Keith Arkell was the first Grandmaster to enter the Cotswold Congress for many years, and on Monday he hit the chess headlines in the Daily Telegraph when their correspondent, Malcolm Pein, noted the fact that Arkell had achieved the remarkable feat of coming 1st in his last 7 consecutive weekend events, namely Bristol, Exeter, Exmouth (the West of England Championship), Hereford, Nottingham, Great Yarmouth and Rhyl. Such was his current form and the relatively modest opposition, by his standards, that one could be forgiven for expecting him to make this his 8th success.
Yet it was not to be. In Round 3 he faced his nearest opponent, Chris Beaumont, who was not prepared to go down without a fight and proceeded to win with the white pieces. He conceded a draw in the following round, but didn’t allow Arkell to catch him, finishing a half point ahead. The full prizelist was as follows (all points out of 6)
Open Section: 1st Chris Beaumont (Bristol & Clifton) 5½. 2nd Keith Arkell (Paignton) 5. 3rd Matt Gillings (Wimbourne) 4. U-170 grading prize: William Phillips (Hatchend) 3. 16 players competed.
Major (U-155) 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5. 2nd= Robert Ashworth (Wotton Hall); Ian Bush (Magdalen College School, Oxford) & Martyn Harris (Newcastle under Lyme) 4½. Grading Prize (U-138) Rich Wiltshir (Rushall) 3½. (U-120) David Williams 3½. 37 players competed.
Minor (U-125). 1st Mark Forknall (Cheltenham) 5½. 2nd= Steve Clare (Wallasey) & Rezza Gorsi Pour (Gloucester) 5. Grading Prizes (U-102) Douglas Bramley (Spondon) 4.
U-100: Paul Broderick 3½. 35 competed.
As a way of raising funds for their forthcoming trip to Borneo, pupils from the host venue, King’s School Gloucester, provided a service to the players by running the refreshment stall.
In the recent Frome Congress, father & son George and Scott Crockert, both won with Black in the final round, to qualify for the British Championship. This is one of those games.
White: P. Orgler (2132). Black: G. Crockart (2012).
Dutch Defence – Staunton Gambit [A83]
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qh6 Nc6 9.Nf3 b6 10.c3 Bb7 11.Bd3 Qe7 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.Qg5 0–0 14.Qxf6 Rxf6 15.Ne5 d6 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.0–0 Re8 18.Rfe1 Kf7 19.b4 g5 20.b5 Bb7 21.a4 e5 22.a5 Rfe6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Ra7 Rb8 25.Be4?? Much better was 25.Bc4 and if d5 26.Rxb7 Rxb7 27.Bxd5. Rb8 28. f4 gxf4 29. Rxe5 Rbe8 30.Kf2 Kf6 and after the pieces come off White should win. 25…exd4 26.f3 d5 0–1.
Last week’s original 3-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Be4! If 1…Kg1 2.Qf3 with mate on g2. If 1…g2 2.Qg4 g1=Q 3.Qh4 mate. If 1…e2 2.Qf3 e1=Q (if 2…e1=N 3.Qh1 mate) 3.Qg2 mate.
In this position from a recent game, Black is clearly on the back foot, but White still needs a clinical finish to end all resistance.