The following interesting game was played recently in the Exeter Club Championship. Notes by the winner.
White: Dr. T. Regis (165). Black: T. Paulden (177).
English Opening. [A50]
1.c4 b6 2.Nc3 Bb7 3.d4 Nf6 4.f3 c5 Handing White a large space advantage. Better is… 4…Nc6 and if now 5.e4 with a good game. 5…e5. 5.d5 g6 6.e4 d6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.Be2 Nbd7 10.0–0 Ne8 11.Qc2 e5 In a cramped position, Black decides it’s time to strike out in the centre. 12.dxe6 White opts to create structural weaknesses in the black camp. 12…fxe6 13.Ng5 Qe7 14.Bg4 White starts aiming pieces at Black’s e6 pawn. However, developing the c1 bishop instead would have properly locked in White’s advantage. Black now manages to kickstart some tactics based on White’s weak back rank. 14…Bd4+ 15.Kh1 Qxg5! The queen cannot be taken as Black then mates on f1 16.Bxe6+ Kh8 17.Bxd7 White emerges a pawn up, but his forces are poorly coordinated and Black will gain time harassing White’s wayward bishop. 17…Qe7 18.Bg4 Nf6 19.Bf3 Rae8
A critical position. Black has activated all his pieces and the e4 pawn is under heavy fire, but how should White proceed? 20.Bd2 The dark-square bishop finally leaves home, but ironically it is this natural-looking move that hands the advantage to Black. To retain a small edge, White had to block up the a8-h1 diagonal with 20.Nd5 although Black would retain good practical chances after 20…Nxd5 21.cxd5 g5 22.g3 h5. 20…Bxe4 A neat move, again exploiting White’s weak back rank. 21.Bxe4 Nxe4 22.Nd5 White would have liked to develop his final piece but tactics prevent this e.g. 22.Rae1 Nf2+ 23.Kg1 (if 23.Rxf2 Qxe1+ 24.Bxe1 Rxe1+) 23…Ng4+ 24.Kh1 Qh4 25.h3 Qg3 and Black mates next move. 22…Qg7 This sneaky redeployment cranks up the pressure on b2, but also has a diabolical sting in the tail. Can you spot it? 23.Bc3 Ng3+ White resigned, faced with 24.hxg3 Qh6 mate
This afternoon the Devon Under-180 team is playing Warwickshire at Frampton-on-Severn in the Semi-Final of the National Inter-County Competition.
The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bb6! Black has four tries, but each one is met by the White King moving away giving a killing check with the queen.
This week’s complex 2-mover comes from a book entitled The Modern Chess Problem by Philip Williams, the description “modern” being relative as the book is over 100 years old.