The grand old man of Devon chess in the 19th century was Thomas Winter-Wood (1818-1905) of Hareston Manor, near Plymouth. After he died his widow presented the DCCA with a large elaborate shield in his memory, which it was agreed should be competed for by the champions of clubs affiliated to the Association. Its first winner in 1910 was Thomas Taylor of Plymouth.
This year’s winner was Alan Brusey, the Teignmouth champion who beat John Stephens of Exmouth. The first game was a well-fought draw, but the second game was something of an anti-climax as Stephens untypically made several costly blunders.
White: J. K. Stephens (182). Black: A. W. Brusey (175).
French Defence – Winawer [C18]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 The Winawer Variation, one of the epic lines in this opening. White’s e-pawn is now under pressure. 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 0–0 8.Bd3 Nbc6 9.Qh5 Ng6 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Be3 c4 12.Bxg6 fxg6 13.Qg4 Qf7 14.Ng5 Qc7 15.h4 h6 16.Nh3 Qf7 17.Nf4 Ne7 18.Rh3 Qf5 19.Qe2 Bd7 20.g4 Qf7 21.Kd2 So far the game has followed the 1996 game Solozhenkin-Apicella, in which Black now played 21…a5. From now on this is new territory. 21…Ba4 22.Rg1 Rac8 23.Ng2 Nf5? Black had overlooked White’s reply. 24.Rf3 (If 24.gxf5 Qxf5 hitting rook and the backward c-pawn. 25.Rhh1 Qxc2+ 26.Ke1 Qxc3+ 27.Qd2 Qxa3 and Black has 3 connected passed pawns for the sacrificed piece – a good return). 24…Bxc2 25.gxf5 Bxf5 Black has lost a piece, but has domination of the white squares. 26.Nf4 Qe8 27.Rfg3 Qb5 28.Rc1 Kh7 29.Ke1 Qb3 30.Qd2 At this stage both players had only 5 minutes each left for all their remaining moves, not enough time to make sensible plans – survival or a blunder by one’s opponent is the best one can hope for. 30…Qxa3 31.h5? allowing Black to dislodge the well-placed knight. 31…g5 32.Nh3 Qe7 33.Ng1 Qf7 34.Qe2 Bd3 35.Qg4? There is no prospect of the Queen having any effect on the K-side. Better would have been 35.Qb2 hoping for play on the Q-side. 35…Bf5 36.Qd1 Be4 37.Ra1 Rc6 38.Qg4 Rb6 39.Qe2 Bd3 40.Qg4 Rb2 41.Rf3 Bf5 42.Qg3 Qxh5 43.Bc1 Rc2 44.Bd2 a6 45.Rc1 Rxc1+ 46.Bxc1 Rb8 47.Nh3 Qxh3 48.Qxh3 Bxh3 49.Rxh3 Kg6 50.Rg3 b5 51.Ba3 a5 52.Kd2 b4 53.cxb4 axb4 54.Bc1 b3 55.Kc3 b2 56.Bxb2 Rb3+ 57.Kc2 Rxg3 58.fxg3 Black is slightly better, but both players had only seconds left, so a draw was agreed. ½–½
Last week’s problem by Prideaux was solved by 1.Rd7! and the bishop will administer the last rites according to which pawn Black decides to advance – e.g. 1…d3 2.Bg5.
This week’s position shows the climax of a game between Howard Williams and Jonathan Mestel at the Robert Silk Tournament at Paignton in 1974. White has been grabbing pawns at the expense of piece development. How did Mestel make him pay the ultimate price for such foolishness?