The East Devon Congress starts next Friday evening at Exeter’s Corn Hall. Enquiries about late entries should be addressed to the Secretary, Alan Maynard, on 01363-773313 or e-mail: email@example.com.
The Cornish Championships will be held at Stithians Village Hall over the weekend commencing Friday 25th March. The top section, the Emigrant Cup, is for Cornwall-registered players only, but all players under 145 grade may enter the other section. Details are on their website.
It is not too early to be thinking about the West of England Congress at Exmouth over the Easter weekend, as the number of places there is limited. Every year, some players book their hotel accommodation and buy rail tickets months before actually sending in their entry form for the congress. That is extremely unwise for this particular event. Enquiries should be sent to the Secretary, Andrew Footner, on 01935-873610 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is one of Devon’s three wins from their recent match against Somerset, with notes kindly supplied by the winner.
White: Andrew Gregory (163). Black: Paul Brooks (160).
French Defence – Exchange Variation [C01].
1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Bd6 5.Be2 Nc6 I usually try to create some imbalances against the drawish Exchange Variation. 6.0–0 Nge7 7.b3 0–0 8.Bb2 Ng6 9.Nbd2 Nce7 10.Ne5 f6 11.Nxg6 Nxg6 12.Re1 c6 13.Nf1 Bc7 14.g3 f5 Black’s aim in this set-up is to try to get pressure on White’s kingside. The advance of the f-pawn is attractive now that White has weakened his pawn cover with his last move. 15.f4 Bxf4! 16.Bh5 Black’s sacrifice looks speculative, but his pieces combine well, while White’s are rather disorganised. After 20 minutes thought, my opponent declined the offer. Here’s just one possible continuation, had he accepted. 16.gxf4 Nxf4 17.Bf3 Nh3+ 18.Kg2 (Of course, not 18.Kh1?? Nf2+) 18…Qg5+ 19.Ng3 (If 19.Kxh3 f4+ 20.Bg4 f3! 21.Ne3 Rf4 22.Rg1 Qh5+ wins 23.Kg3 Bxg4 24.Nxg4 Rxg4+ 25.Kf2 Qxh2+ etc.) 19…f4 20.Bc1 Qh4 I’d seen up to this point and trusted to luck for the rest! 21.Re5 Nf2! 22.Rh5 Bh3+ 23.Kg1 fxg3 24.Rxh4 Nxd1 25.Rxh3 Rxf3 26.Rxg3 Rxg3+ 27.hxg3 Nc3 28.Bb2 Ne4 29.Kg2 Rf8 with a winning endgame.
The actual game continued… 16…Bd6 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.Bc1 f4 19.gxf4 Qh4 20.Be3 Bg4 21.Qd2 Bf3 22.Qf2 Qg4+ 23.Qg3 Bxf4 24.Qxg4 Bxg4 25.Ng3 Bd6 26.Bd2 Bh3 27.Re2 Rf6 28.Nh1 Raf8 29.Nf2 Bxh2+! a little tactic to finish it off. 30.Kxh2 Rxf2+ 31.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 32.Kxh3 Rxd2 With only 2 minutes left for 8 moves and a totally lost ending, White resigned. 0–1
This week’s elementary 2-mover shouldn’t detain you for too long.