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The Essential Role of a County Captain (04.03.2017.)

The role of county captain is not recommended to those of a nervous disposition, but it is a vital job if competitive teams are to be fielded in important matches. The all-conquering Somerset team has lost its captain of recent years, and with no replacement coming forward, it shows. Devon have had the excellent services of Brian Hewson as captain for many years, but he also retired after this match, with no replacement yet identified. How will this affect future Devon teams? On this occasion Devon beat Somerset by 12½-3½ in the 1st team and 11-1 in the 2nd team, and his game follows. Somerset names 1st in each pairing: 1.B. Edgell (200) 1-0 D. Mackle (208). 2.A. Footner (175) 0-1 J. Stephens (193). 3.A. Gregory (164) 0-1 O’Neill (185). 4.J. Lobley (160e) 0-1 S. Homer (190). 5.G. N. Jepps (159) 0-1 T. Paulden (187). 6. L. Bedialauneta (149) ½-½ J. Underwood (183). 7.N. Senior (156) 0-1 B. Hewson (187). 8. C. Purry (149) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.C. Fewtrell (143) 0-1 J. Wheeler (174). 10.T. Wallis (144) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 11.O. Isaac (117) 0-1 P. Sivrev (175). 12. T. Alsop (130) 0-1 D. Regis(175). 13.C. McKinley 0-1 (127) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 14.M. Baker (137) ½-½ T. Thynne (170).15. A. Byrne (127) 0-1 O. Wensley (168). 16. S. Pickard(129) 0-1 W. Ingham (162).

2nd teams: 1.M. Willis (126) ½-½ B.Gosling (159) 2.A. Stonebridge (121) 0-1 V. Ramesh (154). 3.G. Greenland (113) 0-1 C. Scott (151). 4.J. Beviss (110e) ½-½ L. Hafstad (142). 5. K. Kyriacou (97) 0-1 N. Butland (150). 6. R. Fenton (111) 0-1 M. Quinn (146). 7. R. Harris  (112) 0-1 C. Keen (150). 8.B. Thornley (111) 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge (145). 9.D/f 0-1 I.Annetts. 10.M. Cooper (97) 0-1 R. Whittington (137). 11.D. Smith (91) 0-1 W. Taylor (137). 12.d/f 0-1 R. Wilby.

White: N. Senior. Black: B. W. Hewson.

Queen’s Pawn Game D05

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 c5 3.Nf3 e6 4.Bd3 d5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Qc7 7.0–0 Bd6 8.Re1 0–0 9.e4 Threatening e5 forking bishop & knight 9…cxd4 10.cxd4 10…dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Bxe4 f5 13.Bc2! h6 14.Bb3 Threatening Black’s pinned e-pawn. 14…Nd8 15.Bd2 Bd7 16.Rc1 Bc6 Black has little choice but to lose his e-pawn, or play much of the game on the back foot. 17.Bxe6+ Nxe6 18.Rxe6 Qd7 19.Qb3? The threat of a discovered check looks attractive but is a mistake.  Black missed the best move 19…Bd5! as the queen cannot take the bishop because of Bxh2+ and the queen is lost. 20.Rce1? Having missed it earlier, he now gets a second chance. 20…Bd5! 21.Re8+ 21…Rxe8 22.Rxe8+ Qxe8 23.Qxd5 White emerges the exchange down. 23…Qc6 24.Qb3 Kf8 25.d5 25…Qe8 26.Nd4 Qe4 Threatening both the unprotected knight and mate on b1. 27.Ne6+ Kg8 28.g3 b6 29.Qb5 29…Re7! 30.Qc6? Probably realising his mistake, White hopefully offered a draw here but Black had also noticed that the d-pawn was now pinned and the knight can taken with impunity. 30…Rxe6! 0–1

Here is a hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard of Somerset.

White to mate in 2

Gloucestershire’s Varying Fortunes (24.12.2016.)

Last month, Gloucestershire beat a Somerset side, weakened by defaults, by 9½-6½ points, the details being as follows:- (Glos. names 1st in each pairing). 1.P. Townsend (200) 0-1 J. Rudd (213). 2.J. Stewart (191) 1-0 P. Krzyzanowski (183). 3.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 M. Stanforth (179). 4.M. Ashworth (186) 1-0 A. F. Footner (175). 5.J. Jenkins (181) ½ -½ M. French (170). 6. P. Masters (179) 1-0 Default. 7.J. Jones (176) ½ -½ D. Freeman (163). 8.C. Mattos (174) 1-0 G. N. Jepps (159). 9.P. Kirby (171) 0-1 A. A. Champion (153). 10.P. J. Meade (163) 1-0 R. Knight (150). 11.J. Fowler (158) ½ -½ C. Purry (149). 12.R. Dixon (155) ½ -½  J. E. Fewkes (142). 13.R. Ashworth (153) ½ -½ T. Wallis (142). 14.P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Strong (133). 15. A. Killey (138) 1-0 Default. 16.I. Blencowe (129) 1-0 d/f.

It was a different story when they subsequently met a strong Devon side. The top half of the match was competitive with Gloucestershire sharing the points 5 – 3, but from board 9 down Devon were able to field a raft of 170+ players, too strong for their opponents to cope with. The details as follows:- (Glos. names first). 1.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Ashworth (186) ½-½ J. K. Stephens (192). 3.J. Jenkins (181) 1-0 Dr. T. J. Paulden (187). 4.P. Masters (179) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.C. Mattos (174) ½-½ S. Homer (190). 6.D. Dugdale (172) 0-1 Dr. J. Underwood (183). 7.P. Kirby ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson (182). 8.P. J. Meade (163) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.J. Fowler (158) 1-0 Dr. D. Regis (175). 10.R. Ashworth (153) ½-½  P. Sivrev (175). 11. P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 12.A. Papier (143) 0-1 J.  F. Wheeler (174). 13.A. Killey (136) ½-½ T. F. Thynne (170). 14.I. Blencowe (129) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 15.A. Richards (123) ½-½  O. E. Wensley (168). 16.P. Bending (115) 0-1 M. O. Marshall (166).

This was the complex game from Bd. 4 in which both players became very short of time.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bg5 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.d5 a6 9.0–0 Rb8 10.Qc2 Qa5 11.a4 Re8 12.h3 Nf8 13.Rfd1 Bd7 14.Bf4 Qb4 15.Ne1 Qb6 16.Ra3 Rbd8 17.a5 Qc7 18.Bf3 Bc8 19.Qd2 N8d7 20.Nd3 b6 21.axb6 Nxb6 22.b3 Nfd7 23.Ne4 Bb7 24.Ra2 h6 25.g4 e5 26.dxe6 26.Bh2 Might have been better in the longer term. 26…Rxe6 27.Nxd6 Bxf3 28.Nxf7 attacking queen & rook. 28…Ne5 Better might have been 28…Qc8 29.Nxd8 Qxd8 30.Rc1 29.Nxd8 Rd6 Not 29…Qxd8? 30.Nxe5 Qxd2 31.Rdxd2 leaving Black the exchange & 2 pawns down. 30.Nxe5 Bxd1? Better would be 30…Rxd2 31.Rdxd2 Bxe5 31.Nd3 Bxb3 An alternative continuation might be 31…Qxd8 32.Bxd6 Bxb3 33.Nxc5 Bxa2 34.Ne6 leaving Black with a bishop for 2 pawns. 32.Ne6! Qc6 33.Bxd6 Bxa2 Black also had 33…Nxc4 34.Qe2 Qxd6 35.Nexc5 Bxa2 but White has threats after 36.Qxa2. 34.Ndxc5 Bxc4 35.Nxg7 Kxg7 35…Nc8 36.Be5 Qxc5 37.Qd8+ Qf8 38.Ne8. 36.Qd4+ Kh7 37.Bf4? 37.Qf6 would have threatened mate after 38.Qe7+ K moves, 39.Qe8. 37…Qd5? 38.Qxd5? 38.Qf6 followed by 39.Be5 would threaten mate. 38…Nxd5 39.Bd6 Kg7 40.e4 Nc3?? 41.Be5+ Kf7 42.Bxc3 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe4!

This new 3-mover is a little more difficult than usual, so you might need to find a quiet spot somewhere after the Christmas dinner.

White to play and mate in 3

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.

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

Somerset & Devon Meet Varying Fortunes. (28.05.2016.)

Westcountry teams met with varying fortunes on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championships. Devon had entered the grade-limited U-180 section and were paired against Middlesex, to whom they lost in the Final last year. This time, however, fate intervened on Devon’s behalf, as a third of the Middlesex team were held up in heavy traffic and while most arrived late, two didn’t make it at all, thus gifting Devon a close win by 8½-7½ in a match they might otherwise have lost.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing). 1.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 W. Taylor (170). 2.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 3.John Wheeler (177) 1-0 G. Batchelor (176). 4.Trefor Thynne (167) 0-1 A. Hayler (170). 5.M. Gosling ½-½ R. Harper (172) 6.Paul Hampton 1-0 A. Fulton (170). 7.Dennis Cowley (160) 1-0 R. Kane (164). 8.G. Body (163) 1-0 def. 9.Bill Ingham (158) ½-½ W. Phillips (162). 10.P. Brooks (158) 1-0    J. Kay (162). 11.Brian Gosling (154) 1-0 def. 12.Martin Quinn (159) ½-½ P. Morton (160). 13.Mike Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 0-1 L. Fincham (160). 14.Nick Butland (155) ½-½ L. Boy (153). 15.Kevin Hindom (155) 0-1 A. McGuinness (151). 16.Ivor Annetts (151) 0-1 J. Sargent (152).

Devon thus avenged their 2015 final defeat, and now go on to meet Essex in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, it was a different story for Somerset who had entered the Minor Counties section, which, despite its title, is a much stronger tournament, as there is no grade limit. They were paired against Suffolk who turned up with a 16 man team whose average grade was 182 compared to Somerset’s 145, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Somerset lost the match, but nevertheless 14½-1½ is a crushing defeat. Gerry Jepps was their only winner and Chris Purry got the solitary draw.

Last week’s Frome Congress also incorporated the Somerset individual championships, which go to the highest-placed Somerset player in each section.

These went as follows:  Open: David Buckley (Bath) who received the Denys Bonner Trophy.  Major: Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) got the Leon York Trophy.

Intermediate: Hugo Fowler, (Millfield School) got the Roy Hossell Cup.

Minor: Alastair Drummond (Bristol Cabot) got the Cyril Chapman trophy, and Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) was awarded the Jean Mackereth Cup for the best ungraded player in the Minor.

The Cotswold Congress starts this morning at the King’s School, Gloucester and continues for 6 rounds until Monday evening. Results next week.

In last week’s position White simply played 1.Rd1! and Black’s forward rook is pinned in two diections, so must fall.

This week’s position is another world premier by Dave Howard. White can clearly spend time chasing the Black king with a series of checks, but how can he mate in just 3 moves?

White to mate in 3

Devon’s Hat Trick (19.03.2016.)

The final rounds of the West of England inter-county tournament have been taking place recently. On Saturday Devon met Wiltshire in a 2nd team match at West Buckland. Devon’s 10½-5½ victory means they have won the 2nd division, the Wayling Cup, for the 18th consecutive year, to add to the 1st Division championship, the Harold Meek Cup, as well as the Inter-Area Jamboree back in September – a marvellous hat trick of wins, rarely achieved by any county. Details as follows (Devon names first in each pairing). 1.W. Ingham (161) ½-½ M. Bowhay (158) 2.P. Brooks (159) 1-0 D. O’Byrne (153). 3.B. G. Gosling (157) ½-½ Mrs. Fenella Headlong (141). 4.M. Stinton-Brownbridge (151) 0-1 G. Georgiou (141). 5.M. Quinn (151) ½-½ C. Callow (135). 6.N. Butland (153) ½-½ G. Williams (130). 7. M. Best (150) 1-0 Ben Headlong (126). 8. K. Hindom (153) 1-0 R. Morris (123). 9. I. S. Annetts (151) ½-½ R. Carver (118). 10. C. J. Scott (150) 1-0 G. Chapman (111). 11. A. Frangleton 1-0 Default. 12. V. Ramesh (146) 0-1 A. Copping (110). 13. N. Hodge (144) 1-0 M. Walters (102) 14. R. Wilby (140) 1-0 D. Brown (96). 15. Nicolas Bacon (126) 0 -1 Georgia Headlong (91). 16. R. H. Jones (118) 1-0 R. Sparks (85).

The match seemed closer than the final score suggests, and with only 4 games to finish, Devon had still not passed the winning line. One bright spot for Wiltshire was the performance of 10 year old Georgia Headlong, who played with a self-possessed aplomb to beat her more highly rated opponent in an endgame involving 4 knights.

White: N. Bacon (126). Black: G. Headlong (91).

Albin Counter Gambit [D08]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 The Albin Counter Gambit, a provocative reply to the Queen’s Gambit. 3.e3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Qxd7 7.exd4 Qxd5 8.dxe5 Qxe5+ Best. If 8…Qxg2 9.Qf3 Bb4+ 10.Ke2 Qxf3+ 11.Nxf3 9.Qe2 Qxe2+ 10.Nxe2 Nc6 11.0–0 0–0–0 12.Nbc3 Nf6 13.Bg5 Be7 14.Rad1 Rhe8 15.Rfe1 h6 16.Bh4 g5 17.Bg3 Bb4 18.f3 Bc5+ 19.Bf2 Bxf2+ 20.Kxf2 g4 21.Ng3 Rxe1 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8 23.Kxe1 Now there are just the 4 knights left. 23…Kd7 24.Ke2 Ke6 25.Ke3 a6 26.Nce4 Nd5+ 27.Kf2 gxf3 28.Kxf3 Ne5+ 29.Ke2 b6 30.Nh5 Kf5 31.Neg3+?  Much better was 31.Nhg3+. 31…Kg6 Now neither of White’s knights can move without the other being taken. Black shows an understanding of the subtleties of the position beyond her years. 32.Kf1 f5 33.Ng7 She correctly ignores the temptation just to grab the en pris knight. 33…Ne3+ 34.Ke2 f4 35.N3h5 Nxg2 36.Kf2 f3 37.Ne6 Kxh5 38.Nd4 Kg4 39.Nxf3 Nxf3 40.Kxg2 Ng5 41.b4 h5 42.a4 h4 43.b5 axb5 44.axb5 h3+ 45.Kf2 Ne4+ 46.Ke3 Nc30–1. White must lose his b-pawn and will be unable to ward off Black’s advancing pawns.

Bacon vs Headlong - Final Position.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe1! threatening 2.c4 mate.  Black had 5 “tries” to avoid the inevitable but each was met with a different mate.

This 2-mover follows this week’s 4 knights theme, but with added material. It’s an 1895 composition by Sam Loyd.

White to mate in 2

 

Nicky Bacon considering his 3rd move.

Exeter-Exmouth Bremridge Cup Result (27.02.2016.)

It was time for another top level encounter between near neighbours on the Exe, Exeter & Exmouth. 

Exmouth were without 2 of their top players, Stephens and Shaw, while Exeter had been able to beef up their team with 2 new acquisitions from the University. Matthew Best is a 2nd year economics student, while Chris Lowe is on the University staff, teaching English Grammar to anyone who needs it.  However, although he has just arrived in Exeter this season after 20 years in Sussex, he is not new to Devon, having been part of the Paignton Palace crew in the early 1980s. This was situated in Paignton but distinct from the old town club, and was based in Palace Avenue. Its membership consisted mainly of older Juniors, centred around future IM, Gary Lane, and included players like Paul Aston, A. K. Swift,  Brian Boomsma, the Hawthorne brothers et al.  They won the Bremridge Cup in 1982, ‘83 and ‘86, so Lowe was no stranger to this tournament. As the teenagers grew up they went their separate ways and the club eventually broke up. 

These changes made the teams very closely matched on every board, and the outcome impossibe to predict.  The games ended in 2 rafts of three, the first batch being all draws. Firstly, the Regis-Martin game came to an agreeable end when neither player had any advantage. Abbott vs Lowe came down to a R&Ps ending in which neither player felt inclined to push too hard in case it collapsed against them, as can happen all too often. There was nothing placid about Body vs Wensley, in which White quickly got a strong kingside attack in a Scotch Game. However, White spent so much time looking for the killer blow, that he ran short of time and agreed a draw. 

There was then a lull as the other 3 games played out. Pope vs Scott was eventually drawn in an even position, leaving the last 2 games which were definitely not even in any way. Underwood-Paulden had been a complex position from the start in which pieces were left en prise while Black probed for weakenesses all over the board. Eventually, White cracked, and attention then suddenly focussed on Gosling’s game. He had only c. 2 minutes left and was reduced to just ticking off his last few moves before move 40 was reached. He was a piece up but there were pieces and pawns all over the board. However, right at the death he found the far-from-obvious winning move that offered a piece back, but if taken would enable him to queen a pawn. A win and the match was saved. 3-3 was about what one would expect, the grades being what they were.

     Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                               27.02.2016.
  EXETER  Grd     EXMOUTH Grd    
1 Dr. Tim Paulden 185 1 0 Dr. Jon Underwood 184    
2 Dr. Dave Regis 180 ½ ½ Steve Martin 183    
3 Chris Lowe 179 ½ ½ Mark V. Abbott 177    
4 Giles Body 163 ½ ½ Oliver E. Wensley 171    
5 Matthew Best 155 0 1 Brian G. E. Gosling 157    
6 Sean Pope 142 ½ ½ Christopher J. Scott 150    
  Totals 1,004 3 3   1,022    

 

Exeter's Dave Regis (nearest) and Tim Paulden make their first moves.

Chris Lowe (facing) getting back to the Devon chess scene, against Mark Abbott.

Boards 4 (nearest) & 5.

Exeter's captain, Sean Pope in action.

Dwvon Beat Somerset (13.02.2016.)

After a number of losses to Somerset in recent years, Devon managed to pull one back last weekend in their match at Chedzoy Village Hall, by winning 8½-7½. It was a close but fair result as Devon outgraded their opponents, often significantly, on 11 of the 16 boards. Somerset were a couple of top players light, while Devon had two new strong players, which tipped the balance. The details were: (Devon names first in each pairing). 1.D. Mackle (207) 1-0 J. Rudd (216). 2.J. Stephens (196) 0-1 D. Buckley (205). 3.J. Underwood (186) ½-½ B. Edgell (199). 4.S. Homer (181) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (197). 5.S. Martin (184) 0-1 D. Littlejohns (182) 6.A. Brusey (184) ½-½ J. Byrne (173). 7.B. Hewson (176) 1-0 A. Gregory (166). 8.C. Lowe (179) ½-½ D. Freeman (165). 9.D. Regis (180) 1-0 B. Morris (174). 10.J. Wheeler (177) ½-½ G. N. Jepps (167). 11.P. Hampton (175e) 1-0 C. Purry (160). 12.O. Wensley (170) 0-1 R. D. Knight (157). 13.T. Thynne (167) 1-0 L. Bedialauneta (151e). 14.G. Body (163) ½-½ M. Baker (150). 15.W. Ingham (158) 1-0 J. E. Fewkes (147). 16.V. Ramesh (143) 0-1 A. Bellingham (152).

The 2nd team match was a one-sided affair with the more highly-graded Devon team in the ascendant, winning 9½-2½. The details were as follows:- 1.P. Brooks (158) 1-0 J. Lee (141). 2.B. Gosling (154) 1-0 M. Worrall (147). 3.M. Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 1-0 T. Wallis (137). 4. M. Quinn (159) ½-½ (131). 5.N. Butland (155) ½-½ A. Champion (128). 6.K. Hindom (155) 1-0 S. Pickard (138). 7.I. S. Annetts (151) 0-1 C. Strong (155). 8.A. Frangleton (147) 1-0  C. McKinley (142). 9.A. Hart-Davis (151) ½-½ N. Mills (129). 10.C. Scott (149) 1-0 P. Wojcik (119).  11.M. Best (155) 1-0 R. Fenton (104). 12.R. Wilby (142) 1-0 B. Lee (112).

Here is the Devon captain’s win.

White: Brian Hewson (179). Black: Andrew Gregory (165).

Sicilian Defence [B27]

1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c3 c5 4.e4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.h3 Nc6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 a6 9.Rc1 0–0 10.Bd3 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.0–0 Qa5 13.Qa4 Re8 14.Rfd1 b5 15.Qxa5 Nxa5 16.b4 Nb7?! 16…Nc4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Nd5 (18.Bg5 Be6 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Rac8 22.Rc5 Be7 23.R5xc4 Rxc4 24.Rxc4) 18…Nxd5 19.exd5 Bd7 20.Rxc4 Ba4 21.Rd2. 17.a4! bxa4 18.Nxa4 with the threat of Nb6. 18…Nd7? Better might have been 18…Nd6 19.Nb6 Rb8 20.Nxc8 Nxc8 21.Bxa6 Black cannot retake on b4 and that pawn can then make significant progress up the board under the protection of bishops and rooks. 19.Bc4 Nd8 20.Bd5 Rb8 21.Ba7! Rxb4 22.Rxc8 1–0. 22…Rf8 If 22…Rxa4 23.Bb3 White’s rooks and bishops are cutting swathes across the queenside, and Black must lose material. Slightly better would be 22…Rf8, but Black is lost anyway.

In last week’s position Black won decisively with a queen sacrifice. 1…QxR 2.NxQ Nd2+ forcing 3.Ka1 or a2 Ra8 mate.

Here is another new 2-mover from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and win in 2

Devon vs Cornwall 1902 & Remembering Peter Keffler.

The very first match between Cornwall and Devon took place in Truro in October 1902, with the home team winning 15½-9½. No games are known to have survived, but the names alone give an indication of where the clubs and centres of activity were situated, and might strike a chord among some readers. Cornish names 1st in each pairing & Plymouth Club membership reduced to (P):

1. P. J. Dancer (Helston) 0-1 T. Taylor (P). 2. H. M. Fox (Falmouth) 1-0 H. L. Bowles. 3. R. Davy (Penzance) 0-1 G. M. Frean (Torquay). 4. A. Mayne (Falmouth) 0-1 C. F. Cooper (P). 5. F. H. Pascho (P) 1-0 E. D. Fawcett (Totnes). 6. F. H. Carlyon (Truro) 1-0 W. W. Rickeard (P.). 7. S. Y. Williams (Penzance) 1-0 W. H. Phillips (P). 8. C. E. Trethewey (Truro) ½-½ W. W. Hooper (P). 9.C. Dowsall (Wadebridge) 1-0 Rev H. Bremridge. 10. T. G. Mead (Falmouth) 1-0 A. S. Stoneman (P). 11. W. E. Grenfell (Truro) 0-1 E. Pearse (Devonport). 12. Dr. Butlin (Camborne) 1-0 Col. Bennett (P). 13. C. E. Harby (Wadebridge) ½-½ Mrs. R. A. Bowles. 14. F. R. Pasco (Truro) ½-½ C. T. Blanshard (Totnes). 15. A. Menhennick (Wadebridge) 1-0 T. Whitby (Devonport). 16.H. Tonkin (Penryn) 1-0 S. Word (P). 17. W. Boxhall (St. Austell) F. Langdon (Devonport). 18. L. Hall 1-0 Rev. H. R. Kruger (Exeter). 19. C. Hoadley (Helston) H. D. Nicholson (P). 20. E. Retchford (Penryn) 0-1 C. W. Wood (P). 21. A. E. Preston (St. Mawes) 0-1 R. S. Nicole (Exeter). 22. H. Knowles (Helston) 1-0 E. A. Pryor (Axminster). 23. F. Marsh 1-0 W. H. Daw (Teignmouth). 24. H. T. Robinson (Camborne) 0-1 Rev. Moyle (P). 25.C. Jenkin 1-0 Miss M. Hunt.

Peter Keffler, a veteran of Somerset chess, died just before Christmas at the age of 92. Yvon Peter A. G. Keffler was born in the West Derby district of Liverpool in 1923, his mother’s maiden name being Desplanches. An older brother, Guy, was killed in May 1943 during the last days of the North Africa campaign. Peter attended Oxford University where he was a contemporary of Leonard Barden. After graduating he went to Bath and in 1952 married a Miss Heaven in Stroud. In the 1950s he was a hugely enthusiastic organiser of Somerset teams in the County Correspondence Championships, having between 7 and 11 teams (depending on who you listened to) entered in the Ward-Higgs and lower divisions. Even after moving to Essex he continued in this role. As a player he would have been graded at about 200, with a bold attacking style that was sometimes brilliant but not always sound. Back in June I gave one of his best games in the WECU Championship in which he beat the Scottish Champion, Dr. Jim Aitken.

In last week’s position, Geller salvaged a half point after 1.Bxf6! Black can retake 3 ways. If 1…Qxf6 2.Qg8 mate, or 1…Kxg6 2.Qg6 mate. So 1…Pxg6 is the only option, after which White can keep checking on d7 and d8.

In this 1965 game Geller was not so lucky. How did White finish him off?

White to play and win

Gloucestershire beat Devon & The London Chess Classic (12.12.2015.)

Gloucestershire beat Devon recently for the first time in years, probably due to a combination of Devon missing several of their top players for this match and the fact that Gloucestershire is starting to draw more on players from the north Bristol League area. Details as follows:- (Devon names 2nd in each pairing).

1.M. Townsend (203) ½-½ J. Stephens (196) 2.J. Stewart (200) 1-0 J. Underwood (186). 3.I. Robson (199) 1-0 L. Hartmann (190). 4.M. Ashworth (190) ½-½ T. Paulden (185). 5.J. Jenkins (185) ½-½ S. Martin (184). 6.N. Hosken (184) 1-0 D. Regis (180). 7.P. Masters (182) ½-½ C. (179). 8.P. Kirby (181) ½-½ B. Hewson (176). 9.C. Jones (180) ½-½ J. F. Wheeler (177). 10.P. Meade (169) ½-½ P. Sivrev (172). 11.P. Dodwell (14 9) ½-½ O. Wensley (170). 12.R. Ashworth (145) ½-½ T. Thynne (167). 13.P. Baker (141) ½-½ G. Body (163) 14.C. Haynes (138) ½-½ W. Ingham             (158). 15.B. Whitelaw(137) ½-½ P. Brooks (158). 16.A. Richards (125) 0-1 N. Butland (155).

Another feature of the match was the high percentage of draws (75%).

This is also the case in the London Chess Classic, with only 3 wins from the first 20 games. They are using a different scoring system, sometimes referred to as “Bilbao Rules”, players earning 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. “Sofia Rules” also apply, whereby players cannot agree a draw without the arbiter’s permission, and then only granted when there is deemed to be no purposeful play left in the position. There is also the added incentive of best game prizes.

Yet the preponderance of draws continues. Most of the games have been well-contested, but almost inevitably, when the world’s top players are involved, things will gravitate towards a draw as irresistible attack meets immovable defence. Striving too hard for wins will certainly invite the danger of losses, handing 3 pts to an opponent. Early on, sharp attacking openings like the Sicilian Defence have been largely absent, in favour of the more solid and safer, Ruy Lopez. The event finishes today.

Here’s a rare win from the early stages.

White: V. Topalov. Black: A. Giri.

Grünfeld Defence [D71]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Qa4 Nfd7 6.cxd5 Nb6 7.Qd1 cxd5 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.e3 Bg7 10.Nge2 0–0 11.0-0 Re8 12.b3 e5 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.h3 Bf5 15.Nd4 Bd3 16.Re1 Ba6 17.Qd2 Nd3 18.Rd1 Bxd4 19.exd4 Qf6 20.a4!? Qxd4!? 21.a5 Nd7 22.Ra4 Qe5 23.Nxd5 Nxc1?! 24.Rxc1 Nf6 25.Nc7 Rad8 26.Qf4 g5 27.Qb4 Qb2 28.Raa1 Re2 29.Qc5 h6 30.Nxa6 bxa6 31.Rab1 Qd2 32.Bf3 Ne4! 33.Qxa7?? Nxf2! 34.Bxe2 Nxh3+ 35.Kf1 Qd5! 36.Bh5 Qh1+ 37.Ke2 Qg2+ 38.Ke1 Re8+ 39.Kd1 Nf2+ 40.Kc2 Ne4+ 0-1 After 41.Kd3 Qd2+ 42.Kc4 Rc8+ it’s mate next move.

In last week’s position, Anand lost to the queen sacrifice 1.QxP+! forcing 1…RxQ 2.Ng6+ Kg8 3.Rh8 mate. Here’s a Topolov loss from some years ago. White to play and win.

White to play & beat Topolov