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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

A Forgotten Westcountry Chess Master.

An almost forgotten Westcountry chess master of the 19th century was William Henry Krause Pollock (1859-1896). He was born in Cheltenham, son of the Rev. W. J. Pollock and was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Somersetshire College, Bath. In 1882 he qualified as a doctor in Dublin, but chess took precedence from then on, becoming Irish Champion. He then spent time in the U.S. and Canada, before returning to England to play in the great Hastings International Tournament of 1895, one of the strongest tournaments ever held up to that point.  However, he was already in the grip of that scourge of 19th century chessplayers, TB, and his play there was irregular and fitful, though there were occasional glimpses of the old fire when he beat, among others, the English veteran H. E. Bird, the recently deposed World Champion, Steinitz, and in this game, the great Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch. Notes adapted from those by Pollock himself.

White: W. H. K. Pollock. Black: S. Tarrasch.

French Defence [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.e5 Tarrasch was a leading theoretician on the French Defence, and Pollock intended to take him out of the book immediately. 2…f6 3.d4 c5 A premature attempt to break up White’s centre. In a close game like the French the pawn centre is paramount. 4.Bd3 f5 Black has followed a line that Blackburne played, and lost, against Pollock 3 years earlier, that Tarrasch was fully aware of but played it anyway. 5.g4 Black now has to decide whether this advance is sound or not, and if not, how to prove it. 5…cxd4 6.gxf5 Qa5+ 7.c3 A key move, which White had thought through to his 10th move. 7…Qxe5+ 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.0–0 Bc5 So far, Tarrasch had spent 1 whole hour over his nine moves. 10.Re1 Qf6 11.Nd2 exf5 12.cxd4 Be7 Recapturing with 12…Bxd4 wins a piece. 13.Nxd4+. 13.Nf3 Kd8 Slightly better might have been 13…Kf8. 14.Bg5 As Tarrasch’s discomfort increases, so does the crowd of spectators around the board, wondering what is going on. 14…Qf7 15.Bxe7+ Ngxe7 16.Qd2 Occupying important diagonals and uniting the rooks. 16…h6 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.dxe5 b6 19.Nf4 The game is now virtually won. 19…Bb7 20.Bb5 Nc6 21.e6 Qe7 22.Ng6 Qg5+ 23.Qxg5+ hxg5 24.Nxh8 Nd4 25.e7+ 1-0. Resigns, for if 25…Ke8 26.Bxd7+ Kxd7 27.Rad1 Rxh8 28.Rxd4+ Ke8 29.Rd8+.

Pollock’s health went rapidly downhill from then on, dying on 5th October 1896 aged just 37 and was interred in Arno’s Vale Cemetery, Bristol.

One obituarist wrote of him, “As a chess expert he was brilliant rather than profound; a fanciful player delighting in prettiness, apt to lose to dull players of the exact school”.

In last week’s position, White won by 1.Rg8+! RxR (forced) 2.Qf6+ and White will mate on g7.

In this position, White has just lost his queen. Surely he should resign, shouldn’t he?

Should White resign?

The Rise and Fall of a Dawlish Girl.

The August issue of Chess will contain a short biography of a Dawlish girl, born Rhoda, the youngest of 7 daughters to William Knott a local tailor, who rose to fame in the chess world and became a pioneer of female emancipation, before tragically dying in obscurity.

She founded the Ladies Chess Club in London, a social phenomenon at the time, and in 1897 organised the 1st Ladies World Championship, won by the Bristolian, Mary Rudge. In the process of all this she became a great friend of the great American Grandmaster Harry Pillsbury. No one is suggesting that he let his fondness for her influence him in any way when he awarded her the Brilliancy Prize at the 1st Devon Congress in 1902; it’s a smart sacrificial attack that wins the game, which Pillsbury annotated in the British Chess Magazine.

White: Rhoda Annie Bowles. Black: Ellison Pearse (Devonport)

Ruy Lopez – Modern Steinitz Defence. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 A variation favoured by Steinitz, it being one of his many attempts to establish a valid defence to the Lopez attack. 4.0–0 Probably stronger would be 4.Nc3 and eventually d4 reserving the option of castling on either side at a later stage. 4…d6 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 Using wide discrimination in not exchanging pieces and queens, as it would rather be to Black’s advantage to remain with his king in the centre. 6.Bxc6+ Nxc6 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Nxe5 dxe5 9.Qxd8+ etc. Possibly some would prefer 6.Bc4 for if Black continues 6…b5 7.Be2 and Black’s queenside would be weak. 6…b5 7.Bb3 Bg4 A distinct error. The only continuation from this point giving Black a playable game is 7…Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.Qh5 (not 9.Qxd4 c5 and …c4 wins.) 9…Ng6 for if 10.Qd5 (or if 10.f4 Be7 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.f5 Bf6 13.fxg6+ hxg6 14.Qd5+ Be6 15.Qxd4 Kg8 and White has no advantage.) 10…Be6 11.Qc6+ Bd7 drawn. 8.Bxf7+ Better than 8.dxe5 Bxf3 (Of course, if Black plays 8…Nxe5 White wins by 9.Nxe5) 9.Qxf3 Nxe5 10.Qg3 etc. 8…Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Kg8 Bad, although after 9…Ke8 10.Qxg4 Nxd4 11.Na3 (safest). Also, White can venture 11.Nc3; 11.Ne6 might easily lose as follows: 11…Qd7 12.Nxg7+ Bxg7 13.Qxg7 Rg8 14.Qxh7 Rxg2+ with a winning game. 10.Qxg4 Qc8 If now 10…Nxd4 11.c3 h5 12.Qh3 Ne2+ 13.Kh1 Qc8 (if 13…Rh6 14.Ne6 and wins.) 14.Qf3 Nf4 15.g3 winning a piece. 11.Qf3 Qe8 12.Qb3+ d5 13.exd5 g6 For Black’s obvious reply was 13…Nxd4 although even then White should win being a pawn ahead and positional advantage. 14.dxc6+ Kg7 15.Ne6+ Kf6 The mate following or decisive win of material is forced. 16.Bg5+ Kf5 17.Qh3+ Ke4 18.Qf3# 1–0

In last week’s position, White was on the brink of defeat but had 1.QxN+ to which Black has two options; 1…RxQ 2.Re8+ or 1…Kg8 2.Ne7 mate.

Like last week, Black is poised to mate on e1, but it’s not his move. What should White do?

What is White's best continuation?

Devon’s Narrow Loss in National Final (11.04.2015.)

Devon got close to getting a result against Middlesex on Saturday in the final of the National Under-180 Championship at Warwick, but fell tantalisingly short, finishing the losers by 7½-8½. The details were as follows (Devon names first in each pairing);

1. J. Underwood (180) ½-½ M. Tasker (187). 2. D. Regis (181) ½-½ C. Nettleton (169). 3. A. Brusey (181) 0-1 N. Chan (179). 4. B. W. Hewson (176) ½-½ I. Calvert (176). 5. S. Martin (175) 1-0 M. Crichton (176). 6. M. Abbott (171) 1-0 C. Mackenzie (175). 7. M. Shaw (173) ½-½ R. Kane (173). 8. W. Ingham (168) ½-½ W. Taylor (173). 9. M. Stinton-Brownbridge (168) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 10. S. Dean (167) ½-½ G. Dickson (167). 11. K. Atkins (160) 0-1 A. Fulton (173). 12. N. Butland (158)  0-1 L. Fincham (166). 13. I. Annetts (157) ½-½ D. White (165). 14. O. Wensley (151) 0-1 C. Kreuzer. (167). 15. C. Scott (154) ½-½ J. Kay (160). 16. P. Brooks (152) 1-0 L. Boy (159).

It’s almost inevitable that in such a tense situation players on both sides will let the pressure get to them and mistakes will follow, as in this game. Notes based on those by the winner.

White: M. Crighton (176). Black: Steve Martin  (175).

English Opening – 4 Knights Var. [A29]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.g3 Bc5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 Re8 7.d3 h6 8.Nd2 d6 9.Nde4 Nxe4 10.Nxe4 Bb6 11.Nc3 a6 Black is trying to limit the scope of White’s minor pieces. 12.a3 Rb8 Defending the b-pawn before developing his other bishop. 13.b4 Bg4 14.h3 Bh5 15.Kh2 Bd4 16.Bd2 f5 Black is trying to build kingside pressure. 17.Rc1 Ne7 en route to the kingside. 18.Qe1 c6 Blocking the white-square bishop and so releasing Black’s rooks. 19.e3 Ba7 20.e4 Bg6 Also playable was 20…fxe4 21.f4 Qd7 22.Be3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Rbd8 White stands slightly better at this stage as his pieces are less constricted. 24.Rcd1 Kh7 25.Rf2 Ng8? The idea was to open the file for the rook to threaten the queen and give his knight a good post on c6, but White’s rooks are becoming more active. 26.Rdf1 exf4 27.Qxf4 fxe4 28.Nxe4 Re5 Although White looks threatening on the f-file it is difficult to see how he can break through with f7 defended by the bishop. 29.c5 Overlooked by Black. It loosens Black’s grip on the centre who responds by giving up his best defender. 29…Bxe4 30.Bxe4+ Kh8 31.cxd6? Better was 31.d4. 31…Qxd6 32.Qh4 Ree8 33.Rf7 33…Rf8 White now has mating chances e.g. 34.Qg4 Rxf7 35.Rxf7 Qe5 36.Qg6 Qb2+ 37.Kg1 Qc1+ 38.Rf1 etc.  But the strain of 5 hours concentration does strange things to one’s brain. 34.Qxd8?? White had assumed Black would retake with the queen and completely overlooked the rook. 34…Rxd8  0–1.

Last week’s game ended with 1.Bxh7+

Kxh7 2.Qh4+ Kg8 3.Ng5 and Black resigned in view of 3…g6 4.Rd7 and Black must lose his queen.

In this position, Black is lined up to either mate on h2 or win the bishop on b2, but it’s not his move. What can White do about it?

Can White avoid defeat?

Bournemouth Congress Prizewinners (04.07.2015.)

A prize fund of £3,700 attracted 175 players to last week’s Bournemouth Congress, including a number of titled players. The winners were as follows:-

Open: 1st= GM Simon Williams (233) & IM Alfonso Llorente Zaro       (246) both 4½ and sharing £1,300. 3rd= GM Nick Pert (254); IM Gediminas Sarakauskas (233); FM Andrew Lewis (207) & FM Richard Britton (205) all 4pts. Grading prizes: U-209: WFM Jane Richmond (192) 3½. U-190 Harry Grieve (181)   3½. U-180: Kenny Harman (175) 3. U-170 Stephen Appleby (165) & Paul Rowan (158) 2½.

Challengers (U-165): 1st P. Chrysidis (156)  4½. 2nd= D. Butcher (162); S. Benson (159) & C. Purry (159) all 4. GPs U-156: P. Morton     (155) & J. Wright (152) 3½. U-145: Gillian Moore          (144) & M. Roberts         (142) 2½. U-140: J. Everson (139)   3.

Intermediate (U-135): 1st K. Alexander (128)         4½. 2nd= D. Agostinelli (134); C. Cornes (131); G. Taylor       (129) & S. Crockett (120) all 4. GPs U-120: J. Gilbert (112) 3. U-112: J. Wallman (110).

Minor (U-110): 1st A. Fraser (107) 5. 2nd W. Curry(106) 4½. 3rd C. Sheeran (102).

This was the crucial Rd. 4 game between the two Grandmasters.

White: Nick Pert. Black: Simon Williams.

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence. 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Black chooses not to open things up at this early stage. 5…Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.d3 d6 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Nc6 12.a4 b4 13.Nf1 Rb8 14.Ng3 Re8 15.h3 h6 16.d4 cxd4 17.cxd4 exd4 18.Nxd4 Nxd4 19.Qxd4 b3 20.Bb1 Qb6 21.Qd3 Qa8 22.Bd2 Qa6 23.Qf3 Be6 24.Bd3 Qa8 25.Nf5 Nh7 26.Ne7 Re7 27.Qg3 attacking both h & d pawns. 28.Bxh6 f6 29.Bf4 Rd8 30.Bd6 Red7 32.e5 f5 32.f4 Rxd6 already 2 pawns down Black now sacrifices the exchange in an effort to free up his cramped position. 33.exd6 Rxd6 34.Rad1 Qd8 35.Be2 Bf7 36.Qe3 Qh4 37.Qf2 Qf6 38.Rxd6 Qxd6 39.Rd1 Qc7 40.Bd3 g6 41.g3 Qd7 42.Qc5 Ne6 43.Qe3 Qa4 44.Rc1 Nf8 45.Qc5 Ne6 46.Qc4 Qe8 47.Qc8 Nd8 48.Kf2 Kh7 49.Rc7 Qh8 50.Ke3 Qf6 51.Rd7 Qe6 52.Kd2 Nc6 Black’s queen is now overloaded, allowing White to win more material. 53.Rxf7+ Qxf7 54.Qxc6 Qa7 55.Qf3 a4 56.Qe3 Qb7 57.Qc5 a3 White now faces threats on both wings. 58.Qxa3 Qg2+ 59.Kc3 Qxg3 60.Qe7+ Kh8 61.h4 Qf4 62.Qd8+ Kh7 63.Qd4 Qxd4 64.Kxd4 Kh6 and White went on to win as his king and bishop can both easily pick up the b-pawn and focus on preventing Black’s connected pawns from doing damage, leaving his own b-pawn to march forward unhindered.

In last week’s position, Alekhine found a combination that Black was powerless to do anything about. 1.Re8+ Nf8 2.Nh6+ Qxh6 3.Rxf8+ Kxf8 4.Qd8 mate.

It is said that every player should experience the pleasure of conducting a winning sacrifice on h7 at least once in their career. In this 1991 game, the sacrifice is obvious enough, but can you follow it through to a win? Is it sound?

Somerset Lose To Essex In Close Match (27.06.2015.)

Of the Westcountry teams that qualified for the various sections of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championship, only one remains. In the Minor Counties section, Somerset lost narrowly to Essex by 8½-7½ in the semi-final, while in the Under-140 section Hampshire lost 9-7 to Nottinghamshire. On the other hand Devon drew with Lancashire 8-all in the semi-final of the Under-180 section, but won on the tie-break rule, in which  the numbers of the boards on which each team won, are added together and the team with the lower total goes through. Thus wins by the better players are given greater weighting. The Finals will be played next Saturday at Trident College, Warwick, where Devon are due to play Middlesex who beat Warwickshire 11½-4½ in the other semi.

Although losing to a stronger Essex team, Somerset’s match was only decided by the last game to finish. Here are the individual results, with Essex names 1st in each pairing: 1. J. Rogers (216) ½-½ J. Rudd (221). 2. A. P. Lewis (207) 0-1 T. Goldie (208). 3. D. Sands (205) ½-½       B. Edgell (197). 4. J. H. Hodgson (187) ½-½  A. Footner (182). 5. T. Hebbes (193) 1-0 B. Morris (178). 6. D. Spearman (188) 0-1 D. Littlejohns (177). 7. I. Reynolds (186) 0-1 S. Whatley (172). 8. J. Goldberg (185)       0-1 G. N. Jepps (171). 9. I. Myall (185) 1- 0 D. Peters (171). 10.K. White (181) ½-½ P. Cusick (167). 11. S. Rix (178) 1-0  C. Purry (159) 12. J. White (177) ½-½ A. Gregory (157) 13.        N. Twitchell (161) 1 R. D. Knight (157). 14. M. Murrell (158)    1-0 C. Strong, (155). 15. D. Smith (148) 0-1 M. French (154). 16. E. Cocks (144) 1-0 M. Baker (148). (Essex average grade 181 :: Somerset average grade 173).

This was the game won by Max French, a pupil at Millfield School.

White: D. Smith (148). Black: M. French (154).

Caro-Kann Defence – Exchange Variation.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.c3 e6 6.Bf4 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Nc6 10.Re1 a6 11.Nbd2 b5 12.Ne5 Bd7 13.Ndf3 b4 14.Qe2 bxc3 15.bxc3 a5 16.Rab1 Rab8 17.Ng5 h6 18.Rxb8 Qxb8 Black now has to tread carefully, but it’s White who loses his way. 19.Nxd7 Nxd7 20.Nxe6? An idea that loses a piece. Alternatively  20.Nxf7 Rxf7 21.Qxe6 Qf4 22.Rf1 Qf6 23.Qxd5 at least leaves White with 3 pawns for his piece deficit. 20…Re8 If now 20…fxe6 21.Qxe6+ Rf7 22.Bg6 Qf4 23.Bxf7+ Qxf7 24.Qxc6 21.Qg4 fxe6 22.Rxe6 Nf8 23.Rxe8 Of course, not 23.Rxc6?? Re1+. 23…Qxe8 24.Qf5 Qe1+ 25.Bf1 Ne7 26.Qf3 Nd7 27.Qe2 Qxe2 28.Bxe2 Nb6 29.f3 Nf5 30.Kf2 Na4 31.g4 Nd6 32.Bd1 Nxc3 33.Bb3 a4 and White must lose his a-pawn and his bishop can’t cover the queening square of a1. 0–1

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.d6! and if 1…KxN 2. Qh8# ; or 1…RxN 2.Qd5#.

This week you are in the shoes of World Champion Alexander Alekhine in the 1920s, looking for a sharp finish against Black. Can you help him?

White to play

Small Clubs’ Survival Struggle (20.06.2015.)

The smaller chess clubs have always struggled to survive. In Exeter alone the list of casualties is a long one. Those at the Wyvern Barracks Officers’ Mess and Sidwell St. YMCA disappeared over a century ago, to be followed by St. Luke’s and St. Loye’s Colleges, the Civil Service and even the once-mighty University. In the wider county, the clubs at Dawlish, Buckfastleigh, Winkleigh, Tavistock and Dartington have also long since gone. Other counties are doubtless the same.

It is refreshing, therefore, to see, bucking the trend, a new club created at East Budleigh (pop.650), where they recently invited the Grandmaster Keith Arkell to give a simultaneous display. He won every game, of course, but commended Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott for their resilience in adversity for which they received book prizes, and for this one Arkell also kindly added his own instructive insights.

White: C. J. Scott (154). Black: K. C.  Arkell (234.)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Be7 5.Bd3 d5 6.h3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 0–0 8.Ngf3 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Re1 Perhaps White should play 10.Qc2 to prevent 10…Ne4. 10…Ne4 11.Ne5 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qg4 f5 16.Qg3 Qxg3 17.fxg3 Rac8 18.Nc4 It’s a nice idea to try and bring the knight to the outpost on e5, but there is a tactical problem. 18…Rfd8? Better would have been 18…cxd4 19.Nd6 Rc6! 20.Nxb7 dxc3 21.bxc3 Rfc8 and Black is near to winning. 19.Ne5 cxd4 20.exd4 b5 21.Rac1 Rc7 22.b3 g6 22…g5! is more to the point. 23.Red1 Kg7 24.Kf2 Nicely played. It is important to prevent Black from getting in …f4 24…g5 25.Ke3 Rf8 26.Rf1 h5 27.h4! Again well played. Black was threatening 27…h4 28 gxh4 f4! with a clear advantage. 27…gxh4 28.gxh4 Kf6 29.g3 Rg8 30.Kf4 Rcg7 31.Rg1 Rd8 32.Ke3 Ba8 33.Rc2 The idea of my previous move was to meet a possible 33.c4 bxc4 34.bxc4 Rb8 grabbing the b-file. The position is about equal here. 33…a5 If 33…Rdg8 34.Kf4 Rg4+ 35.Nxg4+ Rxg4+ 36.Ke3 f4+ 37.Kf2 e3+ 38.Ke2 but my connected passed pawns won’t last very long. 34.c4? A mistake on which I failed to capitalise. 34…bxc4? I should have played 34…f4+ 35.Kxf4 Rxd4 and the more you look at this position the more you realise White is completely lost. 35.Rxc4! Not giving me a second chance. 35…Bd5 36.Ra4 Ra8 37.Nc4? The losing move, as it allows me to break through on the kingside. Better would have been 37.Kf4 Rc7 and although Black stands a little better, there is still a lot of work to do. 37…Rag8 38.Kf2 f4 39.Ne5 e3+ 40.Ke2 Rxg3 41.Rxg3 Rxg3 42.Rxa5 Rg2+ 43.Ke1 f3 44.Rxd5 Rg1# 0–1

Last week’s game between Aitken and Keffler ended with the combination 1…QxR+! forcing 2.NxQ Nf3+! and 3.Re1 mate cannot be avoided.

The problemist Arthur G. Pike of Redlands, Tiverton, died recently at the age of 92. Several of his 2-movers have appeared in this column over the years, and this is one of his best.

White to mate in 2 moves

Devon Reach National U-180 Final (13.06.2015.)

On Sunday, Devon met Lancashire at Worcester in the semi-final of the Inter-County Championship U-180 grade section. It was a close match that finished 8-8, with 4 wins to each team and 8 drawn games. As replays are not possible a tie-break rule called board count is invoked. Under this system the score of the bottom game is discounted, until a clear winner emerges. As Lancs won the game on Bd. 16, that win was eliminated, leaving Devon the winners, going through to the Final in Warwick on July 4th.  The details were: (Devon names 2nd in each pairing) 1. J. Cooper ½-½ Dr. J. Underwood. 2. S. Riley 1-0 Dr. D. Regis. 3. R. Newton 0-1 A. Brusey. 4. M. Whitehead ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson. 5. M. Parker 0-1 S. Martin. 6. P. Jackson 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. R. Ashcroft  ½-½ M. Shaw. 8. J. Lyth ½-½ W. Ingham. 9. A. Clarkson 1-0 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 10. C. Rutlidge ½-½ K. P. Atkins. 11. P. Taylor 0-1 Dr. D.Toms. 12. R.Collins ½-½ O. E. Wensley. 13. D. Owen ½-½ C. J. Scott. 14. C. Fisher ½-½ P. Brooks. 15. W. O’Rourke 1-0 A. Kinder. 16. N. Jayawarna 1-0 V. Ramesh.

The ending to last week’s game was 1…Rxc3+ smashing open the White king’s position. If 2.b2xc3 then Ba3 is mate.

The Hungarian Laszlo Polgar was an assiduous collector of chess material that he used in the early tuition of his 3 daughters, Susan, Sofia and Judith. He later published this material in two large tomes, one on problem-like mates and another on winning middlegame combinations, the latter consisting of 4,158 positions in its 1,015 pages. From it, this position caught my eye, marked up only as “Aitken – Keffler: Newquai 1951”. This sparked a hunt for the actual game score from which the diagram was taken. I guessed it probably referred to a West of England Championship, held at the Penolver Hotel, Newquay at Easter 1951, but the problem was that neither Aitken nor Keffler played in that event. However, the Championship did return there 3 years later, and Aitken became joint champion with A. R. B. Thomas. Thomas was unbeaten but Aitken did lose one game – in Rd. 4 to Peter Yvon Keffler, then of Somerset. Polgar simply got the year wrong. The full game score, taken from the souvenir bulletin, was as follows:

White: J. M. Aitken. Black: P. Y. Keffler.

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Var. [B70]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd7 10.Bxc6 Rb8 11.exd6 0–0 12.0–0 Ne5 13.dxe7 Qxe7 14.Bg2 Bg4 15.Qe1 Rfe8 16.Qe3 Qd7 17.Qf4 Bh3 18.Rd1 (see diagram). White is 2 pawns up and this seems a natural enough move as it (a) unpins the fianchetto bishop (b) develops the rook and (c) attacks Black’s queen. But it’s not quite as good as it looks, as Keffler now demonstated. Peter Keffler now lives in Suffolk, aged 92, and plays for the Braille Chess Association.

Black to play and win by force

Cotswold Congress at New Venue (06.06.2015.)

The 47th Cotswold Congress was held over the recent bank holiday weekend at a new venue, King’s School in Gloucester. It followed close on the heels of the recent Frome event, but this didn’t seem to affect the local players’ appetite for chess as about 100 took part.

The Open was won at a canter by 13 year old Pavel Asenov (Witney) who scored 5½/6 and is rapidly becoming one of the top players on the Westcountry circuit. 2nd= on 4 pts were the more familiar names of Chris Beaumont (Bristol), Joey Stewart (Gloucester), Ian Robson (Wotton Hall) and Graham Bolt (Exeter).

Major Section: (U-155) 1st Andrew Munn (Downend). 2nd= Max French (Frome); Richard Dixon (Gloucester); Tim Acton (St. Albans) & Brendon O’Gorman (DHSS).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st Stephen Crockett (Redditch). 2nd Neil Graham. 3rd= Peter Sartain (Hanham) & John Constable (Bude).

Joint winner of the Frome Congress was Grandmaster Matthew Turner, chess master at Millfield School, who enjoyed the finish to this game.

White: Matthew Turner (237). Black: Jeremy Fallowfield (180).

English Opening – Anglo-Dutch Defence.

1.c4 f5 Black goes in for a Dutch Defence style of position. 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.e4 fxe4 7.dxe4 0–0 8.Nge2 c5 9.0–0 Nc6 10.h3 e5 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Kh2 Anticipating Black’s next move. 12…Qd7 13.Bg5 Rf7 14.Qd2 Raf8 15.f3 Supporting the e4 pawn and blocking out the potential threat of the doubled rooks down the f-file. 15…Nd4 16.Nxd4 cxd4 17.Rac1 Kh8 18.Qa5 b6 19.Qa3 Ng8 20.Bd2 Bh6 21.Bxh6 Nxh6 22.f4 Ng8 Or 22…Bxd5 23.cxd5 exf4 24.gxf4 Rxf4 25.Rxf4 Rxf4 26.Qb4 winning the d-pawn. 23.fxe5 dxe5 24.Rxf7 Rxf7 25.c5 bxc5 26.Rxc5 Qd6 27.b4 Qf8 28.Qc1 h6 29.Rc6 Bxd5 30.exd5 Both sides have their major pieces cooperating nicely and Black’s central passed pawns have potential.  30…Rf2 Normally rooks do their best work along their 7th rank in the later stages of the game, but in this case it leads to problems. 31.Rc8 Qf3 Black’s queen has to move so it may as well threaten mate… except that he is mated first. 32.Qxh6# The “defending” knight was pinned.1–0

In last week’s position, White had overlooked that after 1.Nd5+ Black could simply take it with 1…Qxd5 as after 2.Rxd5 Rc1+ is mate.

In 2009, a record was set at the British Championships when Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) and Andrew Greet (St. Austell), representing their respective counties, met in a match in a helium balloon tethered 400 ft above Torquay sea-front. If that’s difficult to believe, the film is still available in 2 parts on YouTube (just type in “balloon chess” – it had 1,500+ views at last count).

They met again recently, this time at ground level, in the 4Nations Chess League. In this position, how did Greet (Black) finish the game sharply?

Black to play and win.

Frome Congress Prizewinners. (30.05.2015.)

The Frome Congress was held successfully recently with the following emerging as winners: Open Section:

1st= Matthew Turner (Millfield) &
Gediminas Sarakauskas (Guildford)

(4½/5). 3rd= Jane Richmond (Brown Jack), Jeremy Fallowfield (Stourbridge), Stephen Whatley (Millfield) & Allan Pleasants (Weymouth) 3½. British Championship Qualifying Places went to Fallowfield, Jeremy Menadue (Truro) & Sam Gower (South Bristol), who also got a grading prize.  

Major (U-165): 1st= M. Wilson (Torquay), A. Rossiter (Bristol Cabot), P. Jackson (Coulsdon) all 4. U-146 Grading Prizes: S. Williams (Cwmbran). Intermediate (U-140): 1st C. Snook-Lumb (Clevedon) 4½. 2nd= K. Osborne (Lewes), D. Agostinelli (Southampton), R. Rowland (London) all 4. Grading Prize U-129: A. Sage (Bath). Minor (U-115): 1st M. Cockerton (Torquay) 4½. 2nd= G. Ford (Salisbury), C. Gardiner (Falmouth), I. Stringer (Yeovil), M. Davidson (Wimbourne) & J. Macdonald (Kings Head) all 4. Grading Prizes: U-105: B. Childs (Lerryn). U-91: M. Watson (Taunton). The highest-placed Somerset players were as follows: Open: M. Turner. Major: A. Gregory (Bath). Intermediate: C. Snook-Lumb. Minor: Ivan Stringer.

Team Prizes: Millfield: (T. & E. Goldie, Whatley & French) & Yeovil 2. (A. Footner, R. Knight, T. & A.  Alsop).

Games from the event were not available at the press deadline, but here is a sample of the 37 year old Latvian’s play from the 2012 London Classic.

White: Gediminas Sarakauskas (2408). Black: Arianne Caoili (2202).

Ruy Lopez – Chigorin Defence. [C96]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 Taking the proffered e-pawn generally leads to an open game in which Black can get into a tangle trying to hang on to his extra pawn. 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 This constitutes the Chigorin Defence.11.d4 White’s almost automatic response. 11…Nd7 12.dxc5 dxc5 13.Nbd2 Qc7 14.Nf1 Rd8 15.Ne3 Nb6 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 f6 18.Nh4 Facing the threat of Qd3, Black continues 18…g6 With all Black’s pieces tied up on the opposite wing, White can afford the luxury of a sacrifice to break open the king’s defences. 19.Nxg6 hxg6 20.Bxg6 Nc4 21.Qh5 Bf8 22.Re4 Ra7 23.a4 Nd6 24.Rh4 Qg7 25.axb5 Nxb5 26.c4 Nd4 27.Ra3 Ne2+ 28.Qxe2 Qxg6 29.Rg3 Qxg3 30.fxg3 Rh7 With this particular configuration of Black’s pieces, White can afford to exchange. 31.Rxh7 Kxh7 32.Qh5+ Kg8 33.Qg6+ 1–0 After 33…Kh8 34.Bh6. Little better is 33…Bg7 34.Bh6 Rd7 35.Qe8+.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bg5! after which Black has 6 possible moves, each one met with a mate administered by White’s queen.

This position arose in the recent Devon vs Notts match, Steve Hunter (W) vs Mark Abbott (Devon). Black’s king is very constricted, and White played Nd5+ seeing several good reasons why that would hasten the end after the king moves. It did that, all right, but can you see how?

Devon beat Notts (23.05.2015.)

Devon enjoyed a narrow win against Notts on Saturday, by 8½-7½.

Devon names 1st in each pairing.

1.J. Underwood 1-0 T. Walker. 2.D. Regis ½-½ A. Walker. 3.A. Brusey ½-½ J. Swain. 3.B. Hewson ½-½ B. Thompson. 5.M. Shaw 0-1 J. Willow. 6.M. Abbott 1-0 S. Hunter. 7.T. Thynne ½-½ S. Burke. 8.W. Ingham ½-½ T. Poole. 9.S. Dean 0-1 M. Naylor. 10.K. Atkins ½-½ B. Hayward. 11.D. Toms 0-1 D. Flynn. 12.N. Butland ½-½ T. Lane. 13.I. Annetts ½-½ N. Graham. 14.O. Wensley 1-0 P. Brace. 15.C. Scott ½-½ P. Marshall. 16.P. Brooks 1-0 S. Scott.

This was the top game, with notes kindly supplied by the winner. N.B. Jonathan’s original annotations had to be cut right down in order to fit the newspaper column’s space, but here they are  in full.  

White: Dr. Jonathan Underwood. Black: Tim Walker.

English Opening – Sicilian Variation [A20]:

1.c4 e5 2.g3 f5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nf3 Challenging Black to defend his e5 pawn by advancing it, hitting the knight. 4…Nc6 Black chickens out allowing white to castle, which frees e1 for the knight. 5.0–0 e4N Black threatens to win material: e4xf3 6.Ne1 Bc5 7.d3 The point of the knight’s retreat – Black’s centre is now tottering and the capture on d3 will just give White a free move as the c5 bishop is attacked. 7…Qe7 Now the bishop’s retreat is blocked and the queen lined up against the king – which could cause problems if the e-file opens. 8.Nc2 Qe5? This was to prevent d4 which leads to problems for the bishop – but now leaves the queen vulnerable to a bishop arriving on f4. 9.Nc3 Nh5 Keeps out the bishop.. but now White’s queen eyes that knight. 10.dxe4 White grabs the pawn at the risk of a Black attack. 10…f4 11.e3 Actually, White could have taken the pawn but I was too scared and this move shuts out the bishop. 11…fxg3 Amazingly Black has used a full hour of his allotted two by this stage. 12.hxg3 White threatens f4 kicking the queen away from defending the knight. If Black castles then f4 followed by Qd5+ wins the bishop instead. 12…Bb6 Leaves the queen somewhere to escape.. but Black is in big trouble now. 13.Nd5 0–0 14.b4 14.c5 forces the bishop away from protecting c7 allowing a forced sequence which wins a rook – but it makes a mess of White’s kingside and I was too cowardly to play it! 14…Bxc5 15.f4 Qe8 16.Nxc7 Qf7 17.Nxa8 Nxg3. 14…d6 15.Nxb6? White suddenly panics as Black’s pieces are getting active – a4! would have been winning easily. 15…axb6 16.b5?! Another daft move. By this stage Black was down to about 30 minutes and I was playing quick, complicated moves to put him under pressure – unfortunately this is not very good. 16…Na5 17.f4 Qc3?? 17…Qe8!? Is the only decent move here. 18.g4 Nf6 18.Qxh5? 18.Bd2 would have won – as taking c4 leads to disaster after QxN, QxN, Qd5+ defending the bishop and allowing Rc1 18…Qb2 19.Rb1 Qxa2 20.Nb4 Qxc4 21.Qxh5. Or 18.Bd2 Qxc4 19.Qxh5 Qxc2 20.Qd5+. 18…Qxc2 19.Rf2! Qxc4 20.Bb2 White lets the pawn drop to get his bishop into the attack. 20…Qc5? 20…c6 21.e5! Bf5 21…Qxb5 22.Be4 Black can’t take the pawn as this is fatal. 22.Rc1! Qxe3 With about 5 minutes left and still 18 moves to make in a very awkward position black grabs a pawn.. but White’s rook is about to arrive on the 7th rank to menace his king. 23.Rxc7 Qe1+ 24.Bf1 Bg6 25.Qg5 Rac8 26.exd6 Rxc7 27.dxc7 White is only pawn up but it’s about to give birth a new queen – and there are also mate threats to worry Black who has only a couple of minutes left. 27…Nc4 28.Qd8 28.Re2 is lethal here but the queen is quite safe on d8 and threatens to capture the rook and allow the pawn to promote. 28…Bf5 29.Qd5+ Playing to put time pressure on Black allows him some breathing room – Bd4 would be the easier win. 29…Be6 30.Qd4 Nxb2 31.Qxb2 Rc8 32.Qd4 The pawn is quite safe – Qd8+ wins the rook if it is captured. 32…h6 The Black king gets a bit of breathing space but there is now a forced sequence to win the bishop without allowing the annoying capture on g3. 33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Qd3+ g6 35.Re2 Qb4 36.Rxe6 Qc5+ 37.Qe3 There are lots of better moves, but this forces the exchange of queens after which Black is a piece down for nothing. 37…Rxc7 38.Qxc5 bxc5 39.Bc4 Kg7 40.Re4 Rd7 Black makes the time control with seconds to spare, but the position is completely lost. 41.Kf2 h5 42.Ke3 Rc7 43.Re6 Rd7 44.Bd3 Kf7 45.Rb6 Rc7 46.Bxg6+ 1–0

The problemist J. Paul Taylor (1843 – 1923) spent his later life in Exeter, and published a book of his work entitled Elementary Chess Problems, From it is this 2-mover.

White to play and mate in 2.

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