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Posts Tagged ‘Bude RapidPlay’

Big Bucks Bring Bonus? (17.10.2015.)

As reported last week, I came 2nd= in the Minor section of the Bude Rapidplay and received £10 for my efforts, an event as rare as it was pleasing. After all, that’s as much as the great English player J. H. Blackburne won at the super-strong Hastings tournament in 1895. Yet the vast majority of chessplayers don’t play for money, but for the adrenalin rush as an unexpected win comes into view.

Bobby Fischer went some way to correcting this amateur outlook as he fought for vastly increased prize-money and public recognition and consideration for chessplayers. At the time it was, in some quarters, considered somewhat vulgar, but by 1972 he had certainly succeeded in his aims.

Now another American is pushing the cause even further. This is Maurice Ashley, the first African-American Grandmaster, with the support of Amy Lee, an entrepreneur from Vancouver, whose PokerStars company ran its first tournament with a $1,000,000 prizefund in Las Vegas last year, where probably the only UK participant was Exeter’s Tim Paulden who won £1,000 for his efforts. However, his entry fee, or “buy-in”, as they call it, was $1,000.

Last week, they launched into Britain when the prizefund of £35,000 attracted many of Europe’s top players to the PokerStars Isle of Man Tournament, making it probably the UK’s strongest-ever Open International. It finished last weekend in a 3-way tie on 7/11 points between Pentala Harikrishna (India), Laurent Fressinet, (France) and Gabriel  Sargissian, (Armenia). After various tie-rules were invoked and win-bonuses added in, Harikrisha got the title and £16,000, while Fressinet got £11,000 and Sargissian £9,000.

Ashley’s argument is that only big money prizes in chess will grab the world-wide general public’s attention. Bude still has some way to go – not that anyone’s worried about that.

In last week’s position White could have won by 1.Rxh7+ Kxh7 2.Rf7+ Kh8 2. Qg6 and Qh7mate cannot be prevented. But he missed it and eventually lost.

In 1996 Michael Adams was invited to take part in the New York Chess-In-The-Schools Tournament, which he won easily. He reported it in British Chess Magazine, noting (a) that the commentary room was full of inner-city children before whom each player had to go through their game afterwards and (b) all players had to wear a suit and tie throughout; (now there’s an idea). He didn’t mention this Rd. 8 game, but the sharp finish does appear in chess literature.

White: M. Adams (2660). Black: Joel Benjamin (2570).

Sicilian Defence – Alapin Variation. [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 b6 7.Bc4 Ba6 8.Bxa6 Nxa6 9.0–0 Be7 10.Nbd2 0–0 11.Ne4 Nac7 12.Bg5 f6 13.exf6 Nxf6 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Rc1 d5 16.Ng3 Qd7 17.Nh4 Bd6 18.f4 f5 19.Nh5 Qf7 20.Rf3 Kh8 21.Rh3 Rg8 22.Nf3 Qe7 23.Qe2 Ne8 24.Rc6 Qd7 25.Ne5 Qe7 which brings us to this week’s position. How did Adams now demolish the American Grandmaster?

White to play and win.

From Bude To The Isle of Man (10.10.2015.)

Peter Clarke, the well-known chessplayer, columnist, author and bibliophile died last December after a long illness, and it was his family’s wish that an event of some sort should be held in his memory. It was decided that the scheduled 3rd Bude RapidPlay should be renamed the 1st Peter Clarke Memorial Tournament. This was held in Bude on Saturday, and the gathering of local players was joined by a number of the Clarke clan, including his wife, Peggy, her youngest brother, Philip Wood, two of their 3 daughters, Pennie and Salli and 3 grandchildren.

The winner of the Open Section was Steve Piper (Salisbury) whose chess career started as a junior at the Holsworthy Chess Club, founded by Peter, while the Runner-Up was Peter’s brother-in-law, Philip Wood.

The U-140 Section was won by Kelvin Hunter (Tiverton) and joint Runners-Up were Reece Whittington (Exeter), Steve Williams (Chester), Martin Jones (Newquay) & Robert Jones (Exmouth). Full details of all players’ results may be found on the keverelchess website.

Meanwhile, possibly the strongest International Open ever on British soil has been taking place this week on the Isle of Man, where 100 top players are fighting for a prize fund of £30,000 in the Masters Section alone. In Rd. 2 Devon resident GM Keith Arkell was paired with Cornish-born Michael Adams, which resulted in this tactically tricky game.

White: K. Arkell (241). Black: M. Adams (267).

Queen’s Gambit. [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Bf5 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Bd6 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rab1 a5 13.Qc2 Re8 14.Rfe1 Qc8 15.Bg3 Bxg3 16.hxg3 Ne4 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Nd2 Nf6 Attention now turns to the queenside, where a tactical skirmish takes place. 19.b4 axb4 20.Rxb4 b5 21.a4 Nd5 22.Rb2 Rxa4 23.Nxe4 Qc7 24.Qd3 Qa5 25.Rc1 Ra3 26.Qb1 g6 27.Qc2 If 27.Rxc6 losing the queen. 27…Ra1. 27…b4 28.Nd6 Rc3 29.Qd1 Re7 30.Nc4 Qa6 31.Rxb4 Rcxe3 If now 31…Nxb4 32.Rxc3. 32.Rb8+ Draw agreed. A fine result for Arkell, but was followed in the next round by this nightmare.

White: D. Howell (274). Black: K. Arkell.

French Defence – Tarrasch Var. [C10]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.0–0 Ngf6 8.Neg5 Bd6 9.Re1 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 h6 Intending to push the knight away, but it launches into a violent attack. 11.Nxe6! fxe6 12.Rxe6+ Kf7 13.Bc4 Kf8 14.Qf5 Nb6 15.Bb3 Be7 16.Bd2 c5 17.dxc5 Qxd2 18.cxb6 Qg5 19.Qf3 axb6 20.Rxe7 Kxe7 21.Qxb7+ Kd6 22.Qxb6+ Ke5 23.Qe6+ Kf4 24.g3+ Kf3 25.Bc4 Ne4 26.Be2+ Kxe2 27.Qxe4+ Kd2 28.Qd3# 1–0

Last week’s original 2-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Na8! threatening 2.Nf3 mate. If the c-pawn takes the knight, 2.Rc4 mate follows.

This position arose in a Grandmaster rapidplay game earlier this year. What win did White miss before going on to lose the game?

White to play and win by force.

1st Peter Clarke Memorial Congress (04.10.2015.)

After the well-known chessplayer, author, columnist, problemist and correspondence Grandmaster, Peter Hugh Clarke, died last December, it was his family’s wish that a tournament should be held in his memory, in his home area and involving both friends and family. It was eventually agreed that the scheduled 3rd Bude Rapidplay, organised by local residents, John & Christine Constable, should be dedicated to Peter’s memory, and if successful should become an annual event.

The venue, the New Life Centre in Bude, proved an ideal place for the event; just the right amount of playing space for the numbers involved, plentiful nearby parking and a beautiful setting (see below). The Open Section was headed by Stephen Piper who learned his chess in his youth at the Holsworthy Chess Club, which was founded by Peter when he lived in that area. The only half point he dropped was to Peter’s brother-in-law, Philip Wood, one of B. H. Wood’s 3 chess-playing sons. (Once upon a time, Sutton Colfield 1st team in the Birmingham League consisted of all 4 Woods). It was, perhaps, appropriate that, at the end of the day, these two should come clear 1st and 2nd.

The rest of the Clarke players were in the U-140 section; daughters Salli and Pennie, and Grandson George.  Detailed results were as follows:

 1st Peter Clarke Memorial RapidPlay – Bude – 3rd October 2015
  Name Club Grd 1 2 3 4 5 6 Tot,  
1 Piper, Steve Salisbury 189 15 ½2 18 13 19 17 1st
2 Wood, Philip Kenilworth 144 17 ½1 ½9 14 13 ½5 2nd
3 Slade, Theo Barnstaple 181 19 18 14 01 02 110 4 3rd=
4 Martin, Steve Sidmouth 166 16 17 03 02 110 18 4 3rd=
5 Bartlett, Simon Newquay 160 01 16 19 17 ½8 ½2 4 3rd=
6 Woolgar, Steve Bristol 141 04 05 110 ½8 07 19 GP
7 Trudeau, Gary Liskeard 168 02 04 05 110 16 01 2 7th=
8 Body, Giles Exeter 162 110 03 01 ½6 ½5 04 2 7th=
9 Wilson, Matthew Teignmouth 146 03 110 ½2 05 01 06 9th
10 Jenkins, David R Liskeard 125 08 09 06 07 04 03 0 10th


1st Peter Clarke Memorial RapidPlay – Graded Section U-140
  Name Club Grd 1 2 3 4 5 6 Tot,  
1 Hunter, Kelvin Tiverton 127 112 110 13 02 14 18 5 1st
2 Jones, Robert H. Exmouth 137 ½bye ½9 18 11 13 04 4 2nd=
3 Williams, Steve Chester 136 15 14 01 17 02 19 4 2nd=
4 Whittington, Reece Exeter 126 18 03 111 19 01 12 4 2nd=
5 Jones, Martin Newquay 106 03 08 112 16 17 110 4 GP
6 Childs, Barry Lerryn 106 ½bye 07 110 05 111 112 6th
7 Smith, Richard Barnstaple 128 010 14 19 03 05 11 3 7th=
8 Gosling, Salli u/g 14 05 02 ½6 ½5 04 3 7th=
9 Gardiner, Colin Torrington 107 111 ½2 07 04 112 03 9th
10 Jones, Keith Holsworthy 96 07 01 06 011 04 05 2 10th
11 Craddock, George u/g 09 112 04 010 06 07 1 11th
12 Channing, Pennie u/g 01 011 05 08 09 06 0 12th


The end of a Smith & Jones affair in Rd 1, but the crowd are more interested in how Theo Slade is faring.

Wood and Piper met in Rd. 2

Salli (nee Clarke) plays Martin Jones in Rd. 2 while in the background sister Pennie plays her nephew George.

General view of the playing area.

The table used for the top section was the one presented by Fidel Castro to Peter at the Havana Olympiad, 1966. Each team captain received one.

The table was as nothing compared to the ornate box for the pieces.

In between round the Clarke clan gathered around the top board; siblings Peggy & Philip; 2 of Peggy's 3 daughters - Pennie on the right with her two children and Salli with her daughter and nephew George.

Meanwhile, life goes on in the outside world - the view from the window shows the river bearing left on its way to the sea and Bude town centre off to the right.

Open winner, Steve Piper, receives the Clarke Cup from Salli, while John Constable holds the smaller cup that Steve will be able to keep.

Salli presents a cheque to her Uncle Phil for coming clear 2nd.

Steve Woolgar got the Grading Prize.

Kelvin Hunter won the U-140 Section

Bude RapidPlay Results (25.10.2014.)

All westcountry congresses depend on small groups of volunteers, who take a quiet satisfaction in running a successful event that gives pleasure to the players.

The latest of these was the 1st Bude Rapidplay Congress organised recently by John and Christine Constable. The entry was small but strong – 16 players with an average grade of 153. 1st J. Rudd (Barnstaple – 231) 6/6 pts. 2nd J. Byrne (Taunton – 165) 5 pts. 3rd G. Trudeau (Liskeard – 155) 4 pts. 4th= G. Body (Exeter – 167); T. Slade (Bude – 164) & R. Nash (Barnstaple – 124) all 3½. 7th= S. Homer (Exeter – 200); M. Richardt (Taunton – 187); D. J. Jenkins (Camborne – 132) & S. Woolgar (Bristol – 132) all 3. 11th C. Sellwood (Camborne – 158) 2½. 12th= D. R. Jenkins (Liskeard – 126); S. Bartlett (Newquay – 165) & B. Childs (Lerryn – 106) all 2. 15th= P. May (114) & M. Jones (Newquay – 121) 1.

Longer-established events need their organising committee refreshed from time to time, otherwise they risk withering on the vine. The East Devon Congress, for example, is on the brink of collapse as the committee has dwindled to two, Sean Pope and Mark Abbott, who are already highly committed with their daytime professions. They need fresh blood coming in from the Exeter region to share the load and keep it afloat, as it’s a bigger event, with a larger venue. Prospective volunteers should contact Sean on 01392-436420 or e-mail:

Meanwhile, here is a win by a great supporter of the Exeter Congress.

White: J. F. Wheeler Black: J. Duckham.

Benko Gambit  [A57]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 The signature move of the Benko Gambit in which Black offers a pawn in order to open up space in which his queenside pieces can operate freely. 4.cxb5 a6 5.b6 White doesn’t wish to fall in with Black’s plans. 5…g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.e4 d6 8.Nf3 Nbd7 9.Be2 0–0 10.0–0 Nxb6 11.h3 Bb7 12.Bf4 Nfd7 13.Qd2 f5? Leaving a big hole at the heart of his position. 14.Ng5 fxe4 15.Ne6 Qe8 16.Nxf8 Qxf8 17.Bg4 Ne5 18.Be6+ Kh8 19.Bg3 Nbc4 20.Qe2 Bc8 21.Bxc8 Rxc8 22.Bxe5 Nxe5 23.Qxe4 c4 24.Rab1 Nd3 25.Nd1 Ne5 26.Ne3 Rc5 27.Rfc1 Qc8 28.f4 Nd3 29.Rxc4 Nxb2 30.Rxc5 Qxc5 31.Qxe7 h6 32.Kh2 Qd4 33.Rf1 Nd3 34.g3 Qb2+ 35.Ng2 Qf6 White would be delighted to simplify out, leaving him still materially ahead. 36.Qxf6 Bxf6 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Ra1! and when Black checks on h8 2.Bg8 not only blocks that check but allows the rook on a1 to administer mate at the same time.

This is not a beginners’ game but from this year’s British Championship. Four moves each have been played and now it is White to move.

White to play and win quickly