The West of England qualifying section of the annual Civil Service Championship was held last weekend at the Met. Office in Exeter. The winners here qualify for the National Final to be played at Leeds University in July. Although hundreds of chess-playing civil servants throughout Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and Gloucestershire were eligible, only seven players entered, all of whom live within a few miles of the venue, which suggests more pre-event publicity might be in order next year. Never the less, there was a worthy winner in Alan Brusey (HMRC) on 5/6. Alan was the first National Champion over 20 years ago and is the current one and has played in every event in between. Joint 2nd were Sean Pope (Rural Payments Agency) and Steve Murray (Met. Office) on 4½ pts. These are the qualifiers. Other scores were Neville Lane (RPA) 3; Wilf Taylor (M.O.) 2; Davis Thompson (M.O.) 2 and Patrick Gwynne (RPA) 0.
Here is one of Alan’s games from earlier in his career, with notes based on those by former WECU officer, Richard Rendell of Swindon.
White: J. Riddell. Black: A. W. Brusey
39th Paignton Premier (5) 1989.
English Opening – Sicilian Variation. [A21].
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Nf3 f5 3…Nf6 is the most common move here, and …f5 is next most popular, but has mixed results for both sides, with not many draws. 4.d4 e4 5.Nd2 Nf6 6.e3 Be7 7.Be2 c6 8.d5 0–0 9.0–0 Nbd7 10.f3 cxd5 11.cxd5 exf3 12.Nxf3 Ne5 13.Nd4 g6 Despite his backward pawn on d6, Black has a comfortable game and has control of the centre. He also intends to get his pieces moving on the kingside. 14.Kh1 a6 15.Bd2 Nfg4 16.h3 Further weakening his influence over the dark squares. 16…Bh4! 17.Bf3 An interesting sacrifice. If 17.hxg4 Bg3! 18.Nf3 Nxf3 19.Rxf3 Qh4+ 20.Kg1 Qh2+ 21.Kf1 Qh1# Thus the knight cannot be taken as White has no defence to the mate. He therefore is forced to give up the exchange. 17…Nf2+ 18.Rxf2 Bxf2 19.Qe2 Qh4 The Queen comes in now and the hunt for the White King is on. 20.Rf1 Bg3 21.Be1 Bxe1 22.Rxe1 g5 23.Qf1 g4 24.Be2 Rf6 25.Kh2 gxh3 26.gxh3 Rg6 27.Nf3 Ng4+ 28.Kh1 Nf2+ 0–1 White resigned, for if 29.Kh2 Qg3#. So forced would be 29.Qxf2 Qxf2 30.Rg1 Rxg1+ 31.Nxg1 Qxe3 and White is hopelessly down on material with no threats.
The British Solving Championship is being held today at Eton College, and I hope to have the results by next week, together with one of the easier problems involved.
Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Rf8! and the threat of a double check and mate cannot be avoided.
This week’s position arose in a recent Devon League match. There was a move available to White that would have won the game and, with it, the match. He missed it, and went on to lose the game leaving a 2-2 draw. Can you spot it?