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Posts Tagged ‘chess problems’

Somerset & Devon Meet Varying Fortunes. (28.05.2016.)

Westcountry teams met with varying fortunes on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championships. Devon had entered the grade-limited U-180 section and were paired against Middlesex, to whom they lost in the Final last year. This time, however, fate intervened on Devon’s behalf, as a third of the Middlesex team were held up in heavy traffic and while most arrived late, two didn’t make it at all, thus gifting Devon a close win by 8½-7½ in a match they might otherwise have lost.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing). 1.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 W. Taylor (170). 2.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 3.John Wheeler (177) 1-0 G. Batchelor (176). 4.Trefor Thynne (167) 0-1 A. Hayler (170). 5.M. Gosling ½-½ R. Harper (172) 6.Paul Hampton 1-0 A. Fulton (170). 7.Dennis Cowley (160) 1-0 R. Kane (164). 8.G. Body (163) 1-0 def. 9.Bill Ingham (158) ½-½ W. Phillips (162). 10.P. Brooks (158) 1-0    J. Kay (162). 11.Brian Gosling (154) 1-0 def. 12.Martin Quinn (159) ½-½ P. Morton (160). 13.Mike Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 0-1 L. Fincham (160). 14.Nick Butland (155) ½-½ L. Boy (153). 15.Kevin Hindom (155) 0-1 A. McGuinness (151). 16.Ivor Annetts (151) 0-1 J. Sargent (152).

Devon thus avenged their 2015 final defeat, and now go on to meet Essex in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, it was a different story for Somerset who had entered the Minor Counties section, which, despite its title, is a much stronger tournament, as there is no grade limit. They were paired against Suffolk who turned up with a 16 man team whose average grade was 182 compared to Somerset’s 145, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Somerset lost the match, but nevertheless 14½-1½ is a crushing defeat. Gerry Jepps was their only winner and Chris Purry got the solitary draw.

Last week’s Frome Congress also incorporated the Somerset individual championships, which go to the highest-placed Somerset player in each section.

These went as follows:  Open: David Buckley (Bath) who received the Denys Bonner Trophy.  Major: Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) got the Leon York Trophy.

Intermediate: Hugo Fowler, (Millfield School) got the Roy Hossell Cup.

Minor: Alastair Drummond (Bristol Cabot) got the Cyril Chapman trophy, and Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) was awarded the Jean Mackereth Cup for the best ungraded player in the Minor.

The Cotswold Congress starts this morning at the King’s School, Gloucester and continues for 6 rounds until Monday evening. Results next week.

In last week’s position White simply played 1.Rd1! and Black’s forward rook is pinned in two diections, so must fall.

This week’s position is another world premier by Dave Howard. White can clearly spend time chasing the Black king with a series of checks, but how can he mate in just 3 moves?

White to mate in 3

WECU Congress Results & Games (02.04.2016.)

The West of England Congress at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth, concluded on Monday with these players featuring in the prizelist. (points out of 7).

Open Section: 1st K. C. Arkell (2451) Paignton. 6½ pts. 2nd R. McMichael (2189) King’s Head 6. 3rd=J. Fallowfield  (2112) Stourbridge (2112); A. P. Smith (2127) Bourne End; T. Broek (2180) Holland & S. P. Dilleigh (2072) Horfield all 4½.

Grading prize (U-2022) J. F. Menadue (2021) Truro 4½. So Keith Arkell became West of England Champion, while Jeremy Menadue was awarded the Qualifying Place for the British Championship in Bournemouth.

Major Section (U-1950) 1st I. S. Annetts (1875) Tiverton 5½. 2nd= J. McDonnell (1942) Streatham and J. Forster (1809) Southbourne both 5. Grading Prize (U-1810) J. Nyman (1794) King’s Head 4½.

Best Junior Prize: L. Hafstad (1413) Exeter Juniors 4.

Minor Section (U-135) 1st J. Stone (100) Horley 7. 2nd R. Whittington (132) Exeter Juniors 5. 3rd= K. Alexander (131) Seaton; M. Roberts (132) Holmes Chapel; N. Dicker (128) Glastonbury; G. Taylor (128) Gloucester; G. Neil (124) Nomads; P. Foster (123) Medway; V. Jamroz (123) Kent Juniors; and  G. Parfett (119) Athenaeum, all 4½. Grading prize: A. Richards (121) Cheltenham 4.

There were many regulars among the entries, but a new face was that of Thomas Broek from Holland, whose sharp style of play kept his seven opponents on their toes throughout. He made his presence felt right from the off, with this Rd. 1 win over a local player who was joint winner of the East Devon Open a couple of years ago.

White: T. Broek. Black: O. E. Wensley.

Two Knights Defence [C58]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 h6? Here Blackburne played 8…cxb5 9.Qxa8 a6 10.0–0 Be7 etc. Another alternative is 8…Rb8. 9.Ne4 Nd5 10.Nbc3 Bb7 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Nf6+ 1-0 winning Black’s queen.

He followed this up with a longer battle in the following round, but with a sharp finish.

White: Roger de Coverley. Black: T. Broek.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.0–0 d6 6.c3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e6 9.d3 Nge7 10.a4 0–0 11.Na3 d5 12.Qe2 Qd7 13.f4 a6 14.Bd2 Na5 15.Rae1 dxe4 16.dxe4 Qxa4 17.g4 b5 18.f5 b4 19.Nb1 bxc3 20.Nxc3 Bd4+ 21.Kh1 Qc4 22.Qf3 Nec6 23.f6 Rab8 24.Qf4 Rxb2 25.Qh6 forcing 25…Bxf6 26.Rxf6 Qd4 27.Nb1 Rxd2 28.Nxd2 Qxf6 29.e5 Nxe5 30.Ne4 Qg7 31.Qe3 Nac4 note how Black’s knights combine to create multiple threats. 32.Qe2 Rd8 33.g5 h6 34.Nf6+ Kf8 35.h4 hxg5 36.hxg5 Qh8+ 37.Kg1 Qh4 38.Ne4 Qg4 39.Qf2 Rd1 40.Qxc5+ Kg7 41.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 42.Kh2 Ng4+ 43.Kh3 Qd3+ 44.Ng3 Nce3 45.Bb7 Qd2 46.Nf1 Nf2+ 47.Kh4 See diagram. Broek now had a move to win immediately.  Can you see it?

Black to play and win.

Schols’ Chess Challenge – Regional Heats Results (27.02.016.)

The Inter-Schools chess tournament, in the past often sponsored by The Times newspaper, seemed to have become the preserve of the top private/public schools, with little to offer the smaller, less chess-ambitious establishments. The English Chess Federation addressed this problem by last year introducing a new Schools Chess Challenge, with regional heats, the winners of which go forward to national finals.

The inaugural Devon heat was deemed a great success in that it attracted teams from schools where no chess activity was known to exist. This year was no different, with 12 teams of 4 players participating.

The Organiser, Trefor Thynne, was quoted as saying that “enjoyment and participation was the keynote of the afternoon, and it is very much hoped that the schools involved will continue to foster chess as an activity with much to offer all ages.”

The detailed results were as follows (all points out of 16): 1st Torquay Boys’ G.S. “A” 13 pts. 2nd= Clyst Vale Community School  & Torquay Boys’ G.S. “C” (yr. 7) 12 pts. 4th Torquay Boys’ G.S. “B”. 10½.

5th= Teignmouth CommunitySchool  &                Coombeshead College, Newton Abbot “A” 9 pts. 7th Cuthbert Mayne School, Torquay “B” 7½. 8th Coombeshead College “B” 6.  9th Great Torrington School “A” 5½. 10th=  Great Torrington School “B” & Cuthbert Mayne School “A”    4½. 12th Great Torrington School “C” 2½.

Today, Cornwall can claim to have fostered the early careers of Super-GM Michael Adams and International Master, Andrew Greet. Way back in the last century they had three players of great merit, all very different in character, yet each family was rooted in the Cornish mining industry of the late 18th century. The forebears of F. E. A. Kitto (1915–64) were mining engineers, while the family of H. V. Trevenen (1921-82) was also involved in mining. The father and grandfather of Reginald Pryce Michell (1873–1938) were both assayers of copper, who had to use their scientific skills to assess the quality of the metal ore being surfaced. Reginald, the youngest of 7 children was born above his aunt’s millinery shop in Market Jew Street in Penzance, and went on to become a senior civil servant in the Admiralty. He represented Britain 9 times in international matches, and won numerous tournament prizes.

The Bristol Spring Congress is being held this weekend, not last as reported last week. Apologies for any confusion caused. Full results and a top game from the event guaranteed next week.

Last week’s 2-mover by Sam Loyd was solved by 1.Bg2! with mating threats of both 2.Be4 or 2.Bh3.

Here are two great World Champions, Alekhine (W) and Lasker, battling it out in a strong international tournament in Zurich in 1934. The former was a master of the irresistible attack, while the latter was one of the world’s finest defensive players. In this position, White is probing on the kingside, but Black is pushing the queen away. Who won? (White to play).

Alekhine (W) to play and win by force.

Dwvon Beat Somerset (13.02.2016.)

After a number of losses to Somerset in recent years, Devon managed to pull one back last weekend in their match at Chedzoy Village Hall, by winning 8½-7½. It was a close but fair result as Devon outgraded their opponents, often significantly, on 11 of the 16 boards. Somerset were a couple of top players light, while Devon had two new strong players, which tipped the balance. The details were: (Devon names first in each pairing). 1.D. Mackle (207) 1-0 J. Rudd (216). 2.J. Stephens (196) 0-1 D. Buckley (205). 3.J. Underwood (186) ½-½ B. Edgell (199). 4.S. Homer (181) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (197). 5.S. Martin (184) 0-1 D. Littlejohns (182) 6.A. Brusey (184) ½-½ J. Byrne (173). 7.B. Hewson (176) 1-0 A. Gregory (166). 8.C. Lowe (179) ½-½ D. Freeman (165). 9.D. Regis (180) 1-0 B. Morris (174). 10.J. Wheeler (177) ½-½ G. N. Jepps (167). 11.P. Hampton (175e) 1-0 C. Purry (160). 12.O. Wensley (170) 0-1 R. D. Knight (157). 13.T. Thynne (167) 1-0 L. Bedialauneta (151e). 14.G. Body (163) ½-½ M. Baker (150). 15.W. Ingham (158) 1-0 J. E. Fewkes (147). 16.V. Ramesh (143) 0-1 A. Bellingham (152).

The 2nd team match was a one-sided affair with the more highly-graded Devon team in the ascendant, winning 9½-2½. The details were as follows:- 1.P. Brooks (158) 1-0 J. Lee (141). 2.B. Gosling (154) 1-0 M. Worrall (147). 3.M. Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 1-0 T. Wallis (137). 4. M. Quinn (159) ½-½ (131). 5.N. Butland (155) ½-½ A. Champion (128). 6.K. Hindom (155) 1-0 S. Pickard (138). 7.I. S. Annetts (151) 0-1 C. Strong (155). 8.A. Frangleton (147) 1-0  C. McKinley (142). 9.A. Hart-Davis (151) ½-½ N. Mills (129). 10.C. Scott (149) 1-0 P. Wojcik (119).  11.M. Best (155) 1-0 R. Fenton (104). 12.R. Wilby (142) 1-0 B. Lee (112).

Here is the Devon captain’s win.

White: Brian Hewson (179). Black: Andrew Gregory (165).

Sicilian Defence [B27]

1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c3 c5 4.e4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.h3 Nc6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 a6 9.Rc1 0–0 10.Bd3 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.0–0 Qa5 13.Qa4 Re8 14.Rfd1 b5 15.Qxa5 Nxa5 16.b4 Nb7?! 16…Nc4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Nd5 (18.Bg5 Be6 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Rac8 22.Rc5 Be7 23.R5xc4 Rxc4 24.Rxc4) 18…Nxd5 19.exd5 Bd7 20.Rxc4 Ba4 21.Rd2. 17.a4! bxa4 18.Nxa4 with the threat of Nb6. 18…Nd7? Better might have been 18…Nd6 19.Nb6 Rb8 20.Nxc8 Nxc8 21.Bxa6 Black cannot retake on b4 and that pawn can then make significant progress up the board under the protection of bishops and rooks. 19.Bc4 Nd8 20.Bd5 Rb8 21.Ba7! Rxb4 22.Rxc8 1–0. 22…Rf8 If 22…Rxa4 23.Bb3 White’s rooks and bishops are cutting swathes across the queenside, and Black must lose material. Slightly better would be 22…Rf8, but Black is lost anyway.

In last week’s position Black won decisively with a queen sacrifice. 1…QxR 2.NxQ Nd2+ forcing 3.Ka1 or a2 Ra8 mate.

Here is another new 2-mover from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and win in 2

The post-Christmas period is traditionally the time of the Hastings Chess Congress, one of the longest established in the world. The first was held in 1895 when all the world’s top players took part. It was won by the rank outsider, Harry Pillsbury, barely known in his own country (the US) let alone the wider chess community. However, Hastings did not become an annual event until after WWI when it found its present niche in the chess calendar. All the world champions have played there, with the exceptions of Fischer and Kasparov.

It has to be said that the playing strength of the Hastings Premier has declined in recent decades due to the worldwide proliferation of other events with greater financial backing to attract the top players. Yet the glories of the past are recorded for all time, as with this game from the 1895 tournament that won the event’s Brilliancy Prize. Notes based on those by Tarrasch from the tournament book.

White: W. Steinitz. Black: Curt Von Bardeleben.

Italian Game [C54]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.0–0 Be6 If 9…Nxc3 10.bxc3 Bxc3 White gets a dangerous attack by 11.Bxf7+ Kxf7 12.Qb3+. 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bxd5 Bxd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Re1! The point of all the exchanges as White now obtains command of the board, prevents Black from castling and initiates a powerful attack on the king. 14…f6 This keeps out the knight for the time being but at the cost of weakening his pawns which proves costly later. Better was 14…Kf8. 15.Qe2 Qd7 16.Rac1 c6? It would have been preferable to play 16…Kf7 as White then has nothing better than  17.Qxe7+ Qxe7 18.Rxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rxc7+ Kd6 20.Rxb7 and Black has drawing prospects. 17.d5 A pawn sacrifice, breaking up Black’s position and making way for the knight to strengthen the attack. 17…cxd5 18.Nd4 Kf7 19.Ne6 Threatening both Rc7 and Qg4. Rhc8 20.Qg4 g6 21.Ng5+ Ke8 To protect his queen. This is the position that appears in numerous chess problem books challenging the reader to find the best move. 22.Rxe7+!! and this is the move that won Steinitz the Brilliancy Price. Note how every White piece is en pris and yet Steinitz pursues his prey without flinching. 22…Kf8 If 22…Kxe7 23.Re1+ Kd6 24.Qb4+ Kc7 25.Ne6+ Kb8 26.Qf4+ and wins. 23.Rf7+ Kg8 24.Rg7+ Kh8 25.Rxh7+ 1-0 At this point Bardelben didn’t resign but simply left the tournament hall and didn’t return. He had probably seen what was in store. 25…Kg8 26.Rg7+ Kh8 27.Qh4+ Kxg7 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7+ Ke8 31.Qg8+ Ke7 32.Qf7+ Kd8 33.Qf8+ Qe8 34.Nf7+ Kd7 35.Qd6#.

Steinitz eventually came 5th, receiving £40 for his month’s work and an extra £5 for this timeless creation.

Last week’s 3-mover was solved by

1.Ne5! If 1…Kc7 2.Qc6+ and the queen will mate on the 7th rank. If 1…Ke7 2.Qd7+ Kf6 3.Ng4 mate.

Here is a third original 3-mover by Dave Howard. White to play.

White to mate in 3

Somerset Retain Top Trophy (14.03.2015.)

The Devon vs Somerset match at the weekend was always likely to be a championship decider, and so it proved. The 1st teams were closely matched on paper for the most part, except for the top 4 boards, all of which went Somerset’s way, making their winning total 10-6, thus retaining the Harold Meek trophy for another year. The details were:- (Somerset names first in each pairing).

1.J. Rudd (221) 1-0   D. Mackle (209). 2.D. Buckley (205) 1-0 J. Stephens (196). 3.A. Wong (199) 1-0 S. Homer (184). 4.B. Edgell (197) 1-0 J. F. Wheeler (184). 5.M. Payne (189) 0-1 P. Sivrev (175). 6.P. Krzyzanowski (187) 1-0 J. Fraser (178). 7.M. Blocinski(185) 0-1 J. Underwood (180). 8.P. Chaplin (182) 1-0 D. Regis (181). 9.A. Footner (182) 0-1 A. Brusey (181). 10.B. Morris (178) ½-½ B. Hewson (176). 11.D. Littlejohns (177) ½-½ M. Abbott (173). 12. D. Painter-Kooiman (175) 1-0 S. Martin (171). 13.J. Byrne (172) ½-½ M. Shaw (173). 14.D. Peters (171) 0-1 W. Ingham (168). 15.G. Jepps (171) ½-½ T. Thynne (168). 16. F. Felício (162) 1-0 M. Stinton-Brownbridge (168).

Devon fared better in the 2nd team match, played over 12 boards. They led by 6½-3½ but Somerset won the last 2 games to finish losing by a single point.

1. D. Freeman (163) ½-½ K. Atkins (160). 2. C. Purry (159) 1-0 N. Butland (158). 3. M. Staniforth (158) 0-1 D. A. Toms (159). 4. A. Gregory (157) 1-0 C. J. Scott (154). 5. C. Strong (155) 0-1 M. Hui (150e). 6. M. French (154) ½-½ B. Gosling (148). 7. M. Worrall (151) 1-0 P. Brooks (152). 8. C. McKinley (149) 0-1 O. Wensley (151). 9. M. Baker (148) 0-1 A. Frangleton (151). 10. C. Fewtrell (148) ½-½ A. Kinder (147). 11. J. Fewkes (145) 1-0 W. Taylor (142). 12. A. Champion (143) 0-1 V. Ramesh (138).

The West of England Championship starts a fortnight on Friday, 3rd April, at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth. With its relatively limited accommodation already nearing maximum, there’s little time left for late entries, so don’t delay. Enquiries to Meyrick Shaw on 01395-275494 or e-mail wecu@hotmail.co.uk.

This last round miniature gave White 1st prize in the recent Bristol Congress.

White: P. Krzyzanowski. Black: M. Lewis

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.Bg5 Ne4 6.cxd5 Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.e3 0–0 10.Be2 c6 11.0–0 Bf5 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Nd7 14.b4 a6 15.a4 Qe7 16.b5 axb5 17.axb5 f5 18.bxc6 bxc6 19.Ra6 Rxa6 20.Qxa6 Rf6 21.Qc8+ Bf8 22.Rb1 Black now abandons his defences with fatal consequences. 22…Qa3?? 23.Qxd7 Qxc3 24.Ng5 and mate on h7 is unavoidable. 1–0

In last week’s position Rudd played 1.Rxd4! threatening both f2 and e5. 1…Nd2 (If 1…exd4 2.Bxd4 R2f7 3.Nb6+ Kb8 4.Be5 winning). 2.Rxd2 Rxd2 3.Rc4 Qxc4 4.Bxc4 Rxg2 5.Nb6+ and mate will follow after Qxe5+.

Here is another world premier 2-mover from reader Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to mate in 2

Cornwall Beat Devon (14.02.2015.)

Cornwall met their only neighbours on Saturday in the annual Inter-County match, beating Devon by 8½-7½. This was their first victory over Devon in 23 years and only the third since 1973. Individual scores were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing)

1. D. Mackle 1-0 J. Menadue 2. J. Stephens 0-1 T. Slade. 3. S. Homer 0-1  M. Hassall 4. P. Sivrev 0-1 G. Healey 5. J. Wheeler 1-0 Csuri. 6. J. Fraser 1-0 D. Saqui 7. J. Underwood 1-0 R. Kneebone. 8. D. Regis 0-1 J. Hooker. 9. A. W. Brusey ½-½  S. Bartlett 10. B. W. Hewson ½-½ L. Retallick 11. M. Shaw 0-1 J. Wilman. 12. G. Body 0-1 G. Trudeau. 13. W. Ingham ½-½ J. Nicholas 14. T. F. Thynne ½-½ R. Smith. 15. M. Stinton-Brownbridge ½-½ M. Hill 16. I. S. Annetts 1-0 R. Stephens. Cornwall won 8½-7½.

2nd team (U-160): 1. K. P. Atkins ½-½ D. R. Jenkins. 2. C. J. Scott 0-1 N. Robinson 3. N. Butland 1-0 M. Richards. 4. P. Brooks ½-½ A. Barkhuysen. 5. J. Duckham ½-½ D. Lucas. 6. O. E. Wensley 1-0 D. Hutchinson. 7. A. Kinder 1-0 M. Jones. 8. W. Taylor 0-1 I. Renshaw. 9. V. Ramesh 1-0 J. Rodrigo. 10. R. Wilby 0-1 B. Childs. 11. N. Hodge 1-0 R. Pascoe. 12. N. Bacon ½-½ A. Slade. Devon won 7-5.

This was the second game to finish and seemed to galvanise the other Cornish players to a great collective effort. It contains what Jeremy Menadue called “what they used to call a gold coins on the board moment”. Notes kindly supplied by Menadue and the winner. 

White: M. Shaw (173) Black: John Wilman (150).

King’s Indian Defence [A48]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3 b6 4.Bf4 g6 5.e3 Bg7 6.Nbd2 A London system. 6…cxd4 7.exd4 0–0 8.Bd3 Bb7 A quiet start. 9.Nc4 Rather committal. 9.Qe2; 9.0–0. 9…d6 10.0–0 Nh5 A typical plan against the London. 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bd2 b5 13.Ne3 this looks a great square for the knight. 13…Qd7 14.Nh4? Decentralising and weakening the d4 square. Better might have been 14.Qb3 with a double attack on g6 and b5. 14…Nf4 covering the g6 weakness. 15.Bc2 e5 16.Ng4 White seems to be building up pressure on Black’s king. 16…h5 17.Ne3 Qh3!! That gold coins moment! 18.Nf3 Nxg2 The combinations play themselves. 19.Ng5 19.d5 Nf4. 19…Nf4! a memorable move. 20.Re1 White has to play 20.d5 but it’s not nice. If 20.Nxh3 Nxh3#. 20…Qh4 The queen knows when it’s not wanted. 21.Nf3 Nh3+ 22.Kf1 Of course this is wrong but other king moves also lose. e.g. 22.Kg2 Ng5; 22.Kh1 Nxf2+ 23.Kg1 wins. White resigned before Black could play Qxf2 mate. 0-1.

Dr. Jago’s problem last week was solved by 1.Qh3! If 1…Kxd5 or 1…Pe1=Q then 2.Qd3 mates. If Pe1=N to protect d3 then 2.Be6 is also mate.

As today is St. Valentine’s Day here is an appropriate 2-mover from the darling of the problem composers a century ago, Devon’s own Edith Baird. Can you see how the four islands of pieces spell out the word LOVE?

White to mate in 2.

New Cornish Champion (07.02.2015.)

After several years at Stithians, the Cornish Congress moved back to Truro College last weekend. After 5 rounds the new county champion was James Hooker (Truro) with 4/5 points. 2nd= were Simon Bartlett (Newquay), Lloyd Retallick (Newquay), David Saqui (Falmouth) and Mark Watkins (Camborne), all a half point behind. As champion, Hooker now holds the Emigrant Cup for the first time since his last victory in 2002.

In the Falmouth Cup section for players graded below 145 the winner was 15 year old Richard Stephens (Penryn College) playing in his first tournament.

2nd= were Hamad Aljaber (Falmouth), Mick Hill (Truro), David Jenkins (Camborne), Ian Rescorla (Bude) and Jan Rodrigo (Falmouth) a half point behind on 3½.

The Penwith Cup for players new to tournament chess was shared between the promising junior, Harvey Richings (Marazion School & Camborne), and the editor of Athletics Weekly, Jason Henderson, with 5½/6.

Some of the games will eventually be found on the website cornwallchess.org.uk.

In the meantime, here is one of Hooker’s games from 15 months ago, after several years absence from the chess scene.

White: James Hooker. Black: John Wilman.

Indian Defence [A47]

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 b6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0–0 Bg7 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.e4 d6 8.e5 Ne8 9.e6 f6? It cannot be good to leave the pawn on e6, strangling the life out of any possible defence. 10.Nh4 c5 In view of the e6 pawn, White feels justified in sacrificing a piece in order to break open the king’s position. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bxg6 f5 13.Qh5 Nf6 14.Bf7+ Rxf7 15.Qxf7+ Kh8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Qg6 Na6 18.Qxf5 Nc7 19.Nf3 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Rb8 21.Rb1 Qe8 Black still can’t take the e-pawn with 21…Nxe6 because of 22.Qh3+ 22.Re1 Rb6 23.Bd2 Qa4 24.b3 Qg4 25.Qxg4 Nxg4 26.Re4 Nf6 27.Rh4+ Kg8 28.Ba5 Rc6 29.Bxc7 Rxc7 30.c4 Rc8 31.f3 Rf8 32.b4 cxb4 33.Rxb4 1-0 A well-placed knight and bishop is often at least as good as a rook, but here it’s the pawns that make the difference. Black hardly has a decent move on the board.

In last week’s position, White won quickly after 1.Nd5! attacking the queen and opening lines towards the Black king’s position which involve at least heavy material loss.

In tune with the Cornish theme this week, here is a 1944 composition by Dr. Maurice Jago. His most prolific period was during the war when he was a lieutenant in the RAMC, and probably had long periods of inactivity between actions. He was generally attracted by the more exotic forms of problems – helpmates, selfmates, fairy chess, etc. but this is one of his more conventional 2-movers.

White to play and mate in 2

WMN Chess Column Suspended (November 2014)

Newspapers all over the country, if not the whole world, are struggling to adapt to the challenges brought about by the new media – multiple channels of 24 hour rolling news - twitface – etc. etc.  Added to that, the printed media’s lifeblood, advertising income, has been depressed throughout the banking and general financial crisis of recent years.

The Western Morning News cannot be immune to these factors, and must adapt to survive. One thing it has done is to sell off its award-winning flagship offices, built in the shape of a galleon, and move to premises near the docks.  Another idea was the addition of a Sunday edition. However, circulation figures are not as predicted, as folk are probably already locked in to their favourite Sunday titles, and loth to either switch or add another paper to the already heavy bundle the paper boy delivers. But the experiment was committed until the end of January 2015 when it will be assessed. Until then, economies have to be made and the cutting in half of the Westcountry Life supplement on a Saturday is one of them.

With it went the chess column.  That is the reason it has not appeared since October. In answer to the several enquirers I’ve already had, I am not too ill to write, or dead – far from it. Not yet, anyway.

The WMN chess column is one of the oldest provincial columns in the country. It started in 1891 under the editorship of Carslake Winter-Wood, writing under the nom de plume “Queen’s Knight”, in contrast to the contemporary Exeter columnist “King’s Knight”.  In March 1906 the column switched to the Illustrated Western Weeky News.   A. R. Cooper ran it from 1927 – 1939. Writing in the March 1939 issue of Chess, the eminent problemist, C. S. Kipping, observed that “the three British columns which have international reputations for their composing tourneys are (1) the Grantham Journal,  (2) the Falkirk Herald and (3) the Western Morning News”. After the war it was taken on by former British Champion, R. J. Broadbent (1948 & 1950) but it was mostly devoted to problems. That is, until the arrival from Lichfield of J. E. Jones in 1956, who took the paper to task and insisted there should be real local news, so a chess column appeared twice a week, one by Broadbest and a new one by Jones (no relation).

However, Jones ran his column on the same lines as Howard Staunton ran his, a century earlier – that is, as a pulpit  from which he would admonish any chess official who could not live up to his own high standards. In 1963 Jones moved away and when Ken Bloodworth took over he was quietly advised to keep it all low key. Which, of course, he did for the next 35 years. When he was approaching his late 80s, he wished to retire, but was keen that there should be no break to give the management an opportunity to end the sequence, and he recommended me to them, and the switch was smoothly made. I have now written 812 weekly columns.

There is now a hiatus until the end of January 2015 when further decisions will be made. If you wish to convey your personal opinion on the future of the column, I’m sure the decision-makers would listen attentively. 

Their address is: Western Morning News, Studio 5-11,  Millbay Road, Plymouth. PL1 3LF.

Chess Problemist Shot (16.08.2014.)

The one million British and Commonwealth WW1 fatalities cut swathes of heartbreak through every walk of life. Even the esoteric world of chess problemists did not escape.

Witheridge and Bristol’s Comins Mansfield, for example, was gassed in the trenches and temporarily blinded, but he survived to become a universally acknowledged genius of the 2-mover.

Less well-known was Lt. Col. George Kirkpatrick Ansell who was killed in the first days of the war. Born in 1872 in Wymering near Portsmouth, the son of a soldier, William and his wife Harriet, he joined the 5th Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Dragoon Guards, and served under Baden-Powell in South Africa. In France, two weeks after the declaration of war, the two armies met for the first time at Mons, after which the British sought to make an orderly retreat. On 31st August Ansell’s men were settled for the night in the small village of Néry. In the early morning mist of 1st September, a lost battalion of Germans blundered into them and more fighting broke out. Ansell’s unit was sent out to attack on the flank, which was an effective counter, and to get a good view of the skirmish he rode to the top of a nearby bluff. However, this made him a perfect target for German snipers and he was shot in the chest and died within 15 minutes, the most senior British officer to be killed at that point.

He is one of 51 Britons buried in Verberie, one of the 65 war cemeteries in the small department of Oise. The full account of what became known as “The Affair at Néry” can readily be found on-line and makes fascinating reading.

He had been a keen composer and publisher of chess problems before enlisting but once in the army his love of horses in general and polo in particular gradually took over.

He left a 9 year old son, Michael, who had a strangely parallel early life. He joined the same regiment as his father, played polo and rode competitively. Early in WW2 he, too, found himself retreating in the face of an advancing German army. He hid in a hayloft, and was shot at by British troops who assumed he was the enemy. As a result he was blinded, but this did not stop his involvement with horses. From his home, Pillhead House, Bideford, Col. Sir Mike Ansell became the driving force of British show jumping and equestrianism in the post war decades, making it a regular feature of TV scheduling.

The answer to last week’s position was 1…Rb3+! and if 2.axb3 Ra1 mate.

Here is one of Col. Ansell’s early 2-movers.

White to mate in 2

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