October 2015
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Royal Beacon Seniors 2015 – Current Entry List

Entries are now coming in almost every day, for the 16th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress, which starts on Monday 2nd November at 1 p.m.

I hope to keep an up-to-date list of entries so far received, so that you can, perhaps, eye up the possible opposition.

EXMOUTH SENIORS CONGRESS– Entries as at    02.10.’15
  Grd      SENIORS     Grd “JUNIORS”  
1 189 Norman Ken   189 Page Mark
2 177 Kendall Paul   187 Dilleigh Stephen
3 165 Everson Robert   187 Brown Alan
4 160 Price Andrew   184 Brusey Alan
5 154 Gosling Brian   182 Wells Jonathan
6 152 Page Martin   179 Heppell Ian
7 151 Annetts Ivor   164 Dean Steve
8 143 Scowen Roger   160 Burton Ronnie
9 142 Sherriff Alan   135 Roberts Malcolm
10 151 Annetts Ivor   134 Blencowe Ian
11 143 Scowen Roger        
12 142 Sherriff Alan        
13 135 Namouk Omer        
14 133 Harris William        
15 132 Hunt Ray        
16 131 Shaddick John        
17 130 Egan Bill        
18 130 Adams Martyn        
19 130 Robertson Jim        
20 128 Smith Richard        
21 126 Errington, Paul        
22 124 Hurn Robert        
23 120 Gordon Philip        
24 118 Jones Bob        
25 118 Tidy Norman        
26 110 Waters Roger        
28 108 Dean Michael        
29 107 Welch Hazel        
30 107 Fraser Alan        
31 101 Burt Dave        
32 98 Purry Nigel        
33 94 Lucas Peter        
34 94 Thorpe-Tracey Stephen        
35 75 Queen Andrew        

WECU Inter-County Jamboree 2015 — Devon Dig Deep.

A quick look at the team lists before the start of play showed that Somerset were making a big effort to wrest the Open trophy from Devon’s grip of recent years. The top half of their team were all graded higher than Devon’s No. 1, the new County Champion, John Stephens, with a Grandmaster and International Master among them. Their team total grade exceeded Devon’s by 118 points, or 10 points per board on average. The only chink of light for the holders was that Devon slightly out-graded Somerset on the bottom 3 boards, and by way of a gallows humour, there was a view that if the top boards could get a few draws, while the bottom ones could harvest a win or two, all might not be lost. But there wasn’t much conviction in the way it was said.

However, as the first results came in, the “plan” (if it could be so called) seemed to be taking shape. After a quick win for Rudd,  early draws from the middle order were recorded, including Hurst, Regis, Underwood, Hui and Paulden. In fact the draws continued to roll in, while in the bottom 3 games, Wheeler and Fraser notched up the hoped-for wins. With 5.5 points in the bag and 3 games still in progress, it was team captain Brian Hewson’s win that took his team past the winning post. Devon’s last 2 games were against Grandmsters: John Stephens had taken the view from the start that all-out attack was the best policy, and he reached a rook & pawn endgame with 3 & 2 pawns on the same side of the board, and his rook kept Turner’s king from taking part in the action, so a draw was agreed; Stephens’ best-ever result. Alan Brusey was last to finish, with another rook & pawn ending against Grandmaster Christopher Jones (problem composer). With the match won, there was no pressure but neither player made any mistakes and an amicable draw agreed.

Amazingly, Devon’s “plan” had actually come about, and there was some incredulity in the room that such a strong team as Somerset had, could only win the one game. It has to be recorded, too, that Gloucestershire had also made a great effort to turn out a competitive team, which was their strongest for some years.

There was some compensation for Somerset captain, Roger Knight, in that in the Grade-limited section, Somerset S & E romped home with 8 points, a clear win against 3 very closely matched teams.

Full details:

Bd Devon  Grd   Glos. Grd   Somerset  Grd
1 John Stephens 196   Joey Stuart 200   Matt Turner (GM) 238
2 Lorenz Hartmann 190   Michael Ashworth 190   Jack Rudd   (IM) 216
3 Jon Underwood 186   John Jenkins 185   Arturo Wong 202
4 Tim Paulden 185   Nigel Hosken 184   Thomas Goldie 201
5 Mark Hui 185   Paul Masters 182   Ben Edgell 199
6 Alan Brusey 184   Chris Jones  (GM) 180   Pat Krzyzanowski 197
7 Kevin Hurst 181   Mike Levene 179   Matthew Payne 192
8 Dave Regis 183   Kajetan Wandowicz 170   Peter Chaplin 186
9 Mark Abbott 180   Phil Meade 169   Dave Littlejohns 182
10 John Wheeler 178   Robert Ashworth 145   David P-Kooiman 173
11 John Fraser 177   Barry Whitelaw 137   Gerry Jepps 167
12 Brian Hewson 176   Ainsley Killey 128   Andy Gregory 166
    2201     2049     2319


Bd   White Grd       Black Grd
1 D1 J. K. Stephens 196 ½ ½ S1 M. Turner 238
2 S2 J. Rudd 216 1 0 G1 J. Stuart 200
3 G2 M. Ashworth 190 ½ ½ D2 L. Hartmann 190
4 D3 J. Underwood 186 ½ ½ G3 J. Jenkins 185
5 G4 N. Hosken 184 ½ ½ S3 A. Wong 202
6 S4 T. Goldie 201 ½ ½ D4 T. Paulden 185
7 D5 M. Hui 185 ½ ½ S5 B. Edgell 199
8 S6 P. Krzyzanowski 197 ½ ½ G5 P. Masters 182
9 G6 C. Jones 180 ½ ½ D6 A. W. Brusey 184
10 D7 K. J. Hurst 181 ½ ½ G7 M. Levene 179
11 G8 K. Wandowicz 170 ½ ½ S7 M. Payne 192
12 S8 P. Chaplin 186 ½ ½ D8 D. Regis 183
13 D9 M. V. Abbott 180 ½ ½ S9 D. Littlejohns 182
14 S10 D. P-Kooiman 173 ½ ½ G9 P. J. Meade 169
15 G10 R. Ashworth 145 0 1 D10 J. F. Wheeler 178
16 D11 J. Fraser 177 1 0 G11 B. Whitelaw 137
17 G12 A. Killey 128 1 0 S11 G. N. Jepps 167
18 S12 A. Gregory 166 0 1 D12 B. W. Hewson 176


Open 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Devon ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 7½ 
Glos 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 5
Somerset ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 5½ 


Bd Torbay Gd   Som. S&W. Gd   Som. E&N Gd   Wilts  
1 P. Brooks 158   D, Freeman 165   F. Felicio 165   A. Cooper 177
2 M. Stinton 158   R. Knight 157   C. Purry 160   M. Bowhay 152
3 W. Ingham 158   M. Baker 150   C. Strong 155   D. O’Byrne 149
4 A. Kinder 151   J. Fewkes 145   C. Fewtrell 145   C. S-Lumb 139
5 V. Ramesh 143   C. Mckinley 142   J. Lee 141   P. Musgrove 135
6 R. Wilby 142   S. Pickard 138   A. Champion 128   T. Cooper 133
7 M. O’Brien 126   R. Challoner 136   G. Daniel 123   G. Williams 128
8 J. Ariss 121   R. McClatchy 131   Z. Strong 121   R. Ludlow 118
9 M. Cockerton 116   I. Stringer 116   H. Fowler 121   E. Hughes 110
10 J. Dean 112   G. Greenland 108   R. Waters 110   M. Walters 107
11 C. Peach 105   M. Cooper 105   C. Fowler 95   D. Brown 98
12 A. Tatm 105   R. Fenton 104   M. Walker 70   R. Sparks 80
    1595     1597     1534     1526


Bd   White Grd       Black Grd
1 T1 P. Brooks 158 ½ ½ N1 F. Felicio 165
2 W1 A. Cooper 177 ½ ½ S1 D. Freeman 165
3 N2 C. Purry 160 1 0 W2 M. Bowhay 152
4 S2 R. Knight 157 ½ ½ T2 M. Stinton 158
5 T3 W. Ingham 158 ½ ½ W3 D. O’Byrne 149
6 N3 C. Strong 155 0 1 S3 M. Baker 150
7 S4 J. Fewkes 145 ½ ½ N4 C. Fewtrell 145
8 W4 C. S-Lumb 139 ½ ½ T4 A. Kinder 151
9 W5 P. Musgrove 135 1 0 N5 J. Lee 141
10 T5 V. Ramesh 143 1 0 S5 C. McKinley 142
11 N6 A. Champion 128 1 0 T6 R. Wilby 142
12 S6 S. Pickard 138 1 0 W6 T. Cooper 133
13 T7 M. O’Brien 126 1 0 N7 G. Daniel 123
14 W7 G. Williams 128 0 1 S7 R. Challoner 136
15 N8 Z. Strong 121 1 0 W8 R. Ludlow 118
16 S8 R. McClatchey 131 0 1 T8 J. Ariss 121
17 T9 M. Cockerton 116 0 1 W9 E. Hughes 110
18 N9 default          —– 116
19 S10 G. Greenland 108 1 0 N10 R. Waters 110
20 W10 M. Walters 107 1 0 T10 J. Dean 112
21 W11 D. Brown  98 0 1 N11 I. Stringer 116
22 T11 C. Peach 105 ½ ½ S11 M. Cooper 105
23 N12 M. Walker 70 ½ ½ T12 A. Tatam 105
24 S12 R. Fenton 104 1 0 W12 R. Sparks 80


Open 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Torbay ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ 6
Somerset S&W ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 8
Somerset E&N ½ 1 0 ½ 0 1 0 1 - ½  - 0 4½ 
Wiltshire ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 4½ 


Open Section: Stephens vs Turner nearest.

The bottom boards: Abbott vs Littlejohns (probably at the bookstall).

Brookes vs Felicio: top game in the Graded Section.

Vignesh Ramesh (nearest) on his way to a win vs McKinley.

Young Max Walker (70 grade) on his way to a creditable draw against Tony Tatam.

Gareth William flanked by Megan O'Brien and Zoe Strong on his left. He lost; they both won.

Event organiser Ben Edgell (r) presents the Open cup to Devon Captain, Brian Hewson. Does he look pleased - or what?

Roger Knight receives the Graded Cup.

The very pleasant venue of the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre. Thanks are due to staff member Martin Worrall for making it available.

Paignton Congress 2015 Day 5

Keith Arkell has an added incentive to finish on 7/7 pts, not only to be clear 1st, but also to keep his rating points up, after losing a few at his previous tournament at Coulsdon. Today he was paired with his own pupil, 13 yr old Theo Slade, which might favour one side or the other, – but which one? Each will be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the other. As things turned out, the maestro was not to be denied, and cruised to 5/5. Slade will certainly be disappointed and still has a good chance of a very good final score.

On the other boards, local star, Alan Brusey, seems to have hit a fine vein of form, and looks set to post an impressive final total.

Master & pupil play for real.


John Wheeler vs Alan Brusey on Bd. 2 after a good start by both.


Devon's Match Captain, Brian Hewson, takes on 2nd seed, Steve Berry.


Bolt vs Pickersgill on Bd. 7 with Hempson vs Staples.


"3 little girls from school are we" (G & S). Marian Cox, Wendy Carr & Hazel Welch, side by side in the Minor.


The Analysis Room - A room with a view. Looking out over the hotel pool towards Brixham & Berry Head.

Paignton Congress 2015 Day 4

  Paignton   Premier       Round   4    
Bd. White         Black    
1 Gostelow, D. W. 2042 (2½) 0 1 Arkell, K. C 2505 (3)
2 Berry, S. H. 2294 (2) ½   ½ Dilleigh, S. P 2064 (2)
3 Pickersgill, A. O. 1991 (2)  0 Wheeler, J. W. 2117 (2)
4 Brusey, A. W. 1998 (2) 1 0 Hewson, B. W. 2080 (2)
5 Littlejohns D 1994 (2) 0 1 Slade, T 1998 (2)
6 Bass, J. W. 2018 (1½)  ½  ½ Bolt, G 2004 (1)
7 McKenna, J. P. 2138 (1)  1 Toms, D. A. 1908 (1)
8 Brown, A. M. 2088 (1)  1 Hempson, P. W. 2059 (1)
9 Staples, M. J 1975 (1)  ½  ½ Spanton, T. R. 1958 (½)
10 Byway, P. V. 2158 (0)  1 Gibbs, D. C. 1784 (½)

The first result in, before play even started, was the win awarded to Theo Slade after Dave Littlejohns was taken ill and had to retire to his room. Gostelow seemed to have decided that rather than risk suffering a long, lingering death, came out from the start with all guns blazing, but Arkell was not one to be panicked and soon had all his pieces on active squares, and his biggest problem was trying to decide which of the potentially good lines to select. He soon got the full point, to maintain his 100% score.

Gostelow vs Arkell

David Toms (nearest); the Brown vs Hempson & Staples vs Spanton.

Top boards in the Challengers.

Top boards in the Intermediate.

The well-known blind player, Philip Gordon, vs Ray Chubb in a quiet corner of the room.

Paignton Congress 2015 – Day 3

The Congress has usually started to take shape by Rd. 3. In the Premier there were already only 2 players on a maximum 2/2; naturally being the top 2 seeds, Arkell and Berry had to meet this early. Having started with the white pieces, it was Arkell’s turn to have White again, always a slight advantage. Indeed, he did manage to establish the kind of position he’s probably best at, with all rooks on, and his good knight against a poorer bishop. It was a potent piece, defending well and covering potential threats while having some itself, and Arkell is not the kind of player to let slip these small advantages, even if he has to sit on his hands all evening, content to play the long game.

Further down the order, a former WECU President, John Wheeler (W) faced a former WECU Champion, Maurice Staples, who played the Chigorin Defence. After castling on opposite wings, it was Wheeler who mananaged to secure open lines for his pieces to attack down the kingside. Black’s counter on the opposite wing was a move or two too slow, and Wheeler finished with a sharp combination.

  Paignton Premier       Round 3    
Bd. White         Black    
1 Arkell, K. C 2505 (2) Berry, S. H. 2294 (2)
2 Hewson, B. W 2080 (1½)  ½  ½ Littlejohns, D 1994 (1½)
3 Dilleigh, S. P 2064 (1½)  ½  ½ Pickersgill, A. O. 1991 (1½)
4 Hempson, P. W. 2059 (1)  0 Gostelow, D. W. 2042 (1½)
5 Wheeler, J. W. 2117 (1) 1 0 Staples, M. J. 1975 (1)
6 Slade, T 1998 (1)  1 Brown, A. M. 2088 (1)
7 Bolt, G 2004 (1)  0 Brusey, A. W. 1998 (1)
8 Gibbs, D. C. 1784 (½)  0 Bass, J. W. 2018 (½)
9 Spanton, T. R. 1958 (½)  0 McKenna, J. P. 2138 (0)
10 Toms, D. A. 1908 (0)  1 Byway, P. V. 2158 (0)

No sooner had the calm of the afternoon descended on the playing hall at the back of the hotel, than a party broke at the front, where the hotel management had laid on a bit of a do for the guests in celebration of the Queen’s record-breaking longevity. I came across this quite by chance, and as a reporter always on the look-out for a good story, asked the lady at the door if I could perhaps take a few photographs of the colourful scene and was welcomed in, treated to champagne (choice of red, white or blue) and afterward tea, sandwiches and cakes. The guests were mostly made up a coach party of pensioners from Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas, who joined in whole-heartedly with the entertainment provided by Spencer, the resident organist, and a female duo calling themselves “The Two Jonnies”, referring to their costume, typical of the so-called stage door Jonnies of the late Victorian and Edwardian era. They gave it their all, with a range of war-time songs like Underneath The Arches – a couple of real old pros, adept at working the crowd.

Arkell & Berry chat before hostilities break out.

The top boards on the Challengers section.

Would Sir prefer red, white or blue champagne?

Waiting for the show to start.

Getting into the spirit.

Spencer the organist is up for it, too.

The Two Jonnies can't wait to get on stage!

... and off they go!

The chess congress going on in the background, while exciting to the players, could hardly expect to match this for sheer spectacle and pizzazz.

Paignton Congress Starts

Chess players from all quarters started to assemble at the Livermore House Hotel on Sunday 13th September for the next in the long series of Paignton Congresses. On bumping into the resident GM, Keith Arkell, I opened by commiserating him on his anti-climactic finish to the British Championship, in which he lost to Jonathan Hawkins, who then became British Champion, while Keith slipped to 11th= and out of the prizelist. Bad luck, and Caissa can be a cruel mistress, was my opening gambit, but not a bit of it. He pointed out that he had just returned from the titanic Vienna Open, held in the magnificent Vienna Rathaus, – 461 competitors from all over the world - where he came 1st with a career-best rating of 2700+, beating 4 other GMs in the process. While Keith came 1 st in Vienna, Jonathan Hawkins (they are team-mates, friends and had travelled together) came 11th – positions perfectly reversed from their previous event. The phrase “Swings & Roundabouts” springs to mind.

He was undoubtedly on a high and had already put Warwick well behind him. It must be said that the Vienna event has been somewhat under-reported in the British press, as I was far from being the only one who had missed this.

At 1.45, players were called to take their seats after which DCCA President, Paul Brooks, made an excellent welcoming speech, while reviewing some of the highlights of the event over the years. Congress Secretary, Alan Crickmore then added his own remarks, and lay commenced at 2 p.m. precisely. 

Here are a few shots of the opening day.

DCCA President Paul Brooks opens the Congress, framed by former President Ivor Annetts (l) and current Secretary, Trefor Thynne.

Alan Crickmore addresses the assemblage, with Arbiters Tony Tatam and John Ariss looking on.

Keith Arkell greets his first opponent.

The 2 Doctors, Peter Hempson and David Toms, get stuck in.

General view of the playing area.

Another view of the setting.

So Near – So Far For Devon U-180 Team

Having got through the Quarter- & Semi-Finals of the National U-180 Inter-County Championships, Devon met Middlesex in the final at Warwick yesterday, and a tense affair it proved to be.

Team Captain, Brian Hewson, tells the story of the afternoon thus:- 

Unfortunately Devon lost 7.5-8.5. We were outgraded on the bottom 6 boards and half way through the match we looked like losing by more. We were 2 down with half the games complete; draws from Annetts, Ingham, myself, Shaw, Scott and Underwood but losses for Atkins and Wensley. Then Steve Martin won, Dean and Stinton-Brownbridge drew and Paul Brooks won. So we were level with 4 to play. Unfortunately boards 2,3 and 12 looked dodgy and Mark Abbott was in an intense battle despite being a piece up as his opponent had a pawn on the 7th. However Dave Regis pulled off a draw but then Alan Brusey lost. That left us with the prospect that if Mark won and Nick Butland drew we would win 8-8 on board count. Unfortunately Nick, despite a valiant effort, could not hold his game. Mark eventually won his tough game with a throng of players onlooking.  

I was able to present the Team’s Best Board Trophy for the season as a whole to Jonathan Underwood at the event. Jonathan travelled a long way for every match, showing great commitment and achieved a very good 6.5/8 in the season, with no losses, on the high boards. 

I would like all those who played and endured the long journey to Warwick and a very long tiring day.

Details of individual results at the end of this report.

Brian Hewson (r) presents DCCA's Best Player trophy to Dr. Jonathan Underwood before the match.

Underwood (l) gets down to some serious thought.


The details were as follows:

    DEVON  Grd Score   Score MIDDLESEX Grd
1 B Underwood, Jon 180 ½   ½ Tasker, Michael 187
2 W Regis, David 181 ½   ½ Nettleton, Charlie 169
3 B Brusey, Alan W 181 0   1 Chan, Nevil 179
4 W Hewson, Brian 176 ½   ½ Calvert, D Ian 176
5 B Martin, Steven 175 1   0 Crichton, Martin 176
6 W Abbott, Mark V 171 1   0 Mackenzie, Colin 175
7 B Shaw, Meyrick 173 ½   ½ Kane, Robert 173
8 W Ingham,  William 168 ½   ½ Taylor, William J 173
9 B Stinton-B, Michael 168 ½   ½ Dydak, Mateusz 170
10 W Dean, Steve K 167 ½   ½ Dickson, George 167
11 B Atkins, Keith P 160 0   1 Fulton, Anthony 173
12 W Butland, Nick J 158 0   1 Fincham, Leon 166
13 B Annetts, Ivor S 157 ½   ½ White, David J 165
14 W Wensley, Oliver 151 0   1 Kreuzer, Chris 167
15 B Scott, Chris J 154 ½   ½ Kay, Jonathan 160
16 W Brooks, Paul 152 1   0 Boy Lazoni, Victor 159

Keith Arkell Simul. (10.06.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell visited the fledgling chess club at East Budleigh at the weekend. Popular though the hard-working GM is, attendance was affected by the fact that, quite by chance,  there were a number of other activities that weekend, not least the WECU Council Meeting at Ilminster and Devon were due to play Lancashire in the Semi-Final of the National Stages. Wives will only permit so much chess activity in any one weekend. That was bad luck on the Organiser and founder of the new club, Brian Gosling. 

Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable session. Keith took on all-comers, playing everyone twice, and afterwards going through the games from memory, giving advice on the run of play. He picked out the 2 games that gave him the most trouble and they were awarded book prizes. These were Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott of the Exmouth Club, and their prizes, suitable inscribed, were presented to them at their Club in the Royal Beacon Hotel. Keith had analysed their games, the scores of which were posted on the ECF website together with an account of the occasion.

Arkell in action: Belt nearest and Scott furthest.


Belt & Scott play through one of the games, with their book prizes on show.


They found a better move - but too late!

Gold Coins Raining Down (16.05.2015.)

Cornwall’s venture into the National Stages of the Inter-County Championship ended at the first hurdle when they lost to Bedfordshire 5-11 at Weston-Super-Mare. They were outgraded on every board bar one, but not greatly so. In any case, they cannot but be delighted with their overall performance this season. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1. Andrew Greet (229) 1–0 C. Ross (201). 2. Jeremy Menadue (190) ½-½ S. Ledger (195). 3. Theo Slade (178) ½-½ G. Kenworthy (190). 4. Mark Hassall (173) 0-1 A. Elwin (184). 5. Grant Healey (176) 0–1 P. Habershon (182). 6. David Saqui (170) 0-1 G. Borrowdale (181). 7. Robin Kneebone (173) 0-1 R. Freeman (178). 8. Simon Bartlett (168) 0-1 K. Williamson (177). 9. Lloyd Retallick (167) 1-0 M. Botteley (176). 10. Colin Sellwood (153) 0–1 S. Pike (176). 11. Gary Trudeau (157) 1-0 B. Valentine (166). 12. John Wilman (150) 0-1 N. Collacott (165). 13. Jeff Nicholas (150) ½-½ A. Matthews (160). 14. Richard Smith (147) ½-½ T. Lawson (154). 15. David R Jenkins (127) 0-1 C. Sollaway (140). 16. Richard Stephens U/G 0-1 B. Pike (92).

Referring back to their historic win against Devon in March and the game M. Shaw vs Wilman, given earlier, in which Black’s winning move was described by Jeremy Menadue as “what they used to call ‘a gold coins on the board moment’”. Where did that saying come from?

Apparently, it derives from the 1912 game S. Lewitzky vs Frank Marshall at Breslau. In his “autobiography”, ghosted by Reinfeld, Marshall introduces it thus:- “Perhaps you have heard about this game which so excited the spectators that they showered me with gold pieces! I have often been asked whether this really happened. The answer is – yes, that is what happened, literally”. Here is the game, shorn of most of his analysis.

White: S. Lewitzky. Black F. J. Marshall

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Bg5 0–0 9.dxc5 Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Rad1 Qc5 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Rxd5 Nd4 20.Qh5 Ref8 21.Re5 Rh6 22.Qg5 Rxh3 23.Rc5 Qg3!! (see diagram)

Black's gold coin moment?


The gold coin moment. “The most elegant move I have ever played!” wrote Marshall.” The queen is offered 3 ways and White cannot accept the offer in any form. (a) If 24.hxg3 Ne2 mate. (b) If 24.fxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, and (c) if 24.Qxg3 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Nxg3+ 26.Kg1 Nxf1 and Black will be a piece up”.

However, a number of authorities are unsure as to the truth of the story. Golombek, in his A History of Chess, casts doubt on it, as does Edward Winter in his Chess Notes. Did the citizens of Breslau in 1912 really have gold coins jangling in their pockets in case they felt a sudden urge to shower them on folk, however deserving? The Cornish certainly didn’t.

Dave Howard’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Ne4!

National Success for Devon Club (18.04.2015.)

Devon had a club success at national level for the first time in a number of years last weekend when Newton Abbot won the Major Section of the newly-reformatted National Club Championships. Their Club Secretary, Trefor Thynne reports:-

Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, 11th -12th April 2015

A Newton Abbot Perspective:    

Newton Abbot Chess Club scored a notable success for Devon chess when they won, at their first attempt, the MAJOR Section (U-175 grade average)  at the revamped National Club Championships held in Birmingham over the weekend of  11th – 12th April. The Club’s 1st team was as surprised as anyone by the ease of their victory as they won all four of their matches and finished 3 points clear of the runners-up. Not only that, but the Club’s 2nd team did very well in coming 3rd out of 10 teams in the INTERMEDIATE Section (U-150 grade average).

The idea of entering teams for this event had come about when several of the club’s members decided to do something different from the usual run of local league competitions. The National Club Championships, formerly run like the FA Cup with a season-long knock-out campaign (although with the addition of a Plate competition for Rd. 1 losers) had somewhat lost its cachet with the expansion of the 4NCL, and in 2014 the ECF decided to reinvent the competition as a weekend congress at High Wycombe for club teams. Each team would consist of 4 players and would play 4 matches over the weekend. This year the event switched to the conveniently central location of Birmingham and attracted an increased entry into its 4 sections (Open, Major, Intermediate and Minor).

The Newton Abbot club (which incidentally celebrates its 10th birthday this year) entered two teams whose members were:

MAJOR:   Stephen Homer (184); John Fraser (175); Trefor Thynne (168); Matthew Wilson (157). (av. 171)

INTERMEDIATE: Andrew Kinder (146); Wilf Taylor (142); Vignesh Ramesh (138); Jacquie Barber-Lafon (121). (av. 136).

It was noteworthy that each of the two teams contained one of Devon’s best junior players: 17 yr- old John Fraser, already an England international, in the Major team and 14 yr -old Vignesh Ramesh in the Intermediate, both products of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.


Rd. 1:  Newton Abbot (171) 2½ – 1½ Wanstead and Woodford (173).

(Homer 1; Fraser ½; Wilson 0; Thynne 1)                                       

Rd. 2:  Newton Abbot 2½ – 1½ DHSS (167).

(Homer ½; Fraser 1; Wilson ½; Thynne ½)

Rd. 3: Newton Abbot 3 -1  GLCC (173).

(Homer 1; Fraser ½; Thynne ½; Wilson 1).

Rd. 4: Newton Abbot 2½ – 1½ Solihull  (169).

(Homer 0; Fraser 1; Thynne ½; Wilson 1).

Individual scores: Homer 2½ Fraser 3 Thynne 2½ Wilson 2½


1st Newton Abbot 8:   2nd Wanstead and Woodford 5:        3rd Drunken Knights                         

4th Solihull 3:              5th  DHSS 2:                                                   6th  GLCC 2.


Rd. 1:  Newton Abbot (136) 1-3  Leamington (125).

(Kinder 0; Taylor 0; Ramesh 0; Barber-Lafon 1).

Rd. 2: Newton Abbot  3 -1 Redditch  (135).

(Kinder 1; Taylor ½; Ramesh 1; Barber-Lafon ½).

Rd. 3:  Newton Abbot  2½ – 1½ Wanstead & Woodford  (144).

(Kinder ½; Taylor 1; Ramesh 0; Barber-Lafon 1)

Rd. 4: Newton Abbot 2 – 2 Sutton Coldfield (144).

(Kinder 0; Taylor 0; Ramesh 1; Barber-Lafon 1).

Individual scores: Kinder 1½; Taylor 1½;  Ramesh 2;  Barber-Lafon 3½).


1st Sutton Coldfield 7;                 2nd Braille Chess Association 6;        3rd Newton Abbot 5;                             4th Newport (Salop)  5;          5th Leamington 4;                              6th Warley Quinborne 4;          7th Redditch 4;                                          8th Wanstead & Woodford 2;             9th Wolverhampton 2;            10th  GLCC 1:

The pleasing thing about the performance of the Newton Abbot 1st team was the consistency over all 4 boards with no weak link. Each player scored vital wins in closely-fought matches. Considering that the majority of previous winners of this event have come from the powerful south-east of England, this victory is a notable triumph for Westcountry chess (one leading ECF officer present actually asked me after the prize-giving “Where exactly is Newton Abbot? “ I was pleased to reassure him that yes, good chess was played in the far south-west and no, we did not have straw sticking out of our ears!

The club’s second team also exceeded expectations since they had the 3rd lowest average grade of the 10 teams. All four team members contributed wins at vital moments but the outstanding score (3 ½) was that of Devon and West of England Ladies’ Champion on Bd 4, Jacquie Barber-Lafon.

To conclude, the experiment of entering this new-style event can be called a resounding success and it perhaps paves the way for other Devon clubs in the future. Certainly the format was much appreciated by all teams who competed in an enjoyable atmosphere of friendly rivalry. Accommodation (discounted rates on offer for chess players) in the Holiday Inn was excellent, as were the playing conditions in the hotel.

Newton Abbot Chess Club members look forward to defending their title in 2016. Let us hope to see other Devon clubs also take up the challenge of competing on the national stage.

Trefor Thynne.

NB: Wilson finished early and left for home, thereby missing the team’s photo opportunity, but the organisers insisted on 4 players being present, so Andrew Kinder appears in both teams below.

1st Team: (l-r) Alex Holowczak (organiser); Thynne; Homer; Fraser & Kinder.

2nd Team: (l-r) Ramesh; Taylor; Kinder & Barber-Lafon.

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