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Frome Congress Results (20.05.2017.)

Last weekend’s Frome Congress attracted 188 players from all over the South-West and beyond, of whom 36 won prizes. Details, kindly supplied by the Organiser, Gerry Jepps, as follows:

Open Section: 1st= Jane Richmond (Brown Jack); A. Pleasants, (Weymouth); S. Crockart (Didcot) 4 pts. Grading prizes U-2050: A. Gregory (Bath) 3½. U-1900 V. Stoyanov (Sandhurst) 3. Qualifying places for the British Championship were awarded to Andrew Gregory and Philip Holt (Olton).

Major Section (U-165): 1st E. Osbourn (Worcester) 4½. 2nd T. Woodward (Trowbridge) 4. 3rd= S. Jukes (Barry); R. Radford (Keynsham); B. Gosling (E. Budleigh); H. Fowler (Millfield) & C. Timmins (Bristol) all 3½. Grading prizes: U-155: A. Champion (Keynsham); G. Georgiou (Swindon) & A. Muller (Bristol) all 3. U-145: G. Williams (Swindon); P. Foley (Upminster); D. Watson (Bourne End) & I. S. Annetts (Tiverton) all 2½.

Intermediate Section: (U-140) 1st= D. McGeeney (Bristol); L. Tarbuck (Lichfield) & N. Mills (Yeovil) all 4½. GPs U-128: R. Morris-Weston (Bristol); E. Fierek (Gloucester); D. Rogers (Exmouth); A. Sage (Bath) & O. Stubbs (Downend). U-118: E. Hurst (Salisbury) all 3½.

Minor Section: (U-110): 1st J. Opie (Frome) 5. 2nd= Amanda Jones (Salisbury) & Y. Kumar (Bath) 4½. GPs (U-99) F. Cheeseman (Kent) & J. Wallman (Dorset). U-90: A. Wang (Bath) & J. Doull (Purbeck).

In the absence of any GMs to take the top prize, it was no surprise to see Jane Richmond taking a share of the spoils. She has been Welsh Ladies Champion 11 times and has played in several Olympiads. Here is her last round game, which clinched her share of 1st place.

White: O. Garcia (2062). Black: J. Richmond (2128)

Vienna Game C28

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 Signature move of the Vienna Game, in which White intends to attack on the kingside. 4…d6 5.f4 exf4 6.Bxf4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.Na4 Nh5 9.Bg5 an idea that doesn’t work. 9…Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Qxg5 11.Bxf7+ Ke7 12.Nxc5 Qxc5 13.Qxh5 White recovers his piece, at the expense of… 13…Qe3+ 14.Kd1 Raf8 15.Re1 Qd4 16.Bc4 Qxb2 17.Qh4+ Kd7 18.Kd2 Qb4+ 19.Kd1 Ne5 20.Bb3 Qd4 21.Rb1 Rf2 22.Qg3 g6 23.Bd5 Rhf8 24.Qh3+ Kd8 25.Qh4+ R8f6 26.Re2 The knight now becomes a real menace. 26…Nxd3 27.Rxf2 Not 27.cxd3?? because of  27…Qxd3+ 28.Kc1 Qxe2 with mate to follow. 27…Nxf2+ 28.Ke2 Ng4! 29.Rb3 Not 29.Qxg4?? Rf2+ 30.Ke1 Qd2#. 29…Ke8 unpinning the rook. 30.Rf3 Rxf3 31.Kxf3 h5 32.h3?? 32.Qe1 was needed to keep the game going. 32…Qe3# 0–1.

In last week’s position (above) Black had overlooked “the power of the check”, which overrides other threats. Hence White wins material rather than loses it after 1.Nf7+.

In this game from 1953 White’s pieces have the freedom of the board, while Black’s appear relatively cramped. His only advantage is that it’s his move. Is this enough to save the game?

Can Black save the day?

World Team Seniors 65+ (13.05.2017.)

Although most public attention was focussed on the 50+ group in the recent World Seniors team tournament in Crete, it should not be forgotten that there was a 65+ section as well. It seemed to appeal to players from Northern Europe, as of the 22 participating teams, 5 came from Sweden, 3 from England and 2 from Norway. Like the younger age group, the Russians won this section as well, winning all 9 matches.

Brian Hewson of Tiverton won this Bd. 1 game against England 1 for England II, for whom Trefor Thynne was team Captain.

White: B. W. R. Hewson (187). Black: Michael Stokes (187).

King’s Indian Defence – Fianchetto Variation.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.0–0 d6 6.Re1 Nbd7 7.c4 e5 8.Nc3 This position was reached in the game Schwartz–L. Paulsen (Wiesbaden 1880) demonstrating its long time pedigree. Ng4 9.dxe5 Ndxe5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Qb3 c6 12.Bf4 Qe7 13.Rad1 Bf5 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.f4 Bg7 16.e4 Bg4 17.Rd2 Rfd8 18.Qa3 Qc7 19.h3 Be6 20.Bf1 Bf8 21.Qa4 a6 22.Qc2 Qa5 23.Kh2 b5 24.cxb5 axb5 25.a3 b4 26.axb4 Qxb4 27.Nd1 Bg7 28.Ree2 c5 29.Ne3 Bb3 30.Qc1 Ra2 31.Bg2 Rda8 32.Rxd6 Bf8 33.Rdd2 Qb5 34.e5 Ra1 35.Qc3 Rc8 36.Nd5 c4 37.Nf6+ Kh8 38.Rd5 Qb6 39.Re1 Bb4 40.Qe3 Qxe3 41.Rxe3 Bc5 42.Rxc5 White had little option but to give up the exchange, in view of, for example, 42.Re2 Bg1+ 43.Kh1 Bb6+ 44.Kh2 c3. 42…Rxc5 43.Re2 In spite of having to give up the exchange, White’s 2 minor pieces  become very active, so maybe it hasn’t turned out too badly. 43…Rc8 44.Ne4 Rc1 45.Nd6 Rc7 46.Bd5 Kg8 47.e6 Kf8 48.exf7 Re7 49.Rxe7 Kxe7 50.Nc8+ Kf8 51.Nb6 Threatening to win immediately with 5.Nd7+ getting a queen back. 51…Ba4 52.Nxa4 c3 53.bxc3 Ke7 54.c4 Ra1 55.Nc5 Ra7 56.Kg2 Kf8 57.Be6 1-0 White has 3 pawns & 2 minor pieces for a rook, and Black resigned in view of the renewed prospect of 58.Nd7+.

The Frome Congress started yesterday evening and continues until Sunday tea-time. After that, the next big event is the Cotswold Congress at the King’s School, Gloucester over the Whit Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 27th to Monday 29th May. Like Frome, they also have easy on-line entry facilities, which experience has shown tends to increase entries. Their website is

Details are now out about Cornwall’s Rapidplay Championship for the Kerrier Cup, to be held at Carnon Downs Village Hall TR3 6GH, on Saturday 17th June, starting at 1.45 p.m.  Space is at a premium and a maximum of 24 entries has been fixed, so early entry is essential to be sure of playing. Further details may be found on the website

Last week’s 2-mover (above) by Dave Howard, was solved by Bf3! with the threat of a discovered check being too much for Black to deal with.

In this game from 25 years ago, Black played 1…Nc4 in the hope of winning material. Did he succeed?

White to play

World Team Seniors 50+ Results (06.05.2017.)

The World Team Seniors Tournament finished on Tuesday on the island of Crete. It was held in two age groups; 50+ and 65+. There were 22 teams in the “junior” section, the top seed being England just ahead of St. Petersburg. The England 1 team’s pool of 5 players consisted of John Nunn, Jon Speelman, Keith Arkell, Terry Chapman and, it was said beforehand, Malcolm Pein. But this was only to disguise the fact that Nigel Short had agreed to play, and it was meant to be a surprise for the opposition.

In spite of all this, it was the Russians that finished in 1st place, having won all their 9 matches, while Armenia pushed England down to 3rd. England II came 10th with England III 20th.

England 1 lost their match vs St. Petersburg, though Speelman won his game.

White: Jon Speelman (2511). Black: S Ionov. (2535)

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 losing a tempo. 6.Bg2 0–0 7.0–0 c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Bf4 Ba6 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Rc1 seizing control of the c-file. 11…Nbd7 12.Nc3 Nh5 13.Qa4 Nxf4 14.Qxa6 Nxg2 15.Kxg2 Qc8 16.Qxc8 Rfxc8 White clearly believes in keeping things simple. 17.Nb5 Bf8 18.Nc7 Rab8 19.a4 Nc5? Black has miscalculated the permutations in this little skirmish. 20.dxc5 Rxc7 21.cxb6! Rxc1 22.bxa7 Suddenly White has a 3–0 pawn majority on the q-side. 22…Ra8 23.Rxc1 Rxa7 24.b3 g6 25.Nd4 White’s 2 extra pawns should be enough to win, but help from the knight may be needed. 25…Kg7 26.Nc6 Rb7 27.b4 1-0 Black cannot take the pawn because if 27…Bxb4? 28.Rb1 wins a piece.

England 1’s match against England II had two former British champions facing off.

White: Nigel Short (2683). Black: James  Plaskett. (2458)

English Opening – Sicilian Variation.

1.c4 e5 2.e3 g6 3.d4 d6 4.Nc3 Nd7 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 Ne7 7.Nge2 0–0 8.a4 f5 9.a5 a6 10.b3 g5 This is what is called in the trade as a “pawn storm”, but what Black’s king might call a dereliction of defensive duties. 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Ba3 c6 13.g4 f4 14.Be4 f3 15.Ng3 Black’s advanced pawns have achieved nothing, while his defences now leak like a colander. 15…Qxa5 16.0–0 c5 If 16…Qxc3? 17.Bxe7 wins Black’s g-pawn. 17.Bb2 Qb6 18.Bxf3 Nf6 19.Nce4 Ng6 20.Nxg5 Rd8 21.Qc2 Bxg4 22.Bxg4 Nxg4 23.h3 Nh6 24.Nh5 giving an extraordinary combination of knights on the wing. 24…Bh8 25.f4 Qc6 26.f5 Nf8 27.Rf2 Nf7 28.Ne4 Nd7 29.f6 Nf8 30.Kh2 Ng6 31.Rg1 Kf8 32.Rfg2 Ke8 33.Bc3 Kd7 34.Nhg3 Kc7 35.Rf2 Rd7 36.Qe2 Rg8 It’s a little late for this rook to be coming to the aid of the Party – the party’s almost over. 37.Qh5 h6 38.Rd2 Rxd2+ 39.Bxd2 b6 40.Bc3 Qe6 41.Nf5 Ng5 42.Nxh6 The rook must move away, leaving both knights undefended. 1–0

Last week’s 2-mover (above) by Dave Howard, was solved by Bh4! after which the queen can mate either on a5 or e2.

Here is another new and relatively easy 2-mover by him.

White to play & mate in 2

Teignmouth RapidPlay 2017.

The Teignmouth Club has had its problems in recent years, mainly due to the ill-health of several senior members, and this has forced other members, perhaps less experienced in the administrational and organisational side of chess, to step up to the plate and ensure this popular event stayed on the road. This they did, and the event went ahead successfully on April Fools’ Day at its usual venue, Trinity School.

The table below lists all the prizewinners. All scores out of 6, and rapidplay grades are given, current preferably or failing that last year’s. Where no rapidplay is given on the ECF website, the current standardPlay grade is given.

There were no major speedkings this year – no Jack Rudd (playing in Jersey) or Keith Arkell, but this just seemed to make the Open all the more competitive, as any one of the top 6 had a chance of 1st prize. In the final round, Bd. 1 consisted of top seed Paul Hampton (Seaton/Exmouth – 193) vs Hartmann which went right down to the wire, with, at the end, both players making c. 20 moves instantaneously, until Hampton’s clock ran out when Hartmann had just 4 seconds left. Bd. 2 consisted of John Fraser, whose loyalties this season have switched from Newton Abbot to Exeter University, vs 2nd seed Jonathan Underwood (Seaton/Exmouth – 185) and this game went to Fraser who thus came 2nd=. He was matched by Oliver Wensley who beat Exeter’s Graham Bolt in their last game.

The details were:-

Teignmouth RapidPlay     01.04.2017.
Name Club Grd /6
1st Lorenz Hartmann Exeter University 179 5
2nd= Oliver Wensley Exmouth 160
John Fraser Exeter University 178
U-166 Steve Dean Seaton 154
U-151 Alan Dean Exmouth 141
Graded Section (U-137)
1st Duncan Macarthur Keynsham 139
2nd Reece Whittington Exeter 136 5
U-122 Macey Rickard Teignmouth 111 4
Graham Mill-Wilson Yate & Sodbury 113 4
John Constable Bude 121 4
Gregor Fotheringam Tiverton 121 4
Zoe Strong Clevedon 121 4
U-111 Nicholas Cunliffe Wells 98 4
David Thomson Exmouth 99 4
Christine Constable Bude 106 4
U-94 Peter Strong Exeter University 4
Team Exeter University
P. Strong  (14/18)
U-16 John Skeen Churchill Academy 110
U-14 Max Walker Churchill Academy 126

General view of the Open Section, Wensley vs Hartmann nearest.

General view of the Minor Section (top bds nearest)

Oliver Wensley vs Lorenz Hartmann with Bolt vs Fraser in background.

Top seed Paul Hampton (193) White - starts a last round game that finished in a nerve-shredding finale. Fraser vs Underwood in the background.

Wensley on his way to a win against Graham Bolt to take 2nd=.

Lorenz Hartmann - clear 1st - with trophy & cheque.

John Fraser receives his 2nd= prize from Congress Director, Mark Cockerton.

Oliver Wensley radiates pleasure at his 2nd prize.

Regular Bristolian visitor, Duncan Macarthur, wins the Minor.

Reece Whittington took clear 2nd prize in the Minor.

Winners of the Team Prize l-r Peter Strong, Lorenz Hartmann & John Fraser.

East Devon Congress Winners (18.03.2017.)

The East Devon Congress was held in Exeter last weekend and attracted a higher than usual entry of 155, including half a dozen with a Masters title.

The prizewinners were as follows:

Open Section: 1st John Nunn 4½. 2nd= Keith Arkell (Paignton), Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) & Mike Waddington (Dorchester) all 4 pts.

Major: (U-155) 1st David Archer (S. Hams) 4½. 2nd= Arthur Hibbitt (Banbury), Lander Arrasate (Sedgemoor), Brendan O’Gorman (DHSS), Charles Keen (Sidmouth), and Darrell Watson (Bourne End), all with 4 pts.

Minor (U-125) 1st Grant Daly (Downend) 4½. 2nd= Ken Alexander (Tiverton), Ray Hunt (Sidmouth), Paul Errington (Bournemouth), Tim Crouch (King’s Head), Maurice Richards (Liskeard) and Tim Roberts (Exeter Uni.) all 4 pts.

This was the first time GM John Nunn had played in this event since 1979, and the result was exactly the same as then; clear 1st on 4½ points ahead of a number of top players of the day.

The event has its own website,, containing more details and has pictures of the action.

One of the Master players was an Austrian called Walter Braun, who had moved to Exmouth days before. His Rd. 1 game was one of the shortest ever played in the event and illustrates the need for caution even in the first few moves.

White: Walter Braun (203). Black: John Bass (166).

Queen’s Pawn Game [D01]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 c5 4.Bxf6 gxf6 5.e4 dxe4 6.dxc5 Qxd1+ 7.Rxd1 Bf5 8.Nd5 1–0 resigned in view of 8…Na6 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Nxf6+ exf6 11.Rxd7 Nxc5 12.Rd5+ Ke7 13.Rxc5 leaving Black a piece down and his position wrecked.

Meanwhile, someone else was making the same mistake.

White: R. Hutchings. Black: K. Arkell.

Benoni Defence [A62]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Bg2 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8 10.Nd2 Nbd7 11.Nc4 Nb6 12.Qb3 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 a6 14.Qh4 Ng4 15.Bg5 sealing his own tomb. 15…f6 16.Bd2 Re5 Trapping White’s queen which cannot avoid 17…Rh5 0–1.

This weekend the 31st Wiltshire and WECU junior championships are being held at St. Joseph’s Catholic College, Swindon. SN3 3LR.

After that will be the Teignmouth RapidPlay Congress on 1st April at Trinity School, Teignmouth, TQ14 8LY.

This will be followed by the West of England Congress, starting on Good Friday, 14th April, at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth.  Entry forms for both events are downloadable for

In last week’s position, the only thing preventing Jonathan Underwood (W) constructing a mating net by Bf6 was the knight, so 1.QxN! removes that obstacle and mate is inevitable.

This week’s 2-mover was composed exactly 50 years ago by Godfrey Quack, late of Exmouth.

White to mate in 2 moves

Clash of the Titans (11.02.2017.)

The current Devon Champions, Exmouth, hosted local rivals, Exeter, in a match on Saturday that would not only confer local bragging rights but probably determine who would win this year’s Devon club championship.

The omens were not good for the hosts, as Exeter were able to field their strongest team, probably one of the strongest sides seen for many a decade, while Exmouth were under par, conceding c. 16 points per board over Bds 3 – 6 – a big ask. However, the match proved to be a truly titanic struggle as each game came to an end.

First of all, Exeter’s captain, Graham Bolt, won the toss yet chose to give their opponents White on top board. That was the first to finish, when O’Neill came unstuck and resigned, and put Exmouth 1-0 up. Was Bolt’s tactic a wise one? Next, Chris Scott got a valuable draw against Jamie Morgan, playing his first game for Exeter. Then, Oliver Wensley generated enough pressure to cause his opponent to run out of time.

Thus Exmouth had 2.5 point after 3 games, and it seemed highly possible they would be able to get something from the other 3 games to squeeze at least a draw.  Then Dave Regis, who had 2 minor pieces for a rook, forced a win, while Bolt found himself in an ending with 2 bishops against 2 knights with a sprinkling of pawns on either side. The bishops found good long diagonals enabling his king to advance, keeping the black knights and king on their back rank, and a win was inevitable. 2.5 all, with former Scottish International, Paul Hampton, locking horns with Paulden, in what for the most part had been a blocked position. However, in seeking active play for his queen, he allowed Regis’ queen in to the centre. With just 2 minutes of extra time left on both clocks, there was a titanic struggle with both queens grabbing any pawn they could get hold of, preferably with check, and Paulden succeeded in this race.

So, with just seconds to go, Exeter took the lead for the first time in the match, and with it the match.

The details were:-

Bremridge Cup    Div. 1        11.02.2017
1 J. Underwood 187 1 0 P. A. O’Neill 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 G. Bolt 190
3 P. Hampton 166 0 1 T. J. Paulden 187
4 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 C. Lowe 175
5 B. G. Gosling 159 0 1 D. Regis 175
6 C. J. Scott 152 ½ ½ J. Morgan 170
1,017 1,082

Capa’s Endgame Techniques (11.02.2017.)

The Cornish County Championship and Congress is currently taking place at Carnon Downs Village Hall and will finish tomorrow tea time. Results here next week.

February being a short month and the Exeter Congress traditionally taking place in early March means that this event is rapidly approaching. It takes place at its usual venue, the Corn Hall on the weekend starting Friday 10th March, i.e. 3 weeks on Friday. Dr. Tim Paulden has taken on the role of Congress Secretary and has constructed a special website for it, with enhanced features, like on-line payment of entry fees. It’s well worth a look, at

This game was played in a Devon league match at the weekend and illustrates several old sayings about rook and pawn endings. They are a game in themselves, full of subtle nuances that elude even grandmasters at times. Probably the most accessible introduction is still Capablanca’s 1921 book, Chess Fundamentals, which is quoted.

White: O. E. Wensley (168). Black: A. W. Brusey (166).

Petroff Defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bb4 5.d3 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qxf3 12.gxf3 Nd4 13.Bxd4 exd4 After this early carnage they are already down to a rook ending, with White having the disadvantage of doubled pawns. 14.Rg1 With all immediate danger past, there’s little point in White castling, as the king will need to be in the centre as an active piece. “The best way to defend such positions is to assume the initiative and keep the opponent on the defensive”. 14…0–0 15.Kd2 Rfe8 16.Rae1 The open e-file must be contested. 16…f5 17.f4 Kf7 18.Re5 g6 19.h4 Rad8 20.Rge1 b6 21.b4 c6 22.a4 Rxe5 23.fxe5 Rd5 24.f4 a6 25.Rb1 h6 26.c4 dxc3+ 27.Kxc3 g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.d4! 29.fxg5 Rxe5 would create too much space for Black’s rook. 29…gxf4 30.Kc4 Kg6 31.Rg1+ Kh5 There is now a lot of move-counting to do by both sides. 32.e6 Rd8 33.a5 Creating a path for White’s king to advance later. The decisive difference here is that White’s king can both attack and defend whereas Black’s can only defend.33…bxa5 34.bxa5 f3 35.Rg3 f4 If 35…f2 36.Rf3. 36.Rxf3 Kg4 The rest of the game has similarities with last week’s ending. 37.Rf1 f3 38.Kc5 Kg3 “Advance the pawn that has no pawn opposing it”, so…39.e7! Re8 40.Kd6 Kg2 41.Rc1 f2 42.Kd7 Ra8 43.e8=Q Rxe8 If 43…f1=Q?? 44.Qg6+ Kf2 45.Qf5+ Ke2 46.Qxf1+ etc. 44.Kxe8 f1=Q 45.Rxf1 Kxf1 46.Kd7 1-0 Black will lose his c-pawn and White can easily shepherd his extra pawn forward.

In last week’s position, Anand won immediately with RxB+ removing the White queen’s only defender, and the fact that it’s check means that Topalov must give up his queen.

Here is a new 2-mover by David Howard. Black has plenty of material available to move around and ward off all threats…  except one. What is that key move?

White to play & mate in 2

Team Selection – A Captain’s Dilemma (04.02.2017.)

The semi-final of Devon’s team knock-out tournament, the Rooke Cup, took place on Saturday between Newton Abbot and Exeter. It’s for teams of 8 players whose combined grades must add up to less than 1,120 – an average of 140 per person. This presents captains with a team selection dilemma; should they field a low-graded player on bottom board to enable them to incorporate several stronger players higher up the order (Plan A)? Alternatively, they could put a very strong player on top board, almost certain to win, in the hope that the others can at least hold their own (Plan B). In this case, Newton Abbot chose the former course, while Exeter went for the latter. So how did that work out?

The outcome was a win for Newton Abbot by 4½-3½, the details being as follows: (Exeter names 1st in each pairing).

1.Tim Paulden (187) 1-0 Alan Brusey (166). 2. Chris Lowe (175) ½-½ Trefor Thynne (170 ). 3. Sean Pope (144) ½-½ Vignesh Ramesh (154). 4. Alan Dean (141)1- 0 1 Charles Howard (150). 5. Eddy Palmer (129) ½-½ John Allen (141). 6. William Marjoram (127) 1-0 Joshua Blackmore (138 ). 7.Edmund Kelly (137) 0-1 Wilf Taylor 137. 8. Brian Aldwin (97) 0-1 Prabhu Kashap (55e).

Newton Abbot’s sacrificial lamb was new member Kashap, a 50-something Anglo-Indian and not very experienced at this kind of thing. He was fully expected to lose, and when after 45 minutes he had lost a piece, yet still continued to exchange off material, this seemed a certainty. But his opponent made a crucial slip in the ending and allowed Prabhu to queen a pawn and win not only his game but the match as well. Chess can be a funny old game.

White: P. Kashap. Black: B. Aldwin.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be6 5.Bxe6 fxe6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d4 c6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.dxe5 dxe5 Black’s doubled pawns in the centre should present him with difficulties in coordinating his pieces, but White helps out. 10.Nxe5?? 10…Nxe5 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8 If and when a piece down, one should try and keep as many of your pieces as possible i.e. avoid exchanges unless it confers some other advantage – not a tactic White employs. 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bf4 Bd6 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.f4 Bd4+ 17.Kh1 Kf7 18.Rd1 Bb6 19.Rxd8 Bxd8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 exd5 Now White’s lost all his pieces and has a queenside pawn deficit. But all is not yet lost. Perhaps something will come along. Meanwhile, Black could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the game will just play itself out to the inevitable win. 22.g4 Ke6 23.Kg2 d4 24.Kf3 g6? Black should challenge White’s potentially passed pawn with 24…g5 25.Ke4 The tide is turning 25…c5 26.f5+ gxf5+ 27.gxf5+ Kf7 28.Kd5 Bb6 28…Bc7 29.a4. 29.Kd6 c4 30.e6+ Ke8 31.f6 d3 32.f7+ Kf8 33.cxd3 cxd3 34.e7+ Kxf7 35.Kd7 d2 36.e8=Q+ Kf6 37.Qe2 1-0.

This position arose in a recent game between two former World Champions, the Bulgarian Veselin Topolov (W) and Indian Vishy Anand, who saw a knock-out blow; can you?

Black to play

Exotic Wijk aan Zee (28.01.2017.)

After Hastings, the next event on the European chess circuit is that held in the Dutch village of Wijk aan Zee, (pop. 2,400) but sponsored by the nearby steelworks, formerly Hoogovens, then Corus and now Tata.

The top Masters Section reads like the membership of some exotic United Nations committee, namely M. Carlsen, (Norway). W. So (Philippines-born). S. Karjakin, I. Nepomniachtchi  & D. Andreikin (all Russia); L. Aronian (Armenia); P. Harikrishna & B. Adhiban (both India): P. Eljanov (Ukraine); R. Wojtaszek (Poland); Y. Wei (China); R. Rapport (Hungary); L. Van Wely & A. Giri (both Netherlands). Even the “local” player, Anish Giri, has a Nepalese father, Russian mother and spent much of his childhood in Japan.

Here is his Rd. 6 win after 5 draws.

White: Anish Giri (2773). Black: Ian Nepomniachtchi (2767)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B91]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.g3 e5 7.Nde2 Be7 8.Bg2 Nbd7 9.a4 b6 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.Qxd5 Rb8 12.Nc3 0–0 13.0–0 Bb7 14.Qd1 Rc8 15.Re1 h6 16.Bh3 Rc6 White sees how to win a pawn and disrupt Black’s defences. 17.Bxh6! gxh6 18.Qg4+ Bg5 19.Qxd7 Qxd7 20.Bxd7 Rc7 21.Bf5 Bd2 22.Red1 Bxc3 23.bxc3 Rd8 24.Rab1 Rc6 25.f4 exf4 26.e5 Bc8 27.Be4 Rxc3 28.Rxd6 Rxd6 29.exd6 Rc4 If 29…fxg3 30.Rxb6 30.Bd3 Rc6 31.Rd1 setting a trap – if 31…Rxd6 32.Bh7+ winning the rook. 32.Bxa6 fxg3 33.hxg3 and the advanced d-pawn will prove decisive. 1–0

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 2.Ra4! and whatever Black tries will be met by different mates.

The final round of the British Chess Problem Solving Championship takes place on Saturday 18th February at Eton College. The competition started last summer with the publication of the “Starter Problem”, in this case a 2-mover by John Rice. Prospective competitors were invited to send in their solutions, and those with the correct key move were sent a set of 8 further problems of varying types and difficulty, to be returned to the organiser by the end of November. Anyone with a good score was invited to the final. The list of qualifiers for this year may be found on the event website.

Here is that starter problem from June 2016, the solution to which was 1.Qb4! threatening 2.Qc4#. Black’s 5 efforts to escape and White’s replies were as follows: 1…Rxb4  2. Nxb4#.

1…Rc5    2.Nb6#.

1…Sc6    2.Nc7#.

1…Bc5    2.Qe4#.

1…Bxe5  2.Rxe5#.

Incorrect solutions submitted, together with Black’s refutations, were as follows:-

Claim            Refutation(s)

1.Qf4?            1…Nf5!

1.Nb6+?         1…Rxb6!

1.Qxg5?         1…B any move!

1.Qa5?           1…B any move! & 1…Nf5!

1.Qc1?           1…Bc3!

1.Qe2?          1…Be3! & 1…Nf5!

1.Qg2+?        1…Nxg2!

1.Rc5+?         1…Bxc5! & 1…Rxc5!

1.Nb4+?         1…Rxb4!

Simon Bartlett R. I. P.

Simon Bartlett, one of the most regular figures on the schess scene in Devon & Cornwall, passed away on Wednesday evening, after a short but brave fight against an aggressive form of cancer.

His great friend over the years, Ivor Annetts, broke the news yesterday morning, as follows:-

It saddens me greatly to have to inform you that my dear friend, Simon Bartlett, passed away last evening.  His partner, Margaret, telephoned me with the news this morning.

As you probably know, in August last year he was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and was given between three and sixth months to live; he managed four and a bit.

Simon was a self-confessed chess obsessive.  You will have come to know him because of that.  He would have been 63 in just over two weeks time.

I will inform you of the funeral arrangements as soon as they are made known to me.  In due course I will attempt an obituary for Chess Devon and Keverel Chess.

The words of Brian Hewson come to mind as I write.  Brian’s reaction to the news of Simon’s diagnosis was: “This is terrible news. He is such a great bloke!.”

Ivor Annetts.

Simon was noted for his exotic shirts, which brightened up many a photograph that I took at various events. Here are a couple that jump off the page.

Simon, appearing to offer up a prayer before the start of play at the Seniors' Congress in Exmouth.

Simon & Ivor Annetts playing for Tiverton in the Devon Team Blitz Tournament