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East Devon Congress Approaches.

County captains are having to beef up their teams these days if they are to keep up with their opponents, and that means getting their very best players out at weekends. In the Somerset vs Gloucestershire match earlier in the season, this was the game from Board 1.

White: GM Matthew Turner (238) – Black: Joey Stewart (200).

Semi-Slav Defence [D46]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.e4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 11.Bc2 Re8 12.b3 Bf8 13.Ne5 h6 14.Qd3 g6 15.Re1 Qe7 16.Qh3 Nd7 17.Bxh6 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Bxh6 Black’s queen has some scope to probe the queenside, but mustn’t neglect queenside development e.g. 18…Qa3 19.Rae1 Rd8 20.Bxf8 Qxf8 21.Rd1. 19.Qxh6 Bd7 20.Rg5 From now on, White conducts a relentless kingside attack. 20…Qf8 21.Qh5 Re7 22.Qf3 How carefully did White check out the possibilities after 22.Bxg6 fxg6 23.Rxg6+ Rg7 24.Rh6 threatening 25.Rh8 mate 24…Re7 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.Rxf8 Rxf8 27.Qg5+ and Black has R+B for the queen, though they are both somewhat hemmed in and Black will find it hard to shake off the shackles. 27…Kf7 28.Re1 Rg8 29.Qf4+. Clearly he decided not to risk it. 22…Qg7 23.h4 Be8 24.h5 f6 25.Rg3 g5 26.h6 Qxh6 27.Rh3 Qf8 28.g4 Rg7 29.Rh6 Rd8 30.Rxf6 Rf7 31.Qe4 Qe7 If 31…Rxf6?? 32.Qh7 mate. 32.Rxe6 Qd7 33.Re1 Rf8 34.Re7 threatening 35.Qh7 mate 34…Qxe7 35.Qxe7 Rd7 36.Bh7+ 1-0. There would follow 36…Kh8 37.Qxf8+ Kxh7 38.Rxe8 etc.

The 41st East Devon Congress starts 4 weeks on Friday at the Exeter Corn Exchange. The new January grades were published last week, so potential entrants can now be sure of which sections they are eligible for, and need not delay their entries further. These should go to the Entry Secretary, Tim Paulden (e-mail If needed, entry forms are downloadable from the chessdevon website. The available sections are the Open; the Major for under-155 grades and the Minor for under-125 grades.

Here is a game from last year’s congress by one of the joint winners.

White: Dominic Mackle (208). Black: Stephen Dilleigh (185)

Queen’s Gambit [D30]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.e3 Be7 5.Nbd2 0–0 6.Bd3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Ne4 10.Qc2 Black is now faced with either losing a key central pawn or weakening his pawn structure in order to defend his knight. 10…f5 11.Rad1 Rc8 12.a3 Ndf6 13.Ne5 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nd7 15.f4 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Bg5 17.Qe2 Qe7 18.Ra1 a5 19.a4 dxc4 20.bxc4 Qd7 21.Kh1 c5 22.Rad1 Qxa4 23.d5 Qe8 24.e4 The weakness of Black’s pawns now becomes apparent as White’s queen cuts loose. 24…fxe4 25.Rxf8+ Qxf8 26.Qxe4 g6 27.Qg4 Qh6 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qxb6 Ba8 30.Rf1 Rf8 31.Qxc5 Rxf1+ 32.Bxf1 Bf4 33.Qc8+ winning the bishop. 1–0

Taken from a recent game, this position is materially level, but Black has a knockout blow available. Can you see it?

Black to play and win by force.

40th East Devon Congress – Final round.

Having played each other in the penultimate round, the two top grades, Jack Rudd and Dominic Mackle, had to face other opposition. Rudd was drawn against Alistair Hill of Battersea, while Mackle faced the perennially solid Steve Dilleigh, not someone you’d want to be playing if you needed a last round win. The Rudd-Hill was over in 90 minutes, making Jack the “leader in the clubhouse”, watching how the other game was going. Eventually Jack had to leave to catch his train home,  and it was soon after that Mackle started to turn the screws and got domination in the centre with free-moving pieces, while Dilleigh’s pieces were forced to edges of the board, from where they had no counter-play.

In the Major Section John Nyman of the famous King’s Head club in London won the Major Section (U-155) and with it the Ken Schofield Salver.

Chess-playing sisters are something of a rarety on the circuit. There are the Polgars, of course, and the Eagles from Liverpool, though they are now inactive because being MPs takes up so much of their time. After that, one might be a little stuck to come up with other names, but here we had the Westcountry Fursman girls; Lynne playing in the Major and Joy in the Minor (U-125). Lynne was a little off the pace in her section, but her sister was on Bd. 1 facing local player, Mark Cockerton of Torquay. She had White, played the Bird’s Opening and happily drew her game to clinch clear 1st and the grandest of the three trophies up for grabs. Joy was truly unconfined in the foyer afterwards, so pleased was she with her success. They were taught chess by their father, and now Joy is based in Clevedon, near Bristol, and Lynne in Tewkesbury.

Here is the full prizelist.

Section Position Name Club Points Prize (£)
Open 1st= Jack Rudd (IM) Barnstaple 170.00
    Dominic Mackle Newton Abbot 170.00
  3rd Lorenz Hartmann Exeter 4 80.00
  GP 169-181= Alan Brusey Teignmouth 14.00
    David Littlejohns Taunton 14.00
    Mark Abbott Exmouth 14.00
  GP <169= Robert Wright Bridport 3 20.00
  GP <169= Jamie Morgan Penwith 3 20.00
Major U-155 1st John Nyman King’s Head 160.00
     2nd= Ben Franklin Battersea 4 90.00
    Neville Senior Sedgemoor 4 90.00
  GP 133-147= John Morrison Tiverton 20.00
    Rob Wilby Plymouth 20.00
  GP <133 Lynne Fursman   3 40.00
Minor U-125 1st Joy Fursman   160.00
     2nd= Reece Whittington Exeter 4 45.00
    Nicky Bacon Sidmouth 4 45.00
    Mark Cockerton TorquayTeignmouth 4 45.00
    Terence Greenaway Torquay 4 45.00
  GP 102-110 James Wallman   4 40.00
  GP <102 Terry Dengler Truro 3 40.00
  Team Prize   Exeter A 14 40.00


The start of Rd. 5 - every table occupied.

Top games: Hill vs Rudd & Mackle vs Dilleigh.

Paulden vs Wensley

Top game in the Major: Nyman vs Neville Senior.

Joy Fursman in pole position at the start of the round.

Apart from Joy Fursman, there were 4 other ladies in the Minor. Here are Frances Brightman (in blue), Hazel Welch (red) and Helen Archer-Lock.

Jack Rudd guaranteed at least a share of the Nat West Cup.

Mackle later caught to add his name to the Nat West trophy.

John Nyman, clearly happy with his prize.

Joyful Joy, winner of the Minor trophy.

Lynne is just as pleased with her sister's success.

E. Devon Congress – Day 2

 After extracting his revenge on John Stephens, last night, for his recent league win, Alan Brusey cruised into joint first place, one of only two on 2/2. He also seemed to have a very slight edge towards the end of his Rd. 3 game against Roger de Coverly (see below) with a pawn on the 7th rank,  but having bishops of opposite colours, it proved impossible to make any inroads and a draw was agreed.

At the end of the day, they remained in the joint lead on 2½/3, but were joined by Mackle, Helbig and Homer.

  Round 2          
1 Dilleigh, S 1 ½ ½ Jaszkiwskyj 1
2 De Coverly, R 1 1 0 Medina, P 1
3 Brusey, A. W. 1 1 0 Bolt, G 1
4 Homer, S 1 1 0 Wensley, O 1
5 Mackle, D ½ 1 0 Regis, D 1
6 Bass, J. W. ½ 1 0 Stinton- B  M ½
7 Fewkes, J. E. ½ ½ ½ Wheeler, J. F. ½
8 Dean, S. K. ½ ½ ½ Gilmour, A. J. ½
9 Helbig, P. D. ½ 1 0 McKinley, C ½
10 Paulden T. ½ 1 0 Morgan, J ½
11 Woodruff, A. C. ½ 0 1 Gosling, B. G. ½
12 Frangleton, A. ½ 0 1 Mackle, D ½
13 Rinvolucri, A. J. ½ 0 1 Abbott M. V. ½
14 Littlejohns, D ½ 1 0 Czegeny, M ½
15 Pittman, F. J. 0 ½ ½ Stephens, J 0
16 Annetts, I. S. 0 0 1 Shaw, M 0
17 Dillon, P 0 0 1 Bartlett, S 0
18 Page M. C. 0 ½ ½ Jepps, G. N. 0


  Round 3          
1 Brusey, A. W. 2 ½ ½ De Coverly, R 2
2 Jaszkiwskyj 1 0 1 Mackle, D
3 Piper, S 1 1 0 Bass, J. W.
4 Littlejohns, D 1 ½ ½ Dilleigh, S
5 Gosling, B. G. 1 0 1 Helbig, P. D
6 Wheeler, J. F. 1 ½ ½ Paulden, T
7 Wensley, O 1 0 1 Gilmour, A 1
8 Bolt, G 1 1 0 Fewkes, J. E. 1
9 Regis, D 1 1 0 Bartlett, S 1
10 Medina, P 1 1 0 Dean, S. K. 1
11 Shaw, M 1 ½ ½ Woodruff, A. C. ½
12 Stephens, J ½ 1 0 Frangleton, A ½
13 Morgan, J ½ ½ ½ Page, M. C. ½
14 Jepps, G. N. ½ ½ ½ Pittman, F. J. ½
15 Stinton-B M ½ 1 0 Czegeny, M ½
16 McKinley, C. T. ½ 0 1 Rinvolucri, A. J. ½
17 Dillon, P 0 0 1 Annetts, I. S. 0
18 Homer, S. J. 2 ½ bye  
19 Abbott, M. V 1 ½ bye  


Brusey (R) vs de Coverley: a draw was agreed shortly after.

E. Devon Congress Rd. 1

The annual East Devon Congress opened last night with 109 entries overall, and the number of players taking byes on the Friday night made the large Corn Hall look somewhat sparsely populated in comparison with earlier times.

Among the early arrivals was the top graded player, the recently-retired Dominic Mackle, looking fresh and keen to boost his chess income. Last year’s triple winners, Graham Bolt (Exeter), Dave Littlejohns (Taunton)and Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) were all there, too, hoping to prove that their 2012 success was no fluke. In fact, Wensley immediately lept into the lead as he was a local player for whom no opponent could be found, and so was given a full point bye. 2nd seed, John Stephens (Exmouth), having beaten Mackle in a league match a few weeks ago, is also eyeing up the main prize. But the wall-chart showed a host of 180-ish grade players, all capable of beating anyone on their day. Thus the Open Section looked exactly that …. very open.

  Round 1   Grd         Grd
1 S. Piper 0 175 ½ ½ D. Mackle 0 214
2 J. K. Stephens 0 191 0 1 A. W. Brusey 0 171
3 M. V. Abbott 0 172 ½ ½ J. Bass 0 189
4 J. F. Wheeler 0 188 ½ ½ D. Littlejohns 0 169
5 M. Shaw 0 168 0 1 S. Dilleigh 0 187
6 A. Gilmour 0 186 ½ ½ J. E. Fewkes 0 165
7 S. Bartlett 0 164 0 1 R. de Coverley 0 184
8 G. Bolt 0 183 1 0 M. C. Page 0 161
9 G. N. Jepps 0 160 0 1 S. J. Homer 0 183
10 D. Regis 0 181 1 0 F. J. Pittman 0 157
11 J. Morgan 0 156 ½ ½ P. D.Helbig 0 180
12 P. Jaszkiwskyj 0 178 1 0 I. S. Annetts 0 155
13 M. Czegeny 0 148 ½ ½ A. Woodruff 0 177
14 P. Medina 0 176 1 0 P. Dillon 0 127
15 O. E. Wensley 0 178 1 - bye    

Mackle gets the show on the road vs Stephen Piper

White on Bds. 2 - 5 were Stephens (Exmouth), Abbott (Exmouth), Wheeler (Cosham) & Shaw (Exmouth.)

Previous winner, Paul Helbig (B) faces Jamie Morgan.

In the Minor, former winner Christine Constable faces Nicolas Bacon (Sidmouth)

General view from the stage.

East Devon Congress 2013

The East Devon Congress starts next Friday evening at Exeter’s Corn Exchange. Late entries should go to Sean Pope on tel: 01392-436420 or

Last year’s top section finished in an unusual 3-way tie between Dave Littlejohns of Taunton and local players Brian Bolt and Oliver Wensley.

This Rd. 1 game from that event set Littlejohns on his way.

White: D. Littlejohns. Black: Dr. C. Keen.

Sicilian Defence – Closed System [B24]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 White is not going to open up the centre with the more usual, and well-analysed d4. 3…d6 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.d3 e6 6.f4 Be7 7.Nf3 Nd4 8.0–0 0–0 9.Ne2 Nxe2+ 10.Qxe2 Qb6 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.c3 Bb5 13.c4 Bc6 14.Be3 Ng4 15.Bc1 e5 16.h3 exf4? Black should withdraw his knight to f6, as he does not have enough compensation for this sacrifice. 17.hxg4 fxg3 18.Be3 Rae8 19.Bf4 g6?? losing more material unnecessarily. 20.Bh6 f5 21.Bxf8 Bxf8 22.gxf5 gxf5 23.Nh4 Qd8 24.Nxf5 Fortunately, the knight defends h4 from the queen, which would have spelled the end. 24…Qg5 24…Re5 to attack the defending knight merely allows 25.Qg4+ Kh8 26.Rf3 etc. 25.Qf3 Re5 26.Nxg3 Qh4+ 27.Kg1 Bg7 28.Nf5 Rxf5 29.Qxf5 Bd4+ 30.Rf2 Kg7 31.Kf1 Bf6 31…Bxf2 White decides to return some of the material he has been gifted in order to keep things simple and end the game quickly. 32.Qxf6+ Qxf6 33.Rxf6 Kxf6 34.e5+ Kxe5 35.Bxc6 bxc6 36.Ke2 d5 37.Rh1 1–0

The Wiltshire and West of England Junior Championships were held in Swindon at the weekend but results were not available at the time of going to press.

The British Chess Problem Solving Championship is taking place this weekend at Eton College, and I hope to have the results next week.

Last week’s problem by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Re4! after which Black cannot prevent 2.f4 mate.

Cyril Kipping (1891-1964) was a prolific composer and this 2-mover is taken from his book 300 Chess Problems (1916). It was originally published in the Western Daily Mercury in 1912, when he was a science teacher at Weymouth College. White is clearly bound to mate quickly, but only one move can do it in 2.

White to mate in 2.

E. Devon Congress Results (10.03.2012.)

A late spurt in the number of entries helped lift the total for the East Devon Congress that finished on Sunday evening to 120.

The prizelist included the following names:

Open Section: 1st= Dave Littlejohns (Taunton); Oliver Wensley      (Exmouth) & Graham Bolt (Exeter) all         4/5 pts. Grading Prizes: U-179: 1st= John Stephens (Exmouth) & John Wheeler (Cosham) both 3½. U-164: 1st= Brian Gosling (Exmouth) & Steve Dean (Seaton) both       2½.

Major Section (U-155): 1st= A. Frangleton (Exeter); R. Greatorex (Llangollen); J. Morgan (Penwith); T. Slade    (Marhamchurch) & M. Stinton-Brownbridge (Plymouth) all         4. Grading prizes – U-145: D. Lawrence (King’s Head) 3½. U-133: 1st= D. Cornes     (Wimborne) & B. Upton (S. Norwood) both 3.                                                                               

Minor Section (U-125): 1st Christine Constable (Couldsdon) 4½. 2nd J. O’Grady (Newton Abbot) 4. 3rd= A. Fraser (Beckenham); Joy Fursman; R. Hood (Isca); G. Mill-Wilson (Yate); A. Rinvolucri (Barnstaple) & P. Saunders (Patchway) all 3½. Grading prizes: U-110: 1st= I. Bowman (Liskeard) & Marian Cox both 3½. U-100: G. Jones (Barnstaple).

Of the three joint winners of the Open, by far the most surprising is Oliver Wensley, who only returned to chess last season, not having played since primary school days, 20 years ago. In this game from Rd. 2 he creates a whirlwind winning attack from a seemingly innocuous position.

White: O. E. Wensley (165). Black: N. Livesey (174).

Pirc Defence [B07]

1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 g6 3.Bc4 By far the most common move here is  3.d4. 3…Bg7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d3 Nc6 6.0–0 0–0 7.h3 a6 8.a4 b6 No games have ever been recorded in the on-line databases that reached this position – this is all new. 9.Bg5 Bb7 10.Qd2 Rc8 11.Bh6 Na5 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Ba2 c5 14.Ne2 Qd7 15.c3 c4 16.Ng3 Qc7 17.Rfe1 e6 18.dxc4 Rfd8 19.b3 d5 Both sides appear to have stable positions, and Black would seem justified in breaking open the centre in the hope of gaining space and possibly winning a pawn – yet this is a losing move. 20.exd5 exd5 and now a moment of spontaneous inspiration  21.Nf5+! gxf5 Black has little choice here, for if 21…Kf8?? 22.Qh6+ Kg8 23.Qg7#; Or if 21…Kh8 22.Qh6 Rg8 23.Re7 Qd8 24.Ng5 winning. 22.Qg5+ Kh8 23.Qxf6+ Kg8 24.Re7 Black is forced to give up his queen to avoid mate. 24…Qxe7 25.Qxe7 Re8 26.Qg5+ Kf8 27.Qh6+ Ke7 Forced, as if 27…Kg8 28.Ng5 with several mating lines. 28.Re1+ Kd8?? 29.Qd6# 1–0

28…Kd7 would have drawn things out a bit, but it’s still a lingering death e.g. 29.Qxb6 Rxe1+ 30.Nxe1 Re8 31.Nd3 dxc4 32.Nc5+ Kc8 33.b4 Rg8 34.Bxc4 Rg6 35.Qxa5.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Ne4! threatening 2.Nd2. If 1…Kxe4 2.Bxd5 mate. The try 1.Nb1? failed to 1…e4.

In this game position, how should White conduct his winning attack?

White to play and win.

37th E. Devon Congress – Final Day

After the usual round of minor triumphs and tragedies on the final day, the Congress came to an end on Sunday evening, with the following names on the prizelist – a provisional list, subject to ratification by the Congress Secretary.

    Name Grd Club Pts/5  
  1st= D. Littlejohns 181 Taunton 4 Cup
    O. E. Wensley 165 Exmouth 4  
    G. Bolt 182 Exeter 4  
GP U-179 J. F. Wheeler 177 Cosham  
  1st= J. K. Stephens 175 Exmouth  
  U-165 B. G. Gosling 151 Exmouth  
  1st= S. K. Dean 157 Seaton  
(U-155) 1st= A. Frangleton 144 Exeter 4  
    R. Greatorex 154 Llangollen 4  
    J. Morgan 147 Penwith 4  
    T. Slade 147 Marhamchurch 4  
    M. Stinton-B 151 Plymouth 4  
GP U-145 D. Lawrence 134 King’s Head  
  U-133 D. Cornes 129 Wimborne 3  
  1st= B. Upton 112 S. Norwood 3  
(U-125) 1st C. Constable 109 Coulsdon  
  2nd J. O’Grady 107 N. Abbot 4  
  3rd= A. Fraser 112 Beckenham  
    J. Fursman 108    
    R. Hood 112 Isca  
    G. Mill-Wilson 120 Yate  
    A. Rinvolucri 109 Barnstaple  
    P. Saunders 111 Patchway  
GP U-110 I. Bowman 109 Liskeard  
  1st= Marian Cox 106    3½  
  U-100 G. Jones   92 Barnstaple  2½  

Each club could nominate 4 members to constitute a team whose individual scores would be totalled, the highest to win chess equipment from the bookstall to the value of £20.00. The results were as follows (Maximum possible 20 pts):-

1st Exmouth (13½). 2nd= Barnstaple & Taunton. (12). 4th Dorset Danes. (11). 5th Exeter (10). 6th= Tiverton Hawks & Frome (9). 8th Bridport (8). 9th Torquay (7). 10th Tiverton Eagles (6).


Dave Littlejohns, happy with his trophy.





















Oliver Wensley - a remarkable joint 1st in the Open.






















Graham Bolt of Exeter - made it a trio of winners.



















 There was an interesting situation in the Minor Section, where two ladies were fighting it out for 1st prize on top board, namely Christine Constable and Joy Fursman. It was Christine who won this section last year and is the current holder of the trophy, her first-ever cup win. However, between them, she and her husband, John, who was running the bookstall, brought everything with them in their van, except the kitchen sink …. and the trophy in question. John said there was nothing for it but to win it again, so as to minimise any inconvenience. It took her a long time, as theirs was one of the last games to finish, but she did it in the end, so minimising any inconvenience. Problem solved!













Christine - flushed with success - but no cup to show for it.

The problem of Congress finances which led to some discussion of possible cheaper venues in the future, as mentioned earlier in this report, was resolved in the short term by a large donation from a mystery benefactor. So forget what was said, and be assured that the Corn Hall will remain the venue for next year, and hopefully for some while yet.

37th E. Devon Congress Starts

The 37th East Devon Congress got under way at 7 p.m. last night, with total entries up to 119, slightly higher than last year but still too low for the event to remain viable at its present splendid, but expensive, venue. The Committee is currently keeping under review the question of venues – to remain at the Corn Hall and push up entry fees in order to break even, or explore other avenues in the city, less expensive but possibly with other positives.

The Corn Hall, formerly St. George’s Hall, is owned by Exeter City Council, who have been approached by the Committee, asking if the rental could be reduced in consideration of the extra business that the event brings into Exeter. Their reply has been that, in the present financial climate, the Council is seeking to increase its annual income, not reduce it, although they did agree to hold the current rate for a year. The fact that, if the event moved to another venue, they would have lost all that rental, seems of no concern to the Council. Presumably there’s a queue of other organisations waiting to grab the 1st weekend in March every year.

If there are any other potential venues in Exeter looking for the business, get in touch with the Committee.

Meanwhile, top seed in the Open Section is local player Dominic Mackle with his January grade of 204 making the only player in the 200s and no-one in the 190s, though there will be a chasing pack of hungry aspirants in the 180s eager to bring him down if he makes the slightest slip at any time.

General view of the playing area.

Rd. 1 Draw.

Top games under way: Jaszkwsky v Mackle nearest.


Last minute entries Krzyzanowski & Stephens play on bottom bd.

E. Devon Congress Results (12.03.2011.)

The 36th East Devon Congress finished in Exeter’s Corn Hall on Sunday evening. The winners were as follows: (all scores out of 5). 

Open Section: 1st= J. Rudd (Bideford) & M. V. Taylor (Crowthorne) both 4½.   3rd D. Mackle (Newton Abbot) 4. Grading prizes: U-177: A. W. Brusey (Newton Abbot) 3½.   U-163: A. Waters (Rainham) 3.

Major Section (U-155): 1st J. Morgan (Exeter) 4½.   2nd J. Nielsen (Wimborne) 4.   3rd= G. Body (Exeter); R. Desmedt (Wombwell); J. G. Gorodi (Newton Abbot); T. Greenaway (Torquay) and A. Waldock (Guildford) all 3½.  GP: U-145: A. Farthing (Worcester) & R. Wilby  (Plymouth) both 3. U-133; C. Keen 131 (Exeter) 3.                  

Minor Section (U-125); 1st Christine Constable (Coulsdon) 4½.   2nd J. Wallman (Isle of Wight) 4.   3rd= S. Ross           u/g (Shifnal); T. Slade (N. Cornwall); M. Hill (Liskeard); J. Carr (Portsmouth) & R. Scholes (Exeter) all 3½.  GP:  U-111:     K. Sherlock (Yeovil) 3½.   U-102   G. Jenkins (Exeter) 3½.                      

Team Prize: 1st Exeter. 2nd South Hams . 3rd= Barnstaple & Exmouth.

Here is an entertaining and instructive game from Round 3 that put the winner into the sole lead, only to lose in the last round to Rudd.

White: S. Homer (180). D. Mackle  (194)

Sicilian Defence – Grand Prix Attack. [B23]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 Key move of the Grand Prix Attack, so called after its popularity on the Grand Prix circuit in the 1970s as a way of scoring a quick point with a rapid King-side attack before Black gets a chance to counter on the Q-side. 3…g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 6.0–0 a6 7.Bd3 An ugly-looking move that is not quite as bad as it looks. 7…e6 8.e5 d5 9.exd6 Qxd6 10.Ne4 Qc7 White now gambits a pawn in order to open up the centre while the Black King is still in the centre. 11.Ne5 Bxe5 12.fxe5 Black decides to accept the gift, thinking that White’s awkwardly-placed bishop will hinder further development, but this underestimates the force with which White can counter. 12…Qxe5 13.c3 Nc6 14.Bc2 f5 15.d4 cxd4 16.Bf4 The hitherto blocked bishop joins the attack to great effect. 16…Qg7 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Bb3 e5 19.Bg3 h6 20.Nf7 Rh7 21.cxd4 exd4 22.Rc1 Qf6 23.Bd6+ Nge7 24.Rxc6 White calculates he can afford to sacrifice material in order to break through. 24…bxc6 25.Be5 Qh4 26.Rf4 Qh5 27.Qxd4 The Black queen is about to get trapped, but he is also threatened with mate on d8 so cannot save it. 27…Bb7 28.Bd1 Qxd1+ 29.Qxd1 Rxf7 30.Qd6 Kg8 31.Rb4 1-0 resigns as Black must lose his bishop if he is to avoid mate.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qg4! threatening 2.Qg2mate, and the rook coming to g3 in order to prevent this, blocks off the bishop, allowing 2.Nf2 mate.

This 2-mover was composed in 1907 by the Plymothian, Mrs. Edith Baird.

White to play & mate in 2.

E. Devon Congress – Final Day

The final day began with the sole leader, Steve Homer, having to take a half-point bye in the morning, which allowed Jack Rudd and Mark Taylor to draw level. Rudd and Homer were drawn together on top board, while Taylor floated down to play Kryzanowski. The fact that Rudd, in addition to his 29 point grading superirity, also had the white pieces gave him a big advantage. He soon had a crushing Q-side attack that forced Homer’s resignation, and guaranteed Rudd at least a share of 1st prize. Taylor’s game was much closer and longer, but eventually he built up a strong attack down the g-file that forced his opponent to give up material in order to avoid mate. However, another chance arose soon after and Taylor had levelled with Rudd. Thus they shared the prizemoney (£170 each), but Rudd got the Steve Boniface Cup on tie-break using sum of opponents’ scores. However, Rudd had long since departed the hall and will have to wait for another opportunity to get his hands on it, possibly the West of England Congress over the Easter weekend.

Dominic Mackle had a fairly comfortable game against Dr. Adam Woodruff and his win took him to clear 3rd.

In the Major Section Jamie Morgan of Exeter came clear 1st. Although he lives in the city, he has yet to visit their club. He was born in Guernsey and learned his chess in the far west of Cornwall, and should now prove an asset to East Devon chess.

The Minor proved a triumph for Christine Constable, who, with her husband John, runs the bookstall and provided all the equipment. It was the first clear 1st in her chess career, and it is a moot point as to whether she is the first lady player to win outright any section at this event. Someone should consult the record books. Unfortunately, the trophy hadn’t been returned by its previous winner, (no names – no pack drill) so she, too, will have to wait until Easter to receive it.

The full details were:-

East Devon Congress   4th – 6th March 2011  
Open   Grd Club Pts/5 Prize
  1st= J. Rudd 210 Bideford £170
  M. V. Taylor 181 Crowthorne £170
3rd D. Mackle 194 Newton Abbot 4 £80
GP: U-177 A. W. Brusey 175 Newton Abbot £30
U-163 A. Waters   Rainham 3 £30
Major  (U-155)          
1st J. Morgan 144 Exeter £160
2nd J. Nielsen 142 Wimborne 4 £100
  3rd= G. Body 140 Exeter £14
  R. Desmedt 149 Wombwell £14
  J. G. Gorodi 150 Newton Abbot £14
  T. Greenaway 139 Torquay £14
  A. Waldock 143 Guildford £14
GP: U-145 A. Farthing 144 Worcester 3 £15
  R. Wilby 133 Plymouth 3 £15
U-133 C. Keen 131 Exeter 3 £15
Minor  (U-125)          
1st C. Constable 102 Coulsdon £160
2nd J. Wallman 108 Isle of Wight 4 £100
 3rd= S. Ross u/g Shifnal £14
  T. Slade 103 N. Cornwall £14
  M. Hill 124 Liskeard £14
  J. Carr 101 Portsmouth £14
  R. Scholes 108 Exeter £14
GP:  U-111 K. Sherlock 102 Yeovil £30
U-102 G. Jenkins   95 Exeter £30
Team Prize          
1st Exeter        
2nd South Hams        
 3rd= Barnstaple        

 Although the event passed pleasantly enough, there remains to question of falling numbers – a drop of c. 15 per year over the past few years is unsustainable without some adjustments to the formula. The Committee will be considering the possiblities – whether it be a new cheaper venue, an increase in entry fees, cutting out the Friday evening round, the formation of a Friends of the Congress fund, similar to Paignton, or a more rigorous “selling” of the event, if that is possible. They are not alone in this – many events are having to take stock in the wake of falling numbers.

Meanwhile, here are some scenes from the final round:- 

Rudd vs Homer gets under way on Bd. 1.

Mackle with Black managed to beat Woodruff and come clear 3rd

Christine Constable on her way to a personal best.

The youngest competitor, 10 yr old Theo Slade, won a Grading Prize.

Mark V. Taylor looking after the Cup for Jack Rudd.

Exeter resident, Jamie Morgan, winner of the Major Plate.

Christine Constable looking pleased with her win in the Minor - very pleased!