After several years at Stithians, the Cornish Congress moved back to Truro College last weekend. After 5 rounds the new county champion was James Hooker (Truro) with 4/5 points. 2nd= were Simon Bartlett (Newquay), Lloyd Retallick (Newquay), David Saqui (Falmouth) and Mark Watkins (Camborne), all a half point behind. As champion, Hooker now holds the Emigrant Cup for the first time since his last victory in 2002.
In the Falmouth Cup section for players graded below 145 the winner was 15 year old Richard Stephens (Penryn College) playing in his first tournament.
2nd= were Hamad Aljaber (Falmouth), Mick Hill (Truro), David Jenkins (Camborne), Ian Rescorla (Bude) and Jan Rodrigo (Falmouth) a half point behind on 3½.
The Penwith Cup for players new to tournament chess was shared between the promising junior, Harvey Richings (Marazion School & Camborne), and the editor of Athletics Weekly, Jason Henderson, with 5½/6.
Some of the games will eventually be found on the website cornwallchess.org.uk.
In the meantime, here is one of Hooker’s games from 15 months ago, after several years absence from the chess scene.
White: James Hooker. Black: John Wilman.
Indian Defence [A47]
1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 b6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0–0 Bg7 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.e4 d6 8.e5 Ne8 9.e6 f6? It cannot be good to leave the pawn on e6, strangling the life out of any possible defence. 10.Nh4 c5 In view of the e6 pawn, White feels justified in sacrificing a piece in order to break open the king’s position. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bxg6 f5 13.Qh5 Nf6 14.Bf7+ Rxf7 15.Qxf7+ Kh8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Qg6 Na6 18.Qxf5 Nc7 19.Nf3 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Rb8 21.Rb1 Qe8 Black still can’t take the e-pawn with 21…Nxe6 because of 22.Qh3+ 22.Re1 Rb6 23.Bd2 Qa4 24.b3 Qg4 25.Qxg4 Nxg4 26.Re4 Nf6 27.Rh4+ Kg8 28.Ba5 Rc6 29.Bxc7 Rxc7 30.c4 Rc8 31.f3 Rf8 32.b4 cxb4 33.Rxb4 1-0 A well-placed knight and bishop is often at least as good as a rook, but here it’s the pawns that make the difference. Black hardly has a decent move on the board.
In last week’s position, White won quickly after 1.Nd5! attacking the queen and opening lines towards the Black king’s position which involve at least heavy material loss.
In tune with the Cornish theme this week, here is a 1944 composition by Dr. Maurice Jago. His most prolific period was during the war when he was a lieutenant in the RAMC, and probably had long periods of inactivity between actions. He was generally attracted by the more exotic forms of problems – helpmates, selfmates, fairy chess, etc. but this is one of his more conventional 2-movers.