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London Chess Classic – 2011 – Open Section.

During the recent London Chess Classic, while most attention was directed at the nine chosen elite players in the top section, there was much going on among the massive Open Section, where the entry of 222 included a number of grandmasters and titled players from around the world. Paignton resident, Keith Arkell had several draws in the early rounds, but wins in rounds 6, 7, and 8 projected him up to top board for the 9th and final round, where he was one of only a handful who had a chance of winning the £2,500 1st prize. This caused him to play for a win, and in over-pressing led to a mistake which cost him the game and an appearance in the prizelist.

Here is his win from the penultimate round.

White: Adam Hunt (2458); Black: K. Arkell (2418). Caro-Kann Defence – Arkell/Khenkin Variation.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 In the late 1980s Arkell made a study of this move, feeling it had been neglected, despite seeming to offer Black dynamic possibilities. The leading magazine, New In Chess, christened it the Arkell/Khenkin Variation in recognition of the work they had both done, independently. 4.c4 e6 5.Nf3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nc6 7.Nc3 Bc5 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Qg4 Bf8 10.Bd3 Ne7 11.0–0 Ng6 12.f4 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 0–0 14.Na4 Be7 15.Be3 d4 16.Bd2 c5 17.Be4 Rb8 18.b3 Bb7 19.Bxb7 Rxb7 20.Nb2 Qd7 21.Nd3 Qc6 22.f5 exf5 23.Rxf5 a5 24.Raf1 a4 25.bxa4 Qxa4 White now sacrifices his  weak e-pawn in order to get some play in the centre. 26.e6 fxe6 27.Rxf8+ Nxf8 28.Qf3 Qa8 29.Ne5 Qc8 30.a4 Bf6 31.Ng4 Rf7 32.a5 Qb7 33.Qe2 e5 34.Nf2 Bh4 35.Nd3 Qe4! The white queen is overloaded, trying to protect f1 and e4 – it cannot do both, and must lose a piece. 36.Qd1 Qxd3 37.Rxf7 Kxf7 38.a6 Nd7 39.a7 Nb6 40.g3 Bg5 41.Qh5+ Kf8 Now White’s bishop and a mate on f1 are threatened and he cannot avoid both. 42.Kg1 Bxd2 0–1

The final of the British Chess Problem Solving Championship has been held at Oakham School every year since 1995, but this has now come to an end since the school felt unable to offer the venue in the future. Fortunately, the gap has been filled by Eton College, and the 2012 final will be held there in School Hall, on Saturday 18th February.

Reshevsky concluded last week’s position by 1.QxB+! RxQ forced and ending the threat of a back rank mate, allowing RxQ, leaving White a bishop and 2 pawns ahead.

This week’s 2-mover is another world premier by David Howard of East Harptree, near Bristol. In spite of the maximum number of knights, the problemist’s favourite piece, it’s not one of his most difficult, so the Christmas festivities are no excuse for not having time to solve it.

White to mate in 2

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