In the latest round of the West of England Inter-County competition for the Harold Meek Cup, Devon lost heavily to Somerset by 11-5 at West Buckland on Saturday. Somerset’s nine winners were Jim Sherwin, Jack Rudd, Ben Edgell, Arturo Wong, Paul Hatchett, Patryk Kryzanowski, Andrew Footner, Chris Purry and Gerry Jepps. Devon’s three winners were Dave Regis, Bill Ingham and Paul Brooks. The four drawn games were between Buckley and Stephens; Stuttard and Brusey; Wallis and Howard; Fewkes and Annetts.
Devon have tended to dominate this competition in recent years and it seems other counties have now responded by making greater efforts to get their best players out, while some of Devon’s top people have been unavailable for a variety of reasons.
The other match scheduled for Saturday was between Cornwall and Hampshire, but was called off when the Cornish were unable to raise a full team and conceded a default win.
Here is one of Somerset’s wins.
White: Dr. J. Underwood (Seaton – 172). Black: A. F. Footner (Dorchester – 175).
English Opening – Keres Var. [A23]
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 c6 Paul Keres’ favoured move in this position. 4.Nf3 It’s always a danger when one invites a pawn to come forward and attack a piece like this 4…e4 5.Nd4 Almost immediately this knight is harried. 5…d5 6.cxd5 Qb6 7.Nb3 7.Qa4 would have combined defence with attack. 7…a5 8.a4 Ng4 an early threat of mate. 9.e3 cxd5 10.Bb5+ Nc6 11.Nxd5 Qd8 12.Nc3 Nge5 13.Nxe4 White is now 2 pawns up, but it is Black who has the open lines for his pieces to attack. 13…Bg4 14.Qc2 Nf3+ Further stunting White’s chances of getting his defences sorted out. 15.Kf1 But there is no hiding place here. 15…Qd7 16.Nec5 Bxc5 17.Nxc5 Bh3+ 18.Ke2 Nfd4+! 19.exd4 Nxd4+ 20.Kd3 Bf5+ 21.Kc3 Nxb5+ 22.axb5 Rc8 the last straw for White. 23.Re1+ Kd8 24.Qxf5 White had little choice but to give up his queen as alternatives are no better. e.g. 24.d4 Bxc2. Or 24.d3 Rxc5+ 25.Kb3 Qxb5+ 26.Ka2 Rxc2 24…Qxf5 25.d4 b6 26.Re5 Qf3+ 27.Be3 Re8 28.Ra4 Rxe5 29.dxe5 Rxc5+ the rook takes with check and will mop up more pawns, so White resigned. 0–1
Here is another look at last week’s 2-mover as one sometimes needs the position in view in order to fully appreciate the subtleties involved. The solution is 1.Be4! The bishop can be taken by either the King or d5 pawn. However, if 1…Kxe4 then 2.Rxf4 is mate as both the defending pieces are now pinned. If 1…dxe4 the Queen can now mate on d7 because the removal of the pawn empowers the rook on f5 to cover c5. Among other unsuccessful tries are 1…Nb4+ but it is taken by the Queen which mates, or 1…Bxf2 but this simply empowers the very rook it attacks and allows 2.Rxd5 mate.