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Posts Tagged ‘chess’

Successful New Schools’ Tournament (21.02.2015.)

Chess activity in secondary schools has suffered something of a decline in recent years, and in response the national Manager of Secondary Schools’ Chess, Neill Cooper, has started a new event called the Team Chess Challenge. The format is teams of 4 playing four rounds of 25 minutes each. The first South-West Regional final took place last week at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, organised by Trefor Thynne. The entry was surprisingly large and varied, which suggests the event has succeeded in its aim and might become a regular item on the chess calendar.                                                       

Results: (All points out of 16) 1st Torquay Boys’ Grammar School “A” 12½ pts. 2nd TBGS “B” 12. 3rd Clyst Vale Community College 11½. 4th= Devonport High School; Great Torrington School “B”; TBGS “C” & TBGS “D” all 9½. 8th= St. Boniface’s  Catholic College, Plymouth “A”; Great Torrington School “A” & Millfield School “A” all 9. 11th Dawlish Community College “A” 8½. 12th Millfield School “B” 8. 13th= Shebbear College & St. Boniface’s Catholic College, “B” 7½. 5th= Coombeshead Academy, Newton Abbot “A”; Great Torrington School “C”; St. Cuthbert Mayne School, Torquay “A” 7. 18th= Coombeshead Academy, “B”; Dawlish  Community College “B” & Great Torrington School “D” 6. 21st St. Cuthbert Mayne School “B” 4½.

The death was announced this week of the West of England’s Life Vice President, Frank Kingdon at the age of 85. He first appeared on the westcountry chess scene in 1962, when he became Secretary of the Dorset C.C.A. and their delegate to W.E.C.U. This was his introduction to chess organisation, going on to fill a number of posts in Dorset and the Westcountry.

He was a founding member of the chess club at the Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment in 1962, and 2 years later started the Dorset Congress at Winfrith, before transferring it to Weymouth.   Although a naturalised Dorset man, Frank was born in Plymouth in 1929 before moving to Exeter in 1932. He attended Hele’s School in Exeter before starting his national service in 1947 with REME where he trained on servicing computers, which in those days were often as a big as a house. After being demobbed he became a pioneering atomic scientist, working first at Harwell and later transferring to Winfrith, a UK Atomic Energy Authority site, near Dorchester, which opened in 1958 and was used for nuclear reactor research until 1995.The funeral is on Friday 27th Feb. at St. Aldhelm’s Church, Spa Rd. Weymouth at 2 p.m.

Mrs. Baird’s Valentine’s Day problem was solved by 1.Qh6! threatening QxR mate. The only move to prevent this would be 1…Re3, but this cuts off the Black king’s only flight square after 2.Nxc6#.

In this game from last year, how did Black finish sharpishly?

Black to finish off quickly

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

Wins for Devon and Somerset (31.01.2015.)

Devon beat  Hampshire 12½-3½ at Ilchester Town Hall, a margin that belies the toughness of the encounter. However, it was Devon’s strength in depth that made the difference, demonstrated by the fact that Devon’s lower half scored 7-1. The details were: (Devon names first in each pairing).

1.D. Mackle (203) 1-0 I. Thompson (213). 2.J. Stephens (194) 1-0 D. Tunks (197). 3.S. Homer (188) 1-0 C. Bellers (185). 4.P. Sivrev (187) 1-0 P. Cooper (177). 5.T, Paulden (185) ½-½ R. Marsh (176). 6.J. Fraser (182) 0-1 A. Cooper (174). 7.J. Wheeler (181) 0-1 D. Fowler (173). 8.J. Underwood (179) 1-0 S. Knox (170). 9.D. Regis (176) 1-0 T. Davis (167). 10.A. Brusey (176) 0-1 S. Smith (160). 11.B. Hewson 1-0 C. Priest (158). 12.W. Ingham (176) 1-0 D. Thompson (156). 13.M. Abbott (173) 1-0 R. Ashmore (147). 14.M. Shaw (170) 1-0 T. Chapman (144). 15.G. Body (169) 1-0 Miss G. Moore (142). 16. M. Stinton-Brownbridge (164) 1-0 D. Culliford (133).

At the same time, Somerset were facing Gloucestershire, and emerged winners by 10-6. Glos names first.

1.J.Stewart (207) ½-½ J. Rudd (224). 2.P. Meade (182) 0-1 D. Buckley (207). 3.N. Hosken (181) ½-½ B. Edgell (198). 4.C. McLaren (181) ½-½ P. Chaplin (189). 5.M. Ashworth (179) 0-1 M. Payne (186). 6.J. Jenkins (176) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (182). 7.P. Kirby (173) 1-0 R. Hearne (181). 8.P. Masters (166) ½-½ D. Littlejohns (178). 9.P. Dodwell (163). ½-½ D. Painter-Kooiman (178). 10.B. Whitelaw (159) 0-1 B. Morris (175). 11.R. Ashworth (151) ½-½ P. Cusick (169). 12.C. Haynes (146) ½-½ D. Peters (164). 13.A. Walker (134) 0-1 G. N Jepps (163). 14.P. Baker (132) ½-½ R. Knight (152). 15.T. Chinnick (128) 1-0 C. Purry (152). 16.P. Bending (122) 0-1 M. Blocinski (U/G).

Here is Devon’s win on Bd. 2.

White: P. Meade. Black: J. Stephens.

Sicilian Defence – Moscow Var. [B51]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Qd1 Ngf6 8.Nc3 h6 9.0–0 Nc5 10.Bd3 Be7 11.Re1 Be6 12.Qe2 Rc8 13.Be3 Qc7 14.Bxc5 Qxc5 15.h3 0–0 16.Na4 Qc6 17.b3 b5 18.Nb2 Qc3 19.Rab1 Nh5 At the cost of a pawn White prevents the knight coming to f5. 20.g3 Bxh3 21.Nd1 Qc5 22.Ne3 Nf6 23.c4 b4 24.Rbd1 a5 25.Bc2 Rfd8 26.Rd2 Qc6 27.Qd3 g6 28.Nd5 Nxd5 29.Qxd5 a4 30.bxa4 Qxc4 31.Bb3 Qxd5 32.Rxd5 Rc3 33.Nd2 White is looking for an outpost for his knight on c4, though it does cramp his forward rook, at least temporarily. 33…Bd7 The warning lights should be flashing. 34.a5?? …. but they’re not. 34…Bc6 0–1 White’s rook is trapped.

The solution to Dave Howard’s “really easy” problem last week was 1.Qa2! If 1…Rh7 2.Be7 mate or 1…Ka7 2.Bc5 mate.

This position arose near the end of a recent game in the Devon Individual Championship – Paulden vs Ingham. How did White win quickly?

White to play and win.

County match results (24.01.2015.)

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Isca Centre in Exeter. Four teams of 12 players representing the North, South, East and West of the county were paired in such a way that each team had 6 whites and blacks and met 4 players from each of the opposing teams. The teams were very evenly matched in overall playing strength, which showed in the final result. North were 1st with 6½/12 points; 2nd= were East and North (6 pts) while South finished on 5½.

This entertaining and instructive game on Bd. 4, featured a well-known former TV presenter against a former British U-16 contender.

White: Adam Hart-Davis (161). Black: Chris Scott (157).

Sicilian Defence [B50]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Usual here is 3.d4, but White delays this move, and it later costs him a central pawn, which one can rarely afford to do in such double-edged openings as the Sicilian Defence. 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.h3 a6 6.a4 e6 7.d4 Nxe4! 8.Nxe4 d5 In this opening Black is usually looking to get in …d5 as soon as possible in order to free up his position, as long as it doesn’t incur disadvantage elsewhere. Here it wins his piece back. 9.Nxc5 dxc4 10.Be3 Qd5 11.b3 b6 12.bxc4 Qxc4 13.Nd3 Bb4+ 14.Bd2 Bxd2+ 15.Qxd2 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Qxd4 17.0–0 Bb7 securing the long diagonal. 18.Qg5 0–0 19.Nf4 h6 20.Qg3 Qf6 21.Rab1 Be4 22.Rxb6 Bxc2 23.a5 Rfd8 24.Rc6 Ba4 25.Rc5 Rac8 26.Rfc1 Rxc5 27.Rxc5 And now the position has really opened up, but Black retains the extra pawn and the BvN. 27…Rd4 28.Nh5 Rd1+ 29.Kh2 Qd4 30.Rc4 Qa1 Defending and attacking. 31.Rc8+ Kh7 32.Qb8 Rh1+ 33.Kg3 Re1 34.Nf4 g5 35.Nh5 Qe5+ Forcing off queens to maximise his small advantages. 36.Qxe5 Rxe5 37.Nf6+ Kg7 38.Nh5+ Kg6 39.Kg4 f5+ 40.Kf3 Bd1+ 0–1 The knight is lost. If 41.Kg3 Kxh5 from where the Black king is safe from all attack and is free to shepherd his pawns forward.

The loser’s consolation was that his team won the trophy anyway. Full details are available on keverelchess.com and all games are on the chessdevon site.

On Saturday, Somerset and Gloucestershire met at Stone, in the West of England Inter-County Championship, ending in a 10-6 victory for Somerset, and at Ilchester Devon beat Hants 12½-3½. More details next week.

In last week’s position, Richard Smith won after a rook sacrifice and this series of forcing checks. 1…Rxg4+! 2.hxg4 (2.Kh2 is no better) Qh2+ 3.Kf1 Qh1+ 4.Ke2 Rh2+ 5.Kd3 Qxd1+ 6.Ke4 Qxg4+ 7.Kd3 Qxf5+ 0-1

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard, that he describes as “really easy”.

White to play and mate in 2.

Devon’s Inter-Area Jamboree 2015 Results

Four teams of 12 players from the four corners of the county contested Devon’s annual Inter-Area Jamboree, hosted this year by the East, at the Isca Centre in Exeter. There is a total grading limit of 1,650 for each team, which means the county’s middle strength players feature most. The formula for pairing means that each team has 6 Whites and 6 Blacks, and that 3 X 4 players from any team will face other other teams (complicated to explain, but, if unsure, check the charts below).

The playing room was large, with well-spaced individual tables for each game, and was warm, well-lit and totally quiet. The teams were so closely matched that every game would clearly have a bearing on the final result.

Even though they lost their top 3 games, it was the West team (Plymouth) that edged out as winners, a point ahead of East and North. Ben Wilkinson, as Captain of the West team,  received the trophy from DCCA President, Paul Brooks.

The games will appear on the chessdevon website in due course.

General view of the playing area

Bd. 1 game: Tim Paulden vs Brian Hewson.

Former TV presenter, Adam Hart-Davis vs former British U-16 hopeful, Chris Scott.

Wilf Taylor vs Oliver Wensley nearest.

Norman Tidy vs Jon Duckham

West Captain, Ben Wilkinson, receives the trophy from Devon President, Paul Brooks.

  Team A     Team B     Team C     Team D  
  East     North     South     West  
1 T. Paulden 185   B. Hewson 174   A. W. Brusey 176   M. Brownbridge 164
2 C. J. Scott 157   S. Bartlett 169   P. Brooks 154   A. Hart-Davis 161
3 B. G. Gosling 149   I. Annetts 162   A. Kinder 147   B. Medhurst 157
4 O. Wensley 149   K. P. Atkins 157   W. Taylor 142   N. Butland 154
5 S. Pope 144   J. Duckham 152   N. F. Tidy 137   S. Levy 145
6 W. Marjoram 132   S. Clarke 133   J. E. Allen 132   M. Quinn 143
7 E. Palmer 131   K. Hunter 120   N. Mills 132   R. G. Wilby 140
8 D. Thomson 130   R. Dooley 120   M. Hussey 113   N. Hodge 130
9 R. H. Jones 129   M. Dow 115   J. Knott 109   B. Wilkinson 129
10 R. Whittington 123   S. T-Tracey 104   N. Narayanan 101   C. B. Peach 110
11 G. J. Jenkins 111   J. Flanagan 100   M. Cockerton 100   A. Tatam 107
12 S. Blake 102   G. Jones 100   J. Blackmore 100   P. McConnell 102
                       

 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Tot.
A East 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 6
B North 0 ½ 1 0 1 ½ 1 1 0 0 ½ ½ 6
C South 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 1 5
D West 0 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 7

 

Bd

 

White

Grd

 

 

 

Black

Grd

1

A1

T. Paulden

185

1

0

B1

B. W. R. Hewson

174

2

C1

A. W. Brusey

176

1

0

D1

M. S-Brownbridge

164

3

B2

S. Bartlett

169

½

½

C2

P. Brooks

154

4

D2

A. Hart-Davis

161

0

1

A2

C. J. Scott

157

5

A3

B. Gosling

149

½

½

C3

A. Kinder

146

6

B3

I. S. Annetts

162

1

0

D3

B. Medhurst

157

7

D4

N. Butland

154

1

0

B4

K. P. Atkins

157

8

C4

W. Taylor

142

½

½

A4

O. E. Wensley

149

9

C5

N. F. Tidy

137

0

1

B5

J. Duckham

152

10

A5

S. Pope

144

½

½

D5

S. Levy

145

11

B6

S. Clarke

133

½

½

A6

W. Marjoram

132

12

D6

M. Quinn

143

1

0

C6

J. E. Allen

132

13

A7

E. Palmer

131

0

1

B7

K. Hunter

120

14

C7

N. Mills

132

0

1

D7

R. G. Wilby

140

15

B8

R. Dooley

120

1

0

C8

M. Hussey

113

16

D8

N. Hodge

130

½

½

A8

D. Thomson

130

17

A9

R. H. Jones

129

1

0

C9

J. Knott

109

18

B9

M. Dow

115

0

1

D9

B. R. Wilkinson

129

19

D10

C. B. Peach

110

1

0

B10

S. Thorpe-Tracey

104

20

C10

N. Narayanan

101

1

0

A10

R. Whittington

123

21

C11

M. Cockerton

100*

½

½

B11

J. Flanagan

100*

22

A11

J. Maloney

113

0

1

D11

A. Tatam

107

23

B12

G. Jones

100*

½

½

A12

S. Blake

102

24

D12

P. McConnell

102

0

1

C12

J. Blackmore

100*

WMN Chess Column to Return by Popular Demand

I heard officially today that the Western Morning News’s chess column is to be re-started, according to the Editor, “by popular demand”. He says he’s “been inundated with inquiries about the whereabouts of the column”.

So thanks to everyone who so “demanded” its return. It will continue to be on a Saturday but will be on a different page, as the Westcountry Life supplement has had to be radically restructured. The first column will appear this  Saturday, the 17th January 2015.

Peter Hugh Clarke (1933 – 2014) Obituary now complete.

The noted chess player, organiser and author of chess books, Peter Clarke, died on 11th December in hospital after a long illness, bravely borne. He was 81.

This obituary has been put together from several sources, notably, Keith Jones, Geoff Martin, close family members and my own archives and on-line resources. It will continue to expand as new material comes to hand.

Peter was an only child, born on 18th March 1933 to  Olive Gertrude (nee Ekblom) and Hugh Clarke, who had married the previous year. Olive was of Swedish stock while Hugh’s father was William Ferrier Clarke, born in Linlithgow, near the Firth of Forth opposite Dunfermline. But Hugh and Olive’s roots were firmly in London’s East End, Plaistow, West Ham.

Peter with his father in 1935

He was taught to play chess at the age of 6 by his father, and won the London Boys’ Championship in 1950 and 1951, and the SCCU Boys’ Championship in 1950. At this time he was also playing in the Ilford Congress and playing Correspondence chess for Essex, a form of chess in which he would eventually gain the Grandmaster title. In 1953, now aged 20, he was runner-up to Dr. Fazekas in the Essex Championship, was playing Bd. 2 in the Essex Correspondence team. In the Ilford Congress he was 2nd to P. J. Oakley in the Premier Reserves, where the top section comprised Alexander, Hooper, Wade, Fazekas and Alan Philips, all except Hooper to become British Champions. This was his first appearance at the British Championship at Hastings where he came 18th= on 5/11 points, behind Yanovsky. Perhaps more impressive was leading his Ilford team on Bd. 1 to the National Club Championship that year.

He attended the university on his doorstep, Queen Mary College, in the Mile End Road, where he read for a BSc. Part of London University its alumni include such diverse figures as W. G. Grace, Sir Roy Strong and Lord Robert Winston. But the call for a career in science was nowhere as strong as his love of chess, and that is the road he chose to go down. But first, National Service could not be avoided. He spent part of this 2 year interude  in Bodmin in the Intelligence Corps, training as a Russian linguist and translator, and at the Joint Services School for Linguists. This re-ignited his love for north Cornwall, as he had frequently spent holidays there as a child with his parents.

By 1959 he was a regular writer for the British Chess Magazine, reporting at length on prestigious events and analysing games and openings. He and his great friend, Jonathan Penrose, were the two highest graded players in the UK, the only two in the 1b category. He played in 8 Olympiads between 1954 and 1968, and his and England’s record for those years was as follows:- to have lost only 15 of 96 games played at this level is remarkable.

  Yr venue Pos p w d l %
1 1954 Amsterdam  9th / 26 7 2 2 3 43
2 1956 Moscow  8th / 34 12 7 5 0 80
3 1958 Munich 11th / 36 15 2 10 3 47
4 1960 Leipzig 12th / 40 14 4 7 3 54
5 1962 Varna 14th / 37 15 3 10 2 53
6 1964 Tel-Aviv 18th / 48 12 2 8 2 50
7 1966 Havana 21st / 52 13 2 10 1 54
8 1968 Lugano 16th / 54 8 0 7 1 44
      totals 96 22 59 15  

 

A little seen photo from the Munich Olympiad 1958 - Clarke vs Eliskases: game drawn.

He first came to prominence as a player at the Ilford Club, and while his best performace was at Moscow his playing summit was probably captaining the England team at the 1966 Olympiad in Havana. His record there tells us something of his strengths and weakness as a top player: Played 13: Won 2: Drawn 10: Lost 1. Hartston at the time felt “Clarke’s score on top board is creditable. He is often criticised for his drawish tendencies, but a solid score such as this is a fine achievement against such opposition. It is remarkably difficult to score wins without suffering losses as well, as Lee and Littlewood found to their cost!” It’s easy to forget that his performance at the board must have been affected by (a) playing 13 tiring games (b) being captain for all matches and (c) reporting at length and in great detail for BCM.

This solidity as a player helped him to a splendid record in the British Championship, without ever actually winning the ultimate title, having to be content with being, uniquely, runner-up five times. But he didn’t seem to mind this at all, as he was often edged out by his best friend, Jonathan Penrose. 

During the late 50’s / early 60s Peter had several times dated B. H. Wood’s daughter, Margaret, universally known as Peggy.  They married 6 months later at Holy Trinity Church, Sutton Coldfield, Jonathan Penrose being Peter’s Best Man.  

Peter & Peggy Clarke

It would be easy to think that his book-writing days took over as his playing activities decreased, but this was not the case – he was doing it all at the same time! His reputation as a writer came to equal, if not overtake, that of a player, with titles that were not only highly-regarded at the time of publication, but have stood the test of time.  His subjects included Tal (1961) and Petrosian (1964) two more different players one can cannot imagine. He translated and edited Smyslov’s Best Games (1958) and 100 Soviet Chess Miniatures (1963). First editions of these books published by Bell in their distinctive dustwrappers, can still take pride of place in anyone’s chess library. Another title he worked on was Foldeak’s Chess Olympiads (2nd enlarged ed. 1969).  Two interesting points here: (a) he seemed to hate dustwrappers on books and would quickly get rid of them if they were in any way slightly imperfect,  and (b) in spite of his facility in Russian, constantly translating it into English, none of his daughters ever heard him speak a word of Russian in the house.

After marriage and the birth of their first daughter, Salli, in 1966, he felt the urge to move to the westcountry, and they moved to a small house in Milton Dameral, where a second daughter, Penelope, was born. Peter started a chess club in the village which eventaully reached a membership of over 20, almost unheard of for such a small place.

They then moved to the village of Bush, near Stratton, where in 1977  their 3rd daughter, Susie, was born. He also became British Correspondence Champion that year. In 1979, he found his dream home, called Chapel House, in the hamlet of Shop near Morwenstow. Built c. 1800 it has the appearance of an expansive rectory, with large high-ceilinged rooms. The adjacent farm buildings are Grade II listed. In his 1855 novel Westward Ho! Charles Kingsley borrowed the name Chapel House, but applied it to another house in the story. 

In 1971 the world in general was agog at the prospect of the Fischer-Spassky match, and Britain in particular was on the brink of a chess explosion. An expression of this was the response to his first organised event, the 1st Barnstaple Congress. It had been put on by Clarke and a group of 5 local friends, who called themselves The Hexagon. There were 70 entries, all lumped together in one large Swiss, 22 of whom were graded between 180 – 226. Grandees like Golombek and Wood were joined by young Turks like Botterill, Bellin, Gerald Bennett and Danny Wright. In the event it was won by an almost unknown local schoolboy, Peter Waters, who played none of the above, except Golombek. The following year the entry rocketed to 164, and its continuing success was assured. The Hexagon functioned as a group for about 10 years until Peter suffered a cerebral haemmorrhage in 1983, forcing him to give up such intensive activity. 

For a time, he ran bookstalls at local congresses, notably Paignton, Exeter and Frome and was happy to chat to grassroots players. He found that postal chess was better suited to a slower life-style and he competed at the highest level, winning the Grandmaster title for postal chess, as did his friend, Jonathan Penrose.

After his stroke he had more time for his other interests. Sports he followed included golf, cycling, F1, tennis, darts, snooker, athletics et. al. He collected books, not only on chess, but on his other interests including science, astronomy and philosophy.  His study had floor-to-ceiling shelves on all free walls, all stacked with books.

1996: Peter is playing his old friend and adversary, Dr. Jonathan Penrose in his study at Chapel House. The board is the one presented to him by Fidel Castro at the end of the Havana Olympiad - each team captain received one. Photo courtesy of Keith Jones. Peter's long-time unofficial chauffeur.

He was the most modest of men, with no discernible vanities or conceits, and a most hospitable host when entertaining visitors to his vast collection of chess  books. 

He leaves his wife, Peggy, 3 daughters and 8 grandchildren: Isaac, Reuben, George, Madelaine, Heidi, Gemima, Grace and Frank.

The funeral took place in Poughill Cemetery, near Bude, and was attended by a good number of relatives, local friends and chess acquaintances.

The secular ceremony was led by the Celebrant, Alison Timms. Firstly his mother’s ashes were interred, followed by Peter’s coffin.

Then five of the grandchildren each read out a verse from Peter’s favourite poem, that he had had read to him by his father. Its philosophy is sometimes summarised by the saying “Eat, Drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”, but there is also an element of the Latin maxim Carpe diem – sieze the day, and in this repect that is exactly what Peter did.

The position of the grave site, overlooking St. Olaf's

Alison Timms leads the graveside ceremony, with Peggy seated, with stick & blanket.

The grandchildren circulated with small baskets containing sprigs of rosemary and flower petals, and those present were invited to drop them onto the coffin.

 

There were a number of written tributes, some read out at the gathering at Morwenstow, other sent later.

The following was sent by Peter’s great friend, Dr. Jonathan Penrose, who was unable to attend due to transport problems, and is probably the one that deserves most attention, as it reveals his own personal slant on Peter’s career. Perhaps the last word should go to him…

In Memoriam: Peter Hugh Clarke 1933 –  2014:  

Peter Clarke was a very good friend of mine for over 60 years. Amazingly, over that long period of time I cannot recall a single cross word between us. We first met in the early 1950s as members of the same chess teams, particularly the Essex county team, but also the London University team for a short period of time. 

In those days (the early to mid 1950s) there seemed to be a comparative paucity of ambitious young chess players in England, so it was our good fortune that we were often selected to play for England in the prestigious chess Olympiads, played in different countries every two years. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. 

I think it was the Olympiad held in Moscow in 1956 which stood out as Peter’s most successful tournament of this kind. The English team reached 8th place overall at the end, a fine performance for its time. Peter’s contribution was a magnificent 79% (scoring 7 wins, 5 draws and no losses). 

The other members of the team including myself thought that the standard of Peter’s play had progressed very well, and that future selection of Peter’s place on the English team was likely to be assured for many years to come.  

In retrospect, it would become clear that Peter’s standard of play had just about reached its peak at this time, and that he performed well back in England in tournaments in 1957 and 1958.  

I was personally impressed by a game he played and won against Alexander in the 1957 British Championship. Hugh Alexander was widely regarded as England’s strongest chess player since the end of the Second World War, and this game was somehow symbolic that a younger generation of players might be beginning to supersede the older ones.  

However, at about this time, Peter also started to display a budding talent for writing books on chess, and eventually wrote some classic works in the genre. This was fine, but I felt that in so doing, he might have made himself less prepared to play chess as aggressively as he had done formerly. As a result, he tended to become more “drawish” in his play, and therefore began to relinquish the chance to win a big chess tournament.  

In later years, Peter began to show a great interest in solving chess problems. This is an area of chess where the supreme subtleties of the game can best be explored. Peter was a good solver and played in a few problem solving competitions, I believe just for fun. 

On personal visits to Chapel House over the years, I remember the great pleasure of discussing with Peter the beauty of some modern and classical chess problems – and such memories in turn will remind me of how much I will miss him in the future. 

Jonathan Penrose

Exmouth March On In Division 2

Exmouth had their first home match of the season when they entertained old rivals Teignmouth to the town. It was not quite a home match as the Club’s new base, the Royal Beacon Hotel, had a Christmas party booked. But the Manor Hotel, just down the road, on the Beacon, came to the rescue and offered their small “Writing Room” as a suitable area. They also had a function booked, the annual meeting of the local Euchre League (don’t ask – it’s a strange American card game that has survived in Exmouth for generations). But both activities were ‘low maintenance’ and didn’t interfere with each other. It must be said that over the past 2 decades the managements of both hotels have been very good to the chess community, both local and national, and it is hoped will continue as it’s of mutual benefit.

After c. 90 minutes play, the match seemed to be going the visitors’ way, as Boards 1 and 4 were definitely looking bad for Exmouth, but two blunders in those games came to the rescue and turned what could have been a 3-1 defeat into a 3-1 victory.

  Mamhead Cup Div 2     29.11.2014  
  Exmouth Grd     Teignmouth Grd
1 John Stephens 194 1 0 Bill Ingham 176
2 Jon Underwood 179 ½ ½ Alan Brusey 176
3 Oliver Wensley  149 ½ ½ Kevin Hindom 145
4 Simon Blake 102 1 0 Norman Tidy 137
  totals 624 3 1   634

Two turning points from the match:

Stephens vs Ingham

Above: Black has just played …h5, possibly expecting the g-pawn to move, but  f5! wins immediately as Black can’t prevent a passed pawn being created.

Below: White has been asking all the questions so far in the game, and has just played Rd7, threatening Black’s f-pawn and possibly with thoughts of doubling his rooks on the open file at some point. But …Bc8 wins a piece and Black’s bishop pair boss the game from then on.

Position after Rd7

Exmouth now have to face Tiverton (A) and Newton Abbot (H) in this league in the New Year.

Home captain, Oliver Wensley, makes his move, with Tidy vs Blake in the background.

John Stephens vs Bill Ingham (nearest) and Dr. Jonathan Underwood vs Alan Brusey.

Not the WMN (08.11.2014) 813

The Chipping Sodbury RapidPlay was held recently at the Old Grammar School. The winners were as follows:

Open Section: 1st James Cobb (228) Bristol& Clifton 5/6 pts. 2nd= Chris Beaumont (214) Bristol & Clifton & Jerry Humphries Downend & Fishponds 4½.

Major Section (U-155): 1st= Andrew Munn (150) & David Tipper (143) both Downend & Fishponds, and David Dugdale (151) Thornbury all 4½.

Minor Section: Dorota Pacion (117) S. Bristol 5½. 2nd=  Jack Walpole (90) & Richard Port (113)  both University and Kevin Langmaid (112) Yate & Sodbury all 4 pts. Dorota Pacian was the only female player in the tournament.

While the 15th Beacon Seniors tournament was played out during the week, the World Seniors Championship was due to finish on Wednesday at Katerini, Greece. Millionaire chess player, Terry Chapman, had organised a team of four English players, himself incuded, to have a concerted effort for one of them to win the title.

This was the 8th round game between two of the contingent.

White: Keith Arkell (2450). Black: Mark Hebden (2540).

King’s Indian Defence [E62]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 Rb8 8.b3 a6 9.Nd5 Nh5 10.Bb2 e6 11.Nc3 b5 12.d5 Ne7 13.dxe6 fxe6 14.c5 dxc5 15.Qc2 Nc6 16.Rad1 Nd4 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.e3 e5 19.exd4 exd4 20.Nd5 d3 21.Qc1 Bf5 22.Bxg7 Nxg7 23.Qxc7 Qxc7 24.Nxc7 White has now won a pawn and has a distinct advantage considering Black’s isolated pawn and inferior piece placement. 24…a5 25.Nd5 Rf7 26.Ne3 Rd7 27.Rd2 a4 28.Nxf5 Nxf5 29.Rfd1 axb3 30.axb3 Black must lose at least one of his 2 queenside pawns. 30…Rbd8 31.Bc6 Rd4 32.Bxb5 Now the other must fall as well. 32…g5 33.Rxd3 Kg7 34.Kg2 R8d6 35.Rxd4 Nxd4 36.Bc4 Kf6 37.b4 Ke5 38.Re1+ Kf6 39.b5 Nf5 40.Rb1 Rb6 41.Bd3 Nd6 42.Rb4 h6 43.h4 Nf7 44.Ra4 Ke5 45.hxg5 hxg5 46.Ra6 Rb8 47.Rg6 Kd4 48.Be2 Ke5 49.Bc4 1–0. Now Black’s last pawn must go, leaving him in a hopeless position. Arkell won again in the next round, putting him in the joint lead with 2 games to play, and Hebden and Nunn just behind. The chances of having an English World Seniors Champion look good.

In last week’s miniature problem White wins by 1.Qg7! from where it can go to either a7 or a1 to give mate, depending on which way the Black king goes.

This position comes at the end of a blitz game earlier this year. White is 2 pawns down but might have winning chances; if only he had more than a few seconds to think about it…

White to play and win.