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Paignton Approaches (20.08.2016.)

The 66th Paignton Congress starts a fortnight tomorrow. Of course, for 62 years this was held at Oldway Mansion, one-time home of the Singer family of sewing machine fame. The respected writer and player, Harry Golombek, reporting on the event in the 1960s, wrote “Devon is indeed lucky in its choice for its annual congress …. a delectable spot to pursue the joys of a hard week’s chess, interspersed with the even greater and surer delights of walks and wanderings in the beautiful sunlit gardens that surround Oldway”.

And so it continued for decades until the estate was sold to property developers, who promised great things in honeyed words that have since proved empty, as the house has been mothballed ever since and continues to deteriorate. Hence the move to the Livermead House Hotel, which may lack the Grade 1 listed gardens and grandiose atrium, but compensates with a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant and easier parking.

Here’s a game from those good old days (1968) between two Birmingham boys who eventually retired to Paignton.

Notes by the winner.

White: Peter C. Griffiths. Black: Jon E.  Lawrence,

Caro-Kann Defence [B10]

1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 Black’s plan is to play on the weakness of White’s isolated pawn on d2. In these types of position exchanges tend to favour Black and further weaken the isolated pawn. 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Bb3 Not 7.Qe2?? as 7…b5 would be terminal. 7…Nxd5 Black has already equalised. 8.d4 Should White have accepted the proffered gift with 8.Bxd5 there would follow 8…Qe5+ 9.Qe2 Qxd5 10.Nf3. 8…Bc6 The struggle for White’s d-pawn begins. 9.Nf3 Nd7 10.0–0 e6 11.Re1 Be7 12.Nc3 N7f6 13.Bg5 0–0 14.Ne5 Nxc3 15.bxc3 Nd5 16.Bxe7 Nxe7 17.Qg4 If 17.Nxf7 Rxf7 18.Bxe6 Bd5 19.Bxf7+ Bxf7 and Black has control of all the key white squares. 17…Nd5 18.Rac1 Rad8? Probably a slight inaccuracy. More dynamic would be 18…Rfd8 as the other rook would be better used on c8 or b8. 19.Qh4 Qe7 20.Qe4 Qf6 threatening Nxc3. 21.Bc2 g6 22.Nxc6 bxc6 23.Ba4 Better would be 23.Bb3. 23…Nxc3 24.Qxc6 Nxa4 25.Qxa4 Qxd4 assuming control of the d-file. 26.Qa6 Rd6 27.Qb7 Rd7 28.Qa6 Rd6 29.Qb7 Rd7 30.Qa6 Rfd8 Black now has complete control of the centre and d-file. 31.g3 Qd3 32.Qa4 Qd4. Black is now looking to the time control at move 40. 33.Rc4 Qb6 threatening Rd2. 34.Rc6 Rd4 35.Qc2 Qa5 36.Qb1 Rd2 37.a4 Desperation. 37…Qxa4 38.Qe4 Qxe4 39.Rxe4 R8d4 0-1. White is 2 pawns down with no compensation, so resigned. After 40.Rxd4 Rxd4 Black has reached the safety net of the time control and can rely on considered technique to nurse home the passed pawn.

In last week’s position, White can just plough ahead with a series of sacrificial captures, viz. 1.QxR+ BxQ 2.RxB+ QxR 3.RxQ mate, as Black’s remaining bishop blocks its king’s escape.

Here is a 2-mover by the evergreen Sam Loyd (1841-1911).

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