Diary
March 2015
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

County match results (24.01.2015.)

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Isca Centre in Exeter. Four teams of 12 players representing the North, South, East and West of the county were paired in such a way that each team had 6 whites and blacks and met 4 players from each of the opposing teams. The teams were very evenly matched in overall playing strength, which showed in the final result. North were 1st with 6½/12 points; 2nd= were East and North (6 pts) while South finished on 5½.

This entertaining and instructive game on Bd. 4, featured a well-known former TV presenter against a former British U-16 contender.

White: Adam Hart-Davis (161). Black: Chris Scott (157).

Sicilian Defence [B50]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Usual here is 3.d4, but White delays this move, and it later costs him a central pawn, which one can rarely afford to do in such double-edged openings as the Sicilian Defence. 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.h3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.d4 Nxe4! 8.Nxe4 d5 In this opening Black is usually looking to get in …d5 as soon as possible in order to free up his position, as long as it doesn’t incur disadvantage elsewhere. Here it wins his piece back. 9.Nxc5 dxc4 10.Be3 Qd5 11.b3 b6 12.bxc4 Qxc4 13.Nd3 Bb4+ 14.Bd2 Bxd2+ 15.Qxd2 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Qxd4 17.0–0 Bb7 securing the long diagonal. 18.Qg5 0–0 19.Nf4 h6 20.Qg3 Qf6 21.Rab1 Be4 22.Rxb6 Bxc2 23.a5 Rfd8 24.Rc6 Ba4 25.Rc5 Rac8 26.Rfc1 Rxc5 27.Rxc5 And now the position has really opened up, but Black retains the extra pawn and the BvN. 27…Rd4 28.Nh5 Rd1+ 29.Kh2 Qd4 30.Rc4 Qa1 Defending and attacking. 31.Rc8+ Kh7 32.Qb8 Rh1+ 33.Kg3 Re1 34.Nf4 g5 35.Nh5 Qe5+ Forcing off queens to maximise his small advantages. 36.Qxe5 Rxe5 37.Nf6+ Kg7 38.Nh5+ Kg6 39.Kg4 f5+ 40.Kf3 Bd1+ 0–1 The knight is lost. If 41.Kg3 Kxh5 from where the Black king is safe from all attack and is free to shepherd his pawns forward.

The loser’s consolation was that his team won the trophy anyway. Full details are available on keverelchess.com and all games are on the chessdevon site.

On Saturday, Somerset and Gloucestershire met at Stone, in the West of England Inter-County Championship, ending in a 10-6 victory for Somerset, and at Ilchester Devon beat Hants 12½-3½. More details next week.

In last week’s position, Richard Smith won after a rook sacrifice and this series of forcing checks. 1…Rxg4+! 2.hxg4 (2.Kh2 is no better) Qh2+ 3.Kf1 Qh1+ 4.Ke2 Rh2+ 5.Kd3 Qxd1+ 6.Ke4 Qxg4+ 7.Kd3 Qxf5+ 0-1

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard, that he describes as “really easy”.

White to play and mate in 2.

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree 2015 Results

Four teams of 12 players from the four corners of the county contested Devon’s annual Inter-Area Jamboree, hosted this year by the East, at the Isca Centre in Exeter. There is a total grading limit of 1,650 for each team, which means the county’s middle strength players feature most. The formula for pairing means that each team has 6 Whites and 6 Blacks, and that 3 X 4 players from any team will face other other teams (complicated to explain, but, if unsure, check the charts below).

The playing room was large, with well-spaced individual tables for each game, and was warm, well-lit and totally quiet. The teams were so closely matched that every game would clearly have a bearing on the final result.

Even though they lost their top 3 games, it was the West team (Plymouth) that edged out as winners, a point ahead of East and North. Ben Wilkinson, as Captain of the West team,  received the trophy from DCCA President, Paul Brooks.

The games will appear on the chessdevon website in due course.

General view of the playing area

Bd. 1 game: Tim Paulden vs Brian Hewson.

Former TV presenter, Adam Hart-Davis vs former British U-16 hopeful, Chris Scott.

Wilf Taylor vs Oliver Wensley nearest.

Norman Tidy vs Jon Duckham

West Captain, Ben Wilkinson, receives the trophy from Devon President, Paul Brooks.

  Team A     Team B     Team C     Team D  
  East     North     South     West  
1 T. Paulden 185   B. Hewson 174   A. W. Brusey 176   M. Brownbridge 164
2 C. J. Scott 157   S. Bartlett 169   P. Brooks 154   A. Hart-Davis 161
3 B. G. Gosling 149   I. Annetts 162   A. Kinder 147   B. Medhurst 157
4 O. Wensley 149   K. P. Atkins 157   W. Taylor 142   N. Butland 154
5 S. Pope 144   J. Duckham 152   N. F. Tidy 137   S. Levy 145
6 W. Marjoram 132   S. Clarke 133   J. E. Allen 132   M. Quinn 143
7 E. Palmer 131   K. Hunter 120   N. Mills 132   R. G. Wilby 140
8 D. Thomson 130   R. Dooley 120   M. Hussey 113   N. Hodge 130
9 R. H. Jones 129   M. Dow 115   J. Knott 109   B. Wilkinson 129
10 R. Whittington 123   S. T-Tracey 104   N. Narayanan 101   C. B. Peach 110
11 G. J. Jenkins 111   J. Flanagan 100   M. Cockerton 100   A. Tatam 107
12 S. Blake 102   G. Jones 100   J. Blackmore 100   P. McConnell 102
                       

 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Tot.
A East 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 6
B North 0 ½ 1 0 1 ½ 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ 6
C South 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 1 5
D West 0 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 7

 

Bd

 

White

Grd

 

 

 

Black

Grd

1

A1

T. Paulden

185

1

0

B1

B. W. R. Hewson

174

2

C1

A. W. Brusey

176

1

0

D1

M. S-Brownbridge

164

3

B2

S. Bartlett

169

½

½

C2

P. Brooks

154

4

D2

A. Hart-Davis

161

0

1

A2

C. J. Scott

157

5

A3

B. Gosling

149

½

½

C3

A. Kinder

146

6

B3

I. S. Annetts

162

1

0

D3

B. Medhurst

157

7

D4

N. Butland

154

1

0

B4

K. P. Atkins

157

8

C4

W. Taylor

142

½

½

A4

O. E. Wensley

149

9

C5

N. F. Tidy

137

0

1

B5

J. Duckham

152

10

A5

S. Pope

144

½

½

D5

S. Levy

145

11

B6

S. Clarke

133

½

½

A6

W. Marjoram

132

12

D6

M. Quinn

143

1

0

C6

J. E. Allen

132

13

A7

E. Palmer

131

0

1

B7

K. Hunter

120

14

C7

N. Mills

132

0

1

D7

R. G. Wilby

140

15

B8

R. Dooley

120

1

0

C8

M. Hussey

113

16

D8

N. Hodge

130

½

½

A8

D. Thomson

130

17

A9

R. H. Jones

129

1

0

C9

J. Knott

109

18

B9

M. Dow

115

0

1

D9

B. R. Wilkinson

129

19

D10

C. B. Peach

110

1

0

B10

S. Thorpe-Tracey

104

20

C10

N. Narayanan

101

1

0

A10

R. Whittington

123

21

C11

M. Cockerton

100*

½

½

B11

J. Flanagan

100*

22

A11

J. Maloney

113

0

1

D11

A. Tatam

107

23

B12

G. Jones

100*

½

½

A12

S. Blake

102

24

D12

P. McConnell

102

0

1

C12

J. Blackmore

100*

Death of Peter Clarke. (17.01.2015.)

The Western Morning News chess column was suspended at the end of October last year, with a promise that the situation would be reviewed in January. Such has been the reaction of readers, via letters to the Editor, that he has been persuaded to re-introduce it without delay. A phrase used by a spokesman for the paper was “Back by popular demand”, so many thanks to all those who conveyed their views through the right channels, and brought about this change of heart.

If you cancelled your order for the paper’s Saturday edition, you can now renew it. If you are outside the delivery area, here follows the text of the first column of the new era…..

The noted chess player and author of chess books, Peter Clarke, died on 11th December, aged 81, after a long illness, bravely borne.

He was taught to play chess at the age of 6 by his father, and won the London Boys’ Championship in 1950 and 1951, and the SCCU Boys’ Championship in 1950. He attended the university on his doorstep, Queen Mary College, in the Mile End Road. But the call for a career in science was nowhere as strong as his love of chess, and that is the road he chose to go down. But first, National Service could not be avoided and he spent this 2 year interlude in Bodmin training as a Russian linguist. This re-ignited his love for north Cornwall, as he had spent family holidays there.

By 1959 he was a regular writer for the British Chess Magazine, reporting at length on prestigious events and analysing games and openings. He played in 8 Olympiads between 1954 and 1968, losing only 15 of the 96 games played.

After marriage to Peggy Wood in 1966, he returned to the westcountry, eventually settling at Chapel House in the hamlet of Shop near Morwenstow.  In 1971, he and a group of 5 local friends, calling themselves the Hexagon put on the 1st Barnstaple Congress. The group functioned for about 10 years until Peter suffered a stroke in 1983, forcing him to give up such intensive activity.

He found that postal chess was better suited to a slower life-style, eventually winning the Grandmaster title. He also became a leading expert at solving chess problems.

He was the most modest of men, with no vanities or conceits. A much fuller account of his career may be found in the blog section of this site.

Here is one of his wins from the 1957 British Championship in York. This Rd. 5 game against Cheltonian, Denis Mardle, shows Peter at his sharpest.

White: D. V. Mardle. Black: P. H. Clarke.  Sicilian Defence – Paulsen Variation [B42].

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Ne2 Nf6 7.Nbc3 b5 8.0–0 Bb7 9.b3 Bc5 10.Bb2 0–0 11.Qd2 Qc7 12.Rae1 Rac8 Adding potential pressure down the c-file 13.Kh1 Nb4 14.Qg5 Be7 15.f4 d6 16.e5 dxe5 17.fxe5 Ne4 18.Qg4 Nxd3 19.cxd3 Nxc3 20.Nxc3 Rfd8 21.Re3 Bf8 22.Ne4 Threatening to join the attack. 22…Bxe4 23.Qxe4 Qc2 24.Bd4 Rd7 25.Rh3 h6 26.Qg4 Qd2 27.a4 Rc1 28.Kg1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Rc7 30.Qe2 Rc1+ 31.Kf2 Qf4+ Forking king and bishop. 0–1.

This position, which also featured in this month’s copy of Chess magazine, arose during the last Exmouth Seniors Congress in November. Former Hexagon member Richard Smith (Black) found a winning move against Peter Lucas. Can you spot it?

Black to play and win.

WMN Chess Column to Return by Popular Demand

I heard officially today that the Western Morning News’s chess column is to be re-started, according to the Editor, “by popular demand”. He says he’s “been inundated with inquiries about the whereabouts of the column”.

So thanks to everyone who so “demanded” its return. It will continue to be on a Saturday but will be on a different page, as the Westcountry Life supplement has had to be radically restructured. The first column will appear this  Saturday, the 17th January 2015.

A Shaft of Light on DCCA’s Early History.

Out of the blue, this week, shone a shaft of light on the earliest history of the Devon County Chess Association. It came in the shape of an innocent enquiry from Howard Stead from York, who was sorting out his late father’s belongings when he came across a very nice, boxed Jaques chess set, and was curious as to its origins.

The box

 

The tell-tale label

 

As can be seen, the label gives away most of the story, but perhaps some context is required…

In the beginning, the Devon County Chess Association was founded on September 24th 1901, in a blaze of publicity and enthusiasm, in an effort to formalise and foster inter-club chess throughout the county. Its very first congress was a week-long affair held in Barnfield Hall, Exeter, starting on Monday April 21st. At this time the Association had 212 members belonging to 13 affiliated clubs. They make a strange-sounding list to our 21st century ears: Broadclyst, Dartmouth, Devonport YMCA, Exeter, Hatherleigh, Newton Abbot, Plymouth, Teignmouth, Tiverton YMCA, Torridge, Torquay, Totnes and Winkleigh.

The star attraction throughout the week was the American super-star, Harry Pillsbury, who put on a series of demonstrations of his mental powers; standard simultaneous displays, one match against 14 chessplayers and 5 draughts players, followed by demonstrations of “knights’ tours”.

There were two main sections for Devon players – the Championship Tourney and the Second Tourney. There were 16 entries in this lower section, namely, Miss Hunt and Miss M. Hunt (Barstaple); Miss Pigg (Exeter); Rev. G. P. Blomefield (Bickington); Major Rawlins (Bath); Major Sherwell (Honiton); A. Phillips (Appledore); J. Cottle Green (Exeter); Spencer Cox (Honiton); G. F. Pollard (Totnes); G. W. Cutler (Exeter); H. Taylor (Exeter); F. J. Backhouse (Taunton); L. Illingworth; H. E. Bell and W. H. Gundry (both Exeter).

As we can see, Pollard won the section, dropping only a point in the process, half a point ahead of Illingworth.

George Frederick Pollard was born in 1879 to Frederick (33) and Katherine (25) nee Haig, an Edinburgh Scot. At that time they lived at 1, Richmond Terrace, Everton, and George was christened at St. Saviour’s Church, Everton. His father had been born in Taunton and was listed as a physician. By 1881, the family had moved to 52, Rodney St, Liverpool. The 1901 Census records that the family had moved to 21, St. Nicholas Rd, Streathan in London where the father listed as a “medical practitioner”. But George was not with them as by this time he had qualified as a teacher, and had moved to a hostel attached to Totnes Grammar School, at 36 Fore Street. The housemaster was Charles Rea (37) and George Pollard was his assistant, looking after a collection of 14 & 15 year old boarders.

After this, he rather falls off the radar. There is no evidence that he ever married. There is a death of a George Frederick Pollard recorded in Rotherham in March in 1965 aged 84. It would be easy to conclude that this was our George, but there was another person with the same name and age, but that one was a coal miner and married with several children. I can’t tell which one this death refers to.

Mr. Stead didn’t know his father owned this set or how he came by it. There were both arm chair players, playing en famille but not belonging to any club. So how the set came to end up in York may remain a mystery for some time yet. More work necessary.

Peter Hugh Clarke (1933 – 2014) Obituary now complete.

The noted chess player, organiser and author of chess books, Peter Clarke, died on 11th December in hospital after a long illness, bravely borne. He was 81.

This obituary has been put together from several sources, notably, Keith Jones, Geoff Martin, close family members and my own archives and on-line resources. It will continue to expand as new material comes to hand.

Peter was an only child, born on 18th March 1933 to  Olive Gertrude (nee Ekblom) and Hugh Clarke, who had married the previous year. Olive was of Swedish stock while Hugh’s father was William Ferrier Clarke, born in Linlithgow, near the Firth of Forth opposite Dunfermline. But Hugh and Olive’s roots were firmly in London’s East End, Plaistow, West Ham.

Peter with his father in 1935

He was taught to play chess at the age of 6 by his father, and won the London Boys’ Championship in 1950 and 1951, and the SCCU Boys’ Championship in 1950. At this time he was also playing in the Ilford Congress and playing Correspondence chess for Essex, a form of chess in which he would eventually gain the Grandmaster title. In 1953, now aged 20, he was runner-up to Dr. Fazekas in the Essex Championship, was playing Bd. 2 in the Essex Correspondence team. In the Ilford Congress he was 2nd to P. J. Oakley in the Premier Reserves, where the top section comprised Alexander, Hooper, Wade, Fazekas and Alan Philips, all except Hooper to become British Champions. This was his first appearance at the British Championship at Hastings where he came 18th= on 5/11 points, behind Yanovsky. Perhaps more impressive was leading his Ilford team on Bd. 1 to the National Club Championship that year.

He attended the university on his doorstep, Queen Mary College, in the Mile End Road, where he read for a BSc. Part of London University its alumni include such diverse figures as W. G. Grace, Sir Roy Strong and Lord Robert Winston. But the call for a career in science was nowhere as strong as his love of chess, and that is the road he chose to go down. But first, National Service could not be avoided. He spent part of this 2 year interude  in Bodmin in the Intelligence Corps, training as a Russian linguist and translator, and at the Joint Services School for Linguists. This re-ignited his love for north Cornwall, as he had frequently spent holidays there as a child with his parents.

By 1959 he was a regular writer for the British Chess Magazine, reporting at length on prestigious events and analysing games and openings. He and his great friend, Jonathan Penrose, were the two highest graded players in the UK, the only two in the 1b category. He played in 8 Olympiads between 1954 and 1968, and his and England’s record for those years was as follows:- to have lost only 15 of 96 games played at this level is remarkable.

  Yr venue Pos p w d l %
1 1954 Amsterdam  9th / 26 7 2 2 3 43
2 1956 Moscow  8th / 34 12 7 5 0 80
3 1958 Munich 11th / 36 15 2 10 3 47
4 1960 Leipzig 12th / 40 14 4 7 3 54
5 1962 Varna 14th / 37 15 3 10 2 53
6 1964 Tel-Aviv 18th / 48 12 2 8 2 50
7 1966 Havana 21st / 52 13 2 10 1 54
8 1968 Lugano 16th / 54 8 0 7 1 44
      totals 96 22 59 15  

 

A little seen photo from the Munich Olympiad 1958 - Clarke vs Eliskases: game drawn.

He first came to prominence as a player at the Ilford Club, and while his best performace was at Moscow his playing summit was probably captaining the England team at the 1966 Olympiad in Havana. His record there tells us something of his strengths and weakness as a top player: Played 13: Won 2: Drawn 10: Lost 1. Hartston at the time felt “Clarke’s score on top board is creditable. He is often criticised for his drawish tendencies, but a solid score such as this is a fine achievement against such opposition. It is remarkably difficult to score wins without suffering losses as well, as Lee and Littlewood found to their cost!” It’s easy to forget that his performance at the board must have been affected by (a) playing 13 tiring games (b) being captain for all matches and (c) reporting at length and in great detail for BCM.

This solidity as a player helped him to a splendid record in the British Championship, without ever actually winning the ultimate title, having to be content with being, uniquely, runner-up five times. But he didn’t seem to mind this at all, as he was often edged out by his best friend, Jonathan Penrose. 

During the late 50’s / early 60s Peter had several times dated B. H. Wood’s daughter, Margaret, universally known as Peggy.  They married 6 months later at Holy Trinity Church, Sutton Coldfield, Jonathan Penrose being Peter’s Best Man.  

Peter & Peggy Clarke

It would be easy to think that his book-writing days took over as his playing activities decreased, but this was not the case – he was doing it all at the same time! His reputation as a writer came to equal, if not overtake, that of a player, with titles that were not only highly-regarded at the time of publication, but have stood the test of time.  His subjects included Tal (1961) and Petrosian (1964) two more different players one can cannot imagine. He translated and edited Smyslov’s Best Games (1958) and 100 Soviet Chess Miniatures (1963). First editions of these books published by Bell in their distinctive dustwrappers, can still take pride of place in anyone’s chess library. Another title he worked on was Foldeak’s Chess Olympiads (2nd enlarged ed. 1969).  Two interesting points here: (a) he seemed to hate dustwrappers on books and would quickly get rid of them if they were in any way slightly imperfect,  and (b) in spite of his facility in Russian, constantly translating it into English, none of his daughters ever heard him speak a word of Russian in the house.

After marriage and the birth of their first daughter, Salli, in 1966, he felt the urge to move to the westcountry, and they moved to a small house in Milton Dameral, where a second daughter, Penelope, was born. Peter started a chess club in the village which eventaully reached a membership of over 20, almost unheard of for such a small place.

They then moved to the village of Bush, near Stratton, where in 1977  their 3rd daughter, Susie, was born. He also became British Correspondence Champion that year. In 1979, he found his dream home, called Chapel House, in the hamlet of Shop near Morwenstow. Built c. 1800 it has the appearance of an expansive rectory, with large high-ceilinged rooms. The adjacent farm buildings are Grade II listed. In his 1855 novel Westward Ho! Charles Kingsley borrowed the name Chapel House, but applied it to another house in the story. 

In 1971 the world in general was agog at the prospect of the Fischer-Spassky match, and Britain in particular was on the brink of a chess explosion. An expression of this was the response to his first organised event, the 1st Barnstaple Congress. It had been put on by Clarke and a group of 5 local friends, who called themselves The Hexagon. There were 70 entries, all lumped together in one large Swiss, 22 of whom were graded between 180 – 226. Grandees like Golombek and Wood were joined by young Turks like Botterill, Bellin, Gerald Bennett and Danny Wright. In the event it was won by an almost unknown local schoolboy, Peter Waters, who played none of the above, except Golombek. The following year the entry rocketed to 164, and its continuing success was assured. The Hexagon functioned as a group for about 10 years until Peter suffered a cerebral haemmorrhage in 1983, forcing him to give up such intensive activity. 

For a time, he ran bookstalls at local congresses, notably Paignton, Exeter and Frome and was happy to chat to grassroots players. He found that postal chess was better suited to a slower life-style and he competed at the highest level, winning the Grandmaster title for postal chess, as did his friend, Jonathan Penrose.

After his stroke he had more time for his other interests. Sports he followed included golf, cycling, F1, tennis, darts, snooker, athletics et. al. He collected books, not only on chess, but on his other interests including science, astronomy and philosophy.  His study had floor-to-ceiling shelves on all free walls, all stacked with books.

1996: Peter is playing his old friend and adversary, Dr. Jonathan Penrose in his study at Chapel House. The board is the one presented to him by Fidel Castro at the end of the Havana Olympiad - each team captain received one. Photo courtesy of Keith Jones. Peter's long-time unofficial chauffeur.

He was the most modest of men, with no discernible vanities or conceits, and a most hospitable host when entertaining visitors to his vast collection of chess  books. 

He leaves his wife, Peggy, 3 daughters and 8 grandchildren: Isaac, Reuben, George, Madelaine, Heidi, Gemima, Grace and Frank.

The funeral took place in Poughill Cemetery, near Bude, and was attended by a good number of relatives, local friends and chess acquaintances.

The secular ceremony was led by the Celebrant, Alison Timms. Firstly his mother’s ashes were interred, followed by Peter’s coffin.

Then five of the grandchildren each read out a verse from Peter’s favourite poem, that he had had read to him by his father. Its philosophy is sometimes summarised by the saying “Eat, Drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”, but there is also an element of the Latin maxim Carpe diem – sieze the day, and in this repect that is exactly what Peter did.

The position of the grave site, overlooking St. Olaf's

Alison Timms leads the graveside ceremony, with Peggy seated, with stick & blanket.

The grandchildren circulated with small baskets containing sprigs of rosemary and flower petals, and those present were invited to drop them onto the coffin.

 

There were a number of written tributes, some read out at the gathering at Morwenstow, other sent later.

The following was sent by Peter’s great friend, Dr. Jonathan Penrose, who was unable to attend due to transport problems, and is probably the one that deserves most attention, as it reveals his own personal slant on Peter’s career. Perhaps the last word should go to him…

In Memoriam: Peter Hugh Clarke 1933 –  2014:  

Peter Clarke was a very good friend of mine for over 60 years. Amazingly, over that long period of time I cannot recall a single cross word between us. We first met in the early 1950s as members of the same chess teams, particularly the Essex county team, but also the London University team for a short period of time. 

In those days (the early to mid 1950s) there seemed to be a comparative paucity of ambitious young chess players in England, so it was our good fortune that we were often selected to play for England in the prestigious chess Olympiads, played in different countries every two years. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. 

I think it was the Olympiad held in Moscow in 1956 which stood out as Peter’s most successful tournament of this kind. The English team reached 8th place overall at the end, a fine performance for its time. Peter’s contribution was a magnificent 79% (scoring 7 wins, 5 draws and no losses). 

The other members of the team including myself thought that the standard of Peter’s play had progressed very well, and that future selection of Peter’s place on the English team was likely to be assured for many years to come.  

In retrospect, it would become clear that Peter’s standard of play had just about reached its peak at this time, and that he performed well back in England in tournaments in 1957 and 1958.  

I was personally impressed by a game he played and won against Alexander in the 1957 British Championship. Hugh Alexander was widely regarded as England’s strongest chess player since the end of the Second World War, and this game was somehow symbolic that a younger generation of players might be beginning to supersede the older ones.  

However, at about this time, Peter also started to display a budding talent for writing books on chess, and eventually wrote some classic works in the genre. This was fine, but I felt that in so doing, he might have made himself less prepared to play chess as aggressively as he had done formerly. As a result, he tended to become more “drawish” in his play, and therefore began to relinquish the chance to win a big chess tournament.  

In later years, Peter began to show a great interest in solving chess problems. This is an area of chess where the supreme subtleties of the game can best be explored. Peter was a good solver and played in a few problem solving competitions, I believe just for fun. 

On personal visits to Chapel House over the years, I remember the great pleasure of discussing with Peter the beauty of some modern and classical chess problems – and such memories in turn will remind me of how much I will miss him in the future. 

Jonathan Penrose

Somerset beat Hants (29.11.2014.)

The Somerset captain reports on their match against Hampshire at Mere on Saturday. The final score of 12 – 4 to Somerset looks like a crushing defeat for Hants, but it was far from that, apparently, as many games were keenly contested until late on. However, the fact that Somerset out-graded their opponents by, on average, 11 points on every board, made it likely that the stronger team on paper would pull through.

The details were as follows: 

Brd SOMERSET Grd     HAMPSHIRE Grd
1 Jack Rudd 224 1 0 Tunks, Dominic R 197
2 Peter E Chaplin 189 ½ ½ McDougall, William M 189
3 Andrew F Footner 187 ½ ½ Bellers, Chris J 185
4 Matthew J Payne 186 1 0 Marsh, Roger DW 176
5 Mike Richardt 184 1 0 Fowler, David W 173
6 Patryk Krzyzanowski 182 ½ ½ Knox, Stuart W 170
7 David P Littlejohns 178 1 0 Davis, Timothy 167
8 David Painter-Kooiman 178 0 1 McLeod, Fraser N 166
9 Barry Morris 175 1 0 Jones, Gareth Aneurin 158
10 James Byrne 165 1 0 Priest, Christopher PA 158
11 David Peters 164 0 1 Thompson, David F 156
12 Gerry N Jepps 163 1 0 Ashmore, Roy E 147
13 Andrew M Gregory 158 ½ ½ Chapman, Timothy J 144
14 Darren Freeman 158 1 0 Chilton, James I 143
15 Chris S Purry 152 1 0 Moore, Gillian A 142
16 Maciej Blocinski U/G 1 0 LeFevre, Stephen D 142
  totals 2785 12 4   2613

Exmouth March On In Division 2

Exmouth had their first home match of the season when they entertained old rivals Teignmouth to the town. It was not quite a home match as the Club’s new base, the Royal Beacon Hotel, had a Christmas party booked. But the Manor Hotel, just down the road, on the Beacon, came to the rescue and offered their small “Writing Room” as a suitable area. They also had a function booked, the annual meeting of the local Euchre League (don’t ask – it’s a strange American card game that has survived in Exmouth for generations). But both activities were ‘low maintenance’ and didn’t interfere with each other. It must be said that over the past 2 decades the managements of both hotels have been very good to the chess community, both local and national, and it is hoped will continue as it’s of mutual benefit.

After c. 90 minutes play, the match seemed to be going the visitors’ way, as Boards 1 and 4 were definitely looking bad for Exmouth, but two blunders in those games came to the rescue and turned what could have been a 3-1 defeat into a 3-1 victory.

  Mamhead Cup Div 2     29.11.2014  
  Exmouth Grd     Teignmouth Grd
1 John Stephens 194 1 0 Bill Ingham 176
2 Jon Underwood 179 ½ ½ Alan Brusey 176
3 Oliver Wensley  149 ½ ½ Kevin Hindom 145
4 Simon Blake 102 1 0 Norman Tidy 137
  totals 624 3 1   634

Two turning points from the match:

Stephens vs Ingham

Above: Black has just played …h5, possibly expecting the g-pawn to move, but  f5! wins immediately as Black can’t prevent a passed pawn being created.

Below: White has been asking all the questions so far in the game, and has just played Rd7, threatening Black’s f-pawn and possibly with thoughts of doubling his rooks on the open file at some point. But …Bc8 wins a piece and Black’s bishop pair boss the game from then on.

Position after Rd7

Exmouth now have to face Tiverton (A) and Newton Abbot (H) in this league in the New Year.

Home captain, Oliver Wensley, makes his move, with Tidy vs Blake in the background.

John Stephens vs Bill Ingham (nearest) and Dr. Jonathan Underwood vs Alan Brusey.

Not the WMN (08.11.2014) 813

The Chipping Sodbury RapidPlay was held recently at the Old Grammar School. The winners were as follows:

Open Section: 1st James Cobb (228) Bristol& Clifton 5/6 pts. 2nd= Chris Beaumont (214) Bristol & Clifton & Jerry Humphries Downend & Fishponds 4½.

Major Section (U-155): 1st= Andrew Munn (150) & David Tipper (143) both Downend & Fishponds, and David Dugdale (151) Thornbury all 4½.

Minor Section: Dorota Pacion (117) S. Bristol 5½. 2nd=  Jack Walpole (90) & Richard Port (113)  both University and Kevin Langmaid (112) Yate & Sodbury all 4 pts. Dorota Pacian was the only female player in the tournament.

While the 15th Beacon Seniors tournament was played out during the week, the World Seniors Championship was due to finish on Wednesday at Katerini, Greece. Millionaire chess player, Terry Chapman, had organised a team of four English players, himself incuded, to have a concerted effort for one of them to win the title.

This was the 8th round game between two of the contingent.

White: Keith Arkell (2450). Black: Mark Hebden (2540).

King’s Indian Defence [E62]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 Rb8 8.b3 a6 9.Nd5 Nh5 10.Bb2 e6 11.Nc3 b5 12.d5 Ne7 13.dxe6 fxe6 14.c5 dxc5 15.Qc2 Nc6 16.Rad1 Nd4 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.e3 e5 19.exd4 exd4 20.Nd5 d3 21.Qc1 Bf5 22.Bxg7 Nxg7 23.Qxc7 Qxc7 24.Nxc7 White has now won a pawn and has a distinct advantage considering Black’s isolated pawn and inferior piece placement. 24…a5 25.Nd5 Rf7 26.Ne3 Rd7 27.Rd2 a4 28.Nxf5 Nxf5 29.Rfd1 axb3 30.axb3 Black must lose at least one of his 2 queenside pawns. 30…Rbd8 31.Bc6 Rd4 32.Bxb5 Now the other must fall as well. 32…g5 33.Rxd3 Kg7 34.Kg2 R8d6 35.Rxd4 Nxd4 36.Bc4 Kf6 37.b4 Ke5 38.Re1+ Kf6 39.b5 Nf5 40.Rb1 Rb6 41.Bd3 Nd6 42.Rb4 h6 43.h4 Nf7 44.Ra4 Ke5 45.hxg5 hxg5 46.Ra6 Rb8 47.Rg6 Kd4 48.Be2 Ke5 49.Bc4 1–0. Now Black’s last pawn must go, leaving him in a hopeless position. Arkell won again in the next round, putting him in the joint lead with 2 games to play, and Hebden and Nunn just behind. The chances of having an English World Seniors Champion look good.

In last week’s miniature problem White wins by 1.Qg7! from where it can go to either a7 or a1 to give mate, depending on which way the Black king goes.

This position comes at the end of a blitz game earlier this year. White is 2 pawns down but might have winning chances; if only he had more than a few seconds to think about it…

White to play and win.

Not the Western Morning News! 1st Nov. 2014 (812)

As you might have realised by now, Western Morning News has, as from 1st November 2014, been forced to cut in half the Westcountry Life supplement in its Saturday edition, and with it has gone the chess column. They are due to monitor the situation in January, when further decisions will be made on future developments. In the meantime, the editorial staff will welcome views on the future of the column. Letters should be addressed to:- The Editor, Western Morning News, 3rd Floor, Studio 5-11. Millbay Road, Plymouth PL1 3LF.  During that interim period, I’ll be posting a weekly column in the WMN slot on this website, even though it will not appear in the paper itself.  The code number (812) refers to the number of columns I’ve written since starting about 17 years ago. If the WMN column is not restored in January, I may have to reconsider.

So, here goes……

The new President of the English Chess Federation is Dominic Lawson, former Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, son of former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson and brother to Nigella. He is a strong and active player who is likely to use his professional contacts to raise the profile of the game in the national consciousness. To this end he has, all this week, been involved in a second series on Radio 4 in which, while playing a game with them, he talks to a number of diverse public figures for whom chess has played a part in their lives. On Monday it was the World Champion Magnus Carlsen and on Thursday it was Sol Campbell, former Arsenal and England footballer. He did a 1st series earlier this year which included boxing champion Lennox Lewis. All ten broadcasts will remain available on the BBC website for at least a year.

By way of introduction, writing in the Radio Times, Lawson links this with the film The Imitation Game, shortly due for UK release, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the part of the mathematician Alan Turing. It concentrates on Turing’s work at Bletchley Park cracking the “unbreakable” Nazi codes, where his line managers included British Chess Champion Hugh Alexander and Sir Stuart Milner-Barry.

Turing was not in their league as a player but left an even greater legacy to the chess world when, in 1952, he developed the first chess program, which he called “Turochamp”. It took half an hour to execute the instructions for each move but it worked, and 45 years later its direct descendant “Deeper Blue” defeated Kasparov himself.

This begs the question as to whether the silicon algorithms have taken over and are killing human creativity. While there is no substitute for human vs human competition, the best players will always be those that harness the computer to help develop their innate skills; to be its master rather than its slave.

Here is the 1997 game in which a computer defeats a world champion in a match for the first time.

White: Deeper Blue. Black G. Kasparov Caro-Kann Defence – Steinitz Var. [B17]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 h6?? The blunder that sealed the human’s fate as it allows a known winning sacrifice 8.Nxe6! Qe7 9.0–0 fxe6 10.Bg6+ Kd8 11.Bf4 b5 12.a4 Bb7 13.Re1 Nd5 14.Bg3 Kc8 15.axb5 cxb5 16.Qd3 Bc6 17.Bf5 exf5 18.Rxe7 Bxe7 19.c4 1–0

Last week’s short game ended with 1.Bxf7+ Should Black take the bishop and try to hang on – or not? Black chooses the former 1…Kxf7?? 2.Ng5+ Ke8 and 3.Ne6 traps the queen, a move that Black clearly overlooked. But even if 1…Kf8 2.Ng5 Ndf6 3.Bb3 Nh6 etc. his position is a mess.

In this position from 1882, how does White win in two moves?

White to play and mate in 2