The only other West of England team involved in the recent inter-county finals was Hampshire who contested the U-140 title against Kent. As the first games ended, Hants shot into a 5–1 lead and a win looked a formality, but Kent gradually pulled them back and in the end, Hants were glad to drag themselves over the finishing line, winning by the narrowest of margins, 8½-7½, with wins from James Chilton, John Symons, Norhidayah Azman, Andy Manning, Jonathan Young and James Barnett. They thus retain the trophy they won in 2010.
Here is Devon’s only other win in their U-180 Final against Nottinghamshire, reported last week. The game was described at the time by Devon’s captain as “a real dogfight”.
White: T. Walker (179). Black: T. F. Thynne (177).
Sicilian Defence – Grand Prix Attack [B21]
1.e4 c5 2.f4 this move, played either here or next move, proved popular in the 1970s and ‘80s as weekend congresses mushroomed and good players sought a quick, sharp win with White against the Sicilian. In this particular case, Black is too good to fall for any cheap tricks like that. d5 3.exd5 Nf6 4.Bb5+ Bd7 5.Bxd7+ Qxd7 6.c4 e6 7.Nf3 exd5 8.Ne5 Qd8 9.Qb3 Qb6 10.Qa4+ Nc6 11.Nc3 d4 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.cxd5 Qb4 14.Qc2 Nxe5 15.fxe5 Be7 16.d6 Bd8 17.0–0 0–0 18.b3 Ba5 19.a3 Qb5 20.a4? White might do better to release his bishop towards the centre with 20.d3. 20…Qe2 21.Qf5 Rae8 22.Ba3 Rxe5 an important capture. 23.Rf2 Rxf5 24.Rxe2 d3? 25.Re7 Bxd2 26.Rd1 Bg5 27.Rxd3 b6 Black had to resist the temptation of capturing the rook. e.g. 27…Bxe7 28.dxe7 Re8 29.Rd8 and Black will lose a rook. 28.Bb2 Rd8 29.Re4 h5 Black has to beware of getting trapped on the back rank. 30.d7 Kh7 31.h4 Bf4 32.Re8 Bc7 Black’s saving move. 33.Rxd8 Bxd8 34.Rg3 f6 35.Rd3 0-1 And at this point, White’s flag fell well short of the time limit on move 40. He had used too much time trying to press home his attack. Usually in this kind of game it is the defender who runs short of time as he seeks to avoid imminent catastrophe, but in this case Black kept his head and in the final position was two pawns up with no significant weaknesses, provided he kept an eye on the advanced pawn, and with best play he would probably have won the game anyway. Good time management is a vital feature in the chessplayer’s armoury.
Last week’s position ended abruptly after 1.Qxg8+! Kxg8 (forced) 2.Nf6++ which is a double check that Black cannot get out of.
How can White end this game equally quickly?