County captains are having to beef up their teams these days if they are to keep up with their opponents, and that means getting their very best players out at weekends. In the Somerset vs Gloucestershire match earlier in the season, this was the game from Board 1.
White: GM Matthew Turner (238) – Black: Joey Stewart (200).
Semi-Slav Defence [D46]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.e4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 11.Bc2 Re8 12.b3 Bf8 13.Ne5 h6 14.Qd3 g6 15.Re1 Qe7 16.Qh3 Nd7 17.Bxh6 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Bxh6 Black’s queen has some scope to probe the queenside, but mustn’t neglect queenside development e.g. 18…Qa3 19.Rae1 Rd8 20.Bxf8 Qxf8 21.Rd1. 19.Qxh6 Bd7 20.Rg5 From now on, White conducts a relentless kingside attack. 20…Qf8 21.Qh5 Re7 22.Qf3 How carefully did White check out the possibilities after 22.Bxg6 fxg6 23.Rxg6+ Rg7 24.Rh6 threatening 25.Rh8 mate 24…Re7 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.Rxf8 Rxf8 27.Qg5+ and Black has R+B for the queen, though they are both somewhat hemmed in and Black will find it hard to shake off the shackles. 27…Kf7 28.Re1 Rg8 29.Qf4+. Clearly he decided not to risk it. 22…Qg7 23.h4 Be8 24.h5 f6 25.Rg3 g5 26.h6 Qxh6 27.Rh3 Qf8 28.g4 Rg7 29.Rh6 Rd8 30.Rxf6 Rf7 31.Qe4 Qe7 If 31…Rxf6?? 32.Qh7 mate. 32.Rxe6 Qd7 33.Re1 Rf8 34.Re7 threatening 35.Qh7 mate 34…Qxe7 35.Qxe7 Rd7 36.Bh7+ 1-0. There would follow 36…Kh8 37.Qxf8+ Kxh7 38.Rxe8 etc.
The 41st East Devon Congress starts 4 weeks on Friday at the Exeter Corn Exchange. The new January grades were published last week, so potential entrants can now be sure of which sections they are eligible for, and need not delay their entries further. These should go to the Entry Secretary, Tim Paulden (e-mail email@example.com). If needed, entry forms are downloadable from the chessdevon website. The available sections are the Open; the Major for under-155 grades and the Minor for under-125 grades.
Here is a game from last year’s congress by one of the joint winners.
White: Dominic Mackle (208). Black: Stephen Dilleigh (185)
Queen’s Gambit [D30]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.e3 Be7 5.Nbd2 0–0 6.Bd3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Ne4 10.Qc2 Black is now faced with either losing a key central pawn or weakening his pawn structure in order to defend his knight. 10…f5 11.Rad1 Rc8 12.a3 Ndf6 13.Ne5 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nd7 15.f4 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Bg5 17.Qe2 Qe7 18.Ra1 a5 19.a4 dxc4 20.bxc4 Qd7 21.Kh1 c5 22.Rad1 Qxa4 23.d5 Qe8 24.e4 The weakness of Black’s pawns now becomes apparent as White’s queen cuts loose. 24…fxe4 25.Rxf8+ Qxf8 26.Qxe4 g6 27.Qg4 Qh6 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qxb6 Ba8 30.Rf1 Rf8 31.Qxc5 Rxf1+ 32.Bxf1 Bf4 33.Qc8+ winning the bishop. 1–0
Taken from a recent game, this position is materially level, but Black has a knockout blow available. Can you see it?