent 37th Guernsey Congress was won by the top seed, S. Sulskis of Lithuania on 6/7 points, but the outstanding performance was by Dave Collier of Bristol who came 2nd= with GM Mark Hebden (both 5½), thus qualifying for next year’s British Championship.

The 12th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress starts on Monday in Exmouth, but it’s still not too late to enter if you contact me on 01395-223340 or e-mail

Here is a game from last year’s event with a debatable finish.

White: John Dodgson (183). Black: Martin Page (162).

Queen’s Pawn Game – Exchange Var. [A00].

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 c6 7.Qc2 0–0 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.Nge2 Re8 10.0–0 Nf8 11.f3 h6 Black wishes to challenge the bishop but in doing so weakens his own King’s position. 12.Bh4 Ne6 13.Rad1 c5 14.dxc5 g5 15.Bf2 Bxc5 16.Ng3 Aiming for the ‘hole’ on f5. 16…b6 17.Nf5 Bf8 18.e4 Nc7 White wishes to preserve his strong forward knight. 19.Nd4 Bb7 20.Kh1 Rc8 21.Qd2 Nh5 22.Bb1 Qf6 23.a3 Qe5 24.Nf5 The knight is now free to return to f5. 24…dxe4 25.fxe4 Ne6 26.Be3 Rcd8 27.Qf2 Nhf4 Black gets his own advanced knight. 28.Nd5 Nxd5 29.exd5 Rxd5 30.Rde1 The Black queen leads from the front – a dangerous policy. 30…Rd7 Now the Black queen’s advanced position exposes her to great danger. 31.Bf4 Qxf4 At first sight, this looks reasonable enough, but White has a strong move. 32.Qc2 1–0. Black resigned as it seems his queen must move and then White’s knight will move to expose a mating queen/bishop combination. But closer inspection reveals that 32…Be4 would have enabled him to play on. e.g. 32…Be4 33.Qxe4 Qxe4 34.Bxe4 Rd2 35.b4 and Black is actually a pawn up. So did Black resign needlessly?

The solution to David Howard’s latest problem was 1.Rg8! with no immediate threat, but whatever move Black now makes will offer a range of different mates.

This 2-mover of 1878 by Sam Loyd first appeared in the Huddersfield College Magazine, which two years later became the British Chess Magazine.

White to mate in 2.


NB: The diagram as published in the paper was a piece short, and therefore unsolvable. This was noticed before publication, but too late to do anything about it. Apologies to all frustrated solvers. I aim to republish it correctly next week, and with the solution.

If it’s any comfort, before the advent of computers, most problem books contained many errors, both in the composition of the diagram, and the solution given, which could also be incorrect, or “cooked”. For example, perhaps the most prestigious series of problem books was the Christmas Series, (44 titles in total), edited by the American scholar and philanthropist, Alain C. White (1880 – 1952), yet, quite early on  he had to publish whole booklets with all the errata listed for each of the books.

So these things do happen to even the best.

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