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West of England Chess Congress 2018 – the results

After a month of drenching rain, snow storms and bitter winds, yes – even in South Devon – it was perhaps a good time to hunker down indoors and get down to 7 rounds of serious chess, and Exmouth’s Manor Hotel provided the opportunity to do exactly that over the Easter weekend. To that end, 70 players foregathered to fight for a share of the £1,500 prize money and 4 trophies.

Interestingly, any idea that this might be just a collection of local yokels was dispelled by the international element, especially among the juniors, with players from Norway (3), Scotland (2), Austria, Cyprus, South Africa and China adding an almost exotic element to the mix. Although only one of these won a prize, they certainly enjoyed the occasion while giving the locals some new opposition.

At the end of 7 hard-fought rounds the winners were as follows:-

West of England Championship  -  Easter 2018
OPEN 1st R. McMichael 2232 King’s Head
2nd= D. Mackle 2164 Torquay 5 *Ch.
L. Martin 2079 Brown Jack 5 *Ch
U-2000 GP A. Crombleholme 1991 Walsall
J. Stephens 1991 Exmouth
D. Littlejohns 1981 Taunton
R. de Coverley 1953 Bourne End
C. James 1876 Dunbar
J. Forster 1812 Southbourne
McMichael was not eligible for the title, so it was

shared between Mackle & Martin.

U-1950 MAJOR
1st G. Brown 1847 Folkstone
2nd Y. Tello 1884 Wimbledon 5
3rd= R. Burton 1920 Weymouth
Y. Wang 1885 Plymouth
J. Morgan 1848 Cornwall
B. Gosling 1806 E. Budleigh
P. G. Jackson 1807 Coulsdon
U-1700 GP P. Grant-Ross 1615 King’s Head
U-130 MINOR
1st= E. Fierek 126 Gloucester 5
G. Parfett 119 Athenaeum 5
3rd= R. Hunt 129 E. Devon
K. Alexander 128 E. Budleigh
A. Proudfoot 112 Plymouth
U-107 GP K. Markey 105 Stroud 4
Georgia Headlong (Brown Jack) with 4/7 pts won the

Ladies Championship by virtue of having the highest

score of any of the 6 ladies competing.

In the final round, Dominic Mackle and Richard McMichael were keeping half an eye on each other’s game. The latter, who had no westcountry credentials, was not a rival for the trophy, so Mackle agreed an early draw to guarantee the title.  On seeing this, McMichael immediately began to press, but went wrong and it allowed his opponent in, and Lewis Martin went on to win and catch Mackle up on 5 points, who thereby lost £50 of prizemoney, £150 instead of £200. However, there was no problem with the Championship Cup and both were happy to share it for 12 months.

In the Major, Yuyang Wang (“Terry”) was the only one of the international set to win a prize, though his 1/5th share of 3rd place won’t get him far on his way back to China in August, when he returns to Xiamen with his mother who is on a 12 month secondment attached to Plymouth University.

Also in the Major, former WECU President, Fenella Headlong, found herself in a near-desperate battle with her 11 year old daughter, Georgia, for the Ladies Championship, the Elizabeth Walker Cup. Georgia was playing in the Minor, and both started the final round on 3 points. Whoever had the higher points total would be Champion. Fenella had already won this cup 4 times (twice in her maiden name of Cohen), but the thought of being beaten by her own daughter was not an attractive one. Her husband, Tim Headlong, also a WECU Champion in former times, would doubtless have been neutral on the issue. In the end, Fenella lost and Georgia won, so the victor’s laurels pass to a new generation, and Mum could not have been more proud.

At the prizegiving, Congress Secretary, Meyrick Shaw, announced the names of winners and Arbiter Graham Mill-Wilson was drafted in as cup presenter, allowing Bob Jones to take some pictures to record the happy scene.  See below.

Mackle (r) & McMichael - top 2 seeds in the Open

Andre Nielsen, from Altar in the far north of Norway, a World Junior Championship contender in 2016

Viennese FM Walter Braun, currently resident in Exmouth.

Veteran Midlander, Alan Crombleholme, currently playing for Walsall Kipping.

New Cornish Champion, Jeremy Menadue, on his way to a last round loss to Patryk Krzyzanowski.

Exmothians John Stephens (R) & Congress Secretary Meyrick Shaw on bottom Bd in the Open, alongside Yuyang Wang and Yasser Tello on top boards in the Major.

Benjamin Halvorsen, from Tromso, Norway, playing Cornishman Colin Sellwood in the Major.

Eddy Fierek of Gloucester, joint winner of the Minor Section.

Richard McMichael of the King's Head club, receiving his cheque for £400 from Graham Mill-Wilson.

Happy to share! Dominic Mackle (R) of Devon and Lewis Martin (Wilts).

West of England Congress – Latest Entries as at 27.03.2018.

West of England Congress    30.03.– 02.04 — 2018
Entries as at Tues. 27th March 2018
Name Club Rating ECF Bye?
OPEN   SECTION
1 K. C.  Arkell Cheddleton, Staffs 2413 237 0
R. McMichael Kings Head 2232 204 0
2 D. Mackle Torquay 2164 196 0
3 A. Nielsen Alta – Norway 2158 0
4 W. Braun Exmouth 2152 197 0
5 M. Waddington Dorchester 2091 196 0
6 M. Lewis Brown Jack – Wilts 2079 195 1
7 S. Dilleigh Horfield – Bristol 2070 191 0
8 J. K. Stephens Exmouth 189 4
9 J. F. Menadue Carrick – Cornwall 2055 185 0
10 G. Bolt Exeter 2016 188 5
11 A. Crombleholme Staffs 1991 168 0
12 D. Littlejohns Taunton 1981 178 1
13 R. De Coverley Bourne End 1953 179 0
14 C. James Dunbar 1876 4
15 L. Hafstad Exeter Juniors 1799 164 0
16 A. Gorgun Brown Jack 1617 174 0
MAJOR SECTION
1 T. F. Thynne Newton Abbot 1924 174 0
2 R. Burton Weymouth 1920 158 6
3 T. Woodward Trowbridge 1914 148 0
4 R. Gamble Derby – Spondon 1904 152 0
5 I. S. Annetts Tiverton 1885 150 5
6 Y. Wang Plymouth / Xiamen 1885 158 0
7 Y. Tello Wimbledon 1884 159 3&5
8 J. Morgan Cornwall 1848 149 0
9 G. Brown Folkestone 1847 178 0
10 M. Wilson Teignmouth 1830 157 0
11 J. Forster Southbourne 1812 167 0
12 J. Nyman 1801 153 0
13 M. Page Insurance 1795 155 0
14 P. A. Jackson Bournemouth 1795 146 1
15 P. G. Jackson Coulsdon 1781 160 0
16 C. Sellwood Camborne 1781 149 0
17 A. Hibbitt Banbury 1768 153 0
18 A. Price Leamington 1747 151 0
19 P. T. Foley Upminster 1717 140 0
20 P. Dimond Bath 1705 134 0
21 D. Watson Bourne End 1703 145 0
22 F. Headlong Brown Jack – Wilts 1683 131 4
23 J. Robertson East Kilbride 1650 144 0
24 M. Roberts Holmes Chapel 1629 134 0
25 B. Halvorsen Tromso – Norway 1594 0
26 T. Greenaway Torquay 1517 137 0
27 P. Grant-Ross King’s Head 127 0
MINOR SECTION
1 R. Hunt E. Devon 129 5
2 K. Alexander East Budleigh 128 0
3 P. Foster Medway – Kent 128 6
4 I. Blencowe Gloucester 126 0
5 E. Fierek Gloucester 126 0
6 P. Errington Bournemouth 124 1
7 G. Parfett Athenaeum 119 6
8 G. Headlong Brown Jack – Wilts 116 0
9 J. Harris Forest of Dean 114 0
10 A. Proudfoot Plymouth 112 0
11 R. Waters Taunton 109 0
12 J. Dean Plymouth 108 0
13 K, Markey Glos. 105 4
14 J. Wallman 105 0
15 A. Davies S. Hams 103 1
16 J. Carr Hants 100 0
17 C. Gardiner Carrick – Cornwall 100 0
18 H. Welch Seaton 88 0
19 S. E. Lee Liskeard 78 0
20 E. Holiday 77 0
21 W. Carr Hants 33 0

West of England Junior Winners. (24.03.2018.) 978

One of the largest events in the Westcountry is the Junior Championships held annually in Swindon. These were this year’s West of England Junior Champions in the various age groups.

U-18: Zoe Varney (178 – Millfield). U-16: Aliriza Gorgon (174 – Swindon). U-14: Chirag Hosdurga (164 – Bristol). U-14 Girls: Mansa Chandar (79 – Chandler’s Ford). U-12: Adam Hussain (150 – Carrick). U-12 Girls: Melissa Hamilton (113 – Portsmouth). U-10: Kandara Acharya (96 – Bristol). U-9: Daniel Shek (114 – Yately Manor). U-8: Mayank Palav (UG – Wilts). U-8 Girls: Jessica White (UG – Wilts).

The re-arranged 1st team match between Devon and Cornwall takes place tomorrow at the Plymouth Bridge Club, and the West of England Championship and general Congress starts the following Friday at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth, and lasts throughout the Easter weekend. Details may be found on-line.

The 1st West of England Championship was held over the Easter weekend 1946 in the clubroom of the Bristol & Clifton Chess Club, where it was won by its club champion at the time, 23 year old Henry Vickers Trevenen. He was born in Penzance, the son of a stonemason, and as WWII robbed him of his formative years so mental illness later took away his prime, but in the immediate post war years he was almost unbeatable, becoming West of England Champion three times out of the first four.

This was one of his wins from the 2nd WECU Championship in 1947. His opponent, Ron Slade, had to wait another decade until he won the title.

White: R. A. Slade. – Black: H. V. Trevenen.

Pirc Defence  [B07]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 Black has adopted a Pirc Defence formation, first popularised in the mid-’40s. 4.Bd3 Bg7 5.h3 Nbd7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 h6 Black will not be able to castle without losing his h-pawn as long as White’s pieces are lined up against h3. 8.Nge2 e5 9.0-0 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Rae1 Nxd3 12.cxd3 Bd7 13.f4 0-0 Black doesn’t hesitate to get castled. 14.f5 Kh7 15.Nce2 c5 16.Nf3 c4 17.fxg6+ fxg6 18.Ng3 cxd3 19.e5 Not 19.Qxd3? Bb5 19…Nd5 20.Qxd3 Nxe3 21.Qxe3 Leaving Black with the bishop pair against two knights. 21…Bb5 22.Rf2 dxe5 23.Nxe5 Rxf2

Slightly better was 23…Qh4 24.Rc2 Rae8. 24.Qxf2 Qd5 25.Ng4 While the knights are almost sidelined, the bishops cut swathes across the board. 25…Bc6 26.Re7 Rf8 27.Qe2 h5 28.Nh2 and now Black delivers a two-move knockout blow. 28…Qc5+ 29.Kh1 Rf2 Resigned because of the devastating fork between queen and h2. e.g. 30.Qe3 Qxe3 31.Rxe3 Rxg2 32.Ne4 Rxb2 and White’s problems are too many to repair. 0-1.

In last week’s problem, Owen Hindle won after 1.QxP!  and Black’s queen cannot retake because of Rxh7 #, so 1…Rg8 2.Qh5 and mate is inevitable.

In this position, White has his king tucked away and is all set to harass Black’s king. But it’s not his move. Does that matter?

Black to play

West of England Congress 2018 – Latest Entries

Here are the entries currently recived for th WECU Congress over the Easter Weekend.

WECU Congress — Easter Weekend 2018.

Current Entries

OPEN FIDE ECF Club
1 GM Keith Arkell 2411 240 Cheddelton
2 FM Walter Braun 2152 197 Exmouth
3 Andre Neilsen 2145 Norway
4 Steve Dilleigh 2070 191 Horfield
5 Graham Bolt 2053 188 Exeter
6 Alan Crombleholme 2002 188
7 Dave Littlejohns 1986 178 Taunton
8 Roger De Coverley 1953 179 Bourne End
9 Chris James 1876 Dunbar
10 Leif Hafstad 1799 164 Exeter
11
12
MAJOR
1 Tim Woodward 1914 148 Trowbridge
2 Ivor Annetts 1885 150 Tiverton
3 James Forster 1812 167 Southbourne
4 Matthew Wilson 1808 157 Teignmouth
5 Paul Jackson 1807 160 Coulsdon
6 Martin Page 1795 155 Insurance
7 Paul Jackson 1747 146 Bournemouth
8 Andrew Price 1747 151 Leamington
9 Phil Foley 1717 140 Upminster
10 Fenella Headlong 1683 131 Brown Jack
11 Jim Robertson 1679 144 E. Kilbride
12 Malcolm Roberts 1629 134 Holmes Chapel
13 Benjamin Halvorsen 1594 Norway
14
15
16
MINOR (U-130)
1 Ken Alexander 128 E. Budleigh
2 Paul Foster 128 Medway
3 Ian Blencowe 126 Gloucester
4 Paul Errington 124 Bournemouth
5 Georgia Headlong 118 Brown Jack
6 Andy Proudfoot 112 Plymouth
7 Roger Waters 109 Taunton
8 David Burt 108 Bournemouth
9 John Dean 108 Plymouth
10 Kevin Markey 105
11 James Wallman 105
12 John Carr 100 Portsmouth
13 Hazel Welch 88 Seaton
14 Wendy Carr 63 Portsmouth
15
16

East Devon Congress 2018 Results. 03.03.2018.) 975

The East Devon Congress came to a successful end on Sunday evening. In the Open Section, Jack Rudd skittled his way through the first 4 rounds enabling him to agree a quick draw to ensure 1st prize, and his opponent, Dominic Mackle, clear 2nd.

The other winners were as follows:

3rd= Mike Waddington (Dorchester); Jeremy Fallowfield (Stourbridge); Oscar Garcia (Poole); Philip Tozer (Athenaeum); Steve Dilleigh (Bristol), Graham Bolt (Exeter) & John Stephens, (Exmouth) all 3½.

Grading prizes (U-186) Mike Duggan; Paul Helbig & Paul Hampton (Seaton) all 3½. (U-160) Yuyang Wang (Plymouth) .

Major Section (U-155): 1st David Archer (154 – S. Hams) 5 pts. 2nd= Matthew Read (152 – Shrewsbury); Colin Sellwood (149 – Camborne) & Mark Potter (154 – Dorchester) all 4 pts. GPs (U-146) Roy Shapland (Barnstaple).

(U-135) Nick Cunliffe (Wells).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st= Roy Greenhalgh 115 – S. Hams); James Wallman (105 – Dorset); Graham Hillman (114 – Wimbourne); Gary Loyden (113 – Swindon); Chris Smith (102 – Thornbury) & Peter Strong (92 – Clevedon) All 4 pts. Although the lowest graded in this 6-way tie, Strong won the Cup by virtue of his sum-of-opponents’ scores. GPs (U-106) Christine Constable (105 – Bude) & John Carr (100). (U-91) Elmira Walker (90-Downend); Brian Aldwin (87 – Exeter); Tim Roberts (87 – Exeter Uni.) & Ken Hayden-Sadler (66 – Teignmouth) all 2½.

This was Rudd’s 3rd round game, a crisp win against an opponent who nevertheless still finished in the prizelist.

White: P. Tozer (193). Black: J. Rudd. (226)

English Opening – Sicilian Variation.

1.c4 e5 The Sicilian Variation, generally regarded as the liveliest of Black’s responses, although Howard Staunton was of the opinion that “White would get a fine game”.  2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0–0 Be6 8.a3 a5 9.d3 Be7 10.Be3 0–0 11.Rc1 f5 Black wastes no time in starting a central attack. 12.Na4 e4 13.Ne1 Nd5 14.Bc5 e3 15.f4 The e-pawn cannot be taken because of 15…Nxe3 15…b6 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 White’s dominance of the white diagonal eventually proves the key to victory. 17.Bxe3 Bf6 Compare and contrast the positioning of each side’s minor pieces. 18.Nc3 Re8 19.Bf2 Bf7 20.Nf3 Nd4 21.Nxd4 Bxd4 22.Qd2 c5 23.e3 Bxc3 24.Qxc3 Qd5 25.g4 Qf3 26.gxf5 Bd5 Threatening mate on 2 squares. 27.e4 Black is not to be denied. 27…Rxe4! 28.Bg3 If 28.dxe4 and mate will follow. 28…Qxe4. 28…Re1 protecting Black’s queen by pinning its attacker and hence ensuring mate next move. 29.Rcxe1 Qg2# 0–1.

The “zinger” in last week’s position was 1.Rh6+! Kxh6 (1…Kf7 is no better) 2.Qf6+ Kh7 3.Rh1+ Kg8 4.Rh8 mate.

The US millionaire Alain White (1880-1951) used to collect problems and each Christmas would reward those who sent him specimens with a small book. This was from his 1905 gift which contained 200 problems with a “king trapped in the corner” theme. This was No. 26, a 2-mover by his friend and mentor, Sam Loyd, a devilishly teasing composer.

White to play and mate in 2

Robert Everson R.I.P. (20.02.2018.)

Robert Everson RIP.

Since receiving a couple of e-mails regarding Bob Everson, I’ve take the liberty of melding them together, adding some of my own material.

Robert Everson had been a regular attendee at the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress in Exmouth, and Paignton, for a number of years, one of a group of other Kent players; among them Mike Wiltshire, Alan Sherriff  and Ian McAllan.

He attended the Paignton Congress in September 2016, and towards the end of one round, I was walking past and noticed Bob with a few friends at the board, demonstrating how he had just lost his game because he missed/forgot a move that he had already noticed during his analysis. I heard him say “I can’t understand it – how could I do that?!” – an innocent remark that I couldn’t forget, as I knew another player, Simon Bartlett, was similarly ill.

On return home he took medical advice, and it was found he had an incurable brain tumour. Bartlett had been told his particular tumour was associated with workers in the chemical industry, and I gather Bob had had a similar career.

Bob had been the Dartford first team captain since September 1974, probably the longest period for any Kent club captain.  Bob joined the Dartford club shortly after leaving school and enjoyed many successful and happy years playing chess and mixing with his fellow players.  In particular he much enjoyed the Exmouth, Paignton and Thanet tournaments in which he competed for many years.

Bob died peacefully at home at 11.30 pm. on Tuesday 13th February. He suffered no pain.

A Humanist funeral will take place at Eltham Crematorium on Friday March 16th at 10.15am.
He was a gentleman and a great guy always prepared to offer advice.  He will be much missed by his family and all chess associates.

Rather than flowers Bob opted for a donation to the Ellener Foundation.

Paignton 2016: Bob Everson completes his move against Arthur Hibbert on top board.

Devon’s Annual Graded Jamboree (15.01.2018.)

Devon’s annual jamboree took place at the Isca Centre in Exeter, involving teams from three quarters of the county. The East comprised players from clubs in the Exeter & District League, though not all clubs were represented. Similarly, the South team was made up of players from clubs involved in the Torbay League, while the West team drew from a solitary club, Plymouth, and a population base probably greater than either of the other two areas.

The team grade limit of 1,650 made it an average of 137 per player, with no player being allowed to be lower than 100. The East succeeded in getting closest to that maximum, with the South & West both c.35 points lower.

As there were 3 teams, players were paired on the Hutton pairing formula, which ensures that each team has six Whites, upfloats and opponents from the other two teams.

Two charts are needed to make full sense of the outcome. The first shows exactly who played who, and the result.

The 2nd shows each team’s total.

Bd White Black
1 Thynne, T. F. 170 S1 ½ ½ O’Neill, P 188 E1
2 Scott, C. J. 160 E2 ½ ½ O’Brien, M 159 W1
3 Schofield, J. 156 W1 0 1 Wilson, M 161 S2
4 Brusey. A. W. 158 S3 ½ ½ Stinton- M 154 W3
5 Butland, N 150 W4 1 0 Hafstad, L 159 E3
6 Ang, S. A. 139 E4 ½ ½ Kinder, A 147 S4
7 Quinn, M 146 W5 0 1 Blackmore, J 143 S5
8 Taylor, W 136 S6 0 1 Dean, A 140 E5
9 Southall, C 135 E6 1 0 Wilby, R. G. 140 W6
10 Hart-Davis, A 135 W7 1 0 Marjoram, W 128 E7
11 Jones, R. H. 128 E8 0 1 Allen, J. E. 134 S7
12 Cockerton, M 125 S8 ½ ½ McConnell, P 128 W8
13 Bacon, N 124 E9 1 0 Tatam, T 114 W9
14 Dean, J 112 W10 0 1 Ariss, J 115 S9
15 Sturt, B 116 S10 1 0 Palmer, E 129 E10
16 Scholes, R 112 E11 1 0 Tidy, N. F. 101 S11
17 Kennedy- I 100 S12 ½ ½ Crickmore, A. E. 108 W11
18 Proudfoot, A 106 W12 1 0 Aldwin, B 100 E12
East South West
1 P. O’Neill 188 ½ T. F. Thynne 170 ½ M. O’Brien 159 ½
2 C. J. Scott 160 ½ M. Wilson 161 1 J. Schofield 156 0
3 L. Hafstad 159 0 A. W. Brusey 158 ½ M. Stinton- 154 ½
4 S-A. Ang 139 ½ A. Kinder 147 ½ N. J. Butland 150 1
5 A. Dean 140 1 J. Blackmore 143 1 M. Quinn 146 0
6 C. Southall 135 1 W. Taylor 136 0 R. G. Wilby 140 0
7 W. Marjoram 128 0 J. E. Allen 134 1 A. Hart-Davis 135 1
8 R. H. Jones 128 0 M. Cockerton 125 ½ P. McConnell 128 ½
9 N. Bacon 124 1 J. Ariss 115 1 A. Tatam 114 0
10 E. Palmer 129 0 B. Sturt 116 1 J. E. Dean 112 0
11 R. Scholes 112 1 N. F. Tidy 101 0 E. A. Crickmore 108 ½
12 B. Aldwin 100 0 I. Kennedy 100 ½ A. Proudfoot 106 1
1642 1606 1608 5

Most years, the result is a close one, a triple-tie being recorded more than once. This time, however, the South (Torbay) won by a clear 2 points, losing only 2 games in the process.

Listening to the opening remarks and welcome by the host, Dr. Tim Paulden.

The game on Board 1 featured Trefor Thynne (W) and Paul O'Neill - game drawn.

General view of the higher boards - nearest is Mike Stinton-Brownbridge making a move against Alan Brusey.

Another view of the higher boards - Sara-Ann Ang in play against the Torbay Captain, Andrew Kinder.

Nearest is Phil McConnell facing Mark Cockerton on Bd. 12.

The victorious Torbay team, with team captain, Andrew Kinder, holding the trophy.

A Christmas Theme (23.12.2017.) 965

Sixteen players took part in last weekend’s Cornish Christmas RapidPlay in Tuckingmill. They all won a prize of some sort, but the main ones were 1st Colin Sellwood (Camborne) on 4½/5. 2nd= were David Saqui and Jan Rodrigo (both Penwith) on 4/5. Tom Oates (Camborne) won the junior prize with 3.

The January issue of Chess magazine, which will be out early, effectively as a Christmas issue, will include the story of how R. D. Blackmore, world famous author of Laura Doone, came to invite William Steinitz, future World Chess Champion, round to his house for Christmas dinner. It’s an unlikely but fascinating story, yet true.

The traditional post-Christmas chess feast is the venerable Hastings Congress. Here is a game from the Challengers Section of the 1965 Hastings event, taken from the British Chess Magazine and introduced by their reporter, Owen Hindle.

“It seems incredible that A. R. B. Thomas has been playing at Hastings for over 40 years. His style is as lively as ever, particularly in his pet lines against the Sicilian. Play through this game, you will enjoy it!”

ARB had spent 40 years teaching at Blundell’s School in Tiverton, which Blackmore had attended as a pupil, and if, by this time, he had reached the stage of Grand Old Man of chess, Mike Basman was, by contrast, an 18 year old tyro, destined to become an IM with a penchant for exotic openings. He was born Mikayel Basmadijan of Armenian parentage, and his babysitter was a young Cleo Laine, who usually managed to sing him to sleep.

White: Andrew Thomas. Black: M. Basman.

1.e4 c5 2.c3 The c3 Sicilian, which has since become even more popular. 2…Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 dxe5 9.d5 Now White is asking the first serious question. 9…e4 Basman was never one to be cowed and chooses to counter-attack. 10.dxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Kxd1 exf3 12.Bb5 One threat is met, to be replaced by another. 12…Kd8 13.Bf4 Bg4 14.Kc2 Bf5+ 15.Kb2 Kc8 16.Rhd1 g5 17.Rd8+! 1–0 After 17…Kxd8 18.cxb7 there are several mating combinations in 5 or 6 moves. Work them through when you get a chance.

Last week’s position was a case of “Give something to win something”. That is, 1.Qg8=Q+! forcing 1…RxQ  losing the queen but unpinning the bishop which can now play 2.Be5+ Rg7 3.BxR+ KxB allowing White to get his queen back with 4.Ph8=Q+ Kf7 and 5.Nxd4 denies Black any series of checks.

Edith Baird née Winter-Wood (1859-1924) was adept at constructing all sorts of chess problems, including ones in which the pieces took the form of letters of the alphabet. One Christmas she published this 2-mover in the Illustrated London News with the title Noël Fantaisie: can you see how the pieces form the initials NF? And she added this quotation from The Merchant of Venice:- “Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you,” as valid a seasonal wish now as then.

White to mate in 2

Devon vs Somerset (26.11.2017.)

Devon & Somerset’s 1st and U-160 teams met yesterday at a new venue, Sampford Peverell’s Village Hall. It proved an ideal set-up, situated, as it is, almost on the county border, close to the M5 and with its own main-line railway station, Tiverton Parkway. The hall itself was ideal in every respect, and being decked out with boughs of holly brought a seasonal touch to the proceedings.

The 1st team meeting proved to be a match of two halves – the top and bottom half. Somerset had a strong top 4, but conceded more and more the further one went down the team lists, and from that alone one could reasonably expect a fairly comfortable win for Devon. The fact that it didn’t turn out that way seemed to lie in the middle orders, boards 7 – 11 where Devon enjoyed a 20 grading points advantage on every board, yet failed to record a single win. This, coupled with the fact that Somerset won all 4 top games, made it a very close, sweaty-palmed afternoon indeed. If Devon hadn’t been offered some free help – one no-show and a suicide – there might have been a somewhat different outcome.  The Devon Captain’s observations follow:-

Meanwhile, the U-160s took no such chances, losing only 2 of their 12 games. They have now won both of their matches in the WECU stage, and await the draw for the National Stages, early next year.

Jonathan Underwood wrote as follows:

When I saw the Somerset team before the match, I’d thought we should have a large lead on the lower 12 boards (where we outgraded them by on average 20 points) which would win the match provided nothing too disastrous happened on the top four, which proved somewhat prophetic.

At the venue there was an ill omen as the first lot of tables we found were of a height intended for toddlers, but eventually we found the right ones. First panic over. I thought the place was very suitable and would certainly book it again.

By the time the match started Somerset were still missing three of their players, only two of whom did eventually turn up, leaving Steve Martin with a wasted journey and Devon with a point. It wasn’t our first though, as Oliver’s opponent miscued his gambit and resigned after 10 moves.

Looking around at a fairly early stage of the match our three Pauls seemed to be going well, with Paul Hampton’s opponent running short of time already after just 10 moves on the board. Jos Haynes also looked to be winning, and soon afterwards both he and Paul O’Neill added wins to draws from Tim, Brian, Chris and Stephen Homer. One way or the other games involving Jack Rudd always finish quickly, and this time Walter succumbed to the Somerset IM. Devon led 6-3.

Things on the other top boards weren’t looking so good. Dominic ran out of time after 29 moves and Graham had to contend with a menacing passed pawn. I offered a draw thinking my opponent was bound to accept as he was significantly worse albeit, with a big lead on time. I was wrong. Over the next few moves my position improved to winning.. and then went to dead lost as I struggled with the clock. A similar reverse befell Paul Brooks and it was 6 all.

By now Dennis had a pair of bishops for a rook, which together with his opponent’s weakened pawn structure proved enough to win, but Graham had to resign shortly afterwards and it was 7 all. So we went down 4-0 on the top boards.

At this stage Paul Hampton’s lead on the clock was down to a few minutes, with a complicated open position and only 25 moves made. John was holding an awkward bad bishop against knight endgame.  With only a minute or so left Paul’s opponent went for simplifications, which seemed to leave him worse though not obviously losing, but having to consider a lot of possible threats in no time. I not sure whether Paul or I was the more relieved to see the flag fall around move 33. John’s game was agreed drawn within seconds, and Devon scraped home 8.5-7.5.

Thanks to everyone who turned out to play. I have now learned the wisdom of always fielding the strongest possible team, just in case it’s one of those days.

Jon.

Bd Devon 1st team Grd Somerset 1st team Grd
1 Walter Braun 203 0 1 Jack Rudd 215
2 Dom Mackle 198 0 1 Ben Edgell 202
3 Graham Bolt 196 0 1 Pat Krzyzanowski 197
4 Jon Underwood 192 0 1 Arturo Wong 189
5 Paul O’Neill 188 1 0 Andrew Gregory 175
6 Steve Martin 186 1 0 Andrew Cooper 174
7 John Wheeler 185 ½ ½ D. Painter-Kooiman 163
8 Brian Hewson 184 ½ ½ Lander Bedialauneta 159
9 Tim Paulden 183 ½ ½ Robert Radford 157
10 Steve Homer 181 ½ ½ Darren Freeman 156
11 Chris Lowe 176 ½ ½ Gerry Jepps 156
12 Dennis Cowley 173 1 0 Roger Knight 156
13 Paul Hampton 172 1 0 Dave Peters 156
14 Oliver Wensley 172 1 0 Alex Conway 150
15 Jos Haynes 171 1 0 Adrian Champion 147
16 Paul Brooks 170 0 1 Chris Purry 147
Devon U-160s Somerset U-160s
1 Alan Brusey 158 1 0 Philip Chapman 141
2 Charlie Howard 155 1 0 Chris Fewtrell 146
3 Brian Gosling 154 1 0 Chris McKinley 144
4 Nick Butland 150 0 1 Chris Strong 144
5 Peter Halmkin 148 ½ ½ Tim Wallis 144
6 Andrew Kinder 147 1 0 Utibe Effiong 142
7 Martin Quinn 146 1 0 Jim Fewkes 141
8 Josh Blackmore 143 1 0 Nigel Mills 133
9 Rob Wilby 140 ½ ½ Ben Radford 133
10 Adam Hart-Davis 135 ½ ½ Mark Baker 130
11 John Allen 134 0 1 Chris Lamming 129
12 Bob Jones 128 1 0 Martin Willis 129

Some nervous banter among the top boards before play started

Geberal view of the hall, decked out with boughs of holly and other festive trimmings

Somerset's top 4 boards get down to action, except Krzyzanowski whose empty chair bears witness to his being late.

Exotic and exciting Venezuelan, Arturo Wong, nearly reduced Devon's captain to tears with his fighting finish after being well down in the middlegame.

The Royal Beacon Seniors Congress – A Look Back and Forward.

As is generally known, the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress has been held at the hotel from the very beginning in 2000. That year, Stewart Reuben expressed the opinion that it was probably the first event of its kind in England. Since then Seniors events have sprouted up all over the globe. When FIDE made a move to split the category into 2 (a) 50 – 64 and 65+, Exmouth got in first and formalised its “Junior” section to fit into the same age parameters. This way, some of the youngest Seniors, to their great amusement, were able to go back into the Juniors for a year or two.

Since 2000 the hotel has been owned first by local businessmen, John Fowler and then George Nightingale, both happy to host a midweek event in the first week of November, not usually noted as a high point in hotel activity, even at the sea-side. Earlier this year, however, the hotel was acquired by the Robertson Hotel Group, who are proactive in generating a wide range of activities; weddings, Murder nights, naked body painting etc. (don’t ask!) and for a time it was feared that they might raise the room hire charge to an unsustainable level, as far as this event is concerned, as has happened to the WECU Easter Congress, which next year will be held down the road at the Manor Hotel.

I spent several sessions negotiating with the new local Events Manager, arguing the economic good sense of keeping things the same. At the last minute, the good news came through that our argument has won the day – for the time being at least. Therefore the 19th Congress will be held from Monday 5th November to Friday 9th November 2018 – all arrangements unchanged. As this year, the Torbay Congress will follow closely on.

Meanwhile, last but certainly not least, many thanks to all who made donations large & small to ensure the events viability in these uncertain times.

Donations

Many thanks to all who made donations large and small to help keep the event viable,

including the following.

William Adaway Ivor Annetts Ian Farrow
Eddie Fierek Paul Foster Raymond Gamble
Brian Gosling Robert Hurn Norman Hutchinson
Sid Jones Ray Kearsley Stan Lovell
Peter Lucas Omer Namouk Martin Page
Malcolm Roberts John Shaddick Alan Sherriff
Richard Smith Hazel Welch Michael Wiltshire
Ronnie Burton Steve Dilleigh Dave Rogers
Colin Sellwood Dinah & Ken Norman
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