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Devon vs Gloucestershire – The Result. (27.01.2018.)

The West of England Chess Union covers an area from Penzance c. 230 miles east to Portsmouth and c. 230 miles north-east to Tewkesbury, and because of the return mileages involved in an inter-county match it takes a good captain to get out a maximum strength team. For example, in their recent match against Cornwall held near Exeter, Gloucestershire arrived 4 players short for a 16 board match and lost 12-4.

On Saturday they were 2 players short for their match against Devon at Chedzoy Village Hall near Bridgwater, and although their top 8 boards did score 5-3, this was offset by losing 1-7 in the lower half, giving Devon a 10-6 win.

Devon names 1st in each pairing:-

1.D. Mackle (198) 0-1 J. Stewart (199). 2.J. Underwood (192) 1-0 M. Ashworth (192). 3.J. Stephens (189) 1-0 C. Mattos (190). 4.P. O’Neill (188) 0-1 J. Jenkins (185). 5.J. Wheeler (185) 0-1 P. Meade (178. 6.B. Hewson (184) ½-½ P. Kirby (177). 7.L. Hartmann 0-1 P. Masters (175). 8.T. Paulden ½-½ N. Bond (175). 9.M. Abbott (183) 1-0 R. Ashworth (161). 10.S. Homer (181) 1-0 M. Taylor (160). 11.P. Hampton (172) 1-0 A. Richards (133). 12.C. Lowe (176) 0-1 I. Blencowe (131). 13.J. Haynes (171) 1-0 P. Bending (112). 14.T. Thynne (170) 1-0 D. Walton (109). 15.S. Martin (186) 1-0 d/f. 16.D. Regis (166) 1-0 d/f.

Here is one of Devon’s wins.

White: Robert Ashworth. Black: Mark Abbott.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind [B36]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 The Hungarian’s plan to deter Black from playing the freeing d5, but here it’s White who becomes positionally tied up. Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.f3 0–0 10.Qd3 Be6 11.Be3 Qa5 12.Rc1 Rfc8 13.b3 Nd7 14.0–0 a6 15.Bd4 Bxd4+ 16.Qxd4 Rc7 17.f4 Qb6 18.Rcd1 Qxd4+ 19.Rxd4 f6 20.Rf3 Rac8 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 a5 23.Re3 Kf8 24.Bg4 f5 25.Bf3 Nf6 26.h3 h5 27.Kf2 h4 28.Re6 Kf7 29.Ke3 White’s rooks are disconnected, he’s running out of time and has already twice offered a draw, but Black, having denied White any opportunities for a quick king-side attack, is now set on exercising Black’s theme in the Sicilian of attacking the queenside. 29…a4 30.Kd2 b5 31.Kd3 Nd7 32.Re3 b4 33.Bd1 Nc5+ 34.Ke2 Ne4 Compare and contrast the roles of the bishop and knight. 35.Kf3 Nc3 36.Rd2 Ra8 37.Red3 Ne4 38.Rb2 Kf6 39.Rd4 Nc3 40.Bc2 a3 41.Rb1 Taking the rook may be superficially tempting but the text is better as it opens up the a-file, and in any case the knight is stronger than the rook. 41…Nxa2 42.Rd2 Nc3 43.Ra1 Rc5 44.Rd3 Rca5 45.Re3 a2 White is hamstrung. 46.Re6+ Kf7 47.Re3 Rc8 48.Re6 Nxd5 49.Bxf5 gxf5 50.cxd5 Rxd5 51.Rh6 Rd2 52.Rxh4 Rc3# 0–1

In last week’s position, Black played 1…Bd8! both attacking the queen and opening up the e-file with the threat of 2…Qe4+ 3.Kb1 and RxB mate. White can avoid this but would have to give up a rook in the process.

In this position from a recent tournament, it’s Black to play and he discovered a piece-winning move. Can you see what that was?

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