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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

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.

Devon’s Team Blitz Results (05.11.2016.)

Devon’s Team Blitz Tournament took place on Sunday at the Newton Abbot Chess Club with 10 teams of 4 players taking part. The players had just 12 minutes for all their moves in each of the 6 games to be played. It was noticeably stronger than in recent years with more clubs determined to take first prize. They finished in this order (all points out of 24): 1st Exeter 19; 2nd Tiverton 18; 3rd Seaton 16½; 4th Newton Abbot ‘A’ 15; 5th Exmouth 13; 6th Exeter ‘B’ 10; 7th Torquay Boys’ G.S. 8½; 8th Teignmouth ‘8’; 9th Newton Abbot ‘B’ 7; 10th Weymouth 5. The only player to win all six games was Paul Hampton of Seaton. In recent years Dorset players have been deprived of inter-county competition by the fact that no-one is prepared to act as county captain, and have been forced to withdraw from the West of England inter-county tournaments, so they asked to be allowed to enter a team drawn for the Weymouth and Dorchester clubs. This was agreed to but they found it very tough going.

The Beacon Seniors Congress started on Monday afternoon and finished only yesterday. The entry was slightly up and noticeably stronger than previous years, and after 2 rounds it was impossible to conjecture who might be featuring in the prizelist. Suffice it to say that the early results were completely topsy-turvy, with modestly-graded club players beating or drawing against much higher-rated opposition. Here is a game from Round 2 in last year’s event that demonstrates that very point.

White: Mike Dow (110). Black: Ewart Smith (140).

French Defence  [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.f4 The La Bourdonnais Attack – an unconventional and little-seen continuation. 2…b6 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.Nc3 c5 5.Be2 Be7 6.0–0 Nf6 7.d3 d6 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 0–0 10.Qd2 a6 11.Rae1 Qc7 12.Bd1 Rad8 13.d4 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Nc5 15.Bf3 d5 16.e5 Nfe4 17.Qc1 Nxc3 18.Bxc3 Ne4 19.Bb2 Bc5 20.Kh1 A wise precaution. 20…Rd7 21.Bg4 Bb4 22.Re2 Nc3 23.Bxc3 Bxc3 The knight is attacked – so what to do with it? White finds an excellent answer. 24.Nxe6! fxe6 25.Bxe6+ Kh8 26.Bxd7 Qxd7 This skirmish leaves White with R+2P for the bishop pair, but his attack just seems to flow naturally. 27.e6 Qe7 28.Qe3 d4 29.Qh3 Bd5 30.f5 g6 31.Kg1 gxf5 32.Rxf5 Rxf5 33.Qxf5 Bb7 34.Qe5+ Kg8 35.Rf2 Bc8 36.Rf7 1–0 White threatens mate on g7. The only way to avoid that would be 36…Qxf7 37.exf7+ Kxf7 38.Qc7+ winning a bishop while the other one is already powerless. So it was a hopeless cause.

All prizewinners and a sensational game next week.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Ba1! after which Black has four “tries: 1…exf2 2.e4#; 1…Nxf2 2.Nf2#; 1…Nf6 2.Nxf6# and 1…N7g5 2.Nf6#.

This 2-mover is by J. F. Ling in 1968, and was given the title “What goes

up”……  Can that be a clue?

White to play and mate in 2

Seniors and the Grob (29.10.2016.)

The Royal Beacon Seniors Congress starts in Exmouth on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. with a slight rise in entries and a number of new faces. Shortly after that will be the 50th Torbay Congress in Torquay, over the weekend starting Friday 11th November. To commemorate this landmark there will be some extra attractions, like book prizes, etc. The prizelist will be considerable as it includes the Torbay individual championship in each of the four sections. Entry forms can downloaded from chessdevon.org.

Devon’s inter-club competitions are under way with the first completed match last Saturday involving Exmouth’s long trip to Barnstaple for a match in Division 2, the Mamhead Cup. This was the game on Board 4, which involved the rare sighting of an eccentric opening.

White: Alan Dean (140). Black: Rob Oughton (124)

Grob Opening [A00]

1.g4 The Grob Opening, analysed by the Swiss international, Henry Grob (1904-’74) in his book of 1942. It has had a number of other names, most recently “The Spike”. It’s rarely seen in serious tournament play, but has a small number of devoted adherents, like the IM Mike Basman and the winner of this game. It undoubtedly has a surprise value, but White players are advised to know it well before trying it, and Black players are advised not to take it too lightly – it can bite. 1…d5 2.e3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 e6 5.Nf3 Nd7 6.Nc3 a6 7.b3 c5 8.Bb2 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Ne7 10.Qd2 Rb8 White has compromised his kingside as a safe haven and intends to castle long. Black senses this and prepares his own attack on the queenside.   11.0–0–0 But White does it anyway. 11…Nc6 12.Nce2 Nxd4 13.Nxd4 0–0 14.h4 Of course. It’s now a race to get their attack in first. 14…Qe7 15.h5 g5? White’s charging pawns cause Black to weaken his own pawn formation. Better might have been 15…e5 16.Ne2 Nb6 with a pawn centre and an attack on g4. 16.h6 Bh8 17.f4 White can afford to throw all his kingside pawns forward; if he doesn’t Black will soon be doing the same on the queen’s wing. 17…f6?? It looks innocent enough but weakens e6 and allows White to strike a fatal blow. Better to try and give his queenside pieces a chance of developing with something like 17…Nf6. 18.Nxe6! Nb6 If 18…Qxe6 19.Bxd5 winning the queen. 19.Nxf8 Kxf8 20.fxg5 Ke8 21.Rhf1 Bringing a third piece to attack Black’s pinned f-pawn – it’s too far gone for Black to save. 1–0

A new and highly-praised film, The Queen of Katwe, tells the true life story of how, with the help of her chess coach, a young Ugandan girl discovers she has a prodigious talent for the game which transforms her life from Kampala slum to world fame. By contrast HMRC has now bankrupted our own chess coach, Mike Basman, to the tune of £300,000.

Last week’s 2-mover was a “waiter” in that the key move 1.Rc6!  poses no immediate threat, but any move that Black then makes will open up a mating move; e.g. 1…Bf3 2.Qh2# or 1…f6 2.Bd6# etc. Here is another new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to play and mate in 2

Devon Beat Cornwall at Plymouth (22.10.2016.)

Devon and Cornwall met at Plymouth recently in their first match of the new season. Cornwall were competitive in the top half of the team, winning or drawing 4 of the top 8 games, but Devon’s strength in depth meant they won 7 of the lower 8 games, to give the overall score of 4 -12 a one-sided look. The details were as follows (Cornish names 1st in each pairing).

1.J. Menadue (189) ½-½ D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Hassall (183) 0-1 T. Paulden (187). 3. J. Hooker (177) 1-0 S. Homer (190). 4.L. Retallick (176) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.D. Saqui          (176) ½-½ J. Underwood         (183). 6. R. Kneebone (174) 0-1 H. Andolo (181). 7.J. Morgan (170) 0-1 B. Hewson (182). 8.C. Sellwood (154) 1-0 S. Martin. 9.G. Trudeau (153) 0-1 D. Regis (175). 10. P. Gill (149) 0-1 P. Sivrev (175). 11. R. Stephens (148) ½-½ C. Lowe (175). 12.J. Nicholas (147) 0-1 J. Wheeler. (174). 13.R. Smith (141)     0-1 T. Thynne (170). 14.A. Hussain (135) 0-1     O. Wensley (168). 15. D. R. Jenkins (125) 0-1 M. Marshall (166). 16. D. Lucas (121) ½-½ W. Ingham (162).

Here is a win from each team.

White: S. Homer (190). Black: J. Hooker. (177).

Sicilian Defence.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.0–0 d5 8.Nd2 Bd6 9.f4 White follows the general plan in this opening of initiating an early kingside attack, though the threat of a fork in this position is a hollow one. 9…0–0 10.e5 Bc5+ 11.Kh1 Nd7 12.Qh5 Threatening mate. 12…f5 13.g4 If 13.exf6 Nxf6 stopping the mating threat. 13…g6 14.Qh3 Bb7 15.Nf3 Bb6 16.gxf5 exf5 17.b3 Qe7 18.Bb2 c5 19.Rae1 White completes his piece development, but Black’s bishop pair look menacing against the exposed king’s position. 19…c4 20.bxc4 Qb4 21.e6? Better was 21.Ng5 dxc4+ 22.Be4 Bxe4+ 23.Rxe4 h5 (or 23…Qe7 24.Rxc4) 24.Ba3. 21…dxc4 Now both White bishops are attacked, while Black’s bishops are sweeping the board. 22.Ba3 Qxa3 23.Bxc4 Qc3 24.Bb3 Nf6 25.e7+ Rf7 26.Re6 Kg7 27.Re5 Re8 28.Bxf7 Kxf7 29.Re2 Rxe7 30.Rxe7+ Kxe7 31.Re1+?? Probably shortage of time led to White missing the fact that his knight is pinned and therefore not defending his rook. 31…Qxe1+ 0–1

Humphrey Andolo of Plymouth has a relatively modest grade these days, but was Champion of Kenya several times.

White: R. Kneebone (174). Black: H. Andolo. (181)

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.h3 0–0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.cxd5 Qa5 10.Bd2 Re8 11.Bd3 c4 12.Be2 If 12.Bxc4 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Rxe4+ 14.Be2 and White’s position unravels. 2…b5 13.a3 Qb6 14.Be3 Qa5 15.Bd2 Qa6 16.Qb1 Qb7 17.Be3 h6 18.Nd4 a6 19.0–0 Nbd7 20.Qc2 Nc5 21.f3 Bd7 22.b4 cxb3 23.Nxb3 Rac8 24.Nxc5 dxc5 25.Qd2 Kh7 26.Rfb1 c4 27.Bd4 a5?! 28.Na4?! Qc7 29.Nc5?? 29…Bxh3? 29…c3 30.Qd3 Nxd5 31.Nxd7 Nf4. 30.Rxb5 c3 31.Bxc3 Qg3 32.Bf1 Ng4 33.fxg4 Bxc3 0–1.

Last week’s problem was easily solved by either 1.Nc5 or Nb2.

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to play and mate in 2.

Exmouth Seniors Congress Approaches (15.10.2016.)

The 17th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress starts a fortnight on Monday in the Exmouth sea front hotel. There are some new faces among the regulars, including a former British Ladies Champion, a Correspondence Champion, a Latvian and identical twins. Late entries are still acceptable and a downloadable entry form may be found on chessdevon.org.

Here is a game from the 2005 event with something of an international feel to it.

White: Wim Wender (Netherlands), Black: Brian Ross (Wales),

French Defence [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 White nearly always plays  2.d4 here, but the Dutch often like to play in a sharp, unconventional style. 2…d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4 Suddenly this resembles a Sicilian Defence Wing Gambit. 4…a6 Black is perhaps a little wary of accepting the “free” offer: e.g. 4…cxb4 5.a3 Nc6 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.Ba3 Nge7 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.c3 Nbc6 10.d4 etc. 5.bxc5 Bxc5 6.d4 Be7 7.a4 b6 8.Bd3 Nc6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.c3 Rc8 11.Qe2 Ra8 12.Qb2 White now brings his queen back over to the queenside and concentrates on looking for play there. 12…Na5 13.Nfd2 g6 14.Na3 Qc7 15.Rb1 Bd8 16.c4 Ne7 17.cxd5 Nxd5 18.Nac4 Nxc4 19.Nxc4 0–0 Having discovered which side Black was going to castle, White’s attack switches sides, and it is the quickness of the switch that is so telling. 20.Bh6 Re8 21.Rfc1 Qb8 Probably the least worst option, with the threat of Nd6 looming. If 21…Qd7 22.Nd6 Re7 It’s often said that with a knight established on the 6th rank, the attack should play itself. 22.Nd6 Re7 23.h4 Rc7 24.h5 Rxc1+ 25.Rxc1 Ne7 26.Ne8 Kh8 27.Qd2 Nd5 28.Nd6 Threatening Nxf7+ Black has no pieces anywhere near his threatened king. 28…Kg8 29.Qe2 Ra7 30.hxg6 fxg6 31.Qg4 Be7 If 31…Bc8 32.Rxc8 Qxc8. 32.Qxe6+ 1-0 Black resigned, in view of 32…Kh8 33.Nf7+ Kg8 34.Nd8+ Kh8 35.Qf7 etc. Just as effective was 32.Bxg6 when Black can still do nothing to stave off mate. Here is another win by the Dutchman from the 2009 event.

White: M. Young. Black: Wim Velker.

Irregular Opening.

1.e4 Nc6 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qa5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Bb5 Nd5 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.Bd2 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Qa6 11.Qe2 Qxe2+ 12.Kxe2 e6 13.c4 Be7 14.h3 Bf5 15.c3 f6 16.g4 Bc2 17.Bc1 Rb8 18.Kd2 Be4 19.Ke3 Bc2 20.Rh2 Ba4 21.Ne1 h5 22.gxh5 Rxh5 23.Nd3 c5 24.Kf3 cxd4 25.cxd4 Bc6+ 26.Kg4 Rh7 27.Re2 Kf7 28.Bd2 Rbh8 Black is poised to attack down the h-file, and White has no choices left. 29.Nf2 f5+ 30.Kg3 Bh4+ 31.Kh2 Bxf2 32.Rxf2 Rxh3+ 33.Kg1 Rh1# 0–1

As Black was about to queen with check in last week’s “Pawn Puzzle”, White had to get his check in first and the only way to do this was by “under-promoting” to a knight; hence 1.a8=N+! forcing the king to the back rank, enabling 2.g8=Q mate.

This week’s problem is not quite a pawns-only position, but is from a blitz game earlier this year which means that White had c. 12 seconds to find a winning move. How long will you take to find it?

White to play and win.

Peter Clarke Memorial Results plus Stroud Chess Co.

The winners of Sunday’s 2nd Peter Clarke Memorial RapidPlay in Bude were as follows:- Open Section: 1st Lloyd Retallick (Newquay) 5½/6. 2nd= Simon Bartlett (Newquay) & Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) 4. Grading prize: Robin Kneebone (Falmouth) 3.

U-140 Section: 1st= Steve Woolgar (Bristol) & Ian Rescorla (Bude) 4. Grading prize:  Richard Smith (Barnstaple) 2½.

A century or so ago, Stroud in Gloucestershire was a busy centre of chess activity. It was home of the British Chess Company, founded by William Moffat (1843 – 1918) and William Hughes. They sold general chess equipment, from scoresheets to instructional books, but particularly sets made in cheaper modern alternatives to the traditional ivory ones made by Jacques, helping to bring them within reach of those with more modest incomes.

Also in the town were the offices of a new chess magazine, The Chess Amateur, started in 1916 and running until 1930, when it may have become a victim of the Great Depression. This was part of a publishing house run in George Street, Stroud, by Harry Harmer of a long-standing local family. Whether the two companies were connected in some way is not clear.

The magazine was lighter and brighter in tone and appearance than the more staid British Chess Magazine, founded in 1880 and still running today. Its regular contributors included Harold Meek, with a “Half Hours” column, who later donated the West of England’s Inter-County trophy, and Carslake Winter-Wood (“News & Notes”). The American, Alain C. White, wrote articles on chess problems and organised solving tournaments, as he also did for BCM. Also, when he started editing his famous Christmas Series of problem books (44 titles between 1905 and 1934, and now highly collectable), the majority were printed in Stroud.

It is, perhaps, no coincidence that the demise of the The Chess Amateur in 1930 led B. H. Wood to spot a gap in the market which he was happy to fill in 1935 when he founded his Chess magazine, which he ran for over half a century.

I recently acquired a small 32p booklet entitled Fifty Pawn Problems, published by the British Chess Company of Stroud and costing 4d (1½p). It gives no date or author, but it has been stated elsewhere that it forms the 1st section of a later book by J. H. Blake entitled Chess Endings For Beginners which went to a 2nd edition in 1901. This would strongly suggest that my booklet is in fact by the Hampshire man, Joseph Henry Blake (1859 – 1951), and must have been published c. 1895.

In last week’s position, Black could achieve both his aims of avoiding mate and maintaining his material advantage by playing Qe7! which places an additional attacking piece on the advanced rook, and cannot be taken because of Rd1 mate.

Here is position No. 6 from that penny ha’penny booklet, with the instruction White to play and mate in 2.

White to play and mate in 2

West of England Jamboree Result Details (01.10.2016.)

Details of the recent West of England Jamboree are as follows (C = Cornwall; D = Devon & S = Somerset.)

1.D. Mackle (D1) 0 -1 M. Turner (S1). 2. J. Rudd (S2) 1-0 J. Menadue (C1). 3.M Hassall (C2) 1-0 S. Homer (D2). 4.T. Paulden (D3) ½-½ J. Hooker (C3). 5.L. Retallick (C4-176) 0-1 T. Goldie (S3). 6.M. Staniforth (S4) 0-1 P. O’Neill (D4). 7.J. Underwood (D5) 1-0 F. Feliciano (S5). 8.A. Footner (S6) 1-0 R. Kneebone (C5). 9.G Trudeau (C6) 0-1 B. Hewson (D6). 10.D. Regis (D7) 1-0 P. Gill (C7). 11.R. Stephens (C8) ½-½ D. Freeman (S7). 12.G. Jepps (S8) 0-1 O. Wensley (D8). 13.M. Marshall (D9) 1-0 A. Champion (S9). 14.R. Knight (S10) 1-0 R. Clark (C9). 15.A. Hussain (C10) 1-0 M. Shaw (D10). 16. P. Hampton (D11-161) 1-0 G Lingard (default -C11). 17.D. P. Jenkins (C12) ½-½ C. Purry (S11). 18. L. Bedialauneta (S12) 0-1 W. Ingham (D12). Dev. = 8½; Som. = 6; Corn.= 3½.

Here is the game between a Devon newcomer and a Somerset regular.

White: M. O. Marshall (166). Black: A. A. Champion (153).

1.c4 b6 2.Nf3 Bb7 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.e4 White accepts the invitation to set up a strong pawn centre. 5…e6 6.Bg5 Ne7 7.Bd3 d6 8.0–0 Nd7 9.Qd2 h6 10.Be3 Nf6 11.h3 g5 12.Nh2 Ng6 13.Rad1 Qe7 14.Bc2 0–0 Black seems well-defended on the kingside, so White seeks to expand on the other wing. 15.b4 e5 16.d5 a5 17.a3 axb4 18.axb4 Ra3 19.Ra1 Rfa8 20.Rxa3 Rxa3 21.Rb1 Qd7 22.c5 As Black’s b-pawn is pinned he cannot afford any pawn exchanges here, yet is threatened by a potential fork. 22…Qd8 23.cxd6 cxd6 24.Nb5 Ra8 25.Rc1 Ba6 26.Nc3 Bc4 27.Bd3 Bxd3 28.Qxd3 Ra3?! This rook cuts a lone figure for the rest of the game. 29.Qb5 Nd7?! 30.Qc6 Bf8 31.Nb5+- Rb3 32.Qc4 Rb2 33.g3 Qa8 34.Qc6 There now follows some repetition with the aim of reaching the time control at move 40 as quickly as possible. 34…Qd8 35.Qc4 Qa8 36.Qc6 Qd8 37.Ra1? Or 37.Nxd6 Rxb4 38.Ng4 h5 39.Nb7 Qe7 40.d6 Qe6 41.Qxd7 Qxd7 42.Nf6 etc. 37…Rxb4 38.Ra8 Qxa8?! 38…Nb8 39.Qb7 Rxb5 40.Ng4 Kg7 41.Rxb8 Qe7 42.Qc6 Rb4 43.Bxb6. 39.Qxa8+- Rxb5 Black has lost his queen, but has a rook, knight and pawn for it, potentially roughly equivalent, though Black’s minor pieces are very cramped whereas the queen has open lines to exploit. 40.Kg2 Nc5 41.Ng4 Kg7 42.f3 42.Bxc5 bxc5 43.Ne3. 42…h5 43.Nf2 Be7 44.Qb8 Nd7 45.Qe8 Attacking the pinned knight. 45…Rb1? Better was counter-attack via 45…Rb3 46.Nd1 Rd3 47.Qxd7 Rxd1 48.Bxb6 46.Qxd7 b5 47.Qf5 f6 48.h4 gxh4 49.Qxh5 Qh6+ & Qh7. 49…Nf8 50.Bh6+ 1–0. Black resigned in view of 50…Kg8 51.Qe8 and Black must lose more material.

The key to last week’s 2-mover by John Brown was 1.Qe7! If 1…Bxf4 2. Be4#, or 1…Kxf4 2.Qf6#, or 1…Bf3 2.Qxf7# and finally 1…Bg7 2.Qg5#.

In this position from a game earlier this year Black is a piece up but is about to be mated unless he can find a move that not only avoids mate but maintains his material advantage. He succeeded; can you see how?

Black to play

Hooten & The Lady & the Fawcett Brothers (24.09.2016.)

Last weekend’s TV schedules flagged up the start of a new adventure series entitled Hooten and the Lady, with high production standards and deeming it enjoyable but forgettable Friday night candy floss. In it, British Museum curator, young Lady Alex Lindo-Parker, jets off to the Amazon rainforest in search of Col. Percy Fawcett’s lost camp, is thrown together with maverick adventurer Hooten, and within on-screen minutes the pair stumble on a cave containing a skeleton, presumably that of Fawcett, grasping a treasure map in its bony hand, which quickly leads them to the fabled city of gold, El Dorado. The fact that scores of expeditions from Sir Walter Raleigh’s in 1595 to Fawcett’s in 1925 had all failed in that very same project is neither here nor there; one must suspend one’s disbelief.

What the programme doesn’t mention (and why should it?) is that Fawcett was brought up at 3, Barnpark Terrace, Teignmouth, together with 3 sisters and an older brother, Edward Douglas (1866-1960), who led a life every bit as exotic as Percy; a pioneering science fiction writer, philosopher, alpinist, aviator & chessplayer.

Douglas founded the Totnes Club in 1901 and played for Devon. He moved to Switzerland for many years to concentrate on his mountaineering, but after a heart attack halfway up the Matterhorn at the age of 66 he was forced to give up, and returned to quieter pursuits, including chess. He played in the Paignton Congress from its inception in 1951 to 1959 died in 1960 aged 94.

A report of Paignton 1958 said Of the veteran players, 92 year old Mr. Douglas Fawcett, played some good games and delighted everyone with his memories of Pillsbury and his first game with Steinitz, played in 1879”.

Much more detail of his life may be found on keverelchess.com/e-douglas-fawcett.

Here is his game from Rd. 8 of the Southsea Congress 1949, in which he beats the 9-times Irish Champion, illustrating his sharp attacking style.

White: E. Douglas Fawcett. Black: J. J. O’Hanlon.

Ruy Lopez – Berlin Defence.  [C67]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Nxe4 Black accepts the proffered pawn, not often done these days. 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.Nc3 0–0 Fawcett is following the Pillsbury Variation, in tribute to his hero. 10.Nd4 Nc5 11.Rd1 Qe8 12.Nf5 Ne6 13.Ne4 Rb8 14.b3 Rb5 15.f4 Rd5 16.Be3 Bb7 17.Qg4 Building up a kingside attack from which a black rook and bishop are powerless to defend. 17…Kh8 18.c4 Rxd1+ 19.Rxd1 g6 20.Nxe7 Qxe7 21.Nf6 The perfect place for a knight. 21…Rd8 Black needs f8 for his knight to defend h7. 22.Qh4 Nf8 23.c5 d5 24.Bd4 Qe6 25.g4 Bc8 26.Rf1 Ba6 This threat can be ignored. 27.f5 Qe7 28.e6! Opening the bishop’s diagonal.  28…fxe6 29.Nxd5+ 1–0 Winning the queen.

In last week’s position, Arkell had the choice of 2 mates; 1.RxN+ RxR 2.Rh7 mate, or 1.Rh7+ NxR 2. RxN mate.

Here is a 2-mover by John Brown of Bridport (1827 – 63).

White to play & mate in 2.

Paignton Congress Prizewinners (17.09.2016.)

The Paignton Congress finished at the weekend with the following prizewinners. (All points out of 7). Premier: 1st Keith Arkell (Paignton) 6½. 2nd Ashley Stewart (Royston) 4½. 3rd= Graham Bolt (Exeter); Stephen Peters (Aylesbury) & Mike Waddington (Dorchester). A. Stewart was awarded the Qualifying Place for next year’s British Championship.

Challengers (U-180): 1st= N. Burrows & A. Milnes both 5½. 3rd= K. Hurst (E. Budleigh); J. Hickman (Reading) & R. Everson (Dartford) all 5 pts.

Minor (U-135): 1st L. Bullock (Hackney) 5½. 2nd= E. Fierek (Gloucester); D. Gilbert (DHSS); G. Parfett (Athenium) & R. Everson (Dartford) all 5 pts.

Boniface 5-Rd Morning: 1st Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) 4/5 pts. 2nd= J. Hickman (Reading) & R. Puchades (Cosham) both 3½.

Thynne 5-Rd Morning (U-135): 1st N. Andrews (York). 2nd= P. Foster (Medway); A. Collins (Cowley); M. Roberts (Holmes Chapel) & J. Shaddick (Basingstoke) all 3½.

Local player, Brian Gosling , won the top section of the Morning tournaments, after starting with this win in Rd. 1. Notes based on those by the winner.

White: B. Gosling (159). Black: A. Hibbitt (158).

Sicilian Defence – Closed System.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nbd2 Bg7 5.g3 d6 reinforcing e5. 6.Bg2 Rb8 7.a4 a6 8.0–0 Bd7 9.Re1 b5 10.axb5 axb5 11.Nb3 e5 12.Bg5 Bf6 13.Be3 Bg7 14.c3 Preventing intrusion by Black via b4 & d4. 14…Nge7 15.d4 c4 Black attacks the knight and wins space but White has a positional sacrifice in mind. 16.dxe5 cxb3 17.exd6 Nc8 18.e5 For the knight sacrifice White has a protected passed pawn on d6 and the more active pieces. 18…0–0 19.Bg5 Qb6 20.Qxb3 White now has 3 pawns for the knight, a balance of forces favouring White. 20…Be6 21.Qd1 Nxe5? If 21…b4 Black could hope to survive. 22.Nxe5 Nxd6? Better was 22…Bxe5 23.Rxe5 Nxd6. 23.Be3 Qc7 24.Nc6 Rb7 24…Ra8 hoping against hope 25.Rxa8 Rxa8. 25.Bf4 White’s pieces all have long lines and diagonals, while Black is losing material. The pin on the knight is fatal. 1–0. Play might have continued 25.Bf4 Re8 26.Qxd6 Qxd6 27.Bxd6+.

Many more games from the event may be played through or downloaded from the chessdevon website.

The West of England Inter-County Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton, with, like Paignton, a lower than usual entry. Devon retained the Congress Cup for the top section with 8½/12 points, followed by Somerset (6) and Cornwall (3½). The grade-limited section was won by the Torbay League (7½/12), followed by Gloucestershire (6) and Somerset II (4).

Last week’s 2-move miniature by David Howard was solved by 1.Qg1! threatening 2.Qg5 mate. If 1…Kxh4 2.Qh2 mate.

Here is a 2-move finish by Keith Arkell from a game earlier this year. If it seems relatively easy from this point, the skill lies in reaching the position in the first place.

White to play and win.

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