March 2017
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Devon Reach National U-180 Final (13.06.2015.)

On Sunday, Devon met Lancashire at Worcester in the semi-final of the Inter-County Championship U-180 grade section. It was a close match that finished 8-8, with 4 wins to each team and 8 drawn games. As replays are not possible a tie-break rule called board count is invoked. Under this system the score of the bottom game is discounted, until a clear winner emerges. As Lancs won the game on Bd. 16, that win was eliminated, leaving Devon the winners, going through to the Final in Warwick on July 4th.  The details were: (Devon names 2nd in each pairing) 1. J. Cooper ½-½ Dr. J. Underwood. 2. S. Riley 1-0 Dr. D. Regis. 3. R. Newton 0-1 A. Brusey. 4. M. Whitehead ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson. 5. M. Parker 0-1 S. Martin. 6. P. Jackson 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. R. Ashcroft  ½-½ M. Shaw. 8. J. Lyth ½-½ W. Ingham. 9. A. Clarkson 1-0 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 10. C. Rutlidge ½-½ K. P. Atkins. 11. P. Taylor 0-1 Dr. D.Toms. 12. R.Collins ½-½ O. E. Wensley. 13. D. Owen ½-½ C. J. Scott. 14. C. Fisher ½-½ P. Brooks. 15. W. O’Rourke 1-0 A. Kinder. 16. N. Jayawarna 1-0 V. Ramesh.

The ending to last week’s game was 1…Rxc3+ smashing open the White king’s position. If 2.b2xc3 then Ba3 is mate.

The Hungarian Laszlo Polgar was an assiduous collector of chess material that he used in the early tuition of his 3 daughters, Susan, Sofia and Judith. He later published this material in two large tomes, one on problem-like mates and another on winning middlegame combinations, the latter consisting of 4,158 positions in its 1,015 pages. From it, this position caught my eye, marked up only as “Aitken – Keffler: Newquai 1951”. This sparked a hunt for the actual game score from which the diagram was taken. I guessed it probably referred to a West of England Championship, held at the Penolver Hotel, Newquay at Easter 1951, but the problem was that neither Aitken nor Keffler played in that event. However, the Championship did return there 3 years later, and Aitken became joint champion with A. R. B. Thomas. Thomas was unbeaten but Aitken did lose one game – in Rd. 4 to Peter Yvon Keffler, then of Somerset. Polgar simply got the year wrong. The full game score, taken from the souvenir bulletin, was as follows:

White: J. M. Aitken. Black: P. Y. Keffler.

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Var. [B70]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd7 10.Bxc6 Rb8 11.exd6 0–0 12.0–0 Ne5 13.dxe7 Qxe7 14.Bg2 Bg4 15.Qe1 Rfe8 16.Qe3 Qd7 17.Qf4 Bh3 18.Rd1 (see diagram). White is 2 pawns up and this seems a natural enough move as it (a) unpins the fianchetto bishop (b) develops the rook and (c) attacks Black’s queen. But it’s not quite as good as it looks, as Keffler now demonstated. Peter Keffler now lives in Suffolk, aged 92, and plays for the Braille Chess Association.

Black to play and win by force

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