The venerable post-Christmas Hastings Congress finished a few days ago, with Indian players dominating the prizelist. Deep Sengupta and Das Atghyadir shared 1st prize, while David Howell and Danny Gormally, both of England came 4th=.
The strongest competitor in the top section, the Masters in which 48 competed, was Romain Edouard of France and he went into the last round in the clear lead by a half point, but then fell at the final hurdle in this wild Sicilian Defence.
White: D. Sengupta (2527). Black: R. Edouard (2620)
Sicilian Defence – Richter Attack. [B66]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0–0–0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Be7 10.f4 Black knows he must act quickly against the White king or risk being overrun on the opposite wing, a typical theme in this opening. 10…b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 If 11…Bxf6 12.e5 dxe5 13.Qc5 Bd7 14.Nxb5 Be7 15.Nc7+ preventing castling 15…Kf8 16.Qxe5 Ra7 17.Nxa6. 12.e5 d5 13.Be2 Bb7 14.f5 fxe5 15.Qxe5 Bf6 16.Qg3 Qb8 17.Qh3 d4 18.fxe6 The sensible move would have been 18.Nb1 to save the knight, but White prefers attack to defence. 18…Qf4+ 19.Kb1 dxc3 20.exf7+ Kf8 21.a3 h5 22.Rhf1 White may be a piece down but at least all his pieces are developed and have scope to attack. Black’s rooks, meanwhile are still unconnected and his defences are fatally cramped. 22…Qe5 23.Bd3 Qg5 24.Qd7 Bxg2 25.Rde1 threatening Re8+ 25…Be7 If 25…Bxf1 26.Re8+ and there are 2 mates in 1. 26.Rf5 Qh4 threatening the rook, but it merely helps White to consolidate his forces even more. 27.Rfe5 Rd8 28.Qc7 Rxd3 29.cxd3 and Black resigned as the attack on e7 is too strong to resist.
Westcountry interest in the prizelist was rather thin. Jack Rudd of Bideford scored a creditable 5/9 points but was out of the prizes. Geoff Taylor of Gloucester, on the other hand, shared a Grading Prize in one of the lower sections.
Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree takes place tomorrow afternoon in Exeter, involving four teams of 12 players, from the North, South, East and West of the county. The North won this event last year for the first time and will be hoping to retain the trophy, though there will be tough resistance from the other teams.
Next weekend sees a resumption of the Inter-County competition, which includes Hampshire taking on Devon at Wincanton.
In last week’s position, Keith Arkell finished off with 1.Rc1c7+ which left Cherniaev powerless to avoid massive material loss.
This unpublished 2-mover has been sent in by reader Dave Howard of West Harptree, near Bristol. Black’s two pieces have considerable flexibility, so how can White allow for that yet still mate in 2?