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End of Season matches (05.05.2018.) 984

Devon’s last match in Division 1 was played out on Saturday between Exmouth and Newton Abbot. As both teams had already lost home and away to Exeter, there wasn’t much to play for, except to avoid the wooden spoon. In this, Exmouth succeeded narrowly, but there were wins for both teams.

At quickplay Paul Hampton has few equals on the local circuit. He won this game, but missed a mating combination.

White: P. D. Hampton (172). Black: C. V.  Howard (154).

Bird’s Opening  [A03]

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.b3 Be7 5.Bb2 c5 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 b6 8.Qe1 Bb7 9.d3 Qc7 10.Ne5 Bf8 11.Nd2 0–0–0 12.Ndf3 Ne8 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.c4 Now knowing which side Black has castled, White wastes no time in launching an attack against it. 14…Nd6 15.b4 Nf5 16.cxd5 exd5 17.bxc5 Bxc5 18.d4 Bd6 19.Rc1 threatening Bb5. White can ignore the threat to his e3 pawn as the knight would be needed to defend the white-square bishop, especially with Black’s king & queen are in line. 19…Kb7 20.Ne5 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Nxe3 White gifts the e-pawn as it frees up all his pieces.  22.Ba6+ Kxa6 23.Qxe3 Qd7 24.Rf3 Rc8 25.Rcf1 f6 26.exf6 gxf6 27.Rxf6 Rc7 28.Ba3 Qg7 29.Bd6 Bb5 30.R1f2 Rc4 31.Be5 Re8 Welcome to the game. Now Black has options. 32.Qa3+ Ra4 33.Qd6 Qg4 34.h3 Qe4 35.Kh2 Rc8 36.Rf7 Bd3 The killer move. 37.Rxa7+! The killer move. 37…Kxa7 38.Qd7+ Check and forking both rooks. 38…Ka6 39.Qxc8+? Wrong rook; White missed a mate in 4 by taking the other rook viz 39.Qxa4+ Kb7 40.Rf7+ Rc7 41.Rxc7+ Kb8 42.Qe8# 39…Ka5 40.Qc3+ Ka6 41.Rd2 1-0

A rapidly-improving junior, Ramesh showed his growing class with this win over a more experienced opponent.

White: V. Ramesh (164). Black: S. Martin (186)

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation [B72]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 Nf6 8.f3 Bd7 9.Qd2 a6 10.h4 h5 11.0–0–0 b5 White having committed to castling long, Black moves to launch a pawn storm, but it takes a lot of moves to get the a & b pawns onto really threatening squares, which perhaps could be better used completing piece development  12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Kb1 Qc7 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Bd7 16.Rhe1 a5 17.Bd3 b4 18.Qf2 Rb8 19.Bd4 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Black has left castling too late 20…Rg8 If 20…0–0 21.Rxe7. 21.Re2 e6 22.dxe6 Bxe6 23.Rde1 Kd7 24.Re5 Ke7 25.R5e4 Qc5 26.Qxc5 dxc5 27.Re5 Rgc8 28.Bxg6! Not difficult to see; just the fruit of everything that’s gone before. 28…Kf6 29.Bxh5 Re8 30.b3 Rbc8 31.Bg4 Rc6 32.Bxe6 fxe6 It’s now a pure R&P endgame, except that Black doesn’t have enough of the latter. 33.Kc1 a4 34.g4 axb3 35.axb3 c4 36.bxc4 Rxc4 37.R5e4 Rc3 38.R1e3 Rec8 39.Rxe6+ Kf7

The solution to last week’s ancient teaser was 1.Rhg7! Wherever the king or knight move will allow one of the rooks to mate on the back rank.

In this level-looking position from 1995 White noticed a breakthrough move.

What did he play?

Revd. Bremridge’s Wooden Spoon Avoided (28.04.2018.)

Exeter having already won the Bremridge Cup by beating home & away the other two teams, Exmouth and Newton Abbot, these were left “playing for peanuts” as the Tournament Secretary put it. However, this proved more difficult than usual. On the first occasion, Newton Abbot couldn’t raise a team for their away leg and the match was postponed until 28th April. For their home leg, it was Exmouth that couldn’t raise a team, but it was too late in the season for a postponement, so that was declared “unplayed”.

In an effort to infuse a small element of significance to the match it was felt the teams could be fighting to avoid the wooden spoon. And so the games were played slowly and seriously. The first point went to the visitors in the shape of Vignesh Ramesh who overcame a 22 point deficit to beat his experienced opponent. Then nothing happened for some time, when four games seemed to finish in a flurry. John Stephens exploited his extra pawn in a R&P ending, got it to the 7th rank and Black could do nothing about it.

Underwood’s and Hampton’s games also finished at this time with wins for the home team. Meanwhile, Walter Braun was struggling to defend his position a piece down, Steve Homer, who, being the player he is, was never going to let up.

With the score at 3-2 it was left to Brian Gosling and Josh Blackmore to finish things off. They were down to a black-square bishop each and a sprinkling of pawns. The game went on for some time long after the other players had gone. Blackmore was making all his moves in the last 5 seconds of each incremental 30 seconds, but Gosling managed to retain a very slight edge, and chipped away at the pawns. There was a moment when Blackmore might have been able to sacrifice his bishop for his opponent’s last pawn to leave a draw, but the chance passed, and Gosling was able to mop up pawns on his was to a win, leaving the final score 4-2 and the Wooden Spoon was avoided.

Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)   28.04.2018.
EXMOUTH Grd NEWTON ABBOT Grd
1 Dr. W. Braun 203 0 1 S. J. Homer 181
2 Dr. J. Underwood 192 1 0 P. Brooks 170
3 J. K. F. Stephens 189 1 0 T. F. Thynne 170
4 S. Martin 186 0 1 V. Ramesh 164
5 P. G. Hampton 172 1 0 C. V. Howard 154
6 B. G. E. Gosling 160 1 0 J. Blackmore 147
1,102 4 2 986

Walter Braun vs Steve Homer (Bd.1)

Bd. 2: Paul Brooks vs Jonathan Underwood

Charlie Howard makes a move against Paul Hampton on Bd. 5

Josh Blackmore vs Brian Gosling on Bd. 6 last to finish after a tight endgame.

left: John Stephens vs Trefor Thynne with Steve Martin in view on right.

Westcountry Juniors in Albania (28.04.2018.) 983

The Cornish junior, Adam Hussein of the Truro Club, is currently playing in the U-13 section of FIDE’s World School Championship in Durres, on Albania’s beautiful Adriatic coast. Also in the English team of 8 players is Georgia Headlong of the Brown Jack Club near Swindon who recently became the West of England Ladies Champion in Exmouth. Their progress may be followed on the chess-results.com or event websites.

The Sicilian Defence leads to very active play for both sides, with lines of play more numerous and harder to evaluate than any other opening. Whole libraries could be assembled on this opening alone. Almost every game has something to teach us, like this one from a match last weekend. A seemingly innocuous move by White enables Black to take complete control of the kingside almost immediately.

White: Yuyang Wang (155). Black: John Stephens (196).

Sicilian Defence – Opocensky Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 This move is named after the Czech expert analyst, Karel Opocensky (1892–1975). 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 Interestingly, every square on the e-file is occupied with a piece, four of them bishops. 9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.exd5 Bf5 11.c4 Nd7 12.0–0 0–0 13.Bg4? This manoeuvre allows Black to obtain a grip on the kingside, which he keeps for the rest of the game. 13…Bxg4 14.Qxg4 f5 forcing White back. 15.Qe2 f4 16.Bc1 Qe8 17.Nd2 Qg6 18.f3 Qh5 19.Ne4 Nf6 20.Qf2 Rac8 21.b3 b5 22.Nxf6+ Rxf6 Completing Black’s kingside mastery. 23.Qb6 White is forced to seek counterplay on the other wing. 23…Rh6 24.h3 Qg5 25.Qxa6 Rf8 26.Kh1 Qg3 27.Qb6 Black is still a pawn down, but his positional superiority gives him the freedom to hammer at the castle walls. 27…Rxh3+ 28.Kg1 Certainly not 28.gxh3?? Qxh3+ 29.Kg1 Qg3+ 30.Kh1 Rf5 and mate follows. 28…Qh2+ 29.Kf2 Bd8 30.Qa7 Bh4+ 31.Ke2 Qxg2+ 32.Rf2 Bxf2 33.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 34.Kxf2 This skirmish leaves Black with 2 lively rooks, while White’s 2 pieces are on their original squares, though he does have a 3–1 queenside pawn majority, which perhaps needs dealing with before it becomes a possible threat. 34…bxc4 35.Kg2 Rg3+ 36.Kf2 cxb3 37.axb3 Rb8 38.Rb1 Rb5 39.b4 h5 40.Bd2 h4 41.Rh1 Rxd5 42.Be1 g5 43.Ke2 Rg2+ 44.Bf2 Kf7 It’s now safe for the king to join the party. 45.Kf1 And finally an exchange sacrifice to finish things off. 45…Rxf2+ 46.Kxf2 Rd2+ 47.Ke1 Rb2 48.Rh3 Rxb4 49.Ke2 Kf6 50.Rh1 Kf5 51.Rd1 Rb2+ 52.Ke1 h3 and the h-pawn must queen. 0–1

In last week’s position, White should play 1.Rh2! and either rook will be able to mate next move, depending on what Black does with his pieces.

From the same book that last week’s 2-mover was taken is this one, on the same theme of White Rook’s Only. Alain White introduced it as…”one of the most famous 2 movers of antiquity”, first seen in 1350, “but the theme is fresh and full of life even today”.

Two Games from the Champion. (14.04.2018.) 981

In the recent WECU Championship, the absence of the 2017 winner, Keith Arkell, opened up the way for about 10 other players to seize their opportunity. Of these, it was Dominic Mackle who led the charge. In this Rd. 4 game he pounces of an early error by one of the Scandinavian juniors and quickly takes full advantage.

White: D. Mackle. Black: Leif Halfstad.

King’s Indian Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 c5 6.Nc4 d5 7.Nce5 a6? Necessary was 7…Nfd7 to counter the twin knight threat. 8.Ng5 Rg8 9.Ngxf7 Qe7 10.c3 b5 11.Bd3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 Qxf7 13.Ne5 Qe7 14.Bg5 g6 15.dxc5 Bg7 16.c6 Bc8 17.0–0 Qc7 18.Bf4 Qd6 19.a4 b4 20.a5 Qc5 21.cxb4 Qxb4 22.Qc2 Qe7 23.Rac1 Ra7 24.c7 with the twin threats of Nc6 forking Q & N or Qc6+ 1-0

In the penultimate round he faced the experienced FIDE Master, Mike Waddington, so couldn’t expect any blunders to help him.

White: M. Waddington. Black: D. Mackle.

French Defence.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 The Burn Variation, played regularly by the Yorkshireman Amos Burn (1848–1925) and later taken up by World Champion, Tigran Petrosian. 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 Black doesn’t mind opening up the g-file and later exploits it with fatal results. 7.Nf3 a6 8.Bd3 f5 9.Ned2 c5 10.c3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc6 12.Nb3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 White could block the check but decides to castle the long way round, which takes up valuable time. 13…0–0 14.a3 Be7 15.Re1 Bf6 16.Bc2 a5 17.a4 Nb4 18.Kf1 b6 19.Ne5 Ba6+ 20.Kg1 Rc8 21.Bb1 Kh8 22.Qh5 Threatening to fork K&Q. 22…Rc7 23.Re3 Bxe5 24.dxe5 f6 25.h3 Bc4 26.Qf3 Rg8 27.g3 f4 28.Rc3 Nd5 29.Rc2 White has 4 pieces stuck in the corner while Black is opening lines against the white king. How does he retain the initiative? 29…fxg3 30.fxg3 f5 31.Kh2 Nb4 Attacking a rook while vacating d5 for his bishop to further pressure to bear on the white king’s corner. 32.Rd2 Bd5 33.Qe3 Rcg7 34.g4 fxg4 35.Be4 Black’s bishop is well enough protected which gives Black the chance to further strip away the castle walls. gxh3 36.Rf1 Qh4 37.Bxd5 Nxd5 38.Qe1 Rg2+ 39.Kh1 Qg5 40.Rdf2 h2 41.Qe4 Rg1+ There’s no escape as there are several other mates. e.g. 41…Rxf2 42.Rc1 Qg1+ 43.Rxg1 42.Kxh2 Qg3#.

Cornwall qualified for the National Stages of the Inter-County Competition and entered the Minor Counties Section, where they have been drawn against Surrey, the match to be played on Sat. May 12th at East Huntspill TA9 4RA.

In last week’s position, White played 1.Qd3 which threatens mate on one side of the board and wins a knight on the other.

Imagine you were playing Bobby Fischer in a simultaneous match in which he’s given all his opponents the White pieces. Even so, they’ve all lost and it’s up to you to salvage some collective pride, but he’s attacking your rook. Where should it go?

White to play.

WECU Championship Shared (07.04.2018.) 980

At the end of the wettest, coldest March in living memory, the West of England Championship and Congress took place at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth over the Easter weekend. The absence of last year’s winner, GM Keith Arkell and Jack Rudd cast a small shadow over the proceedings, though it opened up the prospect of possible victory to almost half the Open section, so in that sense it was less of a procession and more of a real dogfight for every half point.

The final outcome was as follows: Open Section 1st Richard McMichael (King’s Head) 5½/7 pts. 2nd= Dominic Mackle (Torquay) & Lewis Martin (Brown Jack – Wiltshire) 5 pts. Although McMichael took the cheque for £400, as a Londoner he was not eligible for the title of WECU Champion which was shared by Mackle and Martin. The Grading Prize was a 6-way split between Alan Crombleholme (Walsall); John Stephens (Exmouth); Dave Littlejohns (Taunton); Roger de Coverley (Bourne End); Chris James (Dunbar) & James Forster (Southbourne) all on 3½.

Major Section: 1st Geoffrey Brown (Folkestone) 5½. 2nd Yasser Tello (Wimbledon). 3rd= Ronnie Burton (Weymouth);  Yuyang Wang (Plymouth); Jamie Morgan (Cornwall); Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) & Paul G. Jackson (Coulsdon) all 4½.

Minor Section: 1st= Eddie Fuerek (Glos) & Gerald Parfett (Athenaeum). 3rd= Ray Hunt (E. Devon); Ken Alexander (E. Budleigh) & Andy Proudfoot (Plymouth) all 4½. Grading Prize: Kevin Markey (Stroud).

Here is a game from Rd. 1 between a local player and a Turkish Cypriot.

White: A. Gorgun (1619) – Black: J. Stephens. (1991)

Sicilian Defence [B52]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0–0 Nc6 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 Often regarded as Black’s freeing move in this opening. 10.e5 Ne4 11.a3 Be7 12.Nbd2 Nxd2 13.Bxd2 0–0 14.b4 White should be thinking about an early king-side attack, but his knight doesn’t have a single move on the board, so he tries on the opposite wing, which is  traditionally where Black will be aiming for activity. 14…b5 15.Qb1 a5 16.Qb2 axb4 17.axb4 Qb7 18.Rec1 Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Ra8 20.Rxa8+ Qxa8 21.Ne1 Qa4 22.Nc2 Nxd4 23.Qxd4 Qxc2 24.g3 h6 25.Qa7 Bxb4! 26.Qb8+ Kh7 27.Bxb4 Qb1+ 28.Kg2 Qe4+ 29.f3 Qxb4 This skirmish leaves Black 2 passed pawns up. 30.Qe8 Qb2+ 31.Kh3 b4 32.f4 Qc2 33.g4 Kg6 34.f5+ exf5 35.e6 White’s first question – should Black defend f7 or attack? 35…fxg4+ 36.Kg3 Qd3+ 37.Kxg4 h5+ 38.Kh4 Qe4+ 39.Kg3 Qxe6 0-1 Question answered.

Last week’s 2-mover by John Brown of Bridport, taken from Brian Gosling’s excellent biography of the near-forgotten 19th century composer, was solved by 1. Qe7! Black has 7 attempts to escape the inevitable, but each is met by either White’s queen, bishop or knight.

In this position Brian Gosling (W) found a combination that gave him a small but significant material gain.

White to play and win material

West of England Chess Congress 2018 – the results

After a month of drenching rain, snow storms and bitter winds, yes – even in South Devon – it was perhaps a good time to hunker down indoors and get down to 7 rounds of serious chess, and Exmouth’s Manor Hotel provided the opportunity to do exactly that over the Easter weekend. To that end, 70 players foregathered to fight for a share of the £1,500 prize money and 4 trophies.

Interestingly, any idea that this might be just a collection of local yokels was dispelled by the international element, especially among the juniors, with players from Norway (3), Scotland (2), Austria, Cyprus, South Africa and China adding an almost exotic element to the mix. Although only one of these won a prize, they certainly enjoyed the occasion while giving the locals some new opposition.

At the end of 7 hard-fought rounds the winners were as follows:-

West of England Championship  -  Easter 2018
OPEN 1st R. McMichael 2232 King’s Head
2nd= D. Mackle 2164 Torquay 5 *Ch.
L. Martin 2079 Brown Jack 5 *Ch
U-2000 GP A. Crombleholme 1991 Walsall
J. Stephens 1991 Exmouth
D. Littlejohns 1981 Taunton
R. de Coverley 1953 Bourne End
C. James 1876 Dunbar
J. Forster 1812 Southbourne
McMichael was not eligible for the title, so it was

shared between Mackle & Martin.

U-1950 MAJOR
1st G. Brown 1847 Folkstone
2nd Y. Tello 1884 Wimbledon 5
3rd= R. Burton 1920 Weymouth
Y. Wang 1885 Plymouth
J. Morgan 1848 Cornwall
B. Gosling 1806 E. Budleigh
P. G. Jackson 1807 Coulsdon
U-1700 GP P. Grant-Ross 1615 King’s Head
U-130 MINOR
1st= E. Fierek 126 Gloucester 5
G. Parfett 119 Athenaeum 5
3rd= R. Hunt 129 E. Devon
K. Alexander 128 E. Budleigh
A. Proudfoot 112 Plymouth
U-107 GP K. Markey 105 Stroud 4
Georgia Headlong (Brown Jack) with 4/7 pts won the

Ladies Championship by virtue of having the highest

score of any of the 6 ladies competing.

In the final round, Dominic Mackle and Richard McMichael were keeping half an eye on each other’s game. The latter, who had no westcountry credentials, was not a rival for the trophy, so Mackle agreed an early draw to guarantee the title.  On seeing this, McMichael immediately began to press, but went wrong and it allowed his opponent in, and Lewis Martin went on to win and catch Mackle up on 5 points, who thereby lost £50 of prizemoney, £150 instead of £200. However, there was no problem with the Championship Cup and both were happy to share it for 12 months.

In the Major, Yuyang Wang (“Terry”) was the only one of the international set to win a prize, though his 1/5th share of 3rd place won’t get him far on his way back to China in August, when he returns to Xiamen with his mother who is on a 12 month secondment attached to Plymouth University.

Also in the Major, former WECU President, Fenella Headlong, found herself in a near-desperate battle with her 11 year old daughter, Georgia, for the Ladies Championship, the Elizabeth Walker Cup. Georgia was playing in the Minor, and both started the final round on 3 points. Whoever had the higher points total would be Champion. Fenella had already won this cup 4 times (twice in her maiden name of Cohen), but the thought of being beaten by her own daughter was not an attractive one. Her husband, Tim Headlong, also a WECU Champion in former times, would doubtless have been neutral on the issue. In the end, Fenella lost and Georgia won, so the victor’s laurels pass to a new generation, and Mum could not have been more proud.

At the prizegiving, Congress Secretary, Meyrick Shaw, announced the names of winners and Arbiter Graham Mill-Wilson was drafted in as cup presenter, allowing Bob Jones to take some pictures to record the happy scene.  See below.

Mackle (r) & McMichael - top 2 seeds in the Open

Andre Nielsen, from Altar in the far north of Norway, a World Junior Championship contender in 2016

Viennese FM Walter Braun, currently resident in Exmouth.

Veteran Midlander, Alan Crombleholme, currently playing for Walsall Kipping.

New Cornish Champion, Jeremy Menadue, on his way to a last round loss to Patryk Krzyzanowski.

Exmothians John Stephens (R) & Congress Secretary Meyrick Shaw on bottom Bd in the Open, alongside Yuyang Wang and Yasser Tello on top boards in the Major.

Benjamin Halvorsen, from Tromso, Norway, playing Cornishman Colin Sellwood in the Major.

Eddy Fierek of Gloucester, joint winner of the Minor Section.

Richard McMichael of the King's Head club, receiving his cheque for £400 from Graham Mill-Wilson.

Happy to share! Dominic Mackle (R) of Devon and Lewis Martin (Wilts).

West of England Congress – Latest Entries as at 27.03.2018.

West of England Congress    30.03.– 02.04 — 2018
Entries as at Tues. 27th March 2018
Name Club Rating ECF Bye?
OPEN   SECTION
1 K. C.  Arkell Cheddleton, Staffs 2413 237 0
R. McMichael Kings Head 2232 204 0
2 D. Mackle Torquay 2164 196 0
3 A. Nielsen Alta – Norway 2158 0
4 W. Braun Exmouth 2152 197 0
5 M. Waddington Dorchester 2091 196 0
6 M. Lewis Brown Jack – Wilts 2079 195 1
7 S. Dilleigh Horfield – Bristol 2070 191 0
8 J. K. Stephens Exmouth 189 4
9 J. F. Menadue Carrick – Cornwall 2055 185 0
10 G. Bolt Exeter 2016 188 5
11 A. Crombleholme Staffs 1991 168 0
12 D. Littlejohns Taunton 1981 178 1
13 R. De Coverley Bourne End 1953 179 0
14 C. James Dunbar 1876 4
15 L. Hafstad Exeter Juniors 1799 164 0
16 A. Gorgun Brown Jack 1617 174 0
MAJOR SECTION
1 T. F. Thynne Newton Abbot 1924 174 0
2 R. Burton Weymouth 1920 158 6
3 T. Woodward Trowbridge 1914 148 0
4 R. Gamble Derby – Spondon 1904 152 0
5 I. S. Annetts Tiverton 1885 150 5
6 Y. Wang Plymouth / Xiamen 1885 158 0
7 Y. Tello Wimbledon 1884 159 3&5
8 J. Morgan Cornwall 1848 149 0
9 G. Brown Folkestone 1847 178 0
10 M. Wilson Teignmouth 1830 157 0
11 J. Forster Southbourne 1812 167 0
12 J. Nyman 1801 153 0
13 M. Page Insurance 1795 155 0
14 P. A. Jackson Bournemouth 1795 146 1
15 P. G. Jackson Coulsdon 1781 160 0
16 C. Sellwood Camborne 1781 149 0
17 A. Hibbitt Banbury 1768 153 0
18 A. Price Leamington 1747 151 0
19 P. T. Foley Upminster 1717 140 0
20 P. Dimond Bath 1705 134 0
21 D. Watson Bourne End 1703 145 0
22 F. Headlong Brown Jack – Wilts 1683 131 4
23 J. Robertson East Kilbride 1650 144 0
24 M. Roberts Holmes Chapel 1629 134 0
25 B. Halvorsen Tromso – Norway 1594 0
26 T. Greenaway Torquay 1517 137 0
27 P. Grant-Ross King’s Head 127 0
MINOR SECTION
1 R. Hunt E. Devon 129 5
2 K. Alexander East Budleigh 128 0
3 P. Foster Medway – Kent 128 6
4 I. Blencowe Gloucester 126 0
5 E. Fierek Gloucester 126 0
6 P. Errington Bournemouth 124 1
7 G. Parfett Athenaeum 119 6
8 G. Headlong Brown Jack – Wilts 116 0
9 J. Harris Forest of Dean 114 0
10 A. Proudfoot Plymouth 112 0
11 R. Waters Taunton 109 0
12 J. Dean Plymouth 108 0
13 K, Markey Glos. 105 4
14 J. Wallman 105 0
15 A. Davies S. Hams 103 1
16 J. Carr Hants 100 0
17 C. Gardiner Carrick – Cornwall 100 0
18 H. Welch Seaton 88 0
19 S. E. Lee Liskeard 78 0
20 E. Holiday 77 0
21 W. Carr Hants 33 0

West of England Junior Winners. (24.03.2018.) 978

One of the largest events in the Westcountry is the Junior Championships held annually in Swindon. These were this year’s West of England Junior Champions in the various age groups.

U-18: Zoe Varney (178 – Millfield). U-16: Aliriza Gorgon (174 – Swindon). U-14: Chirag Hosdurga (164 – Bristol). U-14 Girls: Mansa Chandar (79 – Chandler’s Ford). U-12: Adam Hussain (150 – Carrick). U-12 Girls: Melissa Hamilton (113 – Portsmouth). U-10: Kandara Acharya (96 – Bristol). U-9: Daniel Shek (114 – Yately Manor). U-8: Mayank Palav (UG – Wilts). U-8 Girls: Jessica White (UG – Wilts).

The re-arranged 1st team match between Devon and Cornwall takes place tomorrow at the Plymouth Bridge Club, and the West of England Championship and general Congress starts the following Friday at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth, and lasts throughout the Easter weekend. Details may be found on-line.

The 1st West of England Championship was held over the Easter weekend 1946 in the clubroom of the Bristol & Clifton Chess Club, where it was won by its club champion at the time, 23 year old Henry Vickers Trevenen. He was born in Penzance, the son of a stonemason, and as WWII robbed him of his formative years so mental illness later took away his prime, but in the immediate post war years he was almost unbeatable, becoming West of England Champion three times out of the first four.

This was one of his wins from the 2nd WECU Championship in 1947. His opponent, Ron Slade, had to wait another decade until he won the title.

White: R. A. Slade. – Black: H. V. Trevenen.

Pirc Defence  [B07]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 Black has adopted a Pirc Defence formation, first popularised in the mid-’40s. 4.Bd3 Bg7 5.h3 Nbd7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 h6 Black will not be able to castle without losing his h-pawn as long as White’s pieces are lined up against h3. 8.Nge2 e5 9.0-0 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Rae1 Nxd3 12.cxd3 Bd7 13.f4 0-0 Black doesn’t hesitate to get castled. 14.f5 Kh7 15.Nce2 c5 16.Nf3 c4 17.fxg6+ fxg6 18.Ng3 cxd3 19.e5 Not 19.Qxd3? Bb5 19…Nd5 20.Qxd3 Nxe3 21.Qxe3 Leaving Black with the bishop pair against two knights. 21…Bb5 22.Rf2 dxe5 23.Nxe5 Rxf2

Slightly better was 23…Qh4 24.Rc2 Rae8. 24.Qxf2 Qd5 25.Ng4 While the knights are almost sidelined, the bishops cut swathes across the board. 25…Bc6 26.Re7 Rf8 27.Qe2 h5 28.Nh2 and now Black delivers a two-move knockout blow. 28…Qc5+ 29.Kh1 Rf2 Resigned because of the devastating fork between queen and h2. e.g. 30.Qe3 Qxe3 31.Rxe3 Rxg2 32.Ne4 Rxb2 and White’s problems are too many to repair. 0-1.

In last week’s problem, Owen Hindle won after 1.QxP!  and Black’s queen cannot retake because of Rxh7 #, so 1…Rg8 2.Qh5 and mate is inevitable.

In this position, White has his king tucked away and is all set to harass Black’s king. But it’s not his move. Does that matter?

Black to play

You-Tube Student (24.03.2018.) 977

Cornwall’s Championship and general congress took place last weekend at Carnon Downs Village Hall. James Hooker was unable to defend his title due to illness which left ten players to fight it out over 5 rounds. Going into the final game, the clear leader was Mark Watkins who faced top seed Jeremy Menadue, the latter emerging triumphant and winning the Emigrant Cup for the 5th time. Rodrigo continued his recent improvement by winning the U-150 Grading Prize in his first appearance in this section.

Details kindly supplied by Ian George: 1st Jeremy Menadue (185 – Carrick) 4/5. 2nd= David Saqui (170 – Penwith); Gary Trudeau (151 – Liskeard) & Mark Watkins (172 – Penwith) 3½. 5th Jan Rodrigo (140 – Penwith) 2. 6th= Percy Gill (143 – Penwith); Grant Healey (Carrick) & Colin Sellwood (149 – Camborne) 2. 9th Adam Hussain (150 – Carrick) 1½. 10th David J. Jenkins (144 – Penwith) 1.

The Falmouth Cup for those graded U-146 was contested by 18 players one of whom was a complete novice, Toby Willis, who made the most interesting story of the day. Toby is a 1st Year student at the Penryn Campus of Exeter University, and before the weekend had never played before in public, having taught himself the game entirely via the chess materials on YouTube. However, far from being an innocent thrown to the wild beasts, he won every game and came clear 1st. Definitely one to watch.

Details: 1st T. Willis (UG – Carrick) 5. 2nd= Keith Brewer (UG – Liskeard); Jason Henderson (124 – Lerryn) & Bryan Jones (103 – Carrick). Here is one of the games from the top section involving 3 queens on the board at the same time.

White: G. Trudeau. Black: J. Rodrigo.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.Be3 e5 5.d5 Be7 6.Be2 c6 7.f4 Qa5 threatening 8…Nxe4 8.Qd2 Qb4 9.Bf3 This time ignoring the threat. 9…Qxb2 Black’s acceptance of the b-pawn is double-edged: on the one hand he later gets a 2nd queen in that corner, but on the other he is neglecting normal piece development. 10.Rb1 Qa3 11.Nge2 Qa5 12.0–0 a6 13.Ng3 g6 14.Kh1 c5 15.f5 b5 16.Bh6 Bf8 17.Be3 Bg7 18.h4 Nb6 19.Be2 b4 20.Nd1 gxf5 21.Bh6 Rg8 22.exf5 Nbxd5 23.Bc4 Bb7 24.Bg5 Qc7 25.h5 h6 26.Bh4 Qc6 27.Be2 Qa4 28.Bf3 b3 29.Bxf6 Bxf6 30.Ne4 bxa2 31.Rxb7 a1Q 32.Qxd5 Taking stock, Black has a queen & 2 pawns for 2 knights, but his king is trapped in the centre and his rooks are disconnected, whereas White has queen, rook & knight in threatening positions. 32…Q1a2 33.Qxf7+? The obvious move is 33.Nxf6+! and if 33…Kd8 34.Qxd6+ Kc8 35.Qc7#; or 33…Kf8 34.Rxf7# 33…Qxf7 34.Nxd6+ Kd8 35.Nxf7+ Kc8 36.Nd6+ Kd8 37.Ne4 Rg7 38.Ndc3 Qc6 39.Rd1+ Kc8 1-0 Resigned in view of 40.Rxg7 Bxg7 41.Nd6+ winning the queen.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.QxP+ PxQ 2.Bishop moves = mate.

This position is taken from the 6 nation international Clare Benedict Tournament of 1963, where, in Rd. 2, Owen Hindle (W) was the only winner, enabling England to beat Spain 2½-1½. How did he do that from this position?

White to play and win.

The Bird Has Flown: (10.03.2018.) 976

After Jack Rudd’s apparently easy progress through the recent E. Devon Congress, it was found that not all games were quite that straightforward. This one from Round 1, for example, could have been an upset.

Notes by Hampton and Tim Paulden

White: Paul Hampton (175). Black: J. Rudd (225)

Bird’s Opening [A03]

1.f4 Much favoured by Henry Edward Bird (1830-1908) who, after a lengthy absence from the game, found “it led to highly interesting games out of the usual groove and I became partial to it.” Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.d3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Be2 0–0 6.0–0 c5 7.Qe1 Nc6 8.c3 d4 9.cxd4 cxd4 10.e4 Black has planned to exploit the weak d3 pawn, but now White has a solid centre on which to base a kingside attack, which will be all out for mate, giving little regard for any queenside activity. 10…b6 11.Na3 a5 12.Bd2 Ba6 13.Rc1 Rc8 14.Nc4 Nd7 Black brings more pieces to pressurise the d3 pawn, but the knight on f6 is a key defensive piece so h7 is now White’s target. 15.Qh4 Nc5 16.f5 Nb4 17.Bh6 f6 Black is finally forced to weaken his position to counter the threat of Ng5. 18.Nce5! Turning the game in White’s favour. 18…Nbxd3 If 18…fxe5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rxc5 bxc5 21.Ng5 and Black has to give up his queen to avoid mate e.g. 21…gxf5 19.fxg6 hxg6 20.Nxg6 Nxc1 21.Bxa6 Nxa6 22.Nfe5? White missed the subtlety of Black’s knight check putting his king in the corner. Also, post-congress analysis has uncovered the continuation… 22.Bxg7! Kxg7 23.Qg4! From this point on, all lines are winning for White, and although with best play Black can avoid any forced mates, White will hoover up material.  Ne2+ 24.Kh1 Kh7 25.Nfh4 d3 26.Nf5 Rc7 27.Nf4 threatening mate on g7. 27…Ng3+ 28.hxg3 e5 29.Qh5+ Kg8 30.Nh6+ Kg7 31.Ne6+ forking K, Q & 2 rooks. 31…Kh8 32.Nf7+ double check. 32…Kg8 33.Qg6 mate But it’s a highly complex position and difficult to see every possibility in the heat of battle. 22…Ne2+ 23.Kh1 fxe5 24.Nxf8 Qxf8 25.Rxf8+ Rxf8 Now the importance of the N-check is clear: if Black did not threaten mate then White could exchange bishops and fork K & N. But the chance of an upset has gone, as the lone queen is not enough to combat a rook & 2 knights. 26.g4 Bxh6 27.Qxh6 Rf6 28.Qg5+ Kf7 29.Qxe5 Nc5 30.Qh5+ Kg7 31.Qg5+ Kf8 32.e5 Ne4 33.Qh4 Rf1+ 34.Kg2 Rf2+ 35.Kh1 Nf4 36.Qh8+ Kf7 37.Kg1 Rg2+ 38.Kf1 Nd2+ 39.Ke1 Nf3+ 40.Kf1 Nxh2+ 41.Ke1 Nxg4 42.Qh7+ Ke6 43.Qg8+ Kxe5 44.Qg5+ Ke4 45.Qxe7+ Kf3 46.Qb7+ Kg3 47.b4 Nd3+ 0–1

Last week’s position by Sam Loyd was taken from the collection entitled Roi acculé aux angles (Paris – 1905), White could play 1.Qa8! and if the Black queen moves there will be mate on a8 or if Black’s pawn moves 2.Rh6 mate. Here is another from that book, composed by Lilian Baird (1881 – 1977), the young daughter of Edith (née Winter-Wood), the queen of the problem world. Lilian was indeed a prodigy, with compositions published at the age of 8 but didn’t keep it up to the extent her mother did.

A prodigy's problem: White to move & mate in 2