The Cornish County Championship and Congress is currently taking place at Carnon Downs Village Hall and will finish tomorrow tea time. Results here next week.
February being a short month and the Exeter Congress traditionally taking place in early March means that this event is rapidly approaching. It takes place at its usual venue, the Corn Hall on the weekend starting Friday 10th March, i.e. 3 weeks on Friday. Dr. Tim Paulden has taken on the role of Congress Secretary and has constructed a special website for it, with enhanced features, like on-line payment of entry fees. It’s well worth a look, at eastdevonchesscongress.com.
This game was played in a Devon league match at the weekend and illustrates several old sayings about rook and pawn endings. They are a game in themselves, full of subtle nuances that elude even grandmasters at times. Probably the most accessible introduction is still Capablanca’s 1921 book, Chess Fundamentals, which is quoted.
White: O. E. Wensley (168). Black: A. W. Brusey (166).
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bb4 5.d3 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qxf3 12.gxf3 Nd4 13.Bxd4 exd4 After this early carnage they are already down to a rook ending, with White having the disadvantage of doubled pawns. 14.Rg1 With all immediate danger past, there’s little point in White castling, as the king will need to be in the centre as an active piece. “The best way to defend such positions is to assume the initiative and keep the opponent on the defensive”. 14…0–0 15.Kd2 Rfe8 16.Rae1 The open e-file must be contested. 16…f5 17.f4 Kf7 18.Re5 g6 19.h4 Rad8 20.Rge1 b6 21.b4 c6 22.a4 Rxe5 23.fxe5 Rd5 24.f4 a6 25.Rb1 h6 26.c4 dxc3+ 27.Kxc3 g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.d4! 29.fxg5 Rxe5 would create too much space for Black’s rook. 29…gxf4 30.Kc4 Kg6 31.Rg1+ Kh5 There is now a lot of move-counting to do by both sides. 32.e6 Rd8 33.a5 Creating a path for White’s king to advance later. The decisive difference here is that White’s king can both attack and defend whereas Black’s can only defend.33…bxa5 34.bxa5 f3 35.Rg3 f4 If 35…f2 36.Rf3. 36.Rxf3 Kg4 The rest of the game has similarities with last week’s ending. 37.Rf1 f3 38.Kc5 Kg3 “Advance the pawn that has no pawn opposing it”, so…39.e7! Re8 40.Kd6 Kg2 41.Rc1 f2 42.Kd7 Ra8 43.e8=Q Rxe8 If 43…f1=Q?? 44.Qg6+ Kf2 45.Qf5+ Ke2 46.Qxf1+ etc. 44.Kxe8 f1=Q 45.Rxf1 Kxf1 46.Kd7 1-0 Black will lose his c-pawn and White can easily shepherd his extra pawn forward.
In last week’s position, Anand won immediately with RxB+ removing the White queen’s only defender, and the fact that it’s check means that Topalov must give up his queen.
Here is a new 2-mover by David Howard. Black has plenty of material available to move around and ward off all threats… except one. What is that key move?