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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

Cream of the Cornish (18.02.2017.)

After a loss to Devon in October, Cornwall came back in their next match recently with a creditable 8-8 draw against Somerset. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1.J. Menadue (189) 0-1 T. Goldie 196). 2.M. I Hassall (183) ½-½ B. Edgell (200). 3.J. Hooker (177) ½ – ½ M. French (170). 4.L. Retallick (176) 1-0 D. Littlejohns (176). 5.D. Saqui (176) 1-0 M. Richardt (184). 6.R. Kneebone (174) ½ – ½ G. N Jepps (159). 7.J. Morgan (170) ½-½ A. Champion (153). 8.C. Sellwood (154) 0-1 C. Purry (149). 9.G. Trudeau (153) 1-0 J. Fewkes (142). 10.P. Gill (149) 1–0 M. Worrall (139). 11.R. Stephens (148) 0-1 M. Baker (137). 12.J. Nicholas (147) 1-0 C. Mckinley (127). 13.M. Hill (143) 0–1 A. Byrne (127). 14.J. Henderson (129) 0-1 G. Greenland (113). 15. D. R Jenkins (125) 1-0 M. Maber (104). 16. D. Lucas (121) 0-1 J. Beviss (90).

The Cornish Championships were held at Carnon Downs at the weekend. The defending champion, James Hooker (Camborne) again kept a cool head under pressure and retained his title  with 3½/5 points, while close on his heels were Robin Kneebone (Carrick), Gary Trudeau (Liskeard), Colin Sellwood (Camborne) and Mark Watkins (Penwith)

The Falmouth Cup for those graded U-146 was won by the relative newcomer, Jan Rodrigo (Penwith) with 4½, followed by Harvey Richings (Penwith) and Martin Jones (Newquay).

The U-120 grading prize was won by Anton Barkhuysen (Camborne), and the U-100 prize was won by John James (Penwith), while Thomas Oates’ performance (Camborne) was judged the best by a junior.

Here is James Hooker’s Rd. 2 game with notes kindly supplied by the winner.

White: C. Sellwood. Black: J. Hooker. Sicilian Defence [B40]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.0–0 White should have played e5 here to stifle Black’s e5 and d5 idea and to make the d3 bishop better. 8…e5 The wasted tempo with e6 earlier and now e5 means little as White’s bishop on d3 is now restricted, and Black is looking for a strong centre with a future d5 push. 9.Qf3 0–0 10.Qg3 Re8 11.Bd2 d5 12.exd5 cxd5 13.Bg5 Creates a threat of trading and grabbing the d5 pawn, but lost a tempo by playing Bd2 previously. 13…Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qd6 15.Be2? The decisive error, allowing Ne4 as it’s not pinned anymore and leaving the bishop on g5 very few squares. 15…Ne4 16.Qe3 f5 17.Rfd1 Defending with tricks, f4 will be met with Qxe4. 17…Qc6 18.Bh4 White’s best shot now is 18 Bh5 g6, 19 Bf3. The point being to get Black to play g6 so he doesn’t have the h6 and g5 idea trapping the bishop. 18…f4 19.Qd3 Nxc3 20.Re1 Nxe2+ 21.Rxe2 If 21 Qxe2 then Qh6 and White’s bishop on h4 is lost 21…Ba6 0–1

The key move to last week’s problem by Dave Howard was 1.Qa4! after which all Black’s ‘tries’ fail.

This week’s 2-mover is by the Cornish problemist, Dr. Maurice Edwin McDowell Jago (1902-‘98). He was born in St. Buryan, where his father, Ashley Tilsed, was also a GP.

White to play and mate in 2

Capa’s Endgame Techniques (11.02.2017.)

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).

Petroff Defence

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?

White to play & mate in 2

Team Selection – A Captain’s Dilemma (04.02.2017.)

The semi-final of Devon’s team knock-out tournament, the Rooke Cup, took place on Saturday between Newton Abbot and Exeter. It’s for teams of 8 players whose combined grades must add up to less than 1,120 – an average of 140 per person. This presents captains with a team selection dilemma; should they field a low-graded player on bottom board to enable them to incorporate several stronger players higher up the order (Plan A)? Alternatively, they could put a very strong player on top board, almost certain to win, in the hope that the others can at least hold their own (Plan B). In this case, Newton Abbot chose the former course, while Exeter went for the latter. So how did that work out?

The outcome was a win for Newton Abbot by 4½-3½, the details being as follows: (Exeter names 1st in each pairing).

1.Tim Paulden (187) 1-0 Alan Brusey (166). 2. Chris Lowe (175) ½-½ Trefor Thynne (170 ). 3. Sean Pope (144) ½-½ Vignesh Ramesh (154). 4. Alan Dean (141)1- 0 1 Charles Howard (150). 5. Eddy Palmer (129) ½-½ John Allen (141). 6. William Marjoram (127) 1-0 Joshua Blackmore (138 ). 7.Edmund Kelly (137) 0-1 Wilf Taylor 137. 8. Brian Aldwin (97) 0-1 Prabhu Kashap (55e).

Newton Abbot’s sacrificial lamb was new member Kashap, a 50-something Anglo-Indian and not very experienced at this kind of thing. He was fully expected to lose, and when after 45 minutes he had lost a piece, yet still continued to exchange off material, this seemed a certainty. But his opponent made a crucial slip in the ending and allowed Prabhu to queen a pawn and win not only his game but the match as well. Chess can be a funny old game.

White: P. Kashap. Black: B. Aldwin.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be6 5.Bxe6 fxe6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d4 c6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.dxe5 dxe5 Black’s doubled pawns in the centre should present him with difficulties in coordinating his pieces, but White helps out. 10.Nxe5?? 10…Nxe5 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8 If and when a piece down, one should try and keep as many of your pieces as possible i.e. avoid exchanges unless it confers some other advantage – not a tactic White employs. 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bf4 Bd6 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.f4 Bd4+ 17.Kh1 Kf7 18.Rd1 Bb6 19.Rxd8 Bxd8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 exd5 Now White’s lost all his pieces and has a queenside pawn deficit. But all is not yet lost. Perhaps something will come along. Meanwhile, Black could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the game will just play itself out to the inevitable win. 22.g4 Ke6 23.Kg2 d4 24.Kf3 g6? Black should challenge White’s potentially passed pawn with 24…g5 25.Ke4 The tide is turning 25…c5 26.f5+ gxf5+ 27.gxf5+ Kf7 28.Kd5 Bb6 28…Bc7 29.a4. 29.Kd6 c4 30.e6+ Ke8 31.f6 d3 32.f7+ Kf8 33.cxd3 cxd3 34.e7+ Kxf7 35.Kd7 d2 36.e8=Q+ Kf6 37.Qe2 1-0.

This position arose in a recent game between two former World Champions, the Bulgarian Veselin Topolov (W) and Indian Vishy Anand, who saw a knock-out blow; can you?

Black to play

Exotic Wijk aan Zee (28.01.2017.)

After Hastings, the next event on the European chess circuit is that held in the Dutch village of Wijk aan Zee, (pop. 2,400) but sponsored by the nearby steelworks, formerly Hoogovens, then Corus and now Tata.

The top Masters Section reads like the membership of some exotic United Nations committee, namely M. Carlsen, (Norway). W. So (Philippines-born). S. Karjakin, I. Nepomniachtchi  & D. Andreikin (all Russia); L. Aronian (Armenia); P. Harikrishna & B. Adhiban (both India): P. Eljanov (Ukraine); R. Wojtaszek (Poland); Y. Wei (China); R. Rapport (Hungary); L. Van Wely & A. Giri (both Netherlands). Even the “local” player, Anish Giri, has a Nepalese father, Russian mother and spent much of his childhood in Japan.

Here is his Rd. 6 win after 5 draws.

White: Anish Giri (2773). Black: Ian Nepomniachtchi (2767)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B91]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.g3 e5 7.Nde2 Be7 8.Bg2 Nbd7 9.a4 b6 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.Qxd5 Rb8 12.Nc3 0–0 13.0–0 Bb7 14.Qd1 Rc8 15.Re1 h6 16.Bh3 Rc6 White sees how to win a pawn and disrupt Black’s defences. 17.Bxh6! gxh6 18.Qg4+ Bg5 19.Qxd7 Qxd7 20.Bxd7 Rc7 21.Bf5 Bd2 22.Red1 Bxc3 23.bxc3 Rd8 24.Rab1 Rc6 25.f4 exf4 26.e5 Bc8 27.Be4 Rxc3 28.Rxd6 Rxd6 29.exd6 Rc4 If 29…fxg3 30.Rxb6 30.Bd3 Rc6 31.Rd1 setting a trap – if 31…Rxd6 32.Bh7+ winning the rook. 32.Bxa6 fxg3 33.hxg3 and the advanced d-pawn will prove decisive. 1–0

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 2.Ra4! and whatever Black tries will be met by different mates.

The final round of the British Chess Problem Solving Championship takes place on Saturday 18th February at Eton College. The competition started last summer with the publication of the “Starter Problem”, in this case a 2-mover by John Rice. Prospective competitors were invited to send in their solutions, and those with the correct key move were sent a set of 8 further problems of varying types and difficulty, to be returned to the organiser by the end of November. Anyone with a good score was invited to the final. The list of qualifiers for this year may be found on the event website.

Here is that starter problem from June 2016, the solution to which was 1.Qb4! threatening 2.Qc4#. Black’s 5 efforts to escape and White’s replies were as follows: 1…Rxb4  2. Nxb4#.

1…Rc5    2.Nb6#.

1…Sc6    2.Nc7#.

1…Bc5    2.Qe4#.

1…Bxe5  2.Rxe5#.

Incorrect solutions submitted, together with Black’s refutations, were as follows:-

Claim            Refutation(s)

1.Qf4?            1…Nf5!

1.Nb6+?         1…Rxb6!

1.Qxg5?         1…B any move!

1.Qa5?           1…B any move! & 1…Nf5!

1.Qc1?           1…Bc3!

1.Qe2?          1…Be3! & 1…Nf5!

1.Qg2+?        1…Nxg2!

1.Rc5+?         1…Bxc5! & 1…Rxc5!

1.Nb4+?         1…Rxb4!

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree Results. (21. 01.2017.)

Devon’s annual Inter-Area Jamboree took place in Plymouth on Sunday. The hope is always that teams of 12 will enter from the North, South, East and West of the county. In practice, the North has too few players to be able to field a team, while any East captain has the problem of trying to liaise with five quite active but well-spaced out clubs, from Tiverton to Seaton. The South and West, on the other hand, are able to base their teams mostly on just one club each, Plymouth and Newton Abbot. This year only the South and West could raise teams. Both were near the maximum permitted strength and the final result was in doubt right to the end, with the West retaining the trophy, winning 7-5. South names first in each pairing.

1.A. Brusey (165) ½-½ S. Levy (177). 2. M. Wilson (158) 0-1 D. Twine (165). 3. V. Ramesh (154) 1-0 N. J. Butland (150). 4. C. Howard (156) 0-1 M. Quinn (146). 5. J. Allen (141) 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge (145). 6. J. Blackmore (138) 1-0 A. Hart-Davis (139). 6. J. Ariss (123) 0-1 R. Wilby (137). 8. N. F. Tidy (122) 0-1 P. McConnell (126). 9. B. Sturt (118)  ½-½ G. Banks (123). 10. N. Narayanan (119)1-0 J. Dean (121). 11. M. Cockerton (115) 1-0 A. Crickmore (110). 12. M. Hussey (101) 0-1 C. Peach (100).

Here are 2 games kindly sent in by Devon’s Tournament Secretary, Nick Butland. In the first  game the veteran TV presenter misses the danger posed by his schoolboy opponent.

White: Adam Hart-Davis. Black: Joshua Blackmore.

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 Najdorf’s key move, partly defence but also preparing for a queenside attack later in the game. 6.Bd3 e6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Be3 0–0 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Rad1 Nd7 11.Bc4 Nxe3 12.Qxe3 Qb6 13.Bb3 Nf6 14.Kh1 14…Qc7 15.Qg3 Also playable is 15.f4 which is in keeping with White’s traditional aim against the Sicilian of an early kingside attack. 15…Nh5 16.Qh3 g6 17.Qe3 Nf6 18.f4 Qc5 19.Rd3 e5 20.fxe5 dxe5 21.Nf3 Ng4 22.Qd2 Be6 23.Bxe6 fxe6 24.h3 Nf6 25.Rd1 Rfd8 26.Qh6 Rxd3 27.Rxd3 Qf2= Black threatens c2 and hopefully offers a draw. White declines the offer and promptly blunders. 28.Ng5?? Boxing in his own queen. 28…Bf8 0–1

White: D. Twine Black: M. Wilson.

Sicilian Defence – Closed System.

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.a4 Bg7 6.Nf3 a6 7.Bc4 e6 8.0–0 Ne7 9.d3 0–0 10.Nxd4 cxd4 11.Ne2 d5 12.Bb3 dxe4 13.dxe4 Qb6 14.Kh1 Rd8 15.Rf3 Nc6 16.Bd2 Bd7 17.Qe1 Rac8 18.a5 Qb5 19.Ba4 Qc5 20.e5 Bf8 21.Ng3 Nb4?? 22.Ne4 Nxc2 23.Qh4? 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Qh4 leaves Black struggling to survive.; or 23.Rh3 Be7 24.Nxc5 Nxe1 25.Nxd7 Nc2 26.Rc1 leaves White a piece up. 23…Be7? 24.Qh6 Nxa1 25.Nxc5? 25…Bf8 26.Qh4 Bxc5 27.Bd1 Bf8 28.Rh3 h5 29.Bxh5 Bg7 30.Bd1 Re8 31.Bb4 f5 32.exf6 Kf7 33.fxg7 Rc1 34.g8Q+ 1–0.

In last week’s position, the White king was effectively trapped in the centre enabling 1…Bh4+ forcing 2.g3 followed by Nxf3+ forking king and queen.

Here is a new 2-mover, just sent in by Dave Howard. White to move.

White to mate in 2.

Gloucestershire’s Varying Fortunes (24.12.2016.)

Last month, Gloucestershire beat a Somerset side, weakened by defaults, by 9½-6½ points, the details being as follows:- (Glos. names 1st in each pairing). 1.P. Townsend (200) 0-1 J. Rudd (213). 2.J. Stewart (191) 1-0 P. Krzyzanowski (183). 3.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 M. Stanforth (179). 4.M. Ashworth (186) 1-0 A. F. Footner (175). 5.J. Jenkins (181) ½ -½ M. French (170). 6. P. Masters (179) 1-0 Default. 7.J. Jones (176) ½ -½ D. Freeman (163). 8.C. Mattos (174) 1-0 G. N. Jepps (159). 9.P. Kirby (171) 0-1 A. A. Champion (153). 10.P. J. Meade (163) 1-0 R. Knight (150). 11.J. Fowler (158) ½ -½ C. Purry (149). 12.R. Dixon (155) ½ -½  J. E. Fewkes (142). 13.R. Ashworth (153) ½ -½ T. Wallis (142). 14.P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Strong (133). 15. A. Killey (138) 1-0 Default. 16.I. Blencowe (129) 1-0 d/f.

It was a different story when they subsequently met a strong Devon side. The top half of the match was competitive with Gloucestershire sharing the points 5 – 3, but from board 9 down Devon were able to field a raft of 170+ players, too strong for their opponents to cope with. The details as follows:- (Glos. names first). 1.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Ashworth (186) ½-½ J. K. Stephens (192). 3.J. Jenkins (181) 1-0 Dr. T. J. Paulden (187). 4.P. Masters (179) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.C. Mattos (174) ½-½ S. Homer (190). 6.D. Dugdale (172) 0-1 Dr. J. Underwood (183). 7.P. Kirby ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson (182). 8.P. J. Meade (163) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.J. Fowler (158) 1-0 Dr. D. Regis (175). 10.R. Ashworth (153) ½-½  P. Sivrev (175). 11. P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 12.A. Papier (143) 0-1 J.  F. Wheeler (174). 13.A. Killey (136) ½-½ T. F. Thynne (170). 14.I. Blencowe (129) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 15.A. Richards (123) ½-½  O. E. Wensley (168). 16.P. Bending (115) 0-1 M. O. Marshall (166).

This was the complex game from Bd. 4 in which both players became very short of time.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bg5 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.d5 a6 9.0–0 Rb8 10.Qc2 Qa5 11.a4 Re8 12.h3 Nf8 13.Rfd1 Bd7 14.Bf4 Qb4 15.Ne1 Qb6 16.Ra3 Rbd8 17.a5 Qc7 18.Bf3 Bc8 19.Qd2 N8d7 20.Nd3 b6 21.axb6 Nxb6 22.b3 Nfd7 23.Ne4 Bb7 24.Ra2 h6 25.g4 e5 26.dxe6 26.Bh2 Might have been better in the longer term. 26…Rxe6 27.Nxd6 Bxf3 28.Nxf7 attacking queen & rook. 28…Ne5 Better might have been 28…Qc8 29.Nxd8 Qxd8 30.Rc1 29.Nxd8 Rd6 Not 29…Qxd8? 30.Nxe5 Qxd2 31.Rdxd2 leaving Black the exchange & 2 pawns down. 30.Nxe5 Bxd1? Better would be 30…Rxd2 31.Rdxd2 Bxe5 31.Nd3 Bxb3 An alternative continuation might be 31…Qxd8 32.Bxd6 Bxb3 33.Nxc5 Bxa2 34.Ne6 leaving Black with a bishop for 2 pawns. 32.Ne6! Qc6 33.Bxd6 Bxa2 Black also had 33…Nxc4 34.Qe2 Qxd6 35.Nexc5 Bxa2 but White has threats after 36.Qxa2. 34.Ndxc5 Bxc4 35.Nxg7 Kxg7 35…Nc8 36.Be5 Qxc5 37.Qd8+ Qf8 38.Ne8. 36.Qd4+ Kh7 37.Bf4? 37.Qf6 would have threatened mate after 38.Qe7+ K moves, 39.Qe8. 37…Qd5? 38.Qxd5? 38.Qf6 followed by 39.Be5 would threaten mate. 38…Nxd5 39.Bd6 Kg7 40.e4 Nc3?? 41.Be5+ Kf7 42.Bxc3 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe4!

This new 3-mover is a little more difficult than usual, so you might need to find a quiet spot somewhere after the Christmas dinner.

White to play and mate in 3

New Kids on the Block (17.12.2016.)

The recent 3rd Plymouth Rapidplay tournament was won jointly by Grandmaster Keith Arkell (Paignton) and Paul Hampton (Seaton). Arkell has been one of Britain’s most active and best-known players for several decades, whereas Hampton is a recent arrival on the Westcountry scene. As a schoolboy back in the mid-‘80s he represented his native Scotland in the World U-16 Championship in Colombia (won by the Russian, Alexey Dreev), and in the Glorney Cup in the Netherlands. His recent move to East Devon has rekindled his interest in the game and he is rapidly getting back to his old form, as evidenced by his draw against Arkell, one of the country’s leading rapidplay specialists. Other prizewinners were:-

3rd= C. Archer-Lock (Reading), A. W. Brusey (Newton Abbot) & P. Sivrev (Plymouth). Grading prizes as follows: U-166: G. Body (Exeter), J. Haynes (Tiverton) & M. Stinton-Brownbridge (Plymouth). U-155: C. Sellwood  (Camborne) & S. Dean (Seaton). U-144: M. Quinn (Plymouth). U-130: M. O’Brien (Plymouth).U-119: J. Fowler (S. Hams). U-103: M. Richards (Liskeard) & S. Franks.

Another new face to the area won the recent Bristol Winter Congress. This was Daniel E. Malkiel who arrived in Bristol last year from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 2nd seed to Chris Beaumont in the Open Section, and they met in Rd. 4 with decisive results.

White: D. E. Malkiel (201) Black: C. Beaumont (209)

Grünfeld Defence [D85]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Qa4+ c6 8.Qa3 Nd7 9.Nf3 0–0 10.Bg5 c5 11.Bd3 h6 12.Be3 b6 13.Rd1 Qc7 14.Qc1 Kh7 White now decides not to bother with castling, but goes for the throat immediately… 15.h4 Nf6 16.Bf4 Qb7 17.h5 Nxh5 … starting with an exchange sacrifice. 18.Rxh5 gxh5 19.e5+ Kh8 20.Bxh6 f6 Obviously not 20…Bxh6 21.Qxh6+ Kg8 22.Qh7#. 21.Qf4 Bg4 21…fxe5 might have looked as if it was attacking the queen, but in reality it allowed a forced mate in 4 – viz 22.Bxg7+ Kxg7 23.Qg5+ Kh8 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Qh7#. 22.Nh4 e6 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.f3 Bf5 25.Bxf5 exf5 26.e6 Rfd8 27.d5 Re8. Black could try 27…Bxh6 28.Qxh6 Qh7 29.Qxh7+ Kxh7 30.Ne7 Re8 31.d6 Kg7 32.Nxf5+ Kg6 33.Nh4+ Kg7 but the 2 central pawns are mighty powerful. 34.e7 Rad8 35.Kf2. 28.Bxg7 Qxg7 29.Qxf5 c4 30.d6 1–0 After the game, Beaumont complained “I can’t get out of the opening against this guy!”

The other prizewinners were as follows: Open: 2nd= C. Beaumont, C. Bicknell, S. Dilleigh & M. Payne. Major Section (U-155): 1st = T. Jones & Alice Lampard. 3rd= R. Ashworth & N. Towers. Minor Section (U-125): 1st G. Daly. 2nd E. Ko. 3rd= D. Clarke, N. Cunliffe, T. Golding & B. Parnian.

In last week’s position Magnus Carlsen played the unlikely looking 1.Qh6+ which can be taken 2 ways, neither of which helps: e.g. KxQ 2.Rh8 mate or PxQ 2.RxP mate.

The previous week’s position was quickly sorted by Black’s queen sacrifice viz. 1…QxR+ 2.B or N xQ then Rd1+ leads to mate.

Here is the latest 3-move offering from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and mate in 3

Carlsen Shades It (10.12.2016.)

Last weekend in New York, the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, narrowly beat his challenger, the Russian Sergei Karjakin.

The match was over 12 games, at the end of which both players had one win, the rest being drawn. Many on-line observers around the world thought these games were pretty thin gruel, as neither player wished to take risks.

Then came a tie-break match of 4 rapidplay games, with approx 30 minutes thinking time for each player for all moves. After 3 of the 4 games, Carlsen led 2-1 and the Russian had to win the next in order to stay in the match and take it to the final tie-break stage of games played at 5 minutes per player, although viewed by many as an unsatisfactory way of deciding such a prestigious title.

This is that final rapidplay game that Carlsen only needed to draw.

White: Magnus Carlsen. Black: Sergei Karjakin.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind. [B55]

1.e4 c5 Karjakin is 2–1 down and needs to win this last Rapidplay tie-break game in order to stay in the match, so, for the first time, he adopts Black’s most potent weapon against 1.e4 – a Sicilian Defence. 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3 e5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.c4 The Maroczy Bind, named after the Hungarian master, Géza Maróczy (1870- 1951), aimed at preventing Black from playing an early …d5 which usually frees up Black’s position, and preventing it often secures a lasting positional edge for White. 7…a5 8.Be3 a4 9.Nc1 0–0 10.Nc3 Qa5 11.Qd2 Na6 12.Be2 Nc5 13.0–0 Bd7 14.Rb1 Rfc8 15.b4 axb3 16.axb3 Qd8 17.Nd3 Ne6 18.Nb4 Bc6 19.Rfd1 h5 20.Bf1 h4 21.Qf2 Nd7 22.g3 Ra3 23.Bh3 Rca8 24.Nc2 R3a6 25.Nb4 Ra5 26.Nc2 Black is stuck for any good move and time is ticking by. 26…b6 27.Rd2 Qc7 28.Rbd1 Bf8 29.gxh4 White is taking a bit of a gamble by weakening his kingside pawn structure, though Black has no immediate threats. 29…Nf4 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.Bxd7 Qxd7 32.Nb4 Ra3 33.Nxc6 Qxc6 34.Nb5 Forcing further simplification. 34…Rxb3 Losing the exchange, but it’s the least worst option. 35.Nd4 Qxc4 36.Nxb3 Qxb3 37.Qe2 Be7 38.Kg2 Qe6 39.h5 Ra3 40.Rd3 Ra2 41.R3d2 White would like to simplify at this stage in order to increase the possibly of getting the draw he requires to win the match, but Black must try and avoid this. 41…Ra3 42.Rd3 Ra7 43.Rd5 Rc7 44.Qd2 winning either the d- or f-pawn. 44…Qf6 45.Rf5 Qh4 46.Rc1 Ra7 47.Qxf4 Ra2+ 48.Kh1 Qf2 Threatening mate on g2, which Carlsen blithely ignores, because he’s seen something special. 49.Rc8+ Kh7 which brings us to this week’s position.

Carlsen (W) is about to be mated on g2, and his world championship title is on the line. Should he now defend or continue to attack? You may have seen it elsewhere during the week, but enjoy the moment again anyway. The move had spectators purring and forgiving the Norwegian for all the earlier dross. Not only that, but it was Carlsen’s birthday that day, and this was his gift to the whole chess world.

White to play and win

Camborne’s Christmas Cracker (26.11.2016.)

Camborne Chess Club is embracing the approaching festive season with a Camborne Christmas Lightning tournament on Friday 16th December, at Bickford Smith Bowling Club, Tuckingmill, TR14 8RG, starting at 7.15 p.m.  It will consist of 5 or 6 rounds, and entry is free, except that it is good form to take a small prize (chocolates, biscuits, bottle of something etc.) that will be awarded during the evening. Anyone can enter – you don’t have to be a member of any club – just turn up, although it would save time on the night if players entered in advance by phoning Robin Kneebone on 0753-1543-651 or on-line at contact@cornwallchess.org.uk

Steve Homer is a fine attacking player with an excellent record at the top level of Devon chess. This season, however, he seems to have developed a blind spot when his opponent happens to be Cornish. His loss to James Hooker in October’s Devon vs Cornwall match has already been noted, but here is his game from the WECU Jamboree in September.

White: Mark Hassall (183). Black: Stephen  Homer (190).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation. [B94]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 Najdorf’s signature move. 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.f4 e5 8.Nf3 Qa5 pinning the knight and threatening NxP 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bxf6 Nxf6 11.Bc4 Be7 If 11…Qb4 there might follow 12.fxe5 Qxc4 13.exf6 gxf6 14.Nd5 threatening to fork queen and rook on b6, or force Black’s king to move after NxP+. 12.0–0–0 0–0 13.Kb1 After this preparatory move the race is on to attack first. Qc5 14.Bb3 b5 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.Rhe1 exf4 At this stage all White’s pieces are developed, coordinated and focussed, whereas Black’s back rank looks awkward and cramped. Black could do with getting his bishops more into the game, so that his rooks can become connected, with something like 16…Bg4. 17.Qxf4 Nd7 17…Nh5 might have been more pro-active. 18.Qd2 Re8 etc. 18.Nd4 Bg5 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.h4 Bd8 Now White can start to focus on attacking the king’s position. 21.Nf5 Threatening NxP+ 21…Bxf5 22.exf5 Kh7 23.Rf1 Ra7 24.f6 g6 25.h5 Rg8 26.Qh3 g5 27.Qf5+ Kh8 28.c3 Freeing c2 for his bishop to join the fray. 28…a5 29.Bc2 Ng6 The “cheapest” way to avoid immediate mate. 30.hxg6 Rxg6 31.Qh3 1-0 Resigns, Having just given up his knight to avoid mate now Black must lose a rook as well or get mated.

The 3rd Plymouth Rapidplay tournament is accessible to players from both counties and takes place on Sunday 4th December at the Plymouth Chess Club, starting at 10 a.m. More details may be found on their website www.plymouthchess.co.uk.

Last week’s 3-mover was solved by 1.Qh8! followed by 2.Qa8+ or Qe8+ depending on what Black tries, and then 3.Qb5# or Bc2#

In this week’s position from a game earlier this year, White (to play) has all his big guns idling on the back rank doing nothing very much. Should he do something about that or is there a better plan?

White to play

50th Torbay Chess Congress (19.11.2016.)

The 50th Torbay Congress finished on Sunday evening with the following 48 players featuring in the prizelist.

Open: 1st William McDougall (Chichester), 2nd John Edge (Halesowen), 3rd= Chris Lowe (Exeter)  & Jeremy Menadue (Truro), Grading Prizes: (U-175): 1st= Mike Waddington (Dorchester) & R. Webster (Calderdale). U-175: 1st= Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) & Robert Taylor (Wales). Slow starter (0/2): William Adaway (Dorchester).

Major (U-170): 1st= R. Sayers, R. Burton & Megan O’Brien.  Grading prizes (U-159) 1st= Arthur Hibbitt, Matthew Wilson, Yasser Tello, Ray Gamble & Ivor Annetts. (U-148) 1st= A. Netherway & Peter Halmkin. Slow starter: Nathan Mills.

Intermediate (U-140): 1st D. Jenkins. 2nd= S. Williams & P. Foster. Grading prizes (U-132) 1st= M. Roberts & Ray Hunt. (U-125) 1st= T. Crouch & Clifford Peach. Slow Starter: Mike Cuggy.

Minor: (U-120): 1st= Helen Archer-Lock, J. Madden, I. Farrow, A. Fraser, G. Daly, O. Stubbs & R. Greenhalgh. Grading prizes (U-112) 1st= M. Pope, A. Davies & P. Saunders. (U-106); 1st= M. Maber, D. Burt, J. Carr & Hazel Welch. (U-95) 1st J. Tye. (U-76) A. Moorhouse, K. Hayden-Sadler, P. Tournier & Wendy Carr. Slow starter: E. Prenton.

A fuller report and photos may be found on keverelchess.com while games are on chessdevon.org

Here is the event’s first game to finish – a Devon vs Cornwall affair.

White: J. Menadue. Black: J. Wheeler. Queen’s Bishop’s Game [D00]

1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 The Levitsky Variation, named after the Russian Stepan Livitsky (1876–1924) who played this move against Rubinstein at Vilna in 1912, where he finished ahead of Alekhine and Nimzowitsch. 2…h6 3.Bh4 c6 4.Nf3 Qb6 Hunting a cheap pawn when perhaps the development of minor pieces should be a priority. 5.Nbd2 Bf5 If 5…Qxb2 6.e3 Nd7 7.Bd3 Ngf6 8.0–0. 6.b3 Nd7 7.e3 e6 8.Be2 Ngf6 9.0–0 Ba3 10.Rb1 Bb4 11.a4 0–0 12.Kh1 Rac8 Now Black has caught up in development, how will it go? 13.Bd3 Ne4 14.Bxe4 Of course not 14.Nxe4?? because dxe4 wins a piece. 14…dxe4 15.Nc4 Qa6 16.Nfe5 Nxe5 17.dxe5 f6 Significantly weakening his king’s position. 18.exf6 gxf6 19.Qh5 Heading directly for the weak spot. 19…Kg7 20.Rfd1 grabbing the open file, as one should. 20…Rc7 Slightly better would have been 20…Rf7 followed by …Bg6 to protect the king and nudge away White’s queen. The text move invites the black square bishop to conduct the funeral rites. 21.Bg3 Rcf7 22.Bf4 Rh8 23.Ne5! Re7 If 23…fxe5 24.Bxe5+ Kg8 25.Bxh8 Kxh8 26.Qxf7 and mate cannot be avoided.

24.g4 fxe5 25.Bxe5+ Kh7 26.gxf5 Rg8 27.Rd8! Rgg7 If 27…Rxd8 28.Qg6#. 28.Qg6+ Black knew mate was in store at this point, but sportingly allowed the game to run its course. 28…Rxg6 29.Rh8# 1–0

In last week’s diagram it wasn’t difficult to find 1.RxN! RxR 2.Rh8+ and mate cannot be avoided.

Here is a newly-composed 3-mover from Dave Howard.

White to play & mate in 2.

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