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Adams Wins Again…. but it wasn’t easy!

The final 3 rounds of the British Championship finished with the result most people would have expected, but not without a few twists and turns along the way. In Rd. 7 Adams beat the defending champion, Gawain Jones and thereafter, maybe thinking “job done”, played steadily to get draws against Nick Pert and Danny Gormally. Meanwhile, Luke McShane drew against Hebden in Rd. 7 but finished strongly to beat Fodor and, perhaps surprisingly, former champion David Howell, leaving Adams and McShane tied on 7/9 pts, necessitating a Rapidplay play-off.

Adams won the first game (see this week’s position) and only needed another steady draw to clinch the title. But no; McShane hit back to inflict Adams’ only loss in all the games he’s played in this event since 1989. So, at 1-1 this meant 2 further play-off games had to be played at an even quicker pace – Blitz games, so fast that the computerised board and internet couldn’t keep up with transmitting the moves on screen, but not too fast for Michael who won them both.

This was Michael’s 6th title, having first been champion in 1989 in Plymouth, – the greatest number since Jonathan Penrose won his 10th in 1966. Here is his solitary loss, played at the speed of 20 minutes for all moves, plus an extra 10 seconds per move, which for this game is an average of 18 seconds per move.

White: L. McShane (2669). Black: M. Adams. (2706).

Guioco Pianissimo [C50]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 Also called the Italian Game. 4.d3 This constitutes the quietest form of this opening. Nf6 5.0–0 0–0 6.h3 h6 7.c3 d6 8.Re1 a6 9.Bb3 Re8 10.Nbd2 Be6 11.Nf1 Bxb3 12.axb3 d5 13.Qe2 Qd7 14.b4 Bf8 15.Ng3 Rad8 16.Kf1 g6 17.Qc2 Re6 18.Qa4 dxe4 19.dxe4 Qd3+ 20.Kg1 Red6 21.Be3 Qc4 22.Rac1 Kh7 23.b3 Qe6 24.c4 R6d7 25.c5 Rd3 26.Rc4 Na7 27.Bc1 Nd7 28.Qa2 Nb8 29.Bd2 Nbc6 30.Nf1 Nb5 31.Ne3 Nbd4 32.Nxd4 Nxd4 33.Bc3 Nb5 34.Bb2 c6 35.Ba1 h5 36.Rc2 Bh6 37.Nc4 Nd4 38.Bxd4 R8xd4 39.Qb2 h4 40.Rce2 Bf4 41.Qc2 Kg7 42.Rf1 Kg8 43.Ree1 Qd7 44.Nd6 Rd2 45.Qc3 R2d3 46.Qc2 Rd2 47.Qb1 Rxb4 48.Nc4 Rd4 49.Rd1 Rb5 50.b4 a5 51.Rxd4 Qxd4 52.Nd6 Trapping Black’s rook. 52…Qxb4 53.Nxb5 Qxc5 54.Nc7 White is now a rook up, but if his 3 connected passed pawns can get moving there may yet be a chance, especially at this speed.  54…b5 55.Rd1 a4 56.Qd3 Bg5 57.Qd7 Qc4 58.Qe8+ Kh7 59.Qxe5 Qc2 60.Rf1 Qd2 61.Ne8 Bh6 62.Nf6+ Kg7 63.Ng4+ Kh7 64.Qf6 Bg7 65.Qxh4+ Kg8 66.Nf6+ Bxf6 67.Qxf6 a3 68.e5 Qc3 Black defends his c-pawn at the expense of allowing the rook to grab the d-file. 69.Rd1 Kh7 70.Rd8 and Black can’t avoid mate on h8. 1–0

In last week’s position, Adams (B) was let off the hook by playing 1…g5+ 2.PxP would lose his queen, so he must play 2…Kh5, but then Black has 2…Qxh3 mate.

Here is the final position from the 1st play-off game against McShane. Adams (W) to move and seal the win.

Progress in the British (04.08.2018.) 997

The draw for Rd. 1 of the British Championship will keep the Grandmasters apart, as they should be meeting in the later rounds, which gives them an easier chance to get warmed up. However, one player they might not wish to meet in those circumstances is Jack Rudd of Bideford, whose sharp and mercurial style is guaranteed to unsettle and test any of them, as in this game.

White: Ameet Ghasi (2494). Black: Jack Rudd (2244).

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b5 An unusual early move, but the open b-file later becomes the scene of decisive action. 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.d3 e6 5.0–0 Be7 6.c4 bxc4 7.dxc4 0–0 8.Qc2 White makes a number of move sequences that are easily repulsed and seem to do little to help his overall development. 8…Be4 9.Qd2 c6 10.Nc3 d5 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Qc2 Bf6 13.Nd2 Nxd2 14.Bxd2 Qb6 15.Rab1 Nd7 16.b3 g6 17.e4 Rac8 18.Be3 This bishop continues to flit all over the board to no great effect. 18…d4 19.Bd2 a5 20.Qd1 Be7 21.h4 Bb4 22.Bg5 Rfe8 23.Kh1 f6 24.Bh6 Ne5 25.Bf4 Rcd8 26.Bc1 Its 7th move finds him back on its original square. 26…h5 27.Bh3 d3 28.Be3 Bc5 29.Bxc5 Qxc5 30.f4 Nf7 31.Qd2 Rd4 32.Rbe1 Nd6 33.Bg2 f5 34.e5 Ne4 35.Bxe4 fxe4 Black now has a menacing pair of central passed pawns as opposed to White’s immobile pawns. 36.Re3 Black now needs to break up White’s Q-side pawns. 36…a4 37.Rfe1 axb3 38.axb3 Rb8 39.Rxe4 Rxb3 40.Rxd4 Qxd4 41.f5 Qc3 Black would like to exchange queens, freeing up his advanced pawn. 42.Qf2? Rb2 43.Qe3? Qc2 Resigns, in view of 44.Qg1 Qxc4 45.Qf1 Qd5+ 46.Kg1 gxf5 and Black is totally dominant 0–1.

After 6 of the scheduled 9 rounds the leading pack consisted mostly of the usual suspects, namely 1st= Michael Adams & Gawain Jones 5/6. 3rd= David Howell; Tomas Fodor; David Eggleston; Luke McShane & Mark Hebden. With, at the time of going to press, 3 rounds still to play, and these leaders due to fight it out among themselves, and every likelihood of a play-ff, it’s a question of who can best hold their nerve, but most money will be on either Adams or Jones.

In last week’s position, White won a piece, and with it the game, after 1.Rd7!  when Black can’t take it because of 2.Ra8+. He can only defend his rook by 1…Bb6 but then there’s 2.RxR+ BxR and 3.Ra8 pins the bishop which can be taken at leisure next move.

As I wrote last week, Samuel Boden was one of Hull’s master players in the 19th century, and he had a maxim which ran “He who strives to win a drawn game, will invariably lose”. An example of this arose on Tuesday evening at the end of the Rd. 3 game on Bd. 1 between Tomas Fodor (W) and Michael Adams. After being on the back foot for much of the first half of the game, Fodor recovered and himself started pressing, winning a pawn before playing 61.Qe5 to reach this week’s position, probably harbouring thoughts of a win against the top seed, possibly after exchanging queens and utilising his extra pawn. But Boden was right, he had striven too much and resigned next move. Why?

Michael Adams (Black) to win immediately.

British Championships 2018 (28.07.2018.) 996

The British Championships started on Saturday in Hull City Hall, with total entries nudging 1,000, an excellent response. This is partly due to the recent move to reduce the overall time factor. It used to last almost 3 weeks, comprising 11 rounds, a rest day in between, several days to get there and get prepared and a similar time to attend the prize-giving, return home and get ready for work, all of which is a hefty chunk out of anyone’s normal schedule, too much for some.

Then it was decided to reduce the championship to 9 rounds with no rest-day, and make the overall time commitment just over a week, which seems to be proving beneficial.

The fact that the town has been awarded the title of UK City of Culture 2017-2020 might be another reason why the entry is so healthy. Hull is not your usual seaside holiday kind of place and the event has never been there in its 113 year history, in spite of the fact that Hull was a celebrated centre of chess activity from the early 19th Century. For example, in 1896 the British Chess Magazine recalled “The town of Hull has long been noted as a leading Northern chess centre; indeed, some thirty or forty years ago the Hull Club stood in high repute, and was visited by Howard Staunton, St. Amant, Harrwitz, Horwitz, Kling and other well-known players. In later years the late Mr. S. S. Boden and the late Mr. John Wisker were intimately connected with the Hull Chess Club, and Mr. Edward Freeborough became a very active member”.

It was Samuel Boden (1826-82) who devised what came to be known as “Boden’s Mate”, in which a player sacrifices his queen in order to mate with the pair of bishops. If that all sounds a bit gung-ho and 19th century, that’s exactly what 13 year old Nadia Jaufarally did recently at the Bristol Summer Congress, which I set as a problem to solve. So the spirit of Boden lives on.

John Wisker (1846-84) became the 2nd official British Champion in 1868, after a tie-break with a teenage Amos Burn, also born in Hull, and who went on to become the best of them all, winning prizes in over 22 international tournaments.

Here’s how Boden himself originally did it in a tournament in London in 1853.

White: Herr Schulder. Black: Samuel Standidge Boden.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 f5 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.d4 fxe4 6.dxe5 exf3 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.gxf3 Nc6 9.f4 Bd7 10.Be3 0–0–0 11.Nd2 Re8 12.Qf3 Bf5 13.0–0–0 d5 The bait is set … 14.Bxd5?? and taken. 14…Qxc3+ 15.bxc3 Ba3#.

Boden’s name was attached to this pattern of mate thereafter.

In last week’s position Sveshnikov (W) won by 1.Qg7+! forcing Kxg7 2.Nf5++ K back to g8 leaving White the luxury of two possible mates, either 3.Ne7# or Nh6#.

Steve Dilleigh (B) is a regular player in westcountry events and in a recent game here has two minor pieces and a pawn for White’s extra rook, which in most cases would stand him in good stead, but White discovers a winning move that wins one of those pieces.

White to play and win

World Seniors’ News (21.07.2018.) 995

While the World Cup was on, the World Seniors’ Team Championship was being played out in Dresden. There were 67 teams of 5 in the 50+ section and 61 in the older group, and there were 3 England teams in each section with several local players involved.

The 50+ World Champions were the USA, whom England beat in their individual encounter, only to lose to Germany in the last round, and having to settle for Silver. However, Keith Arkell won the Gold medal for the best performance by a Board 5 player. A member of the England 3 team was Steve Homer who finished on 5/9 points, an excellent result in that company. His highpoint was this game against a Russian Woman Grandmaster.

White: Stephen Homer. Black: Elena Fatalibekova.

Sicilian Defence – Sveshnikov Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 With 3 pieces bearing down on d6, Black has to respond with a counter-threat. 7…e5 The signature move of the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian Defence, devised by the Russian, Evgeny Sveshnikov, who was also playing in the tournament, and walking past the game from time to time, to see how his compatriot was dealing with his pet opening, which made both players somewhat nervous. 8.Bg5 a6 9.Na3 b5 Threatening to fork the knights. 10.Nd5 Be7 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.c4! In post-game analysis, White learned that this intuitive move was, in fact, vital if White is to get good play. 12…b4 13.Nc2 Now White’s forward knight is very strongly placed, while Black is denied playing …d4 which often frees up Black’s position. 13…a5 14.Be2 Bg5 15.0–0 0–0 16.Qd3 Be6 17.Rad1 f5 18.Bf3 f4 19.a3 bxa3 20.Nxa3 It’s important to activate the knight a.s.a.p. 20…Nd4 21.Nb5 Bxd5 22.Nxd4 exd4 23.exd5 This skirmish leaves Black’s central pawns blocked and the e-file available to White. 23…Bf6 24.Rfe1 Qb6 25.Re6 a4 26.Be4 h6 27.Qh3 White is now dominating the white squares with great attacking potential. 27…Qb3 28.Qg4 f3 29.Re1 g5 30.Qf5 Threatening mate and winning the bishop. 30…Ra7 31.Rxf6 Rxf6 32.Qxf6 Qxb2 33.Bd3 Freeing up his rook and providing a defence against a possible back rank mate. 33…Qb8 34.Qg6+ Kf8 35.Re6 Now everything can pile in. 35…Rg7 36.Qxh6 Kg8 37.Qh5 1-0 Resigns, as there is a forced mate in 7  e.g. 37…Rd7 38.Rh6 Rb7 39.Rh8+ Kg7 Grab the queen – or is there something better? With all of White’s pieces coordinating beautifully, there surely is. e.g. 40.Qh6+ Kf7 41.Qg6+ Ke7 42.Qe6#.

Interestingly, Elena is the daughter of Olga Rubtsova (1909 – 1994), who became the 4th Womens World Champion in 1956, and was unique in being the only player, male or female, to become World Champion at both over-the-board and correspondence chess. All of which adds a little bit of icing on Stephen’s  already very sweet  cake.

Last week’s 2-mover, was solved by 1.Bg6!

In this position from 1991, Evgeny Sveshnikov (W) mated in 3 moves.

White to play and win

British Championships Approaching

The British Championships start in a fortnight in Kingston-Upon-Hull’s City Hall, as part of their UK City of Culture activities (2017-2020).  Generous support and sponsorship has attracted a healthy entry of 750+ and rising every day. The Championship section of 57 includes 15 GMs and 25 others with a Masters title, and there are 20 other sections available to enter. Check out the ECF website for latest developments.

Cornishman Michael Adams has returned to the fray after missing out last year. At Bournemouth in 2016 he became Champion with the unsurpassed score of 10/11, and in this company will need to be at his very best again to repeat that.

At Bournemouth, the last round pairing was most unusual, almost bizarre. For the final round, Adams should have been paired against one of his closest rivals, but he’d already played all of them, whereas another player, almost 500 rating points lower, had done exceedingly well up to that point and was the only realistic opponent. However, the almost surreal nature of the situation may have got to him, as Adams showed what he can do, given half a chance.

White: M. Brown (2252). Black: M. Adams (2727)

Scotch Game  [C45]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 White decides to go for the open Scotch Game, which can lead to complicated positions with lots of activity. exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 White is bound to want to be as aggressive as possible Nb6 9.Nc3 Qe6 10.Qe4? White’s queen now plays little significant part in the game. g6 11.Bd3 Bg7 12.f4 0–0 13.0–0 f5 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Bd2 d5 16.Qe2 If 16.cxd5 Bf5 17.Qf3 Qd4+ and White would be under severe pressure. 16…Ba6 17.Rae1 Bxc4 18.Bxc4 Nxc4 19.Bc1 a5 20.Qc2 Rae8 Black’s development is now complete, but White’s queen seems to want to run away and hide. 21.Qa4 Qd4+ 22.Kh1 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Qf2 24.Rg1 It’s too late for the queen to be effective. e.g. 24.Qd1 Nxb2 25.Bxb2 Qxb2 26.Ne2. 24…Bd4 25.Rd1 Re8 26.h3 Re1+ 27.Kh2 Qg1+ 28.Kg3 Ne3 0-1. If 29.Rd2, Black has the choice of 29…h5 or Nf1+ winning more material. A ruthless display by Adams.

Last week’s game was finished off even more ruthlessly by 13 year old Nadia Jaufarally, thus:-

16.Nh6+ Sacrificing a piece with check in order to retain the initiative 16…gxh6 17.Bc4+ Kh8 Now throw in the queen & rook for good measure. 18.Qxe8+ Nxe8 19.Rxe8+ Bf8 Blocking the check with a piece already under attack – feels like a good idea. 20.Rxf8+ Nxf8 21.Be5# Oh dear – the bishops apply the coup de grace. 1–0

In 1910 Alain White published The White Rooks, a collection of 100 positions in which White had only rooks to help administer a swift mate, from which I’ve selected several in recent weeks. The year before, he’d published Knights & Bishops, a collection in which White has no queen or rook, but only the minor pieces in which to finish Black off in short time. This is a 2-mover from that book.

White to mate in 2

Bristol Summer Congress 2018 Results (29.06.2018.) 992

The recent Bristol Summer Congress took place at the Grammar School and demonstrated its increasing popularity by attracting116 players of whom 51 were in the strong Open Section, which unusually included 11 of the participating 25 juniors. It’s not uncommon for relatively inexperienced juniors to play in the lower sections in the hope they won’t get too badly smashed up, but here there were, for example, in the Open a 10 yr old with a grade of 190, and two 13 yr old girls all winning prizes against strong adult opponents as the following list testifies. The ages of juniors have been included to amplify the point. Open:- 1st= Alan Merry (238 – Barbican) & Mike Waddington (196 – Dorchester) 4½. 3rd= Simon Roe (208 – Cavendish); Graham Moore (210 – Bury St. Edmunds); Michael Handley (196 – Cowley); Patryk  Krzyzanowski (195 – Bristol) & Philipp Prasse (169 –  Germany/Bristol Uni.) all 3½. Grading Prize: Rajat Makkar (190 – Reading – 10 yrs) & Sam Jukes (161 – Barry) all 3½. Junior Prize: Aditya Munshi (191 – Nottingham -13 yrs) & Nadia Jaufarally (158 – Essex – 13 yrs.) 3½.

Major: 1st= Robert Radford (157-Keynsham); Yuyang Wang (158 – Plymouth – 12 yrs); Brendan O’Gorman (155-NHSS); Chris Strong (151 – Clevedon) 4/5. Grading: John Belinger (121 – Milton) 2½. Junior Prize: Max Walker (144 – Churchill – 13 yrs.) 3½

Minor: 1st= Mike Jennings (107 – Bristol); William Taplin (106 – Keynsham); John Harris (114 – Stroud); Daoyi Wang (119 -Bristol Uni.) all 4; Grading: Johan Mathew (70 – Richmond – 7 yrs) 3. Junior: Jessica Mellor (101 – Surrey – 9 yrs.) 3½

Full details of pairings and individual results for all players, and photographs may be found on the website chessit.com.

This is one game from the Open Section that got spectators talking.

White: Nadia Jaufarally (158) [age 13] Black:  Elizaveta Sheremetyeva (156) [age 15]

Caro-Kan Defence [B17]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 4…Bf5 looks tempting in order not to get the bishop blocked, but can itself lead to trouble after 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 and the bishop may be wishing it had stayed at home a little longer. 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Ng3 e6 7.Bd3 Qc7 8.Qe2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Ng5 e5 11.f4 exf4 12.Bxf4 Qd8 13.Rae1 White is now already fully developed while Black is somewhat cramped and finds her bishop attacked. 13…Re8 Solving one problem but creating another 14.Nxf7! Qb6 14…Kxf7 looks suicidal in view of White’s overall development. 15.c3 Bc5 Black is responding with threats of her own. Which brings us to this week’s diagram. Can White retain the initiative? Have a go yourself. White to play and win in 6.

White to play and win in 6

Nadia finished a half point ahead of Grandmaster Keith Arkell, so need we worry about a new generation of young stars coming through?

In last week’s 2-mover by Christopher Reeves White’s queen had 9 moves, 8 of which could be countered by Black, except 1.Qb3!

Cornish Chess (23.06.2018) 991

The Cornish C.A. Secretary, Ian George, writes to say that on 3rd and 31st July and 28th August (all Tuesdays), there will be a chess gathering in the restaurant of the Plume of Feathers, Fore Street, Pool, Redruth TR15 3PF to which all are welcome. These will be informal gatherings for recreational chess. It’s intended to try some kriegspiel, pairs chess and any other variants of the game that people want to play. Equipment  provided. Ages 12+.

Everyone knows the best chessplayer ever to come out of Cornwall is Michael Adams, but who would be the next best? A leading candidate would be Reginald Pryce Michell (1873-1938). The family came from Camborne where his father, Stephen, was a copper assayer at the Pendandrea mine, the old chimney stack of which still stands guard over the town. It was a vital job as he had to constantly monitor the quality of the ore being mined, which affected the viability of the mine on which the jobs of hundreds of miners depended. When the mining industry collapsed the family moved to Penzance where Stephen’s in-laws ran a millinery business. Father and his 3 sons, Reginald being the youngest, were all keen players and members of the Penzance Club and went through all their games at home. He joined the club aged 15 and was club champion within 2 years. When the millinery business failed, probably a consequence of the mining collapse, Stephen became a landscape artist on the back of the rise of the Newlyn School and English impressionism, but eventually the whole family moved to London.

Reginald became British Amateur Champion in 1902, played in 8 England vs. USA cable matches between 1901 and 1911 and twice represented England in Olympiads, London 1927 and Folkestone 1933 in 1932/3. He finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the British Championship proper, but greater success over the board eluded him as he worked hard at his career, becoming Permanent Secretary in the Admiralty, and chess was just one of several hobbies.

Here is a notable game of his played at Hastings in 1931.

White: R. P. Michell. Black: E. Colle.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Here is the Nimzowitsch Defence  again, touted as Black’s strongest counter to the Queen’s Pawn. 4.Qb3 This move was popular at the time but is now seen as (a) abandoning e4 to Black’s knight and (b) bringing the queen into play too quickly, making it liable to attack, as in this game, not that this troubled Michell. 4…c5 5.dxc5 Nc6 6.Nf3 Ne4 7.Bd2 Nxc5 8.Qc2 f5 9.g3 0–0 10.Bg2 d5 11.cxd5 exd5 12.a3 d4 13.axb4 Nxb4 14.Qd1 Be6 15.0–0 Bb3 16.Qc1 dxc3 17.Qxc3 attacking both knights. 17…Nc2 18.Qxc5 Nxa1 19.Rxa1 White got both knights for his rook. 19…Qd5 20.Qb4 Qc4 21.Nd4 Rfd8 22.Qxb3 1–0 After 22…Qxb3 23.Nxb3 White would be 2 pieces up.

In last week’s position, White could win material by 1.Qxg6. Black cannot afford to take it because of the sequence 1…Pxg6  2.Nxg6+ Kh7 3.Nxf8+ King moves and 4.NxQ and White would be a rook & 2 pawns up, so play continues otherwise and White has won a significant pawn.

Here is a 2-mover by an adopted Cornishman, Rev. Chris Reeves (1939-2012), who composed the majority of his 80+ problems in his 20s.

White to mate in 2

Devon vs Lincolnshire Results (16.06.2018.) 990

Devon failed in their bid to reach the Final of the Minor Counties tournament, losing to the current holders Lincolnshire 10-6 in the semi-final held on Saturday. This tournament’s regulations state that the playing grades of any 16 man team should not, when added together, exceed 2880 or an average of 180 per person. The fact that Lincolnshire chose to include Grandmaster Matthew Turner did not unduly worry Devon as they would have to pay the price in terms of grades lower down the order. On the top 6 boards Devon only lost 3½-2½, yet out-graded Lincs on all of the next 11 boards – grounds for cautious optimism, but it was in this area that the match was truly lost, going down 6½-3½.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing).

1. J. Underwood (191) 0-1 M. Turner (GM – 248). 2.J. Stephens (189) ½-½ N. Birtwistle (196). 3. J. Fraser (192) ½-½ S. Milson (193). 4. G. Bolt (188) 0-1 P. Cumbers (196). 5. S. J. Homer (181) 1-0 N. Stead (187). 6. T. Paulden (189) ½-½ M. Smith (197). 7. J. Wheeler (187) 0-1 J. Kilshaw (183). 8.M. Abbott (186) 0-1 I. David (169). 9.B. Hewson (179) 1-0 K. Palmer (163). 10. P. Hampton (175) 0-1 D. Georgiou (159). 11. J. Haynes (176) 0-1 P Cusick (169). 12. S. Martin (184) 0-1 F. Bowers (165). 13. D. Cowley (175) 1-0 C. Holt (160). 14. J. Duckham (164) 0-1 R. Herbert (161). 15.P. Brooks (166) ½-½  K. McCarthy (161). 16. W. Ingham (157) 1-0 A. Parnian (147).

One bright spot for Devon was this miniature that put them in the lead for a while. Analysis kindly supplied by the winner.

White: N. Stead. Black: Stephen Homer.

Nimzowitsch Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4+ 4.Nf3 Ne4 A move played by Karpov so it can’t be bad. It has the advantage of avoiding 5.Bg5, my opponent’s usual set-up. 5.Qc2 d5 5…f5 is the alternative. 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 f5 8.0–0 c6 9.cxd5 exd5 I’d seen White’s next move, with the pin of Black’s d-pawn against his king and the possible loss of a pawn on e4. 9…cxd5 is the alternative, but I decided to go for the pawn sacrifice after 10…Bd6 and 11. White takes twice on e4. 10.Qb3 Bd6 10…Qe7 is a better move, but the move played sets a deadly trap. 11.Nxe4?? This looks natural but in fact it’s a blunder. Correct is 11.Bxe4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Bc7 13.Ne5! when Black’s d-pawn remains pinned and Black will have to prove sufficient compensation for the lost pawn which will follow on 13.Nxe4 11…fxe4 12.Bxe4 Kh8! Breaking the pin and once White’s bishop moves away gives rise to a deadly exchange sacrifice on f3. 13.Bc2 Rxf3! The move I’d envisaged on move 9. The follow-up with 14.Qg5+ wins, as it allows the queen to transfer to h5 with a double attack on h2 and f3. 14.gxf3 Qg5+ 15.Kh1 Qh5 16.f4 Qf3+ 17.Kg1 Bh3 and mate cannot be avoided.0-1.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Qa8! waiting for Black to fall on his sword, as all moves lose.

This position arose in a game recently in which White played a conservative 1.Ne2. Did he perhaps miss something a little more enterprising?

White to play

50th Cotswold Congress Results (09.06.2018.) 989

The 50th Cotswold Congress took place over the Whitsun weekend at the King’s School, Gloucester, with the following results: (all points out of 6). Open Section; 1st Keith Arkell (237) 5. 2nd Peter Cusick (169-Grantham) 4½. 3rd= Dom Mackle (196-Torquay); Tim Headlong (188-Brown Jack) & Tim Spanton (163) all 4. Grading prize Andrew Waters. (158 – Kent).

Major: 1st Andrew Munn (150-Bristol) 5½. 2nd Jamie Morgan (149-Penzance); 3rd= Rich Weston (153-Cowley) & Andrew Price (151-Leamington) 4. Grading Prize(a) Dave Rogers (131-Exmouth). Grading prize(b) Ethan Gardiner (106-Manchester).

Minor: 1st Nigel Morris (123-Leamington) 5. 2nd= C. Costeloe (122-London); Rob Furseman (120-Newmarket), Georgina Headlong (116-Brown Jack) & Rohan Palet (85-Glos). Grading prizes: Christine Constable (105-Bude) & Paul Munroe.

Top grade was GM Keith Arkell and he duly won after conceding a couple of late draws. In this game he showed what he is more than capable of doing.

White: J. Jenkins (180). Black: K. Arkell.

Nimzo-Indian Defence – Rubinstein Variation.  [E41]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Signature moves of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, one of Black’s most potent weapons against the Queen’s Gambit. 4.e3 A quiet move developed by the Polish GM, Akiba Rubinstein, against which Black must strike quickly before White can develop his centre. c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 d6 7.0–0 Now that the bishop has served its purpose it can go, leaving Black free to concentrate on the enemy king’s position. Bxc3 8.bxc3 e5 9.e4 Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Nh4 h6 Both white bishops are now severely restricted in scope. 13.Qe2 g5 14.Nf5 Nxf5 15.exf5 Qe7 16.Re1 0–0–0 17.a4 Rdg8 18.g4 h5 19.a5 hxg4 20.hxg4 Rh4 21.f3 e4! Giving up a pawn to allow his queen access to the attack without interfering with his rooks’ open h-file – cheap at the price. 22.Bxe4 Qe5 23.Qg2 Rgh8 24.Re2 Rh3 Threatening Rg3 winning the queen. 25.Bc2 Qxc3 26.Ra3 Qxc4 27.Rd3 Nxg4 Continuing the break-up of White’s kingside, but equally effective is 27…Bxf5 28.gxf5 Qh4 and the triple attack down the h-file will again quickly exact heavy gains. 28.Qxg4 Rh1+ 29.Kf2 R8h2+ 0-1. Further resistance was hopeless. All 60 games from the Open Section may be found on Dave Tipper’s website, chessit.co.uk.

The last Westcountry team left in the National Stages is Devon who play on Saturday against Lincolnshire, the holders, at Kemerton, Worcestershire in the semi-final of the Minor Counties section. No Westcountry team has ever held this particular title, and Lincs are the current holders, so a tough battle is guaranteed.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.f3+! forcing 1…Kf4, then 2.Pxg7+ a discovered check from which there is no escape.

This week’s position is taken from David Howard’s 2005 book, My 100 Best Two-Movers. It looks fearsomely complicated but there are patterns to be discerned which should lead you to the solution.

White to mate in 2

Frome Congress Results (02.06.2018) 988

183 players entered the recent 29th Frome Congress, and the winners were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st= S. Jones, V. Stoyanov & R. de Coverley 4 pts. Grading prizes: U-2050 1st P. Anderson. 3½. U-1900 1st= J. Turner & S. Jukes 3.

Major Section: (U-165); 1st= D. Marshall; J. Fisher; S. Appleby & F. Pittman 4. Grading prizes: U-155: D. Watson & J. Lobley 3½. U-144: S. Williams 3½. Intermediate (U140) 1st G, Miller 5.        2nd= R. Millener; J. Beviss & B. Headlong 4. Grading: U-129: I. Kamotskiy 3½. U-116: T. Gough 3½. Minor (U-110) 1st= S. Walsh & M. Archbold 4½. 3rd J. Grover 4. GPs (U-100): D. Williams; E. Fields; M. Fields & P. Allaway. 3½. GP U-86: M. Cox 3½.

The Somerset champions for each section were as follows: Open: Tim Headlong (Brown Jack). Major: Dave Marshall (Trowbridge). Intermediate: Jamie Beviss (Langport). Minor: James Grover (Bath).

Entering the final round, Simon Jones was in with a chance of 1st place, but had the Black pieces.

White: J. Turner. Black: S. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Lasker Variation [B33]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 forces Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 This is a retreat, but the alternative 8…Ne7 constricts Black’s kingside development. 9.c3 Be7 10.a4 0–0 11.Be3 a6 12.Na3 f5 13.Bd3 Nd7 14.f4 Nf6 15.fxe5 Ng4 Ironically, the very piece that had to retreat earlier now forces the same fate on White. 16.Bg1 Nxe5 17.Be2 f4 18.Bf2 Qe8 Now all but one of Black’s pieces are heading for the enemy king’s position.19.0–0 Qg6 Also very strong was 19…Bh3 20.bf3 Nxf3+ and if 21.Qxf3 Bg4 wins the queen.  20.h4 Qh6 21.Nc2 g6 22.Bf3 Bxh4 23.Nd4 Bg3 Threatens mate. 24.Bxg3 fxg3 25.Re1 Qh2+ 26.Kf1 Bh3 27.Ke2 If 27.gxhe Qxf7 mate. Bxg2 28.Ke3 Nc4+ 29.Ke4 Qh4+ 0-1 30.Kd3 would be forced and 30…Nxb2+ wins the queen.

This miniature took place in the Major:

White: P. Markham.  White: A. Papier

Queen Pawn’s Game [D00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Ne7 8.f3 Nf5 Attacking a piece and opening lines for his other pieces to attack. What could possibly go wrong? 9.Qd2 Qh4+ 10.g3 Nxg3 Black jumps in, seeing attacking chances for himself. 11.Bb5+ 11…c6? Black needs to develop more pieces e.g. 11…Bd7! 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Bf2 e3 14.Qxe3 Qb4+ 15.c3 Qxb2 etc. 12.Bg5 Qh5 13.dxc6+- Be6 14.Qd7+! 1–0. If 14. ..BXQ 15 PxB mate.

Thanks to Dave Tipper for supplying these and many other game scores. Much more information may be found on the somersetchess.org website.

In last week’s 2-mover by David Shire, White should play 1.Nde5! after which Black will not be able to evade all the mating threats.

This week’s position is a return to the rooks-only theme of Alain White from his little book published in 1910. Because of the limited resources available. e.g. no knights beloved of composers, the vast majority in this category involve more than 2 moves, but this is one of the few.

White to play and mate in 2.

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