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British Championships 2011 Getting Nearer.

Devon, the westcountry’s last survivor, meet Notts in Leicester this afternoon in the U-180 county championships final. Best of luck to them.

The 98th British Championships, start in Sheffield three weeks tomorrow. Guaranteed appearance money has ensured the participation of some of Britain’s strongest active Grandmasters, including the top three, Adams, Short and Howell and much interest will revolve around their performances. Westcountry interest will centre on players who qualified through local congresses, among them being Bruce Jenks (Frome); Patryk Krzyzanowski (WECU-Exmouth); John Waterfield (Bristol); Chris Beaumont (Torbay); Richard Almond and Martyn Simons (both Paignton).

Chessplayers are notorious for often leaving things to the last minute, but even so, the overall total entry of only 279 for all 22 sections at this late stage must be causing some concern to the organisers as the event usually requires about three times that number to reach break-even point. By contrast, the Torquay venue at the Riviera Centre generally attracts almost 1,000 individual entries. If entries do prove to be low this year, it may be due to a combination of the recession (all congresses have been down recently), and a public perception, however unfair, of Sheffield not being the most attractive place to spend two weeks in high summer.

Meanwhile, here is Michael Adams’ Round 7 win from last year’s tournament in Canterbury (897 entries overall), which he won easily.

White: Stephen Gordon (2534). Black: Michael Adams (2706).

Catalan System [E00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd6 6.Bg2 c6 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.0–0 0–0 9.Rd1 Qe7 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.Nbd2 e5 13.dxe5 Bxe5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.Nc4 Qf6 After an early skirmish, the position seems well-balanced. 17.e4 Nb6 18.Ne3 Be6 19.f4 Rad8 20.f5 Bc8 21.Ng4 Qe7 White seeks to break open the King’s position. 22.f6 gxf6 23.Nxh6+ Kg7 24.Nf5+ Bxf5 25.exf5 Mission accomplished, yet White cannot capitalise on Black’s disrupted pawns. 25…Rfe8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Rf1 Rd4 28.b3 Nd7 29.Rd1 Qc5! 0-1. Suddenly, White must lose material. If 30.Qxc5 30…Rxd1+ 31.Kf2 Nxc5. Or if 30.Rxd4 Qxc2 and White cannot afford to take the knight with 31.Rxd7 because of Qc5+ 32.Kf1 Qxf5+ winning the rook.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Ka6! which gives White’s big guns scope to mate next move, whatever Black tries.

This week’s 2-mover is a new composition by David Howard of East Harptree.

White to mate in 2.

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