August 2015
« Jul    

E. Devon League Annual Prizegiving 2015 (04.06.2015.)

The League’s annual prizegiving took place at its usual venue of the Manor Hotel, Exmouth, followed by a match.

 The winners’ names were announced by League President, Brian Aldwin, and the presentation was made to a representative of the winning team concerned.  (see photographs below).  Details of the various sections can be summarised as follows:

  Div. 1: 4 Bds  – U-640    
    1 2 3 4 5 6 Tot.  
1 Exeter Rooks X 2 0 2 2 2 8 Cottew Cup
2 Newton Abbot 0 X 2 2 2 1 7  
3 Exeter Bishops 2 0 X 2 0 2 6  
4 Exmouth Eagles 0 0 0 X 2 2 4 GP: Turner Cup
5 Exmouth Elephants 0 0 2 0 X 2 4  
6 Tiverton 0 1 0 0 0 X 1  


  Div. 2: 4 Bds – U-480    
    1 2 3 4 5 Tot.  
1 E. Budleigh X 0 2 1 2 5   Polsloe Cup
2 Seaton 2 X 2 1 0 5   Polsloe Cup
3 Sidmouth 0 0 X 2 2 4 GP: Mainstay Cup
4 Exeter 1 1 0 X 2 4  
5 Tiverton 0 2 0 0 X 0  


  4 Bds   -   U-560    
    1 2 3 4 5 Sub. bonus Total
1 Exeter Prestissimo X 2 4 2 3 11 4 15
2 Tiverton 2 X 2 4 4 12 2 14
3 Exmouth 0 2 X 2 4 8 1 9
4 E. Budleigh 2 0 2 X 1 5 0 5
5 Exeter Gambits 1 0 0 3 X 4 1 5

The presentations were followed by a match between those present. In the past this has been between teams drawn from the 3 coastal clubs and those inland i.e Coast vs Country, but this formula has become somewhat redundant in recent years, with the arrival of Newton Abbot on the one side and the demise of Sidmouth on the other. Therefore it had been agreed to try a revival of an old formula, not used in Devon for over 20 years.  That is a President’s vs Match Captain’s match, with teams drawn from whoever turned up on the night. The way it worked was as follows:

(a) Players likely to be presnt should submit their names beforehand.

(b) The players are the listed in grade order, top to bottom, and pairing cards made out.

(c) Once it is ascertained they are present in the room, Team A has the top-graded player. Then Team B is then allocated the next 2 top-graded players, and then Team A gets the next 2 – and so on to the bottom of the list. This guarantees two teams of approximately equal strength. The only slight adjustments that need to be made is where this formula pairs 2 players from the same club. It is unlikely that two players from Newton Abbot or Seaton would wish to travel a long distance only to play a club colleague they’d played in their club the night before.

(d) It had been decided to make it a rapidplay match – 30 minutes per player per game, with colours reversed for a 2nd game.

The evenness of the teams was demonstrated by the outcome. All the President’s men won the 1st round by 9-7, but lost the 2nd round by the same score, making it 16-all at the end. Details as follows:-

  Captain’s Team       President’s Team    
Bd.   Rd 1 Rd 2     Rd 1 Rd 2
1 T. J. Paulden 1 1   K. J. Hurst 0 0
2 S. Martin ½ ½   A. W. Brusey ½ ½
3 M. Shaw ½ 1   G. Body ½ 0
4 C. J. Scott ½ 0   T. F. Thynne ½ 1
5 K. P. Atkins ½ 0   O. E. Wensley ½ 1
6 E. Palmer 1 0   B. G. Gosling 0 1
7 K. Hunter 1 1   M. Belt 0 0
8 A. Dowse 1 1   J. Maloney 0 0
9 R. H. Jones ½ 0   R. Scholes ½ 1
10 M. Hussey 0 0   R. Player 1 1
11 Mrs. H. Welch 0 1   G. Fotheringham 1 0
12 S. Blake 0 ½   M. Maber 1 ½
13 G. J. Jenkins 0 1   A. Brinkley 1 0
14 M. Lee 0 1   G. Elliott 1 0
15 T. Murray 0 0   P. Darlow 1 1
16 T. Miner ½ 1   B. Marsh ½ 0
    7 9     9 7
    16     16


Eddy Palmer (Exeter Rooks) receives the Cottew Cup as League Champions, from Brian Aldwin and Tim Paulden.

Meyrick Shaw receives the Turner Cup from League President, Brian Aldwin, as the Grading Prize win for Exmouth Eagles.

Hazel Welch (Seaton) & Brian Gosling (East Budleigh) share the Div. 2 Mainstay Cup.

Steve Martin (Sidmouth) takes the Div. 2 Grading Prize.


Finally the fun stuff is over and it's down to the serious business of the evening.

Frome Congress Prizewinners. (30.05.2015.)

The Frome Congress was held successfully recently with the following emerging as winners: Open Section:

1st= Matthew Turner (Millfield) &
Gediminas Sarakauskas (Guildford)

(4½/5). 3rd= Jane Richmond (Brown Jack), Jeremy Fallowfield (Stourbridge), Stephen Whatley (Millfield) & Allan Pleasants (Weymouth) 3½. British Championship Qualifying Places went to Fallowfield, Jeremy Menadue (Truro) & Sam Gower (South Bristol), who also got a grading prize.  

Major (U-165): 1st= M. Wilson (Torquay), A. Rossiter (Bristol Cabot), P. Jackson (Coulsdon) all 4. U-146 Grading Prizes: S. Williams (Cwmbran). Intermediate (U-140): 1st C. Snook-Lumb (Clevedon) 4½. 2nd= K. Osborne (Lewes), D. Agostinelli (Southampton), R. Rowland (London) all 4. Grading Prize U-129: A. Sage (Bath). Minor (U-115): 1st M. Cockerton (Torquay) 4½. 2nd= G. Ford (Salisbury), C. Gardiner (Falmouth), I. Stringer (Yeovil), M. Davidson (Wimbourne) & J. Macdonald (Kings Head) all 4. Grading Prizes: U-105: B. Childs (Lerryn). U-91: M. Watson (Taunton). The highest-placed Somerset players were as follows: Open: M. Turner. Major: A. Gregory (Bath). Intermediate: C. Snook-Lumb. Minor: Ivan Stringer.

Team Prizes: Millfield: (T. & E. Goldie, Whatley & French) & Yeovil 2. (A. Footner, R. Knight, T. & A.  Alsop).

Games from the event were not available at the press deadline, but here is a sample of the 37 year old Latvian’s play from the 2012 London Classic.

White: Gediminas Sarakauskas (2408). Black: Arianne Caoili (2202).

Ruy Lopez – Chigorin Defence. [C96]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 Taking the proffered e-pawn generally leads to an open game in which Black can get into a tangle trying to hang on to his extra pawn. 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 This constitutes the Chigorin Defence.11.d4 White’s almost automatic response. 11…Nd7 12.dxc5 dxc5 13.Nbd2 Qc7 14.Nf1 Rd8 15.Ne3 Nb6 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 f6 18.Nh4 Facing the threat of Qd3, Black continues 18…g6 With all Black’s pieces tied up on the opposite wing, White can afford the luxury of a sacrifice to break open the king’s defences. 19.Nxg6 hxg6 20.Bxg6 Nc4 21.Qh5 Bf8 22.Re4 Ra7 23.a4 Nd6 24.Rh4 Qg7 25.axb5 Nxb5 26.c4 Nd4 27.Ra3 Ne2+ 28.Qxe2 Qxg6 29.Rg3 Qxg3 30.fxg3 Rh7 With this particular configuration of Black’s pieces, White can afford to exchange. 31.Rxh7 Kxh7 32.Qh5+ Kg8 33.Qg6+ 1–0 After 33…Kh8 34.Bh6. Little better is 33…Bg7 34.Bh6 Rd7 35.Qe8+.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bg5! after which Black has 6 possible moves, each one met with a mate administered by White’s queen.

This position arose in the recent Devon vs Notts match, Steve Hunter (W) vs Mark Abbott (Devon). Black’s king is very constricted, and White played Nd5+ seeing several good reasons why that would hasten the end after the king moves. It did that, all right, but can you see how?

Devon beat Notts (23.05.2015.)

Devon enjoyed a narrow win against Notts on Saturday, by 8½-7½.

Devon names 1st in each pairing.

1.J. Underwood 1-0 T. Walker. 2.D. Regis ½-½ A. Walker. 3.A. Brusey ½-½ J. Swain. 3.B. Hewson ½-½ B. Thompson. 5.M. Shaw 0-1 J. Willow. 6.M. Abbott 1-0 S. Hunter. 7.T. Thynne ½-½ S. Burke. 8.W. Ingham ½-½ T. Poole. 9.S. Dean 0-1 M. Naylor. 10.K. Atkins ½-½ B. Hayward. 11.D. Toms 0-1 D. Flynn. 12.N. Butland ½-½ T. Lane. 13.I. Annetts ½-½ N. Graham. 14.O. Wensley 1-0 P. Brace. 15.C. Scott ½-½ P. Marshall. 16.P. Brooks 1-0 S. Scott.

This was the top game, with notes kindly supplied by the winner. N.B. Jonathan’s original annotations had to be cut right down in order to fit the newspaper column’s space, but here they are  in full.  

White: Dr. Jonathan Underwood. Black: Tim Walker.

English Opening – Sicilian Variation [A20]:

1.c4 e5 2.g3 f5 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nf3 Challenging Black to defend his e5 pawn by advancing it, hitting the knight. 4…Nc6 Black chickens out allowing white to castle, which frees e1 for the knight. 5.0–0 e4N Black threatens to win material: e4xf3 6.Ne1 Bc5 7.d3 The point of the knight’s retreat – Black’s centre is now tottering and the capture on d3 will just give White a free move as the c5 bishop is attacked. 7…Qe7 Now the bishop’s retreat is blocked and the queen lined up against the king – which could cause problems if the e-file opens. 8.Nc2 Qe5? This was to prevent d4 which leads to problems for the bishop – but now leaves the queen vulnerable to a bishop arriving on f4. 9.Nc3 Nh5 Keeps out the bishop.. but now White’s queen eyes that knight. 10.dxe4 White grabs the pawn at the risk of a Black attack. 10…f4 11.e3 Actually, White could have taken the pawn but I was too scared and this move shuts out the bishop. 11…fxg3 Amazingly Black has used a full hour of his allotted two by this stage. 12.hxg3 White threatens f4 kicking the queen away from defending the knight. If Black castles then f4 followed by Qd5+ wins the bishop instead. 12…Bb6 Leaves the queen somewhere to escape.. but Black is in big trouble now. 13.Nd5 0–0 14.b4 14.c5 forces the bishop away from protecting c7 allowing a forced sequence which wins a rook – but it makes a mess of White’s kingside and I was too cowardly to play it! 14…Bxc5 15.f4 Qe8 16.Nxc7 Qf7 17.Nxa8 Nxg3. 14…d6 15.Nxb6? White suddenly panics as Black’s pieces are getting active – a4! would have been winning easily. 15…axb6 16.b5?! Another daft move. By this stage Black was down to about 30 minutes and I was playing quick, complicated moves to put him under pressure – unfortunately this is not very good. 16…Na5 17.f4 Qc3?? 17…Qe8!? Is the only decent move here. 18.g4 Nf6 18.Qxh5? 18.Bd2 would have won – as taking c4 leads to disaster after QxN, QxN, Qd5+ defending the bishop and allowing Rc1 18…Qb2 19.Rb1 Qxa2 20.Nb4 Qxc4 21.Qxh5. Or 18.Bd2 Qxc4 19.Qxh5 Qxc2 20.Qd5+. 18…Qxc2 19.Rf2! Qxc4 20.Bb2 White lets the pawn drop to get his bishop into the attack. 20…Qc5? 20…c6 21.e5! Bf5 21…Qxb5 22.Be4 Black can’t take the pawn as this is fatal. 22.Rc1! Qxe3 With about 5 minutes left and still 18 moves to make in a very awkward position black grabs a pawn.. but White’s rook is about to arrive on the 7th rank to menace his king. 23.Rxc7 Qe1+ 24.Bf1 Bg6 25.Qg5 Rac8 26.exd6 Rxc7 27.dxc7 White is only pawn up but it’s about to give birth a new queen – and there are also mate threats to worry Black who has only a couple of minutes left. 27…Nc4 28.Qd8 28.Re2 is lethal here but the queen is quite safe on d8 and threatens to capture the rook and allow the pawn to promote. 28…Bf5 29.Qd5+ Playing to put time pressure on Black allows him some breathing room – Bd4 would be the easier win. 29…Be6 30.Qd4 Nxb2 31.Qxb2 Rc8 32.Qd4 The pawn is quite safe – Qd8+ wins the rook if it is captured. 32…h6 The Black king gets a bit of breathing space but there is now a forced sequence to win the bishop without allowing the annoying capture on g3. 33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Qd3+ g6 35.Re2 Qb4 36.Rxe6 Qc5+ 37.Qe3 There are lots of better moves, but this forces the exchange of queens after which Black is a piece down for nothing. 37…Rxc7 38.Qxc5 bxc5 39.Bc4 Kg7 40.Re4 Rd7 Black makes the time control with seconds to spare, but the position is completely lost. 41.Kf2 h5 42.Ke3 Rc7 43.Re6 Rd7 44.Bd3 Kf7 45.Rb6 Rc7 46.Bxg6+ 1–0

The problemist J. Paul Taylor (1843 – 1923) spent his later life in Exeter, and published a book of his work entitled Elementary Chess Problems, From it is this 2-mover.

White to play and mate in 2.

Gold Coins Raining Down (16.05.2015.)

Cornwall’s venture into the National Stages of the Inter-County Championship ended at the first hurdle when they lost to Bedfordshire 5-11 at Weston-Super-Mare. They were outgraded on every board bar one, but not greatly so. In any case, they cannot but be delighted with their overall performance this season. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1. Andrew Greet (229) 1–0 C. Ross (201). 2. Jeremy Menadue (190) ½-½ S. Ledger (195). 3. Theo Slade (178) ½-½ G. Kenworthy (190). 4. Mark Hassall (173) 0-1 A. Elwin (184). 5. Grant Healey (176) 0–1 P. Habershon (182). 6. David Saqui (170) 0-1 G. Borrowdale (181). 7. Robin Kneebone (173) 0-1 R. Freeman (178). 8. Simon Bartlett (168) 0-1 K. Williamson (177). 9. Lloyd Retallick (167) 1-0 M. Botteley (176). 10. Colin Sellwood (153) 0–1 S. Pike (176). 11. Gary Trudeau (157) 1-0 B. Valentine (166). 12. John Wilman (150) 0-1 N. Collacott (165). 13. Jeff Nicholas (150) ½-½ A. Matthews (160). 14. Richard Smith (147) ½-½ T. Lawson (154). 15. David R Jenkins (127) 0-1 C. Sollaway (140). 16. Richard Stephens U/G 0-1 B. Pike (92).

Referring back to their historic win against Devon in March and the game M. Shaw vs Wilman, given earlier, in which Black’s winning move was described by Jeremy Menadue as “what they used to call ‘a gold coins on the board moment’”. Where did that saying come from?

Apparently, it derives from the 1912 game S. Lewitzky vs Frank Marshall at Breslau. In his “autobiography”, ghosted by Reinfeld, Marshall introduces it thus:- “Perhaps you have heard about this game which so excited the spectators that they showered me with gold pieces! I have often been asked whether this really happened. The answer is – yes, that is what happened, literally”. Here is the game, shorn of most of his analysis.

White: S. Lewitzky. Black F. J. Marshall

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Bg5 0–0 9.dxc5 Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Rad1 Qc5 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Rxd5 Nd4 20.Qh5 Ref8 21.Re5 Rh6 22.Qg5 Rxh3 23.Rc5 Qg3!! (see diagram)

Black's gold coin moment?


The gold coin moment. “The most elegant move I have ever played!” wrote Marshall.” The queen is offered 3 ways and White cannot accept the offer in any form. (a) If 24.hxg3 Ne2 mate. (b) If 24.fxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, and (c) if 24.Qxg3 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Nxg3+ 26.Kg1 Nxf1 and Black will be a piece up”.

However, a number of authorities are unsure as to the truth of the story. Golombek, in his A History of Chess, casts doubt on it, as does Edward Winter in his Chess Notes. Did the citizens of Breslau in 1912 really have gold coins jangling in their pockets in case they felt a sudden urge to shower them on folk, however deserving? The Cornish certainly didn’t.

Dave Howard’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Ne4!

Frome Congress Approaches (09.05.2015.)

White: S. A. Whatley (182). Black: P. Byway (185).

Sicilian Defence – Sveshnikov Variation.  [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 The signature move of the Sveshnikov line, which is intended to produce lively chess. 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.c3 Nc6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Nb3 Bb6 12.Bf4 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.g5 This early aggression soon rebounds on him. 15…Nh5 16.Bc1 hxg5 17.Nxg5 Qf6 18.Qg4 Ne5 19.Qh4 Nd3 20.Bxd5 Rad8 21.Bf3 Nhf4 22.Bxf4 Nxf4 23.Qg4? Black now cleverly wins a piece, thanks to White’s weakening of his own king’s position. Better was 23.Bg2. 23…Qxg5! 24.Qxg5 Nxh3+ 25.Kg2 Nxg5 26.Bxb7 Having won a piece, Black will now be seeking to make equal exchanges whenever he can to increase the material differential. 26…Be4+ 27.Bxe4 Nxe4 28.Rh1 Nxf2 29.Rh4 Rd1 30.a4 Rfd8 31.a5 Rxa1 32.Nxa1 The bishop will be forced to abandon its protection of the knight, but Black still has enough to win. 32…Bxa5 33.Kxf2 Rd2+ 34.Ke3 Rxb2 35.Kd3 Rg2 36.Rh3 g5 37.Nb3 g4 38.Re3 Bb6 39.Re8+ Kg7 40.c4 Rg3+ 41.Kc2 Re3 42.Rc8 g3 43.c5 g2 44.cxb6 axb6 45.Nd4 g1Q Now it is White’s turn to administer a knight fork, but it’s too little, too late. 46.Nf5+ Kh7 47.Nxe3 Qxe3 48.Kb2 Qe5+ 0–1

The odds against either of them winning this year, or anyone else of that grade level, lengthened considerably after entries were received from the Lithuanian IM, Gediminas Sarakauskas (226) and Portuguese David Martins (212), with the possibility of other top players entering at the last minute, as they often do.

The popular IM, Colin Crouch, passed away recently at the age of 58 after a second brain haemorrhage. His first, a decade ago, had left him almost blind, but this had not prevented him from becoming a top class writer of chess books, coaching juniors and playing regularly on the congress circuit. His last book, Magnus Force – How Carlson beat Kasparov’s Record, was published by Everyman in 2013. He was a top junior in his day, winning the British U-16 title in 1972, subsequently adding the U-18 title.

Last week’s position ended much like the previous week’s but on the other side of the board, and, as before, all Black’s moves are forced – there is nothing better for him to play. Morphy (W) played 1.Nc5 discovered check; 1…Kb8. 2.Nd8+ Kc8 3.Nb6 double check. 3…Kb8. 4.Qc8+ and the rook must take, allowing 5.Nd7 mate. This sequence is also known as an epaulet mate, as in the final position the king has his two rooks apparently at his shoulder like a pair of military-style epaulets.

Reader Dave Howard of East Harptree has just sent in this new 2-mover.

White mates in 2 against any defence.

Plus ca Change… (02.05.2015.)

During the recent West of England Championship I celebrated my Golden Wedding and was able to reassemble the whole wedding party, bridesmaids, Best Man and ushers, which set me thinking on the lines of how some things have changed and some haven’t. The French have a phrase – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The same applies to the WECU Championship of half a century ago. It was held in Weymouth that year and attracted 94 players, divided into 10 smaller sections, including sections for ladies, girls, juniors, reserves A & B etc. Today, all entries are consolidated into just 3 sections, Open, Major and Minor, based on grade alone.

Many of those players involved at Weymouth have since moved on to the great chequerboard in the sky, of course, but a significant number are still very involved in the game, both as players and organisers. Trefor Thynne, Ivor Annetts, Brian Gosling, John Wheeler, Phil Meade and Leon Burnett, for example, all did well that year and have been very active in westcountry chess ever since. Scillonian David Ellis went on to become Champion the following year before emigrating to Perth, Australia, where he still conducts a chess column in his local paper. Burnett became Champion in 1966 and was still playing strongly in the recent Bristol Congress.

The winner of this game was awarded the Brigadier Morris Trophy for the best game by a junior in 1965. Today, David Shire is a noted problem composer – but what happened to the trophy is a mystery.

White: D. J. Shire. Black: B. G. Gosling. Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 Rb8 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.Rg1 b5 14.a3 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.Bh3 Nc5 17.f5 All moves so far are identical to the Hindle-Gligoric game at the 1965 Hastings Christmas Congress; the boys really knew the latest opening theory. 17…Qb7 Attacks b2 and prevents e5. For example, Gligoric played 17…Bd7 18.e5! opening up attacking possibilities, and the game went on… 18…d5 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Nxe6 Bxe6 21.Bxe6 Nxe6 22.Nxd5 and Hindle won, something of a sensation at the time. 18.f6 Bf8 19.b3 Rg8 20.Rde1 gxf6 21.Nd5! Threatening a knight fork on f6. 21…exd5 22.exd5+ And now White proceeds to wreak havoc. 22…Kd8 23.Qxf6+ Kc7 24.Qxf7+ Kb6 25.Qxg8 Bxh3 26.Qxf8 Qc7 27.Nc6! Threatening Re7 1–0.

Last week’s Morphy game ended with a combination that is well-known because of its ingenuity but one that rarely occurs in practice. 1.Qa3+ Kg8 (if Ke8 then Qe8 mate) 2.Ne7+ Kf8 3.Ng6+ Kg8 4.Qf8+ Rxf8 5.Ke7 mate, known as a smothered mate, as the king is hemmed in by its own pieces, in this case the rooks.

Having indicated how rare it is in actual play, here is another example, incredibly also by Morphy – in the same year. Just repeat the drill.

White to play and win in 5

Exmouth Add Div. 2 to Div. 1 title (25.04.2015.)

Exmouth hosted a Newton Abbot team, knowing that a win for either side would be enough to win the Mamhead Cup Devon’s Division 2, although Exmouth had the feint comfort that a 2-2 draw would give them the title. To this end, both captains had packed their teams with grading points up to the permitted maximum of 639. Both clubs had their top player on Bd. 1, but the difference then was that Newton Abbot had averaged their next 3 boards, while Exmouth had packed everything they had on to Bds. 2 & 3, and filling in an improving player on Bd. 4, in the hope that he might be able to extract something from his game. Team captain, Oliver Wensley, was unable to fit himself in the team, and was obliged to watch from the sidelines.  

This particular hope was not borne out as Blake’s opponent, the rapidly improving Vignesh Ramesh, whose latest rapidplay grade is actually 160+, won and Exmouth went 0-1 down, which put increasing pressure on the other 3. For some time, there seemed little between the sides in each game. Eventually, Mark Abbott, using the greater freedom that his pieces had, managed to conjure up a sharp winning attack, thereby levelling the score.

Bds 1 and 3 both went down to the final seconds of normal time and final minutes of extra time. Stephens was gradually being positionally stifled, as Mackle got a pawn to the 7th and his opponent had to commit a knight to h8 to block it. Eventually he had to concede as Mackle could pick up pawns at will. Shaw had gone a piece up, but Brooks found a lot of counterplay as his pieces were better unified. Shaw had to reconfigure and reorganise his army, which he managed. With c. 2 minutes left for each player he won a central pawn with a knight fork that swapped off queens and immediately after a bishop fork won a rook, and with it the game. 

A finish to the match that was as nerve-wracking for the spectators as the players. Thus Exmouth added the Mamhead Cup to the Bremridge Cup they had won a fortnight before.

The match details and resulting league table as follows:

  Mamhead Cup       Div. 2  25.04.15.  
  Exmouth Grd     Newton Abbot  
1 J. K. Stephens 194 0 1 D. Mackle 203
2 M. V. Abbott 173 1 0 M. Hui 150
3 M. Shaw 170 1 0 P. Brooks 154
4 S. Blake 102 0 1 V. Ramesh 132
  totals 639 2 2   639
  Mamhead Div. 2 1 2 3 4 5 + - pts
1 Exmouth X 1 2 2 2 11 5 7
2 Newton Abbot 1 X 1 1 2 10 6 5
3 Tiverton 0 1 X 2 2 9 7 5
4 Barnstaple 0 1 0 X ? 1
5 Teignmouth 0 0 0 ? X 0

The Exmouth team: seated (l-r) Meyrick Shaw & John Stephens. standing: Simon Blake & Oliver Wensley. (Mark Abbott arrived later).

Newton Abbot team: seated Paul Brooks & Dominic Mackle. Standing: Mark Hui & Vignesh Ramesh.

Bd. 1 & 2 get down to action - Stephens & Abbott.

Bds. 4 & 3 - Blake & Shaw.

Arkell Wins Bristol Spring Congress Open (25.04.2015.)

Keith Arkell followed up his recent success in the West of England Championship by winning the Bristol Spring Congress last weekend with a maximum 5/5 score; no surprise as he was by far the strongest player involved. In 2nd= place were Juraj Sokolsky (Slovakia), Chris Beaumont (Clifton), Steve Dilleigh (Horfield) and Richard Savory (Downend), all on 3½. Savory was awarded the British Championship Qualifying Place and on tie-break won the Bristol League Trophy for being the highest-placed player from the local league. Grading prizes: (U-176) 1st Theo Slade (Barnstaple). (U-160) 1st Kajetan Wandowicz (Horfield).  

Major: (U-155) 1st Max French (Frome). 2nd= Alan Papier (Clifton) & George Georgiou (Swindon). Grading prizes: (U-139) 1st Adrian Walker (Stroud). (U-125) 1st James Galloway. Papier became the Bristol League U-155 Champion.

Minor Section: (U-125) 1st= D. McGeeney (Cabot); G. Mill-Wilson (Yate); R. Ludlow (Trowbridge); A. Sage (Bath); R. Morris-Weston; D. Archer (Godalming); K. Langmaid (Yate) & A. Drummond (Cabot). Grading prizes: (U-108) 1st W. Grant (Frome). U-100: D. Woodruff (Keynsham). Junior prize: Harry Grieve (Guildford). Langmaid became the Bristol League U-125 Champion.

Here is a sharp finish from Rd. 4.

White: K. C. Arkell (234). Black: D. Pugh (184).

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e4 d6 6.dxe6 Bxe6 7.Ng5 Nc6 8.Nxe6 fxe6 9.Bc4 Qd7 10.a4 0–0–0 An immediate invitation for White to attack on the queenside. 11.Bg5 Be7 12.a5 creating a possible outpost on b6 for his knight. 12…Kb8 Avoiding possible nasty knight checks. 13.0–0 h6 14.Bd2 g5 Black must be doing the same thing on the kingside, but those pawns have a long way to travel. 15.Na4 d5 16.exd5 exd5 17.Be2 Nd4 18.Bc3 Nxe2+ 19.Qxe2 Rhe8 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qf3 Bd4? 21…Be5 would have avoided material loss and got in a dig at White’s king e.g. 22.Nxc5 Qd6 23.Nd3 Bxh2+. 22.c3 g4 23.Qd3 Be5 24.Nxc5 Qd6 25.b4 Bxh2+ White is not worried by the check, in fact it gains a tempo. 26.Kh1 Be5 27.Rae1 h5 28.Re2 Re7 29.Rfe1 Qf6 30.Kg1 Bd6 Extra defence for the rook with the hope of removing that awkward knight, yet from this fairly even-looking position, the Grandmaster strikes like a cobra and suddenly it’s all over. 31.Rxe7 Bxe7 32.Re6 Qg5 33.Qg3+ Ka7 34.Rxa6+! 1–0 If 34…bxa6 35.Qc7+ Ka8 36.Qb7#.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was

1.Ng3! If 1…Ke3 2.Bg1#; 1…Ke5 2.Qb2#

1…Nxe4 2.Nf5# or 1… any other knight move 2.Bg1#. The par solving time allowed for the experts was 7 minutes, so how did you compare?

The American, Paul Morphy (1837-1884), is considered one of the all-time chess geniuses. In this game he has neglected his piece development somewhat more than Black (Thomas Jefferson Bryan), yet still wins in 5 moves, even against the best defence.

Morphy (W) to play and win in 5.

National Success for Devon Club (18.04.2015.)

Devon had a club success at national level for the first time in a number of years last weekend when Newton Abbot won the Major Section of the newly-reformatted National Club Championships. Their Club Secretary, Trefor Thynne reports:-

Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, 11th -12th April 2015

A Newton Abbot Perspective:    

Newton Abbot Chess Club scored a notable success for Devon chess when they won, at their first attempt, the MAJOR Section (U-175 grade average)  at the revamped National Club Championships held in Birmingham over the weekend of  11th – 12th April. The Club’s 1st team was as surprised as anyone by the ease of their victory as they won all four of their matches and finished 3 points clear of the runners-up. Not only that, but the Club’s 2nd team did very well in coming 3rd out of 10 teams in the INTERMEDIATE Section (U-150 grade average).

The idea of entering teams for this event had come about when several of the club’s members decided to do something different from the usual run of local league competitions. The National Club Championships, formerly run like the FA Cup with a season-long knock-out campaign (although with the addition of a Plate competition for Rd. 1 losers) had somewhat lost its cachet with the expansion of the 4NCL, and in 2014 the ECF decided to reinvent the competition as a weekend congress at High Wycombe for club teams. Each team would consist of 4 players and would play 4 matches over the weekend. This year the event switched to the conveniently central location of Birmingham and attracted an increased entry into its 4 sections (Open, Major, Intermediate and Minor).

The Newton Abbot club (which incidentally celebrates its 10th birthday this year) entered two teams whose members were:

MAJOR:   Stephen Homer (184); John Fraser (175); Trefor Thynne (168); Matthew Wilson (157). (av. 171)

INTERMEDIATE: Andrew Kinder (146); Wilf Taylor (142); Vignesh Ramesh (138); Jacquie Barber-Lafon (121). (av. 136).

It was noteworthy that each of the two teams contained one of Devon’s best junior players: 17 yr- old John Fraser, already an England international, in the Major team and 14 yr -old Vignesh Ramesh in the Intermediate, both products of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.


Rd. 1:  Newton Abbot (171) 2½ – 1½ Wanstead and Woodford (173).

(Homer 1; Fraser ½; Wilson 0; Thynne 1)                                       

Rd. 2:  Newton Abbot 2½ – 1½ DHSS (167).

(Homer ½; Fraser 1; Wilson ½; Thynne ½)

Rd. 3: Newton Abbot 3 -1  GLCC (173).

(Homer 1; Fraser ½; Thynne ½; Wilson 1).

Rd. 4: Newton Abbot 2½ – 1½ Solihull  (169).

(Homer 0; Fraser 1; Thynne ½; Wilson 1).

Individual scores: Homer 2½ Fraser 3 Thynne 2½ Wilson 2½


1st Newton Abbot 8:   2nd Wanstead and Woodford 5:        3rd Drunken Knights                         

4th Solihull 3:              5th  DHSS 2:                                                   6th  GLCC 2.


Rd. 1:  Newton Abbot (136) 1-3  Leamington (125).

(Kinder 0; Taylor 0; Ramesh 0; Barber-Lafon 1).

Rd. 2: Newton Abbot  3 -1 Redditch  (135).

(Kinder 1; Taylor ½; Ramesh 1; Barber-Lafon ½).

Rd. 3:  Newton Abbot  2½ – 1½ Wanstead & Woodford  (144).

(Kinder ½; Taylor 1; Ramesh 0; Barber-Lafon 1)

Rd. 4: Newton Abbot 2 – 2 Sutton Coldfield (144).

(Kinder 0; Taylor 0; Ramesh 1; Barber-Lafon 1).

Individual scores: Kinder 1½; Taylor 1½;  Ramesh 2;  Barber-Lafon 3½).


1st Sutton Coldfield 7;                 2nd Braille Chess Association 6;        3rd Newton Abbot 5;                             4th Newport (Salop)  5;          5th Leamington 4;                              6th Warley Quinborne 4;          7th Redditch 4;                                          8th Wanstead & Woodford 2;             9th Wolverhampton 2;            10th  GLCC 1:

The pleasing thing about the performance of the Newton Abbot 1st team was the consistency over all 4 boards with no weak link. Each player scored vital wins in closely-fought matches. Considering that the majority of previous winners of this event have come from the powerful south-east of England, this victory is a notable triumph for Westcountry chess (one leading ECF officer present actually asked me after the prize-giving “Where exactly is Newton Abbot? “ I was pleased to reassure him that yes, good chess was played in the far south-west and no, we did not have straw sticking out of our ears!

The club’s second team also exceeded expectations since they had the 3rd lowest average grade of the 10 teams. All four team members contributed wins at vital moments but the outstanding score (3 ½) was that of Devon and West of England Ladies’ Champion on Bd 4, Jacquie Barber-Lafon.

To conclude, the experiment of entering this new-style event can be called a resounding success and it perhaps paves the way for other Devon clubs in the future. Certainly the format was much appreciated by all teams who competed in an enjoyable atmosphere of friendly rivalry. Accommodation (discounted rates on offer for chess players) in the Holiday Inn was excellent, as were the playing conditions in the hotel.

Newton Abbot Chess Club members look forward to defending their title in 2016. Let us hope to see other Devon clubs also take up the challenge of competing on the national stage.

Trefor Thynne.

NB: Wilson finished early and left for home, thereby missing the team’s photo opportunity, but the organisers insisted on 4 players being present, so Andrew Kinder appears in both teams below.

1st Team: (l-r) Alex Holowczak (organiser); Thynne; Homer; Fraser & Kinder.

2nd Team: (l-r) Ramesh; Taylor; Kinder & Barber-Lafon.

Arkell’s Clinching Game in the WECU Championship (18.04.2015.)

In his final game of the recent WECU Championship, Keith Arkell only had to avoid losing in order to win the title outright. Therefore he kept things simple and played patiently, as is his wont.

White: A. W. Brusey (181). Black: K. C. Arkell (234).

Caro-Kann – Advance Variation. [B12]

1.e4 c6 Black’s favourite opening against 1.e4. 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bd3 Bxd3 There is no hesitation in making equal exchanges, in accordance with Plan A. 6.Qxd3 Ne7 7.0–0 Nf5 8.g4 Nh4 9.Bf4 h5 10.g5 Nxf3+ 11.Qxf3 g6 12.h4 Qb6 13.Qb3 c5 14.Nc3 Nd7 15.Be3 cxd4 16.Qxb6 axb6 17.Bxd4 Bc5 18.Bxc5 bxc5 The pattern of exchanges continues. 19.f4 Ke7 20.a4 c4 21.Kg2 Nc5 22.Rfd1 Ra6 23.Ra3 Rd8 24.Kf3 Rb6 25.Ra2 d4 26.Ne4 Nxe4 27.Kxe4 d3 28.Rd2 Rb4 29.c3 Rb6 30.Ra3 Rd5 31.a5 Rc6 32.b3 Kd8 33.bxc4 Rxc4+ 34.Ke3 Kc8 35.Rxd3 Rxd3+ 36.Kxd3 Black will now chip away at the pawns with his better-placed rook. 36…Rxf4 37.a6 bxa6 38.Rxa6 Rxh4 Black is a solitary pawn up, but it will take a lot of patient manoeuvring to make this a telling advantage 39.Ra8+ Kb7 40.Rf8 Rf4 41.Ke3 Rf5 The black rook will use this key square a lot.  42.Ke4 Kc6 43.c4 h4 44.Rc8+ Kb6 45.Rh8 Rxg5 46.Rxh4 Kc5 47.Rh7 Rf5 48.Rh8 Kxc4 49.Rc8+ Kb5 50.Rc7 Kb6 51.Rc1 Kb7 52.Rc2 Rf1 53.Rc3 Re1+ 54.Kd4 Rh1 55.Rc2 Rh8 56.Ke4 g5 57.Kf3 Rh4 58.Rg2 Rf4+ 59.Ke3 Rf5 60.Ke4 Kc6 61.Rd2 Rf1 62.Rg2 Rf4+ 63.Ke3 Kd5 64.Rxg5 Rf5 65.Rg8 Kxe5 66.Ra8 Kf6 0–1. Now that Black’s king is slotted away safely, White has no counterplay and the outcome is certain, though may take more time. In spite of this loss, Brusey had a good tournament, with a 50% score and a Grading Prize.

This was a last round game in the Major Section in which Colin Sellwood was already assured of the top score, but nerves affected both players and it was Wensley who got the trophy on tie-break.

White: O. E. Wensley (151). Black: C. Sellwood (153).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B92]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0–0 0–0 9.Be3 Be6 10.Bf3 Qc7 11.Qe2 Bc4 12.Qd2 Bxf1 13.Rxf1 Nbd7 14.g4 b5 15.g5 b4 16.Ne2 Ne8 17.Ng3 g6 18.h4 Nb6 19.Qxb4 Nc4 20.Bc1 Ng7 21.Be2 Rac8 22.Qe1 Ne6 23.Bg4 Rb8 24.c3 Nf4 25.Qd1 a5 26.Ne2 Nxe2+ 27.Qxe2 a4 28.Na1 Nb6 29.Nc2 d5 30.Nb4 Rbd8 31.Nxd5 Nxd5 32.exd5 Rxd5 33.Qe4 Rfd8 34.Qxa4 Bc5 35.Qe4 Ba7 36.h5 Qe7 37.Be2 Kh8 38.h6 f5 39.gxf6 Qxf6 40.Qg2 g5 41.Bxg5 Qxg5 42.Qxg5 Rg8 43.Qxg8+ Kxg8 44.Bc4 1–0

“In last week’s position, Arkell missed 1…Nxg3!, and although he’s left his queen hanging 2…Rxe2 is mate.”

The British Chess Problem Solving Championship was held recently at Eton College. The level of difficulty was particularly high this year, and at the end the 1, 2, 3 were the familiar faces of Grandmasters Mestel, McDowell and Nunn, with local solvers being David Hodge, formerly of Exminster (10th), Jon Lawrence of Torquay (18th) and Quentin Thwaites of Totnes (31st).

This was the 2nd of the 2-movers in the “easier” 1st round.

White to play and win in 2