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Small Clubs’ Survival Struggle (20.06.2015.)

The smaller chess clubs have always struggled to survive. In Exeter alone the list of casualties is a long one. Those at the Wyvern Barracks Officers’ Mess and Sidwell St. YMCA disappeared over a century ago, to be followed by St. Luke’s and St. Loye’s Colleges, the Civil Service and even the once-mighty University. In the wider county, the clubs at Dawlish, Buckfastleigh, Winkleigh, Tavistock and Dartington have also long since gone. Other counties are doubtless the same.

It is refreshing, therefore, to see, bucking the trend, a new club created at East Budleigh (pop.650), where they recently invited the Grandmaster Keith Arkell to give a simultaneous display. He won every game, of course, but commended Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott for their resilience in adversity for which they received book prizes, and for this one Arkell also kindly added his own instructive insights.

White: C. J. Scott (154). Black: K. C.  Arkell (234.)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Be7 5.Bd3 d5 6.h3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 0–0 8.Ngf3 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Re1 Perhaps White should play 10.Qc2 to prevent 10…Ne4. 10…Ne4 11.Ne5 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qg4 f5 16.Qg3 Qxg3 17.fxg3 Rac8 18.Nc4 It’s a nice idea to try and bring the knight to the outpost on e5, but there is a tactical problem. 18…Rfd8? Better would have been 18…cxd4 19.Nd6 Rc6! 20.Nxb7 dxc3 21.bxc3 Rfc8 and Black is near to winning. 19.Ne5 cxd4 20.exd4 b5 21.Rac1 Rc7 22.b3 g6 22…g5! is more to the point. 23.Red1 Kg7 24.Kf2 Nicely played. It is important to prevent Black from getting in …f4 24…g5 25.Ke3 Rf8 26.Rf1 h5 27.h4! Again well played. Black was threatening 27…h4 28 gxh4 f4! with a clear advantage. 27…gxh4 28.gxh4 Kf6 29.g3 Rg8 30.Kf4 Rcg7 31.Rg1 Rd8 32.Ke3 Ba8 33.Rc2 The idea of my previous move was to meet a possible 33.c4 bxc4 34.bxc4 Rb8 grabbing the b-file. The position is about equal here. 33…a5 If 33…Rdg8 34.Kf4 Rg4+ 35.Nxg4+ Rxg4+ 36.Ke3 f4+ 37.Kf2 e3+ 38.Ke2 but my connected passed pawns won’t last very long. 34.c4? A mistake on which I failed to capitalise. 34…bxc4? I should have played 34…f4+ 35.Kxf4 Rxd4 and the more you look at this position the more you realise White is completely lost. 35.Rxc4! Not giving me a second chance. 35…Bd5 36.Ra4 Ra8 37.Nc4? The losing move, as it allows me to break through on the kingside. Better would have been 37.Kf4 Rc7 and although Black stands a little better, there is still a lot of work to do. 37…Rag8 38.Kf2 f4 39.Ne5 e3+ 40.Ke2 Rxg3 41.Rxg3 Rxg3 42.Rxa5 Rg2+ 43.Ke1 f3 44.Rxd5 Rg1# 0–1

Last week’s game between Aitken and Keffler ended with the combination 1…QxR+! forcing 2.NxQ Nf3+! and 3.Re1 mate cannot be avoided.

The problemist Arthur G. Pike of Redlands, Tiverton, died recently at the age of 92. Several of his 2-movers have appeared in this column over the years, and this is one of his best.

White to mate in 2 moves

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