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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

Bude RapidPlay Results (25.10.2014.)

All westcountry congresses depend on small groups of volunteers, who take a quiet satisfaction in running a successful event that gives pleasure to the players.

The latest of these was the 1st Bude Rapidplay Congress organised recently by John and Christine Constable. The entry was small but strong – 16 players with an average grade of 153. 1st J. Rudd (Barnstaple – 231) 6/6 pts. 2nd J. Byrne (Taunton – 165) 5 pts. 3rd G. Trudeau (Liskeard – 155) 4 pts. 4th= G. Body (Exeter – 167); T. Slade (Bude – 164) & R. Nash (Barnstaple – 124) all 3½. 7th= S. Homer (Exeter – 200); M. Richardt (Taunton – 187); D. J. Jenkins (Camborne – 132) & S. Woolgar (Bristol – 132) all 3. 11th C. Sellwood (Camborne – 158) 2½. 12th= D. R. Jenkins (Liskeard – 126); S. Bartlett (Newquay – 165) & B. Childs (Lerryn – 106) all 2. 15th= P. May (114) & M. Jones (Newquay – 121) 1.

Longer-established events need their organising committee refreshed from time to time, otherwise they risk withering on the vine. The East Devon Congress, for example, is on the brink of collapse as the committee has dwindled to two, Sean Pope and Mark Abbott, who are already highly committed with their daytime professions. They need fresh blood coming in from the Exeter region to share the load and keep it afloat, as it’s a bigger event, with a larger venue. Prospective volunteers should contact Sean on 01392-436420 or e-mail: sean.pope1@blueyonder.co.uk.

Meanwhile, here is a win by a great supporter of the Exeter Congress.

White: J. F. Wheeler Black: J. Duckham.

Benko Gambit  [A57]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 The signature move of the Benko Gambit in which Black offers a pawn in order to open up space in which his queenside pieces can operate freely. 4.cxb5 a6 5.b6 White doesn’t wish to fall in with Black’s plans. 5…g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.e4 d6 8.Nf3 Nbd7 9.Be2 0–0 10.0–0 Nxb6 11.h3 Bb7 12.Bf4 Nfd7 13.Qd2 f5? Leaving a big hole at the heart of his position. 14.Ng5 fxe4 15.Ne6 Qe8 16.Nxf8 Qxf8 17.Bg4 Ne5 18.Be6+ Kh8 19.Bg3 Nbc4 20.Qe2 Bc8 21.Bxc8 Rxc8 22.Bxe5 Nxe5 23.Qxe4 c4 24.Rab1 Nd3 25.Nd1 Ne5 26.Ne3 Rc5 27.Rfc1 Qc8 28.f4 Nd3 29.Rxc4 Nxb2 30.Rxc5 Qxc5 31.Qxe7 h6 32.Kh2 Qd4 33.Rf1 Nd3 34.g3 Qb2+ 35.Ng2 Qf6 White would be delighted to simplify out, leaving him still materially ahead. 36.Qxf6 Bxf6 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Ra1! and when Black checks on h8 2.Bg8 not only blocks that check but allows the rook on a1 to administer mate at the same time.

This is not a beginners’ game but from this year’s British Championship. Four moves each have been played and now it is White to move.

White to play and win quickly

Glos. vs Devon Results (18.10.2014.)

Gloucestershire met Devon on Saturday at West Buckland in Rd. 1 of the 2014 – ‘15 Inter-County competition. It was a well-contested contest, although in the end Devon forced a comfortable enough 12-4 win, mainly due to their greater strength in the bottom half of the team.

This was also the debut for former presenter of TV science programmes, Adam Hart-Davis, who is now a regular at the Plymouth Chess Club.

Here are the details, with Gloucestershire names first in each pairing and grades in brackets.

1.J. Stewart (207) 0-1 D. Mackle (203). 2. P. J. Meade (182) 0-1 J. K. Stephens (194). 3. N. K. Hosken (181) ½- ½ S. J. Homer (188). 4. M. J. Ashworth (181) ½- ½ P. Sivrev (187). 5. J. Jenkins (176) 1-0 J. Wheeler (181). 6. P. J. Kirby (173) ½- ½ J. Underwood (179). 7. P. Dodwell (163) 0-1 D. Regis (176). 8. B. Whitelaw (159) 0-1 A. W. Brusey (176). 9. R. M. Ashworth (151) 0-1 B. W. Hewson (174). 10. A. Richards (136) ½- ½ W. Ingham (176). 11. A. N. Walker (134) ½- ½ M. Shaw (170) 12. P. Baker (132) 0-1 G. Body (169). 13 K. Bendall (131) ½- ½ M. Stinton-Brownbridge (164). 14. J. Caterer (128) 0-1 I. S. Annetts (162) 15. P. Bending (122) 0-1 A. Hart-Davis (161). 16. J. B. Harris (115) 0-1 C. J. Scott (157).

Here is a game with notes based on those kindly supplied by the winner.

White: Jim Caterer (128). Black: Ivor Annetts (162).

Caro-Kann – Exchange Variation [B13]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 6.Ne2 If 6.Nf3 then 6…Bg4 is a little more problematic. 6…Bg4 7.f3 Bd7 8.Bf4 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 So far, but no further, all was known to Black from the 2002 game Gonzalez v Sasikiran. 10.Bc2 Bd6 11.0–0 Ne7 12.Nd4 h5 13.Ba4 0–0–0 Now the race is on to start a telling attack against the enemy king. White starts well in this respect. 14.Bxd7+ Rxd7 15.b4 Kb8 16.a4 N7g6 17.Bg3 h4 18.Nb5 Qc6 19.Qd4 b6 If 19…hxg3 20.Qxa7+ Kc8 21.Qa8+ Bb8 22.Na7+ That’s as far as Black got with his analysis. It seems to win the Black queen but White’s own queen can become trapped in the corner – or worse e.g. 24…Ba7+ 25.Kh1 Rxh2 mate. 24…Ba7+ 25.Qxa7 Nxa7 and Black is a piece for a pawn to the good! 20.Bf2 h3 21.Nxd6 hxg2 22.Kxg2 Rxh2+ 23.Kg3 If 23.Kxh2 Nxf3+ 24.Kg2 Nxd4 25.Bg3 Black was mildly worried about this move but all lines are good for him. 23…Rh4 24.Qxh4 Nxh4 25.Kxh4 Qxd6 Black was thinking his opponent would not pin the knight with Bg3 because it would be mate. And yet…. 26.Bg3?? Qh6# 0–1

Last week’s position was ended after 1.Qxa7+! RxQ 2.RxR+ Kb4 3.Ra4 mate.

Here is another hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 2

Death of Brian Clapp (11.10.2014.)

The death in Cheltenham of Brian William Clapp at the age of 87 was reported last week. Brian was a regular member of the Exeter Club in the 1960s and ‘70s, having been club champion in 1963, ’68, ’69 and ’71. He was a lecturer in Economic History at Exeter University and published several books, notably Manchester Merchants 1850 – 1939 (1956), John Owens – Manchester Merchant (1965), The University of Exeter – A History (1982) and An Environmental History of Britain Since the Industrial Revolution (1994 – Longman).

In this 1966 game he took full advantage of some loose play by a much stronger opponent. 21 year old Richard Hall from Bradford was reading law and went on to become a district judge in 1998 and British Correspondence Chess Champion and a Grandmaster of postal chess. It is taken from Dr. Dave Regis’ excellent book 100-Odd Years of Exeter Chess Club.

White:  B. W. Clapp. Black: R. V. M. Hall.

Sicilian Defence – Paulsen Var.  [B45]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Be3 Bb4 7.Bd3 d5 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 d4 10.exf6 dxe3 11.Qf3 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 exf2+ 13.Qxf2 Qxf6 14.Qc5 preventing castling. 14…Rb8 15.Rd1 Qe7? 16.Qe5 Hitting rook and g-pawn. 16…Rb2 17.Qxg7 Qf8?? 18.Qf6 Bd7 19.Be4 Rb6 20.Qd4 Qh6 21.Qxd7+ Kf8 22.Qd6+ Kg8 22…Kg7 is no better. 23.Qg3+ 1–0 Black resigned as he could see what was to follow i.e. 23…Kf8 24.Rd8+ Ke7 25.Qc7+ Kf6 26.0–0+ and mate must follow very shortly.

The 49th Dorset Congress takes place on the weekend commencing Friday 24th October (contact: Ian Clark on 01202-536370 or e-mail dorset@bournemouthchesscongress.org.uk). If you can only spare one day that weekend there’s the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay on the Saturday; (Contact: Graham Mill-Wilson on 07790-187-415 or e-mail tugmw@blueyonder.co.uk. Then there’s the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress in Exmouth starting on Monday 3rd November (Contact: R. H. Jones on 01395-0223340 or e-mail: jones_r53@sky.com.)

The solution to last week’s problem by A. C. White involving pawn promotion was 1.Qc4! threatening 2.Pc8=N mate, and Black’s capture with the rook to prevent this, merely allows 2.g8=N mate.

This position arose in a game earlier this year. White is the exchange and a pawn down, but can win by force. How did he do it?

White to mate by force

Dilleigh Wins Bristol Summer Congress (04.10.2014.)

The 1st Bristol Summer Congress was held on Aug 22nd-24th and the section winners were as follows: Open: 1st S. Dilleigh. Major (U-155): 1st A. Papier. Minor (U-125): 1st Nikhil Hakeem – at 9 yrs old Nikhil is clearly one to watch.

Here is Dilleigh’s fine Rd. 3 win against a stronger opponent.

White: Ryszard Maciol (215). Black: Steve Dilleigh (182)

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Var. [D36]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.e3 c6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.Nge2 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Qc2 g6 11.0–0–0 Nb6 12.Kb1 Ng7 13.e4 dxe4 14.Bxe4 Black has to decide whether to risk castling on the kingside and inviting a pawn storm. However, if he castles long, White threatens to break open the centre with d5. 14…0–0 15.Nf4 Qf6 16.g3 Ne6 17.Nce2 Ng5 18.Bd3 Bg4 19.h3 Bf3 20.Rhf1 Rad8 21.h4 Ne6 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.Rd2 Qf6 24.Qc3 Rfe8 25.h5 White pushed on with his attack, but Black is able to create counter threats. 25…Nd5 26.Qb3 Qg5 27.Rc2 Qxh5 28.Nc3 Nxc3+ 29.Qxc3 Qg4 30.Rd2 Qxd4 Black is able to grab another pawn to open up the central files, while White’s pieces are not well co-ordinated. 31.Qxd4 Rxd4 32.Kc2 Red8 33.Re1 Bg4 preparing for the killer blow. 34.Kc3 Bf5 0–1 White can avoid losing a piece, with 35.Re8+ Rxe8 36.Kxd4 Rd8+ 37.Ke3 Rxd3+ 38.Rxd3 Bxd3 39.Kxd3. but is left a pawn down on both wings.

The solution to last week’s problem was the waiting move 1.Qh8! and wherever the king moves to 2.Qd4 or 2.Bf5 are mates.

In Alain C. White’s 1912 book, The Theory of Pawn Promotion, he talks about the evolution of the concept of what should happen to a pawn if it manages to get to the opposite side of the board, before assembling a collection of about 500 problems based on this idea. He writes “The origin of the Promotion of Pawns is buried beyond recovery in the past. Evidently, since pawns can only march ‘breast forward’, as Browning would have described it, something startling must happen when they reach the opposite end of the board. Several possibilities could be imagined. They might turn round and walk back again. They might be compelled to walk straight off the board in a novel form of self-annihilation. But this would be a penalty for their prowess instead of a reward. Their transfiguration is a most ingenious and appropriate solution to the difficulty.” He goes on to describe the gradual modification in the promotion rules, from queen-only, to any piece that has already been captured, to the present state of any piece, regardless of the earlier course of the game.

One of the given examples is this, his own 2-mover.

White to mate in 2

Seniors’ Chess (27.09.2014.)

People tending to live longer these days and often retiring early has helped to create one of the expanding areas of sport. Tennis and golf, for example, have long had their seniors circuits, in which past champions compete at a far more leisurely pace than in their heyday.

So too with chess, which has recently introduced European and World individual and team events for seniors only. This year, the world governing body, FIDE, has gone further, by splitting the age eligibility into two sections, 50 – 64 and 65+, thus enabling more players to compete for honours. The first European Championship for the 50 – 64 age group was held earlier this year in Portugal and was won by Paignton resident Grandmaster, Keith Arkell.

The Royal Beacon Seniors event in Exmouth was a pioneer in this aspect of the game. When it started in 2000 it was the only seniors-only event in Britain, and they introduced a special section for the 50-somethings over a decade ago. Now the world has caught up.

The 15th Royal Beacon Seniors event takes place during the week starting Monday 3rd Nov. Entry forms are downloadable from chessdevon.com.

Here is a game from last year’s Beacon Seniors Congress.

White: Ian Heppell (178). Black: Jonathan Wells (180)

Sicilian Defence – Alapin Variation. [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Nc3 Bb7 8.Bd3 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Re1 f5 11.exf6 Black has a choice of 4 pieces with which to retake, but chooses probably the least promising option as it weakens his defensive pawn structure, which White exploits later. 11…gxf6 12.Bh6 Rf7 13.Qe2 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.Be4 Nc6 16.d5 Nd8 If 16…exd5 17.Bxd5 winning the rook. 17.Rad1 f5 18.Bb1 Bd6 Now White’s kingside attack gets going. 19.Ng5 Bxh2+ 20.Kh1 Re7 21.Qh5 Bf4 22.Bxf5 Black’s d-pawn is pinned. 22…Qxc3 Best in the circumstances. 23.Bxh7+ Kh8 If 23…Rxh7 24.Qe8 mate. 24.Qg6 threatening 25.Qg8 mate and Black has to give up the exchange in order to avoid it. 24…Nf7 25.Nxf7+ Rxf7 26.Qxf7 Bxh6 27.Be4 1-0 Black’s only move is 27…Qg7 but after 28.Qxg7+ Bxg7 29.dxe6 Bxe4 30.Rxe4 dxe6 31.Rxe6

Heinz Herschmann, a regular at the Beacon Seniors event and well-known composer, arranger, musician and founder of the music label Apollo Sound, recently died, peacefully at home at the age of 90. As a composer, he achieved considerable acclaim receiving many commissions and in his other work he enjoyed great success in roles as varied as musical director of touring shows, to accompanist to various entertainers.

The solution to Dave Howard’s 3-mover last week was 1.Qh1! and the queen will mate on either a8 or b7.

This 2-mover is similar.

White to mate in 2

West of England Jamboree Results 2014

The West of England Jamboree is an annual occasion for players from all constituent units of the Union to come together in a single event, which in recent years has been held at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton. On Sunday there were four teams of 12 in the Open Section – Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and a welcome return by a resurgent Cornwall. The winners were Devon (8½ pts) ahead of Somerset (7), Cornwall (4½) and Gloucestershire (4). This game from Bd. 6 was a no holds barred affair

White: John Jenkins (176 – Glos.). Black: Peter Chaplin (189 – Somerset).

1.d4 g6 2.e4 d6 3.f4 White certainly intends giving it everything right from the start. 3…c5 4.c3 Bg7 5.Nf3 cxd4 6.cxd4 Bg4 7.Bb5+ There’s no intention of playing conservatively with something like 7.Be2 7….Nc6 8.Qa4 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Kf8 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Nd2 Not 11.Qxc6?? Rc8 winning bishop & rook. 11…e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Nc4 Qh4+ 14.Ke2 exd4 15.Qxc6 Rd8 16.Qc5+ Qe7 17.Qxe7+ Nxe7 18.Kd3 correctly blockading the advanced pawn. 18…Nc6 19.Bd2 Ke7 20.b4 Rd7 21.Rab1 Ke6 22.b5 Ne5+ 23.Nxe5 Bxe5 24.f4 Bd6 25.Rhc1 For best use of their powers rooks need open lines, well illustrated by the next few moves. 25…f5 26.e5 Be7 27.Rc6+ Kd5? In the spirit of the game so far, Black doesn’t wish to back off by retreating to f7, but this is a mistake. 28.Bb4 Rb8 29.Bxe7 Rxb5 30.Rbc1 1–0 Black resigned because if he takes the bishop he is mated thus 30…Rxe7 31.Rd6# , so he is effectively a piece down.

There were also four teams in the Grade-limited Section; N & W Somerset, S & E Somerset, the Torbay League and a return to inter-county competition by Wiltshire. This finished as a tie between Torbay and Wilts who will share the cup.

Full details of all players’ results and photographs of the action may be found on keverelchess.com.

The major prizewinners at the recent Paignton Congress were listed last week, so here are the winners of grading prizes. Premier: U-2151 1st= S. Dilleigh (Bristol), A. Brown (Northampton) &  P. Kemp (Linton). U-2071. 1st= G. Bolt (Railways) & I. Myall (Chelmsford). U-1981 1st= A. Brusey (Teignmouth), A. Footner (Dorchester) & T. Spanton (Hastings). Challengers: U-161 1st= R. Clegg (Huddersfield) & A. Price (Leamington). U-149 1st= A. Hibbitt (Banbury) & J. Morgan (Exeter). Minor: U-122 M. Harris (Colchester). U-113 1st= A. Fraser (Beckenham), M. Bolan (Ashtead & S. Thacker (W.Notts).

Here is a hitherto unpublished problem by Dave Howard. White can mate on his 3rd move, providing the first (or key) move is correct.

White to mate in 3

The Other Cornish Olympian (30.08.2014.)

Michael Adams may have been the outstanding player for England at the recent Olympiad, but he was not the only Cornishman involved. St. Austell-born Andrew Greet was playing for Scotland, where he works as an editor for the Glasgow-based publisher Quality Chess. He excelled on Board 2 and narrowly missed achieving a Grandmaster norm. In this game from Round 5 he surprises a strong GM.

White: Emir Dizdarevic (Bosnia-Herzogovina – 2522). Black: A. Greet (Scotland – 2431).

Reti Opening [A06]

1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.b3 c5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 Bd6 8.d4 The game started as a Reti, but has transposed into the Tarrasch Defence to the Queen’s Pawn opening. 8…cxd4 9.Nxd4 Qe7 10.Nf3 Making a second unnecessary move with the same piece while other pieces remain undeveloped must lose tempo. 10…Be6 11.Bb2 0–0 12.Nc3 a6 13.Rc1 Rfd8 It might be better to develop the other rook first, then bring the other one to e8 13…Rad8. 14.Qc2 Rac8 15.Qb1 Bb8! Preparing …Qd6 and opening the centre with …d4. 16.Rfd1 Ng4 Black’s pieces are lined up against the enemy king. 17.h3 Now is not the moment to retreat. 17…Nxf2! 18.Kxf2 Qc7 threatening …Qg3+ and if Kg1 then Bxh6. 19.Bf1? White is so disconcerted by the sacrifice that he blunders and Greet extracts maximum advantage. 19…Qg3+ 20.Kg1 Having committed to attack, Black must bring every available piece into action – this is no time for vacillation. Ne5 21.Nd4 Bxh3 22.Rd3 Ng4 23.Nf3 Qf2+ 24.Kh1 Bxg2+ 25.Bxg2 Rc6 0–1. The distant rook suddenly joins the fray and 26…Rh6 mate cannot be prevented.

The death was announced last week of John G. Gorodi, aged 88, a regular and venerable figure on the south west congress circuit. With his brother and 200,000 others he fled his native Hungary after the collapse of the Hungarian uprising against the Russians in 1956, eventually settling in Newton Abbot. He kept in contact with some of his former chess colleagues and put me in touch with a Hungarian problemist, whose work subsequently appeared in this column. Only last year he became the British U-150 Champion at Torquay, probably the oldest title-holder in British chess history. That was after he crashed his car on the way home after round 3, discharging himself from hospital so that he could compete in Rounds 4 & 5, both of which he won.

Last week’s problem by Lt. Col. George Ansell was solved by 1.Ne6! threatening 2.Nd4 mate, and 1…BxN allows the White queen to do the honours.

From a recent game Black is faced with losing his rook with check. What’s his best response?

Black to play and win.

British Championship – Local Players’ Scores (09.08.2014.)

As reported last week, the British Championship was shared between Jonathan Hawkins and David Howell on 8½/11 points. A point behind in joint 3rd place were twins Nicholas and Richard Pert, Mark Hebden, John Emms, Keith Arkell and Ravia Haria. The Ladies Champion was Amy Hoare.

Westcountry qualifiers finished as follows: Allan Pleasants (Weymouth) 5½; Jeremy Menadue (Truro) and Martin Simons (Southbourne) both on 5; Jack Rudd (Bideford) started brilliantly but had 5 losses from his last 6 games to finish on 4½; Theo Slade (Marhamchurch) 4; Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) 3½ and John Fraser (Newton Abbot) on 3.

The Rd. 3 game between Chris Ward and Mark Hebden, that I gave two weeks ago, was eventually awarded the tournament’s Best Game prize.

Attention now turns to the 41st Olympiad currently being played in Norway. With over 2,000 players from 177 countries it’s one of the world’s largest sporting events. In Rd. 1 England were paired against Wales with this game featuring on Bd. 1.

White: Gawain Jones (2665 – Eng). Black: Richard Jones (2414).

Petroff Defence [C43]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 The Steinitz Attack. Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Bd6 9.Qh5 Qe7+ 10.Be3 Be6 Instead of castling, which seems the natural move, White goes in for a combination likely to involve exchanges. 11.Bg5 Bg4+ 12.Bxe7 Bxh5 13.Bxd6 cxd6 The resulting weakened doubled pawns will  have a bearing on the outcome. 14.Rb1 0–0–0 15.Rb5 f6 16.Rxd5 Bf7 17.Ra5 Kb8 18.Kd2 There seems little point in castling now as White wants to bring his other rook into play, and the White king is effective and quite safe on d2. 18…Rc8 19.Rb1 Rhe8 20.Rab5 Re7 There now follows some gradual manoeuvring as White consolidates his pawn advantage. 21.a4 h6 22.a5 Be8 23.R5b4 Bf7 24.f3 Rcc7 25.c4 Bg8 26.R1b3 Bf7 27.Rc3 Kc8 28.Rb5 Kd8 29.h4 Kc8 30.g4 Kd8 31.g5 fxg5 32.hxg5 hxg5 33.Rxg5 Bg8 34.c5 dxc5 35.Rcxc5 b6 36.axb6 axb6 37.Rb5 The manoeuvrability of the white rooks settles matters. 37…Rc6 38.Rbf5 Threatening 39.Rf8+ Re8 40.RxR+ KxR 41.Rxg7 leaving White 2 passed pawns up. 38…Kc7 39.Rf8 Be6 40.Ra8 Bd7 41.Rg8 Rd6 42.c3 1-0 The g-pawn must fall and with it the game. Wins from Short, Howell and Sadler made it 4–0.

In last week’s game from this year’s British Championship, White finished with a double rook sacrifice, thus: 1.RxP+! KxR 2.Rh2+ Bh6 3.RxB+ KxB 4.Qh2+ Kg7 5.Bxe5 mate.

In this position from a recent rapidplay game, White is thinking about 1.RxB RxR 2.Qxe5+ winning the rook back, but it’s not his move. What can Black do about it?

Black to play and win

Hawkins & Howell Tie for the British Title (02.08.2014.)

With one round to go in the British Championship, matters were delicately poised. Jonathan Hawkins (31) of Consett, Co. Durham, had sailed into an early lead with 5 straight wins, and was still in the clear lead by half a point going in to the penultimate round. There, however, he had to play the ever dangerous Mark Hebden who was also keen to get his hands on the trophy, but the game was drawn. This left David Howell, playing fellow GM Nicholas Pert, though with Howell having the Black pieces. Howell pressed for the win, but Pert held firm and that game was also drawn, keeping Hawkins in a half point lead over Howell and Hebden going into the final round.

In that last round, Hawkins settled for a quick draw, taking him to 8½/11 points and guaranteeing him at least a share of the title. Howell, meanwhile, beat Hebden, to take him level with Hawkins and sharing the prize he won outright at Torquay last year.

Howell then departed immediately to join the rest of the England team for the forthcoming Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway. The team comprises, Michael Adams, Howell, Gawain Jones, Nigel Short and Peter Wells.

One game that caught the eye was between two Devon residents in Round 4 of the British Championship. Arkell is renowned for his endgame skills but here doesn’t get chance to exercise that particular mastery. Notes based on those kindly supplied by the winner.

White: Jack Rudd (2278). Black: Keith Arkell (2433).

Keres Defence.

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Nc3 c5 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 Ne7 6.e3 d6 7.Bd3 Nbc6 8.f4 f5 9.Nf3 0–0 10.h3 b6 11.g4 Na5 A 2nd  move by the same piece while 3 others remain untouched is too slow. Black underestimates how quickly White’s attack develops. 12.Rg1 Qe8 13.Ra2! Freeing up the other rook right across the 2nd rank. 13…Ba6 14.Rag2 g6 15.Ng5 Bxc4 16.Bxc4 Nxc4 17.Qe2 b5 18.h4 Rf6 19.h5 cxd4 20.hxg6 Rxg6 21.gxf5 exf5 22.Qh5 Rg7 23.Qh1 Qc6 24.Ne6 Rxg2 25.Rxg2+ Kf7 26.Nxd4 Qd5 27.Qxh7+ Ke8 28.Rg7 Qe4 Black’s queen is overloaded here, trying to do the impossible – to defend effectively both f5 and e7 simultaneously. 29.Nxf5 Qxf5 30.Rxe7+ Ending all Black’s resistance. 30…Kd8 31.Qxf5 1–0

In last week’s position, Black played 1…RxN 2.RxR e5! attacking both queen and rook.

This position arose in one of the earlier rounds of the British Championship. White is a grandmaster known for his attacking skills. Black has just played b4 attacking the bishop. How should White respond? 

White to play

British Championship 2014 Rd. 3 Ward vs Hebden.

At the British Championship in Aberystwyth, the anticipated late rush of entries from the better players did not materialise as several of them were preparing for the forthcoming Olympiad. This left defending champion David Howell as the clear favourite, ahead of a small number of talented aspirants, eager to snatch the crown, given half a chance and a following wind.

The Round 3 draw on Monday paired up two of the seven competing Grandmasters, the 1996 champion, Chris Ward (46) against Mark Hebden (56). Hebden is currently the stronger of the two, and has always featured in the ultimate destination of the title, without actually winning it himself.

White: C. G. Ward (2422). Black: M. L. Hebden (2554).

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 White makes a positive bid for the centre ground. 4…d6 5.Nge2 0–0 6.Ng3 c5 Black has transposed into a Sicilian Defence with an early fianchetto, an opening on which Ward is an expert. 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Taking towards the centre files is the correct thing to do, and now Black is stuck with an immobile backward pawn. 9…Na6 10.0–0 Nc7 11.a4 Na6 12.Bg5 h6 13.Be3 Re8 14.Qd2 h5 15.Bg5 Now the bishop can return to its intended spot. 15…Qc7 16.f4 White commits another pawn to the centre.  16…Nh7 17.Bh4 Bh6 18.Bc4 Nb4 19.Rae1 All White’s pieces are now beautifully placed, and he is almost spoiled for choice as to how best to continue. 19…Bd7 20.Qf2 Unpinning his f-pawn. 20…a6 21.e5 Bxa4 22.exd6 If 22.Nxa4 b5 winning the piece back and netting a pawn. 22…Qa5 If 22…Qxd6 23.Nge4 and Black has several ways of losing material – e.g. 23…Qxf4 24.Qxf4 Bxf4 25.Rxf4. 23.Ra1 There now follows a very finely balanced series of threats and counter-threats. 23…b5 Attacking the bishop, countered by 24.d7 Red8 25.Qxc5 Now the Black queen is unguarded, preventing PxB. 25…Bf8 26.d6 Rxd7 27.Rxa4 Bxd6 If 27…Qd8. 28.Qxd6 bxa4 29.Qxg6+! The “defending” pawn is actually pinned. The end is near. 29…Kh8 30.Bf6+ Nxf6 31.Qxf6+ Kh7 32.Nf5 1–0. Black resigned in view of White’s several mating combinations, which can be worked out from here.

At the end of Round 3, Ward was one of only three of the 58 players still on a maximum score, the others being Justin Tan (17) and Jonathan Hawkins (31), but there’s a long way to go yet, with 8 more gruelling games ahead.

In last week’s position, White won a piece with 1.QxN QXQ 2.Nxe6+ forking the queen, after which the win should be routine.

In this position from a game earlier this year, how did Black launch a stinging attack?

Black to play and win significant material.

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