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Somerset & Devon in Close Fight (02.12.2017.) 962

Devon and Somerset’s 1st and U-160 teams met on Saturday at Sampford Peverell Village Hall, the latter fielding their strongest team for several seasons. On paper, bds 1-8 looked competitive, while Devon seemed likely to run away with it on bds 9–16. However, that’s not how it worked out, as Devon were left scrambling right to the end in order to scrape home by the narrowest of margins, 8½ – 7½. The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing): 1. W. Braun (203) 0-1 J. Rudd (215). 2. D. Mackle (198) 0-1 B. Edgell (202). 3. G. Bolt (196) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (197). 4. J. Underwood (192) 0-1 A. Wong (189). 5. P. O’Neill (188) 1-0 A. Gregory (175). 6. S. Martin (186) 1-0 A. Cooper (174). 7. J. Wheeler (185) ½-½ D. Painter-Kooiman (163). 8. B. Hewson (184) ½-½ L. Bedialauneta (159). 9. T. Paulden (183) ½-½ R. Radford (157). 10. S. Homer (181) ½-½ D. Freeman (156). 11. C. Lowe (176) ½ -½ G. Jepps (156). 12. D. Cowley (173) 1-0 R. Knight (156). 13. P. Hampton (172) 1-0 D. Peters (156) 14. O. Wensley (172) 1-0 A. Conway (150). 15. J. Haynes (171) 1-0 A. Champion (147). 16. P. Brooks (170) 0-1 C. Purry (147).

It was more clear cut in the grade-limited match where Devon’s strength in depth got them through comfortably, 8½-3½.

1. A. Brusey (158) 1-0 P. Chapman (141). 2. C. Howard (155) 1-0 C. Fewtrell (146). 3. B. Gosling (154) 1-0 C. McKinley (144). 4. N. Butland (150) 0-1 C. Strong (144). 5. P. Halmkin (148) ½-½ T. Wallis (144). 6. A. Kinder (147) 1-0 U. Effiong (142). 7. M. Quinn (146) 1-0 J. Fewkes (141). 8. J. Blackmore (143) 1-0 N. Mills (133). 9. R. Wilby 140 ½-½ B. Radford (133). 10. A. Hart-Davis (135) ½-½ M. Baker (130). 11. J. Allen (134) 0-1 C. Lamming (129). 12. R. Jones (128) 1-0 M. Willis (129).

Here is the top game of the day.

White: W. Braun. Black: J. Rudd.

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.h3 0–0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.g4 Nc5 9.Bd3 At this point, Rudd had his longest think, wondering about the wisdom of exchanging his active knight for the blocked bishop. Often pieces blocked out of the action for long periods have a nasty habit of wreaking havoc once they have broken their bonds. However, Rudd decided not to risk this possibility. 9…Nxd3+ 10.Qxd3 Ne8 11.g5 f5 12.gxf6 Nxf6 13.0–0–0 Black immediately acts against the enemy king’s position. 13…a6 14.Nge2 b5 15.c5 b4 16.Na4 a5 17.Ng3 Ba6 18.Qc2 h5 19.Kb1 h4 20.Nf1 Nh5 21.cxd6 cxd6 22.Qc6 Be2 23.Nd2 If 23.Re1 Bd3+; or 23.Rd2 Bf3 Either way White’s position is unravelling. 23…Rc8 24.Qb6 Qd7 25.Qxa5 Bxd1 26.Rxd1 Qxh3 27.Nb6 Qg4 clearing the path for the passed pawn with a threat. 28.f3 Rxf3 29.Nxc8 Rxe3 30.Ne7+ Kh7 31.Rc1 Re2 32.Qxb4 Qg2 33.Rd1 The Private is just three steps from a Field Marshall’s baton 33…h3 34.Qxd6 h2 35.Qe6 h1=Q 0–1

In last week’s position, Timman lost to 1.Rxe5 leaving the queen no meaningful move. If 1…QxR there follows 2.Qf3+ Kh2 3.Qf2 Kh3 4.Bc8+.

Here is a traditional but more difficult 2-mover.

White to mate in 2.

Devon vs Somerset (26.11.2017.)

Devon & Somerset’s 1st and U-160 teams met yesterday at a new venue, Sampford Peverell’s Village Hall. It proved an ideal set-up, situated, as it is, almost on the county border, close to the M5 and with its own main-line railway station, Tiverton Parkway. The hall itself was ideal in every respect, and being decked out with boughs of holly brought a seasonal touch to the proceedings.

The 1st team meeting proved to be a match of two halves – the top and bottom half. Somerset had a strong top 4, but conceded more and more the further one went down the team lists, and from that alone one could reasonably expect a fairly comfortable win for Devon. The fact that it didn’t turn out that way seemed to lie in the middle orders, boards 7 – 11 where Devon enjoyed a 20 grading points advantage on every board, yet failed to record a single win. This, coupled with the fact that Somerset won all 4 top games, made it a very close, sweaty-palmed afternoon indeed. If Devon hadn’t been offered some free help – one no-show and a suicide – there might have been a somewhat different outcome.  The Devon Captain’s observations follow:-

Meanwhile, the U-160s took no such chances, losing only 2 of their 12 games. They have now won both of their matches in the WECU stage, and await the draw for the National Stages, early next year.

Jonathan Underwood wrote as follows:

When I saw the Somerset team before the match, I’d thought we should have a large lead on the lower 12 boards (where we outgraded them by on average 20 points) which would win the match provided nothing too disastrous happened on the top four, which proved somewhat prophetic.

At the venue there was an ill omen as the first lot of tables we found were of a height intended for toddlers, but eventually we found the right ones. First panic over. I thought the place was very suitable and would certainly book it again.

By the time the match started Somerset were still missing three of their players, only two of whom did eventually turn up, leaving Steve Martin with a wasted journey and Devon with a point. It wasn’t our first though, as Oliver’s opponent miscued his gambit and resigned after 10 moves.

Looking around at a fairly early stage of the match our three Pauls seemed to be going well, with Paul Hampton’s opponent running short of time already after just 10 moves on the board. Jos Haynes also looked to be winning, and soon afterwards both he and Paul O’Neill added wins to draws from Tim, Brian, Chris and Stephen Homer. One way or the other games involving Jack Rudd always finish quickly, and this time Walter succumbed to the Somerset IM. Devon led 6-3.

Things on the other top boards weren’t looking so good. Dominic ran out of time after 29 moves and Graham had to contend with a menacing passed pawn. I offered a draw thinking my opponent was bound to accept as he was significantly worse albeit, with a big lead on time. I was wrong. Over the next few moves my position improved to winning.. and then went to dead lost as I struggled with the clock. A similar reverse befell Paul Brooks and it was 6 all.

By now Dennis had a pair of bishops for a rook, which together with his opponent’s weakened pawn structure proved enough to win, but Graham had to resign shortly afterwards and it was 7 all. So we went down 4-0 on the top boards.

At this stage Paul Hampton’s lead on the clock was down to a few minutes, with a complicated open position and only 25 moves made. John was holding an awkward bad bishop against knight endgame.  With only a minute or so left Paul’s opponent went for simplifications, which seemed to leave him worse though not obviously losing, but having to consider a lot of possible threats in no time. I not sure whether Paul or I was the more relieved to see the flag fall around move 33. John’s game was agreed drawn within seconds, and Devon scraped home 8.5-7.5.

Thanks to everyone who turned out to play. I have now learned the wisdom of always fielding the strongest possible team, just in case it’s one of those days.


Bd Devon 1st team Grd Somerset 1st team Grd
1 Walter Braun 203 0 1 Jack Rudd 215
2 Dom Mackle 198 0 1 Ben Edgell 202
3 Graham Bolt 196 0 1 Pat Krzyzanowski 197
4 Jon Underwood 192 0 1 Arturo Wong 189
5 Paul O’Neill 188 1 0 Andrew Gregory 175
6 Steve Martin 186 1 0 Andrew Cooper 174
7 John Wheeler 185 ½ ½ D. Painter-Kooiman 163
8 Brian Hewson 184 ½ ½ Lander Bedialauneta 159
9 Tim Paulden 183 ½ ½ Robert Radford 157
10 Steve Homer 181 ½ ½ Darren Freeman 156
11 Chris Lowe 176 ½ ½ Gerry Jepps 156
12 Dennis Cowley 173 1 0 Roger Knight 156
13 Paul Hampton 172 1 0 Dave Peters 156
14 Oliver Wensley 172 1 0 Alex Conway 150
15 Jos Haynes 171 1 0 Adrian Champion 147
16 Paul Brooks 170 0 1 Chris Purry 147
Devon U-160s Somerset U-160s
1 Alan Brusey 158 1 0 Philip Chapman 141
2 Charlie Howard 155 1 0 Chris Fewtrell 146
3 Brian Gosling 154 1 0 Chris McKinley 144
4 Nick Butland 150 0 1 Chris Strong 144
5 Peter Halmkin 148 ½ ½ Tim Wallis 144
6 Andrew Kinder 147 1 0 Utibe Effiong 142
7 Martin Quinn 146 1 0 Jim Fewkes 141
8 Josh Blackmore 143 1 0 Nigel Mills 133
9 Rob Wilby 140 ½ ½ Ben Radford 133
10 Adam Hart-Davis 135 ½ ½ Mark Baker 130
11 John Allen 134 0 1 Chris Lamming 129
12 Bob Jones 128 1 0 Martin Willis 129

Some nervous banter among the top boards before play started

Geberal view of the hall, decked out with boughs of holly and other festive trimmings

Somerset's top 4 boards get down to action, except Krzyzanowski whose empty chair bears witness to his being late.

Exotic and exciting Venezuelan, Arturo Wong, nearly reduced Devon's captain to tears with his fighting finish after being well down in the middlegame.

WECU Inter-County Championship – U-160 Section. (04.11.2017.)

Three WECU counties decided to enter the U-160 section of the ECF’s Inter-County Championship. These were Devon and their two neighbours, Cornwall and Somerset. Devon’s first match was against Cornwall, with the latter being deemed the home side. Non-playing captain, Mark Hassall, wanted to avoid the parking problem, often experienced in the town centres of Plymouth and Launceston on a Saturday afternoon, and went for the small village of Altarnun, near the A30 south of Bodmin Moor. The village hall was spacious, warm, well-lit and well provided for refreshments.

The top 11 boards were well-matched and Mark Hassall felt at one point that Cornwall had rather the better of things, and in fact Devon only won by 6-5 on Bds 1 – 11. However, from then on down, the grade differential increased significantly, and Devon won all 5 games, making the fnal score 5-11, which somewhat belies the struggle on the higher boards.

Full details were:-

WECU Inter-County Championship

Bd Cornwall U-160 Grd Devon U-160 Grd
1 Colin Sellwood 155 0 1 Alan Brusey 158
2 Richard Smith 153 1 0 Charles Howard 155
3 Gary Trudeau 148 0 1 Brian Gosling 154
4 Jamie Morgan 146 1 0 Matthew Best 154
5 Adam Hussain 145 0 1 Mike Stinton-Brown. 154
6 Percy Gill 144 0 1 Sam Coutu-Oughton 151
7 Jan Rodrigo 141 0 1 Nick Butland 150
8 Jeff Nicholas 140 1 0 Andrew Kinder 147
9 Mick Hill 139 ½ ½ Steve Murray 147
10 Richard Clark 137 ½ ½ Steve Clarke 143
11 John Wilman 136 1 0 Rob Wilby 140
12 Stephen Pearce 126 0 1 Ben Wilkinson 138
13 David Jenkins 121 0 1 Adam Hart-Davis 135
14 Ian Renshaw 121 0 1 John Allen 134
15 Martin Jones 116 0 1 Robert Jones 128
16 Sam Edwards 100 0 1 Richard Smith 124
Totals 2168 5 11 2312

Start time approaching and waiting for sets.

The top boards soon after kick-off

The lower boards

Bd. 1: Alan Brusey vs Colin Sellwood.

Bd. 5: Mike Stinton-Brownbridge vs Adam Hussain.

Bd. 7: Nick Butland vs Jan Rodrigo

Standing in the hall doorway one can see the impressive facade of the Wensleyan Chapel, marking a spot where John Wesley regularly used to stop on his travels to preach to Cornwall's industrial workers further south.

Although Altarnun is a small village, its parish is, in fact, the largest in the county, encompassing over 15,000 acres of Bodmin Moor, coniferous forest etc. This large wall map, done for the Millennium and hanging in the hall, marks out the Parish boundary in yellow, and shows many features to be found within.

Devon vs Cornwall At Altarnun (11.11.2017.) 959

Another small piece of chess history was acted out on Saturday when a Cornish Under-160 team hosted one from Devon in Altarnun Village Hall. The sides consisted of 16 players, each of whom had a grade of 159 or below, the first time such a match has been played by either county. The other novelty was the venue which had never hosted such a match before. Altarnun, tucked away near the A30, doesn’t have quite the same Cornish ring to it as places like Mevagissey or Zennor, but although it has a population of just a few hundred souls, it is in fact the largest parish in the county comprising over 15,000 acres, and includes the famous Jamaica Inn.

The two teams looked well-matched on paper, although the Devon players may have had the slight edge of a handful of grading points in the bottom half of the team list. At the half way point, the Cornish non-playing captain, Mark Hassall, even suspected Cornwall had the edge, but as the games progressed, those few extra grading points made the difference, with Devon running out 11-5 winners. Details with Cornish players first in each pairing:

1.C. Sellwood 0-1 A. Brusey. 2.R. Smith 1-0 C Howard. 3.G. Trudeau 0-1 B. Gosling. 4.J Morgan 1-0 M. Best. 5.A. Hussain 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 6. P. Gill 0-1 S. Coutu-Oughton. 7. J. Rodrigo 0-1 J. Butland. 8.J. Nicholas 1-0 A. Kinder. 9.M. Hill ½-½ S. Murray. 10.R. Clarke ½-½ S. Clarke. 11.J. Wilman 1-0 R. Wilby (captain). 12.S. Pearce 0-1 B. Wilkinson.  13.D. Jenkins 0-1 A. Hart-Davis. 14.I. Renshaw 0-1 J. Allen. 15. M. Jones  0-1 R. Jones. 16.S. Edwards 0-1 R. Smith.

Both teams had a Richard Smith, a Clarke and a Jones. Both Smiths won but were at opposite ends of their team, while the Clarkes and Joneses played each other. After a long game, the Clarkes were left with just a bishop and pawns each and drew, while this was the other game.

White: Mr. Jones. Black: Mr. Jones.

1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 d5 7.d3 Be7 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Re1 Bc5 10.c3 Qe7 11.d4 Bd6 12.Qc2 Rac8 13.b4 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Nf3 Bd6 17.Nd4 Ready to jump left or right. 17…Qd7 18.Nf5 c5 19.Nxd6 White can’t afford to open up the c-file, so 19…Qxd6 20.b5 Qd7 21.a4 Rfe8 22.Rad1 Qe6? This innocuous-looking move proves to be the turning point as it removes defence from the bishop and allows… 23.c4 Rcd8 24.Bxf6 Removing a defender of d5… 24…Qxf6 and acquiring a central defended passed pawn. 25.cxd5 25…Re5 26.e4 Qe7 Time to mobilise all the central pawns.  27.f4 Rh5 28.e5 Bc8 29.d6 Qd7 30.Qe2 Rh6 31.Be4 Qh3 32.Qg2 Given White’s pawn superiority, it’s time to simplify out. 32…Be6 33.Qxh3 Bxh3 34.f5 Rh5 35.e6 If 35.f6 gxf6 36.exf6 Kf8 37.Bc6 Be6 38.d7 Rf5 39.Rf1 Re5. 35…fxe6 Or 35…Bxf5 36.e7 Re8 37.Bxf5 g6 38.Bg4. 36.fxe6 Bxe6 37.Bxh7+ Kxh7 38.Rxe6 Rf5 39.d7 Rff8 40.Re7 Kg8 41.Rde1 Kh8 42.Re8 Kh7 43.Rxf8 Rxf8 44.Re8 1–0

This week’s position is a 2-mover. White to play.

A Busy Fortnight Ahead. (04.11.2017.) 958

It’s certainly proving to be a busy start to the season, with Devon’s Team Blitz tournament, a county match, and two congresses… and that’s just in the space of a fortnight.

Devon’s Team Blitz tournament has been a regular calendar item for decades, but has recently proved increasingly attractive, with teams, greater in number and strength entering year on year. This time, thanks to the efforts of the organiser, Trefor Thynne, there were 15 teams of 4 players assembling at the Newton Abbot Chess Club, eager for 6 rounds of mayhem, and just 12 minutes per player thinking time for all moves. After a brain-addling afternoon the winning team was Exeter Ninjas (20/24 pts) thus retaining the Thomas Cup, and comprised Tim Paulden, Paul O’Neill, Graham Bolt & Giles Body. 2nd Bideford (15); 3rd Exeter University “A” (14½); 4th Newton Abbot “A” (14); 5th Exmouth Eagles (13½); 6th Exeter Uni. “B” (13) winning the Hodge Cup for the highest score by a team graded U-600; 7th= Tiverton; Weymouth & Dorchester and Sidmouth (all 12½); 10th= Seaton & Torquay Boys’ G.S. (both 12). 12th Newton Abbot “B” (11½); 13th Torquay (11); 14th= Barnstaple & Exmouth Egrets (9). The only player to win all 6 games was International Master, Jack Rudd, of the Bideford team. But interestingly, the title of the cup-winning Sidmouth team concealed the fact that it comprised just one family, Julian Bacon and his 3 sons Nicky (16), Ollie (13) & Benny (10) – a remarkable achievement. A fuller report with charts & photographs of this and the other events may be found on

This afternoon, Devon and Cornwall will be meeting at Altarnum Village Hall, just off the A30, in an U-160 match – the first step on the road to the ECF Inter-County U-160 team final next June. On Monday the Royal Beacon Seniors’ Congress starts in Exmouth, finishing on Friday, and that evening the Torbay Congress starts at the Livermead House Hotel, and continues through the weekend. They were placed back-to-back, and informally called the South Devon Chess Festival, so that players travelling from north and east of the Watford Gap can enjoy a full week of chess with 10 games making the long journey more worthwhile.

Here is a game from the winning team of the Blitz tournament on Sunday.

White: T. Paulden. Black: J. Stephens.

1.b3 Larsen’s Opening: when there is so little time to think, it’s a good idea to try something a little off the well-beaten track. 1…e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 a6 4.Ne2 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 d5 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 Bd6 9.Nd2 Bf5 10.Nf3 0–0 11.0–0 Re8 12.c4 a5 13.Rc1 Ne4 This loses a tempo to a mating threat, and Black seems to be on the back foot hereafter. 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.c5 Bf8 16.Ne5 Re6 17.b4 Bg6 18.f4 Be4 19.f5 Rxe5 20.Qxe5 Nd7 21.Qf4 Bxc5 22.f6 Bd6 23.Qg5 g6 24.Rxc6 Bf8 25.Rfc1 Ra7 26.Bd4 Nb6 27.Bxb6 cxb6 28.Rc8 Qd6

Which brings us to this week’s position. Black has just played Qd8–d6 to escape the attention of White’s rook. How can White now end it quickly?

White to play

WECU Jamboree Results (23.09.2017.)

The West of England Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Kenn Centre, next to the A38. Five teams of 12 players took part, in a format that guarantees each team has 6 whites and 3 of their players will face one of the other 4 teams. Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire entered teams, while Devon, being the home side and currently possessing plenty of chess talent, entered a 1st & 2nd team.

Most pairings were closely enough matched in strength to make their games long and well-contested.

It was, perhaps, no great surprise that Devon A came 1st with 9½/12 points, followed by Somerset (7 pts); Cornwall (5); Devon B (4½) and Gloucestershire (4). The complex results chart and some photographs may be found on while games may be found on

The event was organised by Mark Hassall of the Carrick Club, and his game bore a striking resemblance to the one he played at last year’s jamboree, and printed here at the time.

White: M. Hassall (168). Black: P. O’Neill (188).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B99]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Last year his opponent played 7…e5 in order to free up his white square bishop, an idea that didn’t work. 7…Be7 Subsequent moves will vary in detail from a year ago but are very much following the same plans. 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.f5 Nc5 13.a3 Rb8 14.Bh3 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.g5 Qa5? A loss of tempo, in view of 17.Nc6 Qb6 If Black had pressed ahead with 17…Qa1+ there would follow 18.Kd2 Qxb2 19.Rb1 Nb3+ 20.Ke1 Qxc2 21.Nxb4 winning the queen. 18.Nxb4 Qxb4 19.fxe6 Nxe6 20.gxf6 Bf8 21.Rhg1 Qc5 22.e5 dxe5 23.Qa8 h5 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.Ne4 Qc7 26.Nd6+ Bxd6 27.Rxd6! Qc4 1-0 and Black resigned as White has several lines ending in mate, the most direct being  28.Rc6 hitting queen and bishop.

Here is an instructive miniature from the same tournament.

White: C. J. Scott (160). Black: A. Champion (147).

Alekhine’s Defence [B03]

1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine’s Defence, in which Black tries to lure Black’s pawns forward to a point where they become unstable and can be more easily attacked, as White will by then have neglected his piece development. 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.f4 dxe5 5.fxe5 Nc6 6.c4 Nb6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Nf3 e6 9.Nc3 Qd7 10.Be2 0–0–0 11.Qd2 Be7 12.0–0–0 Nb4 13.a3 Nc2 Black has succeeded in getting in behind White’s front lines 14.c5 But the White pawns press ahead anyway. 14…Nxe3 15.cxb6 Nxd1?? Black sees only the chance of going a whole rook up, but completely overlooks his defences. 16.bxa7 c5 17.a8Q+ Kc7 18.Qa5+ 1–0.

In last week’s position White won simply with 1. QxR+. If 1…KxQ 2.Rh3# or 1…Kg8 2,RxP+ etc.

Here we have a bit of Tal magic from 35 years ago, as fresh today as the day it was created. He is looking for a quick finish before White can start to exploit his

vulnerable back rank. Any ideas?

Black to play and win quickly

WECU Chess Jamboree (17.09.2017.)

The West of England Chess Union’s annual Jamboree was held on Sunday 17th September, at a new venue, called the Kenn Centre, adjacent to the A38 near the foot of Haldon Hill in Devon. This was designed to make it a little easier for the Cornish players to get there, although it’s still a good distance from Truro.

This year there was no Graded Section, but Devon used their more numerous troops to form a 1st team from the best 12 avaialble players, and a 2nd team from the next best dozen. This latter team used up some of the players who would in earlier years have formed the basis of a grade-limited team.

The Centre proved to be an excellent venue for the event, being modern in construction, with large playing hall, analysis room, kitchen facilities and ample parking. It will be surely used again at some point for chess events.

The Organiser, Mark Hassall, (standing centre) having enjoyed a quick win, takes time to monitor the progress of his Cornish team-mates. The nearest game involves clubmates Brian Gosling (B) vs Oliver Wensley (partly obscured) Brian Gosling

The outcome can be best shown in these 2 tables.

Teams Pos Pts
D1 = Devon 1st team Bd. 1 1st
S2 = Somerset Bd. 2 2nd 7
C3 = Cornwall  Bd. 3 3rd 5
D2nd 4 = Devon 2nd team Bd. 4 4th
G5 = Gloucestershire  Bd. 5 5th 4
Bd Team White Grd Black Grd Team
1 C1 J. Menadue 191 ½ ½ N. Crickmore 214 D1
2 D2nd 1 J. Haynes 171 0 1 J. Rudd 215 S1
3 D2 W. Braun 203 1 0 M. Ashworth 192 G1
4 S2 F. Fernando 182 1 0 J. Hooker 178 C2
5 G2 J. Jenkins 185 1 0 T. Thynne 170 D2nd 2
6 C3 L. Retallick 174 ½ ½ P. Brooks 170 D2nd 3
7 S3 A. Footner 181 1 0 P. Meade 178 G3
8 D2nd 4 M. Shaw 169 0 1 G. Bolt 196 D3
9 G4 P. Kirby 177 ½ ½ D. Saqui 169 C4
10 D4 J. Underwood 192 ½ ½ A. Bedialauneta 159 S4
11 C5 M. Hassall 168 1 0 P. O’Neill 188 D5
12 G5 P. Masters 175 ½ ½ D. Freeman 156 S5
13 D2nd 5 D. Regis 166 0 1 R. Kneebone 164 C6
14 D6 S. Martin 186 1 0 R. Ashworth 161 G6
15 S6 R. Knight 156 ½ ½ V. Ramesh 164 D2nd 6
16 C7 T. Manton 163 0 1 M. Taylor 144 G7
17 D2nd 7 W. Ingham 163 0 1 J. Wheeler 185 D7
18 D8 B. Hewson 184 1 0 N. Senior 150 S7
19 S8 T. Woodward 150 ½ ½ R. Stephens 160 C8
20 G8 A. Gibson 139 0 1 M. Wilson 161 D2nd 8
21 C9 C. Sellwood 155 0 1 T. Paulden 183 D9
22 D2nd 9 C. Scott 160 1 0 A. Champion 147 S9
23 D10 C. Lowe 176 ½ ½ A. Richards 133 G9
24 S10 C. Purry 147 1 0 R. Smith 153 C10
25 G10 I. Blencowe 131 ½ ½ G. Body 157 D2nd 10
26 C11 G. Trudeau 148 1 0 P. Bending 122 G11
27 S11 T. Wallis 144 0 1 P. Hampton 172 D11
28 D2nd 11 T. Lundin 156 1 0 J. Morgan 146 C12
29 G12 D. Walton 109 0 1 N. Mills 133 S12
30 D12 O. Wensley 172 1 0 B. Gosling 154 D2nd 12

Devon Win National U-180 Championship (08.07.2017.)

Devon faced Middlesex in the Final of the U-180 Championship at Leamington Spa on Saturday. Both teams were very closely matched and it was clear every half point would count. The initiative swung back and forth, between very tight limits, and in the end the match finished 8-8. In these situations, the tie-break is determined by adding together the numbers of the boards on which wins were achieved, and the team with the lower total is deemed to have won the match by virtue of having won on the higher boards. Using this formula Devon got 1+ 3 + 13 + 14 = 31, compared to Surrey’s 6 + 8 + 11 + 15 = 40.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing) :-

1.John Fraser 1-0 B. Kelmedi. 2.John Wheeler ½-½ S. Coles. 3.Mark Abbott 1-0 M. Grigorian. 4.Chris Bellers ½-½ I. Calvert. 5.Dennis Cowley ½-½ G. Bachelor. 6.Dave Regis 0-1 A. Hayler. 7.Paul Hampton ½-½ M. Dydak. 8.Oliver Wensley 0-1 A. Fulton. 9.Jos Haynes ½-½ R. Campbell. 10.Alan Brusey ½-½ R. Walczak. 11. Alex Taylor 0-1 J. White. 12.Paul Brooks ½-½ P. Kennelly. 13.Bill Ingham 1-0 J. Dhemrait. 14.Meyrick Shaw 1-0 J. Hudson. 15.Steve Dean 0-1 J. Rubek. 16.Brian Gosling ½-½ R. Thursby.

Here is the top game of the day.

White: J. Fraser (178). Black:  B. Kelmendi (183)

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation – Yugoslav Attack  [B76]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.f3 Qa5 9.0–0–0 White’s moves of Be3, f3 and castling long constitute the Yugoslav Attack in which White establishes a firm grip on the centre before storming the kingside. Black must counter on the other wing especially down the c-file, “leading to fierce struggles and opportunities for both sides” (Tony Miles). 0–0 10.Kb1 Bd7 11.Nb3 Qc7 12.Bh6 Rfc8 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.g4 Be6 15.h4 Ne5 16.Nd4 Nc4 17.Bxc4 Qxc4 18.h5 Ng8 19.hxg6 fxg6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.exd5 h6 22.Ne6+ Kf7 23.c3 b5 24.Qc2 Qa4 25.Qe2 Rab8 26.Rd4 Rc4 27.b3 Qa5 28.Rxc4 Probably too risky at this stage was 28.bxc4? although after bxc4+ 29.Qb2 Rxb2+ 30.Kxb2 leaves White with 2 rooks for his queen. 28…bxc4 29.Qxc4 Nf6 30.Rxh6 Qxd5 31.Ng5+! Effectively the winning manoeuvre. 31…Kg7 32.Rh7+ Black’s knight is overloaded. 32…Kg8 33.Qxd5+ Nxd5 34.c4 Nb6 35.Rxe7 White goes 2 pawns up and the rest is a matter of technique. 35…Nxc4 36.Rxa7 Ne5 37.Ne4 Rb4 38.Ra4 Rb6 39.Rd4 Nf7 40.Kb2 Kf8 41.a4 Ke7 42.a5 Ra6 43.b4 Ne5 44.Nd2 Kd7 45.Kb3 Kc7 46.Ka4 Nc6 47.Rd3 Ra8 48.Nc4 Rd8 49.b5 Ne7 50.Ne3 d5 51.b6+ Kb7 52.Kb5 d4 53.a6+ Kb8 54.Kc5 Rc8+ 55.Kxd4 Nc6+ 56.Ke4 Re8+ 57.Kf4 Rf8+ 58.Kg5 Nb4 59.a7+ Kb7 60.Rb3 Nc6 61.Nd5 Nd4 62.Ra3 Nxf3+ 63.Rxf3 Rxf3 64.Nc7 Resigns in view of 64…Rf8 65.a8Q+ Rxa8 66.Nxa8 Kxa8 67.Kxg6 and White’s g-pawn will queen. 1–0

In last week’s position White played 1.Re6! PxR 2.BxB+ etc.

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to move and mate in 2

Devon Win National U-180 Title (03.07.2017.)

Devon took the English U-180 Championship in the Finals at Leamington Spa on Saturday. Here is the report of Captain on the day, Paul Brooks.

Match report: Devon vs Middlesex – U180 Final:
Devon won the toss and had white on odd boards. The first three hours of the match went well for Devon with a very good positional victory for Bill Ingham and solid draws for Brian Gosling, Dennis Cowley, Jos Haynes and Paul Brooks. John Fraser had the better of his opponent’s Sicilian defence and Steve Dean was looking in control of his game with excellent outposts for his knights and a good space advantage. I then looked at Steve’s clock and noticed he had 5 minutes to play about 17 moves! By the time he reached the time-control the outposts had gone, he was a pawn down and his bishop was buried behind a solid wall of pawns, so he was facing an uphill struggle.
Debutant Alex Taylor played a King’s Gambit where chances seemed to be fluctuating from one side to the other, while Dave Regis and Oliver Wensley were both under fairly strong pressure. Meyrick Shaw, on the other hand, created an excellent position with a kingside attack, doubling rooks on the h file.
Chris Bellers and Alan Brusey both achieved well-earned draws and a few minutes later John Wheeler had neutralised his opponent’s slight pressure and another draw was agreed.
Alex Taylor having fought to reach an position where he had 3 pawns for a bishop was unfortunate that his opponent was able to co-ordinate his rooks and bishop successfully in an attack where Alex had to give up a rook or be mated.
Mark Abbott took advantage of opposition time pressure to win a good game, but things were looking bad for Dave Regis and Oliver Wensley, who both reached positions where their opponents had endgames with a couple of extra pawns. After a hard fight both players were forced to resign.
Steve Dean also succumbed in the endgame, so with 3 matches still to be decided Devon were 2 points in arrears. It was clear that 2 wins and a draw would enable Devon to win on board count, so there was still all to play for.
Meyrick Shaw played well to exchange into a rook and pawn endgame where he was 3 pawns up and after a short fight his opponent was forced to resign. On top board, John Fraser played an excellent attack which forced his opponent to exchange into an endgame where John was two pawns up and these were both passed and connected on the sixth rank. John played a clever combination which allowed his opponent to win a pawn, but the consequence was that a couple of moves later he was forced to liquidate into an endgame where John had a single unstoppable g pawn.
So the match was all-square and everyone’s attention shifted to Paul Hampton’s game. This had been very close all the way through, but, with both players down to their last 10 minutes, the Middlesex player seemed to have an edge, holding the slight material advantage of rook and 2 pawns to Paul’s knight and 3 pawns. The fact that all the pawns were on the kingside meant that we had hopes that Paul could hold the draw. Paul’s opponent looked as though he was taking control with his advanced king and rook on the seventh rank, but Paul kept cool, swapping off a pawn and creating a fortress which meant that his opponent was never going to be able to force his final pawn through. In the end, Paul was able to create a passed pawn himself which advanced to the seventh rank where his opponent had to sacrifice his rook and leave Paul with a bare knight and a draw.
So a very tough encounter finished 8-8, but as Devon’s wins had come on higher boards Devon were victorious on board count. A great victory to follow up an excellent season!
Devon grd Middlesex grd
1 John Fraser 178 1 0 B. Kelmendi 179
2 John Wheeler 174 ½ ½ S. Coles 176
3 Mark Abbott 172 1 0 M. Grigorian 175
4 Chris Bellers 173 ½ ½ I. Calvert 177
5 Dennis Cowley 169 ½ ½ G. Batchelor 174
6 Dave Regis 175 0 1 A. Hayler 170
7 Paul Hampton 161 ½ ½ M. Dydak 169
8 Oliver Wensley 168 0 1 A. Fulton 173
9 Jos Haynes ½ ½ R. Campbell 168
10 Alan Brusey 166 ½ ½ R. Walczak 173
11 Alex Taylor 165 0 1 J. White 171
12 Paul Brooks 161 ½ ½ P. Kennelly 167
13 Bill Ingham 162 1 0 J. Dhemrait 161
14 Meyrick Shaw 163 1 0 J. Hudson 154
15 Steve Dean 160 0 1 J. Rudeck 161
16 Brian Gosling 159 ½ ½ R. Thursby 154
8 8
Board count 31 40
A few photos of the happy occasion……
The team after the presentation, clutching their golden trophies.

End of Season Review (01.07.2013.)

The passing of June means the end of the chess season, with club and county AGMs and the handing out of silverware throughout the Westcountry.

The Cornish AGM will be held at 7 p.m. in Carnon Downs Village Hall (TR3 6GH) on Wednesday 19th July, where Carrick A will receive the County Shield for winning Division 1, and the Camborne delegate with receive the Roberts Cup (Div. 2). Their county team had a good season, beating and drawing respectively against Gloucestershire and Somerset. This enabled them to participate in the Quarter Finals of the Minor Counties section of the National Stages, where they were drawn against Leicestershire, which was played at Mark, near Brent Knoll. The Midland county might have been fancied to win the match anyway, but they left nothing to chance and fielded a very strong team, winning all but 2 games. Only Andrew Greet on Bd. 1 was able to keep the Cornish flag flying.

Devon had an excellent season by any standards, winning the WECU hat-trick of Jamboree, 1st & 2nd s. In the National Stages U-180 section, they beat Notts in the ¼-Final and Surrey in the Semi and now face Middlesex in the Final. At Devon’s AGM, cups were awarded as follows: Div. 1 (Bremridge Cup) – Exeter; Div. 2 (Mamhead Cup) – Exmouth; Div. 3 (Schofield Cup) -  Barnstaple; Div. 4 (Moyle Cup) – Newton Abbot; Team Knock-out (Rooke Cup) – Newton Abbot; RapidPlay (Newman Cup) – Tiverton. Junior League (Bloodworth Cup) – Sidmouth Juniors.

Retiring county captain, Brian Hewson, named Oliver Wensley as his Player of the Year. Here is his game against S. Hams back in March in which he executes a short, sharp kingside attack.

White: O. Wensley. Black: S. Levy.

1.e4 b6 2.Nf3 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 Bb4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Qe2 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Bd2 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Be7 10.0–0 0–0 11.a4 Getting the isolated pawn to become active. 11…Nd7 12.a5 c5 13.Bf4 Bf6 14.Rfd1 Qc8 15.Ne5 Bxe5 16.dxe5 f5 17.Bb5 White also had the choice of 17.Bc4, possibly slightly stronger. 17…Rf7 18.a6 Bc6 19.c4 h6 threatening …g5 and …f4 20.h4 Nf8 21.h5 g5 22.hxg6 e.p. Nxg6 23.Bxh6 a kingside breakthough 23…Rh7 24.Bg5 Qe8 25.Rd6 Bxb5 26.cxb5 solving White’s weak queenside pawn formation. 26…Rc8 27.c4 Nf8 28.Ra3 All White’s pieces are now poised to attack Black’s weakened king’s position. 28…Rcc7 29.Bf6 Rh6 hoping to double up the rooks. 30.Rg3+ Rg6 31.Rd8 Qf7 32.Qh5 with threats, including mate on h8, that Black cannot withstand. 1–0.

In last week’s position White could win by sacrificing with 1.Rh8+ forcing 1…KxR 2.Qf8 mate.

This position is taken from a game played 8 years ago and White is looking for a way to break though to the Black king. It wasn’t easy to find the key move, but once he did, everything fell into place.

White to play and win