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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

New Faces At the Torbay Congress (21.11.2015.)

There was a slight feeling of déjà vu at last weekend’s 49th Torbay Congress as it returned to the Livermead House Hotel on Torquay seafront only weeks after the Paignton Congress had used it. Yet interest was maintained by having some new faces among the regulars. 9 yr old Adam Hussein of Truro, for example, who had not only played for Cornwall shortly before but beat his much higher-graded opponent. He finished with a creditable 3/5 pts. in the Minor.

Also, among the older players was 5-times champion of Kenya, Humphrey Andolo, recently moved to Plymouth University. Going in to the final round, Ali Jaunooby was the clear leader and only needed to draw to be assured of 1st place, while Andolo had to win. Here’s how it went.

White: A. Jaunooby (202). Black: H. Andolo. (190).

Queen’s Pawn Game [D00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d5 3.e3 e6 4.Nd2 Bd6 5.Bg3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.f4 0–0 8.Bd3 Ne7 9.Qf3 Qb6 10.Rb1 Preventing White from castling queen side. 10…cxd4 11.exd4 Nf5 12.Bf2 Be7 13.Ne2 Bd7 14.g4 Rather than castling, White decides to launch what he hopes will be a fierce attack. 14…Nd6 15.Ng3 Qa5 16.a3 Bb5 17.Bc2 Nc4 18.g5 Ne8 19.h4 f5 20.Nxc4 Bxc4 21.Kd2 White’s king sets off on a westward trek. 21…Nd6 22.Rhe1 Ne4+ 23.Nxe4 dxe4 24.Qd1 Rac8 25.Bb3 Bd6 26.Be3 All White’s pieces have become very cramped for space, in contrast with Black’s 26…Rfd8 27.Bxc4 Rxc4 28.Qb3 Qd5 29.Kc2 b5 30.Ra1 a5 31.h5 b4 Black picks this moment to start asking more serious questions of the White defences. 32.axb4 Bxb4! The defending pawn is pinned allowing this decisive intrusion by the bishop. 33.Kb1 Bxc3 34.Rc1 If 34.bxc3 Rb4 pinning the queen. 35.Qb2 Rxb2+ 36.Kxb2 Rb8+ 37.Kc1 Qb3 38.Kd2 Qb2+ 39.Kd1 Qxa1+ etc. 34…Bxd4 35.Rxc4 Bxe3 36.g6 If 36.Rc3 Bxf4 37.Qxd5 exd5 38.Rc5 Bxg5 39.Raxa5 36…Qd3+ 37.Qxd3 exd3 38.Rca4 d2 39.Kc2 hxg6 40.hxg6 Kf8 41.Rxa5 Ke7 42.R5a4 Rc8+ 43.Kd3 Rc1 0-1 The d-pawn must queen.

So after Andolo, Jaunooby came joint 2nd with Paul Helbig and Robert Thompson, both of Bristol. The U-189 Grading pirze went jointly to Stephens Dilleigh (Bristol) and Homer (Newton Abbot). Other prizewinners were as follows:

Major (U-170): 1st= R. Taylor (Malpas), P. Jackson (Coulsdon) & A. Waters (Rainham). GP U-159 1st= J. Nyman (King’s Head) & R. D. Knight (Yeovil). U-150: J. Ayres (Scarborough).

Intermediate (U-140): 1st= S. Williams (Cwmbran), S. Chadaway (Olton) & T. Greenaway (Torquay). GP (U-134) M. Fielding (Bristol). U-130: T. Crouch (Pimlico). Minor (U-120): 1st= R. Ludlow (Trowbridge), P. McConnell (S. Hams), M. Jones (Newquay), A. Fraser (Bromley) & J. Blackmore (Newton Abbot).

Last week’s position was solved by 1…Nf4+ If 2.BxN the RxQ and White can’t retake because of Qe1 mate.

This 2-mover featured in this year’s British Solving Championship.

White to mate in 2


Poor World Champions (31.10.2015.)

Making a living was very hard work for a chess professional throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, whether they be World Champion or journeyman grandmaster. Writing was hard work for little return and prize money was generally pitiful. One way of securing some quick funds was to organise country-wide tours, squeezing in as many simultaneous displays as possible, and no-one considered themselves to be above it.

World Champion (1886-’94) Steinitz, for example, had a phenomenal work ethic but still died penniless. His successor Emanuel Lasker (1894 – 1921) spent years of his life simply going from town to town playing anyone who would pay a small amount for the privilege of crossing swords with the champion in a simultaneous display. In 1898 his UK tour took in Cheltenham, Bristol, Plymouth and Falmouth. A decade later, his next tour took in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Cirencester, Bristol and Totnes.

Succeeding World Champions, Capablanca (1921–’26) and Alekhine (1926–’45) both took on world tours, taking on between 20 and 40 opponents at each stop-over.

Usually they all found it politic to offer a draw to some young schoolboy or pretty lady, or even lose a game to the local organiser, knowing this would be good publicity. Sure enough, the Chess Editor of the day would generally publish only the games of the local winners. The downside of this practice was that a modern day collection of their simultaneous games, mainly culled from newspaper archives, makes them look full-time losers. Take this example from his visit to Totnes Grammar School on 5th March 1908, against James Eccles Dimond Moysey, a 25 yr old farmer from Dartington. To be fair he was later described by Mieses as one of the foremost English amateurs, though this might have been overstating it a bit.

White: E. Lasker. Black: J. E. D. Moysey.

Falkbeer Counter Gambit [C32]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.d4 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.dxc6 Nxc6 7.d5 If 7.Be3 Ng4 7…Bc5 8.Nc3 If 8.dxc6 Bf2+ 9.Ke2 Bg4+ 10.Nf3 exf3+ 11.gxf3 Bxf3+ winning the queen. 8…Qb6 9.Nh3 If 9.Na4 Bf2+ 10.Kd2 Qd4+ and White must lose his queen to either 11.Ke2 Bg4+ or 11.Kc2 Nb4+  9…Bxh3 10.gxh3 Bf2+ 11.Ke2 e3 This blocks his own queen and bishop, and loses his knight. 11…Bh4 threatening Qf2 mate, seems at first sight a strong continuation, for if 12.Be3 Qxb2+ 13.Bd2 Nd4+ 14.Ke3 Nc2+ and Black wins. 12.dxc6 Qc5 threatening Qh5+ 13.Bg2 Rd8 14.Qa4 0–0 15.Qb5 Qd4 16.Rd1 Qxf4 17.cxb7 Qxh2 18.Qc6 Nh5 19.Bxe3 Bxe3 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Kxe3?? (see diagram)

An unfortunate oversight. Black now announced a mate in 4, although it can actually be done in 3 moves. Can you work it out?

Local farmer (B) to play and beat the World Champion.


In last week’s position, Alekhine won in style with the forcing sequence1.Rxf7+ Rxf7 2.Bxg6+ Kxg6 3.Qd3+ Kg5 4.Bc1+ Rf4 5.Qf5 mate.

That Other Alekhine (24.10.2015.)

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of their club, Plymouth organised a big congress in 1938, with the top section consisting of 8 invitees, including both current world champions, Alekhine and Vera Menchick. Alekhine was accompanied by his 3rd wife, Grace (née Wishaar), a competent player in her own right and an accomplished artist.

The fast-approaching war treated them both badly. Alekhine found himself exiled in neutral Portugal and died there in 1945, reportedly choking on a salt beef sandwich, alone in his hotel room. Meanwhile, the Nazis commandeered Grace’s opulent chateau at Saint Aubin-le-Cauf, near Dieppe, stripping it of her collection of paintings.

For a decade after the war she made repeated extended visits to west Cornwall, even becoming a member of the West Penwith Chess Club based at Lelant, near St. Ives. However, the reason for her presence probably had more to do with her interest in the St. Ives school of artists, centered around Ben Nicholson and his wife Barbara Hepworth, and included rising stars like Patrick Heron and Terry Frost. Grace may have been happy just to rub shoulders with them, to join with them in painting or even to buy their works to replace those stolen from her.

What I don’t know is where she actually lived at these times. Did she rent a different house each summer, or purchase a semi-permanent home nearby which she could use both as a studio and a meeting house for like-minded artists? Also, in trying to trace her through electoral rolls or chess club minutes, what surname did she use? She’d been married four times, so had five names to choose from, including Wishaar, Eisler, Peeke, Freeman and Alekhine. She was undoubtedly proud of the Alekhine name but may have wished for something a little less obvious. If anyone can cast a little light on this question of her time in Cornwall I’d be most grateful. Please get in touch via e-mail (jones_r53@sky.com).

On Sunday, 10 teams of 4 players competed in Devon’s team blitz chess tournament at the Newton Abbot club. Exmouth Eagles retained the Thomas Cup, with their Board 2, Dr. Jonathan Underwood winning a trophy for being the top individual scorer of the afternoon, on tie-break from Josh Blackmore (Bd. 4  of Newton Abbot A), both with 5½/6 points. The cup for teams with a total grade of Under-600 was won by Exeter A, while that for U-450 grades was won by Exeter B. The Junior Cup for school or junior teams was won by Torquay Boys’ G.S. Full details of every team and player’s performance and 10 photographs may be found on keverelchess.com/blog.

Michael Adams won last week’s game after 1.Rxd6 Nxd6 (if 1…Qxd6 2.Nf7+ wins the queen). 2.Nc6 White needs e5 for his queen. Qf7 3.Qe5+ forcing the return of the exchange. 3…Rg7 4.Nxg7 Qxg7 5.Qxe6 and White’s queen has control of the board.

In this game from 1916 how did Alekhine smash open the Black king’s position?

White to play and win by force.

Big Bucks Bring Bonus? (17.10.2015.)

As reported last week, I came 2nd= in the Minor section of the Bude Rapidplay and received £10 for my efforts, an event as rare as it was pleasing. After all, that’s as much as the great English player J. H. Blackburne won at the super-strong Hastings tournament in 1895. Yet the vast majority of chessplayers don’t play for money, but for the adrenalin rush as an unexpected win comes into view.

Bobby Fischer went some way to correcting this amateur outlook as he fought for vastly increased prize-money and public recognition and consideration for chessplayers. At the time it was, in some quarters, considered somewhat vulgar, but by 1972 he had certainly succeeded in his aims.

Now another American is pushing the cause even further. This is Maurice Ashley, the first African-American Grandmaster, with the support of Amy Lee, an entrepreneur from Vancouver, whose PokerStars company ran its first tournament with a $1,000,000 prizefund in Las Vegas last year, where probably the only UK participant was Exeter’s Tim Paulden who won £1,000 for his efforts. However, his entry fee, or “buy-in”, as they call it, was $1,000.

Last week, they launched into Britain when the prizefund of £35,000 attracted many of Europe’s top players to the PokerStars Isle of Man Tournament, making it probably the UK’s strongest-ever Open International. It finished last weekend in a 3-way tie on 7/11 points between Pentala Harikrishna (India), Laurent Fressinet, (France) and Gabriel  Sargissian, (Armenia). After various tie-rules were invoked and win-bonuses added in, Harikrisha got the title and £16,000, while Fressinet got £11,000 and Sargissian £9,000.

Ashley’s argument is that only big money prizes in chess will grab the world-wide general public’s attention. Bude still has some way to go – not that anyone’s worried about that.

In last week’s position White could have won by 1.Rxh7+ Kxh7 2.Rf7+ Kh8 2. Qg6 and Qh7mate cannot be prevented. But he missed it and eventually lost.

In 1996 Michael Adams was invited to take part in the New York Chess-In-The-Schools Tournament, which he won easily. He reported it in British Chess Magazine, noting (a) that the commentary room was full of inner-city children before whom each player had to go through their game afterwards and (b) all players had to wear a suit and tie throughout; (now there’s an idea). He didn’t mention this Rd. 8 game, but the sharp finish does appear in chess literature.

White: M. Adams (2660). Black: Joel Benjamin (2570).

Sicilian Defence – Alapin Variation. [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Bc4 Ba6 8.Bxa6 Nxa6 9.0–0 Be7 10.Nbd2 0–0 11.Ne4 Nac7 12.Bg5 f6 13.exf6 Nxf6 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Rc1 d5 16.Ng3 Qd7 17.Nh4 Bd6 18.f4 f5 19.Nh5 Qf7 20.Rf3 Kh8 21.Rh3 Rg8 22.Nf3 Qe7 23.Qe2 Ne8 24.Rc6 Qd7 25.Ne5 Qe7 which brings us to this week’s position. How did Adams now demolish the American Grandmaster?

White to play and win.

From Bude To The Isle of Man (10.10.2015.)

Peter Clarke, the well-known chessplayer, columnist, author and bibliophile died last December after a long illness, and it was his family’s wish that an event of some sort should be held in his memory. It was decided that the scheduled 3rd Bude RapidPlay should be renamed the 1st Peter Clarke Memorial Tournament. This was held in Bude on Saturday, and the gathering of local players was joined by a number of the Clarke clan, including his wife, Peggy, her youngest brother, Philip Wood, two of their 3 daughters, Pennie and Salli and 3 grandchildren.

The winner of the Open Section was Steve Piper (Salisbury) whose chess career started as a junior at the Holsworthy Chess Club, founded by Peter, while the Runner-Up was Peter’s brother-in-law, Philip Wood.

The U-140 Section was won by Kelvin Hunter (Tiverton) and joint Runners-Up were Reece Whittington (Exeter), Steve Williams (Chester), Martin Jones (Newquay) & Robert Jones (Exmouth). Full details of all players’ results may be found on the keverelchess website.

Meanwhile, possibly the strongest International Open ever on British soil has been taking place this week on the Isle of Man, where 100 top players are fighting for a prize fund of £30,000 in the Masters Section alone. In Rd. 2 Devon resident GM Keith Arkell was paired with Cornish-born Michael Adams, which resulted in this tactically tricky game.

White: K. Arkell (241). Black: M. Adams (267).

Queen’s Gambit. [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Bf5 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Bd6 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rab1 a5 13.Qc2 Re8 14.Rfe1 Qc8 15.Bg3 Bxg3 16.hxg3 Ne4 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Nd2 Nf6 Attention now turns to the queenside, where a tactical skirmish takes place. 19.b4 axb4 20.Rxb4 b5 21.a4 Nd5 22.Rb2 Rxa4 23.Nxe4 Qc7 24.Qd3 Qa5 25.Rc1 Ra3 26.Qb1 g6 27.Qc2 If 27.Rxc6 losing the queen. 27…Ra1. 27…b4 28.Nd6 Rc3 29.Qd1 Re7 30.Nc4 Qa6 31.Rxb4 Rcxe3 If now 31…Nxb4 32.Rxc3. 32.Rb8+ Draw agreed. A fine result for Arkell, but was followed in the next round by this nightmare.

White: D. Howell (274). Black: K. Arkell.

French Defence – Tarrasch Var. [C10]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.0–0 Ngf6 8.Neg5 Bd6 9.Re1 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 h6 Intending to push the knight away, but it launches into a violent attack. 11.Nxe6! fxe6 12.Rxe6+ Kf7 13.Bc4 Kf8 14.Qf5 Nb6 15.Bb3 Be7 16.Bd2 c5 17.dxc5 Qxd2 18.cxb6 Qg5 19.Qf3 axb6 20.Rxe7 Kxe7 21.Qxb7+ Kd6 22.Qxb6+ Ke5 23.Qe6+ Kf4 24.g3+ Kf3 25.Bc4 Ne4 26.Be2+ Kxe2 27.Qxe4+ Kd2 28.Qd3# 1–0

Last week’s original 2-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Na8! threatening 2.Nf3 mate. If the c-pawn takes the knight, 2.Rc4 mate follows.

This position arose in a Grandmaster rapidplay game earlier this year. What win did White miss before going on to lose the game?

White to play and win by force.

West of England Jamboree – Unexpected Outcomes (03.10.2015.)

The West of England Inter-County Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton, with 3 teams of 12 players contesting the top section. Somerset fielded the strongest team seen at the event for many years in a determined effort to wrest the trophy from the holders, Devon. Yet they managed only a single win, while Devon won on boards 10, 11 & 12 to retain the cup. Gloucestershire also had a strong team and finished just a half point behind Somerset.

1. J. K. Stephens ½-½ M. Turner (GM). 2. J. Rudd (IM) 1-0 J. Stuart. 3. M. Ashworth ½-½ L. Hartmann 4. J. Underwood ½-½ J. Jenkins. 5. N. Hosken ½-½ A. Wong. 6. T. Goldie ½-½ T. J. Paulden. 7. M. Hui ½-½ B. Edgell. 8. P. Krzyzanowski ½-½ P. Masters. 9. C. Jones (GM) ½-½ A. W. Brusey. 10. K. J. Hurst ½-½ M. Levene. 11. K. Wandowicz ½-½ M. Payne. 12. P. Chaplin ½-½ D. Regis. 13. M. V. Abbott ½-½ D. Littlejohns. 14. D. Painter ½-½ P. J. Meade. 15. R. Ashworth ½-½ J. F.Wheeler. 16. J. Fraser 1-0 B. Whitelaw. 17. A. Killey 1-0 G. N. Jepps. 18. A. Gregory 0-1 B. W. R. Hewson.

There were 4 teams in the grade-limited section, which finished:- 1st Somerset S&W (8/12 points). 2nd Torbay League (6). 3rd= Somerset N&E and Wiltshire (both 4½). Details of all individual players’ results and photographs are available on www.keverelchess.com/blog

This game proved to be a career-best performance for White.

White: John Stephens (196). Black: GM Matthew Turner (238).

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind [B39]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 The Maroczy Bind, inhibiting Black from playing d5, which usually frees up his position. 3…Bg7 4.d4 White had decided that the best approach was to attack from the outset. 4…cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 Ne6 10.Be2 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qa5 12.0–0 Qxc3 13.Qd5 0–0 14.Rfc1 Qb2 15.Bf3 d6 16.a4 Qe5 17.a5 a6 18.Rab1 Nd8 19.Bd4 Qe6 20.e5 dxe5 21.Qxe5 Qxe5 22.Bxe5 Bf5 23.Rb6 Rc8 24.Bxb7 Rc5 25.Bd4 Rxa5 Taking odd pawns away from the main scene of action can prove a costly waste of time; on the other hand to ignore them can be a decision that haunts you later in the game. It’s a matter of judgement. 26.Bxa6 Ne6 27.Be3 Bd3 28.Bb7 Nc5 29.Bxc5 Rxc5 30.Rc6 Ra5 31.h3 Rb8 32.Rc8+ Rxc8 33.Bxc8 Ra7 34.c5 Rc7 35.Bg4 e5 36.Rc3 e4 37.f3 f5 38.fxe4 Bxe4 39.Bf3 Bxf3 40.gxf3 Time for the kings to spring into life. 40…Kf7 41.Kf2 Ke6 42.Kg3 Ke5 43.c6 h6 44.Re3+ Kd5 45.Rd3+ Kxc6 46.Rd8 Rh7 47.Kf4! Although White has only 2 isolanis facing 3 connected pawns, the Black king is unable to join the fray, so a draw was agreed. If 47…Rd7 48.Rh8 Rd4+ 49.Kg3 h5 50.Rh6 Rd6 51.Kf4 and the pawns must come off. ½–½

(For more details refer to Blog section)

Last week’s problem involved another queen sacrifice; i.e. 1.QxB+ forcing 1…KxQ and then 2.Bg5 mate.

This week’s 2-mover is another world premier by local composer Dave Howard. White to play and mate in 2.

White to play & mate in 2.

Arkell’s Paignton Max. (26.09.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell has made the Paignton Congress virtually his own personal fiefdom during the past two decades, having come 1st, either clear or shared, almost every year. This time, however, he had just lost 7 rating points at his previous event at Coulsdon and was determined to make this up by scoring a maximum 7/7 points at Paignton, something he’d done only once before. In spite of his superior skills and rating at this event, this is not so easy to achieve in practice, as all or any one of his seven opponents are inclined to raise their game against the master and thereby force a draw, or even an unexpected win. But he stayed focussed throughout, kept things simple, and made it to the finishing line with the 7 points he wanted.

2nd= on 5 points were Stephen Berry (Wimbledon) and local player Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) who had his best-ever  result, after many years taking part. 4th on 4½ was 14 yr. old Theo Slade (Barnstaple). Grading prizes (U-2005) went to Graham Bolt (London Railways) and Adrian Pickersgill (Hastings). The slow starter prize (0/2) went to Jason McKenna (Oxford).

Arkell’s two best games were against Berry and this one from Rd. 6. Note how he keeps everything as simple as possible by exchanging off Black’s active pieces, thereby leaving Black completely without any piece activity.

White: Keith Arkell (241). Black: Steve  Dilleigh (187).

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Variation [D35]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.0–0 g6 11.Re1 0–0 12.e4 dxe4 13.Bxe4 Qd8 14.d5 cxd5 15.Nxd5 Ndf6 16.Rc1 Nxe4 17.Rxe4 Nf6 18.Rd4 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qf6 20.Qd4 Qxd4 21.Nxd4 Re8 Suddenly Black is left with only one active piece against three.  22.h4 h5 23.Rc7 a6 24.Rd6 Rb8 25.f3 The bishop doesn’t have a decent move on the board, which in turn leaves the rooks unconnected. 25…Kf8 26.Rb6 Ra8 27.Kf2 Re7 28.Rxe7 Kxe7 The rook & knight now have control of the board, and there’s little Black can do about it. 29.a4 Ra7 If 29…Rb8 30.Nc6+ wins the exchange viz 30…bxc6 31.Rxb8. 30.a5 Bd7 In the absence of any threats, White’s king can stroll up the board at leisure to add his own two-pennyworth to the attack. 31.Ke3 Bc8 32.Kf4 f6 33.g4 hxg4 34.fxg4 Bd7 35.g5 fxg5+ 36.Kxg5 Be8 37.Re6+ Kf8 38.Kf6 Ra8 39.Re7 Rb8 40.Ne6+ Kg8 41.Rg7+ Kh8 42.Rc7 Kg8 43.b4 Kh8 44.Re7 Kg8 45.Nc5 Kf8?? 46.Rg7 and in order to avoid the knight’s immediate mating threat, Black must incur more material loss. 1–0

In last week’s game ending, Rowena Bruce finished with a queen sacrifice, possibly the most satisfying finishes of all. 22.Qxh7+! Black’s next three moves are forced. 22…Nxh7 23.Nxf7+ Kg8 24.Ne5+ Kh8 25.Nxg6# 1-0. The mysterious “Mr. Black” was, in fact, her husband, Ron.

In this position how does White mate in 2?

White to play and mate in 2.

Arkell’s Optimism (19.09.2015.)

I wrote recently of the disappointment Grandmaster Keith Arkell must have felt at his anticlimactic finish to the recent British Championship. It seems he wasn’t downhearted for long, however, as immediately after, he took part in the massive Vienna Open tournament, where 460 players competed, and he came away 1st=, having beaten four other GMs on the way, and getting a career-best tournament rating of 2700+. It was a performance that so far seems to have been somewhat under-reported in the chess press.

So he arrived at the Paignton Congress full of optimism and a wish to add to his twenty 1st places since 1986, hopefully with a maximum score of 7/7.

In this Rd. 3 game, a former WECU President beats a former WECU Champion.

White: John Wheeler (177) Black: Maurice Staples (171).

Queen’s Gambit – Chigorin Defence.  [D07]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.c4 forcing Black onto the back foot, 8…Qd6 9.d5 Ne7 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxd2 12.Nxd2 f5 13.e4 0–0 14.Qb3 Kh8 15.Qc3 c5 16.0–0–0 Now the test is who can be first to mount a telling attack against the enemy king. 16…f4 17.Be2 Ng8 18.Nf3 Nf6 19.Nd2 Bd7 20.g3 The start of line-opening operations. 20…Rae8 If 20…fxg3 21.hxg3 and White will be able to attack down the h-file. 21.Rhg1 a6 22.g4 On the other hand, White can now run his pawns forward at will. 22…b5 23.g5 Ng8 24.Bh5 Re7 25.Bg4 b4 26.Qh3 Rfe8 27.Nf3 Bxg4 28.Rxg4 Rb7 29.Rd3 b3 30.axb3 Qb6 31.Nh4 g6 32.Nf3 32…Qa5 33.Kb2 Reb8 34.Nd2 The 8th time this overactive horse has moved. Qc7 35.Rh4 White’s greater manoeuvrability is paying off. 35…Qg7 36.Qe6 a5 37.Rdh3 a4 38.Rxh7+, and Black resigned because although after 38…Qxh7 39.Rxh7+ Rxh7 Black has 2 rooks for the queen, usually slightly stronger, White has 40.Qxe5+ winning one of the rooks 1–0.

In last week’s position White could win by 1.Qc5! threatening 2.QxQ mate. If Black takes the queen, apparently for nothing, White has 2.c3 mate. If 1…exf2 2.Nd2 mate.

Here is the game that the 11-times British Ladies Champion, Rowena Bruce of Plymouth, said on BBC Radio was her favourite. The notes are her actual words as spoken.

White: Rowena Bruce. Black: Mr. Black.

1.f4 Nf6 2.e3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.Nbd2 d6 9.h3 Nbd7 10.Qe1 Qc7 11.g4 e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Qg3 Putting an extra piece on the e-pawn, and preventing Black from playing …e4. So Black plays… 13…Nd5 14.Ne4 Rae8 15.Bd2 Kh8 16.Qh4 N5f6 Black smells trouble on his king’s wing. 17.Nfg5 Threatening to win a piece by Rxf6. 17…Bxe4 18.Bxe4 exd4 One pawn down. 19.Bd5 dxe3 Two pawns down. 20.Rae1 exd2 Might just as well give him the bishop also! 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 Any idea what the next move might be?

White to play and win by force.

Paignton Congress Starts (13.09.2015.)

The Paignton Congress starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Livermead House Hotel in Torquay. The Premier section has almost become the private preserve of Grandmaster Keith Arkell, who has won it far more times than anyone else, and judging by the entry so far, he’s still the favourite this year.

Here’s a game of his from nearly a quarter of a century ago, which appears in his autobiography, Arkell’s Odyssey, from which these notes are taken. Lane was a Paignton resident then, and Arkell lives there now.

White: Gary Lane (2336). Black: Keith Arkell (2430).

Caro-Kann Defence  [B17]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 3. Nc3 is more usual here. dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Ng5 e6 7.Qe2 Nb6 8.Bb3 h6 9.N5f3 a5 10.a4 c5 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.Ne5 Nbd5!? Here starts the fun. I can only play this move if I intend to part with my queen. 13.Qb5+ Ke7 14.dxc5 Nxf4 15.0–0–0 Bxe5! I would be clearly worse after 15…N6d5 16.cxd6+ Qxd6 17.Ngf3 so I stuck to my plan. 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.c6 N4d5!? Or 17…N6d5. 18.cxb7 Rb8 19.bxc8Q Rdxc8. I have rook & knight for queen & knight, but look at the difference in development! White has trouble in defending the weak points on b3, c2, & b2; given the choice, I would always take Black here. 20.Qd3 Nb4 21.Qe2 Nxc2 I made this further sacrifice in order to expose his king to my remaining four pieces. 22.Bxc2 Bxb2+ 23.Kd2 Nd5 Now I’ve only got a rook and pawn for the queen, but I made the judgment that in practice it would be nigh on impossible for White to find a satisfactory defence. 24.Nh3 Bc3+ 25.Kd3 Rb4 26.Qf1 If 26.Bd1 Rd4+ 27.Kc2 Bd2+ 28.Kb3 Rb8+ 29.Ka3 Bc1+ 30.Ka2 Nc3+ 31.Ka1 Rb1 mate. 26…Rd4+ 27.Ke2 Rd2+ 28.Kf3 Rxc2 29.g3 Bd4 30.Qa6 R8c3+ 31.Ke4 Bxf2 32.Nxf2 Re3+ 33.Kd4 Rxf2 34.Qxa5 Ree2 35.Qa7+ Kf6 36.a5 Rc2 37.Qb8 Rfd2+ 38.Ke4 Rc4+ 39.Kf3 Rc3+ 40.Kg4 Rd4+ 41.Kh5 Ne3 42.Qb6 If 42.Qb2 Rc5 mate. 42…Rd5+ 43.Kh4 Rc4+ 44.Kh3Rh5 0–1.

With a prize fund approaching £5,000 there will be many chances for everyone to win something.

The England International and noted chess author and columnist, Peter Clarke, died last December in North Cornwall, and a tournament in his memory has been organised for Saturday 3rd October at the Bude New Life Centre. For details, contact John Constable on 07771-544721. The river, canal, castle, beach and shops are all within a 5-minute walk of the playing venue, so could make a good day out for players and non-playing relatives.

In last week’s position, Black could play 1…Rg6 threatening Rxh6 mate. White can only play 2.PxR but 2…PxP is mate anyway.

The American Sam Loyd (1841 – 1911) was an undisputed genius at problem composition as well as a range of logic games and party tricks that he invented and marketed. Here is one of his 2-movers. White to play.

White to play

Devon’s New County Champion.

Cornwall’s individual championship is decided at their annual congress each January, the current champion being James Hooker. Devon’s is done on a knockout basis throughout the season and this was the deciding game between the two finalists.  Notes condensed from those supplied by the winner.

White: J. K. Stephens (196). Black: T. J. Paulden (187).

Robatsch Defence  [B06]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 a6 4.Nf3 d6 5.a4 b6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0–0 Ne7 8.Be3 Nd7 9.Qd2 h6 10.Rfe1 g5!? A double edged move – Black claims control over f4, but in the long run, his king may be exposed. 11.h3 Ng6 12.Ne2 Nf6 13.Ng3 White eyes the weak h5 square. If the Nf6 ever moved, this would be a great attacking square. 13…0–0 14.a5 b5 15.Bb3 Bb7 16.d5! White waits for the bishop to move to b7 before closing the long diagonal. If played whilst the bishop is still on c8, Black plays e5, and f5 will follow quickly. 16…c5 Solving a lot of Black’s opening problems. 17.dxc6 Bxc6 18.Bb6 Qb8 19.Rad1 White maintains a slight edge due to his greater king security and play on the d-file. 19…d5 20.exd5 White missed: 20.Nd4 Bb7 21.exd5 Bxd5 22.Ndf5! Bxb3 23.Nxg7 Kxg7 24.Qc3 The move I missed, threatening Nh5+ 24…Nf4 25.Ne4 e5 26.Nxf6 and White is close to winning. 20…Bxd5 21.Bxd5 Nxd5 22.Bd4 Ndf4 putting the other knight on f4 is perhaps better e.g. 22…Ngf4 23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.Qd4+ Kh7 and although the Black king is exposed, it’s not easy for White to make progress, as the knights do a good job of controlling White’s pieces. 23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.Qc3+ f6 This allows White to set up nasty threats on the 7th rank. 25.Rd7+ Rf7 26.Red1 Ra7! 27.Qc6 Ne5 28.Nxe5 Qxe5 29.Rd8? This looks to be winning for White, but Black has defensive resources. Better was 29.Rxf7+ Kxf7 30.Rd8 Re7 31.Qa8 Ng6 and all the key squares around Black’s king are covered, although White stands better due to his activity on the queenside. 29…Rfe7 30.Qc8 Kg6? The move to find was 30…h5!! and White has no mate! 31.Rg8+ Rg7?? After this, it is all over. Black could stay in the game with: 31…Kh7 32.Rh8+ Kg6 33.Rdd8 Ne2+ 34.Nxe2 Qxe2 35.Rdg8+ Rg7 36.Qe8+ Kf5 37.g4+ Kf4 and although White is slightly better, one wrong move could spell disaster. 32.Qe8+ The rest is more or less forced 32…Raf7 33.Rd7 Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Qxf2 Black sportingly lets White mate him 35.Qxf7+ Kh7 36.Qxg7# 1–0.

The Paignton Congress starts a fortnight tomorrow, so late entries need to be in a.s.a.p. Contact the Crickmores on 01752-768206 or e-mail: plymouthchess@btinternet.com.

In last week’s position, White had the queen sacrifice 1.Qh8+ forcing Bxh8 and then 2.Rh8 mate.

In this game from 1949, neither Tiverton’s A. R. B. Thomas (W) nor D. M. Horne have adhered to the unwritten rules of normal piece development, and both are liable to pay the price. In this case it was Black who got the break. How did he finish quickly?

Black to play and win

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