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Cotswold Congress Results (10.06.2017.)

The Cotswold Congress finished on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, and of the 116 competitors the following emerged with prizes:-

Open Section: 1st= Michael Ashworth 186 – Wotton Hall) & Tim Kett (202 – Cardiff). 3rd= Don Mason 193 – Shirley), Martin Simons (194- Southbourne) & Joe Stewart (194 – Gloucester). Grading prize: Ian Clarke (168 – Malvern). Junior prize: Charlie McClaren (177 – Wotton Hall).

Major Section (U-155) 1st T. Woodward (154 – Trowbridge). 2nd= D. Edwards (142 – Witney); C. Hosdurga (141 – Bristol); B. O’Gorman (150 – DHSS); A. Papier (139 – Bristol) & I. White (148 – Wotton Hall). Grading prizes (U-145) D. Curry (139 – Halesowen) . (U-136) A. Di-Vetta (127 – Bridgend). Junior: Eleanor Hapeshi (136 – Kings’ School).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st= S. Butterworth (120) & K. Langmaid (114 – Yate). 3rd= B. Aubrey (108 – Dragon School), C. Frazer & Rachel McIntosh (110 – Chepstow). Grading prizes: (U-111) Christine Constable (106 – Bude). (U-100) Z. Ashraf (77 – Wiltshire).

Joint winner of the Open, 55 year old Tim Kett has been playing since he was 4, but only since retiring early from his career as a software specialist with a global company about 3 years ago has he been able to play much more frequently. He has thrice been Welsh Champion (2012 -14 & -16) and with his wife, Sarah, has set up TSK, which brings coaching to schools and individuals in South Wales, where they are heavily involved in the Chess in Schools and Communities project. He has truly made his hobby his 2nd career.

Here was his Rd. 5 win against the no. 3 seed.

White: T. J. Kett (202). Black: Martin Simons (194)

Nimzowitsch Defence [B00]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.d4 d6 4.d5 Nb8 5.Bg5 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nbd7 9.0–0–0 Taking a considerable but calculated risk, as Black’s queenside pawns are well-placed to launch an attack at any time. But at least White has castled while Black still has some way to go.  9…Qc7 10.Be2 g6 11.Qe3 Bg7 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 c5 14.Qe3 a6 15.f4 Before Black’s pawns can fully mobilise, White concentrates on the centre. 15…b5 16.Bf3 b4 17.Ne2 Rb8 18.g4 h6 19.h4 Completing an impressive array of advanced kingside pawns, forcing Black to divert his attention away from his own plan of attack. 19…h5 20.gxh5 Nxh5 21.Bxh5 Rxh5 22.Ng3 Rh7 23.e5 dxe5 24.f5 Nf6 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.Qg5 Kf7 27.Rhe1 e4 28.Nxe4 Rh5 29.d6! Best. White is not to be diverted, as the centre is rapidly breaking open to his advantage. 29…Qc6 If 29…Rxg5? 30.Nxg5+ Ke8 31.dxc7 Ra8 32.Ne6 Black has lost a rook and White threatens 38.Rd8=Q+. 30.Qf4 Rf5 31.Ng5+ 1–0 Play might have continued… Kg8 32.Qc4+ Rd5 33.dxe7 Re8 34.Rxd5 Qxd5 35.Qxa6 Kg7 36.Ne6+ with the deadly fork 37.Nc7 to follow.

In this week’s position, almost hidden among all these pieces is a mate in 2 for White. Can you see it?

White to play

A Recent Nunn Win & WECU Junior Winners (25.03.2017.)

Grandmaster John Nunn’s unexpected appearance at the recent East Devon Congress undoubtedly created some extra interest in the event, and he didn’t disappoint, coming clear 1st with 4 wins and finishing with a draw. This was his game from Rd. 3.

White: Stephen Piper (187). Black: John Nunn (236).

Grünfeld Defence [D79]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.0–0 0–0 8.d4 Ne4 9.Qb3 Nc6 10.Rd1 Na5 11.Qb4 Bf5 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Nh4 Bg4 14.Bxe4 Bxe2 15.Re1 Ba6 16.Bg5 Re8 17.Rad1 Rc8 Grabbing the open file with a rook – a contributory factor in Black’s win. 18.b3 b6 19.Ng2 Qd7 20.Be3 Bb7 21.Bxb7 Nxb7 22.Nf4 Nd6 23.Nd3 Rc2 24.a4 Nf5 Black must have calculated carefully that his advanced rook cannot become trapped and picked off. 25.Ne5 Qd5 26.Nc4 Rd8 27.Na3 Rb2 28.Nc4 Ra2 The rook cuts a lonely figure on a2, but cannot be taken, so must lie quietly. It doesn’t move again. 29.Rd3 e6 30.Red1 h5 As the White pieces are situated in the centre, Black chooses this moment to attack White’s king’s position. 31.Qe1 h4 32.Qf1 hxg3 33.hxg3 Qe4 34.Qg2 Qg4 35.d5 exd5 36.Rxd5 Just as White’s rooks break free for their self-imposed constraints, Black strikes. 36…Qxd1+! 37.Rxd1 Rxd1+ All other things being equal, two rooks are generally deemed to be stronger than a queen, providing they have scope to move and can cooperate, as is the case here. 38.Kh2 Nxe3 39.Nxe3 Rdd2 40.Qa8+ Kh7 41.Qxa7 Rxf2+ 42.Kh3 f5 Blocking off g5 as a possible escape route. 43.Kh4 Rh2+ 0–1 Resigned in view of 44.Kg5 Rh5+ 45.Kf4 Rf2#.

The West of England Junior Championships were held in Swindon last month, and the main winners were as follows:-

U-18: Michael Ashworth (Wotton Hall, Gloucester). U-18 Girls: Zoe Varney (Somerset). U-16: Oliver Howell (Somerset). U-14: Max Walker (Churchill Academy) & Ben Headlong (Swindon). U-12: Adam Hussain (Truro Prep School). U-12 Girls: Georgia Headlong (Swindon). U-10: Daniel Yu (Hants). U-10 Girls: Jaime Ashworth (Wotton Hall). U-9: Matthew Timbrell (Somerset). U-8: Daniel Shek (Yately Manor School). U-8 Girls: Jessica White (Wiltshire).

The West of England Congress starts a fortnight on Friday in Exmouth, with entries currently standing at 60 and rising. Time, therefore, not to risk missing the cut-off by getting entries to the Secretary, Meyrick Shaw, (tel: 01395-275494 or e-mail: Entry forms are downloadable from

The solution to last week’s 2-mover (above) was 1.Qe7! threatening 2.Qh4#.

This week’s position came from a recent game played in the 4NCL. As with 2 rooks vs a queen, Black’s 2 minor pieces should be slightly stronger than a rook, all other things being equal, but in this case they are not, as White has the opportunity to sweep away this slight inequality. How so?

White to play & win quickly

50th Torbay Chess Congress (19.11.2016.)

The 50th Torbay Congress finished on Sunday evening with the following 48 players featuring in the prizelist.

Open: 1st William McDougall (Chichester), 2nd John Edge (Halesowen), 3rd= Chris Lowe (Exeter)  & Jeremy Menadue (Truro), Grading Prizes: (U-175): 1st= Mike Waddington (Dorchester) & R. Webster (Calderdale). U-175: 1st= Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) & Robert Taylor (Wales). Slow starter (0/2): William Adaway (Dorchester).

Major (U-170): 1st= R. Sayers, R. Burton & Megan O’Brien.  Grading prizes (U-159) 1st= Arthur Hibbitt, Matthew Wilson, Yasser Tello, Ray Gamble & Ivor Annetts. (U-148) 1st= A. Netherway & Peter Halmkin. Slow starter: Nathan Mills.

Intermediate (U-140): 1st D. Jenkins. 2nd= S. Williams & P. Foster. Grading prizes (U-132) 1st= M. Roberts & Ray Hunt. (U-125) 1st= T. Crouch & Clifford Peach. Slow Starter: Mike Cuggy.

Minor: (U-120): 1st= Helen Archer-Lock, J. Madden, I. Farrow, A. Fraser, G. Daly, O. Stubbs & R. Greenhalgh. Grading prizes (U-112) 1st= M. Pope, A. Davies & P. Saunders. (U-106); 1st= M. Maber, D. Burt, J. Carr & Hazel Welch. (U-95) 1st J. Tye. (U-76) A. Moorhouse, K. Hayden-Sadler, P. Tournier & Wendy Carr. Slow starter: E. Prenton.

A fuller report and photos may be found on while games are on

Here is the event’s first game to finish – a Devon vs Cornwall affair.

White: J. Menadue. Black: J. Wheeler. Queen’s Bishop’s Game [D00]

1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 The Levitsky Variation, named after the Russian Stepan Livitsky (1876–1924) who played this move against Rubinstein at Vilna in 1912, where he finished ahead of Alekhine and Nimzowitsch. 2…h6 3.Bh4 c6 4.Nf3 Qb6 Hunting a cheap pawn when perhaps the development of minor pieces should be a priority. 5.Nbd2 Bf5 If 5…Qxb2 6.e3 Nd7 7.Bd3 Ngf6 8.0–0. 6.b3 Nd7 7.e3 e6 8.Be2 Ngf6 9.0–0 Ba3 10.Rb1 Bb4 11.a4 0–0 12.Kh1 Rac8 Now Black has caught up in development, how will it go? 13.Bd3 Ne4 14.Bxe4 Of course not 14.Nxe4?? because dxe4 wins a piece. 14…dxe4 15.Nc4 Qa6 16.Nfe5 Nxe5 17.dxe5 f6 Significantly weakening his king’s position. 18.exf6 gxf6 19.Qh5 Heading directly for the weak spot. 19…Kg7 20.Rfd1 grabbing the open file, as one should. 20…Rc7 Slightly better would have been 20…Rf7 followed by …Bg6 to protect the king and nudge away White’s queen. The text move invites the black square bishop to conduct the funeral rites. 21.Bg3 Rcf7 22.Bf4 Rh8 23.Ne5! Re7 If 23…fxe5 24.Bxe5+ Kg8 25.Bxh8 Kxh8 26.Qxf7 and mate cannot be avoided.

24.g4 fxe5 25.Bxe5+ Kh7 26.gxf5 Rg8 27.Rd8! Rgg7 If 27…Rxd8 28.Qg6#. 28.Qg6+ Black knew mate was in store at this point, but sportingly allowed the game to run its course. 28…Rxg6 29.Rh8# 1–0

In last week’s diagram it wasn’t difficult to find 1.RxN! RxR 2.Rh8+ and mate cannot be avoided.

Here is a newly-composed 3-mover from Dave Howard.

White to play & mate in 2.

Devon’s Team Blitz Results (05.11.2016.)

Devon’s Team Blitz Tournament took place on Sunday at the Newton Abbot Chess Club with 10 teams of 4 players taking part. The players had just 12 minutes for all their moves in each of the 6 games to be played. It was noticeably stronger than in recent years with more clubs determined to take first prize. They finished in this order (all points out of 24): 1st Exeter 19; 2nd Tiverton 18; 3rd Seaton 16½; 4th Newton Abbot ‘A’ 15; 5th Exmouth 13; 6th Exeter ‘B’ 10; 7th Torquay Boys’ G.S. 8½; 8th Teignmouth ‘8’; 9th Newton Abbot ‘B’ 7; 10th Weymouth 5. The only player to win all six games was Paul Hampton of Seaton. In recent years Dorset players have been deprived of inter-county competition by the fact that no-one is prepared to act as county captain, and have been forced to withdraw from the West of England inter-county tournaments, so they asked to be allowed to enter a team drawn for the Weymouth and Dorchester clubs. This was agreed to but they found it very tough going.

The Beacon Seniors Congress started on Monday afternoon and finished only yesterday. The entry was slightly up and noticeably stronger than previous years, and after 2 rounds it was impossible to conjecture who might be featuring in the prizelist. Suffice it to say that the early results were completely topsy-turvy, with modestly-graded club players beating or drawing against much higher-rated opposition. Here is a game from Round 2 in last year’s event that demonstrates that very point.

White: Mike Dow (110). Black: Ewart Smith (140).

French Defence  [C00]

1.e4 e6 2.f4 The La Bourdonnais Attack – an unconventional and little-seen continuation. 2…b6 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.Nc3 c5 5.Be2 Be7 6.0–0 Nf6 7.d3 d6 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 0–0 10.Qd2 a6 11.Rae1 Qc7 12.Bd1 Rad8 13.d4 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Nc5 15.Bf3 d5 16.e5 Nfe4 17.Qc1 Nxc3 18.Bxc3 Ne4 19.Bb2 Bc5 20.Kh1 A wise precaution. 20…Rd7 21.Bg4 Bb4 22.Re2 Nc3 23.Bxc3 Bxc3 The knight is attacked – so what to do with it? White finds an excellent answer. 24.Nxe6! fxe6 25.Bxe6+ Kh8 26.Bxd7 Qxd7 This skirmish leaves White with R+2P for the bishop pair, but his attack just seems to flow naturally. 27.e6 Qe7 28.Qe3 d4 29.Qh3 Bd5 30.f5 g6 31.Kg1 gxf5 32.Rxf5 Rxf5 33.Qxf5 Bb7 34.Qe5+ Kg8 35.Rf2 Bc8 36.Rf7 1–0 White threatens mate on g7. The only way to avoid that would be 36…Qxf7 37.exf7+ Kxf7 38.Qc7+ winning a bishop while the other one is already powerless. So it was a hopeless cause.

All prizewinners and a sensational game next week.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Ba1! after which Black has four “tries: 1…exf2 2.e4#; 1…Nxf2 2.Nf2#; 1…Nf6 2.Nxf6# and 1…N7g5 2.Nf6#.

This 2-mover is by J. F. Ling in 1968, and was given the title “What goes

up”……  Can that be a clue?

White to play and mate in 2

Seniors and the Grob (29.10.2016.)

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

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.

White to play and mate in 2

Devon Beat Cornwall at Plymouth (22.10.2016.)

Devon and Cornwall met at Plymouth recently in their first match of the new season. Cornwall were competitive in the top half of the team, winning or drawing 4 of the top 8 games, but Devon’s strength in depth meant they won 7 of the lower 8 games, to give the overall score of 4 -12 a one-sided look. The details were as follows (Cornish names 1st in each pairing).

1.J. Menadue (189) ½-½ D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Hassall (183) 0-1 T. Paulden (187). 3. J. Hooker (177) 1-0 S. Homer (190). 4.L. Retallick (176) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.D. Saqui          (176) ½-½ J. Underwood         (183). 6. R. Kneebone (174) 0-1 H. Andolo (181). 7.J. Morgan (170) 0-1 B. Hewson (182). 8.C. Sellwood (154) 1-0 S. Martin. 9.G. Trudeau (153) 0-1 D. Regis (175). 10. P. Gill (149) 0-1 P. Sivrev (175). 11. R. Stephens (148) ½-½ C. Lowe (175). 12.J. Nicholas (147) 0-1 J. Wheeler. (174). 13.R. Smith (141)     0-1 T. Thynne (170). 14.A. Hussain (135) 0-1     O. Wensley (168). 15. D. R. Jenkins (125) 0-1 M. Marshall (166). 16. D. Lucas (121) ½-½ W. Ingham (162).

Here is a win from each team.

White: S. Homer (190). Black: J. Hooker. (177).

Sicilian Defence.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.0–0 d5 8.Nd2 Bd6 9.f4 White follows the general plan in this opening of initiating an early kingside attack, though the threat of a fork in this position is a hollow one. 9…0–0 10.e5 Bc5+ 11.Kh1 Nd7 12.Qh5 Threatening mate. 12…f5 13.g4 If 13.exf6 Nxf6 stopping the mating threat. 13…g6 14.Qh3 Bb7 15.Nf3 Bb6 16.gxf5 exf5 17.b3 Qe7 18.Bb2 c5 19.Rae1 White completes his piece development, but Black’s bishop pair look menacing against the exposed king’s position. 19…c4 20.bxc4 Qb4 21.e6? Better was 21.Ng5 dxc4+ 22.Be4 Bxe4+ 23.Rxe4 h5 (or 23…Qe7 24.Rxc4) 24.Ba3. 21…dxc4 Now both White bishops are attacked, while Black’s bishops are sweeping the board. 22.Ba3 Qxa3 23.Bxc4 Qc3 24.Bb3 Nf6 25.e7+ Rf7 26.Re6 Kg7 27.Re5 Re8 28.Bxf7 Kxf7 29.Re2 Rxe7 30.Rxe7+ Kxe7 31.Re1+?? Probably shortage of time led to White missing the fact that his knight is pinned and therefore not defending his rook. 31…Qxe1+ 0–1

Humphrey Andolo of Plymouth has a relatively modest grade these days, but was Champion of Kenya several times.

White: R. Kneebone (174). Black: H. Andolo. (181)

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.h3 0–0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.cxd5 Qa5 10.Bd2 Re8 11.Bd3 c4 12.Be2 If 12.Bxc4 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Rxe4+ 14.Be2 and White’s position unravels. 2…b5 13.a3 Qb6 14.Be3 Qa5 15.Bd2 Qa6 16.Qb1 Qb7 17.Be3 h6 18.Nd4 a6 19.0–0 Nbd7 20.Qc2 Nc5 21.f3 Bd7 22.b4 cxb3 23.Nxb3 Rac8 24.Nxc5 dxc5 25.Qd2 Kh7 26.Rfb1 c4 27.Bd4 a5?! 28.Na4?! Qc7 29.Nc5?? 29…Bxh3? 29…c3 30.Qd3 Nxd5 31.Nxd7 Nf4. 30.Rxb5 c3 31.Bxc3 Qg3 32.Bf1 Ng4 33.fxg4 Bxc3 0–1.

Last week’s problem was easily solved by either 1.Nc5 or Nb2.

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to play and mate in 2.

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