October 2016
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Archive for the ‘Western Morning News’ Category

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

West of England Jamboree Result Details (01.10.2016.)

Details of the recent West of England Jamboree are as follows (C = Cornwall; D = Devon & S = Somerset.)

1.D. Mackle (D1) 0 -1 M. Turner (S1). 2. J. Rudd (S2) 1-0 J. Menadue (C1). 3.M Hassall (C2) 1-0 S. Homer (D2). 4.T. Paulden (D3) ½-½ J. Hooker (C3). 5.L. Retallick (C4-176) 0-1 T. Goldie (S3). 6.M. Staniforth (S4) 0-1 P. O’Neill (D4). 7.J. Underwood (D5) 1-0 F. Feliciano (S5). 8.A. Footner (S6) 1-0 R. Kneebone (C5). 9.G Trudeau (C6) 0-1 B. Hewson (D6). 10.D. Regis (D7) 1-0 P. Gill (C7). 11.R. Stephens (C8) ½-½ D. Freeman (S7). 12.G. Jepps (S8) 0-1 O. Wensley (D8). 13.M. Marshall (D9) 1-0 A. Champion (S9). 14.R. Knight (S10) 1-0 R. Clark (C9). 15.A. Hussain (C10) 1-0 M. Shaw (D10). 16. P. Hampton (D11-161) 1-0 G Lingard (default -C11). 17.D. P. Jenkins (C12) ½-½ C. Purry (S11). 18. L. Bedialauneta (S12) 0-1 W. Ingham (D12). Dev. = 8½; Som. = 6; Corn.= 3½.

Here is the game between a Devon newcomer and a Somerset regular.

White: M. O. Marshall (166). Black: A. A. Champion (153).

1.c4 b6 2.Nf3 Bb7 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.e4 White accepts the invitation to set up a strong pawn centre. 5…e6 6.Bg5 Ne7 7.Bd3 d6 8.0–0 Nd7 9.Qd2 h6 10.Be3 Nf6 11.h3 g5 12.Nh2 Ng6 13.Rad1 Qe7 14.Bc2 0–0 Black seems well-defended on the kingside, so White seeks to expand on the other wing. 15.b4 e5 16.d5 a5 17.a3 axb4 18.axb4 Ra3 19.Ra1 Rfa8 20.Rxa3 Rxa3 21.Rb1 Qd7 22.c5 As Black’s b-pawn is pinned he cannot afford any pawn exchanges here, yet is threatened by a potential fork. 22…Qd8 23.cxd6 cxd6 24.Nb5 Ra8 25.Rc1 Ba6 26.Nc3 Bc4 27.Bd3 Bxd3 28.Qxd3 Ra3?! This rook cuts a lone figure for the rest of the game. 29.Qb5 Nd7?! 30.Qc6 Bf8 31.Nb5+- Rb3 32.Qc4 Rb2 33.g3 Qa8 34.Qc6 There now follows some repetition with the aim of reaching the time control at move 40 as quickly as possible. 34…Qd8 35.Qc4 Qa8 36.Qc6 Qd8 37.Ra1? Or 37.Nxd6 Rxb4 38.Ng4 h5 39.Nb7 Qe7 40.d6 Qe6 41.Qxd7 Qxd7 42.Nf6 etc. 37…Rxb4 38.Ra8 Qxa8?! 38…Nb8 39.Qb7 Rxb5 40.Ng4 Kg7 41.Rxb8 Qe7 42.Qc6 Rb4 43.Bxb6. 39.Qxa8+- Rxb5 Black has lost his queen, but has a rook, knight and pawn for it, potentially roughly equivalent, though Black’s minor pieces are very cramped whereas the queen has open lines to exploit. 40.Kg2 Nc5 41.Ng4 Kg7 42.f3 42.Bxc5 bxc5 43.Ne3. 42…h5 43.Nf2 Be7 44.Qb8 Nd7 45.Qe8 Attacking the pinned knight. 45…Rb1? Better was counter-attack via 45…Rb3 46.Nd1 Rd3 47.Qxd7 Rxd1 48.Bxb6 46.Qxd7 b5 47.Qf5 f6 48.h4 gxh4 49.Qxh5 Qh6+ & Qh7. 49…Nf8 50.Bh6+ 1–0. Black resigned in view of 50…Kg8 51.Qe8 and Black must lose more material.

The key to last week’s 2-mover by John Brown was 1.Qe7! If 1…Bxf4 2. Be4#, or 1…Kxf4 2.Qf6#, or 1…Bf3 2.Qxf7# and finally 1…Bg7 2.Qg5#.

In this position from a game earlier this year Black is a piece up but is about to be mated unless he can find a move that not only avoids mate but maintains his material advantage. He succeeded; can you see how?

Black to play

Hooten & The Lady & the Fawcett Brothers (24.09.2016.)

Last weekend’s TV schedules flagged up the start of a new adventure series entitled Hooten and the Lady, with high production standards and deeming it enjoyable but forgettable Friday night candy floss. In it, British Museum curator, young Lady Alex Lindo-Parker, jets off to the Amazon rainforest in search of Col. Percy Fawcett’s lost camp, is thrown together with maverick adventurer Hooten, and within on-screen minutes the pair stumble on a cave containing a skeleton, presumably that of Fawcett, grasping a treasure map in its bony hand, which quickly leads them to the fabled city of gold, El Dorado. The fact that scores of expeditions from Sir Walter Raleigh’s in 1595 to Fawcett’s in 1925 had all failed in that very same project is neither here nor there; one must suspend one’s disbelief.

What the programme doesn’t mention (and why should it?) is that Fawcett was brought up at 3, Barnpark Terrace, Teignmouth, together with 3 sisters and an older brother, Edward Douglas (1866-1960), who led a life every bit as exotic as Percy; a pioneering science fiction writer, philosopher, alpinist, aviator & chessplayer.

Douglas founded the Totnes Club in 1901 and played for Devon. He moved to Switzerland for many years to concentrate on his mountaineering, but after a heart attack halfway up the Matterhorn at the age of 66 he was forced to give up, and returned to quieter pursuits, including chess. He played in the Paignton Congress from its inception in 1951 to 1959 died in 1960 aged 94.

A report of Paignton 1958 said Of the veteran players, 92 year old Mr. Douglas Fawcett, played some good games and delighted everyone with his memories of Pillsbury and his first game with Steinitz, played in 1879”.

Much more detail of his life may be found on keverelchess.com/e-douglas-fawcett.

Here is his game from Rd. 8 of the Southsea Congress 1949, in which he beats the 9-times Irish Champion, illustrating his sharp attacking style.

White: E. Douglas Fawcett. Black: J. J. O’Hanlon.

Ruy Lopez – Berlin Defence.  [C67]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Nxe4 Black accepts the proffered pawn, not often done these days. 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.Nc3 0–0 Fawcett is following the Pillsbury Variation, in tribute to his hero. 10.Nd4 Nc5 11.Rd1 Qe8 12.Nf5 Ne6 13.Ne4 Rb8 14.b3 Rb5 15.f4 Rd5 16.Be3 Bb7 17.Qg4 Building up a kingside attack from which a black rook and bishop are powerless to defend. 17…Kh8 18.c4 Rxd1+ 19.Rxd1 g6 20.Nxe7 Qxe7 21.Nf6 The perfect place for a knight. 21…Rd8 Black needs f8 for his knight to defend h7. 22.Qh4 Nf8 23.c5 d5 24.Bd4 Qe6 25.g4 Bc8 26.Rf1 Ba6 This threat can be ignored. 27.f5 Qe7 28.e6! Opening the bishop’s diagonal.  28…fxe6 29.Nxd5+ 1–0 Winning the queen.

In last week’s position, Arkell had the choice of 2 mates; 1.RxN+ RxR 2.Rh7 mate, or 1.Rh7+ NxR 2. RxN mate.

Here is a 2-mover by John Brown of Bridport (1827 – 63).

White to play & mate in 2.

Paignton Congress Prizewinners (17.09.2016.)

The Paignton Congress finished at the weekend with the following prizewinners. (All points out of 7). Premier: 1st Keith Arkell (Paignton) 6½. 2nd Ashley Stewart (Royston) 4½. 3rd= Graham Bolt (Exeter); Stephen Peters (Aylesbury) & Mike Waddington (Dorchester). A. Stewart was awarded the Qualifying Place for next year’s British Championship.

Challengers (U-180): 1st= N. Burrows & A. Milnes both 5½. 3rd= K. Hurst (E. Budleigh); J. Hickman (Reading) & R. Everson (Dartford) all 5 pts.

Minor (U-135): 1st L. Bullock (Hackney) 5½. 2nd= E. Fierek (Gloucester); D. Gilbert (DHSS); G. Parfett (Athenium) & R. Everson (Dartford) all 5 pts.

Boniface 5-Rd Morning: 1st Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) 4/5 pts. 2nd= J. Hickman (Reading) & R. Puchades (Cosham) both 3½.

Thynne 5-Rd Morning (U-135): 1st N. Andrews (York). 2nd= P. Foster (Medway); A. Collins (Cowley); M. Roberts (Holmes Chapel) & J. Shaddick (Basingstoke) all 3½.

Local player, Brian Gosling , won the top section of the Morning tournaments, after starting with this win in Rd. 1. Notes based on those by the winner.

White: B. Gosling (159). Black: A. Hibbitt (158).

Sicilian Defence – Closed System.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nbd2 Bg7 5.g3 d6 reinforcing e5. 6.Bg2 Rb8 7.a4 a6 8.0–0 Bd7 9.Re1 b5 10.axb5 axb5 11.Nb3 e5 12.Bg5 Bf6 13.Be3 Bg7 14.c3 Preventing intrusion by Black via b4 & d4. 14…Nge7 15.d4 c4 Black attacks the knight and wins space but White has a positional sacrifice in mind. 16.dxe5 cxb3 17.exd6 Nc8 18.e5 For the knight sacrifice White has a protected passed pawn on d6 and the more active pieces. 18…0–0 19.Bg5 Qb6 20.Qxb3 White now has 3 pawns for the knight, a balance of forces favouring White. 20…Be6 21.Qd1 Nxe5? If 21…b4 Black could hope to survive. 22.Nxe5 Nxd6? Better was 22…Bxe5 23.Rxe5 Nxd6. 23.Be3 Qc7 24.Nc6 Rb7 24…Ra8 hoping against hope 25.Rxa8 Rxa8. 25.Bf4 White’s pieces all have long lines and diagonals, while Black is losing material. The pin on the knight is fatal. 1–0. Play might have continued 25.Bf4 Re8 26.Qxd6 Qxd6 27.Bxd6+.

Many more games from the event may be played through or downloaded from the chessdevon website.

The West of England Inter-County Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton, with, like Paignton, a lower than usual entry. Devon retained the Congress Cup for the top section with 8½/12 points, followed by Somerset (6) and Cornwall (3½). The grade-limited section was won by the Torbay League (7½/12), followed by Gloucestershire (6) and Somerset II (4).

Last week’s 2-move miniature by David Howard was solved by 1.Qg1! threatening 2.Qg5 mate. If 1…Kxh4 2.Qh2 mate.

Here is a 2-move finish by Keith Arkell from a game earlier this year. If it seems relatively easy from this point, the skill lies in reaching the position in the first place.

White to play and win.

Paignton Congress & Latest on Oldway Mansion (09.09.2016.)

The Paignton Congress started on Sunday with another slight drop in entries, and some talk among players and organisers about the possible reasons for this, including comparisons between the relative virtues of its original venue of 62 years, Oldway Mansion, and its current one at the Livermead House Hotel. The latter is an excellent venue, but there seems to be an unconscious yearning for a return to its roots.

As is well-known, Oldway was acquired  by James Brent’s Akkeron Group, with promises of turning the main building into a luxury hotel and hopes that the congress might be able to return there. But nothing was done as Brent and the Torbay Council locked horns over the best way to proceed. In January Akkeron sued the Council for £8 million in damages, but this also came to nothing, and meanwhile Oldway continued to decay. Now, for the sake of the building before it becomes too far gone to do anything with, Brent has washed his hands of the whole project, and Oldway is back in Council hands.

Inspectors representing Historic England, recently checked the fabric of the building inside and out, and have reported that the empty building is not deteriorating as badly as many feared. So if the Council can obtain the necessary funds from a variety of sources, including the National Lottery and various heritage funds, there may be some hope that the Congress may be able to return there one day.

Meanwhile, local Grandmaster, Keith Arkell is a nailed-on certainty to win the Premier, so far ahead is he in grading of the other 17 players in that section. We can only admire the seven games he will have played by the last round this afternoon. Here, for example, is his Rd. 1 game which features a very short, sharp finish.

White: Graham Bolt (190). Black: Keith Arkell (241).

King’s Fianchetto Opening

1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 c5 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 d4 5.Ne4 e5 6.c3 Be7 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.Nxf6+ Bxf6 9.0–0 0–0 10.a3 Bf5 11.Nd2 Threatening to double Black’s pawns. 11…Qd7 12.Ne4 With twin threats to c5 and f6. 12…Be7 13.Bd2 a5 14.a4 Be6 15.Qc2 f5 With pieces developed Black now commences a kingside attack. 16.Ng5 Bxg5 17.Bxg5 f4 18.gxf4 exf4 White’s black-square bishop could become trapped after …h7; Bh4 g5.  19.Bh4 g5! Arkell’s favourite move, played whenever possible. 20.Bxg5 The pawn has gone, but lines have been opened down which Black can attack. 20…Qg7 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Kh1 f3 23.Rg1 It’s a tussle for control of the g-file and Black seems vulnerable with his queen in front of his king. 23…fxe2 24.c4 If 24.Bh6 Bd5+. 24…Rxf2! 25.Bh4 Bg4 26.Rxg4 Rf1+ Less neat is 26…Qxg4 27.Bxf2 Qf3+ 28.Kg1 Rf8. 27.Rg1 Qxg1# 0–1

In last week’s position White won after 1.RxR+ Kf7 2. NxB+ Kf6 3.PxN=Q mate.

Here is a new 2-move miniature by David Howard.

White to mate in 2

UK Chess Challenge Swansong?

The world’s largest chess tournament, the Delancy UK Chess Challenge, which annually attracts between 40 – 70 thousand children, came to a thrilling finale in Loughborough recently, with prizewinners at all age groups, and not always the expected ones.

However, it may be a finale in more ways than one, as Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs have declared bankrupt the event’s organiser for the last 21 years, Mike Basman, with a VAT bill of c. £⅓ million for an unpaid 20% tax on the children’s entry fees. Even now, the authorities are assessing his assets to see whether being forced to sell his house in Chessington would cover the bill.

Last January the law was changed to allow not-for-profit sports organisations to benefit from tax breaks. One hundred different sports were so advantaged, including Boccia, Tchoukball, Octopush and Arm-wrestling, to name but four (don’t ask what they are, but the other 96 may be found on the HMRC website), but “mind sports” like chess and bridge were excluded. The English Bridge Union appealed against the ruling but was unsuccessful.

Basman’s case is that he works tirelessly in his own time for the benefit of children, happily pays up to £12,000 VAT per annum on badges, trophies etc. but to become VAT-registered himself in order to process the entry fees would involve the nightmare of accountants, rigorous book-keeping, tax inspections etc. after which the schools would claim back their VAT payments anyway, making the whole exhausting rigmarole pointless.

Many of the children involved are among the country’s very brightest and best, and will be competing in their age-group at world level, as have previous winners. Compare this treatment by the Government to that of our recently returned Olympic heroes and heroines who have had about £⅓ billion of Lottery money spent on them.

Mike Basman deserves a gold medal himself, yet for all his efforts, freely given over two decades, faces being turned out onto the street.

It is also in stark contrast to the way HMRC deals with global businesses like Amazon, Starbucks et al, tentatively asking whether they could possibly spare a few crumbs from their massive profits by way of tax. It’s another example of the old saying about the law being “good at catching sparrows while the eagle soars free”.

The event website, delanceyukschoolschesschallenge.com contains details of all prizewinners, photographs, games, etc. and a petition page where anyone can register their wish to have chess de-registered from VAT like all physical sports. Basman also encourages anyone concerned over the issue to write to their MP, requesting a credible explanation and some effort to get things changed.

The solution to last week’s 3-mover was 1.Bg6! and whatever Black tries White has 2.Bh5 and 3.Qe2 mate.

In this position, Black can survive for 2 moves but will be powerless against White’s 3rd move.

White to play and win

A Classic Game from the Paignton Congress (27.08.2016.)

The Paignton Congress starts next weekend, and overall entries are currently down on previous years but organisers are hoping for a last minute rush of entries to balance things up. Entry forms are downloadable from chessdevon.co.uk.

Here is a game from Paignton in 1955.

White: Sir Philip Milner-Barry. Black: Harry Golombek.

Notes by the winner.

Sicilian Defence – Wing Gambit [B10].

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 As played by Golombek against Penrose at the recent British Championship. Penrose replied 4.c4, which did not seem very effective. 4.b4 cxb4 5.a3 bxa3 6.Nxa3 A sort of Wing Gambit in which White has answered d4 with e5 – normally a poor move when the Black queen’s bishop can get out, but White has here an extra tempo. 6…Nc6 7.Be2 Bg4 8.d4 e6 9.0–0 Nge7 10.c3 Nf5 11.Qd3 So as to bring the queen and king’s bishop to their most hopeful attacking posts as quickly as possible. 11…Be7 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 h5 14.Bd3 g6 15.Nc2 Rc8 16.Bd2 Qd7 White has very little for the pawn, but his defensive position, based on the c3 pawn is very strong, and as the course of the game shows, the Black king’s wing is not as invulnerable as it looks. 17.Ne3 Kf8 Clearly he does not want to exchange on e3, giving White the f-file. 18.g3 a6 19.Ng2 Kg7 20.Nf4 Nh6 21.Kg2 White must be prepared to double rooks on the h-file, in case Black should exchange pawns when White plays g4. 21…Na7 22.g4 h4 23.Ne2 A further regrouping to play f4 and eventually f5. 23…Nb5 24.Qe3 Na3 25.f4 Black’s hold on f5 is so strong that White must face an eventual sacrifice. I considered seriously Rxa3 at once, so as to preserve the valuable white-square bishop; but eventually decided not to commit myself irrevocably just yet. 25…Nc4 26.Bxc4 dxc4 I had rather expected Rxc4 27.Kh2 Qc6 28.Rf2 Kf8 29.Rg1 Ke8 30.f5 exf5! Again best. If 30…gxf5 White would break through with 31.g5 and g6. 31.g5 f4 31…Ng8 32.Nf4 leaves Black sadly cramped. If 32…Qe4 33.Qxe4 fxe4 34.Re2 followed by d5. 32.Nxf4 Nf5 33.Qe1 Qc7 34.Nd5 Now 34.d5 could be met by 34…Bc5 34…Qd8 35.Nf6+ Kf8 The best chance was 35…Bxf6 36.exf6+ Kd7 37.Bf4 I doubt if the position can ultimately be held. 36.Qe4 Rc6 37.Rxf5 gxf5 38.Qxf5 39.d5 and 39.g6 were both threats. 38…Bxf6 39.gxf6 Qd5 39…Ke8 comes to much the same. e.g. 40.Qg4 Qa5 41.Qg7 Rf8 42.Bh6 Qa3 43.d5 followed by d6. 40.Qg5 Ke8 41.Qg7 Rb6 If 41…Rf8 42.Bh6; or if 41…Rh5 42.Qg8+ Kd7 43.Qg4+. 42.Qxh8+ Kd7 43.Qxh4 Rb2 44.Rg2 a5 45.Qg4+ 1-0. On the move follows e6. The most interesting game that I have played for many years. I do not know when Black went wrong; perhaps White’s 4th move is better than it looks.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover by Sam Loyd was 1.Bf8! after which Black has 4 unsuccessful “tries”, namely 1…KxR 2.BxQ mate. 1…KxB 2.Qa3 mate; 1…NxB 2.Qc2 mate or 1…RxB 2.Qa1 mate.

Here is a new 3-mover by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 3

Paignton Approaches (20.08.2016.)

The 66th Paignton Congress starts a fortnight tomorrow. Of course, for 62 years this was held at Oldway Mansion, one-time home of the Singer family of sewing machine fame. The respected writer and player, Harry Golombek, reporting on the event in the 1960s, wrote “Devon is indeed lucky in its choice for its annual congress …. a delectable spot to pursue the joys of a hard week’s chess, interspersed with the even greater and surer delights of walks and wanderings in the beautiful sunlit gardens that surround Oldway”.

And so it continued for decades until the estate was sold to property developers, who promised great things in honeyed words that have since proved empty, as the house has been mothballed ever since and continues to deteriorate. Hence the move to the Livermead House Hotel, which may lack the Grade 1 listed gardens and grandiose atrium, but compensates with a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant and easier parking.

Here’s a game from those good old days (1968) between two Birmingham boys who eventually retired to Paignton.

Notes by the winner.

White: Peter C. Griffiths. Black: Jon E.  Lawrence,

Caro-Kann Defence [B10]

1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 Black’s plan is to play on the weakness of White’s isolated pawn on d2. In these types of position exchanges tend to favour Black and further weaken the isolated pawn. 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Bb3 Not 7.Qe2?? as 7…b5 would be terminal. 7…Nxd5 Black has already equalised. 8.d4 Should White have accepted the proffered gift with 8.Bxd5 there would follow 8…Qe5+ 9.Qe2 Qxd5 10.Nf3. 8…Bc6 The struggle for White’s d-pawn begins. 9.Nf3 Nd7 10.0–0 e6 11.Re1 Be7 12.Nc3 N7f6 13.Bg5 0–0 14.Ne5 Nxc3 15.bxc3 Nd5 16.Bxe7 Nxe7 17.Qg4 If 17.Nxf7 Rxf7 18.Bxe6 Bd5 19.Bxf7+ Bxf7 and Black has control of all the key white squares. 17…Nd5 18.Rac1 Rad8? Probably a slight inaccuracy. More dynamic would be 18…Rfd8 as the other rook would be better used on c8 or b8. 19.Qh4 Qe7 20.Qe4 Qf6 threatening Nxc3. 21.Bc2 g6 22.Nxc6 bxc6 23.Ba4 Better would be 23.Bb3. 23…Nxc3 24.Qxc6 Nxa4 25.Qxa4 Qxd4 assuming control of the d-file. 26.Qa6 Rd6 27.Qb7 Rd7 28.Qa6 Rd6 29.Qb7 Rd7 30.Qa6 Rfd8 Black now has complete control of the centre and d-file. 31.g3 Qd3 32.Qa4 Qd4. Black is now looking to the time control at move 40. 33.Rc4 Qb6 threatening Rd2. 34.Rc6 Rd4 35.Qc2 Qa5 36.Qb1 Rd2 37.a4 Desperation. 37…Qxa4 38.Qe4 Qxe4 39.Rxe4 R8d4 0-1. White is 2 pawns down with no compensation, so resigned. After 40.Rxd4 Rxd4 Black has reached the safety net of the time control and can rely on considered technique to nurse home the passed pawn.

In last week’s position, White can just plough ahead with a series of sacrificial captures, viz. 1.QxR+ BxQ 2.RxB+ QxR 3.RxQ mate, as Black’s remaining bishop blocks its king’s escape.

Here is a 2-mover by the evergreen Sam Loyd (1841-1911).

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