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Seniors’ Chess (27.09.2014.)

People tending to live longer these days and often retiring early has helped to create one of the expanding areas of sport. Tennis and golf, for example, have long had their seniors circuits, in which past champions compete at a far more leisurely pace than in their heyday.

So too with chess, which has recently introduced European and World individual and team events for seniors only. This year, the world governing body, FIDE, has gone further, by splitting the age eligibility into two sections, 50 – 64 and 65+, thus enabling more players to compete for honours. The first European Championship for the 50 – 64 age group was held earlier this year in Portugal and was won by Paignton resident Grandmaster, Keith Arkell.

The Royal Beacon Seniors event in Exmouth was a pioneer in this aspect of the game. When it started in 2000 it was the only seniors-only event in Britain, and they introduced a special section for the 50-somethings over a decade ago. Now the world has caught up.

The 15th Royal Beacon Seniors event takes place during the week starting Monday 3rd Nov. Entry forms are downloadable from

Here is a game from last year’s Beacon Seniors Congress.

White: Ian Heppell (178). Black: Jonathan Wells (180)

Sicilian Defence – Alapin Variation. [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Nc3 Bb7 8.Bd3 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Re1 f5 11.exf6 Black has a choice of 4 pieces with which to retake, but chooses probably the least promising option as it weakens his defensive pawn structure, which White exploits later. 11…gxf6 12.Bh6 Rf7 13.Qe2 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.Be4 Nc6 16.d5 Nd8 If 16…exd5 17.Bxd5 winning the rook. 17.Rad1 f5 18.Bb1 Bd6 Now White’s kingside attack gets going. 19.Ng5 Bxh2+ 20.Kh1 Re7 21.Qh5 Bf4 22.Bxf5 Black’s d-pawn is pinned. 22…Qxc3 Best in the circumstances. 23.Bxh7+ Kh8 If 23…Rxh7 24.Qe8 mate. 24.Qg6 threatening 25.Qg8 mate and Black has to give up the exchange in order to avoid it. 24…Nf7 25.Nxf7+ Rxf7 26.Qxf7 Bxh6 27.Be4 1-0 Black’s only move is 27…Qg7 but after 28.Qxg7+ Bxg7 29.dxe6 Bxe4 30.Rxe4 dxe6 31.Rxe6

Heinz Herschmann, a regular at the Beacon Seniors event and well-known composer, arranger, musician and founder of the music label Apollo Sound, recently died, peacefully at home at the age of 90. As a composer, he achieved considerable acclaim receiving many commissions and in his other work he enjoyed great success in roles as varied as musical director of touring shows, to accompanist to various entertainers.

The solution to Dave Howard’s 3-mover last week was 1.Qh1! and the queen will mate on either a8 or b7.

This 2-mover is similar.

White to mate in 2

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