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Devom March On To A National Final (17.06.2017.)

After beating Nottinghamshire in the quarter finals of the U-180 Inter-County Championship, Devon met their semi-final opponents, Surrey, on Saturday at Burcombe Village Hall, on the A30 near Salisbury. The teams were very evenly matched in strength, apart from one Surrey player having to withdraw at short notice and being replaced by a lower-graded reserve. His eventual loss was the difference between the teams as Devon finished 8½-7½ winners. They now go on to play in the Final next month. The details were as follows:- (Devon names first in each pairing).

1.John Fraser (178) ½-½ R. F. Holmes. 2.John Wheeler (176) 1-0 F. Hernandez. 3.Mark Abbott (176) 1-0 D. J. Young. 4.Chris Bellers (173) ½-½ J. Ranga. 5.Plamen Sivrev (173) 1-0 D. Sedgwick. 6.Trefor Thynne (165) ½-½ J. P. Foley. 7.Oliver Wensley (168) ½-½ M. Smart. 8.Jos Haynes (165) ½-½ M. G. Smith. 9.Alan Brusey (161) ½-½ N. L Edwards. 10.Paul Brooks (162) 0-1 O. S. Phillips. 11.Meyrick Shaw (159) 0-1 N. Faulkes. 12.Bill Ingham (165) ½-½ I. Deswarte. 13.Brian Gosling (159) ½-½ P. D. Barasi. 14.Chris Scott (152) ½-½ P. Gibbons J. 15.Andrew Kinder (153) 0-1 N. D. Grey. 16.Martin Quinn (145) 1-0 D. J. Howes.

Here is Devon’s unusual opening and subsequent win from Bd. 2.

White: F. Hernandez (178). Black: John Wheeler (176).

Scotch 4 Knights [C47]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 White’s pawn on e4 is no longer protected as its defender is pinned. 6.f3 This seems a reasonable defensive move but then… 6…Nxe4? A gambit usually assumes the voluntary loss of a pawn in return for advantages other than purely material. Offering a whole piece is much more unusual, especially in such a crucial match.  However, if it was Black’s wish to lead his opponent into unfamiliar territory, he surely succeeded in that.  7.fxe4 Qh4+ 8.Ke2 If 8.g3 Qxe4+ forking king & rook, but after 9.Qe2 Black’s queen is pinned anyway, so there’s no real advantage. 9.bxc3 Qxe4+ At least Black gets 2 pawns for his knight, and White’s pawns, isolated and doubled, look a mess compared to Black’s.  10.Be3 d6 11.Nf3 0–0 12.Qd3 White would like to make equal exchanges won’t help Black’s cause, so… 12…Qg4 13.h3 Qh5 14.Kd2 Bf5 15.Qc4 Be6 16.Qf4 Qd5+ 17.Bd3 Rfe8 18.Rhb1 Threatening Rb5 winning the White queen. 18…Ne5 19.Qe4? The threatened mate forces Black’s hand, but it proves bad for White. 19…Qxe4 20.Bxe4 Nc4+ 21.Kd3 Nxe3 22.Bxb7? In not retaking immediately, White has miscalculated.  22…Bf5+! Not just check but defending the knight as well. 23.Kd2 Rad8 White has now lost his one piece advantage and is a pawn down. 24.Nd4 Nc4+ 25.Kd1 Bd7 26.Rb4? A fatal error, inviting c4; but first… 26…Ne3+ 27.Kd2 c5 forking rook & knight. 0–1

The key to last week’s position (above) was 1.NxP+ and if 1…PxN 2. Qd6#, or 1…Kf8 2.Qh8#.

This week’s position came at the end of a game played in the US Championships earlier this year. Black to play and win.

Black to play and win

Cotswold Congress Results (10.06.2017.)

The Cotswold Congress finished on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, and of the 116 competitors the following emerged with prizes:-

Open Section: 1st= Michael Ashworth 186 – Wotton Hall) & Tim Kett (202 – Cardiff). 3rd= Don Mason 193 – Shirley), Martin Simons (194- Southbourne) & Joe Stewart (194 – Gloucester). Grading prize: Ian Clarke (168 – Malvern). Junior prize: Charlie McClaren (177 – Wotton Hall).

Major Section (U-155) 1st T. Woodward (154 – Trowbridge). 2nd= D. Edwards (142 – Witney); C. Hosdurga (141 – Bristol); B. O’Gorman (150 – DHSS); A. Papier (139 – Bristol) & I. White (148 – Wotton Hall). Grading prizes (U-145) D. Curry (139 – Halesowen) . (U-136) A. Di-Vetta (127 – Bridgend). Junior: Eleanor Hapeshi (136 – Kings’ School).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st= S. Butterworth (120) & K. Langmaid (114 – Yate). 3rd= B. Aubrey (108 – Dragon School), C. Frazer & Rachel McIntosh (110 – Chepstow). Grading prizes: (U-111) Christine Constable (106 – Bude). (U-100) Z. Ashraf (77 – Wiltshire).

Joint winner of the Open, 55 year old Tim Kett has been playing since he was 4, but only since retiring early from his career as a software specialist with a global company about 3 years ago has he been able to play much more frequently. He has thrice been Welsh Champion (2012 -14 & -16) and with his wife, Sarah, has set up TSK, which brings coaching to schools and individuals in South Wales, where they are heavily involved in the Chess in Schools and Communities project. He has truly made his hobby his 2nd career.

Here was his Rd. 5 win against the no. 3 seed.

White: T. J. Kett (202). Black: Martin Simons (194)

Nimzowitsch Defence [B00]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.d4 d6 4.d5 Nb8 5.Bg5 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nbd7 9.0–0–0 Taking a considerable but calculated risk, as Black’s queenside pawns are well-placed to launch an attack at any time. But at least White has castled while Black still has some way to go.  9…Qc7 10.Be2 g6 11.Qe3 Bg7 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 c5 14.Qe3 a6 15.f4 Before Black’s pawns can fully mobilise, White concentrates on the centre. 15…b5 16.Bf3 b4 17.Ne2 Rb8 18.g4 h6 19.h4 Completing an impressive array of advanced kingside pawns, forcing Black to divert his attention away from his own plan of attack. 19…h5 20.gxh5 Nxh5 21.Bxh5 Rxh5 22.Ng3 Rh7 23.e5 dxe5 24.f5 Nf6 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.Qg5 Kf7 27.Rhe1 e4 28.Nxe4 Rh5 29.d6! Best. White is not to be diverted, as the centre is rapidly breaking open to his advantage. 29…Qc6 If 29…Rxg5? 30.Nxg5+ Ke8 31.dxc7 Ra8 32.Ne6 Black has lost a rook and White threatens 38.Rd8=Q+. 30.Qf4 Rf5 31.Ng5+ 1–0 Play might have continued… Kg8 32.Qc4+ Rd5 33.dxe7 Re8 34.Rxd5 Qxd5 35.Qxa6 Kg7 36.Ne6+ with the deadly fork 37.Nc7 to follow.

In this week’s position, almost hidden among all these pieces is a mate in 2 for White. Can you see it?

White to play

Jupiter Bring In The Stars (03.06.2017.)

Chess events are often run on a financial  shoestring, so it’s nice to see private enterprise stepping in to support tournaments from time to time. Winton Capital Management, for example, have for several years lent their name to the annual British problem-solving Championship, the latest version of which starts this week (see below).

As reported last week, Jupiter Asset Management organised an even more unusual event. They got the services of Daily Telegraph chess columnist, Malcolm Pein, to round up 8 top players, each one of whom would partner a Jupiter employee, in a Pro-Am blitz knockout tournament. The professionals comprised World Championship finalists, Nigel Short and Michael Adams; world top amateur GM Luke McShane; GM Gawain Jones and his wife Sue; GMs David Howell & Peter Wells, and English Ladies Champion, Kanwal Bhatia.

Malcolm Pein paired the players off, which led to Cornishman Adams joining up with Jupiter IT expert and former Exmothian, Chris Hunter-Jones, to form a Westcountry team. The rules were: to make alternate moves; no conferring and 15 minutes per team for all moves.

In the quarter-final the Westcountry team beat Sue Jones’s team and went on to meet Nigel Short and Edward Bonham Carter in the Semi. Their first game was drawn with only seconds to spare, but lost the tie-break game. This consisted of a 5 minute game by just the amateurs, in which Carter played a King’s Gambit and Hunter-Jones blundered in the opening (easily done in those circumstances) and it was quickly over. The Short/Carter team then lost in the Final to Peter Wells and Alastair McFie. The chess was often crazy – but great fun.

The solution to last week’s position (above) was 1…Qg3+ and if 2.hxQ Ng2 mate, while if 2.Rf2 QxR mate.

The road to discovering who will be next year’s Winton British Solving Champion starts here, as this week’s position is the starter problem. It’s White to play and force mate in 2 moves against any Black defence. There is no entry fee and the competition is open to British residents only. Competitors need only send White’s first move, known as the “key move” and this may be done in 2 ways. (a) by post to Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Road, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1QY , or (b) by e-mail to

All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 31st July 2017 and must give the entrant’s name and home postcode. Don’t forget to mention that you saw this notice in either the WMN or Western Daily Press.

After the closing date, all competitors will receive the solution, and those who get it right will be sent the postal round containing 8 more difficult and varied problems. In due course the best competitors and 5 best juniors (U-18 on 31.07.2017) will be invited to participate in the final at Eton College on Saturday 18th February 2018.

Best of luck to anyone who takes up the challenge.

Frome Congress Results (20.05.2017.)

Last weekend’s Frome Congress attracted 188 players from all over the South-West and beyond, of whom 36 won prizes. Details, kindly supplied by the Organiser, Gerry Jepps, as follows:

Open Section: 1st= Jane Richmond (Brown Jack); A. Pleasants, (Weymouth); S. Crockart (Didcot) 4 pts. Grading prizes U-2050: A. Gregory (Bath) 3½. U-1900 V. Stoyanov (Sandhurst) 3. Qualifying places for the British Championship were awarded to Andrew Gregory and Philip Holt (Olton).

Major Section (U-165): 1st E. Osbourn (Worcester) 4½. 2nd T. Woodward (Trowbridge) 4. 3rd= S. Jukes (Barry); R. Radford (Keynsham); B. Gosling (E. Budleigh); H. Fowler (Millfield) & C. Timmins (Bristol) all 3½. Grading prizes: U-155: A. Champion (Keynsham); G. Georgiou (Swindon) & A. Muller (Bristol) all 3. U-145: G. Williams (Swindon); P. Foley (Upminster); D. Watson (Bourne End) & I. S. Annetts (Tiverton) all 2½.

Intermediate Section: (U-140) 1st= D. McGeeney (Bristol); L. Tarbuck (Lichfield) & N. Mills (Yeovil) all 4½. GPs U-128: R. Morris-Weston (Bristol); E. Fierek (Gloucester); D. Rogers (Exmouth); A. Sage (Bath) & O. Stubbs (Downend). U-118: E. Hurst (Salisbury) all 3½.

Minor Section: (U-110): 1st J. Opie (Frome) 5. 2nd= Amanda Jones (Salisbury) & Y. Kumar (Bath) 4½. GPs (U-99) F. Cheeseman (Kent) & J. Wallman (Dorset). U-90: A. Wang (Bath) & J. Doull (Purbeck).

In the absence of any GMs to take the top prize, it was no surprise to see Jane Richmond taking a share of the spoils. She has been Welsh Ladies Champion 11 times and has played in several Olympiads. Here is her last round game, which clinched her share of 1st place.

White: O. Garcia (2062). Black: J. Richmond (2128)

Vienna Game C28

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 Signature move of the Vienna Game, in which White intends to attack on the kingside. 4…d6 5.f4 exf4 6.Bxf4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.Na4 Nh5 9.Bg5 an idea that doesn’t work. 9…Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Qxg5 11.Bxf7+ Ke7 12.Nxc5 Qxc5 13.Qxh5 White recovers his piece, at the expense of… 13…Qe3+ 14.Kd1 Raf8 15.Re1 Qd4 16.Bc4 Qxb2 17.Qh4+ Kd7 18.Kd2 Qb4+ 19.Kd1 Ne5 20.Bb3 Qd4 21.Rb1 Rf2 22.Qg3 g6 23.Bd5 Rhf8 24.Qh3+ Kd8 25.Qh4+ R8f6 26.Re2 The knight now becomes a real menace. 26…Nxd3 27.Rxf2 Not 27.cxd3?? because of  27…Qxd3+ 28.Kc1 Qxe2 with mate to follow. 27…Nxf2+ 28.Ke2 Ng4! 29.Rb3 Not 29.Qxg4?? Rf2+ 30.Ke1 Qd2#. 29…Ke8 unpinning the rook. 30.Rf3 Rxf3 31.Kxf3 h5 32.h3?? 32.Qe1 was needed to keep the game going. 32…Qe3# 0–1.

In last week’s position (above) Black had overlooked “the power of the check”, which overrides other threats. Hence White wins material rather than loses it after 1.Nf7+.

In this game from 1953 White’s pieces have the freedom of the board, while Black’s appear relatively cramped. His only advantage is that it’s his move. Is this enough to save the game?

Can Black save the day?

World Team Seniors 65+ (13.05.2017.)

Although most public attention was focussed on the 50+ group in the recent World Seniors team tournament in Crete, it should not be forgotten that there was a 65+ section as well. It seemed to appeal to players from Northern Europe, as of the 22 participating teams, 5 came from Sweden, 3 from England and 2 from Norway. Like the younger age group, the Russians won this section as well, winning all 9 matches.

Brian Hewson of Tiverton won this Bd. 1 game against England 1 for England II, for whom Trefor Thynne was team Captain.

White: B. W. R. Hewson (187). Black: Michael Stokes (187).

King’s Indian Defence – Fianchetto Variation.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.0–0 d6 6.Re1 Nbd7 7.c4 e5 8.Nc3 This position was reached in the game Schwartz–L. Paulsen (Wiesbaden 1880) demonstrating its long time pedigree. Ng4 9.dxe5 Ndxe5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Qb3 c6 12.Bf4 Qe7 13.Rad1 Bf5 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.f4 Bg7 16.e4 Bg4 17.Rd2 Rfd8 18.Qa3 Qc7 19.h3 Be6 20.Bf1 Bf8 21.Qa4 a6 22.Qc2 Qa5 23.Kh2 b5 24.cxb5 axb5 25.a3 b4 26.axb4 Qxb4 27.Nd1 Bg7 28.Ree2 c5 29.Ne3 Bb3 30.Qc1 Ra2 31.Bg2 Rda8 32.Rxd6 Bf8 33.Rdd2 Qb5 34.e5 Ra1 35.Qc3 Rc8 36.Nd5 c4 37.Nf6+ Kh8 38.Rd5 Qb6 39.Re1 Bb4 40.Qe3 Qxe3 41.Rxe3 Bc5 42.Rxc5 White had little option but to give up the exchange, in view of, for example, 42.Re2 Bg1+ 43.Kh1 Bb6+ 44.Kh2 c3. 42…Rxc5 43.Re2 In spite of having to give up the exchange, White’s 2 minor pieces  become very active, so maybe it hasn’t turned out too badly. 43…Rc8 44.Ne4 Rc1 45.Nd6 Rc7 46.Bd5 Kg8 47.e6 Kf8 48.exf7 Re7 49.Rxe7 Kxe7 50.Nc8+ Kf8 51.Nb6 Threatening to win immediately with 5.Nd7+ getting a queen back. 51…Ba4 52.Nxa4 c3 53.bxc3 Ke7 54.c4 Ra1 55.Nc5 Ra7 56.Kg2 Kf8 57.Be6 1-0 White has 3 pawns & 2 minor pieces for a rook, and Black resigned in view of the renewed prospect of 58.Nd7+.

The Frome Congress started yesterday evening and continues until Sunday tea-time. After that, the next big event is the Cotswold Congress at the King’s School, Gloucester over the Whit Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 27th to Monday 29th May. Like Frome, they also have easy on-line entry facilities, which experience has shown tends to increase entries. Their website is

Details are now out about Cornwall’s Rapidplay Championship for the Kerrier Cup, to be held at Carnon Downs Village Hall TR3 6GH, on Saturday 17th June, starting at 1.45 p.m.  Space is at a premium and a maximum of 24 entries has been fixed, so early entry is essential to be sure of playing. Further details may be found on the website

Last week’s 2-mover (above) by Dave Howard, was solved by Bf3! with the threat of a discovered check being too much for Black to deal with.

In this game from 25 years ago, Black played 1…Nc4 in the hope of winning material. Did he succeed?

White to play

World Team Seniors 50+ Results (06.05.2017.)

The World Team Seniors Tournament finished on Tuesday on the island of Crete. It was held in two age groups; 50+ and 65+. There were 22 teams in the “junior” section, the top seed being England just ahead of St. Petersburg. The England 1 team’s pool of 5 players consisted of John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Keith Arkell, Terry Chapman and, it was said beforehand, Malcolm Pein. But this was only to disguise the fact that Nigel Short had agreed to play, and it was meant to be a surprise for the opposition.

In spite of all this, it was the Russians that finished in 1st place, having won all their 9 matches, while Armenia pushed England down to 3rd. England II came 10th with England III 20th.

England 1 lost their match vs St. Petersburg, though Speelman won his game.

White: Jon Speelman (2511). Black: S Ionov. (2535)

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 losing a tempo. 6.Bg2 0–0 7.0–0 c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Bf4 Ba6 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Rc1 seizing control of the c-file. 11…Nbd7 12.Nc3 Nh5 13.Qa4 Nxf4 14.Qxa6 Nxg2 15.Kxg2 Qc8 16.Qxc8 Rfxc8 White clearly believes in keeping things simple. 17.Nb5 Bf8 18.Nc7 Rab8 19.a4 Nc5? Black has miscalculated the permutations in this little skirmish. 20.dxc5 Rxc7 21.cxb6! Rxc1 22.bxa7 Suddenly White has a 3–0 pawn majority on the q-side. 22…Ra8 23.Rxc1 Rxa7 24.b3 g6 25.Nd4 White’s 2 extra pawns should be enough to win, but help from the knight may be needed. 25…Kg7 26.Nc6 Rb7 27.b4 1-0 Black cannot take the pawn because if 27…Bxb4? 28.Rb1 wins a piece.

England 1’s match against England II had two former British champions facing off.

White: Nigel Short (2683). Black: James  Plaskett. (2458)

English Opening – Sicilian Variation.

1.c4 e5 2.e3 g6 3.d4 d6 4.Nc3 Nd7 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 Ne7 7.Nge2 0–0 8.a4 f5 9.a5 a6 10.b3 g5 This is what is called in the trade as a “pawn storm”, but what Black’s king might call a dereliction of defensive duties. 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Ba3 c6 13.g4 f4 14.Be4 f3 15.Ng3 Black’s advanced pawns have achieved nothing, while his defences now leak like a colander. 15…Qxa5 16.0–0 c5 If 16…Qxc3? 17.Bxe7 wins Black’s g-pawn. 17.Bb2 Qb6 18.Bxf3 Nf6 19.Nce4 Ng6 20.Nxg5 Rd8 21.Qc2 Bxg4 22.Bxg4 Nxg4 23.h3 Nh6 24.Nh5 giving an extraordinary combination of knights on the wing. 24…Bh8 25.f4 Qc6 26.f5 Nf8 27.Rf2 Nf7 28.Ne4 Nd7 29.f6 Nf8 30.Kh2 Ng6 31.Rg1 Kf8 32.Rfg2 Ke8 33.Bc3 Kd7 34.Nhg3 Kc7 35.Rf2 Rd7 36.Qe2 Rg8 It’s a little late for this rook to be coming to the aid of the Party – the party’s almost over. 37.Qh5 h6 38.Rd2 Rxd2+ 39.Bxd2 b6 40.Bc3 Qe6 41.Nf5 Ng5 42.Nxh6 The rook must move away, leaving both knights undefended. 1–0

Last week’s 2-mover (above) by Dave Howard, was solved by Bh4! after which the queen can mate either on a5 or e2.

Here is another new and relatively easy 2-mover by him.

White to play & mate in 2

Arkell Loses! (29.04.2017.)

As reported last week, Keith Arkell retained his West of England Championship over the Easter weekend by winning his first 6 games. However, in the 7th and final round he met his nearest rival and lost for the first time in the 21 games he’s played here in the past 3 years. It was a Dutch Defence, not dissimilar to the one being played at the same time, and given last week.

White: K. C. Arkell Black: R. McMichael

Dutch Defence [A90]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 Here we go with another Dutch Defence. 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 c6 5.Nf3 d5 6.0–0 Bd6 7.b3 Qe7 8.Bb2 0–0 9.Nbd2 Bd7 10.Ne5 Be8 11.a4 Nbd7 12.a5 White may be aware that Black intends the thematic king-side attack, and before that happens needs to create some space for himself on the other wing. 12…a6 13.Ndf3 Bh5 14.Qc2 Rad8 15.cxd5 Bxf3 16.exf3 Nxd5 17.Nc4 Bb4 18.f4 N7f6 19.Ne5 Nc7 20.Bxc6! Ncd5 The preferred move of computer analysis. If 20…bxc6 21.Nxc6 forking 3 pieces. 21…Qd6 22.Nxb4 (or if 22.Nxd8 Rxd8 23.Rfc1 leaving White with a rook & 2 pawns for 2 knights, but it’s unclear who has the better  chances, especially if Black’s 3 minor pieces start to get really active.) 22…Qxb4 23.Qxc7 Qxb3 24.Ba3 Rfe8 25.Bc5. 21.Bxd5 Nxd5 22.Nd3 Bd6 23.Nc5 Rf6 Black’s backward e-pawn needs reinforcement in view of White’s next move. 24.Rae1 Rh6 25.f3 Rg6 26.Kh1 h5 Now follows the kingside pawn storm that we saw in last week’s example of the Dutch. 27.Rg1 h4 28.Bc1 hxg3 29.hxg3 Kf7 30.Rg2 Rh8+ 31.Kg1 If 31.Rh2 Rxh2+ 32.Kxh2 (Of course, not 32.Qxh2?? Rh6 33.Qxh6 gxh6 34.Nxe6) 31…Rh3 32.Qf2 Rgh6 33.Kf1 Rh1+ 34.Ke2 Bxc5 35.dxc5 Qd7 36.Qd4 Nxf4+ 37.Qxf4 Rxe1+ 38.Kxe1 Rh1+ 39.Kf2 Qd1 Threatening mate on e1 40.Bd2 Qf1+ winning a piece back. 41.Ke3 Qxg2 42.Qc7+ Kg6 43.Bc3 Now Black has to tread carefully to counter the threat to g7. 43…Qg1+ 44.Kd3 The game went on for another 20 moves but unfortunately both scoresheets are indecipherable as the tension got to both players. However, Black remained the exchange ahead and with that advantage managed to keep threatening White’s king to the point of resignation.

Photographs of this, and many other games being played throughout the tournament, and the prizewinners receiving their trophies may be found on

There are two Westcountry congresses next month. Firstly, one at Frome, to be held Fri. 12th – 14th May  at Selwood Academy, Frome, BA11 2EF (website This is followed by the Cotswold Congress over the Bank Holiday Weekend Sat. 27th – Mon. 29th May at King’s School, Gloucester, GL1 2BG.


In last week’s position (above) Black could play …1.Qg2+ and depending which piece takes it, Black has either …2.Nh3# or Ne2# as the White king is smothered by his own defenders.

Here is a 2 mover by Dave Howard.

White to Play

Teignmouth RapidPlay & Jersey Festival Results (08.04.2017.)

The Teignmouth RapidPlay tournament took place on Saturday, with these players emerging with prizes after 6 gruelling rounds.

Open Section: 1st Lorenz Hartmann (Exeter Uni.) 5 pts. 2nd= Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) & John Fraser (Exeter Uni.) both 4½. Grading prizes: U-166: Steve Dean (Seaton) 3½. U-151: Alan Dean (Exmouth). 2½

Graded Section (U-137): 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5½. 2nd Reece Whittington (Exeter) 5. U-122: Macey Rickard (Teignmouth); Graham Mill-Wilson (Yate & Sodbury); John Constable (Bude); Gregor Fotheringam (Tiverton) & Zoe Strong (Clevedon) all 4. U-111: Nicholas Cunliffe (Wells); David Thomson (Exmouth) & Christine Constable (Bude) all 4. U-94: Peter Strong (Exeter Uni.) 4.

Team Prize: Exeter University (Hartmann, Fraser & P. Strong).

Juniors:U-16; John Skeen (Churchill Academy) 3½. U-14: Max Walker (Churchill Academy) 4½. Photographs of the action may be found on

All this week, the Jersey Festival Congress has been taking place with Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) the focus of Westcountry interest. He is 7th seed overall, some way behind Jon Speelman and Hillarp Persson. In Rd. 2 on Sunday he faced the Swede with the following result:- notes kindly supplied by the winner.

White: Jack Rudd (2177). Black: Tiger Hillarp Persson (2503)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 Be7 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.g3 b5 13.f4 This break changes the character of the position, but White couldn’t see what else to do. 13…Nb6 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Bxb6 Qxb6 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Rd8 18.Bg2 0–0 19.Na5 Re-routing the knight to c6 from where it does a good defensive job, as Black has little play if he cannot access the c- & d-files. 19…Bd6 20.Nc6 Rde8 21.Rhf1 Ng4 22.Rde1 f5 23.Qg5 e4 24.Qxh5 24.Qg6 was a better way to drive the advantage home. 24…Qc5 25.Rxf5 Rxf5 26.Qxe8+ Rf8 27.Qxe4 24…Ne3 25.Bh3 Nxf1 26.Rxf1 Qe3 White had missed this route back for the queen. 27.Bxf5 Qh6 28.Qg4 e3 29.Nd4 g6 30.Re1 Qh5 31.Be6+ Kh8 32.Qe4 Black now played 32…Rf2 and offered a draw, which was declined. 33.Qxe3 Ref8 34.a3 A flight square for the king may be needed later. 34…Qxh2 35.Ka2 Kh7 36.Bg4 Qxg3 the best move. 37.Rh1+ 1-0 Rh2 would have been OK, but Black mistakenly picked up his queen. This may have been a stroke of luck for Rudd, but 2 games later he was leading the field by a clear point. He lost to Speelman in Rd. 5 but was still joint leader on 4/5 points.

NB:  Since going to press on Wednesday, Rudd kept his nerve and his form and was always in 1st place, either clear or shared. He won his last game on Saturday and finished 1st= with Alan Merry. More details next week.

In last week’s position (above) White could ignore Black’s attack as he had 1.RxB+ KxR 2.Rb8 mate.This 2-mover is more difficult, having been one of the problems in the recent British Solving Championships. What is White’s one move to enable mate next time against any Black defence.

Gold Fever! (01.04.2017.)

There must be some gene in the Devonian make-up that compels them to go to the other side of the world on crackpot missions looking for vast quantities of gold. This was first displayed by Sir Walter Raleigh, late of East Budleigh, who in 1617 led a second expedition up the Orinoco in search of the fabled city of El Dorado. It was a doomed venture and many of his men, including his only son, Watt, died in the attempt. Raleigh reported back to King James I, who had him executed for his failure.

300 years later gold fever broke out again when Col. Percy Fawcett, born in Torquay and brought up in Teignmouth, led several expeditions into the Brazilian interior on the same mission. The very name El Dorado was, by this time, tainted, so Fawcett called it the Lost City of Z. Out this week is a major film of the story.  Like Raleigh, Fawcett took his son on his final expedition, which simply vanished without trace. Several expeditions were subsequently sent to look for the expedition that was looking for gold, but no trace of Fawcett or cities of gold has ever been found.

Meanwhile, Percy’s older brother, Douglas was living a life every bit as exotic as his sibling. He was a pioneering science fiction writer well ahead of H. G. Wells, philosopher, mountaineer, photographer, racing motor cyclist and motorist. For many more details on his life visit keverelchess/biographies/edouglas fawcett.

He was also a keen chess player all his long life, last playing at Paignton in 1959.

In 1904 he took part in a special Rice Gambit tournament, financed by the US millionaire, Isaac Rice, who had devised a gambit in a line of the King’s Gambit and wished to test it out with top players.

White: D. Fawcett. White: James Mortimer

Kings Gambit – Rice Gambit [C39]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bd6 8.0–0 White is gambitting not just a pawn but his central knight. 8…Bxe5 All games in this tournament had to start from this position. 9.Re1 Qe7 This was the defence most favoured by Black in the tournament, and was Prof. Rice’s own choice. 10.c3 and this was White’s preferred response. 10…g3 11.d4 Ng4 12.Bxf4 Bxf4 Less favoured by computer analysis is 12…Qxh4 13.Qf3 Qh2+ 14.Kf1 f6 15.dxe5 fxe5 16.Bxe5 Qh1+ 17.Ke2 Nxe5 18.Qf6 leaving Black’s Queen, rook & knight all attacked. 13.Rxe7+ Kxe7 14.Qf3 Be3+ 15.Kh1 f5 16.d6+ cxd6 17.Qd5 Rf8 18.Na3 Nf6 19.Qf3 f4 20.Re1 Nc6 21.Qxf4 Ng4 22.Rxe3+ Nce5 23.Qg5+ Ke8 24.dxe5 d5 25.Bb5+ Bd7 26.Bxd7+ Kxd7 27.Qxg4+ 1–0 The check is vital, giving White time to cover Black’s threatened back rank mate.

In last week’s position (above) it’s Black’s knight that is trying to hold everything together, but unsuccessfully as White won easily after 1.RexB and if 1…NxR 2.Rb7+ forcing 2…RxR 3.PxR and the pawn cannot be stopped from queening.

In this position White is facing a strong attack. How should he proceed?

A Recent Nunn Win & WECU Junior Winners (25.03.2017.)

Grandmaster John Nunn’s unexpected appearance at the recent East Devon Congress undoubtedly created some extra interest in the event, and he didn’t disappoint, coming clear 1st with 4 wins and finishing with a draw. This was his game from Rd. 3.

White: Stephen Piper (187). Black: John Nunn (236).

Grünfeld Defence [D79]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.0–0 0–0 8.d4 Ne4 9.Qb3 Nc6 10.Rd1 Na5 11.Qb4 Bf5 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Nh4 Bg4 14.Bxe4 Bxe2 15.Re1 Ba6 16.Bg5 Re8 17.Rad1 Rc8 Grabbing the open file with a rook – a contributory factor in Black’s win. 18.b3 b6 19.Ng2 Qd7 20.Be3 Bb7 21.Bxb7 Nxb7 22.Nf4 Nd6 23.Nd3 Rc2 24.a4 Nf5 Black must have calculated carefully that his advanced rook cannot become trapped and picked off. 25.Ne5 Qd5 26.Nc4 Rd8 27.Na3 Rb2 28.Nc4 Ra2 The rook cuts a lonely figure on a2, but cannot be taken, so must lie quietly. It doesn’t move again. 29.Rd3 e6 30.Red1 h5 As the White pieces are situated in the centre, Black chooses this moment to attack White’s king’s position. 31.Qe1 h4 32.Qf1 hxg3 33.hxg3 Qe4 34.Qg2 Qg4 35.d5 exd5 36.Rxd5 Just as White’s rooks break free for their self-imposed constraints, Black strikes. 36…Qxd1+! 37.Rxd1 Rxd1+ All other things being equal, two rooks are generally deemed to be stronger than a queen, providing they have scope to move and can cooperate, as is the case here. 38.Kh2 Nxe3 39.Nxe3 Rdd2 40.Qa8+ Kh7 41.Qxa7 Rxf2+ 42.Kh3 f5 Blocking off g5 as a possible escape route. 43.Kh4 Rh2+ 0–1 Resigned in view of 44.Kg5 Rh5+ 45.Kf4 Rf2#.

The West of England Junior Championships were held in Swindon last month, and the main winners were as follows:-

U-18: Michael Ashworth (Wotton Hall, Gloucester). U-18 Girls: Zoe Varney (Somerset). U-16: Oliver Howell (Somerset). U-14: Max Walker (Churchill Academy) & Ben Headlong (Swindon). U-12: Adam Hussain (Truro Prep School). U-12 Girls: Georgia Headlong (Swindon). U-10: Daniel Yu (Hants). U-10 Girls: Jaime Ashworth (Wotton Hall). U-9: Matthew Timbrell (Somerset). U-8: Daniel Shek (Yately Manor School). U-8 Girls: Jessica White (Wiltshire).

The West of England Congress starts a fortnight on Friday in Exmouth, with entries currently standing at 60 and rising. Time, therefore, not to risk missing the cut-off by getting entries to the Secretary, Meyrick Shaw, (tel: 01395-275494 or e-mail: Entry forms are downloadable from

The solution to last week’s 2-mover (above) was 1.Qe7! threatening 2.Qh4#.

This week’s position came from a recent game played in the 4NCL. As with 2 rooks vs a queen, Black’s 2 minor pieces should be slightly stronger than a rook, all other things being equal, but in this case they are not, as White has the opportunity to sweep away this slight inequality. How so?

White to play & win quickly