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Posts Tagged ‘chess’

Chess on the Radio? (23.07.2016.)

Back in the day, when Adam was a lad, or more precisely the late 1950s, the BBC radio put on a regular chess programme on Network 3 on a Sunday afternoon. Chess on the radio was always going to be a challenge, but they rose to it, and included talks, reminiscences and consultation matches, in which I clearly remember hearing a teenage Bobby Fischer’s New York twang, as he consulted with Barden against Peter Clarke & Jonathan Penrose.

Another idea was to invite listeners to send in their best game, from which the experts would select the most promising six and these would take on, in a simultaneous match, the Yugoslav GM, Svetozar Gligoric, their games being analysed on air later by an expert.

One of the six was 19 year old Roger Scowen; now 76 he regularly plays in World and European Seniors events, and on the Westcountry congress circuit.

This was his game, with notes greatly reduced from those supplied by Leonard Barden from the book based on the series, The Chess Treasury of the Air.

White: S. Gligoric. Black R. S. Scowen.

French Defence -  Winawer Variation

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 This has been tried before with varying success, but it’s probably slightly inferior to 6…Ne7 and if 7.Qg4 Nf5. 7.Qg4 f5 8.Qg3 8.exf6 would only develop Black’s game after 8…Nxf6. 8…Ne7 Black was rather unlucky to fall into an opening variation that was thought to be quite good in Jan. 1960, but highly suspect by March. 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7 cxd4 So far the game has followed the textbooks, but now Gligoric played  11.Kd1 Mr. Scowen probably didn’t know that White had already been successful with this move against Tal, Botvinnik & Petrosian, as development of the KB is unhindered. 11…dxc3 12.Nf3 Nbc6 13.Bg5 Bd7 14.Bb5 This powerful move virtually refutes Black’s opening play. White’s aim is to exchange all the minor pieces except his knight and Black’s bishop, which will be severely handicapped by its own pawn chain. 14…a6 15.Bxc6 Bxc6 16.Bxe7 Rf8 17.Nd4 Qxe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 Black’s advanced pawn is weak, while on the other wing White has a pawn ready to advance. Now see how a GM transforms these advantages into a win. 19.Ke2 Rh8 20.f4 Rag8 21.Kf3 Rh7 22.Rab1 Kd7 23.Rb3 Rhg7 24.g3 Rh7 25.Rxc3 Rh3 Now Black threatens to regain material with R1xg3+. 26.Rb1 Rxh2 27.Nxc6 bxc6 28.Rb7+ Kc8 29.Re7 Rh3 30.Kg2 Rh4 31.Rxc6+ Kd8 32.Rexe6 Resigns.

This game illustrates the advantage you have when your opponent is saddled with a permanent weakness like a vulnerable pawn or blocked-in piece.

In last week’s position, Mordue (W) played 1.Bxh7+ which is not exactly the prelude to a spectacular mating attack, but does win the defending pawn. 1…Kxh7 2.Qd3+ and he gets the d6 bishop back.

This position occurred in the 2007 West of England Championship in Exmouth, between Joshua Hall (W) and Alan Brusey. Can you advise White on a good move?

White to play and win

Bristol Summer Congress Results (09.07.2016.)

In the Bristol League’s Summer Congress last month top seed in the Open was GM Keith Arkell, and though his Rd. 3 victory over IM Chris Beaumont, the second seed, was compensation for Chris’ victory two weeks earlier at the Cotswold Congress, his Rd. 2 draw against Steve Dilleigh prevented him from winning this year’s Grand Prix outright.

Open: 1st Keith Arkell (242 – Paignton). 2nd Carl Bicknell (201 – Horfield). 5 players came 3rd=.

Major (U-155):  1st Vladimir Bovtramovics. 2nd= Robert Wallman (142 – Olton), Ian Bush (142 – Magdalen College School) and Lynda Roberts (148 – Thornbury).

Minor (U-125): 1st Lance Carter (113e – Maidenhead). 5/5. 2nd= Kevin Markey (Glos)& L. Abecassis.

White: C. Beaumont – Black: K. Arkell

Sicilian Defence – Maroczy Bind.  [B39]

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 Contravening the unwritten rule of not moving the same piece twice in the opening. 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 Ne6 10.Rc1 Qa5 11.Bd3 d6 12.0–0 Bd7 13.f4 Bd4 14.Bxd4 Nxd4 15.Nd5 Nc6 Not 15…Qxa2?? allowing 16.Nc7+ winning a rook or 16.Bb1 Qxb2 17.Rf2 winning the knight. 16.b4 Nxb4 17.f5 Nc6 18.c5 dxc5 19.Bb5 a6 Not 19…Qxb5?? 20.Nc7+. 20.Bxc6 Bxc6 21.f6 Bxd5 22.Qxd5 exf6 23.Rxf6 0–0 The key to the endgame lies in the pawn structure – Black’s two islands of 3 pawns against White’s isolanis. 24.Rcf1 Qc7 25.h4 Rae8 26.Rd6 Rxe4 0-1 White loses another pawn, so resigns. If 27.Rd7 Qe5.

His last round game was not without interest, as a crowd gathered round.

White: K. Arkell. Black: J. Marco.

King’s Indian Defence [E60]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0–0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d5 Nb6 8.Nbd2 e6 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Nd4 c6 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.c5 dxc5 13.Qc2 Qe7 14.Nb3 Nbd7 15.Be3 b6 16.Bxc6 Rac8 17.Bb7 Rc7 18.Bg2 Nd5 19.Bxd5 exd5 20.Rad1 Nf6 21.Bg5 Qe4 22.Qxe4 Nxe4 23.Bf4 Rxf4 24.gxf4 Bxb2 25.Rxd5 Although Black is the exchange down, his 3 queenside pawns may yet play a part in the outcome. 25…c4 26.Nd4 Nc3 27.Rd8+ Kf7 28.Kg2 Nxa2 29.Nc2 a5 30.Rb8 Rc6 31.Rb7+ Kf6 32.Rb1 c3 33.e4 g5 34.Nd4 c2 35.e5+ Kg6 36.Nxc2 Rxc2 37.Rxb6+ Kf5 38.R1xb2 Rxb2 39.Rxb2 The queenside issues are resolved and attention switches to the other wing.  39…Nb4 40.fxg5 Kxg5 41.Re2 Nd5 42.e6 Kf6 43.Ra2 Nf4+ 44.Kg3 Nxe6 45.Rxa5 Ng7 46.Kg4 Ne6 47.f4 Ng7 48.Ra6+ Kf7 49.Rh6 Kg8 50.f5 Ne8 51.Kg5 Kg7 52.Ra6 Kg8 53.Ra8 Kf7 54.Ra7+ Kg8 55.Rd7 Ng7 56.h4 1–0

In last week’s position, only Black’s knight is preventing Qb5 mate, so RxN removes that defence and Black must do something about it, which does not include taking the rook, which is free to move away.

This new 3-mover from Dave Howard is unusual in having no White pawns.  White to play.

White to mate in 3.

Teignmouth Chess Club History (02.07.2016.)

Chess history can be a fascinating aspect of the game. This generally takes the form of biographies of great players with a collection of their best games. It can also take the form of the story of great tournaments or head-to-head matches, St, Petersburg 1914 being a classic.

Less common are the histories of individual chess clubs. In my archives I have several, including A History of the Metropolitan Chess Club 1890-1990, by Moore & Deery, and histories of the Plymouth and Exeter clubs.

The latest addition to this list is Teignmouth Chess Club 1901 – 2016 compiled by Bill Frost with numerous contributions from fellow members past and present and a joint publication by Chess Devon and Keverel Chess. It comprises 66 A4 pages with 46 photographs and numerous games, and costs £13 plus p&p. For copies, contact Bill Frost via billfrost@hotmail.co.uk.

An excellent and valuable project, beautifully executed and finished.

The Teignmouth club was founded in 1901 and competed for the county championship (the Bremridge Cup) that year and every year it has been held thereafter. Although they had to wait a hundred years before they won it, their consistency is admirable.

The book recalls how, in 1965, ten club members took on the great Andrew Thomas in a simultaneous match.

White: A. R. B. Thomas. Black: R. H. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Wing Gambit [B40]

1.e4 c5 2.b4 Having just given a talk on the virtues of the opening, A.R.B. felt duty bound to play it on this occasion. 2…cxb4 3.d4 e6 4.Nf3 Ne7 5.a3 d5 6.axb4 dxe4 7.Ne5 Nf5 8.Bb5+ Nd7 9.0–0 Bxb4 10.c3 Be7 11.Nd2 e3 12.Ne4 If 12.fxe3 Nxe3 winning the exchange. 12…exf2+ 13.Rxf2 0–0 14.Bxd7 Bxd7 15.Qh5 Bc6 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Bg5 Bxg5 18.Nxg5 h6 19.Ne4 a5 Once Black’s a-pawn starts to advance in this opening it can become a nuisance. 20.Re1 a4 21.g4 Qh4 22.Qxh4 Nxh4 23.Ra1 Ra7 24.Ra3 Rb8 25.Rfa2 Nf3+ 26.Kf2 Nxh2! 27.Kg3 Nxg4 28.Kxg4 f5+ (a) winning the piece back and (b) obtaining 2 passed pawns. 29.Kf4 fxe4 30.Rxa4 Rxa4 31.Rxa4 Rb3 32.Rc4 Rb6 33.Kxe4 Kf7 34.Ra4 g5 35.Ke5 g4 36.Ra7+ Kg6 37.Ra8 Kh5 38.Kxe6 c5+ 39.Ke5 cxd4 40.cxd4 By this time, the other 9 games had finished and it was just him and me. 40…g3 41.d5 Rg6! vital to get the rook behind the pawn and in a position to protect the king and other pawn. 42.Ra1 If 42.d6 g2 43.Ra1 g1Q 44.Rxg1 Rxg1 45.d7 Rd1 and the h-pawn will queen. 42…g2 43.Rg1 Rg8 44.d6 Kh4 45.d7 Kh3 46.Rd1 Kh2 47.Rd2 Kh1 48.Rd6 g1Q 49.Rxh6+ Kg2 50.Rg6+ Rxg6 51.Ke4 If 51.d8Q Qe3+ 52.Kd5 (52.Kf5 Qe6+ 53.Kf4 Rg4#) 52…Qd3+ winning the queen. 51…Re6+ 52.Kf4 Qe3+ 0–1

Last week’s Mansfield 2-mover was solved by 1.Nd3! and, because the rook is pinned, Black can do nothing about the threat of 2.Qf5 mate.

This week’s position is taken from a game earlier this year. How does White win significant material?

Devon vs Middlesex U-180 Semi-Final. 25.06.2016.)

in the WMN 80 years ago exactly.

As reported last week, Black lost 5-9 to Middlesex, a score that doesn’t do justice to the close struggle involved. Devon names 1st in each pairing.

1.Brian Hewson (179) 1-0 P. Gregory (175). 2.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 T. Whitton (176). 3.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ L. Marden (174). 4.John Wheeler ½-½ N. Twitchell (177). 5.Plamen Sivrev (175) 0-1 I. Hunnable (177). 6.Paul Hampton (173) 0-1 P. Jaszkiwskyi (180). 7.Oliver Wensley (171) 0-1 J. White (166). 8.Trefor Thynne (168) ½-½ C. Ramage (164). 9.Paul Brooks (159) 0-1 P. Kenning (171). 10.Brian Gosling (157) 1-0 D. Millward (169). 11.Martin Quinn (151) 0-1 C. Westrap (172). 12.Nick Butland  (153) ½-½ J. Davenport (163). 13.Chris Scott (150) ½-½ G. Strachan (159). 14.Andrew Kinder (145) ½-½ P. Haddock (124). Here is one of Devon’s 2 wins, with notes by the winner.

White: Brian Gosling. Black: D. Millward

Scandinavian Defence.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Nf6 6.d3 c6 7.0–0 e6 8.g3 Aiding the bishop coming to f4. 8…Qc7 9.Nd4 Bxe2 10.Qxe2 Bc5 11.Bf4 Qe7 If 11…Bd6?? 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Qxe6. 12.Nf3 Nbd7 13.d4 Bd6 14.Ne5 avoiding the exchange of bishops. 14…0–0 15.Rfe1 Bxe5 16.dxe5 Nd5 17.Ne4 The exchanges had led to a hole at d6, just waiting for a knight. 17…Nxf4 18.gxf4 White’s pawn structure is compromised but he had the open g-file for attack. 18…f5 19.Nd6 Nb6 20.c4 Kh8 21.Qh5 Rab8 Play now revolved around the open g-file. 22.Kh1 g6 23.Qh3 Rg8 24.Rg1 Rg7 25.Rg3 Rbg8 26.Rag1 Qd7 26…g5? would be a bad mistake because after the exchanges on g5 White has the knight fork on f7. 27.b3 Nc8 28.Rd3 The knights could not be exchanged as White would infiltrate via the d-file. 28…Qc7 29.Qh4 Nb6?? Black had to stop the queen coming to f6. The pin on the rook was devastating. 29…Qe7 30.Qxe7 Rxe7. 30.Qf6+ Qe7 31.Rxg6!! Mating attack. 31…Qxf6 If 31…hxg6 32.Rh3#. 32.exf6 Rd7 32…Rxg6?? allows a smothered mate 33.Nf7#. 33.Rxg8+?? Throwing away the advantage. 33.Rh6 would secure victory 33…Rf8 34.Rdh3 with the threat of pushing the f-pawn. 33…Kxg8 34.f7+ Kf8 35.c5 Nd5 36.Rg3 Nf6 37.b4 b5 38.Kg2 Re7 39.a3 Rd7? 39…a5 40.Rd3 40…Ne4 41.Rg3?? Better is 41.Rh3. 41…Nxg3 42.fxg3 Rxd6 43.cxd6 Kxf7 44.h3 Ke8 Black should not allow White to get his kingside pawn majority moving, e.g. 44…h5. 45.Kf3 Ke8 46.d7+ Kxd7 etc. 45.g4 Kd7 46.g5 Black’s king is tied to the kingside coping with White’s extra pawn. 46…Kxd6?? Throwing away the draw. If 46…c5 47.bxc5 a5 is drawn, as the opposing pawn majorities balance. 47.h4+Ke7 48.h5 Kf7 49.Kf3 Kg7 50.Ke3 Kf7 51.Kd4 Kg7 52.Ke5 Kf7 53.Kd6 a6 54.Ke5 Ke7+ 55.g6 hxg6 56.hxg6 Kf8 57.Kxe6 1–0

The key to last week’s study was 1.Kf2! forcing Kh2 2.Kf3 Kh3 3.Kf4 Kh4 4.b4 g5+ 5.Ke3! to avoid checks g4 6.b5 g3 7.b6 Kh3 8.b7 g2 9.Kf2  The only way to defend his pawn is …Kh2, and then 10.b8=Q+.

Here is a 2-mover by Comins Mansfield, first published in the WMN 80 years ago exactly.

White play & mate in 2

Victor Korchnoi RIP

Victor Korchnoi, who died last week, would probably have become World Champion at some point, had he not been a Soviet dissident who regularly incurred the wrath of the authorities and was denied many opportunities to travel freely to important international events, and who, he asserted, devised subtle ways to prevent him winning any of his World Championship matches. The story up to 1977 was told in his autobiography, Chess Is My Life, but the shenanigans continued beyond that until he eventually escaped the Soviets’ clutches and settled in Switzerland.

He was particularly good with the Black pieces, often favouring the French Defence. This was a typical example, that he listed in his book My Best Games Vol. 2 – Games With Black. (Edition Olms – 2001).  Notes much condensed from those in the book.

White: Dr. J. Nunn. Black: V. Korchnoi.

World Team Championship 1985

French Defence – Advance Variation.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Black aims to create pressure on d4 a.s.a.p. 7…cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 Bxd4 This series of moves that Black now makes quickly leads to an endgame position. 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Qb6 12.Qxb6 Nxb6 (Having lost to him earlier in the year at Wijk aan Zee Korchnoi had a great respect for John Nunn as an attacker and sought to keep things relatively simple by exchanging pieces). 13.0–0–0 Another good move in this position is 13…h4 introduced by Kasparov in the 1990s. Bd7 14.Bd3 h5 Limiting White’s chances of advancing the kingside pawns. 15.Ne2 Ke7 16.Nd4 g6 17.g3 Preventing an immediate f4. 17…Bc6 18.Rde1 Nd7 19.c3 Rag8 20.Rhf1 g5! 21.f5 g4! Possibly it was this move that Nunn overlooked – Black will inevitably open the h-file for his rooks. It is also important for him to secure the g5 square, to have the possibility of attacking the e5 pawn from the side. 22.Re2 h4 23.b4 hxg3 24.hxg3 Ba4 25.Kb2 Rh3 26.Rg1 Rgh8? Better was 26…Rc8 after which White has no active moves and Black can develop his offensive. 27.Ka3 Rc8 28.Kb2? This move concedes the initiative for good. 28…a6 29.Rgg2 intending to exchange the rook on h3. 29…Bd1 30.Re3? Losing. 30…Nb6 31.Rf2 Rh1! Weaving a mating net around White’s king. 32.fxe6 fxe6 33.Rf1 Na4+ 34.Kc1 Rxc3+ 0-1. If, for example, 35.Nc2 then …Rxf1 36.Bxf1 Rxc2+ 37.Kxd1 Rxa2 etc.

Last weekend, Devon lost 5-9 to Essex in the National semi-finals of the U-180 championship.  Full details next week.

Last week’s study by Troitsky was won by 1.f6! Black is forced to take it …gxf6. 2.Kxg2 Kf4 and the key move is 3.a4 forcing an outside passed pawn that Black cannot prevent from queening 3…bxa3 4.bxa3 etc. though careful play is still required with the queen as Black will have 4 pawns all advancing.

Here is another pawn-only study, this time by the Swiss, Samuel Isenegger (1899-1964). White to move and clearly he can queen quickly, but so can Black.

How is this resolved?

White to move and win

Korchnoi Dies (11.06.2016.)

The grand old man of world chess, Viktor Korchnoi, who died on Monday at the age of 85, was often reckoned to be the best player never to become World Champion. This was partly accounted for by his being an outspoken critic of the Soviet system, and consequently given fewer opportunities to travel. Even the Russians didn’t want to see him beating their younger, up-coming favourites like Karpov and Spassky. His battles against Karpov for the World title were noted more for the almost bizarre claims and counter-claims of off-the-board psychological warfare than the actual chess. He wrote several books including the autobiographical Chess Is My Life His great career was blighted by Cold War politics, but it was still great.

The recent Frome Congress was the second time that Jane Richmond had finished 2nd in the Open, and this was her last round win.

White: Jane Richmond (2123). Black: Roger de Coverley (2076).

Pirc Defence  [B07]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 Ng4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.h4 Nbc6 11.hxg5 hxg5 12.Rxh8+ Bxh8 13.Nd5 Be6 14.0–0–0 Ng6 15.Ne2 Bxd5 16.exd5 Qf6 17.Qe3+ Nce7 18.Nd4 Kf8 The natural move would be 18…0–0–0 to keep the kings on the same side of the board. 19.Qb3 Rb8 20.c3 Nf4 21.Nb5 c6 22.Nxa7 cxd5 23.Nb5 Nc6 24.Kb1 d4 25.cxd4 Re8 26.a3 Rd8 27.Qf3 d5 28.Bxf4 gxf4 29.g3 fxg3 30.Qxf6 Bxf6 31.fxg3 Kg7 The king’s ready to join the fray and there now follows a period of cat & mouse, as both sides seek an advantage. 32.Kc2 Rh8 33.Kd3 Rh1 34.Ke3 Rh2 35.b4 Rb2 36.Bd3 Rg2 37.Kf3 Rh2 38.Bf5 Rb2 39.Bc8 Nd8 40.Re1 Rc2 41.Bf5 Rh2 42.Bd7 Ra2 43.Rc1 Rd2 44.Rc8 Rd3+ 45.Kf4 Nc6 46.Bxc6 bxc6 47.Rxc6 Bxd4 48.Nxd4 Rxd4+ 49.Ke3 From now on it’s a pure rook & pawn ending, in which White has the advantage of 2 connected pawns, but the kings have to play their full part. 49…Rd1 50.a4 d4+ 51.Ke2 Ra1 52.a5 Ra3 53.Rd6 Rxg3 54.a6 Ra3 It needs careful planning to work out who will succeed in queening a pawn. 55.b5 Ra5 56.Rd5 Kf6 57.Kd3 Ke6 58.Kxd4 f5 59.Re5+ Kf6 60.Rc5 Kg5 61.Kd5 Kg4 62.Kc6 f4 63.Kb6 Ra2 64.Rc4 Kg3 65.Kb7 f3 66.Rc3 As White cannot be prevented from queening, she has the luxury of being able to sacrifice the rook in order to prevent Black from doing likewise. 66…Kg2 67.Rxf3 Kxf3 68.a7 Ke4 69.a8=Q Rxa8 70.Kxa8 Kd5 71.b6 1–0

In last week’s position the Black queen was overstretched, trying to prevent mate on g7 while fighting off any incursion by White’s other pieces and it can’t be done, so White plays 1.Bb5 attacking the queen, and when it moves aside White has 2.BxR.

Studies are specially composed positions, but are slightly different from problems in that they usually more resemble an actual game and involve longer lines of play. Here is an example composed in 1905 by the Russian A. A. Troitsky (1866 – 1942). White to play and win.

White to play and win.

Cotswold Congress Results (04.06.2016.)

Keith Arkell was the first Grandmaster to enter the Cotswold Congress for many years, and on Monday he hit the chess headlines in the Daily Telegraph when their correspondent, Malcolm Pein, noted the fact that Arkell had achieved the remarkable feat of coming 1st in his last 7 consecutive weekend events, namely Bristol, Exeter, Exmouth (the West of England Championship), Hereford, Nottingham, Great Yarmouth and Rhyl. Such was his current form and the relatively modest opposition, by his standards, that one could be forgiven for expecting him to make this his 8th success.

Yet it was not to be. In Round 3 he faced his nearest opponent, Chris Beaumont, who was not prepared to go down without a fight and proceeded to win with the white pieces. He conceded a draw in the following round, but didn’t allow Arkell to catch him, finishing a half point ahead.  The full prizelist was as follows (all points out of 6)

Open Section: 1st Chris Beaumont (Bristol & Clifton) 5½. 2nd Keith Arkell (Paignton) 5.  3rd Matt Gillings (Wimbourne) 4.  U-170 grading prize: William Phillips (Hatchend) 3. 16 players competed.

Major (U-155) 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5. 2nd= Robert Ashworth (Wotton Hall); Ian Bush (Magdalen College School, Oxford) & Martyn Harris (Newcastle under Lyme) 4½. Grading Prize (U-138) Rich Wiltshir (Rushall) 3½. (U-120) David Williams 3½. 37 players competed.

Minor (U-125). 1st Mark Forknall (Cheltenham) 5½. 2nd= Steve Clare (Wallasey) & Rezza Gorsi Pour (Gloucester) 5.  Grading Prizes (U-102) Douglas Bramley (Spondon) 4.

U-100: Paul Broderick 3½. 35 competed.

As a way of raising funds for their forthcoming trip to Borneo, pupils from the host venue, King’s School Gloucester, provided a service to the players by running the refreshment stall.

In the recent Frome Congress, father & son George and Scott Crockert, both won with Black in the final round, to qualify for the British Championship. This is one of those games.

White: P. Orgler (2132). Black: G. Crockart (2012).

Dutch Defence – Staunton Gambit [A83]

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 e6 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qh6 Nc6 9.Nf3 b6 10.c3 Bb7 11.Bd3 Qe7 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.Qg5 0–0 14.Qxf6 Rxf6 15.Ne5 d6 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.0–0 Re8 18.Rfe1 Kf7 19.b4 g5 20.b5 Bb7 21.a4 e5 22.a5 Rfe6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Ra7 Rb8 25.Be4?? Much better was 25.Bc4 and if d5 26.Rxb7 Rxb7 27.Bxd5. Rb8 28. f4 gxf4 29. Rxe5 Rbe8 30.Kf2 Kf6 and after the pieces come off White should win. 25…exd4 26.f3 d5 0–1.

Last week’s original 3-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Be4! If 1…Kg1 2.Qf3 with mate on g2. If 1…g2 2.Qg4 g1=Q 3.Qh4 mate. If 1…e2 2.Qf3 e1=Q (if 2…e1=N 3.Qh1 mate) 3.Qg2 mate.

In this position from a recent game, Black is clearly on the back foot, but White still needs a clinical finish to end all resistance.

Find White's winning move

Klein’s Last Game (30.04.2016.)

Back in 2000, the Paignton Congress hosted the Golombek Memorial Tournament, celebrating the life of the great player and writer. In addition, there was a display of Golombek memorabilia donated by his friend, Gerry Walsh, who was acting as Arbiter for the main event. Among the items was an extraordinary letter, which read thus:

“10th July 1952.  Dear Mr. Golombek,  Do you really think you can escape responsibility for the article of A. H. Trott (in the Times). You are a Director of the magazine (BCM) and its Games Editor. Moreover, you saw my game with Euwe played, analysed it – without consulting me, of course, as you usually do – and wrote a report in the Times. This report concerning my game was false and deliberately misleading. It was your job to see that such a ghastly untruth was stopped… and insinuating on top of it that I did not play the second game because I was afraid. I assure you, I’ll make you pay for this insolence of yours and your associate intrigrants.

Yours truly, E. Klein.”

What on earth was it all that about?

Ernst Klein (1910-1990) was the British Champion at the time and had just played Bd. 1 in the 1st round of an Anglo-Dutch match against the former World Champion, securing a draw after Euwe lost the exchange. Several writers reported that Klein had been “very lucky”, and it was this perceived slight that so incensed him. In protest, he not only withdrew from playing the 2nd game but didn’t play again for over 20 years. Although an extreme reaction by Klein, he was known for his short fuse and acerbic tongue.

This was that controversial game.

White: M. Euwe. Black: E. L. Klein.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.Nc3 c6 8.e4 Qc7 9.Re1 Rd8 10.h3 a6 11.Qc2 e5 12.Be3 exd4 13.Nxd4 Nc5 14.Rad1 Bd7 15.g4 Be8 16.Bf4 Nfd7 17.Bg3 Ne5 18.Nce2 Qa5 19.f4 Ned7 20.Kh1 Nf8 21.Rf1 b5 22.a3 Qb6 23.cxb5 axb5 24.Bh4 Rdc8 25.Be7 Nb7 26.f5 c5 27.f6!? cxd4 28.fxg7 Ne6 29.Qd2 Na5 (see diagram) White now played

What did Euwe (W) play next?

30.Nxd4? B. H. Wood, no great friend of Golombek, wrote in Chess Klein saw deeply into a complicated position. Even had Euwe not taken the pawn that lost him the exchange, playing, for instance,  30.Bf6 how is he to answer 30…Nc4?” du Mont in The Field suggested 30.Qh6 Nxg7 31.Bf6 Ne6 32.g5 Nb7 33.Rf4 with the unanswerable threat of 34. Qxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rh4+ Kg8 36.Rh8 mate, but this begs a lot of questions. Euwe himself pointed out that 30.Qh6! wins. e.g. 30…Nc4 31.Nf4! Nxf4 32.Rxf4 after which he could see nothing better for Black than 32…Ne3 33.g5! and if 33…Nxd1 34.Qxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rh4+ Kxg7 36.Bf6+ Kf8 37.Rh8#. The game itself then finished… 30…Qxd4 31.Qxd4 Nxd4 32.Rxd4 Nc6 33.Bf6 Nxd4 34.Bxd4 Ra4 35.Rd1 Rac4 36.Bc3 Rxc3 37.bxc3 Rxc3 38.e5 d5 39.Rxd5 Kxg7 40.Rd8 Bc6 41.Bxc6 Rxc6 42.Rd5 ½–½.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Ph8=Q!

Beer & Blitz – A Celebration In Memoriam (23.04.2016.)

A number of leading chess players have died in recent months, among them England Olympiad veteran Peter Clarke (81) from north Cornwall; financier Jim Slater (86) who called Bobby Fischer a “chicken” in the run-up to his famous 1972 world championship match with Spassky, which, together with a £5,000 bonus from Slater, stung the American into actually turning up; Jeremy James (79) who presented chess tournaments on BBC TV in the 1970s under the title “The Master Game”; writer Dr. Colin Crouch (58) and problemist Sir Jeremy Morse (87), former Chairman of Lloyd’s Bank.

A good advert, incidentally, for the longevity of chessplayers.

David Norwood, a grandmaster who abandoned a career in chess to amass a fortune in commodity trading, took it upon himself to commemorate their lives and achievements in the game by organising and underwriting a very strong blitz chess tournament at the King’s Head pub in Bayswater on 27th February. Sixty four of England’s strongest players played in 8 All-Play-All leagues in the early rounds, changing to knockout when it was down to the last 16 players.

The rate of moves was 3 minutes per player for all moves, but with the digital clocks being used, 2 seconds were added each time a move was made. Unfortunately, electronic boards were not available to record the moves automatically, being played at almost lightning speed, but the later games were videoed and may be seen on-line; just visit www.youtube.com and search for “Beer and blitz – Celebration in Memoriam”.

Four grandmasters made the semi-finals, in which Michael Adams beat Luke McShane and Mark Hebden beat Simon Williams. In the final, Cornishman Adams beat Hebden in Game 1 with Black against a Ruy Lopez, and drew Game 2, netting him the £700 first prize. It was another example, if ever one was needed, of Adams’ supreme chess skill – speed of thought and deep knowledge of the game.

Last week’s position was an illustration of the “power of the check”. Whatever else is possible, a check must be dealt with first, which allows White to win a piece with 1.QxB+ KxQ 2.RxQ.

Sir Jeremy Morse, was something of a polymath. After Winchester, he took a Double First at Oxford, and was elected a fellow of All Souls. Not only one of the finest minds of his generation in the City, he was, amongst other things, a classics scholar, a pianist, a lover of poetry and a solver and composer of cryptic crosswords. He was an international chess judge, and in retirement published Chess Problems: Tasks and Records, (Faber & Faber 1995) a collection of some 837 problems, about 50 of them of his own devising. His speciality was the 2-mover, the “purest of all chess exercises”. Here is one of his own compositions from that book.

White to move and mate in 2.

White mates in 2

Evans Above! (16.04.2016.)

As reported earlier, the appearance of the Dutchman, Thomas Broek, added to the interest in the Championship section of the recent WECU Congress, with some enterprising, uninhibited play, as in this last round game.

White: Thomas Broek. Black: Jack Rudd. Evans Gambit [C51]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 The signature move of the Evans Gambit, devised by Capt. William E. Evans (1790 – 1872) as he commanded the Royal Mail’s first steam packet between his native Milford Haven and Waterford. It became a highly popular variation of the Giuoco Piano or Italian Game, described by a contemporary as “A gift of the gods to a languishing chess world”. Both players here knew it well and rattled off the first 12 moves in a matter of seconds. 4…Bxb4 5.c3 Be7 6.d4 Na5 7.Be2 exd4 8.Qxd4 Nf6 9.e5 Nc6 10.Qf4 Nd5 11.Qg3 0–0 12.Bh6 Now it begins to get really interesting. 12…g6 13.Bxf8 Qxf8 Although White’s queen has done a job in helping to win the exchange, it’s virtually trapped in a corner. 14.0–0 d6 15.c4 Ndb4 threatening …Nc2 winning the rook. 16.Nc3 dxe5 17.Nd5 e4 18.Nd2 Nd4 19.Bd1 Bd6 20.Qh4 Nxd5 21.cxd5 f5 22.Nb3 Nxb3 23.Bxb3 f4 24.Rac1 Kg7 25.Rc4 Bf5 26.Rfc1 Rc8 27.g4 fxg3 28.hxg3 b5 29.Rc6 a5 30.a4 bxa4 31.Bxa4 Qf7 32.Bb3 Rb8 33.Bc2 Rb4 34.Qg5 a4 35.Qe3 It’s taken 22 moves, but White’s queen can finally escape to the centre of the board. 35…Qxd5 36.Qc3+ Qe5 37.Rxc7+! exploiting the fact that Black’s bishop is overloaded, trying to defend both queen & rook. 37…Bxc7. If 37…Kf6 38.Rd1 Qxc3 39.Rxc3 Be5 40.Rc6+ Kg5 41.Ra6. 38.Qxb4 e3 39.Bxf5 exf2+ 40.Kf1 Ba5 41.Qb7+ Kh6 42.Qh1+ Kg5 43.Be4 Qb5+ 44.Kg2 1–0 White tucks his king away, rather than expose it to risk by 44.Kxf2 Bb6+ 45.Kf3 Qb3+ 46.Kg2 Qb2+ etc. It also threatens 45. Qh4 mate, thus forcing 44…f1Q+ 45.Qxf1 not 45.Rxf1 Qe2+ 46.Kh3 Qh5+ 47.Kg2 Qe2+ 48.Rf2 Qxe4+ etc.

Two Westcountry congresses now follow each other in quick succession. Firstly, the 27th Frome Congress takes place Friday 13th–15th May at Selwood Academy. One can now enter on-line at their website somersetchess.org.

Then there is the 48th Cotswold Congress held over Whit Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 28th – 30th May at King’s School Gloucester. More information may be found on their website,  cotswoldcongress.co.uk.

Last week’s position ended in a queen sacrifice viz 1.Qg8+ and it can only be taken by 1…Raxg8 which leaves the knight free to come to f7 mate because the other rook is pinned and the king is hemmed in by his own pieces. This is known in the trade as a “smothered mate”.

This position is also from the London Classic. The position is complicated, with both queens en prise.  There is no clever mate here, so how does White cut through the Gordian Knot of complex variations and keep it simple.

White to play and win

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