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Chess – The Musical – is back!

Among his many skills and interests, Sir Tim Rice is a keen chessplayer. After his early successes as a lyricist teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber for musicals like Evita, he drew up plans for an old idea of his in which the Cold War was acted out over a chessboard, much as the Fischer-Spassky match of 1972 had been. In 1982 he approached his regular tunesmith partner with the idea, but by then Lloyd Webber was unable to help, being fully committed with his own project, Cats. It was suggested to him that as Abba was at that moment in the act of breaking up, the two Bs in that particular partnership, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, might be looking for fresh opportunities. They jumped at the chance, and Chess -The Musical was born.

Notoriously difficult to stage, especially trying to cater for different audiences as it toured the world, but the songs quickly became all-time classics. Its latest incarnation opened recently at the London Coliseum to excellent reviews.

While the sociopathic Fischer-based  character was largely retained, Spassky was just too nice a gentleman to be a sparky on-stage persona, and it was thought to be loosely based on someone like Victor Korchnoi.

In this latest production, this character is played by Michael Ball, former pupil at Plymouth College.

Here’s a game from that epic 1972 encounter. Fischer had virtually given his opponent a 2 point start, but Spassky hadn’t won any of the next 8 games and was 6½– 3½ down. Here is Game 11, in which the Russian knows he has to come up with something special.

White: B. V. Spassky. Black R. J. Fischer Sicilian Defence [B97]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 Fischer went for the Poisoned Pawn variation for a second time in the match, but Spassky had done some homework on it.  9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 This was one “improvement”, as it breaks up Black’s kingside pawns and makes it difficult for him to castle there. 11.Be2 h5 Denying White’s bishop that square.  12.0–0 Nc6 13.Kh1 Avoiding a possible check later. 13…Bd7 14.Nb1! A remarkable idea, intended to keep Black’s queen trapped in a cage of her own making. 14…Qb4 If 14…Qb2 15.a3 followed by Nc3 & Ra2 trapping the queen. 15.Qe3 Denying b6 as an escape route. 15…d5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.c4 Nf5 18.Qd3 h4? 19.Bg4! Nd6? 20.N1d2 f5 21.a3 Qb6 22.c5 Qb5? 23.Qc3! Now White has threats to rook & knight while a4 wins the queen. There’s no way out., but Fischer plays on anyway 23…fxg4 24.a4 h3 25.axb5 hxg2+ 26.Kxg2 Rh3 27.Qf6 Nf5 28.c6 Bc8 29.dxe6 fxe6 30.Rfe1 Be7 31.Rxe6 Rh8 1-0. Spassky’s best game so far played, but it was not enough in the long run.

The answer to last week’s position was 1.Qxf5+ KxQ 2. Bd3 mate, as the king has nowhere to go.

Here is your chance to beat Spassky. He is all set to mate with Qxa3#, but it’s not his move. Is there anything you, as, White, can do about it?

White to play against Spassky

Two Games from the Champion. (14.04.2018.) 981

In the recent WECU Championship, the absence of the 2017 winner, Keith Arkell, opened up the way for about 10 other players to seize their opportunity. Of these, it was Dominic Mackle who led the charge. In this Rd. 4 game he pounces of an early error by one of the Scandinavian juniors and quickly takes full advantage.

White: D. Mackle. Black: Leif Halfstad.

King’s Indian Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 c5 6.Nc4 d5 7.Nce5 a6? Necessary was 7…Nfd7 to counter the twin knight threat. 8.Ng5 Rg8 9.Ngxf7 Qe7 10.c3 b5 11.Bd3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 Qxf7 13.Ne5 Qe7 14.Bg5 g6 15.dxc5 Bg7 16.c6 Bc8 17.0–0 Qc7 18.Bf4 Qd6 19.a4 b4 20.a5 Qc5 21.cxb4 Qxb4 22.Qc2 Qe7 23.Rac1 Ra7 24.c7 with the twin threats of Nc6 forking Q & N or Qc6+ 1-0

In the penultimate round he faced the experienced FIDE Master, Mike Waddington, so couldn’t expect any blunders to help him.

White: M. Waddington. Black: D. Mackle.

French Defence.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 The Burn Variation, played regularly by the Yorkshireman Amos Burn (1848–1925) and later taken up by World Champion, Tigran Petrosian. 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 Black doesn’t mind opening up the g-file and later exploits it with fatal results. 7.Nf3 a6 8.Bd3 f5 9.Ned2 c5 10.c3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc6 12.Nb3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 White could block the check but decides to castle the long way round, which takes up valuable time. 13…0–0 14.a3 Be7 15.Re1 Bf6 16.Bc2 a5 17.a4 Nb4 18.Kf1 b6 19.Ne5 Ba6+ 20.Kg1 Rc8 21.Bb1 Kh8 22.Qh5 Threatening to fork K&Q. 22…Rc7 23.Re3 Bxe5 24.dxe5 f6 25.h3 Bc4 26.Qf3 Rg8 27.g3 f4 28.Rc3 Nd5 29.Rc2 White has 4 pieces stuck in the corner while Black is opening lines against the white king. How does he retain the initiative? 29…fxg3 30.fxg3 f5 31.Kh2 Nb4 Attacking a rook while vacating d5 for his bishop to further pressure to bear on the white king’s corner. 32.Rd2 Bd5 33.Qe3 Rcg7 34.g4 fxg4 35.Be4 Black’s bishop is well enough protected which gives Black the chance to further strip away the castle walls. gxh3 36.Rf1 Qh4 37.Bxd5 Nxd5 38.Qe1 Rg2+ 39.Kh1 Qg5 40.Rdf2 h2 41.Qe4 Rg1+ There’s no escape as there are several other mates. e.g. 41…Rxf2 42.Rc1 Qg1+ 43.Rxg1 42.Kxh2 Qg3#.

Cornwall qualified for the National Stages of the Inter-County Competition and entered the Minor Counties Section, where they have been drawn against Surrey, the match to be played on Sat. May 12th at East Huntspill TA9 4RA.

In last week’s position, White played 1.Qd3 which threatens mate on one side of the board and wins a knight on the other.

Imagine you were playing Bobby Fischer in a simultaneous match in which he’s given all his opponents the White pieces. Even so, they’ve all lost and it’s up to you to salvage some collective pride, but he’s attacking your rook. Where should it go?

White to play.

WECU Championship Shared (07.04.2018.) 980

At the end of the wettest, coldest March in living memory, the West of England Championship and Congress took place at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth over the Easter weekend. The absence of last year’s winner, GM Keith Arkell and Jack Rudd cast a small shadow over the proceedings, though it opened up the prospect of possible victory to almost half the Open section, so in that sense it was less of a procession and more of a real dogfight for every half point.

The final outcome was as follows: Open Section 1st Richard McMichael (King’s Head) 5½/7 pts. 2nd= Dominic Mackle (Torquay) & Lewis Martin (Brown Jack – Wiltshire) 5 pts. Although McMichael took the cheque for £400, as a Londoner he was not eligible for the title of WECU Champion which was shared by Mackle and Martin. The Grading Prize was a 6-way split between Alan Crombleholme (Walsall); John Stephens (Exmouth); Dave Littlejohns (Taunton); Roger de Coverley (Bourne End); Chris James (Dunbar) & James Forster (Southbourne) all on 3½.

Major Section: 1st Geoffrey Brown (Folkestone) 5½. 2nd Yasser Tello (Wimbledon). 3rd= Ronnie Burton (Weymouth);  Yuyang Wang (Plymouth); Jamie Morgan (Cornwall); Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) & Paul G. Jackson (Coulsdon) all 4½.

Minor Section: 1st= Eddie Fuerek (Glos) & Gerald Parfett (Athenaeum). 3rd= Ray Hunt (E. Devon); Ken Alexander (E. Budleigh) & Andy Proudfoot (Plymouth) all 4½. Grading Prize: Kevin Markey (Stroud).

Here is a game from Rd. 1 between a local player and a Turkish Cypriot.

White: A. Gorgun (1619) – Black: J. Stephens. (1991)

Sicilian Defence [B52]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0–0 Nc6 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 Often regarded as Black’s freeing move in this opening. 10.e5 Ne4 11.a3 Be7 12.Nbd2 Nxd2 13.Bxd2 0–0 14.b4 White should be thinking about an early king-side attack, but his knight doesn’t have a single move on the board, so he tries on the opposite wing, which is  traditionally where Black will be aiming for activity. 14…b5 15.Qb1 a5 16.Qb2 axb4 17.axb4 Qb7 18.Rec1 Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Ra8 20.Rxa8+ Qxa8 21.Ne1 Qa4 22.Nc2 Nxd4 23.Qxd4 Qxc2 24.g3 h6 25.Qa7 Bxb4! 26.Qb8+ Kh7 27.Bxb4 Qb1+ 28.Kg2 Qe4+ 29.f3 Qxb4 This skirmish leaves Black 2 passed pawns up. 30.Qe8 Qb2+ 31.Kh3 b4 32.f4 Qc2 33.g4 Kg6 34.f5+ exf5 35.e6 White’s first question – should Black defend f7 or attack? 35…fxg4+ 36.Kg3 Qd3+ 37.Kxg4 h5+ 38.Kh4 Qe4+ 39.Kg3 Qxe6 0-1 Question answered.

Last week’s 2-mover by John Brown of Bridport, taken from Brian Gosling’s excellent biography of the near-forgotten 19th century composer, was solved by 1. Qe7! Black has 7 attempts to escape the inevitable, but each is met by either White’s queen, bishop or knight.

In this position Brian Gosling (W) found a combination that gave him a small but significant material gain.

White to play and win material

East Devon Congress 2018 Results. 03.03.2018.) 975

The East Devon Congress came to a successful end on Sunday evening. In the Open Section, Jack Rudd skittled his way through the first 4 rounds enabling him to agree a quick draw to ensure 1st prize, and his opponent, Dominic Mackle, clear 2nd.

The other winners were as follows:

3rd= Mike Waddington (Dorchester); Jeremy Fallowfield (Stourbridge); Oscar Garcia (Poole); Philip Tozer (Athenaeum); Steve Dilleigh (Bristol), Graham Bolt (Exeter) & John Stephens, (Exmouth) all 3½.

Grading prizes (U-186) Mike Duggan; Paul Helbig & Paul Hampton (Seaton) all 3½. (U-160) Yuyang Wang (Plymouth) .

Major Section (U-155): 1st David Archer (154 – S. Hams) 5 pts. 2nd= Matthew Read (152 – Shrewsbury); Colin Sellwood (149 – Camborne) & Mark Potter (154 – Dorchester) all 4 pts. GPs (U-146) Roy Shapland (Barnstaple).

(U-135) Nick Cunliffe (Wells).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st= Roy Greenhalgh 115 – S. Hams); James Wallman (105 – Dorset); Graham Hillman (114 – Wimbourne); Gary Loyden (113 – Swindon); Chris Smith (102 – Thornbury) & Peter Strong (92 – Clevedon) All 4 pts. Although the lowest graded in this 6-way tie, Strong won the Cup by virtue of his sum-of-opponents’ scores. GPs (U-106) Christine Constable (105 – Bude) & John Carr (100). (U-91) Elmira Walker (90-Downend); Brian Aldwin (87 – Exeter); Tim Roberts (87 – Exeter Uni.) & Ken Hayden-Sadler (66 – Teignmouth) all 2½.

This was Rudd’s 3rd round game, a crisp win against an opponent who nevertheless still finished in the prizelist.

White: P. Tozer (193). Black: J. Rudd. (226)

English Opening – Sicilian Variation.

1.c4 e5 The Sicilian Variation, generally regarded as the liveliest of Black’s responses, although Howard Staunton was of the opinion that “White would get a fine game”.  2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nc3 Nb6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0–0 Be6 8.a3 a5 9.d3 Be7 10.Be3 0–0 11.Rc1 f5 Black wastes no time in starting a central attack. 12.Na4 e4 13.Ne1 Nd5 14.Bc5 e3 15.f4 The e-pawn cannot be taken because of 15…Nxe3 15…b6 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 White’s dominance of the white diagonal eventually proves the key to victory. 17.Bxe3 Bf6 Compare and contrast the positioning of each side’s minor pieces. 18.Nc3 Re8 19.Bf2 Bf7 20.Nf3 Nd4 21.Nxd4 Bxd4 22.Qd2 c5 23.e3 Bxc3 24.Qxc3 Qd5 25.g4 Qf3 26.gxf5 Bd5 Threatening mate on 2 squares. 27.e4 Black is not to be denied. 27…Rxe4! 28.Bg3 If 28.dxe4 and mate will follow. 28…Qxe4. 28…Re1 protecting Black’s queen by pinning its attacker and hence ensuring mate next move. 29.Rcxe1 Qg2# 0–1.

The “zinger” in last week’s position was 1.Rh6+! Kxh6 (1…Kf7 is no better) 2.Qf6+ Kh7 3.Rh1+ Kg8 4.Rh8 mate.

The US millionaire Alain White (1880-1951) used to collect problems and each Christmas would reward those who sent him specimens with a small book. This was from his 1905 gift which contained 200 problems with a “king trapped in the corner” theme. This was No. 26, a 2-mover by his friend and mentor, Sam Loyd, a devilishly teasing composer.

White to play and mate in 2

Exeter Retain Top Prize (24.02.2018.) 974

Devon’s Premiership club competition was decided on Saturday when Exeter travelled all the way to Exmouth for the final showdown. Both 6-player teams’ grade total were almost 1,100 which made it a very strong event, but the result was the same as in recent encounters, a 3½-2½ win to Exeter.

Details: Exmouth names first in each pairing. 1. J. Stephens (189) 1-0 G. Bolt (188). 2. W. Braun (197) 0-1 L. Hartmann (183). 3. Dr. J. Underwood (191) ½-½ Dr. T. Paulden (189). 4. S. Martin (184)  ½-½ P. O’Neill (187). 5. O. E. Wensley (175) ½-½ C. Lowe (179). 6. B. Gosling (160) 0-1 Dr. D. Regis (165).

Here is the game from Board 1.

White: J. Stephens. Black: G. Bolt.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind [B38].

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Be3 c5 Transposing into a Sicilian Defence. 5.c4 The Maroczy Bind, the idea of which is to discourage Black from playing …d5 which would free up his position. 5…cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Be2 0–0 9.Rc1 Bd7 10.f3 a6 11.Qd2 Rc8 12.b3 Re8 13.0–0 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Qa5 15.Qe3 Qh5 16.Qf2 e6 17.Rfd1 Bc6 18.Bb6 Nd7 19.f4 Qh6 20.Be3 Bf8 21.b4 b5 Allowing White to obtain 2 passed pawns, which become more important as the game goes on, and White takes every chance to make equal exchanges 22.cxb5 axb5 23.Nxb5 Bxe4 24.Rxc8 Rxc8 25.Nxd6 Bxd6 26.Rxd6 Nf6 27.Rd4 Qf8 28.Qh4 Qg7 29.Rc4 Rxc4 30.Bxc4 Nd5 31.Qd8+ Qf8 32.Qxf8+ Kxf8 and now those pawns can spring to life. 33.Bc5+ Ke8 34.g3 Kd7 35.a4 Nc3 36.a5 Kc7 37.Kf2 Bc6 38.Ke3 Nd5+ 39.Kd4 f6 40.b5 Bd7 41.Bf8 Kd8 42.b6 Resigned 1–0.

The East Devon Congress started last evening in Exeter’s Corn Hall, and continues until tomorrow evening. With 3 days to go, there were no late Grandmaster entries; no John Nunn, as last year, acting as a magnet attracting enough players to make it a record entry for recent years. Total entries at this point are 137.

Future events include the following:

(a) West of England Championship & general Congress at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth over Easter weekend i.e. from Fri. 30th March – Mon. 2nd April.

(b) Fri. 18th May.29th Frome Congress

(c  Sat. 26th May. 50th Frome Congress.

A report was received this week of the death of a regular and popular player in Westcountry congresses, Robert Everson of Dartford, Kent. Like Simon Bartlett, who passed away last year, Robert also worked in the chemical industry and developed an inoperative brain tumour. A fuller obituary and photograph may be found on keverelchess.co.uk/blog.

In last week’s position, Black’s queen was overloaded trying to protect both c6 and f7, enabling White to play 1.Bc6 and if 1…QxB 2.Qxf7 mate.

Leafing through an old copy of Chess Life this week, I found a page of positions entitled Find The Zingers! (It’s an American magazine) and this is one from their Intermediate section. White to play.

Find The Zinger! White to play

Robert Everson R.I.P. (20.02.2018.)

Robert Everson RIP.

Since receiving a couple of e-mails regarding Bob Everson, I’ve take the liberty of melding them together, adding some of my own material.

Robert Everson had been a regular attendee at the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress in Exmouth, and Paignton, for a number of years, one of a group of other Kent players; among them Mike Wiltshire, Alan Sherriff  and Ian McAllan.

He attended the Paignton Congress in September 2016, and towards the end of one round, I was walking past and noticed Bob with a few friends at the board, demonstrating how he had just lost his game because he missed/forgot a move that he had already noticed during his analysis. I heard him say “I can’t understand it – how could I do that?!” – an innocent remark that I couldn’t forget, as I knew another player, Simon Bartlett, was similarly ill.

On return home he took medical advice, and it was found he had an incurable brain tumour. Bartlett had been told his particular tumour was associated with workers in the chemical industry, and I gather Bob had had a similar career.

Bob had been the Dartford first team captain since September 1974, probably the longest period for any Kent club captain.  Bob joined the Dartford club shortly after leaving school and enjoyed many successful and happy years playing chess and mixing with his fellow players.  In particular he much enjoyed the Exmouth, Paignton and Thanet tournaments in which he competed for many years.

Bob died peacefully at home at 11.30 pm. on Tuesday 13th February. He suffered no pain.

A Humanist funeral will take place at Eltham Crematorium on Friday March 16th at 10.15am.
He was a gentleman and a great guy always prepared to offer advice.  He will be much missed by his family and all chess associates.

Rather than flowers Bob opted for a donation to the Ellener Foundation.

Paignton 2016: Bob Everson completes his move against Arthur Hibbert on top board.

Gambit Crazy (17.02.2018.) 973

On Friday evening the East Devon Congress starts in Exeter’s Corn Hall. At the time of writing, a total of 119 entries had been received: 41 in the Open, 31 in the Major, and 47 in the Minor Section. Currently, the top seed in the Open is IM Jack Rudd (226 grade) followed by a pack of 190s, led by Russell Granat (197), a member of the Wimbledon Club for almost half a century, but not often seen in Devon events. Also relatively new on the local scene is Viennese Master, Walter Braun (197) and Peter Anderson (192) who is making a   successful return to active chess after a long lay-off. However, a late entry from Grandmaster Keith Arkell would put a different perspective on things.

The Camborne Club has recently acquired some digital chess clocks and will be trying them out in a Rapidplay Gambit Tournament on Friday 23rd March. Open to all. At the start of each round, the name of a gambit opening will be drawn out of a hat, and that must be played; e.g. the Latvian; Goring; Englund and Blackmar-Diemer gambits. Details are on the Cornwall chess website.

Here is a game played in the 4 Nations Chess League in 2000.

White: Martin Simons. Black: Robert Noyce.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.

1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 An immediate 3.f3 would constitute the Blackmar Gambit, named after its advocate, the US music publisher and chess Master Armand Blackmar (1826-88). Long after its initial popularity died out as improvements to Black’s defences were developed, in 1932 Emil Josef Diemer advised a preliminary 3rd move before playing f3, and this has been called the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, of uncertain soundness but beloved of gambiteers. At the time of this game, Martin’s clubmate at the Southbourne club, Alan Dommett, was preparing a book on the life and games of Diemer (1908-1990), eventually published in 2003, and the two facts were doubtless related. The book contains 126 annotated games, in which the gambit is either accepted, declined or sidestepped altogether. 3…Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 At this point, White can deploy all his pieces almost anywhere, whereas Black has only a solitary knight in play, and it’s vital he develops rapidly. 5…Bg4 The Teichmann Defence, as played by the Anglo-German Richard Teichmann, (1868–1925). 6.h3 Bh5 Black tends to play 6…Bxf3 in this position. 7.g4 Bg6 8.Bc4 e6 9.Ne5 Bb4 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Qf3 Nb6 13.Bd3 Qxd4+ Grabbing another pawn at the cost of losing a tempo. 14.Be3 Qd7 15.Rad1 Bxc3 16.Ba6 Nfd5 17.Bxb7 Rd8 Which brings us to this week’s position. Will Black’s temptation in winning a 2nd pawn prove his undoing? Richard Palliser, the Editor of Chess magazine, included this position in his book The Complete Chess Workout in the first chapter entitled Warming Up.

In last week’s position, White played 1.Nb5 threatening to win Black’s queen after 2.Bc7, but taking the knight merely allows White’s queen to support 2.Bc7

1st Simon Bartlett Memorial Results (03.02.2018.) 971

A new event took place last weekend at the Livermead Hotel, Torquay – a specially organised congress in memory of the late Simon Bartlett who passed away a year ago. The winners were as follows:- Open Section: 1st= Keith Arkell (Torquay ) & Steve Berry (Wimbledon) 4/5 pts. 3rd Walter Braun (Exmouth) 3½.   Major (U-170) 1st= Robert Taylor (Bristol); Bill Ingham (Teignmouth) & Yasser Tello (Hastings) 4 pts. 4th= Russell Goodfellow (Tunbridge Wells) & Alan Brusey (Newton Abbot) 3½. Intermediate (U-140) 1st Eddie Hurst (Salisbury) 4 pts. 2nd= David Gilbert (DHSS) & Dave Rogers (Exmouth) 3½. Minor (U-120): 1st E. McMullan (Newton Abbot) 4½. 2nd= Mark Huba (Kings Head) & Tony Tatam (Plymouth) 4.        Simon was always noted for wearing a highly-coloured and patterned shirt at all events and so as not to miss out on this aspect of his presence, a prize was offered for the most decorative and eye-catching creation. This was awarded to fellow Cornishman Ian Rescorla, whose splendid creation had the look of two halves of garish curtain material sewn together.                                              Top seed in the Open was local GM Keith Arkell, who would normally reckon to finish with a maximum 5/5 in an event of this nature, but a bit of a stir was created when he lost to a player, little-known locally, Peter Anderson from Leeds with a grade of 174.

White: P. Anderson. Black: K. Arkell.

Nimzo-Indian Defence [E41]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Signature move of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, one of the sharpest tools in Black’s repertoire 4.e3 c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nge2 6.Nf3 is more usual, which prevents Blacks next move. 6…e5 Black is encouraged to come on… but it allows White to establish a central pawn wedge. 7.d5 Ne7 8.Qc2 d6 9.Ng3 b5 10.b3 bxc4 11.bxc4 0–0 12.0–0 Bxc3 13.Qxc3 Rb8 14.f4 exf4 15.exf4 Ng6 16.Bb2 Re8 17.Qd2 Ng4 18.h3 Ne3 19.Rfe1 Nh4 20.Qc3 The 1st mating threat. 20…Qf6? Black might have tried 20…Rxb2 21.Qxb2 Nhxg2 22.Qf2 Bxh3 with advantage to Black. 21.Qxf6 gxf6 22.Bc1 Nhxg2 23.Bxe3 Nxe1 24.Rxe1 Rb2 25.Nh5 Re7 26.Nxf6+ Kg7 27.Nh5+ Kh6 28.Ng3 Bxh3 29.f5+ Kg7 29…Rxe3 30.Rxe3 Rg2+ 31.Kh1 Rxa2 30.f6+ Kxf6 31.Nh5+ Ke5 32.Bg5+? White missed a mate in 2, viz 32.Bxc5+! Re2 33.Rxe2# every one of White’s pieces cooperating to form an inescapable net. 32…Kd4 33.Bxe7 Kxd3 34.Bxd6 Rg2+ 35.Kh1 Rg5 36.Nf4+ Kd2 37.Nxh3 Rh5 38.Bg3 Rxh3+ 39.Kg2 1–0 Black could win a piece back to reduce the position to pawns-only, but the d-pawn is free to queen.

It’s perhaps no surprise that after a few games this Autumn Anderson’s grade has rocketed to 192 in the January list with a rapidplay grade of 200. He’ll be one to watch at the East Devon Congress in 3 weeks time.

In last week’s position, Black could play 1…b5 asking questions of White’s queen. e.g. If 2.Qb3 BxN wins a piece; or similarly 2.NxP PxN.

This week, White mates in 2.

White to move and mate in 2

Devon vs Gloucestershire – The Result. (27.01.2018.)

The West of England Chess Union covers an area from Penzance c. 230 miles east to Portsmouth and c. 230 miles north-east to Tewkesbury, and because of the return mileages involved in an inter-county match it takes a good captain to get out a maximum strength team. For example, in their recent match against Cornwall held near Exeter, Gloucestershire arrived 4 players short for a 16 board match and lost 12-4.

On Saturday they were 2 players short for their match against Devon at Chedzoy Village Hall near Bridgwater, and although their top 8 boards did score 5-3, this was offset by losing 1-7 in the lower half, giving Devon a 10-6 win.

Devon names 1st in each pairing:-

1.D. Mackle (198) 0-1 J. Stewart (199). 2.J. Underwood (192) 1-0 M. Ashworth (192). 3.J. Stephens (189) 1-0 C. Mattos (190). 4.P. O’Neill (188) 0-1 J. Jenkins (185). 5.J. Wheeler (185) 0-1 P. Meade (178. 6.B. Hewson (184) ½-½ P. Kirby (177). 7.L. Hartmann 0-1 P. Masters (175). 8.T. Paulden ½-½ N. Bond (175). 9.M. Abbott (183) 1-0 R. Ashworth (161). 10.S. Homer (181) 1-0 M. Taylor (160). 11.P. Hampton (172) 1-0 A. Richards (133). 12.C. Lowe (176) 0-1 I. Blencowe (131). 13.J. Haynes (171) 1-0 P. Bending (112). 14.T. Thynne (170) 1-0 D. Walton (109). 15.S. Martin (186) 1-0 d/f. 16.D. Regis (166) 1-0 d/f.

Here is one of Devon’s wins.

White: Robert Ashworth. Black: Mark Abbott.

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind [B36]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 The Hungarian’s plan to deter Black from playing the freeing d5, but here it’s White who becomes positionally tied up. Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.f3 0–0 10.Qd3 Be6 11.Be3 Qa5 12.Rc1 Rfc8 13.b3 Nd7 14.0–0 a6 15.Bd4 Bxd4+ 16.Qxd4 Rc7 17.f4 Qb6 18.Rcd1 Qxd4+ 19.Rxd4 f6 20.Rf3 Rac8 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 a5 23.Re3 Kf8 24.Bg4 f5 25.Bf3 Nf6 26.h3 h5 27.Kf2 h4 28.Re6 Kf7 29.Ke3 White’s rooks are disconnected, he’s running out of time and has already twice offered a draw, but Black, having denied White any opportunities for a quick king-side attack, is now set on exercising Black’s theme in the Sicilian of attacking the queenside. 29…a4 30.Kd2 b5 31.Kd3 Nd7 32.Re3 b4 33.Bd1 Nc5+ 34.Ke2 Ne4 Compare and contrast the roles of the bishop and knight. 35.Kf3 Nc3 36.Rd2 Ra8 37.Red3 Ne4 38.Rb2 Kf6 39.Rd4 Nc3 40.Bc2 a3 41.Rb1 Taking the rook may be superficially tempting but the text is better as it opens up the a-file, and in any case the knight is stronger than the rook. 41…Nxa2 42.Rd2 Nc3 43.Ra1 Rc5 44.Rd3 Rca5 45.Re3 a2 White is hamstrung. 46.Re6+ Kf7 47.Re3 Rc8 48.Re6 Nxd5 49.Bxf5 gxf5 50.cxd5 Rxd5 51.Rh6 Rd2 52.Rxh4 Rc3# 0–1

In last week’s position, Black played 1…Bd8! both attacking the queen and opening up the e-file with the threat of 2…Qe4+ 3.Kb1 and RxB mate. White can avoid this but would have to give up a rook in the process.

In this position from a recent tournament, it’s Black to play and he discovered a piece-winning move. Can you see what that was?

Exmouth’s January 2018 Grades

The January ECF Grading List was released earlier today.

Most folk are a few points up or down.

Dave Adams’s old Scottish grade has not yet been integrated with his new ECF one. Also, Susan Selley’s first grade is 89 RapidPlay, and will doubtless need a few more games before it rises to its rightful level.

Name Standard Previous Rapidplay Previous
Abbott, Mark V 186 A 183 A 172 177
Adams, David J 136 F
Adams, David John 132 E
Belt, Malcolm 116 C 119 B 122 118
Blake, Simon 102 E 106 E 107
Braun, Walter 197 D 203 D
Dean, Alan J 140 C 140 D 141 139
Grist, Ivor G 86 C 84 C 74 75
Jones, Robert H 128 C 128 B 139 138
Murray, J Stephen 146 C 147 A 145 144
Newcombe, Barbara 96 D 92 D 82 83
Rogers, David R 131 A 130 A
Scott, Chris J 163 C 160 B 141 150
Selley, Susan A 89
Shaw, Meyrick 176 A 169 A 186 186
Stephens, John KF 189 D 189 C 179
Wensley, Oliver E 175 A 172 A 169 164
Associates
Dean, Steve K 158 A 161 A 165 163
Hampton, Paul DJ 175 C 172 B 194 193
Martin, Steven 184 A 186 A 156 159
Underwood, Jonathan 191 C 192 C 177 180
Gosling, Brian GE 160 A 154 A 150 148