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Adams In The Driving Seat (06.08.2016.)

At the time of going to press, after 9 of the scheduled 11 rounds of the British Championship, the eleven Grandmasters occupied most of the leading  places, as surely as cream rises to the top, though there was still time for an upset or two. Top seed Michael Adams was in the clear lead with 8/9 pts, followed by the 2014 champion, David Howell on 7, with Gormally, Nick Pert and New Zealander Justin Tan level on 6½. There was a whole raft of players on 6/9 pts, namely Mark Hebden, Chris Ward, John Emms, Richard Palliser, Keith Arkell, Martin Brown and Jovanka Houska, who will almost certainly become Ladies Champion. At this stage in the proceedings, it’s difficult to see how Adams can fail to become clear winner, as he has already played most of the top opponents.

The prizegiving takes place this morning at 10 a.m. and the full prizelists for all the many different sections may be found on the event website.

Next year it will be held in Aberystwyth and will be squeezed into 1 week instead of the traditional fortnight in the hope this might attract more players.

This was deemed Rd. 8’s Game of the Day between two very attacking players.

Black: Danny Gormally (245). Black: Chris Ward (240).

Sicilian Defence – Accelerated Dragon [B50]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c3 Bg7 4.Bc4 d6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.d3 White decides to keep the centre closed for the time being; it looks slow, but has a latent sting. 6…0–0 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.h3 Restricting the scope of Black’s white-square bishop 8…Rb8 9.Re1 b5 It’s thematic in the Sicilian that Black should counter any White kingside attack with a thrust on the other wing. 10.Nbd2 a5 11.Nf1 b4 12.Be3 Nd7 13.d4 Now White decides to open up the centre, due to Black’s growing pressure on c3. 13…Ba6 14.N1h2 This looks a slow manoeuvre, but it’s eyeing up the attacking potential if and when the knight can get to g5. 14…bxc3 15.bxc3 cxd4 16.cxd4 Nf6? Inviting e5 and the start of a central attack. Much better was 16…Nb4 when Black may get the knight established on d3. If, for example, 17.Re2 then 17…Nb2 attacking both queen & rook. 17.e5! Suddenly the game has changed as White seizes the initiative. 17…Ne8 18.Ng4 d5 19.Qd2 Nc7 20.Rac1 Nb4 21.Rxc7!? A very brave exchange sacrifice. 21…Qxc7 22.Bh6 Bxh6 23.Qxh6 Threatening Ng5. 23…f6 24.exf6 exf6 25.Re6 Black is still the exchange up, but is fast running out of time and has only 30 seconds per move left, too little to calculate all the necessary defensive moves required. 25…Qg7 26.Qe3 h5 27.Re7 hxg4 If 27…Qh8 28.Qe6+ Rf7 29.Qxf7# 28.Rxg7+ Kxg7 29.hxg4 Bc4 30.g5 Rbe8 31.gxf6+ Kxf6 At this point Black’s allotted time ran out. 1–0

In the 2 days since going to press, everything was resolved, and, unable to wait till next Saturday, here is what happened, based on the report given on the event website by the ECF Publicity Officer, Mark Jordan.

Michael Adams, the long-time highest rated English player on the FIDE rating list, won the British Chess Championships, to add to his 4 previous British titles. His score of 10/11 equalled the record set by Julian Hodgson in 1992 and, given that future championships are planned to be run over 9 rounds, this was probably the last opportunity for the record to be equalled or exceeded.

At the start of the final round there was a remote chance that there could be a play-off as, had Adams lost and David Howell won, they would have both been on 9/11 necessitating a play-off. Unusually for the final round of the Championships however, the leader, Adams, was playing Black against an untitled opponent, Martin Brown, over whom he had a near 500 point rating advantage. One of the reasons for such an unbalanced pairing was that Adams had already played all his main rivals with an interesting effect on the up- and down-floats; the other reason being that Brown had had a very good tournament, and now needed a draw to secure an IM norm. Since Adams also needed a draw to ensure he won the title it was always possible that an early decision could be agreed. The question was whether Adams would be tempted to offer a quick draw in order to guarantee his 1st place and the prize money involved, and allow him to wander round the playing hall at leisure, enjoying the trials and tribulations of the other players. Or would he go for the throat, with the idea of going for a record-equalling high score of 10/11pts?

In the event, he eschewed the idea of a quick draw and went for a quick win, as Brown walked in to some pretty original and devilish opening preparation in a well-known position, failed to respond accurately and was despatched in short-order. The game was over hours before any other.

Brown had the compensation that he played a great tournament, and had the opportunity to contribute what might turn out to be a theoretically important game against, arguably, Britain’s greatest ever player on Bd. 1 of the last ever British Championships run in an 11-round format. So many congratulations to Michael Adams and a big thumbs-up to Martin Brown for contributing to an historic event!

Congratulations also to Jovanka Houska who has won the British Women’s title with a score of 7/11. She defeated Lentzos in the final round but already had the Championships in the bag with a round in hand.

Other Westcountry players in the Championship scored as follows:

Keith Arkell (Paignton) 6½

Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) & Jeremy Menadue (Truro)  both 5½

Carl Bicknell (Bristol); Brian Hewson (Tiverton) both 5.

Steve Dilliegh (Bristol) 3½

All this, and much else besides, may be found on the event website, and Mark Jordan will be producing a full report in the ECF’s on-line magazine, Chessmoves.

In last week’s position, Black’s queen had no quick retreat, so could be attacked with 1.b4 after which it can no longer defend his bishop which may be taken next move.

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to play and mate in 2

British Championships Get Under Way (29.07.2016.)

The British Championship started on Monday at the Bournemouth Pavilion and continues until next Friday. Of the 86 entries in the Championship section itself, 11 are GMs, namely, in order of strength, Michael Adams; David Howell; Gawain Jones; Nick Pert; Mark Hebden; Tamas Fodor; Danny Gormally; John Emms; Keith Arkell; Chris Ward & Peter Wells. Cornishman Adams must be clear favourite, but there are other Westcountry residents in the mix, including Jack Rudd (Bideford), Brian Hewson (Tiverton), Jeremy Menadue (Truro), Steve Dilleigh & Carl Bicknell (both Bristol).

Games may be followed live on the event website – britishchesschampionships.co.uk.

A feature of the early rounds in this kind of tournament, the Swiss system, is that the grandmasters are drawn against opponents from halfway down the list and one can expect quite a few “massacres”, but this time most lasted up to 50 or 60 moves as the GMs played carefully, having no wish to finish up with egg on their faces by starting off with a surprise loss.

Here is an exception from Rd. 2.

White: K.C. Arkell (241). Black: Freddy Hand (192)

Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D23]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 Unusual, but White clearly wishes to guide his highly-graded, 13 year old opponent onto less familiar territory, and gets his queen active on the queenside right from the start. 4…dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bg4 6.Nbd2 Nbd7 7.g3 e6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Ne5 Bh5 Not 10…Nxe5? because of 11.dxe5 and Black must lose either bishop or knight. 11…b5. 11.Ndf3 Rc8 12.Bg5 c5 13.Rac1 h6 14.Nxd7 Nxd7 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.Rfd1 The rooks are connected laterally and have the promise of activity down the files ahead of them. 16…Nb6 16…cxd4 17.Qxc8 Rxc8 18.Rxc8+ Kh7 19.Nxd4 and given their open lines, the 2 rooks should be slightly stronger than the queen. 17.Qb5 Rfd8 18.Qa5 continuing the queenside probing. 18…Bxf3 19.Bxf3 cxd4 20.Qxa7 Qb4 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Bxb7 Establishing 2 passed pawns. 22…Rc5 23.b3 Ra5 Black rightly wants to attack the pawns, but White’s open lines enable him to prevent this.  24.Qb8+ Kh7 25.Be4+ f5 26.Bb1 Rb5 27.Qf4 Threatening d4. 27…Rd5 28.Rc1 Rightly grabbing the open file. 28…Rd7 29.Qe5 Threatening e5.  29…Re7 30.Rd1 Nd5 Black’s hoping to get in Nc3 forking rook and bishop, but White has a clever resource. 31.Bxf5+ winning 2 pawns. 31…exf5 32.Qxf5+ Kh8 33.Qxd5 Rxe2 34.Qxd4 1–0 Resigns. Not 34.Rxd4? because of 34… Qe1+ 35.Kg2 Qxf2+ 36.Kh3 Qxh2+ 37.Kg4 Rxa2 and the win seems to have evaporated.

Last week’s position was easily solved by 1.QxR+! If Black takes the queen either of the white rooks can come to the h-file to administer mate, or if he retreats to g8 the queen herself mates on g7.

Here we have a position from a 1999 game by John Emms (W). What winning move did he have?

White to play

Exmouth’s New Grades 2016/17

The new Grading List is just out and here is a simplified version of the Exmouth Club’s details. Mostly it shows a few minor shifts up and down, but the main point of interest is Jonathan Underwood achieving the magic 200 grade for his rapidplay track record.

The biggest change is a drop of 15 points by Meyrick Shaw, who can be consoled by the fact that he came 5th in the ECF’s Player of the Year poll. If he drops a few more points next year he might come 4th. The 12 yr old girl who came 1st had the advantage of every one of her fellow pupils voting for her, it is alleged.

Ref Member Name 16/17 15/16 Rapid 15/16
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 172 177 170 172
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 127 133 114 115
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 105 111 102 100
304385L Bronze Dye, J 67 57 77
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 159 157
181711F Bronze Grist, Ivor G 87 91 80 86
140874E Bronze Hodge, Fred R 96 96 128
266234G Bronze Hurst, Kevin J 174 175 178 168
113895K Silver Jones, Robert H 123 118 134 133
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 182 183 156 157
116002D Bronze Murray,  Steve 151 150 138 140
118154D Gold Rogers, David 134 137
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 151 150 151 152
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 163 178 175 178
155629A Gold Stephens, John 192 196 176 182
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 99 104
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 161
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 183 184 200 192
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 168 171 157 154

Chess on the Radio? (23.07.2016.)

Back in the day, when Adam was a lad, or more precisely the late 1950s, the BBC radio put on a regular chess programme on Network 3 on a Sunday afternoon. Chess on the radio was always going to be a challenge, but they rose to it, and included talks, reminiscences and consultation matches, in which I clearly remember hearing a teenage Bobby Fischer’s New York twang, as he consulted with Barden against Peter Clarke & Jonathan Penrose.

Another idea was to invite listeners to send in their best game, from which the experts would select the most promising six and these would take on, in a simultaneous match, the Yugoslav GM, Svetozar Gligoric, their games being analysed on air later by an expert.

One of the six was 19 year old Roger Scowen; now 76 he regularly plays in World and European Seniors events, and on the Westcountry congress circuit.

This was his game, with notes greatly reduced from those supplied by Leonard Barden from the book based on the series, The Chess Treasury of the Air.

White: S. Gligoric. Black R. S. Scowen.

French Defence -  Winawer Variation

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 This has been tried before with varying success, but it’s probably slightly inferior to 6…Ne7 and if 7.Qg4 Nf5. 7.Qg4 f5 8.Qg3 8.exf6 would only develop Black’s game after 8…Nxf6. 8…Ne7 Black was rather unlucky to fall into an opening variation that was thought to be quite good in Jan. 1960, but highly suspect by March. 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7 cxd4 So far the game has followed the textbooks, but now Gligoric played  11.Kd1 Mr. Scowen probably didn’t know that White had already been successful with this move against Tal, Botvinnik & Petrosian, as development of the KB is unhindered. 11…dxc3 12.Nf3 Nbc6 13.Bg5 Bd7 14.Bb5 This powerful move virtually refutes Black’s opening play. White’s aim is to exchange all the minor pieces except his knight and Black’s bishop, which will be severely handicapped by its own pawn chain. 14…a6 15.Bxc6 Bxc6 16.Bxe7 Rf8 17.Nd4 Qxe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 Black’s advanced pawn is weak, while on the other wing White has a pawn ready to advance. Now see how a GM transforms these advantages into a win. 19.Ke2 Rh8 20.f4 Rag8 21.Kf3 Rh7 22.Rab1 Kd7 23.Rb3 Rhg7 24.g3 Rh7 25.Rxc3 Rh3 Now Black threatens to regain material with R1xg3+. 26.Rb1 Rxh2 27.Nxc6 bxc6 28.Rb7+ Kc8 29.Re7 Rh3 30.Kg2 Rh4 31.Rxc6+ Kd8 32.Rexe6 Resigns.

This game illustrates the advantage you have when your opponent is saddled with a permanent weakness like a vulnerable pawn or blocked-in piece.

In last week’s position, Mordue (W) played 1.Bxh7+ which is not exactly the prelude to a spectacular mating attack, but does win the defending pawn. 1…Kxh7 2.Qd3+ and he gets the d6 bishop back.

This position occurred in the 2007 West of England Championship in Exmouth, between Joshua Hall (W) and Alan Brusey. Can you advise White on a good move?

White to play and win

Next Up …… the Paignton Congress (16.07.2016.)

Like football, no sooner has the old chess season been put to bed than the next looms quickly over the horizon. This means the Paignton Congress cannot be so far away – in fact it starts seven weeks tomorrow, Sunday 4th September. Entry forms may be downloaded from the website chessdevon.co.uk. If necessary, further details may be obtained from the event Secretary, Alan Crickmore on 01752-768206 or e-mail plymouthchess@btinternet.com.

After his recent run of tournament successes the likely winner is local Grandmaster Keith Arkell, who has made this event virtually his own for over 20 years, so much so that other GMs seem to leave it to him without challenge, one exception being 2008 when Gawain Jones shared 1st prize with him. An extra 2 GMs would greatly add to the interest.

60 years ago, the winner at Paignton was Francis Kitto (5/7) with Andrew Thomas and Wolfgang Heidenfeld both on 50%. This was their individual game.

White: A. R. B. Thomas. W. Heidenfeld.

Grünfeld Defence  [D78]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.0–0 0–0 6.c4 c6 7.Nc3 h6 8.Ne5 Thomas was not one to hold back from taking the high ground when the opportunity arose. 8…Be6 9.f4 Nbd7 10.b3 dxc4 11.bxc4 Nxe5 12.fxe5 Nh7 13.Qd3 Qd7 14.Bb2 Bh3 15.Ne4 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Rfd8 17.Nc5 Qc8 18.e6 f5 Taking the pawn would allow in the White Queen with 18…fxe6 19.Qxg6 to be followed by Nxe6. 19.Nd7 There is no immediate threat from the knight and pawn, and Black could bring his knight in from the rim, with something like Ng5. But Black opts to eliminate the knight & pawn immediately. 19…Rxd7. If 19…Ng5 20.Qa3. 20.exd7 Qxd7 21.Rad1 White is planning to control the d-file after playing d5 when possible. 21…Ng5 22.Ba3 Re8 23.d5 e6 24.h4 Ne4 25.dxc6 Qxc6 26.Qd7 Rc8 27.Qxc6 Rxc6 28.Rd8+ Kh7 29.Rd7 White’s bishop threatens to move to either b2 or f8. 29…Rb6 29…Kg8 Black could try 30.Rxb7 Rxc4 but after 31.Rd1 there is little hope. 30.Bf8 The bishop cannot be further defended. 1–0

This was only revenge for Thomas as the two had met just a few days earlier in Rd. 4 of the British Championship at Blackpool, when Heidenfeld (B) won after sacrificing a rook in a French Defence.

The Jewish Heidenfeld (1911-81) was born in Berlin but ahead of the rise of Nazism emigrated to South Africa where he became National Champion eight times. After the war he moved to Ireland where he became their Champion six times. His autobiographical book of games is called Lacking The Master Touch, (1970) now highly sought after.

The solution to Dave Howard’s 3-mover last week was 1.Bd7! after which White has four 2 move mates depending on what Black tries. For example, 1…Kf4. 2.Qf6+ Ke4. 3.Qf5 mate or 2…Kg3 3.Qf2 mate.

This position arose between fellow Bristolians Tyson Mordue (W) and Steve Dilleigh in a tournament in Torquay a decade ago. How did White win a small but significant amount of material?

White to play and win material

Bristol Summer Congress Results (09.07.2016.)

In the Bristol League’s Summer Congress last month top seed in the Open was GM Keith Arkell, and though his Rd. 3 victory over IM Chris Beaumont, the second seed, was compensation for Chris’ victory two weeks earlier at the Cotswold Congress, his Rd. 2 draw against Steve Dilleigh prevented him from winning this year’s Grand Prix outright.

Open: 1st Keith Arkell (242 – Paignton). 2nd Carl Bicknell (201 – Horfield). 5 players came 3rd=.

Major (U-155):  1st Vladimir Bovtramovics. 2nd= Robert Wallman (142 – Olton), Ian Bush (142 – Magdalen College School) and Lynda Roberts (148 – Thornbury).

Minor (U-125): 1st Lance Carter (113e – Maidenhead). 5/5. 2nd= Kevin Markey (Glos)& L. Abecassis.

White: C. Beaumont – Black: K. Arkell

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind.  [B39]

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 Contravening the unwritten rule of not moving the same piece twice in the opening. 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 Ne6 10.Rc1 Qa5 11.Bd3 d6 12.0–0 Bd7 13.f4 Bd4 14.Bxd4 Nxd4 15.Nd5 Nc6 Not 15…Qxa2?? allowing 16.Nc7+ winning a rook or 16.Bb1 Qxb2 17.Rf2 winning the knight. 16.b4 Nxb4 17.f5 Nc6 18.c5 dxc5 19.Bb5 a6 Not 19…Qxb5?? 20.Nc7+. 20.Bxc6 Bxc6 21.f6 Bxd5 22.Qxd5 exf6 23.Rxf6 0–0 The key to the endgame lies in the pawn structure – Black’s two islands of 3 pawns against White’s isolanis. 24.Rcf1 Qc7 25.h4 Rae8 26.Rd6 Rxe4 0-1 White loses another pawn, so resigns. If 27.Rd7 Qe5.

His last round game was not without interest, as a crowd gathered round.

White: K. Arkell. Black: J. Marco.

King’s Indian Defence [E60]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d5 Nb6 8.Nbd2 e6 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Nd4 c6 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.c5 dxc5 13.Qc2 Qe7 14.Nb3 Nbd7 15.Be3 b6 16.Bxc6 Rac8 17.Bb7 Rc7 18.Bg2 Nd5 19.Bxd5 exd5 20.Rad1 Nf6 21.Bg5 Qe4 22.Qxe4 Nxe4 23.Bf4 Rxf4 24.gxf4 Bxb2 25.Rxd5 Although Black is the exchange down, his 3 queenside pawns may yet play a part in the outcome. 25…c4 26.Nd4 Nc3 27.Rd8+ Kf7 28.Kg2 Nxa2 29.Nc2 a5 30.Rb8 Rc6 31.Rb7+ Kf6 32.Rb1 c3 33.e4 g5 34.Nd4 c2 35.e5+ Kg6 36.Nxc2 Rxc2 37.Rxb6+ Kf5 38.R1xb2 Rxb2 39.Rxb2 The queenside issues are resolved and attention switches to the other wing.  39…Nb4 40.fxg5 Kxg5 41.Re2 Nd5 42.e6 Kf6 43.Ra2 Nf4+ 44.Kg3 Nxe6 45.Rxa5 Ng7 46.Kg4 Ne6 47.f4 Ng7 48.Ra6+ Kf7 49.Rh6 Kg8 50.f5 Ne8 51.Kg5 Kg7 52.Ra6 Kg8 53.Ra8 Kf7 54.Ra7+ Kg8 55.Rd7 Ng7 56.h4 1–0

In last week’s position, only Black’s knight is preventing Qb5 mate, so RxN removes that defence and Black must do something about it, which does not include taking the rook, which is free to move away.

This new 3-mover from Dave Howard is unusual in having no White pawns.  White to play.

White to mate in 3.

Teignmouth Chess Club History (02.07.2016.)

Chess history can be a fascinating aspect of the game. This generally takes the form of biographies of great players with a collection of their best games. It can also take the form of the story of great tournaments or head-to-head matches, St, Petersburg 1914 being a classic.

Less common are the histories of individual chess clubs. In my archives I have several, including A History of the Metropolitan Chess Club 1890-1990, by Moore & Deery, and histories of the Plymouth and Exeter clubs.

The latest addition to this list is Teignmouth Chess Club 1901 – 2016 compiled by Bill Frost with numerous contributions from fellow members past and present and a joint publication by Chess Devon and Keverel Chess. It comprises 66 A4 pages with 46 photographs and numerous games, and costs £13 plus p&p. For copies, contact Bill Frost via billfrost@hotmail.co.uk.

An excellent and valuable project, beautifully executed and finished.

The Teignmouth club was founded in 1901 and competed for the county championship (the Bremridge Cup) that year and every year it has been held thereafter. Although they had to wait a hundred years before they won it, their consistency is admirable.

The book recalls how, in 1965, ten club members took on the great Andrew Thomas in a simultaneous match.

White: A. R. B. Thomas. Black: R. H. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Wing Gambit [B40]

1.e4 c5 2.b4 Having just given a talk on the virtues of the opening, A.R.B. felt duty bound to play it on this occasion. 2…cxb4 3.d4 e6 4.Nf3 Ne7 5.a3 d5 6.axb4 dxe4 7.Ne5 Nf5 8.Bb5+ Nd7 9.0–0 Bxb4 10.c3 Be7 11.Nd2 e3 12.Ne4 If 12.fxe3 Nxe3 winning the exchange. 12…exf2+ 13.Rxf2 0–0 14.Bxd7 Bxd7 15.Qh5 Bc6 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Bg5 Bxg5 18.Nxg5 h6 19.Ne4 a5 Once Black’s a-pawn starts to advance in this opening it can become a nuisance. 20.Re1 a4 21.g4 Qh4 22.Qxh4 Nxh4 23.Ra1 Ra7 24.Ra3 Rb8 25.Rfa2 Nf3+ 26.Kf2 Nxh2! 27.Kg3 Nxg4 28.Kxg4 f5+ (a) winning the piece back and (b) obtaining 2 passed pawns. 29.Kf4 fxe4 30.Rxa4 Rxa4 31.Rxa4 Rb3 32.Rc4 Rb6 33.Kxe4 Kf7 34.Ra4 g5 35.Ke5 g4 36.Ra7+ Kg6 37.Ra8 Kh5 38.Kxe6 c5+ 39.Ke5 cxd4 40.cxd4 By this time, the other 9 games had finished and it was just him and me. 40…g3 41.d5 Rg6! vital to get the rook behind the pawn and in a position to protect the king and other pawn. 42.Ra1 If 42.d6 g2 43.Ra1 g1Q 44.Rxg1 Rxg1 45.d7 Rd1 and the h-pawn will queen. 42…g2 43.Rg1 Rg8 44.d6 Kh4 45.d7 Kh3 46.Rd1 Kh2 47.Rd2 Kh1 48.Rd6 g1Q 49.Rxh6+ Kg2 50.Rg6+ Rxg6 51.Ke4 If 51.d8Q Qe3+ 52.Kd5 (52.Kf5 Qe6+ 53.Kf4 Rg4#) 52…Qd3+ winning the queen. 51…Re6+ 52.Kf4 Qe3+ 0–1

Last week’s Mansfield 2-mover was solved by 1.Nd3! and, because the rook is pinned, Black can do nothing about the threat of 2.Qf5 mate.

This week’s position is taken from a game earlier this year. How does White win significant material?

Devon vs Middlesex U-180 Semi-Final. 25.06.2016.)

in the WMN 80 years ago exactly.

As reported last week, Black lost 5-9 to Middlesex, a score that doesn’t do justice to the close struggle involved. Devon names 1st in each pairing.

1.Brian Hewson (179) 1-0 P. Gregory (175). 2.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 T. Whitton (176). 3.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ L. Marden (174). 4.John Wheeler ½-½ N. Twitchell (177). 5.Plamen Sivrev (175) 0-1 I. Hunnable (177). 6.Paul Hampton (173) 0-1 P. Jaszkiwskyi (180). 7.Oliver Wensley (171) 0-1 J. White (166). 8.Trefor Thynne (168) ½-½ C. Ramage (164). 9.Paul Brooks (159) 0-1 P. Kenning (171). 10.Brian Gosling (157) 1-0 D. Millward (169). 11.Martin Quinn (151) 0-1 C. Westrap (172). 12.Nick Butland  (153) ½-½ J. Davenport (163). 13.Chris Scott (150) ½-½ G. Strachan (159). 14.Andrew Kinder (145) ½-½ P. Haddock (124). Here is one of Devon’s 2 wins, with notes by the winner.

White: Brian Gosling. Black: D. Millward

Scandinavian Defence.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Nf6 6.d3 c6 7.0–0 e6 8.g3 Aiding the bishop coming to f4. 8…Qc7 9.Nd4 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Bc5 11.Bf4 Qe7 If 11…Bd6?? 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Qxe6. 12.Nf3 Nbd7 13.d4 Bd6 14.Ne5 avoiding the exchange of bishops. 14…0–0 15.Rfe1 Bxe5 16.dxe5 Nd5 17.Ne4 The exchanges had led to a hole at d6, just waiting for a knight. 17…Nxf4 18.gxf4 White’s pawn structure is compromised but he had the open g-file for attack. 18…f5 19.Nd6 Nb6 20.c4 Kh8 21.Qh5 Rab8 Play now revolved around the open g-file. 22.Kh1 g6 23.Qh3 Rg8 24.Rg1 Rg7 25.Rg3 Rbg8 26.Rag1 Qd7 26…g5? would be a bad mistake because after the exchanges on g5 White has the knight fork on f7. 27.b3 Nc8 28.Rd3 The knights could not be exchanged as White would infiltrate via the d-file. 28…Qc7 29.Qh4 Nb6?? Black had to stop the queen coming to f6. The pin on the rook was devastating. 29…Qe7 30.Qxe7 Rxe7. 30.Qf6+ Qe7 31.Rxg6!! Mating attack. 31…Qxf6 If 31…hxg6 32.Rh3#. 32.exf6 Rd7 32…Rxg6?? allows a smothered mate 33.Nf7#. 33.Rxg8+?? Throwing away the advantage. 33.Rh6 would secure victory 33…Rf8 34.Rdh3 with the threat of pushing the f-pawn. 33…Kxg8 34.f7+ Kf8 35.c5 Nd5 36.Rg3 Nf6 37.b4 b5 38.Kg2 Re7 39.a3 Rd7? 39…a5 40.Rd3 40…Ne4 41.Rg3?? Better is 41.Rh3. 41…Nxg3 42.fxg3 Rxd6 43.cxd6 Kxf7 44.h3 Ke8 Black should not allow White to get his kingside pawn majority moving, e.g. 44…h5. 45.Kf3 Ke8 46.d7+ Kxd7 etc. 45.g4 Kd7 46.g5 Black’s king is tied to the kingside coping with White’s extra pawn. 46…Kxd6?? Throwing away the draw. If 46…c5 47.bxc5 a5 is drawn, as the opposing pawn majorities balance. 47.h4+Ke7 48.h5 Kf7 49.Kf3 Kg7 50.Ke3 Kf7 51.Kd4 Kg7 52.Ke5 Kf7 53.Kd6 a6 54.Ke5 Ke7+ 55.g6 hxg6 56.hxg6 Kf8 57.Kxe6 1–0

The key to last week’s study was 1.Kf2! forcing Kh2 2.Kf3 Kh3 3.Kf4 Kh4 4.b4 g5+ 5.Ke3! to avoid checks g4 6.b5 g3 7.b6 Kh3 8.b7 g2 9.Kf2  The only way to defend his pawn is …Kh2, and then 10.b8=Q+.

Here is a 2-mover by Comins Mansfield, first published in the WMN 80 years ago exactly.

White play & mate in 2

Victor Korchnoi RIP

Victor Korchnoi, who died last week, would probably have become World Champion at some point, had he not been a Soviet dissident who regularly incurred the wrath of the authorities and was denied many opportunities to travel freely to important international events, and who, he asserted, devised subtle ways to prevent him winning any of his World Championship matches. The story up to 1977 was told in his autobiography, Chess Is My Life, but the shenanigans continued beyond that until he eventually escaped the Soviets’ clutches and settled in Switzerland.

He was particularly good with the Black pieces, often favouring the French Defence. This was a typical example, that he listed in his book My Best Games Vol. 2 – Games With Black. (Edition Olms – 2001).  Notes much condensed from those in the book.

White: Dr. J. Nunn. Black: V. Korchnoi.

World Team Championship 1985

French Defence – Advance Variation.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Black aims to create pressure on d4 a.s.a.p. 7…cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 Bxd4 This series of moves that Black now makes quickly leads to an endgame position. 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Qb6 12.Qxb6 Nxb6 (Having lost to him earlier in the year at Wijk aan Zee Korchnoi had a great respect for John Nunn as an attacker and sought to keep things relatively simple by exchanging pieces). 13.0–0–0 Another good move in this position is 13…h4 introduced by Kasparov in the 1990s. Bd7 14.Bd3 h5 Limiting White’s chances of advancing the kingside pawns. 15.Ne2 Ke7 16.Nd4 g6 17.g3 Preventing an immediate f4. 17…Bc6 18.Rde1 Nd7 19.c3 Rag8 20.Rhf1 g5! 21.f5 g4! Possibly it was this move that Nunn overlooked – Black will inevitably open the h-file for his rooks. It is also important for him to secure the g5 square, to have the possibility of attacking the e5 pawn from the side. 22.Re2 h4 23.b4 hxg3 24.hxg3 Ba4 25.Kb2 Rh3 26.Rg1 Rgh8? Better was 26…Rc8 after which White has no active moves and Black can develop his offensive. 27.Ka3 Rc8 28.Kb2? This move concedes the initiative for good. 28…a6 29.Rgg2 intending to exchange the rook on h3. 29…Bd1 30.Re3? Losing. 30…Nb6 31.Rf2 Rh1! Weaving a mating net around White’s king. 32.fxe6 fxe6 33.Rf1 Na4+ 34.Kc1 Rxc3+ 0-1. If, for example, 35.Nc2 then …Rxf1 36.Bxf1 Rxc2+ 37.Kxd1 Rxa2 etc.

Last weekend, Devon lost 5-9 to Essex in the National semi-finals of the U-180 championship.  Full details next week.

Last week’s study by Troitsky was won by 1.f6! Black is forced to take it …gxf6. 2.Kxg2 Kf4 and the key move is 3.a4 forcing an outside passed pawn that Black cannot prevent from queening 3…bxa3 4.bxa3 etc. though careful play is still required with the queen as Black will have 4 pawns all advancing.

Here is another pawn-only study, this time by the Swiss, Samuel Isenegger (1899-1964). White to move and clearly he can queen quickly, but so can Black.

How is this resolved?

White to move and win

E. Devon League’s Climactic Finish

The League’s prizegiving and end-of-term match has been held at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth, at the kind invitation of the management, for the past 12 years or more, and it was no different this time.

First, the presentations……

Div. 1 was won by Exeter Rooks and Felix Schulte received the trophy from League President, Brian Aldwin.

Div. 1 Runners-Up were Newton Abbot and Mark Cockerton received the trophy.

Div. 2 winners were Tiverton Thinkers and Jon Duckham accepted the trophy.

Runners-Up In Div 2 were Exeter Gambits and Brian Aldwin made sure he took the cup home.

Exeter Prestissimo won the RapidPlay League and John Maloney received the trophy.

The match changed in format last year, due to the rise and rise of the Exeter Club’s membership and the decline in interest of the Tiverton and Sidmouth clubs. No blame is attached here – it’s just how clubs always gradually rise and fall, both in numbers and  and strength over the years, and ’twill ever be so. However, one must adjust accordingly.

Therefore, this year the match took the form of an Exeter vs The Rest double round rapidplay. Last year’s match was drawn 9-9, but this year’s line-up looked to favour the city team, though it proved to be a little closer than expected.

Details were as follows: (Tim’s Team – named after League Secretary Tim Paulden – consisted of Exeter players on the top 16 boards. Bob’s Team – named after the League’s Jamboree team captain, Bob Jones).

Bd Tim’s Team Grd R1 R2 Bob’s Team Grd R1 R2
1 Paulden, T 185 1 ½ Underwood, J. 186 0 ½
2 O’Neill, P 185 1 1 Abbott, M. V. 178 0 0
3 Hartmann, L 184 1 ½ Wensley, O. E 170 0 ½
4 Schulte, F 180 0 1 Duckham, J 158 1 0
5 Chan, J 151 1 0 Gosling, G. 153 0 1
6 Dean, A 145 1 1 Annetts, I. S. 151 0 0
7 Amos, J 141 1 0 Scott, C. J. 149 0 1
8 Simpson, I 133 0 0 Keen, C 138 1 1
9 Palmer, E 124 0 1 Belt, M 133 1 0
10 Maloney, J 120 0 1 Fotheringham, G 130 1 0
11 Player, J 115 0 1 Cockerton, M 125 1 0
12 Marjoram, W 115 1 1 Jones, R. H. 118 0 0
13 Scholes, R 111 1 0 Haines, M 100 0 1
14 Jenkins, G. 106 1 0 Maber, M 100 0 1
15 Dean, S 100 0 0 Thomson, D 100 1 1
16 Murray, T 60 0 0 Thorpe-Tracey S 90 1 1
17 Lee, Mike 80 1 0 Grist, I. G. 87 0 1
18 Lee, Max 40 0 0 Minor, T 68 1 1
19 Cubbon, R 50 1 1 Dye, J 50 0 0
11 9 8 10
Grand Totals 20 18
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