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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

Successful New Schools’ Tournament (21.02.2015.)

Chess activity in secondary schools has suffered something of a decline in recent years, and in response the national Manager of Secondary Schools’ Chess, Neill Cooper, has started a new event called the Team Chess Challenge. The format is teams of 4 playing four rounds of 25 minutes each. The first South-West Regional final took place last week at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, organised by Trefor Thynne. The entry was surprisingly large and varied, which suggests the event has succeeded in its aim and might become a regular item on the chess calendar.                                                       

Results: (All points out of 16) 1st Torquay Boys’ Grammar School “A” 12½ pts. 2nd TBGS “B” 12. 3rd Clyst Vale Community College 11½. 4th= Devonport High School; Great Torrington School “B”; TBGS “C” & TBGS “D” all 9½. 8th= St. Boniface’s  Catholic College, Plymouth “A”; Great Torrington School “A” & Millfield School “A” all 9. 11th Dawlish Community College “A” 8½. 12th Millfield School “B” 8. 13th= Shebbear College & St. Boniface’s Catholic College, “B” 7½. 5th= Coombeshead Academy, Newton Abbot “A”; Great Torrington School “C”; St. Cuthbert Mayne School, Torquay “A” 7. 18th= Coombeshead Academy, “B”; Dawlish  Community College “B” & Great Torrington School “D” 6. 21st St. Cuthbert Mayne School “B” 4½.

The death was announced this week of the West of England’s Life Vice President, Frank Kingdon at the age of 85. He first appeared on the westcountry chess scene in 1962, when he became Secretary of the Dorset C.C.A. and their delegate to W.E.C.U. This was his introduction to chess organisation, going on to fill a number of posts in Dorset and the Westcountry.

He was a founding member of the chess club at the Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment in 1962, and 2 years later started the Dorset Congress at Winfrith, before transferring it to Weymouth.   Although a naturalised Dorset man, Frank was born in Plymouth in 1929 before moving to Exeter in 1932. He attended Hele’s School in Exeter before starting his national service in 1947 with REME where he trained on servicing computers, which in those days were often as a big as a house. After being demobbed he became a pioneering atomic scientist, working first at Harwell and later transferring to Winfrith, a UK Atomic Energy Authority site, near Dorchester, which opened in 1958 and was used for nuclear reactor research until 1995.The funeral is on Friday 27th Feb. at St. Aldhelm’s Church, Spa Rd. Weymouth at 2 p.m.

Mrs. Baird’s Valentine’s Day problem was solved by 1.Qh6! threatening QxR mate. The only move to prevent this would be 1…Re3, but this cuts off the Black king’s only flight square after 2.Nxc6#.

In this game from last year, how did Black finish sharpishly?

Black to finish off quickly

Cornwall Beat Devon (14.02.2015.)

Cornwall met their only neighbours on Saturday in the annual Inter-County match, beating Devon by 8½-7½. This was their first victory over Devon in 23 years and only the third since 1973. Individual scores were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing)

1. D. Mackle 1-0 J. Menadue 2. J. Stephens 0-1 T. Slade. 3. S. Homer 0-1  M. Hassall 4. P. Sivrev 0-1 G. Healey 5. J. Wheeler 1-0 Csuri. 6. J. Fraser 1-0 D. Saqui 7. J. Underwood 1-0 R. Kneebone. 8. D. Regis 0-1 J. Hooker. 9. A. W. Brusey ½-½  S. Bartlett 10. B. W. Hewson ½-½ L. Retallick 11. M. Shaw 0-1 J. Wilman. 12. G. Body 0-1 G. Trudeau. 13. W. Ingham ½-½ J. Nicholas 14. T. F. Thynne ½-½ R. Smith. 15. M. Stinton-Brownbridge ½-½ M. Hill 16. I. S. Annetts 1-0 R. Stephens. Cornwall won 8½-7½.

2nd team (U-160): 1. K. P. Atkins ½-½ D. R. Jenkins. 2. C. J. Scott 0-1 N. Robinson 3. N. Butland 1-0 M. Richards. 4. P. Brooks ½-½ A. Barkhuysen. 5. J. Duckham ½-½ D. Lucas. 6. O. E. Wensley 1-0 D. Hutchinson. 7. A. Kinder 1-0 M. Jones. 8. W. Taylor 0-1 I. Renshaw. 9. V. Ramesh 1-0 J. Rodrigo. 10. R. Wilby 0-1 B. Childs. 11. N. Hodge 1-0 R. Pascoe. 12. N. Bacon ½-½ A. Slade. Devon won 7-5.

This was the second game to finish and seemed to galvanise the other Cornish players to a great collective effort. It contains what Jeremy Menadue called “what they used to call a gold coins on the board moment”. Notes kindly supplied by Menadue and the winner. 

White: M. Shaw (173) Black: John Wilman (150).

King’s Indian Defence [A48]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3 b6 4.Bf4 g6 5.e3 Bg7 6.Nbd2 A London system. 6…cxd4 7.exd4 0–0 8.Bd3 Bb7 A quiet start. 9.Nc4 Rather committal. 9.Qe2; 9.0–0. 9…d6 10.0–0 Nh5 A typical plan against the London. 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bd2 b5 13.Ne3 this looks a great square for the knight. 13…Qd7 14.Nh4? Decentralising and weakening the d4 square. Better might have been 14.Qb3 with a double attack on g6 and b5. 14…Nf4 covering the g6 weakness. 15.Bc2 e5 16.Ng4 White seems to be building up pressure on Black’s king. 16…h5 17.Ne3 Qh3!! That gold coins moment! 18.Nf3 Nxg2 The combinations play themselves. 19.Ng5 19.d5 Nf4. 19…Nf4! a memorable move. 20.Re1 White has to play 20.d5 but it’s not nice. If 20.Nxh3 Nxh3#. 20…Qh4 The queen knows when it’s not wanted. 21.Nf3 Nh3+ 22.Kf1 Of course this is wrong but other king moves also lose. e.g. 22.Kg2 Ng5; 22.Kh1 Nxf2+ 23.Kg1 wins. White resigned before Black could play Qxf2 mate. 0-1.

Dr. Jago’s problem last week was solved by 1.Qh3! If 1…Kxd5 or 1…Pe1=Q then 2.Qd3 mates. If Pe1=N to protect d3 then 2.Be6 is also mate.

As today is St. Valentine’s Day here is an appropriate 2-mover from the darling of the problem composers a century ago, Devon’s own Edith Baird. Can you see how the four islands of pieces spell out the word LOVE?

White to mate in 2.

New Cornish Champion (07.02.2015.)

After several years at Stithians, the Cornish Congress moved back to Truro College last weekend. After 5 rounds the new county champion was James Hooker (Truro) with 4/5 points. 2nd= were Simon Bartlett (Newquay), Lloyd Retallick (Newquay), David Saqui (Falmouth) and Mark Watkins (Camborne), all a half point behind. As champion, Hooker now holds the Emigrant Cup for the first time since his last victory in 2002.

In the Falmouth Cup section for players graded below 145 the winner was 15 year old Richard Stephens (Penryn College) playing in his first tournament.

2nd= were Hamad Aljaber (Falmouth), Mick Hill (Truro), David Jenkins (Camborne), Ian Rescorla (Bude) and Jan Rodrigo (Falmouth) a half point behind on 3½.

The Penwith Cup for players new to tournament chess was shared between the promising junior, Harvey Richings (Marazion School & Camborne), and the editor of Athletics Weekly, Jason Henderson, with 5½/6.

Some of the games will eventually be found on the website cornwallchess.org.uk.

In the meantime, here is one of Hooker’s games from 15 months ago, after several years absence from the chess scene.

White: James Hooker. Black: John Wilman.

Indian Defence [A47]

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 b6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0–0 Bg7 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.e4 d6 8.e5 Ne8 9.e6 f6? It cannot be good to leave the pawn on e6, strangling the life out of any possible defence. 10.Nh4 c5 In view of the e6 pawn, White feels justified in sacrificing a piece in order to break open the king’s position. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bxg6 f5 13.Qh5 Nf6 14.Bf7+ Rxf7 15.Qxf7+ Kh8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Qg6 Na6 18.Qxf5 Nc7 19.Nf3 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Rb8 21.Rb1 Qe8 Black still can’t take the e-pawn with 21…Nxe6 because of 22.Qh3+ 22.Re1 Rb6 23.Bd2 Qa4 24.b3 Qg4 25.Qxg4 Nxg4 26.Re4 Nf6 27.Rh4+ Kg8 28.Ba5 Rc6 29.Bxc7 Rxc7 30.c4 Rc8 31.f3 Rf8 32.b4 cxb4 33.Rxb4 1-0 A well-placed knight and bishop is often at least as good as a rook, but here it’s the pawns that make the difference. Black hardly has a decent move on the board.

In last week’s position, White won quickly after 1.Nd5! attacking the queen and opening lines towards the Black king’s position which involve at least heavy material loss.

In tune with the Cornish theme this week, here is a 1944 composition by Dr. Maurice Jago. His most prolific period was during the war when he was a lieutenant in the RAMC, and probably had long periods of inactivity between actions. He was generally attracted by the more exotic forms of problems – helpmates, selfmates, fairy chess, etc. but this is one of his more conventional 2-movers.

White to play and mate in 2

Wins for Devon and Somerset (31.01.2015.)

Devon beat  Hampshire 12½-3½ at Ilchester Town Hall, a margin that belies the toughness of the encounter. However, it was Devon’s strength in depth that made the difference, demonstrated by the fact that Devon’s lower half scored 7-1. The details were: (Devon names first in each pairing).

1.D. Mackle (203) 1-0 I. Thompson (213). 2.J. Stephens (194) 1-0 D. Tunks (197). 3.S. Homer (188) 1-0 C. Bellers (185). 4.P. Sivrev (187) 1-0 P. Cooper (177). 5.T, Paulden (185) ½-½ R. Marsh (176). 6.J. Fraser (182) 0-1 A. Cooper (174). 7.J. Wheeler (181) 0-1 D. Fowler (173). 8.J. Underwood (179) 1-0 S. Knox (170). 9.D. Regis (176) 1-0 T. Davis (167). 10.A. Brusey (176) 0-1 S. Smith (160). 11.B. Hewson 1-0 C. Priest (158). 12.W. Ingham (176) 1-0 D. Thompson (156). 13.M. Abbott (173) 1-0 R. Ashmore (147). 14.M. Shaw (170) 1-0 T. Chapman (144). 15.G. Body (169) 1-0 Miss G. Moore (142). 16. M. Stinton-Brownbridge (164) 1-0 D. Culliford (133).

At the same time, Somerset were facing Gloucestershire, and emerged winners by 10-6. Glos names first.

1.J.Stewart (207) ½-½ J. Rudd (224). 2.P. Meade (182) 0-1 D. Buckley (207). 3.N. Hosken (181) ½-½ B. Edgell (198). 4.C. McLaren (181) ½-½ P. Chaplin (189). 5.M. Ashworth (179) 0-1 M. Payne (186). 6.J. Jenkins (176) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (182). 7.P. Kirby (173) 1-0 R. Hearne (181). 8.P. Masters (166) ½-½ D. Littlejohns (178). 9.P. Dodwell (163). ½-½ D. Painter-Kooiman (178). 10.B. Whitelaw (159) 0-1 B. Morris (175). 11.R. Ashworth (151) ½-½ P. Cusick (169). 12.C. Haynes (146) ½-½ D. Peters (164). 13.A. Walker (134) 0-1 G. N Jepps (163). 14.P. Baker (132) ½-½ R. Knight (152). 15.T. Chinnick (128) 1-0 C. Purry (152). 16.P. Bending (122) 0-1 M. Blocinski (U/G).

Here is Devon’s win on Bd. 2.

White: P. Meade. Black: J. Stephens.

Sicilian Defence – Moscow Var. [B51]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Qd1 Ngf6 8.Nc3 h6 9.0–0 Nc5 10.Bd3 Be7 11.Re1 Be6 12.Qe2 Rc8 13.Be3 Qc7 14.Bxc5 Qxc5 15.h3 0–0 16.Na4 Qc6 17.b3 b5 18.Nb2 Qc3 19.Rab1 Nh5 At the cost of a pawn White prevents the knight coming to f5. 20.g3 Bxh3 21.Nd1 Qc5 22.Ne3 Nf6 23.c4 b4 24.Rbd1 a5 25.Bc2 Rfd8 26.Rd2 Qc6 27.Qd3 g6 28.Nd5 Nxd5 29.Qxd5 a4 30.bxa4 Qxc4 31.Bb3 Qxd5 32.Rxd5 Rc3 33.Nd2 White is looking for an outpost for his knight on c4, though it does cramp his forward rook, at least temporarily. 33…Bd7 The warning lights should be flashing. 34.a5?? …. but they’re not. 34…Bc6 0–1 White’s rook is trapped.

The solution to Dave Howard’s “really easy” problem last week was 1.Qa2! If 1…Rh7 2.Be7 mate or 1…Ka7 2.Bc5 mate.

This position arose near the end of a recent game in the Devon Individual Championship – Paulden vs Ingham. How did White win quickly?

White to play and win.

County match results (24.01.2015.)

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Isca Centre in Exeter. Four teams of 12 players representing the North, South, East and West of the county were paired in such a way that each team had 6 whites and blacks and met 4 players from each of the opposing teams. The teams were very evenly matched in overall playing strength, which showed in the final result. North were 1st with 6½/12 points; 2nd= were East and North (6 pts) while South finished on 5½.

This entertaining and instructive game on Bd. 4, featured a well-known former TV presenter against a former British U-16 contender.

White: Adam Hart-Davis (161). Black: Chris Scott (157).

Sicilian Defence [B50]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Usual here is 3.d4, but White delays this move, and it later costs him a central pawn, which one can rarely afford to do in such double-edged openings as the Sicilian Defence. 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.h3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.d4 Nxe4! 8.Nxe4 d5 In this opening Black is usually looking to get in …d5 as soon as possible in order to free up his position, as long as it doesn’t incur disadvantage elsewhere. Here it wins his piece back. 9.Nxc5 dxc4 10.Be3 Qd5 11.b3 b6 12.bxc4 Qxc4 13.Nd3 Bb4+ 14.Bd2 Bxd2+ 15.Qxd2 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Qxd4 17.0–0 Bb7 securing the long diagonal. 18.Qg5 0–0 19.Nf4 h6 20.Qg3 Qf6 21.Rab1 Be4 22.Rxb6 Bxc2 23.a5 Rfd8 24.Rc6 Ba4 25.Rc5 Rac8 26.Rfc1 Rxc5 27.Rxc5 And now the position has really opened up, but Black retains the extra pawn and the BvN. 27…Rd4 28.Nh5 Rd1+ 29.Kh2 Qd4 30.Rc4 Qa1 Defending and attacking. 31.Rc8+ Kh7 32.Qb8 Rh1+ 33.Kg3 Re1 34.Nf4 g5 35.Nh5 Qe5+ Forcing off queens to maximise his small advantages. 36.Qxe5 Rxe5 37.Nf6+ Kg7 38.Nh5+ Kg6 39.Kg4 f5+ 40.Kf3 Bd1+ 0–1 The knight is lost. If 41.Kg3 Kxh5 from where the Black king is safe from all attack and is free to shepherd his pawns forward.

The loser’s consolation was that his team won the trophy anyway. Full details are available on keverelchess.com and all games are on the chessdevon site.

On Saturday, Somerset and Gloucestershire met at Stone, in the West of England Inter-County Championship, ending in a 10-6 victory for Somerset, and at Ilchester Devon beat Hants 12½-3½. More details next week.

In last week’s position, Richard Smith won after a rook sacrifice and this series of forcing checks. 1…Rxg4+! 2.hxg4 (2.Kh2 is no better) Qh2+ 3.Kf1 Qh1+ 4.Ke2 Rh2+ 5.Kd3 Qxd1+ 6.Ke4 Qxg4+ 7.Kd3 Qxf5+ 0-1

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard, that he describes as “really easy”.

White to play and mate in 2.

Death of Peter Clarke. (17.01.2015.)

The Western Morning News chess column was suspended at the end of October last year, with a promise that the situation would be reviewed in January. Such has been the reaction of readers, via letters to the Editor, that he has been persuaded to re-introduce it without delay. A phrase used by a spokesman for the paper was “Back by popular demand”, so many thanks to all those who conveyed their views through the right channels, and brought about this change of heart.

If you cancelled your order for the paper’s Saturday edition, you can now renew it. If you are outside the delivery area, here follows the text of the first column of the new era…..

The noted chess player and author of chess books, Peter Clarke, died on 11th December, aged 81, after a long illness, bravely borne.

He was taught to play chess at the age of 6 by his father, and won the London Boys’ Championship in 1950 and 1951, and the SCCU Boys’ Championship in 1950. He attended the university on his doorstep, Queen Mary College, in the Mile End Road. But the call for a career in science was nowhere as strong as his love of chess, and that is the road he chose to go down. But first, National Service could not be avoided and he spent this 2 year interlude in Bodmin training as a Russian linguist. This re-ignited his love for north Cornwall, as he had spent family holidays there.

By 1959 he was a regular writer for the British Chess Magazine, reporting at length on prestigious events and analysing games and openings. He played in 8 Olympiads between 1954 and 1968, losing only 15 of the 96 games played.

After marriage to Peggy Wood in 1966, he returned to the westcountry, eventually settling at Chapel House in the hamlet of Shop near Morwenstow.  In 1971, he and a group of 5 local friends, calling themselves the Hexagon put on the 1st Barnstaple Congress. The group functioned for about 10 years until Peter suffered a stroke in 1983, forcing him to give up such intensive activity.

He found that postal chess was better suited to a slower life-style, eventually winning the Grandmaster title. He also became a leading expert at solving chess problems.

He was the most modest of men, with no vanities or conceits. A much fuller account of his career may be found in the blog section of this site.

Here is one of his wins from the 1957 British Championship in York. This Rd. 5 game against Cheltonian, Denis Mardle, shows Peter at his sharpest.

White: D. V. Mardle. Black: P. H. Clarke.  Sicilian Defence – Paulsen Variation [B42].

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Ne2 Nf6 7.Nbc3 b5 8.0–0 Bb7 9.b3 Bc5 10.Bb2 0–0 11.Qd2 Qc7 12.Rae1 Rac8 Adding potential pressure down the c-file 13.Kh1 Nb4 14.Qg5 Be7 15.f4 d6 16.e5 dxe5 17.fxe5 Ne4 18.Qg4 Nxd3 19.cxd3 Nxc3 20.Nxc3 Rfd8 21.Re3 Bf8 22.Ne4 Threatening to join the attack. 22…Bxe4 23.Qxe4 Qc2 24.Bd4 Rd7 25.Rh3 h6 26.Qg4 Qd2 27.a4 Rc1 28.Kg1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Rc7 30.Qe2 Rc1+ 31.Kf2 Qf4+ Forking king and bishop. 0–1.

This position, which also featured in this month’s copy of Chess magazine, arose during the last Exmouth Seniors Congress in November. Former Hexagon member Richard Smith (Black) found a winning move against Peter Lucas. Can you spot it?

Black to play and win.

WMN Chess Column to Return by Popular Demand

I heard officially today that the Western Morning News’s chess column is to be re-started, according to the Editor, “by popular demand”. He says he’s “been inundated with inquiries about the whereabouts of the column”.

So thanks to everyone who so “demanded” its return. It will continue to be on a Saturday but will be on a different page, as the Westcountry Life supplement has had to be radically restructured. The first column will appear this  Saturday, the 17th January 2015.

Not the WMN (08.11.2014) 813

The Chipping Sodbury RapidPlay was held recently at the Old Grammar School. The winners were as follows:

Open Section: 1st James Cobb (228) Bristol& Clifton 5/6 pts. 2nd= Chris Beaumont (214) Bristol & Clifton & Jerry Humphries Downend & Fishponds 4½.

Major Section (U-155): 1st= Andrew Munn (150) & David Tipper (143) both Downend & Fishponds, and David Dugdale (151) Thornbury all 4½.

Minor Section: Dorota Pacion (117) S. Bristol 5½. 2nd=  Jack Walpole (90) & Richard Port (113)  both University and Kevin Langmaid (112) Yate & Sodbury all 4 pts. Dorota Pacian was the only female player in the tournament.

While the 15th Beacon Seniors tournament was played out during the week, the World Seniors Championship was due to finish on Wednesday at Katerini, Greece. Millionaire chess player, Terry Chapman, had organised a team of four English players, himself incuded, to have a concerted effort for one of them to win the title.

This was the 8th round game between two of the contingent.

White: Keith Arkell (2450). Black: Mark Hebden (2540).

King’s Indian Defence [E62]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 Rb8 8.b3 a6 9.Nd5 Nh5 10.Bb2 e6 11.Nc3 b5 12.d5 Ne7 13.dxe6 fxe6 14.c5 dxc5 15.Qc2 Nc6 16.Rad1 Nd4 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.e3 e5 19.exd4 exd4 20.Nd5 d3 21.Qc1 Bf5 22.Bxg7 Nxg7 23.Qxc7 Qxc7 24.Nxc7 White has now won a pawn and has a distinct advantage considering Black’s isolated pawn and inferior piece placement. 24…a5 25.Nd5 Rf7 26.Ne3 Rd7 27.Rd2 a4 28.Nxf5 Nxf5 29.Rfd1 axb3 30.axb3 Black must lose at least one of his 2 queenside pawns. 30…Rbd8 31.Bc6 Rd4 32.Bxb5 Now the other must fall as well. 32…g5 33.Rxd3 Kg7 34.Kg2 R8d6 35.Rxd4 Nxd4 36.Bc4 Kf6 37.b4 Ke5 38.Re1+ Kf6 39.b5 Nf5 40.Rb1 Rb6 41.Bd3 Nd6 42.Rb4 h6 43.h4 Nf7 44.Ra4 Ke5 45.hxg5 hxg5 46.Ra6 Rb8 47.Rg6 Kd4 48.Be2 Ke5 49.Bc4 1–0. Now Black’s last pawn must go, leaving him in a hopeless position. Arkell won again in the next round, putting him in the joint lead with 2 games to play, and Hebden and Nunn just behind. The chances of having an English World Seniors Champion look good.

In last week’s miniature problem White wins by 1.Qg7! from where it can go to either a7 or a1 to give mate, depending on which way the Black king goes.

This position comes at the end of a blitz game earlier this year. White is 2 pawns down but might have winning chances; if only he had more than a few seconds to think about it…

White to play and win.

Not the Western Morning News! 1st Nov. 2014 (812)

As you might have realised by now, Western Morning News has, as from 1st November 2014, been forced to cut in half the Westcountry Life supplement in its Saturday edition, and with it has gone the chess column. They are due to monitor the situation in January, when further decisions will be made on future developments. In the meantime, the editorial staff will welcome views on the future of the column. Letters should be addressed to:- The Editor, Western Morning News, 3rd Floor, Studio 5-11. Millbay Road, Plymouth PL1 3LF.  During that interim period, I’ll be posting a weekly column in the WMN slot on this website, even though it will not appear in the paper itself.  The code number (812) refers to the number of columns I’ve written since starting about 17 years ago. If the WMN column is not restored in January, I may have to reconsider.

So, here goes……

The new President of the English Chess Federation is Dominic Lawson, former Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, son of former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson and brother to Nigella. He is a strong and active player who is likely to use his professional contacts to raise the profile of the game in the national consciousness. To this end he has, all this week, been involved in a second series on Radio 4 in which, while playing a game with them, he talks to a number of diverse public figures for whom chess has played a part in their lives. On Monday it was the World Champion Magnus Carlsen and on Thursday it was Sol Campbell, former Arsenal and England footballer. He did a 1st series earlier this year which included boxing champion Lennox Lewis. All ten broadcasts will remain available on the BBC website for at least a year.

By way of introduction, writing in the Radio Times, Lawson links this with the film The Imitation Game, shortly due for UK release, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the part of the mathematician Alan Turing. It concentrates on Turing’s work at Bletchley Park cracking the “unbreakable” Nazi codes, where his line managers included British Chess Champion Hugh Alexander and Sir Stuart Milner-Barry.

Turing was not in their league as a player but left an even greater legacy to the chess world when, in 1952, he developed the first chess program, which he called “Turochamp”. It took half an hour to execute the instructions for each move but it worked, and 45 years later its direct descendant “Deeper Blue” defeated Kasparov himself.

This begs the question as to whether the silicon algorithms have taken over and are killing human creativity. While there is no substitute for human vs human competition, the best players will always be those that harness the computer to help develop their innate skills; to be its master rather than its slave.

Here is the 1997 game in which a computer defeats a world champion in a match for the first time.

White: Deeper Blue. Black G. Kasparov Caro-Kann Defence – Steinitz Var. [B17]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 h6?? The blunder that sealed the human’s fate as it allows a known winning sacrifice 8.Nxe6! Qe7 9.0–0 fxe6 10.Bg6+ Kd8 11.Bf4 b5 12.a4 Bb7 13.Re1 Nd5 14.Bg3 Kc8 15.axb5 cxb5 16.Qd3 Bc6 17.Bf5 exf5 18.Rxe7 Bxe7 19.c4 1–0

Last week’s short game ended with 1.Bxf7+ Should Black take the bishop and try to hang on – or not? Black chooses the former 1…Kxf7?? 2.Ng5+ Ke8 and 3.Ne6 traps the queen, a move that Black clearly overlooked. But even if 1…Kf8 2.Ng5 Ndf6 3.Bb3 Nh6 etc. his position is a mess.

In this position from 1882, how does White win in two moves?

White to play and mate in 2

WMN Chess Column Suspended (November 2014)

Newspapers all over the country, if not the whole world, are struggling to adapt to the challenges brought about by the new media – multiple channels of 24 hour rolling news - twitface – etc. etc.  Added to that, the printed media’s lifeblood, advertising income, has been depressed throughout the banking and general financial crisis of recent years.

The Western Morning News cannot be immune to these factors, and must adapt to survive. One thing it has done is to sell off its award-winning flagship offices, built in the shape of a galleon, and move to premises near the docks.  Another idea was the addition of a Sunday edition. However, circulation figures are not as predicted, as folk are probably already locked in to their favourite Sunday titles, and loth to either switch or add another paper to the already heavy bundle the paper boy delivers. But the experiment was committed until the end of January 2015 when it will be assessed. Until then, economies have to be made and the cutting in half of the Westcountry Life supplement on a Saturday is one of them.

With it went the chess column.  That is the reason it has not appeared since October. In answer to the several enquirers I’ve already had, I am not too ill to write, or dead – far from it. Not yet, anyway.

The WMN chess column is one of the oldest provincial columns in the country. It started in 1891 under the editorship of Carslake Winter-Wood, writing under the nom de plume “Queen’s Knight”, in contrast to the contemporary Exeter columnist “King’s Knight”.  In March 1906 the column switched to the Illustrated Western Weeky News.   A. R. Cooper ran it from 1927 – 1939. Writing in the March 1939 issue of Chess, the eminent problemist, C. S. Kipping, observed that “the three British columns which have international reputations for their composing tourneys are (1) the Grantham Journal,  (2) the Falkirk Herald and (3) the Western Morning News”. After the war it was taken on by former British Champion, R. J. Broadbent (1948 & 1950) but it was mostly devoted to problems. That is, until the arrival from Lichfield of J. E. Jones in 1956, who took the paper to task and insisted there should be real local news, so a chess column appeared twice a week, one by Broadbest and a new one by Jones (no relation).

However, Jones ran his column on the same lines as Howard Staunton ran his, a century earlier – that is, as a pulpit  from which he would admonish any chess official who could not live up to his own high standards. In 1963 Jones moved away and when Ken Bloodworth took over he was quietly advised to keep it all low key. Which, of course, he did for the next 35 years. When he was approaching his late 80s, he wished to retire, but was keen that there should be no break to give the management an opportunity to end the sequence, and he recommended me to them, and the switch was smoothly made. I have now written 812 weekly columns.

There is now a hiatus until the end of January 2015 when further decisions will be made. If you wish to convey your personal opinion on the future of the column, I’m sure the decision-makers would listen attentively. 

Their address is: Western Morning News, Studio 5-11,  Millbay Road, Plymouth. PL1 3LF.

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