Cornwall may have been rocked by an earthquake last Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with their chess match against Devon earlier in the day, which involved no such shocks and went mostly according to expectations. It was the same old story for the Cornish – quite capable of holding their own on the top boards, but liable to fall away as their lack of strength in depth took its toll. In this case, the top 5 games were shared 2½ each, featuring four Black wins, but the lower 11 boards could only muster 4 draws. An illustration of the difference in strength can be seen by comparing the match on Bd. 5, where the experienced Simon Bartlett (162) was reasonably close in grade to John Stephens (173) and quite capable of securing a result. Yet whereas the Cornish team fell away sharply below that, Devon’s Bd. 16 player was the same grade as Bartlett (Pollock – 162). Having said this, playing the Cornish side is never a formality and they can never be taken lightly - they are quite capable of beating any WECU team who thinks otherwise, and Devon’s captain, Brian Hewson, knows better than to fall into that particular trap for the unwary.
The details were as follows (Cornish names first and were White on the even numbered boards):
1. J. Menadue 1-0 K. Hurst. 2. L. Retallick 0-1 S. Homer. 3. M. Hassall 1-0 B. Hewson. 4. R. Kneebone 0-1 J. Wheeler. 5. S. Bartlett ½-½ J. Stephens. 6. G. Healey 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. G. Trudeau 0-1 A. Brusey. 8. J. Nicholas 0-1 T. Thynne. 9. J. Wilman 0-1 D. Twine. 10. C. Sellwood ½-½ W. Ingham. 11. A. Barkhuysen 0-1 J. Leung. 12. G. Lingard ½-½ O. Wensley. 13. C. Reeves ½-½ A. Kinder. 14. M. Hill 0-1 A. Billings. 15. D. R. Jenkins 0-1 P. Brooks. 16. R. Smith ½-½ R. Pollock.
Saturday also saw the start of the London Chess Classic at Olympia, where the World’s top 4 take on England’s top 5 players in an 8-round All-Play-All. The tournament is unusual in that it follows football’s lead in awarding 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw. This is in the hope that the Grandmasters will fight more tenaciously for a win, rather than settle for tepid draws, as they often tend to do.
Last week’s position ended with 1.Rxg7+ Kxg7 2.Re7+ Kg8 3.Qxf6 followed by Qf6+ and Qh7 mate.
The New Yorker, Fred Reinfeld, (1910-64), was a controversial writer of chess books, derided by some who equate the rapidity of his output for superficiality, and praised by others for making the game accessible to the general public. This position is taken from one of his 100+ books. His heading for the diagram is “The first move is obvious…”, and for the solution “The end comes with surprising suddenness”.