August 2014
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3rd Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress Results (28.06.2014.)

Its prize fund of almost £4,000 is about three times that of any other weekend congress in the UK, making the Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress able to attract some top talent. Their third such event finished last weekend with over 160 entries of whom these were just a few of the winners.

Open Section: 1st= GM Nick Pert & IM G. Sarakauskas 4½/5 pts. 3rd  Keith Arkell 4. Grading prizes (U-175) 1st = S. Peirson & J. Pink. (U-167) 1st M. Littleton.

Challengers (U-165): 1st D. Thompson 4½. 2nd= C. Woolcock, D. Butcher, R. Desmedt & I. S. Annetts. GP (U-150) 1st= P. Morton, J. Torrance, R. Du Toit & P. Wilcock.

Intermediate (U-135) 1st J. Belinger 4½. 2nd= P. Errngton & S. Williams.

Minor (U-110): 1st T. Cutter. 2nd= S. Crockett, Jenny Goldsmith & J. Versey.

Grandmaster games at this level tend to be relatively quiet affairs as they tend to wait for their opponents to make the slip-ups. Firework displays are rare. This Round 4 game sees both players committed to a rough-house and puts the winner on the road to 4th= and a £40 prize.

White: Steve Homer (189). Black: Don Mason (209).

French Defence – Tarrasch Var.  [C06]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Tarrasch’s move, avoiding the potential pin  on b4. 3…Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 Many French Defence players are keen to break White’s stranglehold on e5 a.s.a.p. so that they won’t become landed with a cramped position.  9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.0–0 Qc7 12.Bg5 0–0 13.Qc2 h6 14.Bh4 Nh5 15.Bh7+ Kh8 16.Bg6 Rxf3 17.Bxh5 If 17.gxf3 Bxh2+ 18.Kg2 Nf4+ 19.Nxf4 Qxf4 20.Bg3 Bxg3 21.fxg3 Qxd4 and Black has 2 pawns for the exchange. 17…Bxh2+ 18.Kh1 Rf5 19.Bg6 Black seems determined to give up a rook. 19…Bd6 20.Bxf5 exf5 21.f4 Qf7 22.Rf3 Bd7 23.Rd1 Re8 24.Nc3 Qh5 25.Rh3 Qg4 26.Nxd5? An injudicious pawn grab that allows… 26…Re2 27.Qxe2 The least worst option was 27.Ne3 Rxc2 28.Nxg4 fxg4 29.Rc3 .27…Qxe2 28.Re1 Qc4 29.Nf6 Better was 29.Nc3 29…gxf6 30.Bxf6+ Kh7 31.Rg3 suddenly White has a strong attack on g7 31…Qf7 Better was 31…Bf8 though the text is good enough. 32.Rg7+ Qxg7 33.Bxg7 Kxg7 0–1. Black’s 3 minor pieces should be more than enough to handle the rook which doesn’t have a good move on the board.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Nc6! threatening 2.Ne5 mate, and if 1…Qxb3+ 2.Qxb3 mate; or 1…dxc6 2.Bxe6 mate, or 1…Rxf2 2.Qxf2 mate.

In this endgame from earlier this year how can White maximise the value of his extra pawn?

White to play and win.

Dr. Robert Dunstan – Cornishman (21.06.2014)

At the weekend I received a request for information about a Dr. R. Dunstan who was an active player in Devon for 25 year after 1904. It was a name I’d seen many times in the records but about whom I knew nothing, so I was prompted to do some research. It turned out he was one of the best Cornish players Cornwall never had.

He was the 8th of 9 children born to Robert, a Surveyor of Mines, and Anne, living at 68, Trevecca Cottages, Liskeard. He trained as a doctor at Guy’s Hospital, married Emily from Launceston soon after qualifying and had 4 children under the age of 6. He practiced in London until 1904 when he moved to Paignton. He flitted from club to club, playing for Torquay, Plymouth, Paignton, and Exeter at one time or another, and played for Devon, usually on top board. During WWI he was medical officer of troops in Paignton, probably at Oldway Mansion when it became a hospital for officers. In 1951 this became the home of the Paignton Chess Congress.

His two sons qualified as doctors and played chess, Walter becoming a member of the Teignmouth club and John getting 2 games published in the British Chess Magazine.

Here is one of the 10 games Robert had published in the BCM, this one from 1914 with notes by the then British Champion, F. D. Yates.

White: C. E. T. Jenkinson (Cornwall). Black: Dr. R. Dunstan (Devon).

Queen’s Gambit – Cambridge Springs Var. Orthodox Defence [D53].

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 Ne4 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Nxe4 This is not good positional judgement. The Black pawn on e4 is a useful wedge, delaying White’s development. In giving up command of the centre, White hands the initiative to Black. 7…dxe4 8.a3 0–0 9.Ne2 f5 10.Nc3 Nd7 11.Rc1 Here 11.Qc2 to be followed by 0–0–0 and f3 would have been better. The queenside counter-attack is too slow to be effective. 11…Nf6 12.Be2 Bd7 13.c5 Giving up command of d5. This comes in useful for Black later. Preferable was 0–0 followed by f3. 13…c6 14.0–0 Nd5 15.Bc4 Rf6 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.Ba2 f4 18.exf4 Rxf4 19.Qd2 Raf8 20.Rc3 Qf6 21.Rg3 h5 Now that Black’s heavy pieces are effectively placed, it only requires the advance if this pawn to complete an attack consistently carried through. 22.b4 h4 23.Rc3 Qg6 24.b5 Bg4 25.Bb1 Bf3 26.g3 Qg4 27.b6 Qh3 28.Rxf3 exf3 0–1

Last week’s elementary 2-mover by Mrs. Baird was solved by 1.Kf6! and depending where the Black king moves the rook will mate on either h3 or d8.

The English Chess Federation’s 2014 Yearbook contains an article on new problems first published last year and this one, by Barry Barnes, is one of the 2-movers.

White to play and mate in 2

Dr. R. Dunstan (1849 – 1927)

Dr. Robert Dunstan (1849 – 1927) 

Probably the Best Cornish Player Cornwall Never Had.

 A few days ago, someone asked me for information about a certain Dr. Dunstan who played for Surrey, Devon and Sussex during his long playing career. His was a name I’ve often seen in the records but otherwise knew nothing about, so I took the opportunity to dig a little deeper, and this is the result. 

Dr. Robert Dunstan was born in Liskeard in 1849, the eighth of nine children born to Robert Dunstan (a Mine Agent born in Modbury, Devon) and Anne (born in Tywardreath, a small village between Liskeard and Fowey). They lived at 68, Trevecca Cottages, Liskeard. The family must have moved frequently, as all the children were born in different places in south west Cornwall. 

By 1861 father Robert was listed as a Surveyor of Mines, so there was ambition in the family. By 1870 Robert’s sister Annie, 13 years his senior, had married John Rundell and they lived in London, so when young Robert went to study medicine at Guys Hospital, he was able to lodge with his relatives, which probably made his higher education financially possible. 

Very soon after qualifying he married a Cornishwoman, Emily Jane from Launceston, and by 1880 they had 4 children under 5, though they put a quick stop to all that. The eldest child was born back in Cornwall, in St. Ives in 1875 and the following year Walter Robert was born in Wistanston, a small village between Shropshire’s Long Mynd and Wenlock Edge and his patients came from the nearby villages described so succinctly by A. E. Houseman …

                       “Clunton & Clunbury, Clungunford & Clun

                        Are the quietest places under the sun”.

 Which suggests that he would have had to get experience through a series of temporary posts, but idyllic though these places undoubtedly were, he was keen to get back to London and by 1881 he was practicing as a GP in the Seven Sisters Road. 

A decade later he was living at 61, Acre Lane, Lambeth and was listed as a “Surgeon in General Practice”. By 1901 they had moved to 282, Balham High Road. 

His early chess career was spent in Surrey, joining first the Tufnell Park Liberal Club and then Brixton. In the season in which they won the League championship his personal score was 14½ / 15. He later became President of the Surrey C. C. A. 

By 1904 he had moved to Devon and in 1905 was playing for his new county against Kent on Bd. 1 (drawn) and against Essex on Bd. 3 (Won), this latter game appearing in BCM analysed by Samuel Passmore. However, the following year he played top board for Cornwall against Devon, the only occasion I can trace. Apart from that he played for Devon on Bds. 1 or 2. However, even then he flitted from club to club, playing at one time or another, for Plymouth, Paignton and Exeter. To this extent, he is somewhat difficult to pin down. He is not mentioned in Gaige’s encyclopaedic Chess Personalia, there are no photographs and no games of his are to be found in on-line databases. Yet in the decade 1904 – 14 a game of his was published in BCM most years, indicating either his gifts for entertaining play or self-publicity. 

In 1911 he became Devon Champion and was Runner-up in 1917 & 1918, winning it back in 1921 & 1922, then aged 73. That same year he also led Exeter to victory in Devon’s Division 1 – the Bremridge Cup. He had already led Paignton to victory in the same tournament in 1914. 

During WWI he was a medical officer of troops in Paignton. This was probably at Oldway Mansion, the home of Paris Singer that he turned over to the war effort, becoming the American Women’s War Hospital, with Lady Randolph Churchill as Chairman of the Committee and Paris as her Deputy. It was a place where injured officers could recuperate. In 1951 this became the home for 60 years of the much-loved Paignton Chess Congress. 

In 1914 he was recorded as living at “Russley”, Palace Avenue, Paignton, and was a member of both Paignton and Torquay, although playing only for Paignton in matches. In 1923 – 25 there was a paid-up member of the Teignmouth & Shaldon Club called Dr. W. Dunstan, but this was almost certainly his son, Walter Robert, who had also qualified as a “Surgeon in General Practice” and would have inherited at least some of his father’s chess talent. It’s easy to confuse the two from the records. His other son, John Arthur Dunstan also played and had two quick wins in the Knightsbridge Chess Circle Tournament published in the BCM in 1915. 

Eventually he retired to Brighton where he played for the Christ Church Club and played for Sussex until he retired from county match play in November 1926. Ironically, his last game was against Surrey, and his win was published in BCM with the footnote by J. H. Blake:  As this is understood to be (at 78) Dr. Dunstan’s last match game he is to be warmly congratulated on quitting the arena upon so happy and characteristic an effort.  He died on 27th November 1927, aged 78. 

And BCM noted He was gifted with a very quick sight of the board but was not a superficial analyst. On the contrary, he was always a dangerous opponent; and away from the board he was an adept at repartee. 

The following game scores may be found in BCM. 

Year       Opponent Team Analysis by  
1901 DR B 0 P. R. England North P. R. England Postal gm
1903 DR W 0 M. Jackson North   Postal gm
1904 DR W 1 H. E. Dobell Hastings F. J. Marshall  
1908 DR B 1 T. Taylor Plymouth C. T. Blanshard  
1909 DR B 1 A. Rumboll Wilts    
1910 DR B 1 C. Jenkinson Cornwall F. D. Yates  
1911 DR W 1 T. Edwards Glos    
1914 DR B 1 T. Taylor Plymouth C. E. C.Tattersall  
1926 DR W 1 W. Greenwood Surrey J. H. Blake  

  This is a synthesis of material from (a) British Chess Magazine, (b) Chris Ravilious and Brian Denman published by Dr. Dave Regis in his book 100-Odd Years Of Exeter Chess Club (c) my own archives and (d) ancestry.co.uk.

Bristol’s Boniface Memorial Congress (14.06.2014.)

The Steve Boniface Memorial Congress finished on Sunday evening at Bristol’s  Holiday Inn, with the following emerging as prizewinners: (all scores out of 5)

Open Section:  1st Chris Beaumont (Bristol & Clifton) 4½. 2nd= Tim Paulden (Exeter), Carl Bicknell & Peter Kirby (both Horfield) 4. Grading prizes:  U-178  Chris Timmins (Bristol).             U-165 Joe Fathallah (Wales).

(27 players participated).

Major (U-155): 1st G. A. Harvey (South Bristol) 4½. 2nd= Alex Rossiter & Neil Derrick (both Bristol Cabot) 4.

Grading Prize: Paul Gillett (Cirencester) 3½. 20 Players.

Minor (U-125): 1st Chris Snook-Lumb (Swindon) 5. 2nd Alastair Marston (Bristol Cabot) 4. 3rd=  Richard Porter (Bristol University), Steve Williams (Cwmbran) & Amol Telang (Bristol & Clifton) 3½.

Grading Prizes (U-110): Martyn Maber (Taunton) 2½. (U-90) James Dettman (Pete’s Potentials) 2.  22 Players.

Here are a couple of games from Round 3 in the Open.

White: G. Willett (126). Black: H. Andolo (176).

English Opening  [A29]

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.d3 Be7 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.0–0 0–0 9.a3 a5 10.Be3 Be6 11.Nd2 f5 12.Bxb6 cxb6 13.b3 Rc8 14.Nc4 Nd4 15.Bxb7 Rc7 16.Ba6 Ra7 17.Bb5 f4 18.Nxe5 Qc7 19.Nc4 Qc5 The bishop can’t move so must be protected, though this cuts it off from the defence, with fatal consequences. 20.a4 Qh5 21.Nd2 Bb4 22.Nce4 Nxe2+ 23.Kh1 Bxd2 24.Qxd2?? Qf3# 0–1. White might have wriggled free after 24.f3 Nxg3+ 25.Nxg3 fxg3 26.Qxd2 though Black’s much greater freedom of movement, not to mention his 50 point grading advantage, would probably win the day.

The following game helped Timmins on his way to a grading prize.

White: C. Timmins (167). Black: J. Waterfield (179)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D01]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.e3 g6 5.f4 Bg7 6.Nf3 0–0 7.Bd3 c5 8.0–0 b6 9.Qe1 Bb7 10.Qh4 White’s forces are starting to mass on the kingside. 10…Re8 11.Ne5 a6 12.Rf3 Nf8 13.f5 c4 14.fxg6 Nxg6 If 14…cxd3 15.gxf7+ Kh8 Black’s rook is going nowhere, so… 16.Rg3 with the threat of Bh6. 15.Bxg6 hxg6 16.Rh3 Qd6 17.Rf1 Bc8 18.g4 Be6 19.Bh6 Nh5 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.gxh5 f6 22.Rg3 fxe5 23.Rxg6+ Kh7 24.Qg5 and mate on h6 cannot be avoided. 1–0

Many more games may be found on the League’s website – www.chessit.co.uk.

In last week’s position, Black could finish in 3 forcing moves, starting with the sacrificial 1…Rg1+ 2.Kxg1 Qh2+ 3.Kf1 3.Qh1 mate.

This simple 2-mover was composed by Edith Elena Baird shortly before she died in Paignton in 1924.

White to mate in 2

Cotswold Congress Prizewinners (07.06.2014.)

The West of England Chess Union held their annual Council Meeting at Ilminster on Saturday under the chairmanship of John Wheeler. Jim Fewkes of Yeovil retired after 21 years as Treasurer to be replaced by Oliver Wensley of Exmouth, while all other officers were re-elected en bloc. The Harold Meek Cup was presented to Ben Edgell for Somerset’s 1st place in Division 1 and Brian Hewson received the Wayling Cup for Devon’s win in Division 2. It was the 4th consecutive time both teams had won these trophies. Cornwall were the surprise package, coming 3rd in Division 1, with the promise of more to come next season.

The winners in last weekend’s Cotswold Congress were as follows:

Open: 1st S. Berry (218 – Wimbledon) 6/6 points. 2nd= T. Slade (173 – Marhamchurch) & R. Bryant (170 – Oswestry). Grading prize (U-171) P. Asenov (170 – Witney) & C. McLaren (156 – Wotton Hall).

Major Section – (U-155): 1st P. Foley (136 – Upminster). 2nd= D. Macarthur (147 – Keynsham); D. Rogers (146 – Exmouth); M. Forknall (135 – Cheltenham) & S. Whitehead (135 – Cirencester). P. Morton – 147 – Hammersmith) & I. Lamb (137 – Bolton).  Grading prize (U-145) A. Gentry (142 – Witney) & R. Ashworth (139 – Wotton Hall).

Minor Section – (U-125): 1st= K. Langmaid (124 – Yate); S. Williams (122 – Cwmbran) & J. Lightowler (117 – Gloucester). Grading Prize (U-115) G. Mill-Wilson (112 – Yate) & S. Rees (107 – Hereford).

At the recent Frome congress, Stephen Appleby won a Grading Prize with the help of this quick win in Rd. 4.

White: S. Appleby Black: F. Palm

Queen’s Pawn Game [D04]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c5 4.e3 g6 5.cxd5 cxd4 6.Qa4+ Bd7 7.Qxd4 Qa5+ 8.Nc3 If 8.Bd2 Black could reclaim his pawn with  8…Qxd5. 8…Bg7 9.e4 0–0 10.Bd2 Black is hampered from completing development of his kingside pieces and starts moving other material instead. 10…e6 11.Bc4 Ng4 12.e5 exd5 13.Nxd5 Qd8 14.Bg5 Nxe5 Now would have been a good time to consider unravelling his Q-side pieces with 14…Nc6. 15.Qxe5! White courageously takes the piece. 15…Qa5+ 16.Bd2 Qa4 17.Qf4 remaining a piece up. 17…Re8+ 18.Kf1 1–0 Black resigns not only because he’s a piece down, but has the problem of his trapped rook and the threatened knight fork on c7. e.g. 18…Na6 19.Bxa6 Qxa6+ 20.Kg1 and White’s threatened fork cannot be denied.

From a game played earlier this year, how does Black finish clinically?

Black to play and win by force.

E. Devon League Annual Coast vs Country Match

The League’s annual prizegiving and Coast vs Country match took place on 3rd June at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth.

A number of factors led to the match being a very one-sided affair this year. Firstly, several of Exmouth’s top players were unavailable for one reason or another and the largest club, Sidmouth, failed to produce a single player, which meant that the Coast could only raise 12 players. These had to be supplemented by a number of players from Exeter and Newton Abbot in order to get even numbers.

Over the top 9 boards, the points were shared 4.5 each, but below that, the Coast could only muster 2 points, and one of them came from an on-loan Exeter player. The Coast were well-outgraded on 17 of the 19 boards, so perhaps did well to get 6.5 points.  Perhaps the new Coast captain next year (whoever that might be) will be able to get a better response, otherwise some re-thinking might have to be done about the format. Perhaps a version of the DCCA’s old President vs Match Captain’s match, whereby teams are picked on the night from whoever turns up. First “picker” chooses one player while the next chooses two. Food for thought, anyway. The games will appear on the League website asap.

The details were:-

  3rd  June 2014       Manor Hotel  
Bd Coast Team Grd     Country Team Grd
1 M. Shaw 176 0 1 Dr. T. J. Paulden 184
2 Dr. J. Underwood 171 1 0 Dr. D. Regis 180
3 O. E. Wensley 157 0 1 G. Body 166
4 B. G. Gosling 152 ½ ½ Dr. C. E. Keen 141
5 A. S. Kinder 152 1 0 J. Duckham 147
6 C. J. Scott 145 ½ ½ I. S. Annetts 152
7 W. R. P.Taylor 139 0 1 W. T. Marjoram 142
8 M. Belt 129 1 0 J. Waley 132
9 R. K. Hunt 125 ½ ½ E. J. Palmer 133
10 R. H. Jones 132 0 1 D. Thomson u/g
11 F. R. Hodge 98 0 1 J. Knowles 128
12 Mrs. H. Welch 109 0 1 J. Amos 129
13 M. A. Haines 91 0 1 R. A. Scholes 103
14 M. Lee u/g 1 0 J. Maloney 110
15 T. Badlan 79 0 1 E. Kelly 103
16 T. Miner u/g 0 1 R. Player 95
17 B. Marsh 49 0 1 G. J. Jenkins 112
18 L. Hafstead u/g 1 0 A. Brinkley 80
19 T. Murray u/g 0 1 T. Finch 90

The match was preceded by the prizegiving, at which League President Brian Aldwin presented the five cups on display.

  Premiership Div. 1            
  Teams 1 2 3 4 tot  
1 Newton Abbot X 1 2 2 5 Cottew Cup
2 Exeter Rooks 1 X 0 2 3  
3 Exeter Bishops 2 0 X 1 3 Turner Cup
4 Tiverton Titans 0 0 1 X 1  


  Championship Div. 2              
  Teams 1 2 3 4 5 tot  
1 Exeter Gambits X 2 2 2 2 8 Polsloe Cup
2 Seaton 0 X 2 2 2 6 Mainstay Cup
3 Sidmouth 0 0 X 2 1 3  
4 Tiverton 0 0 0 X 2 2  
5 East Budleigh 0 0 0 1 X 1  


  Teams P W L D F A Bonus Tot
1 Tiverton 6 5 1 0 17 7 3 14
2 Sidmouth 6 3 0 3 12½ 11½ 2 8
3 Exeter Prestissimo 6 2 2 2 12 12 1 7
4 Exeter Gambits 6 0 1 5 17½ 0 1


Andrew Kinder receives the Cottew Cup on behalf of Newton Abbot

Charles Keen receives the Premiership team Grading Prize.

Championship winners Exeter Gambits l-r Richard Scholes, Eddy Palmer, R. Player & Brian Aldwin.

Hazel Welch receives the Mainstay Cup as Seaton's team grading prize

Ivor Annetts receives the RapidPlay prize for the Tiverton Timebombs

Frome Congress Game (31.05.2014.)

The recent Frome Congress was won by Paul Byway on 4½/5 points, winning the Qualifying Place for this year’s British Champion in the process. This was a key win from Round 4 in which, having gained a small advantage, he kept everything as simple and risk-free as possible thereafter.

White: Paul Byway (185). Black: Theo Slade (173)

Queen’s Indian Defence. [E14]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.d4 e6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nc3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Qa4+ Bc6 9.Bb5 Bxb5 10.Nxb5 Nbd7 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Bd2 a6 13.Nc3 Qc7 14.0–0 Bd6 White can now win a central pawn that puts Black on the back foot for the rest of the game. 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qe4+ Ne5 Black cannot save the knight with 16…Ne7 because of 17.Qxa8+. 17.Qxd5 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 0–0 White is now concerned to minimise Black’s attacking opportunities and rely on his own endgame technique to utilise the extra pawn. 19.g3 Be5 20.Bc3 Bxc3 21.bxc3 Qe5 22.c4 Rfd8 23.Rad1 g6 24.Rd5 Rxd5 25.Qxd5 Qxd5 26.cxd5 From now on, Black finds himself in a straightjacket 26…f5 27.Rc1 Rc8 28.d6 Kf7 29.d7 Rd8 30.Rxc5 Rxd7 31.Rc6 Ra7 32.a4 a5 33.Kg2 Ke7 34.Kf3 Kd7 35.Rb6 Rc7 36.Rb5 Ra7 37.Kf4 Ke6 38.h4 Ra6 39.Kg5 Ra7 40.h5 gxh5 41.Kxh5 Kf6 42.g4 fxg4 43.Kxg4 Ra6 44.f4 Re6 45.Kf3 Ra6 46.e4 Ke6? Black is losing anyway, but this is probably the quickest way of ending it. 46…Ra8 would have kept things going a little longer.  47.Rh5 Ra7 48.Rh6+ Ke7 49.Rxh7+ Kd6 50.Rxa7 1–0

In last week’s position, White’s knight on b3 is “overloaded”, trying to both defend the rook and prevent …Nd2 mate, so Black can simply play QxR! threatening mate on b2.

This week’s 2-mover is the start of the 2014-’15 British Solving Championship. White is playing up the board and is able to mate on his 2nd move against any Black defence. Find the 1st move, the “key”, and submit that in any one of three ways:- (a) by post to Paul Valois, 14, Newton Park Drive, Leeds, LS7 4HH, (b) by e-mail to wintonstarter@theproblemist.org or (c) via the website www.bstephen.me.uk/index.php/current-year-2014-2015. Don’t forget to mention this publication when you do so and there is no entry fee this year. The closing date for this starter round is 14th August, after which all entrants will receive the answer and those who got it right will receive the postal round, comprising 8 more difficult problems. Best of luck with it.

White to play and mate in 2.

Two Frome Games (24.05.2014.)

Here are two games from the recent Frome Congress that had a bearing on the prizelist. This one is from the Open.

White: B. Morris (174). Black: D.Cordner (166)

1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 Most unusual. 2…d5 3.e5 f6 If White wanted to lure Black away from the well-lit paths of known opening theory, he has certainly succeeded. 4.Nf4 threatening 5. Qh5+ g6 6.Nxg6 4…Bf5 5.d4 fxe5 6.dxe5 Qc7 7.Be2 Qxe5 The queen is lured forward while the minor pieces are still waiting for the call to arms. 8.0–0 Nf6 9.Re1 threatening Bh5+ winning the queen. 9…Qc7 10.c4 e6 11.cxd5 Bd6 12.Nxe6 Bxe6 13.Bh5+! g6 14.Rxe6+ Kf7 15.Qf3 Nbd7 16.Bg5 cxd5 17.Bg4 Bxh2+ Black was happy to get his own check in, but it has no bearing on the main issues. 18.Kh1 Be5 19.Nc3 h6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Nxd5 Qd8 22.Rd1 h5 23.Bh3 Rf8 24.Nxf6 Kg7 25.Nxh5+! 1-0 and Morris came 2nd= in the Open.

This pair were clear leaders of the Major going in to the final round. Notes based on those by the philosophical loser.

White: I. Annetts (152). Black: T. Woodward (153).

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.a4 b4 9.d3 d6 10.a5 Bg4 11.c3 Rb8 12.Bc4 Qc8 13.Nbd2 bxc3 14.bxc3 Be6 15.Qa4 Nd8 16.Ba3 c5 17.Reb1 Bxc4 18.Nxc4 Nc6 19.Rb6 Rxb6 20.Nxb6? Better was 20.axb6 20…Qc7 21.Bc1 Rb8 22.Rb1 Bd8 23.Nd2 Be7 24.Nd5 Nxd5 25.Rxb8+ Nxb8 26.Qe8+ Bf8 27.exd5 Nd7 28.c4? Qxa5 29.Qxd7 Qc3 30.Qa4 Qxc1+ 31.Nf1 Qb1 32.Qxa6 Qxd3 33.h3 Qd1 34.Qc8 g6 35.Qd8 Qc1 36.Qf6? With both sides having seconds in which to reach move 40, each of us errs. 36…Qxc4 37.Ne3 Qf4 38.Qd8 c4? 39.Qc8 Qd4 40.Qxc4 Qxc4 41.Nxc4 Kg7 42.f3 Kf6 43.Kf2 Ke7 44.g4 Bh6 45.Ke2 f5 46.Kd3 Bf8 47.g5 h6 48.h4 hxg5 49.hxg5 Kd7 50.Ke3 f4+  51.Ke4 Be7 52.Nd2 Bxg5 53.Nf1 Kc7 54.Nh2 Kb6 55.Nf1 Kb5 56.Nh2 Kc4 57.Nf1 Kc3 58.Nh2 It was here that I realised my king was in a stalemate position. With the move and no horse, the game is drawn. 58…Kc4 59.Ng4 Kc5 60.Nh2 Be7 61.Ng4 Bf8 62.Nf6 Be7 63.Ng8 Bd8 64.Nh6 Bg5 65.Nf7 Be7 66.Nh8 g5 67.Nf7 Bf6 68.Nh6 Kc4 69.Ng4 Be7 70.Nf6 I was inside my last minute and I chose the stalemate. 70…Bxf6 He took and I held out my hand to acknowledge the draw. He, assuming I was resigning, graciously offered his and I then realised that his g-pawn had moved. Doooh! 71.Kf5 Kxd5 72.Kxf6 e4. 0–1

… and so Woodward took clear 1st prize.

In last week’s position, Black could play 1…Bxh2+ and White’s rook will be undefended. Here Black has a strong attack down the a-file, but the White knights seem to be just about holding the fort. What can Black do about it?

Black to play and win

25th Frome Congress Prizewinners (17.05.2014.)

The 25th Frome Congress finished on Sunday evening and attracted 145 players. The main winners were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st Paul Byway (Hertford) 4½. 2nd= Carl Bicknell (Horfield) & Barry Morris (Bath) 3½. The British Championship Place went to Byway. Grading prizes U-181: Theo Slade (Barnstaple). U-170: Stephen Appleby (Gillingham).

Major (U-170): 1st Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) 4½. 2nd= Paul Jackson (Coulsdon); Karl Biswas (Oxford); Mark Littleton (Wimborne) & Ivor Annetts (Tiverton) all 3½. Grading prizes U-156 Alan Papier (Bristol & Clifton); Paul Tew (S. Wales); Roger Knight (Yeovil); Mark Leonard (Trowbridge) all 3. U-145 Tim Chinnick (Hanham).

Intermediate (U-140): 1st Jamie Macdonald (Wimborne) 5. 2nd= Thomas Cooper (Trowbridge); Max French (Frome) & Keith Bateman (Salisbury). Grading Prize U-131: Greg Willett (Bath). U-120 Joe Clapp (Norton Radstock) both 3½.

Minor (U-115): 1st= Stephen Crockett (Redditch); Matthew Hutt (Wilts) & Frank Cheeseman (Kent). Grading Prize U-106: Gary Woods (Norton Radstock). U-90: Keith Sherlock (Yeovil).

The trophies for the highest placed Somerset players in each section were awarded as follows: Bonner Cup (Open) B. Morris. Leon York Cup (Major) T. Woodward. Roy Hossell Cup (Intermediate) T. Cooper. Cyril Chapman Cup (Minor) I. Stringer (Yeovil). Jean Mackereth Cup: Ungraded player in the Minor. M. Maber (Taunton).

The team competition was won by Bath, comprising Peter Cusick, John Leon, Greg Willett & Barry Morris).

Cornwall were the surprise package in this year’s Inter-county Championship, and here is one of their wins against Gloucestershire. Others can be found on their website cornwallchess.org.uk.

White: Grant Healey (165). Black: Phil Denison (158).

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nf6 5.c3 Nc6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.exd4 Bd6 8.Bg5 0–0 9.0–0 e5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Nd2 h6 13.Bh4 Qd6 14.h3 g5 15.Bg3 Bxg3 16.fxg3 Qxg3 17.Rxf6 Qxd3 18.Rxh6 g4 19.Rh5 Qg6 20.Rxd5 gxh3 threatening mate on g2. 21.Qf3 Qxg2+?? leading to a swift end. Black needed to develop his queenside pieces without delay with either 21…Be6 22.Rd6 Rad8 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Qf2 Bd5 25.Nf3 etc. Or; 21…Bg4 22.Qf4 f6 23.Rd4 Be6 etc. 22.Qxg2+ hxg2 23.Rg5+! Kh7 24.Kxg2 and mate on h1 cannot be avoided. 1–0

Last week’s position ended with 1.QxR+! and if 1…RxQ Black will get mated on the back rank.

How does Black win significant material in this position which arose from a top game earlier this year?

Black to play and win significant material.

Bristol Spring Congress – Winners List (10.05.2014.)

The Bristol League’s Spring Congress took place a few days before the West of England’s Easter Congress, which might explain the absence of Bristol players at the latter event. The winners were as follows:-

Open Section: 1st= James Cobb & Chris Beaumont (both Clifton) 4/5 points.

Cobb is Bristol champion on tie-break. 3rd= David Buckley (Bath), John Curtis (Clifton), Rob Hearne (Bath), Stephen Piper (Salisbury), Joseph Turner (Wales) all 3½.

Major: (U-155) 1st Matthew Wilson (Downend) 4½. 2nd= Adrian Champion & Alex Rossiter (both Bristol Cabot) 4.   

Minor: (U-125) 1st= Lee Bullock (London) Richard Porter (Bristol Uni.) & Amol Telang (Clifton) 4.

Although Cobb and Beaumont both scored 4 points, in their individual encounter Beaumont won, while drawing 2 of his other games, to make their scores level.

White: C. Beaumont (209). Black: J. E. Cobb (225).

English Opening [A13]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 a6 4.Bg2 b5 5.b3 Bb7 6.Nc3 b4 7.Na4 d6 8.a3 a5 9.axb4 axb4 10.0–0 Be7 11.d4 Nbd7 12.Bb2 0–0 13.Qd2 c5 14.dxc5 dxc5 15.Rfd1 Qc7 16.Qf4 Qc8 If 16…Qxf4 17.gxf4 and White might be able to utilise the open g-file for attacking purposes in conjunction with his dark-square bishop. 17.Ne5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Ra6 19.Nxd7 Nxd7 20.Rd3 e5 21.Qd2 giving White domination of the d-file, with Rad1 looking likely, so Black must give up a pawn. 21…Nf6 22.Bxe5 Ne4 23.Qf4 Ng5 24.Rad1 Qh3+ 25.Kh1 f5 Black had a chance to win his pawn back with 25…Rh6 26.g4 Qh4 27.Kg2 Re6 28.Qg3 Qxg3+ 29.Bxg3 Rxe2. 26.Bd6 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 Bxd6 28.Qxd6 Ne4 Looks strong, but White has a check. 29.Qe6+ Kh8 30.Kg1 Qh5 31.Qe7 Rg8 32.Rd8 h6 33.Rxg8+ Kxg8 34.f3 Nc3 35.Nxc5 f4 36.Qe6+ Kh7 37.Nd3 fxg3 38.hxg3 Qg5 39.Kg2 Qd2 40.Nf4 Qc2 41.c5 Nb5 42.Qd5 Nc3 43.Qd3+ 1–0 After 43…Qxd3 44.exd3 White should be able to nurse his 2 passed pawns up the board without too much trouble.

All games from the event are downloadable from the League’s own website, chessit.co.uk.

The 25th Frome Congress started last night and continues over the weekend at Selwood Academy. Spectators are welcome to watch the games or peruse the excellent bookstall.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Kc5! and if 1…Kc5 2. Be7 mate or 1…Kd7 Qe7 mate.

Applying the coup de grace in the most clinical way is one of the joys of chess. How did White do that in this position?

White to win a.s.a.p.