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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

Gloucestershire’s Varying Fortunes (24.12.2016.)

Last month, Gloucestershire beat a Somerset side, weakened by defaults, by 9½-6½ points, the details being as follows:- (Glos. names 1st in each pairing). 1.P. Townsend (200) 0-1 J. Rudd (213). 2.J. Stewart (191) 1-0 P. Krzyzanowski (183). 3.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 M. Stanforth (179). 4.M. Ashworth (186) 1-0 A. F. Footner (175). 5.J. Jenkins (181) ½ -½ M. French (170). 6. P. Masters (179) 1-0 Default. 7.J. Jones (176) ½ -½ D. Freeman (163). 8.C. Mattos (174) 1-0 G. N. Jepps (159). 9.P. Kirby (171) 0-1 A. A. Champion (153). 10.P. J. Meade (163) 1-0 R. Knight (150). 11.J. Fowler (158) ½ -½ C. Purry (149). 12.R. Dixon (155) ½ -½  J. E. Fewkes (142). 13.R. Ashworth (153) ½ -½ T. Wallis (142). 14.P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Strong (133). 15. A. Killey (138) 1-0 Default. 16.I. Blencowe (129) 1-0 d/f.

It was a different story when they subsequently met a strong Devon side. The top half of the match was competitive with Gloucestershire sharing the points 5 – 3, but from board 9 down Devon were able to field a raft of 170+ players, too strong for their opponents to cope with. The details as follows:- (Glos. names first). 1.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Ashworth (186) ½-½ J. K. Stephens (192). 3.J. Jenkins (181) 1-0 Dr. T. J. Paulden (187). 4.P. Masters (179) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.C. Mattos (174) ½-½ S. Homer (190). 6.D. Dugdale (172) 0-1 Dr. J. Underwood (183). 7.P. Kirby ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson (182). 8.P. J. Meade (163) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.J. Fowler (158) 1-0 Dr. D. Regis (175). 10.R. Ashworth (153) ½-½  P. Sivrev (175). 11. P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 12.A. Papier (143) 0-1 J.  F. Wheeler (174). 13.A. Killey (136) ½-½ T. F. Thynne (170). 14.I. Blencowe (129) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 15.A. Richards (123) ½-½  O. E. Wensley (168). 16.P. Bending (115) 0-1 M. O. Marshall (166).

This was the complex game from Bd. 4 in which both players became very short of time.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bg5 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.d5 a6 9.0–0 Rb8 10.Qc2 Qa5 11.a4 Re8 12.h3 Nf8 13.Rfd1 Bd7 14.Bf4 Qb4 15.Ne1 Qb6 16.Ra3 Rbd8 17.a5 Qc7 18.Bf3 Bc8 19.Qd2 N8d7 20.Nd3 b6 21.axb6 Nxb6 22.b3 Nfd7 23.Ne4 Bb7 24.Ra2 h6 25.g4 e5 26.dxe6 26.Bh2 Might have been better in the longer term. 26…Rxe6 27.Nxd6 Bxf3 28.Nxf7 attacking queen & rook. 28…Ne5 Better might have been 28…Qc8 29.Nxd8 Qxd8 30.Rc1 29.Nxd8 Rd6 Not 29…Qxd8? 30.Nxe5 Qxd2 31.Rdxd2 leaving Black the exchange & 2 pawns down. 30.Nxe5 Bxd1? Better would be 30…Rxd2 31.Rdxd2 Bxe5 31.Nd3 Bxb3 An alternative continuation might be 31…Qxd8 32.Bxd6 Bxb3 33.Nxc5 Bxa2 34.Ne6 leaving Black with a bishop for 2 pawns. 32.Ne6! Qc6 33.Bxd6 Bxa2 Black also had 33…Nxc4 34.Qe2 Qxd6 35.Nexc5 Bxa2 but White has threats after 36.Qxa2. 34.Ndxc5 Bxc4 35.Nxg7 Kxg7 35…Nc8 36.Be5 Qxc5 37.Qd8+ Qf8 38.Ne8. 36.Qd4+ Kh7 37.Bf4? 37.Qf6 would have threatened mate after 38.Qe7+ K moves, 39.Qe8. 37…Qd5? 38.Qxd5? 38.Qf6 followed by 39.Be5 would threaten mate. 38…Nxd5 39.Bd6 Kg7 40.e4 Nc3?? 41.Be5+ Kf7 42.Bxc3 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe4!

This new 3-mover is a little more difficult than usual, so you might need to find a quiet spot somewhere after the Christmas dinner.

White to play and mate in 3

New Kids on the Block (17.12.2016.)

The recent 3rd Plymouth Rapidplay tournament was won jointly by Grandmaster Keith Arkell (Paignton) and Paul Hampton (Seaton). Arkell has been one of Britain’s most active and best-known players for several decades, whereas Hampton is a recent arrival on the Westcountry scene. As a schoolboy back in the mid-‘80s he represented his native Scotland in the World U-16 Championship in Colombia (won by the Russian, Alexey Dreev), and in the Glorney Cup in the Netherlands. His recent move to East Devon has rekindled his interest in the game and he is rapidly getting back to his old form, as evidenced by his draw against Arkell, one of the country’s leading rapidplay specialists. Other prizewinners were:-

3rd= C. Archer-Lock (Reading), A. W. Brusey (Newton Abbot) & P. Sivrev (Plymouth). Grading prizes as follows: U-166: G. Body (Exeter), J. Haynes (Tiverton) & M. Stinton-Brownbridge (Plymouth). U-155: C. Sellwood  (Camborne) & S. Dean (Seaton). U-144: M. Quinn (Plymouth). U-130: M. O’Brien (Plymouth).U-119: J. Fowler (S. Hams). U-103: M. Richards (Liskeard) & S. Franks.

Another new face to the area won the recent Bristol Winter Congress. This was Daniel E. Malkiel who arrived in Bristol last year from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 2nd seed to Chris Beaumont in the Open Section, and they met in Rd. 4 with decisive results.

White: D. E. Malkiel (201) Black: C. Beaumont (209)

Grünfeld Defence [D85]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Qa4+ c6 8.Qa3 Nd7 9.Nf3 0–0 10.Bg5 c5 11.Bd3 h6 12.Be3 b6 13.Rd1 Qc7 14.Qc1 Kh7 White now decides not to bother with castling, but goes for the throat immediately… 15.h4 Nf6 16.Bf4 Qb7 17.h5 Nxh5 … starting with an exchange sacrifice. 18.Rxh5 gxh5 19.e5+ Kh8 20.Bxh6 f6 Obviously not 20…Bxh6 21.Qxh6+ Kg8 22.Qh7#. 21.Qf4 Bg4 21…fxe5 might have looked as if it was attacking the queen, but in reality it allowed a forced mate in 4 – viz 22.Bxg7+ Kxg7 23.Qg5+ Kh8 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Qh7#. 22.Nh4 e6 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.f3 Bf5 25.Bxf5 exf5 26.e6 Rfd8 27.d5 Re8. Black could try 27…Bxh6 28.Qxh6 Qh7 29.Qxh7+ Kxh7 30.Ne7 Re8 31.d6 Kg7 32.Nxf5+ Kg6 33.Nh4+ Kg7 but the 2 central pawns are mighty powerful. 34.e7 Rad8 35.Kf2. 28.Bxg7 Qxg7 29.Qxf5 c4 30.d6 1–0 After the game, Beaumont complained “I can’t get out of the opening against this guy!”

The other prizewinners were as follows: Open: 2nd= C. Beaumont, C. Bicknell, S. Dilleigh & M. Payne. Major Section (U-155): 1st = T. Jones & Alice Lampard. 3rd= R. Ashworth & N. Towers. Minor Section (U-125): 1st G. Daly. 2nd E. Ko. 3rd= D. Clarke, N. Cunliffe, T. Golding & B. Parnian.

In last week’s position Magnus Carlsen played the unlikely looking 1.Qh6+ which can be taken 2 ways, neither of which helps: e.g. KxQ 2.Rh8 mate or PxQ 2.RxP mate.

The previous week’s position was quickly sorted by Black’s queen sacrifice viz. 1…QxR+ 2.B or N xQ then Rd1+ leads to mate.

Here is the latest 3-move offering from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and mate in 3

Carlsen Shades It (10.12.2016.)

Last weekend in New York, the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, narrowly beat his challenger, the Russian Sergei Karjakin.

The match was over 12 games, at the end of which both players had one win, the rest being drawn. Many on-line observers around the world thought these games were pretty thin gruel, as neither player wished to take risks.

Then came a tie-break match of 4 rapidplay games, with approx 30 minutes thinking time for each player for all moves. After 3 of the 4 games, Carlsen led 2-1 and the Russian had to win the next in order to stay in the match and take it to the final tie-break stage of games played at 5 minutes per player, although viewed by many as an unsatisfactory way of deciding such a prestigious title.

This is that final rapidplay game that Carlsen only needed to draw.

White: Magnus Carlsen. Black: Sergei Karjakin.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind. [B55]

1.e4 c5 Karjakin is 2–1 down and needs to win this last Rapidplay tie-break game in order to stay in the match, so, for the first time, he adopts Black’s most potent weapon against 1.e4 – a Sicilian Defence. 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3 e5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.c4 The Maroczy Bind, named after the Hungarian master, Géza Maróczy (1870- 1951), aimed at preventing Black from playing an early …d5 which usually frees up Black’s position, and preventing it often secures a lasting positional edge for White. 7…a5 8.Be3 a4 9.Nc1 0–0 10.Nc3 Qa5 11.Qd2 Na6 12.Be2 Nc5 13.0–0 Bd7 14.Rb1 Rfc8 15.b4 axb3 16.axb3 Qd8 17.Nd3 Ne6 18.Nb4 Bc6 19.Rfd1 h5 20.Bf1 h4 21.Qf2 Nd7 22.g3 Ra3 23.Bh3 Rca8 24.Nc2 R3a6 25.Nb4 Ra5 26.Nc2 Black is stuck for any good move and time is ticking by. 26…b6 27.Rd2 Qc7 28.Rbd1 Bf8 29.gxh4 White is taking a bit of a gamble by weakening his kingside pawn structure, though Black has no immediate threats. 29…Nf4 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.Bxd7 Qxd7 32.Nb4 Ra3 33.Nxc6 Qxc6 34.Nb5 Forcing further simplification. 34…Rxb3 Losing the exchange, but it’s the least worst option. 35.Nd4 Qxc4 36.Nxb3 Qxb3 37.Qe2 Be7 38.Kg2 Qe6 39.h5 Ra3 40.Rd3 Ra2 41.R3d2 White would like to simplify at this stage in order to increase the possibly of getting the draw he requires to win the match, but Black must try and avoid this. 41…Ra3 42.Rd3 Ra7 43.Rd5 Rc7 44.Qd2 winning either the d- or f-pawn. 44…Qf6 45.Rf5 Qh4 46.Rc1 Ra7 47.Qxf4 Ra2+ 48.Kh1 Qf2 Threatening mate on g2, which Carlsen blithely ignores, because he’s seen something special. 49.Rc8+ Kh7 which brings us to this week’s position.

Carlsen (W) is about to be mated on g2, and his world championship title is on the line. Should he now defend or continue to attack? You may have seen it elsewhere during the week, but enjoy the moment again anyway. The move had spectators purring and forgiving the Norwegian for all the earlier dross. Not only that, but it was Carlsen’s birthday that day, and this was his gift to the whole chess world.

White to play and win

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

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