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What Is It About Carnon Downs? (02.09.2017.) 949

Carnon Downs (pop. 1300) is a small but growing community situated on the A39 between Truro and Falmouth. Its recent development has included the construction of a fine village hall in which a number of societies meet, including a chess club. One might assume that this would be a somewhat parochial affair, attracting just a few villagers, but in fact, the club is named Carrick, after Carrick Roads, the name given to the estuary of the River Fal, which reaches from Falmouth up to Truro, and was formed 2 years ago from members of the old Falmouth and Truro clubs which were both ailing and have since closed down. It’s proved an inspired move, as last season they became Cornwall’s club champions by winning the County Cup, in which their 1st team, Carrick ‘A’, beat their 5 opponents home and away, Newquay, Liskeard, Camborne, Penwith and Carrick ‘B’. Even their 2nd team won most of their home matches and finished in a respectable position.

Carrick have strength in depth, with a pool of 7 players comprising Jeremy Menadue (191); Mark Hassall (168); Robin Kneebone (164); Richard Stephens (160); Adam Hussain (145); Marcus Pilling (145) and Mick Hill (139). These grades are the most recent published and 11 yr old Hussain’s meteoric rise through the lists bodes well for the club’s prospects this season.

Much information about Carrick and all Cornish clubs and competitions may be found on Ian George’s excellent website,

Here is a game from last year’s WECU Jamboree, won by a Carrick player.

White: M. Hassall. Black: Steve Homer

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.f4 In keeping with White’s thematic plan against the Sicilian of an early kingside attack. 7…e5 8.Nf3 Qa5 To counter White’s Plan A, Black generally seeks to counter on the opposite wing. 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bxf6 Nxf6 11.Bc4 Be7 If 11…Qb4? there follows 12.fxe5 Qxc4 13.exf6 gxf6 14.Nd5 and if 14…Qxe4+ 15.Kd1 and with no other developed pieces, Black has to try and counter the threats of Re1 winning the queen & Nc7+ winning a rook. If 15…Qc4 16.Nb6 wins the rook anyway. 12.0–0–0 0–0 13.Kb1 a sensible precaution before launching into anything rash. 13…Qc5 From now on, tempo is everything. 14.Bb3 b5? 15.Nd5 Bd8 16.Rhe1 exf4 17.Qxf4 Nd7 18.Nd4 Bg5 19.Qg3 Ne5 20.h4 Bd8 21.Nf5 Bxf5 22.exf5 Kh7 23.Rf1 Ra7 24.f6 g6 25.h5 Rg8 26.Qh3 g5 27.Qf5+ Kh8 28.c3 opening the white diagonal to press home the attack. 28…a5 29.Bc2 Ng6 30.hxg6 Rxg6 31.Qh3 1-0. Black must lose a second piece.

In last week’s 2-mover 1.RxQ+ looked attractive, but after 1…PxR there was no mate, so it fails the test. The more subtle 1.Bb2 is the key, for any Black move is answered by 2.Nc6 mate.

This week’s position looks fairly innocuous, with level material and chances seemingly about even, yet GM John Nunn (W) found a killer move that won immediately.

White to move and win.

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.

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!

A Cornish Renaissance Continues (21.03.2015.)

The Cornish Renaissance continues apace, as evidenced by their win over Hampshire at Honiton in the last round of the Inter-County Championship, though the 11-5 victory was helped by Hants being unable to raise a full team and defaulting 4 games. This scalp, added to those of Devon and Gloucestershire, meant Cornwall finished 2nd in the West of England section and now go on to meet Norfolk in the National Stages quarter-final. Somerset finished 1st by virtue of their win over Devon reported last week, which in turn pushed Devon down to 3rd place.

Here are the details (Cornish names first in each pairing).

1. Jeremy Menadue (190) ½-½ D. Tunks (196). 2.Theo Slade (178) 0-1 G. Pafura (192). 3. Mark Hassall (173) 1-0 R. Marsh (176). 4.Grant Healey (176) ½-½ A. Cooper (175) 5. Mate Csuri (175) 0-1 D. Fowler (174). 6.David Saqui (170) 0-1 T. Davis (167). 7. Robin Kneebone (173) 1-0 C. Priest (147). 8. James Hooker (171) 1-0 S. LeFevre (146). 9.Simon Bartlett (168) ½-½ Miss G. Moore (144). 10. Colin Sellwood (156) 1-0 D. Culliford (137). 11. Gary Trudeau (155) 1-0 J. Young (129). 12. David J. Jenkins (133) ½-½ R. Hartley (126).

This was a bright win for the Cornish.

White: Gary Trudeau (157). Black: J. Young (129).

Sicilian Defence–Najdorf Variation [B90]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.g4 Qa5? losing a tempo. These open Sicilian Defences are often played on a knife-edge, but this move hands the initiative entirely to White.  10.Nb3 Qd8 11.g5 Let the attack commence. 11…Nd7 12.0–0–0 The Yugoslav system, whereby White castles long and attacks quickly on the other wing. Black, of course, should attack the castled king a.s.a.p. but his loss of a tempo hasn’t helped. 12…Nb6 13.f4 Be6 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Nb8 16.Bd4 White is taking complete control of the centre. 16…Rg8 17.Bxg7 Rxg7 18.Qd4 Rg8 19.Na5 Qc7 20.Rd3 N8d7 21.Rc3 Qb8 Better might have been 21…Nc5 and if 22.b4 hoping to win the pinned knight 22… Nc8 23.bxc5 Qxa5 and Black would have gone some way to implementing his thematic plan. 22.Bg2 Nc5 23.Re1 Kd7 24.Rce3 Re8 25.h4 Qc7 26.Bh3+ Kd8 27.Rxe7 Qxe7 28.Rxe7 Rxe7 29.Qf6 Nc8 White is running out of pieces with which to inflict the coup de grace, but those he has are superbly positioned and the final assault plays itself. 30.Bxc8 Rxc8 31.Qxd6+ Rd7 32.Qf8+ Kc7 33.Qxc5+ Kd8 34.Qb6+ Rdc7 35.d6 1–0.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Qe5! Only Black’s two bishops can move, and if it’s the white square one, then 2.Qa5mate, or if the other then it’s 2.Ra1 mate.

In this position, Black is threatening both the pawn on e3 and to free his rook with axb. How can White best deal with this?

White to move and win.

New Cornish Champion (07.02.2015.)

After several years at Stithians, the Cornish Congress moved back to Truro College last weekend. After 5 rounds the new county champion was James Hooker (Truro) with 4/5 points. 2nd= were Simon Bartlett (Newquay), Lloyd Retallick (Newquay), David Saqui (Falmouth) and Mark Watkins (Camborne), all a half point behind. As champion, Hooker now holds the Emigrant Cup for the first time since his last victory in 2002.

In the Falmouth Cup section for players graded below 145 the winner was 15 year old Richard Stephens (Penryn College) playing in his first tournament.

2nd= were Hamad Aljaber (Falmouth), Mick Hill (Truro), David Jenkins (Camborne), Ian Rescorla (Bude) and Jan Rodrigo (Falmouth) a half point behind on 3½.

The Penwith Cup for players new to tournament chess was shared between the promising junior, Harvey Richings (Marazion School & Camborne), and the editor of Athletics Weekly, Jason Henderson, with 5½/6.

Some of the games will eventually be found on the website

In the meantime, here is one of Hooker’s games from 15 months ago, after several years absence from the chess scene.

White: James Hooker. Black: John Wilman.

Indian Defence [A47]

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 b6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0–0 Bg7 6.Nbd2 0–0 7.e4 d6 8.e5 Ne8 9.e6 f6? It cannot be good to leave the pawn on e6, strangling the life out of any possible defence. 10.Nh4 c5 In view of the e6 pawn, White feels justified in sacrificing a piece in order to break open the king’s position. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bxg6 f5 13.Qh5 Nf6 14.Bf7+ Rxf7 15.Qxf7+ Kh8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Qg6 Na6 18.Qxf5 Nc7 19.Nf3 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Rb8 21.Rb1 Qe8 Black still can’t take the e-pawn with 21…Nxe6 because of 22.Qh3+ 22.Re1 Rb6 23.Bd2 Qa4 24.b3 Qg4 25.Qxg4 Nxg4 26.Re4 Nf6 27.Rh4+ Kg8 28.Ba5 Rc6 29.Bxc7 Rxc7 30.c4 Rc8 31.f3 Rf8 32.b4 cxb4 33.Rxb4 1-0 A well-placed knight and bishop is often at least as good as a rook, but here it’s the pawns that make the difference. Black hardly has a decent move on the board.

In last week’s position, White won quickly after 1.Nd5! attacking the queen and opening lines towards the Black king’s position which involve at least heavy material loss.

In tune with the Cornish theme this week, here is a 1944 composition by Dr. Maurice Jago. His most prolific period was during the war when he was a lieutenant in the RAMC, and probably had long periods of inactivity between actions. He was generally attracted by the more exotic forms of problems – helpmates, selfmates, fairy chess, etc. but this is one of his more conventional 2-movers.

White to play and mate in 2

Devon v Cornwall – Latest Contest (25.01.’14)

Devon took note of Cornwall’s good results this season and fielded a strong team in their match at Ashtorre Rock, Saltash at the weekend, eventually running out 11½ – 4½ winners, a score that rather belies the closeness of the contest. Cornish names first in each pairing:-

1.M. Hassall 0-1 D. Mackle. 2.J. Menadue ½-½ A. Boyne. 3.R. Kneebone ½-½ J. Stephens. 4.S. Bartlett 0-1 T. Paulden. 5.D. Saqui 0-1 P. Sivrev. 6.L. Retallick 0-1 D. Regis. 7.G. Healey 0-1 A. Brusey. 8.T. Slade 1-0 J. Fraser. 9.C. Sellwood 1-0 J. Underwood. 10.G. Trudeau 1-0 M. Shaw. 11.J. Hooker 0-1 B. Hewson. 12.J. Nicholas ½-½ T. Thynne. 13.J. Wilman 0-1 P. Brooks. 14.M. Hill 0-1 W. Ingham. 15.B. Parkin 0-1 N. Rahimili. 16.D. R. Jenkins 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge.

This game from Board 4 demonstrates (a) the importance of acting quickly against the enemy king and (b) the power of the check.

White: S. Bartlett (174). Black: T. J. Paulden (186).

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 a6 4.f4 d5 5.e5 h5 6.Bd3 Nh6 7.Qf3 c6 8.Nge2 Bg4 9.Qf2 e6 10.Be3 Nd7 11.0–0–0 White chooses to castle long, so Black responds immediately. 11…Qa5 12.h3 Bxe2 13.Bxe2 b5 14.a3 b4 15.Nb1 bxa3 16.Nxa3 Bf8 17.Bd2 Qb6 18.Nb1 Nf5 19.Bc3 c5 20.g4 hxg4 21.hxg4 Rxh1 22.Rxh1 Nxd4 winning a pawn 23.Bxd4 cxd4 24.Nd2 Rb8 25.b3 Ba3+ 26.Kd1? d3 White must do something about his undefended queen, allowing PxB+ next move. 0–1

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Ke2! forcing 1…Ke3 and then 2.R1c4 mate.

An inter-area match between the Torbay-based South Devon team and Plymouth-based West at the Plymouth Chess Club finished in a win for the hosts, by 6½ – 5½.

This position appears in Grandmaster Glenn Flear’s latest book, Tactimania, (Quality Chess 2011) in which he gives hundreds of instructive positions from his own games. It’s taken from a 1986 game in France against Trefor Thynne, not J. Thynne as given in the book. The whole game was as follows:

White: G. C. Flear. Black: T. F. Thynne.  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Qc2 Nbd7 8.Qxc4 c6 9.Rd1 Nb6 10.Qc2 Bd7 11.Ne5 Rc8 12.Nd3 Nbd5 13.a3 Be8 14.e4 Nc7 15.Nc3 Na6 16.b4 Nh5 17.e5 g6 18.Ne4 Kh8 19.Ndc5 Nxc5 20.dxc5 Qc7 21.Nd6 Rb8 22.Bh6 Rg8 23.g4 Ng7 24.Qc3 b6 25.Rac1 b5 26.Rc2 Ra8 27.Rcd2 Rd8 28.Qf3 Bxd6 29.Rxd6 Ra8 30.Qf6 a5 31.Rd8 Rc8. From this position, how did White now force a win, with a possible mate in 4?

White to play and win

London Chess Classic (28.12.2013.)

In the recent London Chess Classic, Britain’s top professional, Adams, and top amateur player were both among our home contingent in the top event. When they met in this game, there was, in the main, little difference during the course of the game, but in the end it was the professional who edged home.

White: Luke McShane (268). Black:  Michael Adams (281).

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence  [C84]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 To take the pawn with 5…Nxe4 constitutes the Open Defence and invites White to attack the centre with 6.Re1 Nc5 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 Be7 9.d4 etc. 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 exchanging pawns generally favours White, so 8…b4 9.c3 Rb8 10.Nbd2 0–0 11.Re1 Na5 12.Ba2 c5 13.Nc4 Nc6 14.Bg5 Be6 15.h3 h6 16.Bd2 Re8 17.Rc1 Bf8 18.Bb3 Re7 19.Be3 Reb7 Black’s forces are massing of the queenside, especially the down the b-file. 20.Bc2 bxc3 21.bxc3 Nxe4 22.Ncxe5 If 22.dxe4 Bxc4. 22…Nxe5 23.dxe4 Nc4 24.Bf4 Rb2 25.Qd3 g6 White was threatening e5 with a threat of mate. 26.Nd2 Nxd2 27.Bxd2 d5 28.Bf4 Rc8 29.exd5 Bf5 30.Qd1 Rxc2 31.Rxc2 Bxc2 32.Qxc2 Qxd5 After these exchanges the position looks exactly level. 33.Qe2 c4! Constricting White’s position somewhat. 34.Qg4 Qc6 35.Qd1 Re8 36.Be3 Bg7 37.Qc2 Rb8 38.a5 Rb3 Black is resuming control of the queenside. 39.Bd2 Rb5 40.Ra1 Qd5 41.Qa2 Rb3 42.Rc1 Rb5 43.Ra1 0–1 Black’s dominance is now winning. Play might have continued 43…Qd3 44.Rc1 Rd5 45.Be3 Bxc3 46.Qc2 Be5 47.g3 Qxc2 48.Rxc2 c3 etc.

Cornwall’s annual championship and congress will be held from Friday 31st January – 2nd February at their usual Stithians venue. The top section is the Emigrant Cup, the winner of which will become county champion, if eligible. The Falmouth Cup is for players graded U-145, while the Falmouth Cup is for relative beginners. Further details may be found on their new website, or contact the Organiser Robin Kneebone on 01872 858602, or e-mail:

In last week’s problem by Mansfield there were several quick mates but only one in 2 moves, and that was 1.Ba4! after which Black has four tries. i.e. 1…Qxd6 2.Bc6#; 1…Qxc4 2.Bb5#; 1…Qxa7 2.Qxa1# or 1…Kxa4 2.Qa2#.

This position is taken from a recently acquired book, 606 Puzzles for Chess Nuts, by Albertson and Wilson. Black has a winning advantage, but the position is very open, so how can he minimise all risk of allowing White any counterplay?

Black to simplify out to a win

London Chess Classic Line-up (14.12.2013.)

The 5th London Chess Classic has been running all this week and finishes tomorrow. The main event is the ‘Super Sixteen’ Rapidplay featuring the world’s elite and the Best of British. Local interest centres on Westcountryman Michael Adams who is joined by Nigel Short, David Howell, Gawain Jones, Luke McShane, Matthew Sadler and Jonathan Rowson, while the elite consists of  Fabiano Caruana, Boris Gelfand, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Hikaru Nakamura, Judit Polgar and the recently defeated World Champion Vishy Anand. His victor, Magnus Carlsen, is resting after his exertions.

Bristol’s Winter Congress starts on Friday 17th January 2014 at the Holiday Inn, with three sections catering for all levels of player. The Open for the strongest players, the Major for good club players graded under155 and the Minor for those under 125. Further details may be obtained from Graham Mill-Wilson on 0779-0167415 or e-mail

The following game from Cornwall’s recent win against Hampshire may be found on their upgraded website

White: Jeremy Menadue (Truro – 180). Black: Tim Davies (170).

 Nimzo-Indian Defence – 3 Knights Variation.

(Notes adapted from those by the winner).

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 The key moves of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, one of Black’s most dangerous replies. 4.Nf3 b6 Black switches to a Queen’s Indian system. 5.Bg5 Bb7 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 d6 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.Nd2 Bxc3 10.bxc3 c5 11.f4 Qc7 12.Rc1 Rfe8 13.Qe1 h6 14.Bh4 Rac8 White decides to change his plan of an attack down the f-file to one of a more general spatial advantage. 15.e4 e5 16.fxe5 dxe5 17.d5 Qd6 18.Rf3 Nh5 The idea is to get this knight to f5 via e3. 19.Nf1 Nf4 20.Bc2 Ba6 21.Ne3 g6 Denying f5 to the knight. 22.Rb1 Rf8 23.Kh1 Kh7 24.Qd2 g5? Vacating f5 and opening up the white-square diagonal. Better is 24…f6. 25.Bg3 White is now thinking about an attack based on the moves Nf5 – BxN – Rh3, bearing down on Black’s backward h-pawn. 25…Nf6? 26.Bxf4 Black finally cracks. exf4?? 27.e5+ winning the queen. 1–0. However, even if Black had played the alternative 26…gxf4 after 27.Rxf4 the pin prevents Black retaking Ng8 28.Nf5 etc. Black would still have struggled to save the game.

In last week’s column, the diagram was inadvertently repeated from the week before (in the paper) , but at least readers got the problem and the solution side by side.

Here is that promised new 2-mover by David Howard of East Harptree.

White to mate in 2

Cornwall’s Inspirational Leadership (07.12.2013.)

Somerset have been in all-conquering form of recent years but on Saturday they were unable to overcome Cornwall, having to be satisfied with an 8-8 draw. The Cornish lost on the top 4 boards by 3-1 and the same on the bottom 4 boards, but remarkably  scored 6 of the 8 points available on boards 5 – 12, to level things up. The details were: (Somerset names first).

1. J. Rudd 1-0 M. Hassall.

2. P. Chaplin ½-½ J. Menadue.

3. D. Littlejohns 1-0 M. Csuri.

4. M. Richardt ½-½ S. Bartlett.

5. B. Morris 0-1 D. Saqui.

6. C. Purry ½-½ L. Retallick.

7. A. F. Footner 0-1 G. Healey.

8. D. Painter-Ko 0-1 T. Slade.

9. J. E. Fewkes 1-0 C. Sellwood.

10. G. N. Jepps 0-1 G. Trudeau.

11.A. Champion ½-½ J. Nicholas.

12.M. Baker 0-1 J. Wilman.

13.D. Freeman 1-0 R. Smith.

14.N. N. Senior ½-½ D. J. Jenkins.

15.R. Knight 1-0 M. Richards.

16.C. Strong ½-½ D. R. Jenkins.

Cornwall’s previous match, against Hampshire, resembled a comedy of errors. A combination of illness and misunderstandings led to them arriving without any chess clocks, and their opponents turned up so late they would have been defaulted had there been any clocks. Eventually, some clocks were acquired locally and after lengthy negotiations between the two captains a match was played over 12 boards, which Cornwall won 7-5. However, it took several weeks of protracted discussion between interested parties before the result was finally agreed.

The details were as follows (Cornwall names first):-

1. M. Hassall v D. Tunks (did not play).

2. J. Menadue 1-0 T. Davis.

3. R. Kneebone 0-1 D. Fowler.

4. S. Bartlett ½-½ G. Jones.

5. D. Saqui 1-0 C. Priest.

6. L. Retallick ½-½ A. Manning.

7. T. Slade ½-½ Miss G. Moore.

8. G. Healey 1-0 B. Kocan.

9. C. Sellwood ½-½ S. Le Fevre.

10.G. Trudeau 0-1 J. Young.

11. J. Nicholas 1-0 R. Ashmore.

12. R. Smith 1-0 J. Barnett.

13. D. Lucas 0-1 S. Murphy.

Cornwall’s website has been recently upgraded (, and on it one can read, amongst other things, a fuller report on the match by their new match captain, Professor David Jenkins, together with his amusing and erudite Cornish chess adaptation of Henry V’s call to arms at the Battle of Agincourt, as imagined by Shakespeare. As Cornwall are doing so well lately, it must be working. Devon had better beware when they meet at Saltash in January.

In last week’s ending, White wins by force: i.e. 1.Rf8+ KxR. 2.Qf7 mate.

Here is a new 2-mover by David Howard of East Harptree.

White to mate in 2 moves

Devon vs Glos & Cornwall vs Somerset (16.03.2013.)

The final scheduled round of the Inter-County competition was held on Saturday. Devon managed to get out a strong side and cruised past Gloucestershire at West Buckland, winning 11½-4½. The details were as follows (Devon names first):-

1. D. Mackle 0-1 J. Stewart; 2. J. K. Stephens 1-0 D.Lambourne; 3. S. J. Homer 1-0 J. Waterfield; 4. D. Regis 1-0 J. Jenkins; 5. P. Medina 1-0 P. J. Meade; 6. J. Leung ½-½ P. Dodwell; 7. K. J. Hurst 1-0 P. Denison; 8. A. W. Brusey ½-½ A. N. Walker; 9. B.W. Hewson ½-½ M. J. Ashworth; 10. J. Underwood 1-0 B. Whitelaw; 11. M. V. Abbott 0-1 G. A. Brown; 12. O. Wensley 1-0 R. J. Dixon; 13. A. S. Kinder 1- 0 M. Claypole; 14. M. Shaw 1-0 A. Richards; 15. W. H. Ingham 0-1 P. Baker; 16. B. G. Gosling 1-0 P. R. Bending.

Meanwhile, knowing their opponents are capable of unexpected wins against any team that under-estimates them, Somerset took no chances against Cornwall and fielded a strong side at Exminster, eventually winning 9-3 over a 12 board match. The details were as follows (Cornish players 1st):- 1. J. F. Menadue 0-1 J. Rudd. 2. M. I. Hassal 1-0 P. Krzyzanowski. 3. R. Kneebone ½-½ D. LIttlejohns. 4. S. Bartlett ½-½ A. V. Wong. 5. J. Wilman 0-1 P. Chaplin. 6. G. Trudeau 0-1 A. Footner. 7. C. Sellwood 0-1 D. Painter. 8. 8. D. J. Jenkins ½-½ C. Purry. 9. M. Hill 0-1 J. E. Fewkes. 10. D. R. Jenkins ½-½ N. Senior. 11. C. Long 0-1 G. N. Jepps. 12. P. Spargo ½-½ D. Peters.

Apparently, the Hants vs Dorset match was not played due to a misunderstanding over the start time – another disruption to this season’s carefully planned programme of matches.

(Since going to press, it’s emerged that the Dorset team turned up at the venue for a 1 p.m. start, as defined in an e-mail, by the Dorset captain. As no Hants players had shown by 2 p.m. Dorset left for home. 5 minutes later, Hants players started arriving for a 2.30 start. Sodd’s Law, once again demonstrating that if a thing can go wrong, it probably will.) 

The West of England Congress at Exmouth starts a week on Friday and the entry limit is almost reached. Enquiries about late entries to Alan Crickmore on 01752-768206 or e-mail

Last week’s problem was solved by under-promoting the pawn to a bishop, forcing Black’s king to d8 and then Rd4 is mate.

The British Solving Championship was held recently at Eton College, and was won by Colin McNab ahead of the usual winners, Nunn and Mestel. Paignton’s Jon Lawrence came a respectable 13th out of 35 competitors. This one, by Charles Kemp, was one of the three 2-movers in the competition, worth 5 points each. It was first published in Plymouth’s Western Daily Mercury in 1919.

White to mate in 2.