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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.

New Season’s County Match Results (27.10.2012.)

Last weekend saw the start of the new Inter-County season, with Somerset drawing 8-8 against Hampshire, and Cornwall losing by the odd point to Gloucestershire.

Somerset names first in each pairing:  

1. J. Rudd 1-0 J. Tambini; 2. D. Buckley 0-1 M. Yeo; 3. P. Krzyzanowski1-0 I. Thompson; 4. D. Littlejohns½-½ D. Tunks; 5. A. Wong 0-1 A. McDougall; 6. P. Chaplin 1-0 O. Gill; 7. A. Footner 0-1 W. McDougall; 8. D. Painter ½-½    D. Fowler; 9. C. Purry ½-½ S. Knox; 10. N. Senior 0-1 C. Bellers; 11. J. Fewkes ½-½ P. Cooper; 12. G.Jepps 1-0 I. Stipcevic; 13. C. McKinley ½-½ F.McLeod; 14. S. Pickard 0-1 R.Marsh; 15. A. Champion ½-½ T. Davis; 16. R. Knight 1-0 S. Smith. Totals 8-8.

Glos names first in each pairing.

1. D. Lambourne ½-½ J. Menadue; 2. J. Jenkins 0-1 M. Hassall; 3. P.Meade 1-0 L. Retallack; 4. D. Vaughan ½-½ S. Bartlett; 5. P. Dodwell 0-1 J. Wilman; 6. P. Denison 1-0 G.Trudeau; 7.G. Taylor (154) 0-1 C. Sellwood; 8. M. Claypole ½-½ J. Nicholas; 9. M. Ashworth ½-½ D. J. Jenkins; 10. R. Dixon 0-1 C. Reeves; 11.A. Walker ½-½ C. Long; 12. P. Baker 1-0 D. R. Jenkins; 13. A. Richards ½-½ A. Barkhuysen; 14. P. Bending ½-½ P. Spargo; 15.I. Blencowe ½-½ D. Lucas; 16. double default. Totals 7-8.

Rudd’s game featured a finely-calculated ending by White.

White. J. Rudd (220). Black: J. Tambini (203).

Nimzowitsch Defence [B00]

1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.dxe5 Nxe5 4.f4 Nc6 5.Bc4 Bb4+ 6.c3 Ba5 7.Nf3 Bb6 8.Na3 d6 9.Qe2 Qe7 10.Bd3 Nf6 11.Nc4 0–0 12.Nxb6 axb6 13.0–0 Re8 14.Re1 d5 15.e5 Ng4 16.h3 Qc5+ 17.Kf1 Nh6 18.Be3 Qf8 19.Qc2 g6 20.g4 f5 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.f5 Nf7 23.g5 Qd6 24.Bf4 Nfe5 25.Nxe5 Nxe5 26.Qh2 Qf8 27.Rxe5 Rxe5 28.Bxe5 Bxf5 29.Bxf5 Qxf5+ 30.Kg1 Qxg5+ 31.Qg3 Qxg3+ 32.Bxg3 c6 33.a3 Kf7 34.Rf1+ Ke6 35.Bh4 Ra4 36.Bg5 Re4 37.Kf2 Kf5 38.Bd2 g5 39.Kg3+ Kg6 40.Re1 Rxe1 41.Bxe1 Kf5 42.Kf3 h5 43.a4 g4+ 44.hxg4+ hxg4+ 45.Ke3 Ke6 46.Bg3 Kd7 47.Kd4 Ke6 48.b4 Kd7 49.a5 c5+ 50.Kxd5 Kc8 51.Ke6 cxb4 52.cxb4 bxa5 53.bxa5 b5 54.a6 If 54.axb6 Kb7 ensuring a draw. 54…b4 55.Kd5 b3 56.Kc6 b2 57.a7 1–0.

Last week’s position ended with Black’s unanswerable combination 1…Qh1+ 2.Bxh1 Nh2+ 3.Ke1 Rg1+.

Here’s an ending from Wenman’s little book “100 Remarkable Endings” in which the great American master, Marshall loses in 14 moves to Alapin (W). What remarkable 2 move combination did White play to force the win?

White to play and win.

Close Encounters of the Chessy Kind.

At the weekend the first blows were traded in this year’s Inter-County Competition, with Somerset and Hants meeting at Mere. while Gloucestershire met Cornwall at their usual venue of Exminster Village Hall.

Both matches were very tightly contested, with the first match ending in an 8-8  draw, and Cornwall losing by the odd point to Gloucestershire. This may presage a series of close encounters for the rest of the season.

Next weekend, Devon II meet Dorset in an U-160 match at Luppitt. Will this one go down to the wire?

Full details are as follows:- 

  Sat. 20.10.2012.       Mere  
Bd Somerset  Grd     Hampshire Grd
1 J. Rudd 220 1 0 J. Tambini 203
2 D. Buckley 208 0 1 M. Yeo 203
3 P. Krzyzanowski 191 1 0 I. D. Thompson 199
4 D. Littlejohns 180 ½ ½ D. Tunks 193
5 A. Wong 178 0 1 A. McDougall 188
6 P. Chaplin 176 1 0 O. Gill 188
7 A. F. Footner 174 0 1 W. McDougall 180
8 D. Painter 172 ½ ½ D. Fowler 174
9 C. Purry 165 ½ ½ S. Knox 174
10 N. N. Senior 162 0 1 C. J. V. Bellers 170
11 J. E. Fewkes 162 ½ ½ P. Cooper 169
12 G. N. Jepps 161 1 0 I. Stipcevic 165
13 C. McKinley 152 ½ ½ F. N. McLeod 164
14 S. Pickard 151 0 1 R. D. Marsh 162
15 A. A. Champion 147 ½ ½ T. Davis 161
16 R. Knight 139 1 0 S. Smith 157
  Totals   8 8    


  Sat. 20.10.2012.       Exminster  
Bd Glos Grd     Cornwall Grd
1 D. Lambourne 180 ½ ½ J. F. S. Menadue 187
2 J. Jenkins 170 0 1 M. I. Hassall 185
3 P. J. Meade 169 1 0 L. Retallack 183
4 D. Vaughan 166 ½ ½ S. Bartlett 164
5 P. Dodwell 163 0 1 J. Wilman 159
6 P. Denison 162 1 0 G. Trudeau 152
7 G. Taylor 154 0 1 C. Sellwood 140
8 M. Claypole 149 ½ ½ J. Nicholas 140
9 M. Ashworth 148 ½ ½ D. J. Jenkins 135
10 R. Dixon 142 0 1 C. Reeves 134
11 A. Walker 141 ½ ½ C. Long 127
12 P. Baker 140 1 0 D. R. Jenkins 125
13 A. Richards 139 ½ ½ A. Barkhuysen 124
14 P. Bending 133 ½ ½ P. Spargo 119
15 I. Blencowe 130 ½ ½ D. Lucas 118
16 default       default  
  Totals   7 8    

Cornwall vs Hants & Devon vs Somerset Results.

After the earlier matches this season in which Devon beat Cornwall (11½-4½) and Hampshire beat Devon (10-6), simple logic would dictate that a Hants-Cornwall match should be a very one-sided affair. Yet the Cornish are always capable of turning the logic of the chessboard on its head, and they beat Hampshire 7-5 at Gittisham Village Hall last Saturday, thanks to wins by Robin Kneebone, Gary Trudeau, Theo Slade, Colin Sellwood and David Jenkins, backed up by draws from Messrs Hassall, Retallack, Bartlett and Wilman. Hampshire’s three winners were Ian Thompson, Tom Anderson and Lawrence Pearman.

As reported last week, Theo Slade became the West of England U-12 Champion the previous weekend, and was not overawed on this occasion by making his debut on Board 7. This was his game in which he exploits his opponent’s unwise captures.

White: C. Priest (151). Black: T. Slade (147).

Queen’s Bishop Opening [D02].

1.d4 e6 2.Bf4 d5 3.Nf3 Bd6 4.Bxd6 Qxd6 5.e3 Qb4+ 6.Nc3 Qxb2 7.Nb5 Qb4+ 8.c3 Qe7 9.Qa4 c6 10.Nxa7 A very dangerous move – trying to grab cheap pawns like this often rebounds. 10…Bd7 11.Ne5 f6 12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.Rb1 13.Na6 Now the jackdaw knight is trapped. 14.Nxc6 Nc7 If 14…bxc6 15.Bxa6. 15.Qc2 bxc6 16.Bd3 f5 Sealing off the centre from White’s attacking pieces and freeing f6 for his knight. 17.0–0 Nf6 18.Rb7 With the centre sealed, White must try to dominate the b-file in order to generate some activity. 18…0–0 19.Rfb1 Ne4 20.c4 Nd6 21.R7b6 Rfc8 22.c5 Ndb5 23.Qb3 Ra3 24.Qc2 Now another piece is trapped. 24…Na8 25.R1xb5 cxb5 26.Bxb5 Qe7 27.Rd6?? The rook can be taken for nothing, but Black doesn’t spot this at first. 27…Ra7 28.a4? Clearly White doesn’t notice the danger either, but Black needs no second invitation. 28.Ra6 would avoid further unequal loss of material. 28…Qxd6 White resigned in view of 29.cxd6 Rxc2.

Meanwhile, at Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset I comfortably overcame Devon I by 10½-5½, even though two Somerset players failed to turn up and reserves had to be drafted in at the last minute, both of whom won their games. By way of compensation, Devon’s 2nd team won equally comfortably (10-6) and thereby retained the Wayling Cup. More details next week, together with the results from the East Devon Congress which continues today in Exeter.

Last week’s 2-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Ng8!

The British Solving Championship was held last weekend at Eton College and the new Champion is the Scottish GM Colin McNab (61/65 pts), followed by J. Mestel (59) and J. Nunn (56). The best non-seeded competitor was David Hodge. This 2-mover is one of the problems used in the competition.

White to play & mate in 2.

Devon vs Cornwall Result (10.12.2011.)

Cornwall may have been rocked by an earthquake last Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with their chess match against Devon earlier in the day, which involved no such shocks and went mostly according to expectations. It was the same old story for the Cornish – quite capable of holding their own on the top boards, but liable to fall away as their lack of strength in depth took its toll. In this case, the top 5 games were shared 2½ each, featuring four Black wins, but the lower 11 boards could only muster 4 draws. An illustration of the difference in strength can be seen by comparing the match on Bd. 5, where the experienced Simon Bartlett (162) was reasonably close in grade to John Stephens (173) and quite capable of securing a result. Yet whereas the Cornish team fell away sharply below that, Devon’s Bd. 16 player was the same grade as Bartlett (Pollock – 162). Having said this, playing the Cornish side is never a formality and they can never be taken lightly - they are quite capable of beating any WECU team who thinks otherwise, and Devon’s captain, Brian Hewson, knows better than to fall into that particular trap for the unwary.

The details were as follows (Cornish names first and were White on the even numbered boards):

1. J. Menadue 1-0 K. Hurst. 2. L. Retallick 0-1 S. Homer. 3. M. Hassall 1-0 B. Hewson. 4. R. Kneebone 0-1 J. Wheeler. 5. S. Bartlett ½-½ J. Stephens. 6. G. Healey 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. G. Trudeau 0-1 A. Brusey. 8. J. Nicholas 0-1 T. Thynne. 9. J. Wilman 0-1 D. Twine. 10. C. Sellwood ½-½ W. Ingham. 11. A. Barkhuysen 0-1 J. Leung. 12. G. Lingard ½-½ O. Wensley. 13. C. Reeves ½-½ A. Kinder. 14. M. Hill 0-1 A. Billings. 15. D. R. Jenkins 0-1 P. Brooks. 16. R. Smith ½-½ R. Pollock.

Saturday also saw the start of the London Chess Classic at Olympia, where the World’s top 4 take on England’s top 5 players in an 8-round All-Play-All. The tournament is unusual in that it follows football’s lead in awarding 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw. This is in the hope that the Grandmasters will fight more tenaciously for a win, rather than settle for tepid draws, as they often tend to do.

Last week’s position ended with 1.Rxg7+ Kxg7 2.Re7+ Kg8 3.Qxf6 followed by Qf6+ and Qh7 mate.

The New Yorker, Fred Reinfeld, (1910-64), was a controversial writer  of chess books, derided by some who equate the rapidity of his output for superficiality, and praised by others for making the game accessible to the general public. This position is taken from one of his 100+ books. His heading for the diagram is “The first move is obvious…”, and for the solution “The end comes with surprising suddenness”.

White to play and win.

Devon beat Cornwall (03.12.2011.)

Cornwall may have been rocked by an earthquake on Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with their chess match against Devon earlier in the day, which involved no such shocks and went mostly according to expectations. It was the same old story for the Cornish – quite capable of holding their own on the top boards, but liable to fall away as their lack of strength in depth took its toll.

In this case, the top 5 games were shared 2.5 each, including 4 Black wins on Bds 1 – 4, but the lower 11 boards could only muster 4 draws. An illustration of the difference in strength can be seen by comparing the match on Bd. 5, where the experienced Simon Bartlett (162) was reasonably close in grade to John Stephens (173) and quite capable of securing a result. Yet whereas the Cornish team fell away sharply below that, Devon’s Bd. 16 player was  the same grade as Bartlett (Pollock – 162).

Having said this, playing the Cornish side is never a formality and they can never be taken lightly - they are quite capable of beating any WECU team who think otherwise, and Devon’s captain, Brian Hewson, knows better than to fall into that particular trap for the unwary.

The match was played at a new venue, the Burraton Community Centre, Saltash, and Devon had White on the odd-numbered boards.

Bd. Cornwall Grd Club     Devon Grd Club
1 Jeremy Menadue 192 Truro 1 0 Kevin Hurst 186 Exmouth
2 Lloyd Retallack 178 Newquay 0 1 Steve Homer 179 N. Abbot
3 Mark Hassall 175 Truro 1 0 Brian Hewson 178 Tiverton
4 Robin Kneebone 172 Camborne 0 1 John Wheeler 173 Cosham
5 Simon Bartlett 162 Newquay ½ ½ John Stephens 173 Exmouth
6 Grant Healey 149 Falmouth 0 1 Mark Abbott 170 Exmouth
7 Gary Trudeau 147 Liskeard 0 1 Alan Brusey 174 Teignmouth
8 Jeff Nicholas 146 Camborne 0 1 Trefor Thynne 171 N. Abbot
9 John Wilman 141   0 1 David Twine 170 Plymouth
10 Colin Sellwood 140 Camborne ½ ½ Bill Ingham 166 Teignmouth
11 Anton Barkhuysen 139 Camborne 0 1 Jeff Leung 165 N. Abbot
12 Geoff Lingard 135 Bude ½ ½ Oliver Wensley 164 Exmouth
13 Chris Reeves 133 Truro ½ ½ Andrew Kinder 162 S. Hams
14 Michael Hill 130 Liskeard 0 1 Alex Billings 157 N. Abbot
15 David Jenkins 127 St. Austell 0 1 Paul Brooks 160 S. Hams
16 Richard Smith 123 Truro ½ ½ Richard Pollock 162 Plymouth

Cornwall vs Glos Result (22.10.2011.)

Cornwall had a miserable time of it last year in the West of England stages of the Inter-County Championship, losing every single match. However, a new season has brought a change of fortunes as they drew 8-all in an evenly-matched affair against Gloucestershire last Saturday at Exminster.

Here are the details (Cornish names first and had Black on the odd-numbered boards).

1.J. Menadue (192) ½-½ N. Hosken (192). 2.L. Retallack (178) 1-0 C. Mattos (179). 3.M. Hassall (175) ½-½ I. Gallagher (177). 4.S. Bartlett (162) 1-0 J. Jenkins (177). 5.G. Healey (149) 0-1 D. Vaughan (165). 6.G. Trudeau (147) ½-½ P. Dodwell (162). 7.J. Nicholas (146) 0-1 P. Meade (161). 8.J. Wilman (141)1-0 A. Richards (140). 9.C. Sellwood (140) 1-0 P. Baker (147). 10.G. Lingard (137) 0-1 G. Brown (137). 11. C. Long (133) 0-1 M. Ashworth (132). 12. M. Hill (130) ½-½ I. Blencowe (130). 13.D. R.Jenkins (127) ½-½ R. Francis (129). 14.D. J. Jenkins (124) 0-1 P. Bending (124). 15.R. Smith (123) ½-½ M. Claypole (122). 15.T. Slade (122) 1-0 C. Harvey (109).

Both teams included promising youngsters and for Gloucestershire 12 year old Michael Ashworth of the Wotton Hall club, Gloucester, won his game, while the even younger Theo Slade (10) of Marhamchurch near Bude, won his for Cornwall. He is probably the youngest player to debut for Cornwall since Michael Adams, who then aged 8 with a grade of 101, played against Devon in November 1980, and look what happened to him.

The Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) held their annual Individual Rapidplay tournament last weekend at Newport Pagnell, won by Paignton’s Keith Arkell on 6/7 points, just ahead of Danny Gormally, Thomas Rendle and John Richardson who were 2nd=, half a point behind. Fifty competed.

The popular Guernsey Chess Festival which has been held all this week at the Peninsula Hotel and finishes today, regularly attracts a number of westcountry regulars of all strengths, who happily mix in with the overseas Grandmasters and  Guernsey locals. More details next week.

In last week’s position, White could simply play 1.QxR with the threat of 2.Qf7+ Kh8 3.Qg8 mate, and Black cannot take the queen because of 2.Re8 mate.

The laws of chess used to state simply that when a pawn reaches the furthest rank it may be exchanged for any piece, neglecting to specify that the new piece should be of the same colour as the pawn. This oversight was corrected in comparatively recent times, but before then, how might this lack of total clarity have enabled to White to mate in 1?

Using old Laws of Chess, White can mate in 1.