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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

West of England Jamboree – Unexpected Outcomes (03.10.2015.)

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

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

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

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

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

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind [B39]

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

(For more details refer to Blog section)

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

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

White to play & mate in 2.

Arkell’s Paignton Max. (26.09.2015.)

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

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

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

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

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Variation [D35]

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

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

In this position how does White mate in 2?

White to play and mate in 2.

Arkell’s Optimism (19.09.2015.)

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

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

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

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

Queen’s Gambit – Chigorin Defence.  [D07]

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

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

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

White: Rowena Bruce. Black: Mr. Black.

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

White to play and win by force.

Paignton Congress Starts (13.09.2015.)

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

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

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

Caro-Kann Defence  [B17]

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

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

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

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

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

White to play

Devon’s New County Champion.

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

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

Robatsch Defence  [B06]

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

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

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

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

Black to play and win

British Championship Best Game Prize.

The recent British Ladies Championship in Coventry was won by the diminutive 13 year old Surrey schoolgirl, Akshaya  Kalaiyalahan. She is the 3rd 13 yr old to win the title, the first being Elaine Saunders (later Pritchard) at Bournemouth in 1939, followed by Humpy Koneru at Torquay in 2000. She scored 6½/11, achieved a Women’s IM norm and took the prize for the best performance in the Championship by a player graded under 2000. She was probably favourite for that particular prize as her grade was 1999, while her grade for the tournament was 2335.

Next year’s championship will be held at Bournemouth.

The Alexander Prize for the Game of the Tournament went to Glenn Flear for his win in Round 4. The two opponents were born within 12 months of each other in Leicester in the late 1950s, and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well.

White: Glenn Flear (2450). Black:  Mark Hebden (2500).  King’s Indian Defence – Averbakh Variation.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0–0 6.Bg5 Averbakh’s line. 6…c6 More usual here is 6…c5 hitting more directly at White’s centre. 7.Nf3 Also playable is 7.Qd2 or 7.f4 setting up the 4 Pawns Attack, but White prefers this more conservative line. 7…Na6 8.0–0 h6 9.Be3 Ng4 Pushing the bishop back, but the knight is not tenable on g4. 10.Bc1 e5 11.h3 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nf6 13.Re1 Re8 14.Bf3 Nd7 15.Be3 Ne5 Again the knight tries to establish a forward position, but will become a target once more. 16.Be2 Nc5 17.Qd2 Qh4 18.f4 Ned7 19.Bf3 a5 20.Bf2 Qe7 21.Rad1 Nb6 22.b3 a4 23.Qc2 axb3 24.axb3 Nbd7 Compromising the development of the white-square bishop. 25.b4 Na6 26.b5 Nb4 27.Qb3 c5 28.Nc2 Nxc2 29.Nd5! a useful zwischenzug, or in-between move. 29…Qd8 30.Qxc2 Nb6 31.e5 Bf5 32.Qb3 dxe5 33.Bxc5 Nxd5 34.Bxd5 Qc7? Black’s position is now getting worse by the move. Better was 34…Qc8. 35.Bd6! Qa5 If 35…Qxd6?? 36.Bxf7+ wins the queen. 36.fxe5 Be6 37.Bxe6 Rxe6 38.c5 Giving White a vice-like grip on the centre. 38…Rae8 39.Rf1 Now focussing on f7. 39…Qd8 40.Qf3 Qd7 41.c6 bxc6 42.bxc6 Qa7+ 43.Kh1 f5 44.c7 Bxe5 45.Bxe5 Rxe5 46.Qb3+ Kh8 47.Rd7 Qa6 48.Rg1 1-0. White has multiple threats on b8, d8 and f7.

The next big event in the area is the Paignton Congress, which starts on Sunday 13th September. Entries are relatively low at the moment, so there is plenty of room for more players. Enquiries should be directed to the Entry Secretaries, Alan & Linda Crickmore on 01752-768206 or e-mail: plymouthchess@btinternet.com.

In last week’s position, Carlsen could afford to take the knight because then his passed pawn would be able to make forward progress viz 1.RxN and if RxR 2.b7 Rb5 3.pb8=Q RxQ 4.BxR.

In this game, Black has plenty of piece activity but is still vulnerable.

Can you see where?

White to win in 2 moves

Hawkins Is British Champion (15.08.2015.)

So the possibility of a multiple tie in the British Championship with the necessity of a play-off, never came about, as all but one of the top players seemed to lose their nerve and drew their games, this being the exception.

White: Jonathan Hawkins (256). Black: Keith Arkell (241).

Sicilian Defence.

1.e4 c5 Both players had to play an attacking game if they were to win the prize, especially Arkell who was a half point behind – it was win or nothing for him. So he adopted Black’s most immediately attacking opening weapon against 1.e4. 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 White was also determined to play an open game. 3…cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.f4 White continued with his aggressive approach. An early f4 used to be called the Grand Prix Attack as it was used by GMs on the weekend congress circuit to generate a quick kingside attack and pick up “easy” points against lesser players. 6…a6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Bd3 b5 9.Qe2 Bb7 10.Bd2 White now had the option of castling on either side, though on the queenside this could prove tricky, given Black’s forward pawns and 11th move. 10…Be7 11.a3 Rb8 Further deterring White from castling long and attacking the kingside. 12.0–0 Nf6 13.e5 Nd5 14.f5 White presses on, also preventing Black playing …f5. 14…Nxc3 15.Bxc3 Black is doing a good job of frustrating White’s intentions at this stage, but having constantly to find double-edged moves is using up Black’s time considerably. 15…g6 16.fxe6 dxe6 17.Bb4 Bxb4 18.axb4 0–0 19.Rf4 Rbd8 20.Qf2 Qc7 21.Re1 Rd5 22.Qe3 Qe7 23.Rg4 Black now only has c. 30 seconds per move left to reach move 40 and goes for 23…h5? which weakens his kingside pawns. Better might have been 23…Rfd8. 24.Rf4 Rfd8 25.Ref1 Qg5 26.Qf2 Black now played 26…Rd4 but resigned soon after in view of 27.Rxd4 winning immediately. However, if instead White had played 27.Rxf7 with a mating attack down the f-file, Black had the resource 27…Bxg2 28.Rf8+ Kg7 29.Qg3 Rg4 30.R1f7+ Kh6 31.Rxd8 Qxd8 32.Qe3+ Qg5 33.Kf2 Bd5 but this would have been difficult to work out in the little time available. 1–0

The full point gave Hawkins the clear lead on 8½/11 points, and with it the title of British Champion. 2nd= were David Howell, Danny Gormally and Nick Pert all on 8 points. 5th= on 7½ were Mark Hebden, Simon Williams Chris Ward, Aaron Summerscale and Richard Pert. Keith Arkell had to make do with a 5-way share of 11th place. Chess can be a cruel game at times.

Jack Rudd (6½) came 15th=; Jeremy Menadue (5) 39th=; Theo Slade (4) 60th= and Matthew Wilson (1½) 74th= .

In last week’s position from Rd. 3 of the British Championship, Allan Pleasants finished with the remarkable 1.Qg6+! fxg6 2.Bg8+ Kh8 3.Bf7+ Kh7 and White now has the luxury of choosing either 4.Bxg6 or fxg6 both mate.

In this position from a recent game, World Champion Magnus Carlsen (W) has a winning move.

White to play and win.

British Championship Nears Climax (08.08.2015.)

The British Championship finished late last night, though after 8 of the 11 scheduled rounds, there may well be a play-off this morning, as there was a bunch of 7 players all within a half point of the lead. If so, this can be watched live on the event website.

After the early rounds last week it looked as if last year’s joint champions, Jonathan Hawkins and David Howell, were determined to repeat the feat as they took an early lead. Yet the chasing pack were always on their heels and after Rd. 8 Danny Gormally and Nick Pert had taken the lead on 6½ points, with Keith Arkell, Simon Williams and John Emms joining the defending champions on 6.

This was Rd. 1’s Game of the Day.

White: J. Hawkins (2554). Black: J. D. Wager (2117).

Queen’s Gambit – Slav Defence  [A84]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Nc3 f5 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 Be7 7.Bd3 0–0 8.Qc2 Ne4 9.g4 Na6 10.a3 fxg4 11.Ne5 Nf6 12.c5 Nb8 As Black’s pieces pose no threat at all, White opens even more lines to the Black king. 13.h3 g3 14.Rg1 gxf2+ 15.Qxf2 Nh5 16.Qc2 Bh4+ 17.Kd2 Nxf4 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 19.exf4 Qf6 20.Rg4 Bf2 21.Bd3 Black now played 21…Bxd4 but then resigned as he could see what was coming next. e.g. 22.Rh4+ Black’s least worst reply is 22…Qxh4 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.Nxh4. If 22…Kg8 23.Bh7+ Kh8 24.Ng6+ etc.  Either way he loses his queen.1–0

After this Rd. 7 game, Pert took Howell’s place at the top of the leader board.

White: D. Howell (2698). Black: N. Pert (2562).

Zukertort Opening – English Variation. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.d4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.d5 Na6 7.e4 Nc5 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bh3 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Bxe5 11.Bh6 Preventing kingside castling. 11…d6 12.0–0 Bc8 13.Bg2 Bf5 14.Re1 Qd7 15.Re3 Bh3 16.b4 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Na6 18.Rb1 c5 19.dxc6 Qxc6+ As it’s check Black can sidestep the threatened fork. 20.Kg1 Nc7 21.Qd3 Ne6 22.Nd5 Rc8 23.Rc1 g5 24.Ree1 Rg8 At this point, White’s pieces look to be active, while Black’s king is stuck in the centre and his rooks are not united, but… 25.Qxh7 Rh8 Oops! Every player knows that pawn-snatching can often lead to trouble. This simply loses a bishop. 26.Qe4 Rxh6 27.Qg4 Qd7 28.Rcd1 Rh8 White now gives up more material in order to try and get some activity for his remaining forces, but he is now a whole rook down. 29.Rxe5 dxe5 30.Nxb6 f5 31.Qf3 Qc6 32.Qxf5 White can’t afford to exchange queens. e.g. 32.Qxc6+ Rxc6 33.Nd7 Rd6 34.Nf6+ Kf7 32…axb6 White now gets in a few bravado checks, but they lead to nothing. 33.Qg6+ Kf8 34.Qf5+ Kg8 35.Qg6+ Kf8 36.Qf5+ Kg7 37.Qxe5+ Kg8 38.c5 Rh6 39.a4 Qxa4 40.Ra1 Qxb4 0–1

Last week’s position was solved by 1.Qa2! and if 1…RxQ 2.Bf3 mate. Black had about 10 other possible moves, but each one had a mating reply.

From this position in Rd. 3 Allan Pleasants of Weymouth was able to finish Black off with a sharp 4 move combination.

White to play and win

Winning Devon Game (01.08.2015.)

This was Devon’s top win in their recent National U-180 Final, and was the last game to finish in a tense finale. Mark was the only player to win all three of his games in the National Stages, a fine performance.

White: M. V. Abbott (171). Black: C. Mackenzie (175).

Nimzo-Indian Defence [E49]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 d5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bd3 0–0 9.Ne2 b6 10.0–0 Ba6 11.f3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Re8 13.Ng3 Nc6 14.Bb2 c4 15.Qd2 Qd7 16.Rae1 Re6 17.Bc1? Better might be 17.e4 threatening the knight. 17…Ne8 (17…dxe4 18.fxe4). 17…Rae8 18.Qc2 b5? 19.e4 a5 20.e5 Qa7 21.Qf2 Nd7 22.f4 b4 23.f5 R6e7 24.f6 Re6 25.fxg7 White could bring pressure to bear after 25.Nh5 bxc3 26.Be3 g6 27.Qf4 Kh8 28.Ng7 Nd8 29.Rf3 Rg8 30.Rh3 Nf8 31.Nxe6 Ndxe6 32.Qf3 etc. 25…Ndxe5 Black sacrifices a piece in order to (a) get some activity for his pieces, and (b) create a 4-2 queenside pawn majority. 26.dxe5 Qxf2+ 27.Rxf2 Nxe5 28.Ref1 bxc3 29.Nh5 R8e7 If 29…d4 30.Nf6+ Rxf6 31.Rxf6 d3 32.Bg5 d2 30.Nf6+ Kxg7 31.Nxd5 Rb7 32.Nf4 Rd6 33.Nh5+ Kf8 34.Nf6 Nd3 35.Bh6+ Ke7 36.Re2+ Kd8 37.Re8+ Kc7 38.Re7+ Kc6 39.Rxb7? 39.Re4 Nb2 40.Bg5. 39…Kxb7 40.Be3 Re6 41.Rb1+ Kc8 42.Nd5 c2 43.Rf1 Kd7 43…Rxe3 44.Nxe3 c1Q 45.Rxc1 Nxc1 46.Nxc4 Nb3 44.Bc1 Kc6 45.Nc3 Kc5 46.Rf5+? Kc6? Better is 46…Kd4 as White’s king needs to be up in support of his dangerous pawns. 47.Rf1 Can Black now start to exploit his passed pawns, or will White’s extra piece be enough to prevent this? It’s a close call. 47…Kc5 48.Bd2 Kd4 49.Nb5+ Kc5 50.Nc3 Kd4 51.Na2 Re2? 52.Bxa5 Re7 53.Bb6+ Ke4 54.a4 Rb7 55.a5 f5 56.g3 h5 57.Kg2 h4 58.Nc3+ Ke5 59.Ne2 hxg3 60.hxg3 Ke4 61.Nc3+ Ke5 62.Ne2 Ke4 63.Nc1 Nxc1 64.Rxc1 Kd3 65.Kf3 Kc3 If 65.Kd2 in support of the forward pawn, there follows 66.Be3+ Kc3 67.a6 and Black has lost time. 66.Be3 Rd7 67.a6 Kb2 68.Ke2 Re7 69.Rf1 c3 70.Kd3 Rd7+ 71.Ke2 Re7 72.a7 Re8 73.Kd3 Rd8+ 74.Kc4 Rc8+ 75.Kb5 Re8 76.Bc1+ Kb3 77.Bf4 Kb2 78.Bb8 c1=Q 79.Rxc1 Kxc1 80.a8=Q The 4th queen of the game – will there be the chance of a 5th? Re2 81.Qh1+ Kb2 82.Bf4 c2 So near and yet so far. 83.Qc1+ Kb3 84.Bd6 Re6 85.Qa3 mate.

The British Championships started at Warwick University on Monday and finish next Friday. Games may be followed live on the event website, as well as updates results in all sections. There are 74 entrants in the top section, with local interest focussing on K. Arkell (Paignton – 4th seed); J. Rudd (Bideford – 18th); J. Menadue (Truro – 52nd ); T. Slade (Marhamchurch – 64th) and M. Ashworth (Gloucester – 69th).

In last week’s position, White may have allowed his queen to be taken because he could see the combination 1.Nf6+ forcing gxf6 and then 2.Bf7 mate.

Here is a conventional 2-mover by Arthur Ford Mackenzie (1861 – 1905). This is one for serious solvers.

White to mate in 2

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?

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