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Jupiter Bring In The Stars (03.06.2017.)

Chess events are often run on a financial  shoestring, so it’s nice to see private enterprise stepping in to support tournaments from time to time. Winton Capital Management, for example, have for several years lent their name to the annual British problem-solving Championship, the latest version of which starts this week (see below).

As reported last week, Jupiter Asset Management organised an even more unusual event. They got the services of Daily Telegraph chess columnist, Malcolm Pein, to round up 8 top players, each one of whom would partner a Jupiter employee, in a Pro-Am blitz knockout tournament. The professionals comprised World Championship finalists, Nigel Short and Michael Adams; world top amateur GM Luke McShane; GM Gawain Jones and his wife Sue; GMs David Howell & Peter Wells, and English Ladies Champion, Kanwal Bhatia.

Malcolm Pein paired the players off, which led to Cornishman Adams joining up with Jupiter IT expert and former Exmothian, Chris Hunter-Jones, to form a Westcountry team. The rules were: to make alternate moves; no conferring and 15 minutes per team for all moves.

In the quarter-final the Westcountry team beat Sue Jones’s team and went on to meet Nigel Short and Edward Bonham Carter in the Semi. Their first game was drawn with only seconds to spare, but lost the tie-break game. This consisted of a 5 minute game by just the amateurs, in which Carter played a King’s Gambit and Hunter-Jones blundered in the opening (easily done in those circumstances) and it was quickly over. The Short/Carter team then lost in the Final to Peter Wells and Alastair McFie. The chess was often crazy – but great fun.

The solution to last week’s position (above) was 1…Qg3+ and if 2.hxQ Ng2 mate, while if 2.Rf2 QxR mate.

The road to discovering who will be next year’s Winton British Solving Champion starts here, as this week’s position is the starter problem. It’s White to play and force mate in 2 moves against any Black defence. There is no entry fee and the competition is open to British residents only. Competitors need only send White’s first move, known as the “key move” and this may be done in 2 ways. (a) by post to Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Road, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1QY , or (b) by e-mail to winton@theproblemist.org.

All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 31st July 2017 and must give the entrant’s name and home postcode. Don’t forget to mention that you saw this notice in either the WMN or Western Daily Press.

After the closing date, all competitors will receive the solution, and those who get it right will be sent the postal round containing 8 more difficult and varied problems. In due course the best competitors and 5 best juniors (U-18 on 31.07.2017) will be invited to participate in the final at Eton College on Saturday 18th February 2018.

Best of luck to anyone who takes up the challenge.

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