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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

British Championship 2014 Rd. 3 Ward vs Hebden.

At the British Championship in Aberystwyth, the anticipated late rush of entries from the better players did not materialise as several of them were preparing for the forthcoming Olympiad. This left defending champion David Howell as the clear favourite, ahead of a small number of talented aspirants, eager to snatch the crown, given half a chance and a following wind.

The Round 3 draw on Monday paired up two of the seven competing Grandmasters, the 1996 champion, Chris Ward (46) against Mark Hebden (56). Hebden is currently the stronger of the two, and has always featured in the ultimate destination of the title, without actually winning it himself.

White: C. G. Ward (2422). Black: M. L. Hebden (2554).

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 White makes a positive bid for the centre ground. 4…d6 5.Nge2 0–0 6.Ng3 c5 Black has transposed into a Sicilian Defence with an early fianchetto, an opening on which Ward is an expert. 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Taking towards the centre files is the correct thing to do, and now Black is stuck with an immobile backward pawn. 9…Na6 10.0–0 Nc7 11.a4 Na6 12.Bg5 h6 13.Be3 Re8 14.Qd2 h5 15.Bg5 Now the bishop can return to its intended spot. 15…Qc7 16.f4 White commits another pawn to the centre.  16…Nh7 17.Bh4 Bh6 18.Bc4 Nb4 19.Rae1 All White’s pieces are now beautifully placed, and he is almost spoiled for choice as to how best to continue. 19…Bd7 20.Qf2 Unpinning his f-pawn. 20…a6 21.e5 Bxa4 22.exd6 If 22.Nxa4 b5 winning the piece back and netting a pawn. 22…Qa5 If 22…Qxd6 23.Nge4 and Black has several ways of losing material – e.g. 23…Qxf4 24.Qxf4 Bxf4 25.Rxf4. 23.Ra1 There now follows a very finely balanced series of threats and counter-threats. 23…b5 Attacking the bishop, countered by 24.d7 Red8 25.Qxc5 Now the Black queen is unguarded, preventing PxB. 25…Bf8 26.d6 Rxd7 27.Rxa4 Bxd6 If 27…Qd8. 28.Qxd6 bxa4 29.Qxg6+! The “defending” pawn is actually pinned. The end is near. 29…Kh8 30.Bf6+ Nxf6 31.Qxf6+ Kh7 32.Nf5 1–0. Black resigned in view of White’s several mating combinations, which can be worked out from here.

At the end of Round 3, Ward was one of only three of the 58 players still on a maximum score, the others being Justin Tan (17) and Jonathan Hawkins (31), but there’s a long way to go yet, with 8 more gruelling games ahead.

In last week’s position, White won a piece with 1.QxN QXQ 2.Nxe6+ forking the queen, after which the win should be routine.

In this position from a game earlier this year, how did Black launch a stinging attack?

Black to play and win significant material.

Penrose at Aberystwyth (19.07.2014.)

The British Championship starts today at Aberystwyth University for the 3rd time in its history. It was first held there in 1955 when Harry Golombek won the last of his 3 British titles, and again in 1961 when Jonathan Penrose won the 4th of his 10 titles. Although the many other sections will get under way on Monday, as the Championship itself used to, this year it will start and end two days earlier than usual. Games may be followed live on britishchesschampionships.co.uk/

Here are two wins by Jonathan Penrose in the 1961 campaign, from Rds. 2 and 4 respectively,

White: J. Penrose. Black: Derek Ellison.

Ruy Lopez – Steinitz Defence – Siesta Variation. [C74]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c3 f5 The sharp Siesta Variation popularised by Capablanca in 1928. However, Penrose was the sharpest of sharp players and could easily handle this kind of play. 6.exf5 Bxf5 7.0–0 Bd3 8.Qb3! White ignores the threat to his rook. 8…b5 9.Qd5 Bxf1 10.Qxc6+ Ke7 An ugly move but the only option. 11.Bc2 Bc4 12.d4 Nf6 13.Bg5 h6 14.dxe5 hxg5 15.exf6+ gxf6 16.Nbd2 Freeing up White’s rook. 16…Kf7 17.Nxc4 bxc4 18.Qd5+ Kg7 19.Nd4 Threatening Ne6+ winning the queen. Black has surrendered all the white squares. 19…Kh6 20.Qf7 White now has a choice of mates, either Qg6 mate or Nf5 mate. 1–0

The next game was against Tiverton’s Andrew Thomas, who fell for a little-known trap in a familiar opening.

White: Jonathan Penrose. Black: A. R. B.  Thomas.

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence [C88].

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.d4 Nxd4? Tempting, but it’s a trap that loses the exchange and a pawn. 9.Bxf7+ Rxf7 10.Nxe5 Should Black save his rook or knight? 10…Ne6 11.Nxf7 Kxf7 12.e5 The point. 12…Bb7 If 12…Ne8?? 13.Qf3+ winning the other rook. 13.exf6 Bxf6 Leaving White the exchange up, but Black’s minor pieces are well-placed and White is made to work for his full point. 14.Nc3 Bxc3 15.bxc3 Kg8 16.a4 Qf6 17.Be3 Rf8 18.Qd3 Ng5 19.Bd4 Qh6 20.Re3 c5 21.Be5 c4 22.Qxd7 Bc6 23.Qd6 Qxd6 24.Bxd6 Rd8 25.Be7 Rd5 26.a5 Rf5 27.Rd1 Now White has extricated both rooks, the end is near.  27…Ne4 28.f3 Nf6 and Black resigned without waiting for a reply. Rd6 will be a killer blow. 1–0

Penrose finished a clear point ahead of his nearest rival, while Ellison and Thomas finished level on just 4 points.

In last week’s position, David Howell played 1…Qg3! hitting both knights and setting up an unstoppable attack on g2.

In a Bristol Tournament last year, Megan Owens fell to White’s clever little combination.

White to play and win.

British Championships Fast Approaching (12.07.2014.)

For the next three weeks, attention will be focussed on the British Championships that get under way next weekend at Aberystwyth University.

Although late entries will still be coming in, the current favourite, and strongest entry so far, is defending champion David Howell. He always appears to be calm and impassive at the board and plays a steady risk-free game, but applying increasing pressure as the game goes on. This Rd. 3 game against the 1996 Champion from last year’s championship at Torquay, put Howell on his way to the title.

White: Chris Ward (2432). Black: David Howell (2639).

Nimzo-Indian Defence [E32]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Ward published a book on this opening in which he said he had “employed it ever since the word go”. Here, Howell uses Ward’s own best weapon against him. 4.Qc2 The Classical Variation – Capablanca’s favoured continuation, but often criticised as being relatively innocuous. Other popular options at this point are 4.a3 the Sämisch Variation, immediately challenging the pinning knight; 4.e3 The Rubinstein Variation, probably the most popular way for White to develop patiently but effectively or 4.Qb3 Spielmann’s Variation. 4…0–0 5.e4 d6 6.e5 dxe5 7.dxe5 Ng4 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 Nc6 10.Nf3 f6 11.exf6 Nxf6 12.Be3 e5 13.Rd1 Qe8 14.Be2 Bg4 15.h3 Bxf3 16.Bxf3 Nd4! 17.Rxd4 Having to give up the exchange but probably better than the alternatives. Certainly not 17.Bxd4?? exd4+ winning the queen. 17…exd4 18.Qxd4 c6 19.0–0 Qe7 20.b4 Rfd8 21.Qc5 Being materially down, White would normally want to avoid exchanges which only serve his opponent’s best interests e.g. 21.Qc3 or 21.Qf4 would keep the queens on. 21…Qxc5 22.Bxc5 Rd3 23.b5 Nd7 24.Bb4 a5 25.bxa6 Rxa6 26.c5 Rdxa3 27.Be2 If 27.Bxa3 Returning material in order to obtain other advantage elsewhere e.g. 27…Rxa3 28.Rc1 Ra5 and Black will have the winning advantage of 2 passed pawns. 27…R3a4 28.Bc3 Ra8 29.Rd1 Nxc5 0–1

Westcountry interest in the championship will centre on the fortunes of Jeremy Menadue and Theo Slade from Cornwall; Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd, Alan Brusey and John Fraser from Devon and Martin Simons and Allan Pleasants from Dorset.

In last week’s new 2-mover by Dave Howard, White should play 1.Rf6! threatening 2.Rxe6 mate. Black has four inadequate ”tries” viz. 1…Rxd6 or 1…exf5 then 2. f4 mate. If 1…Kxd6 2. Bf4 mate and if 1…Bc6 2.Rxe6 mate.

David Howell is Black in this position and has a winning move ready. Can you spot it?

David Howell (B) to play and win.

Martin Simons Qualifies For the British (05.07.2014.)

Martin Simons of Southbourne is the player from the West of England’s Easter Congress who has accepted the Qualifying Place for the British Championship to be held at Aberystwyth University later this month. This Rd. 3 win against a 12 year old is one that helped him to a good score.

White: M. Simons (191). Black: T. Slade (173).

Sicilian Defence – Closed System [B25]

1.g3 c5 2.Bg2 g6 3.e4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.d3 The position has evolved into the Closed System in which White declines to open up with d4. 5…e6 6.f4 Nge7 7.Nf3 0–0 8.0–0 d6 9.Be3 Nd4 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nef5 12.Bf2 Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 Qc7 14.Ne4 Bxe5 15.Bxc5 Bd4+ 16.Bxd4 Nxd4 17.c3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 f5? The f-pawn can’t actually take the knight at the moment and it leaves behind the e-pawn which will become problematic. 19.d4 Bd7 20.Nc5 b6 21.Nxd7 Qxd7 22.Rae1 Rfe8 23.Re5 Blockading the backward e-pawn, which will become increasingly difficult to defend once White’s heavy pieces gang up on it. This future problem leads Black to overlook present realities. 23…Re7?? 24.Qxa8+ 1–0.

Martin tends to show little respect for youth when it comes to chess. Here he trounces a 9 year old in the same event in 2000.

White: D. Howell. Black: M. Simons (203).

Scandinavian Defence. [B01]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.f3 Bf5 5.c4 e6 6.dxe6 Nc6 Black allows the check, calculating it will actually help his development. 7.exf7+ Kxf7 8.Be3 Bb4+ 9.Nc3 Re8 10.Kf2 Qe7 11.Qd2 Rad8 Black is now fully developed and sets about his task with relish. 12.Nge2 Ne5 13.Bg5 Nxc4 14.Qd1 Ng4+ 15.fxg4 Qxg5 16.gxf5 Qe3+ 17.Ke1 Nxb2 Normally, one is advised against pawn-grabbing but this threatens both BxN mate and the queen. With his knight on e2 pinned, blocking in 2 much-needed pieces, White’s position is a mess, but Black still has to win it. 18.Qb3+ Kf6 19.Rc1 If 19.Qxb4 Nd3+ 20.Kd1 Nxb4; or 19.Rb1 Bxc3+ 20.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 21.Kf2 Qe3+ 22.Ke1 Rxd4 with several mates in 3. 19…Qxc1+ 20.Kf2 Qe3+ 21.Ke1 Bxc3+ 22.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 0–1

Far from demoralising the youngster Martin was actually helping him in his career, as today David Howell is one of the world’s top players, a Grandmaster and twice British Champion. They might even meet again over the board in Aberystwyth, in which case there might be a whiff of revenge in the air!

In last week’s position, White can simply push his pawn to f7+, and if the king takes it, he has Rh7+ winning the rook. If Black therefore plays Ke7 he plays Rh7 and sets the same problem.

Here’s another hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 2.

3rd Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress Results (28.06.2014.)

Its prize fund of almost £4,000 is about three times that of any other weekend congress in the UK, making the Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress able to attract some top talent. Their third such event finished last weekend with over 160 entries of whom these were just a few of the winners.

Open Section: 1st= GM Nick Pert & IM G. Sarakauskas 4½/5 pts. 3rd  Keith Arkell 4. Grading prizes (U-175) 1st = S. Peirson & J. Pink. (U-167) 1st M. Littleton.

Challengers (U-165): 1st D. Thompson 4½. 2nd= C. Woolcock, D. Butcher, R. Desmedt & I. S. Annetts. GP (U-150) 1st= P. Morton, J. Torrance, R. Du Toit & P. Wilcock.

Intermediate (U-135) 1st J. Belinger 4½. 2nd= P. Errngton & S. Williams.

Minor (U-110): 1st T. Cutter. 2nd= S. Crockett, Jenny Goldsmith & J. Versey.

Grandmaster games at this level tend to be relatively quiet affairs as they tend to wait for their opponents to make the slip-ups. Firework displays are rare. This Round 4 game sees both players committed to a rough-house and puts the winner on the road to 4th= and a £40 prize.

White: Steve Homer (189). Black: Don Mason (209).

French Defence – Tarrasch Var.  [C06]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Tarrasch’s move, avoiding the potential pin  on b4. 3…Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 Many French Defence players are keen to break White’s stranglehold on e5 a.s.a.p. so that they won’t become landed with a cramped position.  9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.0–0 Qc7 12.Bg5 0–0 13.Qc2 h6 14.Bh4 Nh5 15.Bh7+ Kh8 16.Bg6 Rxf3 17.Bxh5 If 17.gxf3 Bxh2+ 18.Kg2 Nf4+ 19.Nxf4 Qxf4 20.Bg3 Bxg3 21.fxg3 Qxd4 and Black has 2 pawns for the exchange. 17…Bxh2+ 18.Kh1 Rf5 19.Bg6 Black seems determined to give up a rook. 19…Bd6 20.Bxf5 exf5 21.f4 Qf7 22.Rf3 Bd7 23.Rd1 Re8 24.Nc3 Qh5 25.Rh3 Qg4 26.Nxd5? An injudicious pawn grab that allows… 26…Re2 27.Qxe2 The least worst option was 27.Ne3 Rxc2 28.Nxg4 fxg4 29.Rc3 .27…Qxe2 28.Re1 Qc4 29.Nf6 Better was 29.Nc3 29…gxf6 30.Bxf6+ Kh7 31.Rg3 suddenly White has a strong attack on g7 31…Qf7 Better was 31…Bf8 though the text is good enough. 32.Rg7+ Qxg7 33.Bxg7 Kxg7 0–1. Black’s 3 minor pieces should be more than enough to handle the rook which doesn’t have a good move on the board.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Nc6! threatening 2.Ne5 mate, and if 1…Qxb3+ 2.Qxb3 mate; or 1…dxc6 2.Bxe6 mate, or 1…Rxf2 2.Qxf2 mate.

In this endgame from earlier this year how can White maximise the value of his extra pawn?

White to play and win.

Dr. Robert Dunstan – Cornishman (21.06.2014)

At the weekend I received a request for information about a Dr. R. Dunstan who was an active player in Devon for 25 year after 1904. It was a name I’d seen many times in the records but about whom I knew nothing, so I was prompted to do some research. It turned out he was one of the best Cornish players Cornwall never had.

He was the 8th of 9 children born to Robert, a Surveyor of Mines, and Anne, living at 68, Trevecca Cottages, Liskeard. He trained as a doctor at Guy’s Hospital, married Emily from Launceston soon after qualifying and had 4 children under the age of 6. He practiced in London until 1904 when he moved to Paignton. He flitted from club to club, playing for Torquay, Plymouth, Paignton, and Exeter at one time or another, and played for Devon, usually on top board. During WWI he was medical officer of troops in Paignton, probably at Oldway Mansion when it became a hospital for officers. In 1951 this became the home of the Paignton Chess Congress.

His two sons qualified as doctors and played chess, Walter becoming a member of the Teignmouth club and John getting 2 games published in the British Chess Magazine.

Here is one of the 10 games Robert had published in the BCM, this one from 1914 with notes by the then British Champion, F. D. Yates.

White: C. E. T. Jenkinson (Cornwall). Black: Dr. R. Dunstan (Devon).

Queen’s Gambit – Cambridge Springs Var. Orthodox Defence [D53].

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 Ne4 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Nxe4 This is not good positional judgement. The Black pawn on e4 is a useful wedge, delaying White’s development. In giving up command of the centre, White hands the initiative to Black. 7…dxe4 8.a3 0–0 9.Ne2 f5 10.Nc3 Nd7 11.Rc1 Here 11.Qc2 to be followed by 0–0–0 and f3 would have been better. The queenside counter-attack is too slow to be effective. 11…Nf6 12.Be2 Bd7 13.c5 Giving up command of d5. This comes in useful for Black later. Preferable was 0–0 followed by f3. 13…c6 14.0–0 Nd5 15.Bc4 Rf6 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.Ba2 f4 18.exf4 Rxf4 19.Qd2 Raf8 20.Rc3 Qf6 21.Rg3 h5 Now that Black’s heavy pieces are effectively placed, it only requires the advance if this pawn to complete an attack consistently carried through. 22.b4 h4 23.Rc3 Qg6 24.b5 Bg4 25.Bb1 Bf3 26.g3 Qg4 27.b6 Qh3 28.Rxf3 exf3 0–1

Last week’s elementary 2-mover by Mrs. Baird was solved by 1.Kf6! and depending where the Black king moves the rook will mate on either h3 or d8.

The English Chess Federation’s 2014 Yearbook contains an article on new problems first published last year and this one, by Barry Barnes, is one of the 2-movers.

White to play and mate in 2

Bristol’s Boniface Memorial Congress (14.06.2014.)

The Steve Boniface Memorial Congress finished on Sunday evening at Bristol’s  Holiday Inn, with the following emerging as prizewinners: (all scores out of 5)

Open Section:  1st Chris Beaumont (Bristol & Clifton) 4½. 2nd= Tim Paulden (Exeter), Carl Bicknell & Peter Kirby (both Horfield) 4. Grading prizes:  U-178  Chris Timmins (Bristol).             U-165 Joe Fathallah (Wales).

(27 players participated).

Major (U-155): 1st G. A. Harvey (South Bristol) 4½. 2nd= Alex Rossiter & Neil Derrick (both Bristol Cabot) 4.

Grading Prize: Paul Gillett (Cirencester) 3½. 20 Players.

Minor (U-125): 1st Chris Snook-Lumb (Swindon) 5. 2nd Alastair Marston (Bristol Cabot) 4. 3rd=  Richard Porter (Bristol University), Steve Williams (Cwmbran) & Amol Telang (Bristol & Clifton) 3½.

Grading Prizes (U-110): Martyn Maber (Taunton) 2½. (U-90) James Dettman (Pete’s Potentials) 2.  22 Players.

Here are a couple of games from Round 3 in the Open.

White: G. Willett (126). Black: H. Andolo (176).

English Opening  [A29]

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.d3 Be7 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.0–0 0–0 9.a3 a5 10.Be3 Be6 11.Nd2 f5 12.Bxb6 cxb6 13.b3 Rc8 14.Nc4 Nd4 15.Bxb7 Rc7 16.Ba6 Ra7 17.Bb5 f4 18.Nxe5 Qc7 19.Nc4 Qc5 The bishop can’t move so must be protected, though this cuts it off from the defence, with fatal consequences. 20.a4 Qh5 21.Nd2 Bb4 22.Nce4 Nxe2+ 23.Kh1 Bxd2 24.Qxd2?? Qf3# 0–1. White might have wriggled free after 24.f3 Nxg3+ 25.Nxg3 fxg3 26.Qxd2 though Black’s much greater freedom of movement, not to mention his 50 point grading advantage, would probably win the day.

The following game helped Timmins on his way to a grading prize.

White: C. Timmins (167). Black: J. Waterfield (179)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D01]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.e3 g6 5.f4 Bg7 6.Nf3 0–0 7.Bd3 c5 8.0–0 b6 9.Qe1 Bb7 10.Qh4 White’s forces are starting to mass on the kingside. 10…Re8 11.Ne5 a6 12.Rf3 Nf8 13.f5 c4 14.fxg6 Nxg6 If 14…cxd3 15.gxf7+ Kh8 Black’s rook is going nowhere, so… 16.Rg3 with the threat of Bh6. 15.Bxg6 hxg6 16.Rh3 Qd6 17.Rf1 Bc8 18.g4 Be6 19.Bh6 Nh5 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.gxh5 f6 22.Rg3 fxe5 23.Rxg6+ Kh7 24.Qg5 and mate on h6 cannot be avoided. 1–0

Many more games may be found on the League’s website – www.chessit.co.uk.

In last week’s position, Black could finish in 3 forcing moves, starting with the sacrificial 1…Rg1+ 2.Kxg1 Qh2+ 3.Kf1 3.Qh1 mate.

This simple 2-mover was composed by Edith Elena Baird shortly before she died in Paignton in 1924.

White to mate in 2

Cotswold Congress Prizewinners (07.06.2014.)

The West of England Chess Union held their annual Council Meeting at Ilminster on Saturday under the chairmanship of John Wheeler. Jim Fewkes of Yeovil retired after 21 years as Treasurer to be replaced by Oliver Wensley of Exmouth, while all other officers were re-elected en bloc. The Harold Meek Cup was presented to Ben Edgell for Somerset’s 1st place in Division 1 and Brian Hewson received the Wayling Cup for Devon’s win in Division 2. It was the 4th consecutive time both teams had won these trophies. Cornwall were the surprise package, coming 3rd in Division 1, with the promise of more to come next season.

The winners in last weekend’s Cotswold Congress were as follows:

Open: 1st S. Berry (218 – Wimbledon) 6/6 points. 2nd= T. Slade (173 – Marhamchurch) & R. Bryant (170 – Oswestry). Grading prize (U-171) P. Asenov (170 – Witney) & C. McLaren (156 – Wotton Hall).

Major Section – (U-155): 1st P. Foley (136 – Upminster). 2nd= D. Macarthur (147 – Keynsham); D. Rogers (146 – Exmouth); M. Forknall (135 – Cheltenham) & S. Whitehead (135 – Cirencester). P. Morton – 147 – Hammersmith) & I. Lamb (137 – Bolton).  Grading prize (U-145) A. Gentry (142 – Witney) & R. Ashworth (139 – Wotton Hall).

Minor Section – (U-125): 1st= K. Langmaid (124 – Yate); S. Williams (122 – Cwmbran) & J. Lightowler (117 – Gloucester). Grading Prize (U-115) G. Mill-Wilson (112 – Yate) & S. Rees (107 – Hereford).

At the recent Frome congress, Stephen Appleby won a Grading Prize with the help of this quick win in Rd. 4.

White: S. Appleby Black: F. Palm

Queen’s Pawn Game [D04]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c5 4.e3 g6 5.cxd5 cxd4 6.Qa4+ Bd7 7.Qxd4 Qa5+ 8.Nc3 If 8.Bd2 Black could reclaim his pawn with  8…Qxd5. 8…Bg7 9.e4 0–0 10.Bd2 Black is hampered from completing development of his kingside pieces and starts moving other material instead. 10…e6 11.Bc4 Ng4 12.e5 exd5 13.Nxd5 Qd8 14.Bg5 Nxe5 Now would have been a good time to consider unravelling his Q-side pieces with 14…Nc6. 15.Qxe5! White courageously takes the piece. 15…Qa5+ 16.Bd2 Qa4 17.Qf4 remaining a piece up. 17…Re8+ 18.Kf1 1–0 Black resigns not only because he’s a piece down, but has the problem of his trapped rook and the threatened knight fork on c7. e.g. 18…Na6 19.Bxa6 Qxa6+ 20.Kg1 and White’s threatened fork cannot be denied.

From a game played earlier this year, how does Black finish clinically?

Black to play and win by force.

Frome Congress Game (31.05.2014.)

The recent Frome Congress was won by Paul Byway on 4½/5 points, winning the Qualifying Place for this year’s British Champion in the process. This was a key win from Round 4 in which, having gained a small advantage, he kept everything as simple and risk-free as possible thereafter.

White: Paul Byway (185). Black: Theo Slade (173)

Queen’s Indian Defence. [E14]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.d4 e6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nc3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Qa4+ Bc6 9.Bb5 Bxb5 10.Nxb5 Nbd7 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Bd2 a6 13.Nc3 Qc7 14.0–0 Bd6 White can now win a central pawn that puts Black on the back foot for the rest of the game. 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qe4+ Ne5 Black cannot save the knight with 16…Ne7 because of 17.Qxa8+. 17.Qxd5 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 0–0 White is now concerned to minimise Black’s attacking opportunities and rely on his own endgame technique to utilise the extra pawn. 19.g3 Be5 20.Bc3 Bxc3 21.bxc3 Qe5 22.c4 Rfd8 23.Rad1 g6 24.Rd5 Rxd5 25.Qxd5 Qxd5 26.cxd5 From now on, Black finds himself in a straightjacket 26…f5 27.Rc1 Rc8 28.d6 Kf7 29.d7 Rd8 30.Rxc5 Rxd7 31.Rc6 Ra7 32.a4 a5 33.Kg2 Ke7 34.Kf3 Kd7 35.Rb6 Rc7 36.Rb5 Ra7 37.Kf4 Ke6 38.h4 Ra6 39.Kg5 Ra7 40.h5 gxh5 41.Kxh5 Kf6 42.g4 fxg4 43.Kxg4 Ra6 44.f4 Re6 45.Kf3 Ra6 46.e4 Ke6? Black is losing anyway, but this is probably the quickest way of ending it. 46…Ra8 would have kept things going a little longer.  47.Rh5 Ra7 48.Rh6+ Ke7 49.Rxh7+ Kd6 50.Rxa7 1–0

In last week’s position, White’s knight on b3 is “overloaded”, trying to both defend the rook and prevent …Nd2 mate, so Black can simply play QxR! threatening mate on b2.

This week’s 2-mover is the start of the 2014-’15 British Solving Championship. White is playing up the board and is able to mate on his 2nd move against any Black defence. Find the 1st move, the “key”, and submit that in any one of three ways:- (a) by post to Paul Valois, 14, Newton Park Drive, Leeds, LS7 4HH, (b) by e-mail to wintonstarter@theproblemist.org or (c) via the website www.bstephen.me.uk/index.php/current-year-2014-2015. Don’t forget to mention this publication when you do so and there is no entry fee this year. The closing date for this starter round is 14th August, after which all entrants will receive the answer and those who got it right will receive the postal round, comprising 8 more difficult problems. Best of luck with it.

White to play and mate in 2.

Two Frome Games (24.05.2014.)

Here are two games from the recent Frome Congress that had a bearing on the prizelist. This one is from the Open.

White: B. Morris (174). Black: D.Cordner (166)

1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 Most unusual. 2…d5 3.e5 f6 If White wanted to lure Black away from the well-lit paths of known opening theory, he has certainly succeeded. 4.Nf4 threatening 5. Qh5+ g6 6.Nxg6 4…Bf5 5.d4 fxe5 6.dxe5 Qc7 7.Be2 Qxe5 The queen is lured forward while the minor pieces are still waiting for the call to arms. 8.0–0 Nf6 9.Re1 threatening Bh5+ winning the queen. 9…Qc7 10.c4 e6 11.cxd5 Bd6 12.Nxe6 Bxe6 13.Bh5+! g6 14.Rxe6+ Kf7 15.Qf3 Nbd7 16.Bg5 cxd5 17.Bg4 Bxh2+ Black was happy to get his own check in, but it has no bearing on the main issues. 18.Kh1 Be5 19.Nc3 h6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Nxd5 Qd8 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bh3 Rf8 24.Nxf6 Kg7 25.Nxh5+! 1-0 and Morris came 2nd= in the Open.

This pair were clear leaders of the Major going in to the final round. Notes based on those by the philosophical loser.

White: I. Annetts (152). Black: T. Woodward (153).

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.a4 b4 9.d3 d6 10.a5 Bg4 11.c3 Rb8 12.Bc4 Qc8 13.Nbd2 bxc3 14.bxc3 Be6 15.Qa4 Nd8 16.Ba3 c5 17.Reb1 Bxc4 18.Nxc4 Nc6 19.Rb6 Rxb6 20.Nxb6? Better was 20.axb6 20…Qc7 21.Bc1 Rb8 22.Rb1 Bd8 23.Nd2 Be7 24.Nd5 Nxd5 25.Rxb8+ Nxb8 26.Qe8+ Bf8 27.exd5 Nd7 28.c4? Qxa5 29.Qxd7 Qc3 30.Qa4 Qxc1+ 31.Nf1 Qb1 32.Qxa6 Qxd3 33.h3 Qd1 34.Qc8 g6 35.Qd8 Qc1 36.Qf6? With both sides having seconds in which to reach move 40, each of us errs. 36…Qxc4 37.Ne3 Qf4 38.Qd8 c4? 39.Qc8 Qd4 40.Qxc4 Qxc4 41.Nxc4 Kg7 42.f3 Kf6 43.Kf2 Ke7 44.g4 Bh6 45.Ke2 f5 46.Kd3 Bf8 47.g5 h6 48.h4 hxg5 49.hxg5 Kd7 50.Ke3 f4+  51.Ke4 Be7 52.Nd2 Bxg5 53.Nf1 Kc7 54.Nh2 Kb6 55.Nf1 Kb5 56.Nh2 Kc4 57.Nf1 Kc3 58.Nh2 It was here that I realised my king was in a stalemate position. With the move and no horse, the game is drawn. 58…Kc4 59.Ng4 Kc5 60.Nh2 Be7 61.Ng4 Bf8 62.Nf6 Be7 63.Ng8 Bd8 64.Nh6 Bg5 65.Nf7 Be7 66.Nh8 g5 67.Nf7 Bf6 68.Nh6 Kc4 69.Ng4 Be7 70.Nf6 I was inside my last minute and I chose the stalemate. 70…Bxf6 He took and I held out my hand to acknowledge the draw. He, assuming I was resigning, graciously offered his and I then realised that his g-pawn had moved. Doooh! 71.Kf5 Kxd5 72.Kxf6 e4. 0–1

… and so Woodward took clear 1st prize.

In last week’s position, Black could play 1…Bxh2+ and White’s rook will be undefended. Here Black has a strong attack down the a-file, but the White knights seem to be just about holding the fort. What can Black do about it?

Black to play and win

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