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Devon & Somerset Both Lose (25.05.2013.)

Saturday was scheduled as the quarter-final round of the National Stages of the Inter-counties tournament, with several West of England teams featuring in the various sections. Devon were drawn against Middlesex in the U-180 section and they met under the shadow of Old Sarum, near Salisbury. Devon players were hampered by the County Show traffic, causing a delayed start and one player misunderstanding the start time, all of which contributed to their 6–10 loss. However, the match was closer than the score suggested and several games could have gone either way. Devon’s three winners were Kevin Hurst, Mark Abbott and John Fraser. Here is the win on Board 4, with notes based on those kindly supplied by the winner.

White: K. J. Hurst (176). Black: A. Fulton (178).

Caro-Kann – by transposition. [B15]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 c6 4.Nc3 d5 5.e5 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 e6 8.Be3 Qa5 If 8…Qb6 9.0–0–0 still with advantage to White in space and development. 9.Be2 Nd7 10.0–0 a6 11.a3 c5 12.b4 cxb4 13.axb4 Qd8 14.b5 White toyed with the sacrifice 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Qxd5 after which might have followed 15…Qc7 16.Bf3 Rb8 17.e6 fxe6 18.Qxe6+ and Black’s king is stuck in the centre and struggling. e.g. If 18…Ne7 19.Bg5 Nb6 20.Rfe1 Nbc8. 14…a5 15.b6 White offers a pawn in order to open up lines on the queenside. 15…Ne7 16.Nb5 0–0 17.Rfb1 Nc6 18.c3 White takes care to consolidate his centre before continuing with his attack 18…Nxb6 19.Qg3 h6 20.Bd3 Ne7 21.Nd6 Qc7 22.Bd2 Rfb8 23.Qh4! Having tied up most of Black’s piece-power on the queenside, White exploits his flexibility by switching quickly to the other wing. 23…Nf5 24.Bxf5 exf5 25.Bxh6 Bxh6 26.Qxh6 Nc8?? A blunder that loses immediately. Ne8 threatening both the queen and mate. 1–0. Black’s best chance was 26…Nc4! but it would still be a struggle after 27.Nxc4 Qxc4 28.Rb6 Ra6 29.Rab1 Rxb6 30.Rxb6 with a breakthrough planned on e6.

In the Open Section Somerset lost 5½-10½ to Lancashire, Mike Richardt and Peter Chaplin being their only winners. In the Minor Counties section, Gloucestershire lost by the same score to Lincolnshire, with Daniel Lambourne and Matthew Claypole being their only winners.

(NB: Please note that since going to press, it was ascertained that Richardt did lose his game, but his opponent was subsequently found to be ineligible. So, for the purposes of the match, the result of that game was reversed and Lancashire penalised an additional point. However, for grading purposes, Richardt’s loss will stand.)

Hants had a walkover against Warwickshire in the U-140s.

In last week’s position, World Champion Anand had no choices in losing to 1.Qxf7+ RxQ 2.Ng6+ Kg8 3.Rh8 mate.

Here is reader Dave Howard’s latest composition, hitherto unpublished. There are several mates in 3, but can you spot the only 2 move mate?

White to mate in 2

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