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Posts Tagged ‘chess’

Small Clubs’ Survival Struggle (20.06.2015.)

The smaller chess clubs have always struggled to survive. In Exeter alone the list of casualties is a long one. Those at the Wyvern Barracks Officers’ Mess and Sidwell St. YMCA disappeared over a century ago, to be followed by St. Luke’s and St. Loye’s Colleges, the Civil Service and even the once-mighty University. In the wider county, the clubs at Dawlish, Buckfastleigh, Winkleigh, Tavistock and Dartington have also long since gone. Other counties are doubtless the same.

It is refreshing, therefore, to see, bucking the trend, a new club created at East Budleigh (pop.650), where they recently invited the Grandmaster Keith Arkell to give a simultaneous display. He won every game, of course, but commended Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott for their resilience in adversity for which they received book prizes, and for this one Arkell also kindly added his own instructive insights.

White: C. J. Scott (154). Black: K. C.  Arkell (234.)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Be7 5.Bd3 d5 6.h3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 0–0 8.Ngf3 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Re1 Perhaps White should play 10.Qc2 to prevent 10…Ne4. 10…Ne4 11.Ne5 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qg4 f5 16.Qg3 Qxg3 17.fxg3 Rac8 18.Nc4 It’s a nice idea to try and bring the knight to the outpost on e5, but there is a tactical problem. 18…Rfd8? Better would have been 18…cxd4 19.Nd6 Rc6! 20.Nxb7 dxc3 21.bxc3 Rfc8 and Black is near to winning. 19.Ne5 cxd4 20.exd4 b5 21.Rac1 Rc7 22.b3 g6 22…g5! is more to the point. 23.Red1 Kg7 24.Kf2 Nicely played. It is important to prevent Black from getting in …f4 24…g5 25.Ke3 Rf8 26.Rf1 h5 27.h4! Again well played. Black was threatening 27…h4 28 gxh4 f4! with a clear advantage. 27…gxh4 28.gxh4 Kf6 29.g3 Rg8 30.Kf4 Rcg7 31.Rg1 Rd8 32.Ke3 Ba8 33.Rc2 The idea of my previous move was to meet a possible 33.c4 bxc4 34.bxc4 Rb8 grabbing the b-file. The position is about equal here. 33…a5 If 33…Rdg8 34.Kf4 Rg4+ 35.Nxg4+ Rxg4+ 36.Ke3 f4+ 37.Kf2 e3+ 38.Ke2 but my connected passed pawns won’t last very long. 34.c4? A mistake on which I failed to capitalise. 34…bxc4? I should have played 34…f4+ 35.Kxf4 Rxd4 and the more you look at this position the more you realise White is completely lost. 35.Rxc4! Not giving me a second chance. 35…Bd5 36.Ra4 Ra8 37.Nc4? The losing move, as it allows me to break through on the kingside. Better would have been 37.Kf4 Rc7 and although Black stands a little better, there is still a lot of work to do. 37…Rag8 38.Kf2 f4 39.Ne5 e3+ 40.Ke2 Rxg3 41.Rxg3 Rxg3 42.Rxa5 Rg2+ 43.Ke1 f3 44.Rxd5 Rg1# 0–1

Last week’s game between Aitken and Keffler ended with the combination 1…QxR+! forcing 2.NxQ Nf3+! and 3.Re1 mate cannot be avoided.

The problemist Arthur G. Pike of Redlands, Tiverton, died recently at the age of 92. Several of his 2-movers have appeared in this column over the years, and this is one of his best.

White to mate in 2 moves

Keith Arkell Simul. (10.06.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell visited the fledgling chess club at East Budleigh at the weekend. Popular though the hard-working GM is, attendance was affected by the fact that, quite by chance,  there were a number of other activities that weekend, not least the WECU Council Meeting at Ilminster and Devon were due to play Lancashire in the Semi-Final of the National Stages. Wives will only permit so much chess activity in any one weekend. That was bad luck on the Organiser and founder of the new club, Brian Gosling. 

Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable session. Keith took on all-comers, playing everyone twice, and afterwards going through the games from memory, giving advice on the run of play. He picked out the 2 games that gave him the most trouble and they were awarded book prizes. These were Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott of the Exmouth Club, and their prizes, suitable inscribed, were presented to them at their Club in the Royal Beacon Hotel. Keith had analysed their games, the scores of which were posted on the ECF website together with an account of the occasion.

Arkell in action: Belt nearest and Scott furthest.

 

Belt & Scott play through one of the games, with their book prizes on show.

 

They found a better move - but too late!

Cotswold Congress at New Venue (06.06.2015.)

The 47th Cotswold Congress was held over the recent bank holiday weekend at a new venue, King’s School in Gloucester. It followed close on the heels of the recent Frome event, but this didn’t seem to affect the local players’ appetite for chess as about 100 took part.

The Open was won at a canter by 13 year old Pavel Asenov (Witney) who scored 5½/6 and is rapidly becoming one of the top players on the Westcountry circuit. 2nd= on 4 pts were the more familiar names of Chris Beaumont (Bristol), Joey Stewart (Gloucester), Ian Robson (Wotton Hall) and Graham Bolt (Exeter).

Major Section: (U-155) 1st Andrew Munn (Downend). 2nd= Max French (Frome); Richard Dixon (Gloucester); Tim Acton (St. Albans) & Brendon O’Gorman (DHSS).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st Stephen Crockett (Redditch). 2nd Neil Graham. 3rd= Peter Sartain (Hanham) & John Constable (Bude).

Joint winner of the Frome Congress was Grandmaster Matthew Turner, chess master at Millfield School, who enjoyed the finish to this game.

White: Matthew Turner (237). Black: Jeremy Fallowfield (180).

English Opening – Anglo-Dutch Defence.

1.c4 f5 Black goes in for a Dutch Defence style of position. 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.e4 fxe4 7.dxe4 0–0 8.Nge2 c5 9.0–0 Nc6 10.h3 e5 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Kh2 Anticipating Black’s next move. 12…Qd7 13.Bg5 Rf7 14.Qd2 Raf8 15.f3 Supporting the e4 pawn and blocking out the potential threat of the doubled rooks down the f-file. 15…Nd4 16.Nxd4 cxd4 17.Rac1 Kh8 18.Qa5 b6 19.Qa3 Ng8 20.Bd2 Bh6 21.Bxh6 Nxh6 22.f4 Ng8 Or 22…Bxd5 23.cxd5 exf4 24.gxf4 Rxf4 25.Rxf4 Rxf4 26.Qb4 winning the d-pawn. 23.fxe5 dxe5 24.Rxf7 Rxf7 25.c5 bxc5 26.Rxc5 Qd6 27.b4 Qf8 28.Qc1 h6 29.Rc6 Bxd5 30.exd5 Both sides have their major pieces cooperating nicely and Black’s central passed pawns have potential.  30…Rf2 Normally rooks do their best work along their 7th rank in the later stages of the game, but in this case it leads to problems. 31.Rc8 Qf3 Black’s queen has to move so it may as well threaten mate… except that he is mated first. 32.Qxh6# The “defending” knight was pinned.1–0

In last week’s position, White had overlooked that after 1.Nd5+ Black could simply take it with 1…Qxd5 as after 2.Rxd5 Rc1+ is mate.

In 2009, a record was set at the British Championships when Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) and Andrew Greet (St. Austell), representing their respective counties, met in a match in a helium balloon tethered 400 ft above Torquay sea-front. If that’s difficult to believe, the film is still available in 2 parts on YouTube (just type in “balloon chess” – it had 1,500+ views at last count).

They met again recently, this time at ground level, in the 4Nations Chess League. In this position, how did Greet (Black) finish the game sharply?

Black to play and win.

E. Devon League Annual Prizegiving 2015 (04.06.2015.)

The League’s annual prizegiving took place at its usual venue of the Manor Hotel, Exmouth, followed by a match.

 The winners’ names were announced by League President, Brian Aldwin, and the presentation was made to a representative of the winning team concerned.  (see photographs below).  Details of the various sections can be summarised as follows:

  Premiership    
  Div. 1: 4 Bds  – U-640    
    1 2 3 4 5 6 Tot.  
1 Exeter Rooks X 2 0 2 2 2 8 Cottew Cup
2 Newton Abbot 0 X 2 2 2 1 7  
3 Exeter Bishops 2 0 X 2 0 2 6  
4 Exmouth Eagles 0 0 0 X 2 2 4 GP: Turner Cup
5 Exmouth Elephants 0 0 2 0 X 2 4  
6 Tiverton 0 1 0 0 0 X 1  

 

  Championship    
  Div. 2: 4 Bds – U-480    
    1 2 3 4 5 Tot.  
1 E. Budleigh X 0 2 1 2 5   Polsloe Cup
2 Seaton 2 X 2 1 0 5   Polsloe Cup
3 Sidmouth 0 0 X 2 2 4 GP: Mainstay Cup
4 Exeter 1 1 0 X 2 4  
5 Tiverton 0 2 0 0 X 0  

 

  RapidPlay    
  4 Bds   -   U-560    
    1 2 3 4 5 Sub. bonus Total
1 Exeter Prestissimo X 2 4 2 3 11 4 15
2 Tiverton 2 X 2 4 4 12 2 14
3 Exmouth 0 2 X 2 4 8 1 9
4 E. Budleigh 2 0 2 X 1 5 0 5
5 Exeter Gambits 1 0 0 3 X 4 1 5

The presentations were followed by a match between those present. In the past this has been between teams drawn from the 3 coastal clubs and those inland i.e Coast vs Country, but this formula has become somewhat redundant in recent years, with the arrival of Newton Abbot on the one side and the demise of Sidmouth on the other. Therefore it had been agreed to try a revival of an old formula, not used in Devon for over 20 years.  That is a President’s vs Match Captain’s match, with teams drawn from whoever turned up on the night. The way it worked was as follows:

(a) Players likely to be presnt should submit their names beforehand.

(b) The players are the listed in grade order, top to bottom, and pairing cards made out.

(c) Once it is ascertained they are present in the room, Team A has the top-graded player. Then Team B is then allocated the next 2 top-graded players, and then Team A gets the next 2 – and so on to the bottom of the list. This guarantees two teams of approximately equal strength. The only slight adjustments that need to be made is where this formula pairs 2 players from the same club. It is unlikely that two players from Newton Abbot or Seaton would wish to travel a long distance only to play a club colleague they’d played in their club the night before.

(d) It had been decided to make it a rapidplay match – 30 minutes per player per game, with colours reversed for a 2nd game.

The evenness of the teams was demonstrated by the outcome. All the President’s men won the 1st round by 9-7, but lost the 2nd round by the same score, making it 16-all at the end. Details as follows:-

  Captain’s Team       President’s Team    
Bd.   Rd 1 Rd 2     Rd 1 Rd 2
1 T. J. Paulden 1 1   K. J. Hurst 0 0
2 S. Martin ½ ½   A. W. Brusey ½ ½
3 M. Shaw ½ 1   G. Body ½ 0
4 C. J. Scott ½ 0   T. F. Thynne ½ 1
5 K. P. Atkins ½ 0   O. E. Wensley ½ 1
6 E. Palmer 1 0   B. G. Gosling 0 1
7 K. Hunter 1 1   M. Belt 0 0
8 A. Dowse 1 1   J. Maloney 0 0
9 R. H. Jones ½ 0   R. Scholes ½ 1
10 M. Hussey 0 0   R. Player 1 1
11 Mrs. H. Welch 0 1   G. Fotheringham 1 0
12 S. Blake 0 ½   M. Maber 1 ½
13 G. J. Jenkins 0 1   A. Brinkley 1 0
14 M. Lee 0 1   G. Elliott 1 0
15 T. Murray 0 0   P. Darlow 1 1
16 T. Miner ½ 1   B. Marsh ½ 0
    7 9     9 7
    16     16

 

Eddy Palmer (Exeter Rooks) receives the Cottew Cup as League Champions, from Brian Aldwin and Tim Paulden.

Meyrick Shaw receives the Turner Cup from League President, Brian Aldwin, as the Grading Prize win for Exmouth Eagles.

Hazel Welch (Seaton) & Brian Gosling (East Budleigh) share the Div. 2 Mainstay Cup.

Steve Martin (Sidmouth) takes the Div. 2 Grading Prize.

 

Finally the fun stuff is over and it's down to the serious business of the evening.

Gold Coins Raining Down (16.05.2015.)

Cornwall’s venture into the National Stages of the Inter-County Championship ended at the first hurdle when they lost to Bedfordshire 5-11 at Weston-Super-Mare. They were outgraded on every board bar one, but not greatly so. In any case, they cannot but be delighted with their overall performance this season. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1. Andrew Greet (229) 1–0 C. Ross (201). 2. Jeremy Menadue (190) ½-½ S. Ledger (195). 3. Theo Slade (178) ½-½ G. Kenworthy (190). 4. Mark Hassall (173) 0-1 A. Elwin (184). 5. Grant Healey (176) 0–1 P. Habershon (182). 6. David Saqui (170) 0-1 G. Borrowdale (181). 7. Robin Kneebone (173) 0-1 R. Freeman (178). 8. Simon Bartlett (168) 0-1 K. Williamson (177). 9. Lloyd Retallick (167) 1-0 M. Botteley (176). 10. Colin Sellwood (153) 0–1 S. Pike (176). 11. Gary Trudeau (157) 1-0 B. Valentine (166). 12. John Wilman (150) 0-1 N. Collacott (165). 13. Jeff Nicholas (150) ½-½ A. Matthews (160). 14. Richard Smith (147) ½-½ T. Lawson (154). 15. David R Jenkins (127) 0-1 C. Sollaway (140). 16. Richard Stephens U/G 0-1 B. Pike (92).

Referring back to their historic win against Devon in March and the game M. Shaw vs Wilman, given earlier, in which Black’s winning move was described by Jeremy Menadue as “what they used to call ‘a gold coins on the board moment’”. Where did that saying come from?

Apparently, it derives from the 1912 game S. Lewitzky vs Frank Marshall at Breslau. In his “autobiography”, ghosted by Reinfeld, Marshall introduces it thus:- “Perhaps you have heard about this game which so excited the spectators that they showered me with gold pieces! I have often been asked whether this really happened. The answer is – yes, that is what happened, literally”. Here is the game, shorn of most of his analysis.

White: S. Lewitzky. Black F. J. Marshall

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Bg5 0–0 9.dxc5 Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Rad1 Qc5 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Rxd5 Nd4 20.Qh5 Ref8 21.Re5 Rh6 22.Qg5 Rxh3 23.Rc5 Qg3!! (see diagram)

Black's gold coin moment?

 

The gold coin moment. “The most elegant move I have ever played!” wrote Marshall.” The queen is offered 3 ways and White cannot accept the offer in any form. (a) If 24.hxg3 Ne2 mate. (b) If 24.fxg3 Ne2+ 25. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, and (c) if 24.Qxg3 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Nxg3+ 26.Kg1 Nxf1 and Black will be a piece up”.

However, a number of authorities are unsure as to the truth of the story. Golombek, in his A History of Chess, casts doubt on it, as does Edward Winter in his Chess Notes. Did the citizens of Breslau in 1912 really have gold coins jangling in their pockets in case they felt a sudden urge to shower them on folk, however deserving? The Cornish certainly didn’t.

Dave Howard’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Ne4!

Frome Congress Approaches (09.05.2015.)

White: S. A. Whatley (182). Black: P. Byway (185).

Sicilian Defence – Sveshnikov Variation.  [B22]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 The signature move of the Sveshnikov line, which is intended to produce lively chess. 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bg2 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.c3 Nc6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nbd2 h6 11.Nb3 Bb6 12.Bf4 Bg4 13.h3 Bh5 14.g4 Bg6 15.g5 This early aggression soon rebounds on him. 15…Nh5 16.Bc1 hxg5 17.Nxg5 Qf6 18.Qg4 Ne5 19.Qh4 Nd3 20.Bxd5 Rad8 21.Bf3 Nhf4 22.Bxf4 Nxf4 23.Qg4? Black now cleverly wins a piece, thanks to White’s weakening of his own king’s position. Better was 23.Bg2. 23…Qxg5! 24.Qxg5 Nxh3+ 25.Kg2 Nxg5 26.Bxb7 Having won a piece, Black will now be seeking to make equal exchanges whenever he can to increase the material differential. 26…Be4+ 27.Bxe4 Nxe4 28.Rh1 Nxf2 29.Rh4 Rd1 30.a4 Rfd8 31.a5 Rxa1 32.Nxa1 The bishop will be forced to abandon its protection of the knight, but Black still has enough to win. 32…Bxa5 33.Kxf2 Rd2+ 34.Ke3 Rxb2 35.Kd3 Rg2 36.Rh3 g5 37.Nb3 g4 38.Re3 Bb6 39.Re8+ Kg7 40.c4 Rg3+ 41.Kc2 Re3 42.Rc8 g3 43.c5 g2 44.cxb6 axb6 45.Nd4 g1Q Now it is White’s turn to administer a knight fork, but it’s too little, too late. 46.Nf5+ Kh7 47.Nxe3 Qxe3 48.Kb2 Qe5+ 0–1

The odds against either of them winning this year, or anyone else of that grade level, lengthened considerably after entries were received from the Lithuanian IM, Gediminas Sarakauskas (226) and Portuguese David Martins (212), with the possibility of other top players entering at the last minute, as they often do.

The popular IM, Colin Crouch, passed away recently at the age of 58 after a second brain haemorrhage. His first, a decade ago, had left him almost blind, but this had not prevented him from becoming a top class writer of chess books, coaching juniors and playing regularly on the congress circuit. His last book, Magnus Force – How Carlson beat Kasparov’s Record, was published by Everyman in 2013. He was a top junior in his day, winning the British U-16 title in 1972, subsequently adding the U-18 title.

Last week’s position ended much like the previous week’s but on the other side of the board, and, as before, all Black’s moves are forced – there is nothing better for him to play. Morphy (W) played 1.Nc5 discovered check; 1…Kb8. 2.Nd8+ Kc8 3.Nb6 double check. 3…Kb8. 4.Qc8+ and the rook must take, allowing 5.Nd7 mate. This sequence is also known as an epaulet mate, as in the final position the king has his two rooks apparently at his shoulder like a pair of military-style epaulets.

Reader Dave Howard of East Harptree has just sent in this new 2-mover.

White mates in 2 against any defence.

Plus ca Change… (02.05.2015.)

During the recent West of England Championship I celebrated my Golden Wedding and was able to reassemble the whole wedding party, bridesmaids, Best Man and ushers, which set me thinking on the lines of how some things have changed and some haven’t. The French have a phrase – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The same applies to the WECU Championship of half a century ago. It was held in Weymouth that year and attracted 94 players, divided into 10 smaller sections, including sections for ladies, girls, juniors, reserves A & B etc. Today, all entries are consolidated into just 3 sections, Open, Major and Minor, based on grade alone.

Many of those players involved at Weymouth have since moved on to the great chequerboard in the sky, of course, but a significant number are still very involved in the game, both as players and organisers. Trefor Thynne, Ivor Annetts, Brian Gosling, John Wheeler, Phil Meade and Leon Burnett, for example, all did well that year and have been very active in westcountry chess ever since. Scillonian David Ellis went on to become Champion the following year before emigrating to Perth, Australia, where he still conducts a chess column in his local paper. Burnett became Champion in 1966 and was still playing strongly in the recent Bristol Congress.

The winner of this game was awarded the Brigadier Morris Trophy for the best game by a junior in 1965. Today, David Shire is a noted problem composer – but what happened to the trophy is a mystery.

White: D. J. Shire. Black: B. G. Gosling. Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 Rb8 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.Rg1 b5 14.a3 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.Bh3 Nc5 17.f5 All moves so far are identical to the Hindle-Gligoric game at the 1965 Hastings Christmas Congress; the boys really knew the latest opening theory. 17…Qb7 Attacks b2 and prevents e5. For example, Gligoric played 17…Bd7 18.e5! opening up attacking possibilities, and the game went on… 18…d5 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Nxe6 Bxe6 21.Bxe6 Nxe6 22.Nxd5 and Hindle won, something of a sensation at the time. 18.f6 Bf8 19.b3 Rg8 20.Rde1 gxf6 21.Nd5! Threatening a knight fork on f6. 21…exd5 22.exd5+ And now White proceeds to wreak havoc. 22…Kd8 23.Qxf6+ Kc7 24.Qxf7+ Kb6 25.Qxg8 Bxh3 26.Qxf8 Qc7 27.Nc6! Threatening Re7 1–0.

Last week’s Morphy game ended with a combination that is well-known because of its ingenuity but one that rarely occurs in practice. 1.Qa3+ Kg8 (if Ke8 then Qe8 mate) 2.Ne7+ Kf8 3.Ng6+ Kg8 4.Qf8+ Rxf8 5.Ke7 mate, known as a smothered mate, as the king is hemmed in by its own pieces, in this case the rooks.

Having indicated how rare it is in actual play, here is another example, incredibly also by Morphy – in the same year. Just repeat the drill.

White to play and win in 5

Exmouth Add Div. 2 to Div. 1 title (25.04.2015.)

Exmouth hosted a Newton Abbot team, knowing that a win for either side would be enough to win the Mamhead Cup Devon’s Division 2, although Exmouth had the feint comfort that a 2-2 draw would give them the title. To this end, both captains had packed their teams with grading points up to the permitted maximum of 639. Both clubs had their top player on Bd. 1, but the difference then was that Newton Abbot had averaged their next 3 boards, while Exmouth had packed everything they had on to Bds. 2 & 3, and filling in an improving player on Bd. 4, in the hope that he might be able to extract something from his game. Team captain, Oliver Wensley, was unable to fit himself in the team, and was obliged to watch from the sidelines.  

This particular hope was not borne out as Blake’s opponent, the rapidly improving Vignesh Ramesh, whose latest rapidplay grade is actually 160+, won and Exmouth went 0-1 down, which put increasing pressure on the other 3. For some time, there seemed little between the sides in each game. Eventually, Mark Abbott, using the greater freedom that his pieces had, managed to conjure up a sharp winning attack, thereby levelling the score.

Bds 1 and 3 both went down to the final seconds of normal time and final minutes of extra time. Stephens was gradually being positionally stifled, as Mackle got a pawn to the 7th and his opponent had to commit a knight to h8 to block it. Eventually he had to concede as Mackle could pick up pawns at will. Shaw had gone a piece up, but Brooks found a lot of counterplay as his pieces were better unified. Shaw had to reconfigure and reorganise his army, which he managed. With c. 2 minutes left for each player he won a central pawn with a knight fork that swapped off queens and immediately after a bishop fork won a rook, and with it the game. 

A finish to the match that was as nerve-wracking for the spectators as the players. Thus Exmouth added the Mamhead Cup to the Bremridge Cup they had won a fortnight before.

The match details and resulting league table as follows:

  Mamhead Cup       Div. 2  25.04.15.  
  Exmouth Grd     Newton Abbot  
1 J. K. Stephens 194 0 1 D. Mackle 203
2 M. V. Abbott 173 1 0 M. Hui 150
3 M. Shaw 170 1 0 P. Brooks 154
4 S. Blake 102 0 1 V. Ramesh 132
  totals 639 2 2   639
  Mamhead Div. 2 1 2 3 4 5 + - pts
1 Exmouth X 1 2 2 2 11 5 7
2 Newton Abbot 1 X 1 1 2 10 6 5
3 Tiverton 0 1 X 2 2 9 7 5
4 Barnstaple 0 1 0 X ? 1
5 Teignmouth 0 0 0 ? X 0

The Exmouth team: seated (l-r) Meyrick Shaw & John Stephens. standing: Simon Blake & Oliver Wensley. (Mark Abbott arrived later).

Newton Abbot team: seated Paul Brooks & Dominic Mackle. Standing: Mark Hui & Vignesh Ramesh.

Bd. 1 & 2 get down to action - Stephens & Abbott.

Bds. 4 & 3 - Blake & Shaw.

Arkell Wins Bristol Spring Congress Open (25.04.2015.)

Keith Arkell followed up his recent success in the West of England Championship by winning the Bristol Spring Congress last weekend with a maximum 5/5 score; no surprise as he was by far the strongest player involved. In 2nd= place were Juraj Sokolsky (Slovakia), Chris Beaumont (Clifton), Steve Dilleigh (Horfield) and Richard Savory (Downend), all on 3½. Savory was awarded the British Championship Qualifying Place and on tie-break won the Bristol League Trophy for being the highest-placed player from the local league. Grading prizes: (U-176) 1st Theo Slade (Barnstaple). (U-160) 1st Kajetan Wandowicz (Horfield).  

Major: (U-155) 1st Max French (Frome). 2nd= Alan Papier (Clifton) & George Georgiou (Swindon). Grading prizes: (U-139) 1st Adrian Walker (Stroud). (U-125) 1st James Galloway. Papier became the Bristol League U-155 Champion.

Minor Section: (U-125) 1st= D. McGeeney (Cabot); G. Mill-Wilson (Yate); R. Ludlow (Trowbridge); A. Sage (Bath); R. Morris-Weston; D. Archer (Godalming); K. Langmaid (Yate) & A. Drummond (Cabot). Grading prizes: (U-108) 1st W. Grant (Frome). U-100: D. Woodruff (Keynsham). Junior prize: Harry Grieve (Guildford). Langmaid became the Bristol League U-125 Champion.

Here is a sharp finish from Rd. 4.

White: K. C. Arkell (234). Black: D. Pugh (184).

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e4 d6 6.dxe6 Bxe6 7.Ng5 Nc6 8.Nxe6 fxe6 9.Bc4 Qd7 10.a4 0–0–0 An immediate invitation for White to attack on the queenside. 11.Bg5 Be7 12.a5 creating a possible outpost on b6 for his knight. 12…Kb8 Avoiding possible nasty knight checks. 13.0–0 h6 14.Bd2 g5 Black must be doing the same thing on the kingside, but those pawns have a long way to travel. 15.Na4 d5 16.exd5 exd5 17.Be2 Nd4 18.Bc3 Nxe2+ 19.Qxe2 Rhe8 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qf3 Bd4? 21…Be5 would have avoided material loss and got in a dig at White’s king e.g. 22.Nxc5 Qd6 23.Nd3 Bxh2+. 22.c3 g4 23.Qd3 Be5 24.Nxc5 Qd6 25.b4 Bxh2+ White is not worried by the check, in fact it gains a tempo. 26.Kh1 Be5 27.Rae1 h5 28.Re2 Re7 29.Rfe1 Qf6 30.Kg1 Bd6 Extra defence for the rook with the hope of removing that awkward knight, yet from this fairly even-looking position, the Grandmaster strikes like a cobra and suddenly it’s all over. 31.Rxe7 Bxe7 32.Re6 Qg5 33.Qg3+ Ka7 34.Rxa6+! 1–0 If 34…bxa6 35.Qc7+ Ka8 36.Qb7#.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was

1.Ng3! If 1…Ke3 2.Bg1#; 1…Ke5 2.Qb2#

1…Nxe4 2.Nf5# or 1… any other knight move 2.Bg1#. The par solving time allowed for the experts was 7 minutes, so how did you compare?

The American, Paul Morphy (1837-1884), is considered one of the all-time chess geniuses. In this game he has neglected his piece development somewhat more than Black (Thomas Jefferson Bryan), yet still wins in 5 moves, even against the best defence.

Morphy (W) to play and win in 5.

National Success for Devon Club (18.04.2015.)

Devon had a club success at national level for the first time in a number of years last weekend when Newton Abbot won the Major Section of the newly-reformatted National Club Championships. Their Club Secretary, Trefor Thynne reports:-

Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, 11th -12th April 2015

A Newton Abbot Perspective:    

Newton Abbot Chess Club scored a notable success for Devon chess when they won, at their first attempt, the MAJOR Section (U-175 grade average)  at the revamped National Club Championships held in Birmingham over the weekend of  11th – 12th April. The Club’s 1st team was as surprised as anyone by the ease of their victory as they won all four of their matches and finished 3 points clear of the runners-up. Not only that, but the Club’s 2nd team did very well in coming 3rd out of 10 teams in the INTERMEDIATE Section (U-150 grade average).

The idea of entering teams for this event had come about when several of the club’s members decided to do something different from the usual run of local league competitions. The National Club Championships, formerly run like the FA Cup with a season-long knock-out campaign (although with the addition of a Plate competition for Rd. 1 losers) had somewhat lost its cachet with the expansion of the 4NCL, and in 2014 the ECF decided to reinvent the competition as a weekend congress at High Wycombe for club teams. Each team would consist of 4 players and would play 4 matches over the weekend. This year the event switched to the conveniently central location of Birmingham and attracted an increased entry into its 4 sections (Open, Major, Intermediate and Minor).

The Newton Abbot club (which incidentally celebrates its 10th birthday this year) entered two teams whose members were:

MAJOR:   Stephen Homer (184); John Fraser (175); Trefor Thynne (168); Matthew Wilson (157). (av. 171)

INTERMEDIATE: Andrew Kinder (146); Wilf Taylor (142); Vignesh Ramesh (138); Jacquie Barber-Lafon (121). (av. 136).

It was noteworthy that each of the two teams contained one of Devon’s best junior players: 17 yr- old John Fraser, already an England international, in the Major team and 14 yr -old Vignesh Ramesh in the Intermediate, both products of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.

 MAJOR SECTION RESULTS:

Rd. 1:  Newton Abbot (171) 2½ – 1½ Wanstead and Woodford (173).

(Homer 1; Fraser ½; Wilson 0; Thynne 1)                                       

Rd. 2:  Newton Abbot 2½ – 1½ DHSS (167).

(Homer ½; Fraser 1; Wilson ½; Thynne ½)

Rd. 3: Newton Abbot 3 -1  GLCC (173).

(Homer 1; Fraser ½; Thynne ½; Wilson 1).

Rd. 4: Newton Abbot 2½ – 1½ Solihull  (169).

(Homer 0; Fraser 1; Thynne ½; Wilson 1).

Individual scores: Homer 2½ Fraser 3 Thynne 2½ Wilson 2½

TEAM PLACINGS:

1st Newton Abbot 8:   2nd Wanstead and Woodford 5:        3rd Drunken Knights                         

4th Solihull 3:              5th  DHSS 2:                                                   6th  GLCC 2.

INTERMEDIATE SECTION RESULTS:

Rd. 1:  Newton Abbot (136) 1-3  Leamington (125).

(Kinder 0; Taylor 0; Ramesh 0; Barber-Lafon 1).

Rd. 2: Newton Abbot  3 -1 Redditch  (135).

(Kinder 1; Taylor ½; Ramesh 1; Barber-Lafon ½).

Rd. 3:  Newton Abbot  2½ – 1½ Wanstead & Woodford  (144).

(Kinder ½; Taylor 1; Ramesh 0; Barber-Lafon 1)

Rd. 4: Newton Abbot 2 – 2 Sutton Coldfield (144).

(Kinder 0; Taylor 0; Ramesh 1; Barber-Lafon 1).

Individual scores: Kinder 1½; Taylor 1½;  Ramesh 2;  Barber-Lafon 3½).

TEAM PLACINGS:

1st Sutton Coldfield 7;                 2nd Braille Chess Association 6;        3rd Newton Abbot 5;                             4th Newport (Salop)  5;          5th Leamington 4;                              6th Warley Quinborne 4;          7th Redditch 4;                                          8th Wanstead & Woodford 2;             9th Wolverhampton 2;            10th  GLCC 1:

The pleasing thing about the performance of the Newton Abbot 1st team was the consistency over all 4 boards with no weak link. Each player scored vital wins in closely-fought matches. Considering that the majority of previous winners of this event have come from the powerful south-east of England, this victory is a notable triumph for Westcountry chess (one leading ECF officer present actually asked me after the prize-giving “Where exactly is Newton Abbot? “ I was pleased to reassure him that yes, good chess was played in the far south-west and no, we did not have straw sticking out of our ears!

The club’s second team also exceeded expectations since they had the 3rd lowest average grade of the 10 teams. All four team members contributed wins at vital moments but the outstanding score (3 ½) was that of Devon and West of England Ladies’ Champion on Bd 4, Jacquie Barber-Lafon.

To conclude, the experiment of entering this new-style event can be called a resounding success and it perhaps paves the way for other Devon clubs in the future. Certainly the format was much appreciated by all teams who competed in an enjoyable atmosphere of friendly rivalry. Accommodation (discounted rates on offer for chess players) in the Holiday Inn was excellent, as were the playing conditions in the hotel.

Newton Abbot Chess Club members look forward to defending their title in 2016. Let us hope to see other Devon clubs also take up the challenge of competing on the national stage.

Trefor Thynne.

NB: Wilson finished early and left for home, thereby missing the team’s photo opportunity, but the organisers insisted on 4 players being present, so Andrew Kinder appears in both teams below.

1st Team: (l-r) Alex Holowczak (organiser); Thynne; Homer; Fraser & Kinder.

2nd Team: (l-r) Ramesh; Taylor; Kinder & Barber-Lafon.