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Posts Tagged ‘chess’

A Classic Game from the Paignton Congress (27.08.2016.)

The Paignton Congress starts next weekend, and overall entries are currently down on previous years but organisers are hoping for a last minute rush of entries to balance things up. Entry forms are downloadable from chessdevon.co.uk.

Here is a game from Paignton in 1955.

White: Sir Philip Milner-Barry. Black: Harry Golombek.

Notes by the winner.

Sicilian Defence – Wing Gambit [B10].

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 As played by Golombek against Penrose at the recent British Championship. Penrose replied 4.c4, which did not seem very effective. 4.b4 cxb4 5.a3 bxa3 6.Nxa3 A sort of Wing Gambit in which White has answered d4 with e5 – normally a poor move when the Black queen’s bishop can get out, but White has here an extra tempo. 6…Nc6 7.Be2 Bg4 8.d4 e6 9.0–0 Nge7 10.c3 Nf5 11.Qd3 So as to bring the queen and king’s bishop to their most hopeful attacking posts as quickly as possible. 11…Be7 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 h5 14.Bd3 g6 15.Nc2 Rc8 16.Bd2 Qd7 White has very little for the pawn, but his defensive position, based on the c3 pawn is very strong, and as the course of the game shows, the Black king’s wing is not as invulnerable as it looks. 17.Ne3 Kf8 Clearly he does not want to exchange on e3, giving White the f-file. 18.g3 a6 19.Ng2 Kg7 20.Nf4 Nh6 21.Kg2 White must be prepared to double rooks on the h-file, in case Black should exchange pawns when White plays g4. 21…Na7 22.g4 h4 23.Ne2 A further regrouping to play f4 and eventually f5. 23…Nb5 24.Qe3 Na3 25.f4 Black’s hold on f5 is so strong that White must face an eventual sacrifice. I considered seriously Rxa3 at once, so as to preserve the valuable white-square bishop; but eventually decided not to commit myself irrevocably just yet. 25…Nc4 26.Bxc4 dxc4 I had rather expected Rxc4 27.Kh2 Qc6 28.Rf2 Kf8 29.Rg1 Ke8 30.f5 exf5! Again best. If 30…gxf5 White would break through with 31.g5 and g6. 31.g5 f4 31…Ng8 32.Nf4 leaves Black sadly cramped. If 32…Qe4 33.Qxe4 fxe4 34.Re2 followed by d5. 32.Nxf4 Nf5 33.Qe1 Qc7 34.Nd5 Now 34.d5 could be met by 34…Bc5 34…Qd8 35.Nf6+ Kf8 The best chance was 35…Bxf6 36.exf6+ Kd7 37.Bf4 I doubt if the position can ultimately be held. 36.Qe4 Rc6 37.Rxf5 gxf5 38.Qxf5 39.d5 and 39.g6 were both threats. 38…Bxf6 39.gxf6 Qd5 39…Ke8 comes to much the same. e.g. 40.Qg4 Qa5 41.Qg7 Rf8 42.Bh6 Qa3 43.d5 followed by d6. 40.Qg5 Ke8 41.Qg7 Rb6 If 41…Rf8 42.Bh6; or if 41…Rh5 42.Qg8+ Kd7 43.Qg4+. 42.Qxh8+ Kd7 43.Qxh4 Rb2 44.Rg2 a5 45.Qg4+ 1-0. On the move follows e6. The most interesting game that I have played for many years. I do not know when Black went wrong; perhaps White’s 4th move is better than it looks.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover by Sam Loyd was 1.Bf8! after which Black has 4 unsuccessful “tries”, namely 1…KxR 2.BxQ mate. 1…KxB 2.Qa3 mate; 1…NxB 2.Qc2 mate or 1…RxB 2.Qa1 mate.

Here is a new 3-mover by Dave Howard.

White to mate in 3

Paignton Approaches (20.08.2016.)

The 66th Paignton Congress starts a fortnight tomorrow. Of course, for 62 years this was held at Oldway Mansion, one-time home of the Singer family of sewing machine fame. The respected writer and player, Harry Golombek, reporting on the event in the 1960s, wrote “Devon is indeed lucky in its choice for its annual congress …. a delectable spot to pursue the joys of a hard week’s chess, interspersed with the even greater and surer delights of walks and wanderings in the beautiful sunlit gardens that surround Oldway”.

And so it continued for decades until the estate was sold to property developers, who promised great things in honeyed words that have since proved empty, as the house has been mothballed ever since and continues to deteriorate. Hence the move to the Livermead House Hotel, which may lack the Grade 1 listed gardens and grandiose atrium, but compensates with a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant and easier parking.

Here’s a game from those good old days (1968) between two Birmingham boys who eventually retired to Paignton.

Notes by the winner.

White: Peter C. Griffiths. Black: Jon E.  Lawrence,

Caro-Kann Defence [B10]

1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 Black’s plan is to play on the weakness of White’s isolated pawn on d2. In these types of position exchanges tend to favour Black and further weaken the isolated pawn. 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Bb3 Not 7.Qe2?? as 7…b5 would be terminal. 7…Nxd5 Black has already equalised. 8.d4 Should White have accepted the proffered gift with 8.Bxd5 there would follow 8…Qe5+ 9.Qe2 Qxd5 10.Nf3. 8…Bc6 The struggle for White’s d-pawn begins. 9.Nf3 Nd7 10.0–0 e6 11.Re1 Be7 12.Nc3 N7f6 13.Bg5 0–0 14.Ne5 Nxc3 15.bxc3 Nd5 16.Bxe7 Nxe7 17.Qg4 If 17.Nxf7 Rxf7 18.Bxe6 Bd5 19.Bxf7+ Bxf7 and Black has control of all the key white squares. 17…Nd5 18.Rac1 Rad8? Probably a slight inaccuracy. More dynamic would be 18…Rfd8 as the other rook would be better used on c8 or b8. 19.Qh4 Qe7 20.Qe4 Qf6 threatening Nxc3. 21.Bc2 g6 22.Nxc6 bxc6 23.Ba4 Better would be 23.Bb3. 23…Nxc3 24.Qxc6 Nxa4 25.Qxa4 Qxd4 assuming control of the d-file. 26.Qa6 Rd6 27.Qb7 Rd7 28.Qa6 Rd6 29.Qb7 Rd7 30.Qa6 Rfd8 Black now has complete control of the centre and d-file. 31.g3 Qd3 32.Qa4 Qd4. Black is now looking to the time control at move 40. 33.Rc4 Qb6 threatening Rd2. 34.Rc6 Rd4 35.Qc2 Qa5 36.Qb1 Rd2 37.a4 Desperation. 37…Qxa4 38.Qe4 Qxe4 39.Rxe4 R8d4 0-1. White is 2 pawns down with no compensation, so resigned. After 40.Rxd4 Rxd4 Black has reached the safety net of the time control and can rely on considered technique to nurse home the passed pawn.

In last week’s position, White can just plough ahead with a series of sacrificial captures, viz. 1.QxR+ BxQ 2.RxB+ QxR 3.RxQ mate, as Black’s remaining bishop blocks its king’s escape.

Here is a 2-mover by the evergreen Sam Loyd (1841-1911).

Adams Sprints Home (13.08.2016.)

So, Michael Adams won the British Championship for the 5th time with a record score of 10/11 points, comprising 9 wins and 2 draws. The only other player to achieve this was Julian Hodgson at Plymouth in 1993, but the field then was not as strong as this year, as sponsorship had attracted most of the active grandmasters.

In the final round, as he had already played all his main rivals, Adams was paired against someone far lower in the pecking order. Doubtless it was a great thrill for the 22 yr old Brown to be playing Adams on top board, and he had nothing to lose, except the game itself; everything else was a bonus.

White: Andrew Brown (222). Black: Michael Adams (269).

Scotch Game [C45]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 The Scotch Game  3…exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 8.Nd2 would constitute the Cochrane Attack, but White prefers to develop his knight to c3. 8…Nb6 9.Nc3 Qe6 Freeing up his constricted kingside position. 10.Qe4 g6 11.Bd3 The bishop might have had more scope on  e2, rather then lining up against Black’s solid fianchetto position. 11…Bg7 12.f4 0–0 13.0–0 White may be shaping up to occupy f5, but Adams decides to get there first, although in itself an unusual move in this position. 13…f5 14.exf6? In the majority of games reaching this position, White usually plays 14.Qe2, as taking en passant gives Black a good open position. 14…Qxf6 15.Bd2 d5 16.Qe2 If 16.cxd5 Bf5 17.Qf3 Qd4+ picking up the bishop. 16…Ba6 17.Rae1 Bxc4 18.Bxc4 Nxc4 19.Bc1 a5 20.Qc2 Rae8 21.Qa4? The queen departs the battlefield, with no threats of her own, which gives Adams the green light for an immediate all-out attack. 21…Qd4+ 22.Kh1 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Qf2 Threatening mate. 24.Rg1 Bd4 25.Rd1 Re8 Another piece joins the fray to threaten another mate. 26.h3 Re1+ 27.Kh2 Qg1+ 28.Kg3 Ne3 Threatening mate on g2, but White calls it a day anyway 0–1. If 29.Rd2 h5 etc.

The tournament result demonstrated Adams’ continuing supremacy on the British chess scene, and he shows no sign of slowing down or relaxing his grip. On the other hand, Brown has no cause to feel down-hearted; much will be heard of him in future.

If the British Championship marks the climactic end of the old season, the Paignton Congress marks the start of the new. It begins 3 weeks tomorrow at the Livermore House Hotel on the Torbay seafront. Entry forms may be downloaded from chessdevon.co.uk or obtained from Alan Crickmore on 01752-768206 or e-mail plymouthchess@btinternet.com. It’s his last year as Secretary and a successor is actively being sought.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.R6a6! when Black has only 2 possible moves. If 1…d3 2.Bg7 mate, or 1…Kxe4 2.Re6 mate.

In this position, both sides have long-ranging pieces, and it could be a case of Who moves wins. In fact it’s White’s move, so is this true? Can he win by

force or be mated himself.

White to play - who wins?

Adams In The Driving Seat (06.08.2016.)

At the time of going to press, after 9 of the scheduled 11 rounds of the British Championship, the eleven Grandmasters occupied most of the leading  places, as surely as cream rises to the top, though there was still time for an upset or two. Top seed Michael Adams was in the clear lead with 8/9 pts, followed by the 2014 champion, David Howell on 7, with Gormally, Nick Pert and New Zealander Justin Tan level on 6½. There was a whole raft of players on 6/9 pts, namely Mark Hebden, Chris Ward, John Emms, Richard Palliser, Keith Arkell, Martin Brown and Jovanka Houska, who will almost certainly become Ladies Champion. At this stage in the proceedings, it’s difficult to see how Adams can fail to become clear winner, as he has already played most of the top opponents.

The prizegiving takes place this morning at 10 a.m. and the full prizelists for all the many different sections may be found on the event website.

Next year it will be held in Aberystwyth and will be squeezed into 1 week instead of the traditional fortnight in the hope this might attract more players.

This was deemed Rd. 8’s Game of the Day between two very attacking players.

Black: Danny Gormally (245). Black: Chris Ward (240).

Sicilian Defence – Accelerated Dragon [B50]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c3 Bg7 4.Bc4 d6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.d3 White decides to keep the centre closed for the time being; it looks slow, but has a latent sting. 6…0–0 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.h3 Restricting the scope of Black’s white-square bishop 8…Rb8 9.Re1 b5 It’s thematic in the Sicilian that Black should counter any White kingside attack with a thrust on the other wing. 10.Nbd2 a5 11.Nf1 b4 12.Be3 Nd7 13.d4 Now White decides to open up the centre, due to Black’s growing pressure on c3. 13…Ba6 14.N1h2 This looks a slow manoeuvre, but it’s eyeing up the attacking potential if and when the knight can get to g5. 14…bxc3 15.bxc3 cxd4 16.cxd4 Nf6? Inviting e5 and the start of a central attack. Much better was 16…Nb4 when Black may get the knight established on d3. If, for example, 17.Re2 then 17…Nb2 attacking both queen & rook. 17.e5! Suddenly the game has changed as White seizes the initiative. 17…Ne8 18.Ng4 d5 19.Qd2 Nc7 20.Rac1 Nb4 21.Rxc7!? A very brave exchange sacrifice. 21…Qxc7 22.Bh6 Bxh6 23.Qxh6 Threatening Ng5. 23…f6 24.exf6 exf6 25.Re6 Black is still the exchange up, but is fast running out of time and has only 30 seconds per move left, too little to calculate all the necessary defensive moves required. 25…Qg7 26.Qe3 h5 27.Re7 hxg4 If 27…Qh8 28.Qe6+ Rf7 29.Qxf7# 28.Rxg7+ Kxg7 29.hxg4 Bc4 30.g5 Rbe8 31.gxf6+ Kxf6 At this point Black’s allotted time ran out. 1–0

In the 2 days since going to press, everything was resolved, and, unable to wait till next Saturday, here is what happened, based on the report given on the event website by the ECF Publicity Officer, Mark Jordan.

Michael Adams, the long-time highest rated English player on the FIDE rating list, won the British Chess Championships, to add to his 4 previous British titles. His score of 10/11 equalled the record set by Julian Hodgson in 1992 and, given that future championships are planned to be run over 9 rounds, this was probably the last opportunity for the record to be equalled or exceeded.

At the start of the final round there was a remote chance that there could be a play-off as, had Adams lost and David Howell won, they would have both been on 9/11 necessitating a play-off. Unusually for the final round of the Championships however, the leader, Adams, was playing Black against an untitled opponent, Martin Brown, over whom he had a near 500 point rating advantage. One of the reasons for such an unbalanced pairing was that Adams had already played all his main rivals with an interesting effect on the up- and down-floats; the other reason being that Brown had had a very good tournament, and now needed a draw to secure an IM norm. Since Adams also needed a draw to ensure he won the title it was always possible that an early decision could be agreed. The question was whether Adams would be tempted to offer a quick draw in order to guarantee his 1st place and the prize money involved, and allow him to wander round the playing hall at leisure, enjoying the trials and tribulations of the other players. Or would he go for the throat, with the idea of going for a record-equalling high score of 10/11pts?

In the event, he eschewed the idea of a quick draw and went for a quick win, as Brown walked in to some pretty original and devilish opening preparation in a well-known position, failed to respond accurately and was despatched in short-order. The game was over hours before any other.

Brown had the compensation that he played a great tournament, and had the opportunity to contribute what might turn out to be a theoretically important game against, arguably, Britain’s greatest ever player on Bd. 1 of the last ever British Championships run in an 11-round format. So many congratulations to Michael Adams and a big thumbs-up to Martin Brown for contributing to an historic event!

Congratulations also to Jovanka Houska who has won the British Women’s title with a score of 7/11. She defeated Lentzos in the final round but already had the Championships in the bag with a round in hand.

Other Westcountry players in the Championship scored as follows:

Keith Arkell (Paignton) 6½

Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) & Jeremy Menadue (Truro)  both 5½

Carl Bicknell (Bristol); Brian Hewson (Tiverton) both 5.

Steve Dilliegh (Bristol) 3½

All this, and much else besides, may be found on the event website, and Mark Jordan will be producing a full report in the ECF’s on-line magazine, Chessmoves.

In last week’s position, Black’s queen had no quick retreat, so could be attacked with 1.b4 after which it can no longer defend his bishop which may be taken next move.

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to play and mate in 2

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.

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