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EPSCA Southern Zonal Results (26.03.2011.)

Devon hosted the southern zonal section of the English Primary Schools Chess Association Inter-Area Championship at Tiverton High School last Saturday, with six teams of 20 young players involved. The teams involved were Devon, Wiltshire, Birmingham, Berkshire, Sussex and the favourites Wey Valley from Surrey.

There were 3 rounds, making 60 points the maximum possible per team, and these were the final scores. 1st Wey Valley (49½). 2nd Sussex (36½). 3rd Berkshire (34½). 4th Devon (26). 5th Birmingham (20½) and 6th Wiltshire (13), all of which demonstrates the gulf in overall strength that exists between teams from the Home Counties and the provinces.

The Bristol League is starting a new Spring Congress at Filton on Friday 1st April. Details from G. Mill-Wilson on 0779-0167-415. The following weekend sees the 30th Teignmouth RapidPlay at their usual venue. Details from Ray Chubb on 01626-888255 or e-mail:

Easter won’t be far behind and with it the West of England Congress at Exmouth. Accommodation will be limited, so entries should be submitted as soon as possible, to Andrew Footner on 01935-873610 or

This miniature was a win for Gloucestershire in their recent victory over Devon.

White: David Vaughan (159). Black: Jon Duckham (165).

Four Knights Opening [C48]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 e5 4.Bb5 as in the Ruy Lopez, which leads to the name Spanish Four Knights applied to this variation. Bc5 5.d3 d6 Such symmetry as we have here can sometimes rebound on the second player.  6.Be3 Bb6 7.Nd5 0–0 The knight is safe on d5, as if 7…Nxd5 8.exd5 a6 9.Ba4 and Black’s bishop prevents the saving …b5. 8.Bg5 Bg4 9.Qd2 Bxf3 10.Bxf6 Nd4 11.Qg5 If White took the queen straight away, Black has some counter-measures which need careful calculation; e.g. 11.Bxd8 Bxg2 12.0–0–0 Raxd8 13.Rhg1 Nf3 so White has steered a more pragmatic course. 11…Ne6 Black’s only viable option. 12.Bxd8 Nxg5 13.Bxg5 White has simply won a piece without unnecessary complications. 13…Bh5 13…Bxg2? would be asking for more trouble, for after 14.Rg1 Bh3 15.Bh6 14.Bc4 c6 15.Nxb6 axb6 16.Be7 Rfe8 17.Bg5 White declines 17.Bxd6 which looks playable. 17…c5 18.Bc7 17…b5 18.Bb3 b4 19.f4 exf4 20.Bxf4 Bg6 21.0–0 Rac8 22.Be3 c5 23.Bd5 Re7 24.a4 Rd8?? 25.Bg5 The last straw. 1–0

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Rc3!  There’s no immediate threat from this, but Black can only move knight or queen and whatever he tries opens up a mate.

That was championship level stuff; this 2-mover’s considerably easier but still needs careful consideration.

White to mate in 2

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