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Posts Tagged ‘chess’

50th Torbay Congress 2016 – A Short History.

The 1st Torbay Congress took place in November 1966 at the Raleigh Hotel, Dartmouth. Numerate readers will immediately spot that this should then be the 51st Congress, but about a decade ago the planned venue, the Riviera Centre in Torquay, pulled out at the last minute and no suitable alternative venue could be found at short notice, so the 40th Congress had to held over for a year. It was a feature of the Riviera management at that time that although they were happy to pencil in the dates of the Congress, they would delay confirming it until quite late on, in the hope that they might get a better offer. Usually they didn’t, but on this one occasion they did. This policy, coupled with the ever-rising charges for room hire, meant that eventually they lost the Congress for ever.

But to go back to the beginning, how did it all start? The Torbay League had been created by J. E. Jones and started activities on October 5th 1957. The Paignton Congress and Exeter & District League had both been started in 1953, and this was deemed sufficient to cater for players’ needs at the time. Jones would, in time, almost certainly have got around to the idea of Torbay having its own congress, but by 1963, with the prospect of his school, King Edward’s G. S., Totnes, becoming a comprehensive school, he decided to climb further up the promotional ladder, taking a Master’s degree at Birmingham University before joining the staff at Didsbury Training College in Manchester which was eventually absorbed into Manchester University.

So, without Jones’s authoritarian leadership, how did the idea of a Torbay Congress get off the ground? The owner of the Raleigh Hotel at the time was Henry Baguley, but who contacted who? Those of us who were around at the time (and still are) are fairly sure that it was Baguley who originally had the idea and suggested it to the League management. That year, 1966, he was the newly-appointed President of the Dartmouth Rotary club and would have been looking to do something new to help put Dartmouth on the map. Secondly, his hotel was in need of something to boost bookings at the lowest point of the year – between the end of the holiday season and Christmas, and thirdly, his son, John, was a promising junior chessplayer who had enjoyed successes in the Torbay Schools Chess League and was then the current Devon U-18 Champion, so Henry was keen to provide another arena in which his son could shine.

And so it was that 20 players met at the Raleigh Hotel on Dartmouth’s picturesque waterfront in November 1966. The League’s Secretary at this point was Alan B. Cole, of the Teignmouth Club, so their members got full notice of the new up-coming event, and Ivor Annetts was among that small band of 20 for the first Congress. However, no record of this first event can be found in the official records of the time. Ken Bloodworth, Eddy Jones’s successor as the Western Morning News chess columnist, would certainly have covered it, but the black bin-liners of unsorted cut-out columns that he bequeathed to me did not contain any from this period.

From this small beginning, the event was considered a success and continued year on year, although the contact with the Baguleys did not survive long. The Raleigh Hotel went into receivership a few years later and John Baguley was not seen again on the Westcountry chess scene. The Congress ticked along quietly for a few years, mostly unreported nationally, as the congress scene in Devon was dominated by Paignton and Peter Clarke’s Hexagon-organised events in North Devon, the latter attracting up to 200 players. But the post-Fischer-Spassky explosion of 1972 led to a vast increase in the number of weekend congresses nationally and the young generation of prospective GMs.

By the 1980s the Torbay Congress got an occasional mention in the Forthcoming Events column of Chess, where it was recorded in 1986 that the 21st event would be held on November 21st – 23rd at the Templestow Hotel with Bob Liggitt as Entry Secretary. The BCM of 1980 actually had a brief winners’ list showing that some big name title-hunters were showing up. Open: 1st= Murray Chandler (GM in ‘83) & Craig Pritchett (IM in ‘76). 3rd= Mark Hebden (IM in ‘82) & Michael Franklin. Major: 1st= Ken Bloodworth & A. Chapman. 3rd= Brian Boomsma, Robin Cotton & Ken Gunnell. Minor: 1st= Paul Foster (still a prizewinner 36 years later), A. Robins & N. P. Williams.

Also playing that year, though not appearing in the prizelist, was a youngster celebrating his 9th birthday – a lad with a shining future ahead of him, by the name of Michael Adams.

The congress was a rung on his ladder to grandmasterdom, with a record as follows:-

year   age           section performance

1979    9               Minor       105     15th=

1980   10       Challengers     166     8th=

1981   11       Challengers     155     16th=

1982   12             Open         166      2nd

1983   13             Open          212     1st=

1984   14            Open          199

1985   15            Open           212     2nd

1986   16            Open           238     1st=

Today, that generation of title-hungry aspirants has largely moved on to higher things and the event is left to local players and congress regulars from around the country. It’s now settled at the Livermore House Hotel on Torquay sea-front, the same venue as the Paignton Congress since it was ousted from Oldway Mansion. It hosts both events within weeks of each other, and it suits the players very well as it offers plentiful parking and accommodation, proximity to the town’s railway station and local bus routes, top class service, a bar and restaurant, sea views, spacious playing room etc. For all its grandeur, Oldway Mansion had none of these things.

Anyway, getting back to the point, the 50th Congress, under the leadership of Ken Alexander, a relatively new Congress Organiser, went very well at the Livermead House Hotel. Entries up to 138, but no IMs or GMs among them to scoop the top prizes, which made it more competitive, as witnessed by the prizelist below. Never have more prizes been handed out, whether in cash or kind.

Torbay Congress 2016 – Prizelist.
Prize Winner Club Pts/5 wins
OPEN
1st W. McDougall Chichester £225
2nd J. Edge Halesown 4 £130
3rd= C. Lowe Exeter £40
J. Menadue Truro £40
GPs
U-185 M. Waddington Dorchester 3 £15
R. J. Webster Calderdale 3 £15
U-175 O. E. Wensley Exmouth £15
R. G. Taylor Wales £15
0/2 W. G. Adaway Dorchester £30
MAJOR U-170
1st= R. Sayers 4 £85
R, Burton Weymouth 4 £85
M. O’Brien Plymouth 4 £85
GPs
U-159 A. M. Hibbitt Banbury 3 £6
M. R. Wilson Teignmouh 3 £6
Y. Tello Wimbledon 3 £6
R. J. Gamble Derby 3 £6
I. S. Annetts Tiverton 3 £6
U-148 P. Neatherway 3 £15
P. E. Halmkin Teignmouth 3 £15
0/2 N. Mills Teignmouth 2 £30
INTER U-140
1st D. J. Jenkins Penwith £120
2nd= S. Williams Cwmbran 4 £65
P. Foster Medway 4 £65
GPs
U-132 M. A. Roberts Holmes Chapel 3 £15
R. K. Hunt Seaton 3 £15
U-125 T. J. Crouch Kings Head £15
C. B. Peach S. Hams £15
0/2 M. J. Cuggy Brixham 2 £30
MINOR U-120
1st= H. Archer-Lock Abbey School 4 £40
J. D. Madden Leamington 4 £40
I. Farrow 4 £40
A. R. Fraser Beckenham 4 £40
G. Daly Downend 4 £40
O. Stubbs Downend 4 £40
R. Greenhalgh S. Hams 4 £40
GPs
U-112 M. R. Pope Salisbury 3 £10
A. H. Davies S. Hams 3 £10
P. Saunders 3 £10
U-106 M. Maber Taunton 3 £8
D. F. Burt Bournemouth 3 £8
J. W. Carr Portsmouth 3 £8
H. Welch Seaton 3 £8
U-95 J. Tye Downend 3 £30
U-76 A. Moorhouse Teignmouth £8
K. Hayden Teignmouth £8
Mrs. W. Carr Portsmouth £8
P. Tournier Hastings £8
0/2 E. Prenton £30

Outside the playing hall, looking into the morning sun over Torbay towards Brixham and Berry Head.

Torbay Palms almost masking the playing venue.

Congress Organiser, Ken Alexander, welcomes everyone before the start of Rd. 1

Marian Cox wins one of the first lottery prizes, Brian Gosling's biography of the problemist John Brown, nicely colour-coordinated with her outfit.

General view of the playing room at the start of Rd. 1

Chairman of the Torbay Council, Mr Ray Hill, formally opens the Congress on Saturday morning.

Meyrick Shaw (W) prepares to play Steve Dilleigh.

Ken Alexander introduces former congress secretary, Ray Chubb (left) and chessdevon webmaster Bill Frost with his daughter Debbie.

Chris Archer-Lock (W) plays Graham Bolt, a game that ended with just the 2 kings on the board.

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 keverelchess.com while games are on chessdevon.org

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

17th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress – Results (06.11.2016.)

It would be easy to claim that it would be ridiculous to have 44 players in one section with grades from 198 to 70, and several former British Champions in different forms of the game, a GM and a former World Record holder all in the mix. Yet this is what happened this year in the Exmouth Seniors, and in most years before. One could imagine it descending a procession of massacres, unsatisfying for winner and loser alike. Yet it rarely, if ever, turns out this way. There are upsets galore, as modest club players regularly rise to the opportunity to play a much higher-graded opponent, and so it happened this year.

For example, Teignmouth player, Bill Ingham, lowest graded player in the top section, before the grading prizes kicked in, carved through the field, including the top 2 grades, to take clear 1st prize. There were other notable stories too. Michael Dow (127) mated the GM in Rd. 2 and led the field, before proceeding to lose his next 3 games; The GM only scored 50%; Andrew Footner, arrived an hour late for Rd. 1, was defaulted and then proceeded to win the next 4 games to come 2nd=; These were the stories that caught the eye, but many games were entertainingly well-fought.

The “Junior” Section (50 – 64 yrs) was more predictable and the top 3 grades got the main prizes, and the top player in each Graded Section, took the Grading Prize. No prize for Cornishman Colin Sellwood, but in very elevated company he went through undefeated with 5 draws.

Details were:-

Prizelist

Seniors Chart 2016

"Junior" Section 2016

General view of the playing hall from the Controller's table, with Arbiter Tony Tatam striding purposefully forward.

View from the entrance looking half left.

Rd. 3: Bill Ingham against Ewart Smith, former Controller of this event, but now just happy to play.

Steve Murray, late of the Met. Office, and Barbara Newcome of Exmouth Hospital, fellow members of the local club, meet in Rd. 4 of the "Juniors" section.

Rd. 4: Identical twins, identically dressed: Martin Cutmore (nearest) plays Colin Sellwood, who drew every game in distinguished company, while brother David faces Paul Botham.

Rd. 4: Malcolm Belt (Exmouth) on his way to a win against Sid Jones (Dorchester).

Rd. 4: With 3 wins under his belt, Bill Ingham now faces the top seed, Jim Johnson (198), a test he passed with flying colours.

Rd 4: Yorkshireman Paul Kendall plays M. Adams (Martyn!) while another Yorkshireman, Richard Hall plays Peter Wood (Hastings)

Rd. 4: Ian Heppell, who makes a habit of snatching 1st prize in the final round, here makes a move against the top seed, Graham Bolt - game drawn and both entered the final round in joint 1st place on 3/4

Rd. 5: Heppell could only draw against the solid play of Alan Brown, while Graham Bolt (right rear) beat David Cutmore to come clear 1st.

Rd. 5: Andrew Footner's 1st round debacle, believing it to be a 2 p.m. start, only seemed to spur him on to make amends, here notching up his 4th consecutive win, beating Correspondence GM, Richard Hall (blue shirt), in a dramatic game. In the foreground, Robert Everson goes on to beat Alan Dean (Exmouth and Tiddleywinks World Championship contender).

Devon’s Team Blitz Tournament – Sun. 30th October 2016.

Devon’s annual Team Blitz tournament (teams of 4 with 12 minutes each for all moves) has been a regular feature of the calendar for many decades, and in the old days used to attract up to 24 teams. It gradually declined in popularity, until DCCA Secretary, Trefor Thynne, made concerted efforts to revive its fortunes in more recent times. These days, he hosts the event at his own club, Newton Abbot, and more trophies have been introduced to give teams lower down the batting order something to play for. This has had some success, though the days of 20 teams or more still seems some way off.

Having said that, some Dorset players asked if they might enter a team, as they were feeling a little deprived of  inter-county events, since that county has been unable to identify a county captain since the retirement of their last one. The was some discussion in Devon circles as to whether this was acceptible, but it was agreed to, on the understanding that they couldn’t claim any of the trophies. In the event, there was little chance of that happening, but they enjoyed the experience (I think).

The number of teams (10) was the same as last year, but the strength of the top teams was noticeably beefed up (Exeter, Newton Abbot, Tiverton),  augmented by a strong team from debutantes Seaton.

After 6 draining rounds the results were as follows:

DCCA Team Blitz   –   30th October 2016
Summary Chart
Team Grd 1 2 3 4 5 6 Trophy
1st Exeter A 740 6 12½ 16½ 19 Thomas Cup
2nd Tiverton 688 4 8 11½ 14½ 18
3rd Seaton 686 3 9 11 16 16½
4th Newton Abbot A 677 4 4 11 11 15
5th Exmouth 656 5 6 9 13
6th Exeter B 619 0 3 6 6 7 10
7th Torquay BGS 428 0 1 3 5 8
8th Teignmouth 516 1 5 7 8 8
9th Newton Abbot B 508 ½ 1 3 7
10th Weymouth 524 ½ 2 4 5 5
Team Bd Name Rd ► 1 2 3 4 5 6 Tot.
vs 10 5 2 6 4 3
1st Exeter A 1 T. Paulden 187 ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 4
2 G. Bolt 190 1 0 1 1 1 0 4
3 P. O’Neill 185 1 1 ½ 1 1 1
4 D. Regis 178 1 ½ 1 1 1 1
740 3½ 2½ 2½ 4 4 2½ 19
vs 6 4 1 3 8 7
2nd Tiverton 1 B. Hewson 182 1 1 1 0 0 ½
2 L. Retallick 176 1 1 0 0 1 1 4
3 J. Haynes 180 1 1 ½ 1 1 1
4 I. Annetts 150 1 1 0 1 1 1 5
688 4 4 1½ 3 18
vs 8 10 5 2 9 1
3rd Seaton 1 J. Underwood 183 0 0 1 1 1 ½
2 S. Martin 182 1 1 1 0 1 0 4
3 P. Hampton 161 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
4 S. Dean 160 1 ½ ½ 0 1 0 3
686 3 2½ 3½ 2 4 1½ 16½
vs 7 2 8 5 1 10
4th Newton Abbot A 1 D. Mackle 208 1 0 1 1 0 1 4
2 T. Thynne 170 1 0 1 1 0 1 4
3 P. Brooks 161 1 0 ½ 1 0 1
4 J. Blackmore 138 1 0 1 ½ 0 1
677 4 0 3½ 3½ 0 4 15
vs 9 1 3 4 9 8
5th Exmouth Eagles 1 M. Shaw 163 1 0 0 0 1 1 3
2 O. Wensley 171 ½ 1 0 0 1 1
3 M. Marshall 163 1 0 0 0 1 1 3
4 B. Gosling 159 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1
656 3½ 1½ ½ ½ 3 4 13
vs 2 7 10 1 5 9
6th Exeter B 1 S. Pope 144 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1
2 A. Dean 141 0 1 1 0 0 1 3
3 R. Whittington 137 0 1 1 0 0 1 3
4 B. Aldwin 91 0 1 1 0 1 0 3
619 0 3 3½ 0 1 2½ 10
vs 4 2 9 8 10 7
7th Torquay B.G.S. 1 V. Ramesh 154 0 1 0 1 1 ½
2 B. Sturt 118 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 B. S-Wyatt 86 0 0 1 0 1 0 2
4 J. Blackhurst 70 0 0 1 1 1 0 3
426 0 1 2 2 3 ½
vs 3 9 4 7 2 5
8th Teignmouth 1 A. Brusey 166 1 ½ 0 0 1 0
2 N. Mills 153 0 1 0 1 0 0 2
3 M. Cockerton 115 0 1 ½ 1 0 0
4 A. Webster 82 0 1 0 0 0 1 1
1 3½ ½ 2 1 1 7
vs 5 8 7 10 3 6
9th Newton Abbot B 1 C. Scott 151 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 3
2 R. Jones 123 ½ 0 1 0 0 0
3 J. Barber-Lafon 123 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½
4 M. Hussey 101 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
4 98 ½ ½ 2 2½ 0 1 7
vs 1 3 6 9 7 4
10th Weymouth 1 F. Pittman 165 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 0 2
2 P. Brackner 135 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
3 J. Balem 118 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½
4 S. Jones 106 0 ½ 0 1 0 0
524 ½ 1½ ½ 1½ 1 0 5

General view from the Controller's table

From the other end of the room

Tiverton (r) start against Seaton

Exmouth Eagles (r) winners of the past 2 years, in play against Seaton.

Newton Abbot A (r) vs Exmouth.

Chris Scott & Jacqui Barber-Lafon of Newton Abbot B - a composite team of Exmouth and home players, subtitled "The Abbot Regrets". half Newton Abbot and half Exmouth Egrets.

Event Organiser, Trefor Thynne, with Arbiter John Ariss, start the prizegiving ceremony.

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 chessdevon.org.

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

Beacon Seniors Congress – Entries as at 27.10.2016.

Royal Beacon Seniors Congress 2016
Entry form below
Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth 31.10. –  04.11.
Bold = most recent before Red

Red = New since last posting

Entries as at 27.10.2016
198 Johnson Jim Dartford
187 Zavanelli Max Withdrawn
185 Norman Ken Wokingham
184 Myall Ivan Chelmsford
182 Hall Richard V. M. Gt. Lytton
179 Everson Robert Dartford
175 Footner Andrew Yeovil
170 Morgan Jamie W. Penwith
170 Mashayekh Majid Maidenhead
168 Adaway William Dorchester
167 Williams Chris Rotherham
166 Marshall Michael Exmouth
162 Ingham Bill Teignmouth
159 Gosling Brian E. Budleigh
157 Price Andrew Leamington
156 Summers Adrian Peterborough
155 Gamble Raymond Derby
151 Annetts Ivor Tiverton
146 Page Martin Insurance
140 Dean Alan Exmouth
140 Sherriff Alan Dartford
140 Smith Ewart Basingstoke
137 Smith Richard Barnstaple
135 Wood Peter Hastings
130 Norman Dinah Wokingham
129 Hunt Ray Seaton
128 Adams Martyn Sidmouth
127 Belt Malcolm Exmouth
127 Harris William Sidmouth
127 Dow Michael Barnstaple
124 Shaddick John Basingstoke
123 Hurn Robert Caerphilly
123 Jones Bob Exmouth
122 Namouk Omer Hastings
122 Errington Paul Bournemouth
121 Dean John Plymouth
121 Stonebridge Alan Wellington
118 Spooner Keith Withdrawn
109 Lucas Peter Eastbourne
107 Waters Roger Taunton
106 Jones Sid Dorchster
106 Dean Michael Hastings
101 Burt David Bournemouth
97 Welch Hazel Seaton
89 Cox Marion Southampton
86 Cox Reg Southampton
70 Maloney Tom Northampton
“Juniors Section” (50-64 yrs)
190 Bolt Graham Exeter
182 Waddington Mike Dorchester
181 Heppell Ian Wimbledon
178 Cutmore Martin Folkestone
177 Cutmore David Albany
174 Brown Alan Northampton
172 Hurst Kevin Withdrawn
163 Botham Paul Ipswich
161 McAllan Ian Sidcup
160 Dean Steve Seaton
154 Sellwood Colin Camborne
151 Murray Steve Exmouth
146 Edwards Derek Witney
134 Rogers Dave Exmouth
133 Blencowe Ian Gloucester
130 Jackson Paul Bournemouth
124 Fotheringham Gregor Tiverton
110 Newcombe Barbara Exmouth

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.

West of England Jamboree Result Details (01.10.2016.)

Details of the recent West of England Jamboree are as follows (C = Cornwall; D = Devon & S = Somerset.)

1.D. Mackle (D1) 0 -1 M. Turner (S1). 2. J. Rudd (S2) 1-0 J. Menadue (C1). 3.M Hassall (C2) 1-0 S. Homer (D2). 4.T. Paulden (D3) ½-½ J. Hooker (C3). 5.L. Retallick (C4-176) 0-1 T. Goldie (S3). 6.M. Staniforth (S4) 0-1 P. O’Neill (D4). 7.J. Underwood (D5) 1-0 F. Feliciano (S5). 8.A. Footner (S6) 1-0 R. Kneebone (C5). 9.G Trudeau (C6) 0-1 B. Hewson (D6). 10.D. Regis (D7) 1-0 P. Gill (C7). 11.R. Stephens (C8) ½-½ D. Freeman (S7). 12.G. Jepps (S8) 0-1 O. Wensley (D8). 13.M. Marshall (D9) 1-0 A. Champion (S9). 14.R. Knight (S10) 1-0 R. Clark (C9). 15.A. Hussain (C10) 1-0 M. Shaw (D10). 16. P. Hampton (D11-161) 1-0 G Lingard (default -C11). 17.D. P. Jenkins (C12) ½-½ C. Purry (S11). 18. L. Bedialauneta (S12) 0-1 W. Ingham (D12). Dev. = 8½; Som. = 6; Corn.= 3½.

Here is the game between a Devon newcomer and a Somerset regular.

White: M. O. Marshall (166). Black: A. A. Champion (153).

1.c4 b6 2.Nf3 Bb7 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.e4 White accepts the invitation to set up a strong pawn centre. 5…e6 6.Bg5 Ne7 7.Bd3 d6 8.0–0 Nd7 9.Qd2 h6 10.Be3 Nf6 11.h3 g5 12.Nh2 Ng6 13.Rad1 Qe7 14.Bc2 0–0 Black seems well-defended on the kingside, so White seeks to expand on the other wing. 15.b4 e5 16.d5 a5 17.a3 axb4 18.axb4 Ra3 19.Ra1 Rfa8 20.Rxa3 Rxa3 21.Rb1 Qd7 22.c5 As Black’s b-pawn is pinned he cannot afford any pawn exchanges here, yet is threatened by a potential fork. 22…Qd8 23.cxd6 cxd6 24.Nb5 Ra8 25.Rc1 Ba6 26.Nc3 Bc4 27.Bd3 Bxd3 28.Qxd3 Ra3?! This rook cuts a lone figure for the rest of the game. 29.Qb5 Nd7?! 30.Qc6 Bf8 31.Nb5+- Rb3 32.Qc4 Rb2 33.g3 Qa8 34.Qc6 There now follows some repetition with the aim of reaching the time control at move 40 as quickly as possible. 34…Qd8 35.Qc4 Qa8 36.Qc6 Qd8 37.Ra1? Or 37.Nxd6 Rxb4 38.Ng4 h5 39.Nb7 Qe7 40.d6 Qe6 41.Qxd7 Qxd7 42.Nf6 etc. 37…Rxb4 38.Ra8 Qxa8?! 38…Nb8 39.Qb7 Rxb5 40.Ng4 Kg7 41.Rxb8 Qe7 42.Qc6 Rb4 43.Bxb6. 39.Qxa8+- Rxb5 Black has lost his queen, but has a rook, knight and pawn for it, potentially roughly equivalent, though Black’s minor pieces are very cramped whereas the queen has open lines to exploit. 40.Kg2 Nc5 41.Ng4 Kg7 42.f3 42.Bxc5 bxc5 43.Ne3. 42…h5 43.Nf2 Be7 44.Qb8 Nd7 45.Qe8 Attacking the pinned knight. 45…Rb1? Better was counter-attack via 45…Rb3 46.Nd1 Rd3 47.Qxd7 Rxd1 48.Bxb6 46.Qxd7 b5 47.Qf5 f6 48.h4 gxh4 49.Qxh5 Qh6+ & Qh7. 49…Nf8 50.Bh6+ 1–0. Black resigned in view of 50…Kg8 51.Qe8 and Black must lose more material.

The key to last week’s 2-mover by John Brown was 1.Qe7! If 1…Bxf4 2. Be4#, or 1…Kxf4 2.Qf6#, or 1…Bf3 2.Qxf7# and finally 1…Bg7 2.Qg5#.

In this position from a game earlier this year Black is a piece up but is about to be mated unless he can find a move that not only avoids mate but maintains his material advantage. He succeeded; can you see how?

Black to play

Hooten & The Lady & the Fawcett Brothers (24.09.2016.)

Last weekend’s TV schedules flagged up the start of a new adventure series entitled Hooten and the Lady, with high production standards and deeming it enjoyable but forgettable Friday night candy floss. In it, British Museum curator, young Lady Alex Lindo-Parker, jets off to the Amazon rainforest in search of Col. Percy Fawcett’s lost camp, is thrown together with maverick adventurer Hooten, and within on-screen minutes the pair stumble on a cave containing a skeleton, presumably that of Fawcett, grasping a treasure map in its bony hand, which quickly leads them to the fabled city of gold, El Dorado. The fact that scores of expeditions from Sir Walter Raleigh’s in 1595 to Fawcett’s in 1925 had all failed in that very same project is neither here nor there; one must suspend one’s disbelief.

What the programme doesn’t mention (and why should it?) is that Fawcett was brought up at 3, Barnpark Terrace, Teignmouth, together with 3 sisters and an older brother, Edward Douglas (1866-1960), who led a life every bit as exotic as Percy; a pioneering science fiction writer, philosopher, alpinist, aviator & chessplayer.

Douglas founded the Totnes Club in 1901 and played for Devon. He moved to Switzerland for many years to concentrate on his mountaineering, but after a heart attack halfway up the Matterhorn at the age of 66 he was forced to give up, and returned to quieter pursuits, including chess. He played in the Paignton Congress from its inception in 1951 to 1959 died in 1960 aged 94.

A report of Paignton 1958 said Of the veteran players, 92 year old Mr. Douglas Fawcett, played some good games and delighted everyone with his memories of Pillsbury and his first game with Steinitz, played in 1879”.

Much more detail of his life may be found on keverelchess.com/e-douglas-fawcett.

Here is his game from Rd. 8 of the Southsea Congress 1949, in which he beats the 9-times Irish Champion, illustrating his sharp attacking style.

White: E. Douglas Fawcett. Black: J. J. O’Hanlon.

Ruy Lopez – Berlin Defence.  [C67]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Nxe4 Black accepts the proffered pawn, not often done these days. 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.Nc3 0–0 Fawcett is following the Pillsbury Variation, in tribute to his hero. 10.Nd4 Nc5 11.Rd1 Qe8 12.Nf5 Ne6 13.Ne4 Rb8 14.b3 Rb5 15.f4 Rd5 16.Be3 Bb7 17.Qg4 Building up a kingside attack from which a black rook and bishop are powerless to defend. 17…Kh8 18.c4 Rxd1+ 19.Rxd1 g6 20.Nxe7 Qxe7 21.Nf6 The perfect place for a knight. 21…Rd8 Black needs f8 for his knight to defend h7. 22.Qh4 Nf8 23.c5 d5 24.Bd4 Qe6 25.g4 Bc8 26.Rf1 Ba6 This threat can be ignored. 27.f5 Qe7 28.e6! Opening the bishop’s diagonal.  28…fxe6 29.Nxd5+ 1–0 Winning the queen.

In last week’s position, Arkell had the choice of 2 mates; 1.RxN+ RxR 2.Rh7 mate, or 1.Rh7+ NxR 2. RxN mate.

Here is a 2-mover by John Brown of Bridport (1827 – 63).

White to play & mate in 2.

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