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Paignton Congress Starts (08.09.2012.)

The Paignton Congress got under way on Sunday afternoon, with about 200 players enjoying the baroque environs of Oldway Mansion. The first round of the Premier Section is usually a chance for the top players to impose their class on the lesser lights, though there are always exceptions to the rule. In this case, Exeter’s Graham Bolt succeeded in extracting a draw from 2nd seed, Richard Bates. On the other hand, top seed Grandmaster Keith Arkell made no concessions to his Westcountry opponent, who was joint winner of the Exeter Congress back in March, in this faultless display.

White: Dave Littlejohns (180 – Taunton). Black: Keith Arkell (234 – Paignton).

Caro-Kann Defence – Steinitz Variation. [B17]

1.e4 c6 Arkell’s favourite response to 1.e4 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 Steinitz’s recommendation that gives his name to this variation. 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Ng3 c5 Black often makes this early second advance of his c-pawn. 7.c3 e6 8.Bb5 a6 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.0–0 cxd4 11.Qxd4 Qxd4 Black is not afraid to exchange queens as he can rely on his superior endgame technique. 12.Nxd4 Bc5 Watch how the black bishops work as a pair to undermine White’s position. 13.Nc2 Bd7 14.Be3 Be7 15.Rad1 Rc8 16.Nd4 0–0 17.Rfe1 Rfd8 18.Bc1 Ba4 A seemingly fruitless move, yet it tempts White to weaken his pawn structure, fatally so as it turns out. 19.b3 Be8 20.Bb2 b5 21.h3 Rd7 22.Ndf5 Bc5 If 22…exf5 23.Rxd7 Bxd7 24.Rxe7. 23.Rxd7 Bxd7 24.Ne3 Bc6 25.Kf1 Nd5 26.Nxd5 Bxd5 27.Ne4 Be7 28.f3 f5 29.Nd2 Bf6 Attacking c3 and forcing White onto the back foot. 30.Nb1 a5 31.Bc1 a4 32.c4 bxc4 33.bxa4 If 33.bxc4 Bxc4+ 34.Kf2 Bxa2 and Black’s a-pawn will take some stopping. 33…c3 Black’s pieces all have open lines along which to harass White’s scattered queenside. 34.Na3 Bxa2 35.Nb5 Bb3 0–1 If 36.a5 Bc4+ winning the knight.

The event finishes today with Round 7 starting at 9.30 a.m.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Qb8! forcing KxP followed by 2.Qb6 mate.

Following the recent Olympic-themed problem we have this 2-mover by Edith Baird – née Winter-Wood (1859-1924) originally of Plymouth. She was the darling composer of her day and was adept at all sorts of novelty compositions, including “letter problems” like this one in the shape of a “P”, which we may imagine to stand for the Paralympics. White to play.

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