The Royal Beacon Seniors Congress starts in Exmouth on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. with a slight rise in entries and a number of new faces. Shortly after that will be the 50th Torbay Congress in Torquay, over the weekend starting Friday 11th November. To commemorate this landmark there will be some extra attractions, like book prizes, etc. The prizelist will be considerable as it includes the Torbay individual championship in each of the four sections. Entry forms can downloaded from chessdevon.org.
Devon’s inter-club competitions are under way with the first completed match last Saturday involving Exmouth’s long trip to Barnstaple for a match in Division 2, the Mamhead Cup. This was the game on Board 4, which involved the rare sighting of an eccentric opening.
White: Alan Dean (140). Black: Rob Oughton (124)
Grob Opening [A00]
1.g4 The Grob Opening, analysed by the Swiss international, Henry Grob (1904-’74) in his book of 1942. It has had a number of other names, most recently “The Spike”. It’s rarely seen in serious tournament play, but has a small number of devoted adherents, like the IM Mike Basman and the winner of this game. It undoubtedly has a surprise value, but White players are advised to know it well before trying it, and Black players are advised not to take it too lightly – it can bite. 1…d5 2.e3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 e6 5.Nf3 Nd7 6.Nc3 a6 7.b3 c5 8.Bb2 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Ne7 10.Qd2 Rb8 White has compromised his kingside as a safe haven and intends to castle long. Black senses this and prepares his own attack on the queenside. 11.0–0–0 But White does it anyway. 11…Nc6 12.Nce2 Nxd4 13.Nxd4 0–0 14.h4 Of course. It’s now a race to get their attack in first. 14…Qe7 15.h5 g5? White’s charging pawns cause Black to weaken his own pawn formation. Better might have been 15…e5 16.Ne2 Nb6 with a pawn centre and an attack on g4. 16.h6 Bh8 17.f4 White can afford to throw all his kingside pawns forward; if he doesn’t Black will soon be doing the same on the queen’s wing. 17…f6?? It looks innocent enough but weakens e6 and allows White to strike a fatal blow. Better to try and give his queenside pieces a chance of developing with something like 17…Nf6. 18.Nxe6! Nb6 If 18…Qxe6 19.Bxd5 winning the queen. 19.Nxf8 Kxf8 20.fxg5 Ke8 21.Rhf1 Bringing a third piece to attack Black’s pinned f-pawn – it’s too far gone for Black to save. 1–0
A new and highly-praised film, The Queen of Katwe, tells the true life story of how, with the help of her chess coach, a young Ugandan girl discovers she has a prodigious talent for the game which transforms her life from Kampala slum to world fame. By contrast HMRC has now bankrupted our own chess coach, Mike Basman, to the tune of £300,000.
Last week’s 2-mover was a “waiter” in that the key move 1.Rc6! poses no immediate threat, but any move that Black then makes will open up a mating move; e.g. 1…Bf3 2.Qh2# or 1…f6 2.Bd6# etc. Here is another new 2-mover by Dave Howard.