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Cotswold Congress Results (04.06.2016.)

Keith Arkell was the first Grandmaster to enter the Cotswold Congress for many years, and on Monday he hit the chess headlines in the Daily Telegraph when their correspondent, Malcolm Pein, noted the fact that Arkell had achieved the remarkable feat of coming 1st in his last 7 consecutive weekend events, namely Bristol, Exeter, Exmouth (the West of England Championship), Hereford, Nottingham, Great Yarmouth and Rhyl. Such was his current form and the relatively modest opposition, by his standards, that one could be forgiven for expecting him to make this his 8th success.

Yet it was not to be. In Round 3 he faced his nearest opponent, Chris Beaumont, who was not prepared to go down without a fight and proceeded to win with the white pieces. He conceded a draw in the following round, but didn’t allow Arkell to catch him, finishing a half point ahead.  The full prizelist was as follows (all points out of 6)

Open Section: 1st Chris Beaumont (Bristol & Clifton) 5½. 2nd Keith Arkell (Paignton) 5.  3rd Matt Gillings (Wimbourne) 4.  U-170 grading prize: William Phillips (Hatchend) 3. 16 players competed.

Major (U-155) 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5. 2nd= Robert Ashworth (Wotton Hall); Ian Bush (Magdalen College School, Oxford) & Martyn Harris (Newcastle under Lyme) 4½. Grading Prize (U-138) Rich Wiltshir (Rushall) 3½. (U-120) David Williams 3½. 37 players competed.

Minor (U-125). 1st Mark Forknall (Cheltenham) 5½. 2nd= Steve Clare (Wallasey) & Rezza Gorsi Pour (Gloucester) 5.  Grading Prizes (U-102) Douglas Bramley (Spondon) 4.

U-100: Paul Broderick 3½. 35 competed.

As a way of raising funds for their forthcoming trip to Borneo, pupils from the host venue, King’s School Gloucester, provided a service to the players by running the refreshment stall.

In the recent Frome Congress, father & son George and Scott Crockert, both won with Black in the final round, to qualify for the British Championship. This is one of those games.

White: P. Orgler (2132). Black: G. Crockart (2012).

Dutch Defence – Staunton Gambit [A83]

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qh6 Nc6 9.Nf3 b6 10.c3 Bb7 11.Bd3 Qe7 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.Qg5 0–0 14.Qxf6 Rxf6 15.Ne5 d6 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.0–0 Re8 18.Rfe1 Kf7 19.b4 g5 20.b5 Bb7 21.a4 e5 22.a5 Rfe6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Ra7 Rb8 25.Be4?? Much better was 25.Bc4 and if d5 26.Rxb7 Rxb7 27.Bxd5. Rb8 28. f4 gxf4 29. Rxe5 Rbe8 30.Kf2 Kf6 and after the pieces come off White should win. 25…exd4 26.f3 d5 0–1.

Last week’s original 3-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Be4! If 1…Kg1 2.Qf3 with mate on g2. If 1…g2 2.Qg4 g1=Q 3.Qh4 mate. If 1…e2 2.Qf3 e1=Q (if 2…e1=N 3.Qh1 mate) 3.Qg2 mate.

In this position from a recent game, Black is clearly on the back foot, but White still needs a clinical finish to end all resistance.

Find White's winning move

Somerset & Devon Meet Varying Fortunes. (28.05.2016.)

Westcountry teams met with varying fortunes on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championships. Devon had entered the grade-limited U-180 section and were paired against Middlesex, to whom they lost in the Final last year. This time, however, fate intervened on Devon’s behalf, as a third of the Middlesex team were held up in heavy traffic and while most arrived late, two didn’t make it at all, thus gifting Devon a close win by 8½-7½ in a match they might otherwise have lost.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing). 1.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 W. Taylor (170). 2.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 3.John Wheeler (177) 1-0 G. Batchelor (176). 4.Trefor Thynne (167) 0-1 A. Hayler (170). 5.M. Gosling ½-½ R. Harper (172) 6.Paul Hampton 1-0 A. Fulton (170). 7.Dennis Cowley (160) 1-0 R. Kane (164). 8.G. Body (163) 1-0 def. 9.Bill Ingham (158) ½-½ W. Phillips (162). 10.P. Brooks (158) 1-0    J. Kay (162). 11.Brian Gosling (154) 1-0 def. 12.Martin Quinn (159) ½-½ P. Morton (160). 13.Mike Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 0-1 L. Fincham (160). 14.Nick Butland (155) ½-½ L. Boy (153). 15.Kevin Hindom (155) 0-1 A. McGuinness (151). 16.Ivor Annetts (151) 0-1 J. Sargent (152).

Devon thus avenged their 2015 final defeat, and now go on to meet Essex in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, it was a different story for Somerset who had entered the Minor Counties section, which, despite its title, is a much stronger tournament, as there is no grade limit. They were paired against Suffolk who turned up with a 16 man team whose average grade was 182 compared to Somerset’s 145, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Somerset lost the match, but nevertheless 14½-1½ is a crushing defeat. Gerry Jepps was their only winner and Chris Purry got the solitary draw.

Last week’s Frome Congress also incorporated the Somerset individual championships, which go to the highest-placed Somerset player in each section.

These went as follows:  Open: David Buckley (Bath) who received the Denys Bonner Trophy.  Major: Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) got the Leon York Trophy.

Intermediate: Hugo Fowler, (Millfield School) got the Roy Hossell Cup.

Minor: Alastair Drummond (Bristol Cabot) got the Cyril Chapman trophy, and Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) was awarded the Jean Mackereth Cup for the best ungraded player in the Minor.

The Cotswold Congress starts this morning at the King’s School, Gloucester and continues for 6 rounds until Monday evening. Results next week.

In last week’s position White simply played 1.Rd1! and Black’s forward rook is pinned in two diections, so must fall.

This week’s position is another world premier by Dave Howard. White can clearly spend time chasing the Black king with a series of checks, but how can he mate in just 3 moves?

White to mate in 3

Frome Congress 2016 Results

The Frome Congress finished on Sunday evening with the following prizewinners (all points out of 5).

Open: 1st David Buckley (Bath) 4½. 2nd= Tim Kett (Cardiff), Matthew Payne (Bath) & Jane Richmond – 4. Although there were no Grandmasters involved this year in this section it was all the more competitive for it, with a record entry of 42.

Major Section (U-165): 1st= Brendon O’Gorman; James Forster (Southbourne); Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) & Lynda Roberts (Thornbury), all 4 pts.

Intermediate (U-140): 1st= Robin Morris-Weston (Reading) & Hugo Fowler (Glastonbury) both 4½.

Minor (U-110): 1st= Alastair Drummond (Bristol) & Bill Read (Witney ) both 4½. 3rd= Georgina Headlong (Swindon), Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) & Alan Fraser (Beckenham).

The Frome event is now able to award more than one Qualifying Place for the British Championship to be held in Bournemouth in the summer, and places were awarded to David Onley (Combined Services); Scott Crockart (Didcot) & George Crockart (Bristol). This may be the first time in chess history that a father and son have both qualified in this way at the same event.

Going in to the final round of the Open, Kett was the clear leader on a perfect 4 points, followed by Buckley in clear 2nd place a half point behind. Kett had White and only needed to draw to be certain of 1st place, but his opponent had other ideas.

White: T. Kett (198). Black: D. Buckley. (212)

French Defence [C11]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 The Boleslavsky Variation. 7…Be7 8.Qd2 0–0 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Bxc5 Nxc5 11.0–0–0 By castling on the opposite side to Black, White is choosing to live dangerously. 11…Qa5 12.Kb1 Bd7 13.Bd3 Rac8 14.f5 exf5 15.Nxd5 Qxd2 16.Rxd2 Rfe8 17.Re1 Be6 18.Nf4 Nxd3 19.cxd3 If 19.Rxd3 Nb4 attacking both a- & c-pawns; or 19.Nxd3 Bd5. 19…Nb4 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.a3 Nd5 22.Rc1 Rxc1+ 23.Kxc1 Rc8+ 24.Kb1 Kf7 25.Ng5+ Ke7 26.Nxh7 White may feel the need to attack Black’s 3-2 kingside pawn majority, but this merely reduces it to 2–1 – an even more potent threat. 26…Rh8 27.Ng5 Rxh2 28.Nf3 Rh6 29.Rc2 Kd7 30.Nd4 Rh1+ 31.Ka2 Rd1 32.Nb3 b6 Not 32…Rxd3?? 33.Nc5+. 33.Nd4 Rxd3 34.Nc6 Nc3+ 35.Kb3 Kxc6 36.Kc4 Rd5 37.bxc3 Rxe5 continuing to hack down White’s pawns 38.Rd2 Rd5 39.Re2 e5 40.g4 f4 White has run out of all meaningful counterplay. 0–1

In last week’s position, White won after 1.Nd7+! and if 1…Ka8 2.Rc5 threatening Ra5 mate, or if Black takes the knight there’s Rc8 mate. If 1…RxN 2. RxR and White is the exchange and 2 pawns up, easily enough to win in the longer run.

In this top class game from last year, Black seems to be well set for an attack, but White spots a flaw in the position. White to play and force immediate resignation.

Find White's winning move.

Michael Ashworth Is Top WECU JUnior

The West of England Junior Championships were held at St. Joseph’s College, Swindon earlier this year. The age-group champions were as follows:

U-18: Michael Ashworth (Glos/Wilts).

U-16: Robert Ashworth (Glos/Wilts).

U-14: Charlie McLaren (Glos/Wilts).

U-14 Girls: Sophie Cottle (Wilts). U-12: Ben Headlong (Wilts). U-12 Girls: Georgia Headlong (Wilts). U-10: Samir Khan. U-10 Girls: Fiona Thet (Somerset).

U-9: Siddharth Venkatanarayana. (Wilts).

U-8: Matthew Timbrell (Somerset). U-8 Girls: Zohar Ashraf & Kaia Bhatoolaul (both Wilts).

Recently, an inter-county girls match was held in Swindon, involving teams of 12 players from Wiltshire, Somerset and Oxfordshire, playing 2 rounds. The latter were out-classed, but the overall win went down to the last 2 games to finish. 1st Wiltshire 17½ pts.; 2nd Somerset 13½ and 3rd Oxford 5. Somerset’s Team Managers, Chris Strong and Fenella Headlong, reported that the whole match was played in a very friendly atmosphere and many new friends were made, both within and between the teams.
St. Petroc’s, Cornwall’s charity that raises funds and takes action for the homeless in the county, is running an informal chess competition on

Saturday May 21st at Saint Augustine’s Church, St. Austell – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to all, young and old, novices to experts. Previously, the youngest was at primary school, the eldest was 70+, and the strongest was International Master Andrew Greet, who was born in the town. Entries to Jackie Davis email:Jackie.Davis@stpetrocs.org.uk.

Entry fee is £10 (pay on the day), which includes lunch, so you must enter before the event so the lunch numbers can be calculated!

Here is a win by M. Ashworth from last year’s Chess Challenge Terafinal.

White: J. Boswell. Black: M. Ashworth Sicilian Defence [B27]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 The Maroczy Bind, deterring …d5, which is a freeing move for Black. It is often said that if Black can get in …d5 without suffering any weakness elsewhere, he will have achieved at least parity. 5…Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0–0 10.Qd2 a5 Black is seeking ways to undermine the “Bind” simply by circumventing it. 11.0–0 a4 12.Rad1 Qa5 13.Bd4 Be6 14.f3 Rfc8 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.cxd5 Qxd2 17.Rxd2 Nd7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.b4 axb3 20.axb3 Rc3 21.Rb2 Ra3 22.b4 Nb6 23.Bb5 Kf6 24.f4 Rab3 25.Rbb1 Rxb1 26.Rxb1 Re3 White’s pawn centre will now crumble. 27.Kf2 Rxe4 28.g3 Nxd5 29.Be2?? Black spots the terminal error. 29…Rxe2+! 30.Kxe2 Nc3+ forking king and rook. 0–1

Last week’s position ended after 1…Rf1+ when White must lose his queen to either 2.Kg3 exposing his queen to the rook or 2.BxR Ne4+ forking king & queen.

This position is very near the end of the game Joe Gallagher (W) vs Gary Lane in 1990. How did White finish quickly?

White to play and win

Frome Congress Approaches (07.05.2016.)

The ever-popular Frome Congress starts next Friday evening at the Selwood Academy. Last year’s winner was Grandmaster Matthew Turner, chess master at Millfield School, where he looks after a number of highly-promising juniors who are there on a chess scholarship. This was his last round game against another former West of England Champion, Jane Richmond (née Garwell), the only lady to have won the title, and many times Welsh Ladies Champion.

White: Matthew Turner (2478). Black: Jane Richmond (2086).

English Opening  [A25]

1.c4 e5 The Sicilian Variation, so called because the pawns now resemble a Sicilian Defence, but with colours reversed. It is reckoned to offer Black the best chances of active counter-play. 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 h5 7.h3 Nh6 8.e4 Be6 9.d3 Qd7 10.Nd5 Nd8 11.Bg5 Ng8 12.Qd2 Black proceeds to push White back using pawn advances. 12…c6 13.Ndc3 f6 14.Be3 f5 15.b3 h4 She doesn’t intend to lie back and get run over, but will the pawn-pushing at the expense of natural piece development backfire at some point? 16.exf5 gxf5 17.d4 Ne7 18.0–0–0 Qc7 19.d5 cxd5 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.Bxd5 Rc8 22.Nc3 Qa5 23.Kb1 Bxd5 24.Nxd5 Qxd2 25.Bxd2 Nc6 26.g4 Kf7 27.gxf5 Nd4 28.f6 Bxf6 29.Nxf6 Kxf6 30.Bc3 Ne2 31.Rxd6+ Kf5 32.Kc2 Rcd8 33.Bxe5 Rxd6 Or 33…Kxe5 34.Rxd8 Rxd8 35.Re1 winning the piece back. 34.Bxd6 In a relatively open position like this, a bishop is often a little stronger than a knight and with a 2 pawn deficit the writing is on the wall for Black. 34…Ke4 35.f4 Kf3 36.f5 Ng3 37.Rd1 Rh6 38.Bf8 Ra6 39.Rd7 Nxf5 40.Rxb7 Ke4 Or 40…Rxa2+ 41.Kd3 Kf4 42.c5 and the c-pawn can run forward supported by the rook & bishop. 41.a4 Rf6 42.Bc5 1–0.

The Cornish Championship finished in a tie between James Hooker (Truro) and David Saqui (Camborne) on 4/5 points, although on tie-break Hooker retained his championship title and the Emigrant Cup.

The recent Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress finished as follows: Open: 1st= Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) & Jonathan Bourne (Swindon). Grading Prizes: U-172 – Peter Jaskiwskyj & Mark Littleton (Wimborne). U-160: Matthew Wilson (Teignmouth). U-150: John Bowley (Wimborne). Juniors U-16 – Felix Schulte.

Minor Section: 1st= Alan Dean,           Martin Worrall (Taunton) & Duncan McArthur. Grading Prizes: U-122 – Nigel Dicker (Glastonbury). U-100 Martin Maber (Taunton). Juniors U-16 : Joshua Blackmore (Newton Abbot) & Reece Whittington (Exeter Juniors). Juniors U-14: Nick Cunliffe & Kenneth Greenshields both Somerset.

Three weeks today sees the start of the 48th Cotswold Congress in their new home of the King’s School, Gloucester. Full details may be found on their own website cotswoldcongress.co.uk.

This position arose just before the end of a game last December. Black to move.

Black to move and win

Klein’s Last Game (30.04.2016.)

Back in 2000, the Paignton Congress hosted the Golombek Memorial Tournament, celebrating the life of the great player and writer. In addition, there was a display of Golombek memorabilia donated by his friend, Gerry Walsh, who was acting as Arbiter for the main event. Among the items was an extraordinary letter, which read thus:

“10th July 1952.  Dear Mr. Golombek,  Do you really think you can escape responsibility for the article of A. H. Trott (in the Times). You are a Director of the magazine (BCM) and its Games Editor. Moreover, you saw my game with Euwe played, analysed it – without consulting me, of course, as you usually do – and wrote a report in the Times. This report concerning my game was false and deliberately misleading. It was your job to see that such a ghastly untruth was stopped… and insinuating on top of it that I did not play the second game because I was afraid. I assure you, I’ll make you pay for this insolence of yours and your associate intrigrants.

Yours truly, E. Klein.”

What on earth was it all that about?

Ernst Klein (1910-1990) was the British Champion at the time and had just played Bd. 1 in the 1st round of an Anglo-Dutch match against the former World Champion, securing a draw after Euwe lost the exchange. Several writers reported that Klein had been “very lucky”, and it was this perceived slight that so incensed him. In protest, he not only withdrew from playing the 2nd game but didn’t play again for over 20 years. Although an extreme reaction by Klein, he was known for his short fuse and acerbic tongue.

This was that controversial game.

White: M. Euwe. Black: E. L. Klein.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.Nc3 c6 8.e4 Qc7 9.Re1 Rd8 10.h3 a6 11.Qc2 e5 12.Be3 exd4 13.Nxd4 Nc5 14.Rad1 Bd7 15.g4 Be8 16.Bf4 Nfd7 17.Bg3 Ne5 18.Nce2 Qa5 19.f4 Ned7 20.Kh1 Nf8 21.Rf1 b5 22.a3 Qb6 23.cxb5 axb5 24.Bh4 Rdc8 25.Be7 Nb7 26.f5 c5 27.f6!? cxd4 28.fxg7 Ne6 29.Qd2 Na5 (see diagram) White now played

What did Euwe (W) play next?

30.Nxd4? B. H. Wood, no great friend of Golombek, wrote in Chess Klein saw deeply into a complicated position. Even had Euwe not taken the pawn that lost him the exchange, playing, for instance,  30.Bf6 how is he to answer 30…Nc4?” du Mont in The Field suggested 30.Qh6 Nxg7 31.Bf6 Ne6 32.g5 Nb7 33.Rf4 with the unanswerable threat of 34. Qxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rh4+ Kg8 36.Rh8 mate, but this begs a lot of questions. Euwe himself pointed out that 30.Qh6! wins. e.g. 30…Nc4 31.Nf4! Nxf4 32.Rxf4 after which he could see nothing better for Black than 32…Ne3 33.g5! and if 33…Nxd1 34.Qxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rh4+ Kxg7 36.Bf6+ Kf8 37.Rh8#. The game itself then finished… 30…Qxd4 31.Qxd4 Nxd4 32.Rxd4 Nc6 33.Bf6 Nxd4 34.Bxd4 Ra4 35.Rd1 Rac4 36.Bc3 Rxc3 37.bxc3 Rxc3 38.e5 d5 39.Rxd5 Kxg7 40.Rd8 Bc6 41.Bxc6 Rxc6 42.Rd5 ½–½.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Ph8=Q!

Beer & Blitz – A Celebration In Memoriam (23.04.2016.)

A number of leading chess players have died in recent months, among them England Olympiad veteran Peter Clarke (81) from north Cornwall; financier Jim Slater (86) who called Bobby Fischer a “chicken” in the run-up to his famous 1972 world championship match with Spassky, which, together with a £5,000 bonus from Slater, stung the American into actually turning up; Jeremy James (79) who presented chess tournaments on BBC TV in the 1970s under the title “The Master Game”; writer Dr. Colin Crouch (58) and problemist Sir Jeremy Morse (87), former Chairman of Lloyd’s Bank.

A good advert, incidentally, for the longevity of chessplayers.

David Norwood, a grandmaster who abandoned a career in chess to amass a fortune in commodity trading, took it upon himself to commemorate their lives and achievements in the game by organising and underwriting a very strong blitz chess tournament at the King’s Head pub in Bayswater on 27th February. Sixty four of England’s strongest players played in 8 All-Play-All leagues in the early rounds, changing to knockout when it was down to the last 16 players.

The rate of moves was 3 minutes per player for all moves, but with the digital clocks being used, 2 seconds were added each time a move was made. Unfortunately, electronic boards were not available to record the moves automatically, being played at almost lightning speed, but the later games were videoed and may be seen on-line; just visit www.youtube.com and search for “Beer and blitz – Celebration in Memoriam”.

Four grandmasters made the semi-finals, in which Michael Adams beat Luke McShane and Mark Hebden beat Simon Williams. In the final, Cornishman Adams beat Hebden in Game 1 with Black against a Ruy Lopez, and drew Game 2, netting him the £700 first prize. It was another example, if ever one was needed, of Adams’ supreme chess skill – speed of thought and deep knowledge of the game.

Last week’s position was an illustration of the “power of the check”. Whatever else is possible, a check must be dealt with first, which allows White to win a piece with 1.QxB+ KxQ 2.RxQ.

Sir Jeremy Morse, was something of a polymath. After Winchester, he took a Double First at Oxford, and was elected a fellow of All Souls. Not only one of the finest minds of his generation in the City, he was, amongst other things, a classics scholar, a pianist, a lover of poetry and a solver and composer of cryptic crosswords. He was an international chess judge, and in retirement published Chess Problems: Tasks and Records, (Faber & Faber 1995) a collection of some 837 problems, about 50 of them of his own devising. His speciality was the 2-mover, the “purest of all chess exercises”. Here is one of his own compositions from that book.

White to move and mate in 2.

White mates in 2

Evans Above! (16.04.2016.)

As reported earlier, the appearance of the Dutchman, Thomas Broek, added to the interest in the Championship section of the recent WECU Congress, with some enterprising, uninhibited play, as in this last round game.

White: Thomas Broek. Black: Jack Rudd. Evans Gambit [C51]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 The signature move of the Evans Gambit, devised by Capt. William E. Evans (1790 – 1872) as he commanded the Royal Mail’s first steam packet between his native Milford Haven and Waterford. It became a highly popular variation of the Giuoco Piano or Italian Game, described by a contemporary as “A gift of the gods to a languishing chess world”. Both players here knew it well and rattled off the first 12 moves in a matter of seconds. 4…Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.d4 Na5 7.Be2 exd4 8.Qxd4 Nf6 9.e5 Nc6 10.Qf4 Nd5 11.Qg3 0–0 12.Bh6 Now it begins to get really interesting. 12…g6 13.Bxf8 Qxf8 Although White’s queen has done a job in helping to win the exchange, it’s virtually trapped in a corner. 14.0–0 d6 15.c4 Ndb4 threatening …Nc2 winning the rook. 16.Nc3 dxe5 17.Nd5 e4 18.Nd2 Nd4 19.Bd1 Bd6 20.Qh4 Nxd5 21.cxd5 f5 22.Nb3 Nxb3 23.Bxb3 f4 24.Rac1 Kg7 25.Rc4 Bf5 26.Rfc1 Rc8 27.g4 fxg3 28.hxg3 b5 29.Rc6 a5 30.a4 bxa4 31.Bxa4 Qf7 32.Bb3 Rb8 33.Bc2 Rb4 34.Qg5 a4 35.Qe3 It’s taken 22 moves, but White’s queen can finally escape to the centre of the board. 35…Qxd5 36.Qc3+ Qe5 37.Rxc7+! exploiting the fact that Black’s bishop is overloaded, trying to defend both queen & rook. 37…Bxc7. If 37…Kf6 38.Rd1 Qxc3 39.Rxc3 Be5 40.Rc6+ Kg5 41.Ra6. 38.Qxb4 e3 39.Bxf5 exf2+ 40.Kf1 Ba5 41.Qb7+ Kh6 42.Qh1+ Kg5 43.Be4 Qb5+ 44.Kg2 1–0 White tucks his king away, rather than expose it to risk by 44.Kxf2 Bb6+ 45.Kf3 Qb3+ 46.Kg2 Qb2+ etc. It also threatens 45. Qh4 mate, thus forcing 44…f1Q+ 45.Qxf1 not 45.Rxf1 Qe2+ 46.Kh3 Qh5+ 47.Kg2 Qe2+ 48.Rf2 Qxe4+ etc.

Two Westcountry congresses now follow each other in quick succession. Firstly, the 27th Frome Congress takes place Friday 13th–15th May at Selwood Academy. One can now enter on-line at their website somersetchess.org.

Then there is the 48th Cotswold Congress held over Whit Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 28th – 30th May at King’s School Gloucester. More information may be found on their website,  cotswoldcongress.co.uk.

Last week’s position ended in a queen sacrifice viz 1.Qg8+ and it can only be taken by 1…Raxg8 which leaves the knight free to come to f7 mate because the other rook is pinned and the king is hemmed in by his own pieces. This is known in the trade as a “smothered mate”.

This position is also from the London Classic. The position is complicated, with both queens en prise.  There is no clever mate here, so how does White cut through the Gordian Knot of complex variations and keep it simple.

White to play and win

WECU Championship 2016 – Fourth & Final Day

The Final round began at 10 am on Easter Monday. After his gentle draw against Rudd in the previous round Arkell was not inclined to offer any more, lest he be caught, so steered through to a risk-free win against Fallowfield. On Bd. 2 Broek played an Evans Gambit against Rudd, and the two rattled out the opening 12 moves in just a few minutes, at which point Broek forced the win of the exchange, and it was game on. The price the Dutchman paid for that was having his queen trapped in a corner for 22 moves, but held his nerve and eventually won more material, until Black resigned a whole rook down.

The full results were as follows:-

69th WECU Congress 2016:  25th – 28th March  -  Exmouth.
Winners’ List
Name Rating Club score £
Open
1st K. C. Arkell 2451 Cheddleton 400
2nd R. J. McMichael 2189 King’s Head 6 200
3rd= J. R. Fallowfeld 2112 Stourbridge 25
A. P. Smith 2127 Bourne End 25
T. Broek 2180 Wisver Turen ND 25
S. P. Dilleigh 2072 Horfield 25
GP J. F. S. Menadue 2021 Truro 30
Arkell receives  WECU Championship Cup.   Menadue receives the British Championship QP
Major (U-1950)
1st I. S. Annetts 1875 Tiverton 200
2nd= J. McDonnell 1942 Streatham 5 75
J. Forster 1809 Southbourne 5 75
GP J. Nyman 1794 King’s Head 30
Junior Prize L. Hafsted 1413 Exeter Juniors 4 30
Minor  (U-135 ECF)
1st J. Stone 100e Horley 7 50
2nd R. Whittington 132 Exeter Juniors 5 100
3rd= K. Alexander 131 Seaton 25
M. Roberts 132 Holmes Chapel 25
N. Dicker 128 Glastonbury 25
G. Taylor 128 Gloucester 25
G. Neil 124 Nomads 25
P. Foster 123 Medway 25
V. Jamroz 123 Kent Juniors 25
G. Parfett 119 Athenaeum 25
GP A. Richards 121 Cheltenham 4 30

WECU Treasurer, Oliver Wensley, presents Jacqui Barber-Lafon with the Ladies Championship Cup.

The Ladies Champion presents Keith Arkell with the main trophy.

Richard McMichael - clear 2nd

The ungraded J. Stone, won the Minor - the only player to score 7/7.

WECU Championship Day 3 – Rds 5 & 6

As the rounds went on, so the number of draws increased, as one would expect, but not to the point where interest in the eventual outcome waned. Arkell did win a difficult endgame with Black against McMichael in the morning, though when he found he was Black again in the afternoon, it left him inclined to agree a short draw against his nearest-rated opponent, Jack Rudd.

Rd. 5              WECU Open  2016
Bd White Black
1 McMichael (3½) 0 1 Arkell (4)
2 James (3) 0 1 Rudd (3)
3 Fallowfield (2½) 1 0 Smith (3)
4 Bass (2) 0 1 De Coverley (2)
5 Littlejohns (2) ½ ½ Jamroz (2)
6 Wilson (2) 0 1 Dilleigh (2)
7 Gamble (½) 1 0 Shaw (1)
8 Snook-Lumb (2) 0 1 Menadue (2)
9 Woodward (2½) 0 1 Broek (2½)
10 Bartlett (2) ½ ½ Benson (1½)
11 French (1) ½ ½ Wensley (1)
12 Hickman (0) ½ ½ Burton (½)
13 Bolt (2½) ½ bye

McMichael vs Arkell - a hard-fought win for Black.

Rd. 5: Hickman vs Burton (nearest) & French vs Wensley.

Rd. 5: top boards in the Major. 1.McDonnell vs Forster. 2. Robertson vs Morgan & Schulte vs Sellwood

Rd. 6              WECU Open  2016
Bd White Black
1 Rudd (3½) ½ ½ Arkell (5)
2 McMichael (3½) 1 0 James (3½)
3 Broek (3½) 0 1 Fallowfield (3½)
4 Menadue (3) ½ ½ Smith (3)
5 De Coverley (3) ½ ½ Bolt (3)
6 Jamroz (2½) ½ ½ Woodward (2½)
7 Dilleigh (3) 1 0 Bartlett (2½)
8 Littlejohns (2½) ½ ½ Bass (2½)
9 Wensley (1½) 1 0 Wilson (2)
10 Gamble (1½) 0 1 French (½)
11 Shaw (1) 0 1 Hickman (1½)
12 Benson (2) 1 0 Snook-Lumb (2)
13 Burton (0) ½ bye
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