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Hants I Beat Devon I Again

Devon were determined to avoid anything like the 12½-3½ thrashing they received in last year’s match against Hampshire, and they did do a little better at Wincanton on Saturday, but still went down 10-6 in the 1st team. Only late wins by Mackle, Homer and Abbott offered any form of compensation. The Hants winners were M. Yeo, D. Tunks, W. McDougall, J. Tambini, T. Anderson, D. Fowler and C. Priest.

The 2nd team match was quite a different story, which Devon won 8-4, with wins by C. Howard, J. Duckham, B. Gosling, J. Allen, J. Morrison and K. Alexander.

This was the top game in the 1st team.

White: I. D. Thompson (204). Black: D. Mackle (Devon – 197).

English Opening – Sicilian Var. [A20]

1.c4 e5 Giving a position that looks like a Sicilian Defence with colours reversed, generally regarded as Black’s most active response. 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 h6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Nf3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 e4 7.Nd4 0–0 8.0–0 b6 9.Nb3 d6 10.d3 Bb7 11.Nd2 Nbd7 12.dxe4 Saddling himself with a second pair of doubled pawns, weak and vulnerable. After this, White’s pieces are always chasing the game, rarely able to combine to create any lasting threat. 12…Re8 13.Qc2 Nc5 14.f3 Qd7 15.Nb3 Qa4 16.Be3 Qxc4 17.Nxc5 bxc5 18.Rfd1 Bc6 19.Qd3 Qa4 Not 19…Qxd3, of course, as it would solve several of White’s problems. 20.c4 Rab8 21.Bd2 Nd7 22.f4 Nf6 23.e5 Bxg2 24.Kxg2 dxe5 25.fxe5 Rxe5 26.Bc3 Re6 27.Bxf6 Rxf6 28.Rf1 Rd6 29.Qf5 Qxc4 Those isolated pawns are easily picked off without compromising the defences. 30.Rac1 Qxa2 31.Rxc5 Qxe2+ Now Black is 3 pawns up and hunting the enemy king at close quarters. 32.Rf2 Qe7 33.Rfc2 Rf6 34.Qd3 Rd8 35.Qc4 Qe3 Utilising the long open files to close in on the exposed king. 36.Rxc7 Qf3+ 37.Kh3 If 37.Kg1 Rd1+. 37…Rd5 While the queen keeps the king hemmed in, the rooks seek to finish him off with a first threat of mate on h5. 38.Rc8+ Kh7 39.Rc5 Rxc5 40.Qxc5 Rf5 0–1. Only a queen sacrifice can delay mate.

Meanwhile, Somerset had an equally comfortable win over Gloucestershire at Clevedon by11½-4½, losing only one game in the process. Somerset winners were Messrs Rudd, Sherwin, Studdard, Freeman, Jepps, Musson, Peters and Senior. Gloucestershire’s sole winner was John Waterfield. Next week, I hope to include one of the key games.

Last week’s 2-mover from the postal round of the British Solving Championship was solved by 1.Nc3!  threatening 2.Ne6#. Black had seven possible attempts to escape the inevitable, but each was met by a different mate: viz 1…Kxc3 2.Nb3#; 1…bxc5 2.Qg7#; 1…Qxc3 2.Qd6#;1…Qxb5 2.Nxb5#; 1…Nxc3 2.e3#; 1…Bxe2 2.Nxe2# and finally 1…Bb3  2.Nxb3.

In this 2-mover Black is streets ahead in material and his king is surrounded by defensive forces, yet there is a chink in that armour. Can you spot it?

Devon v Hants – A Match of Two Halves (29.01.2011.)

Devon’s encounter against Hampshire on Saturday certainly qualified for the description of “a match of two halves”. In this case, Devon’s 1st team were truly massacred 12½ – 3½, their only winner being Jonathan Underwood, while draws were obtained by Alan Brusey, Robert Thompson, Paul Brooks, Steve Clarke and Phil Kennedy. The top eight boards of the 16 man team were outgraded by Hants, but the lower half, who were much better matched, were unable to stop the rot.

On the other hand, the score of the 2nd team match over 12 boards was equally imbalanced, but the other way, as Devon won that by 9½-2½, consisting of wins by Mike Stinton-Brownbridge, Jeff Leung, Ken Alexander, Jon Munsey, Freddie Sugden, Rob Wilby, Oliver Wensley, Juris Dzenis and Rob Jones, with Peter Halmkin providing the half point.

Here is the game from Board 1, to give a flavour of the main match.

White: J. F. Wheeler (185). Black: I. D. Thompson (209).

Queen’s Gambit Declined – Semi-Slav Defence. [D44]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 Black declines the offer of the c-pawn and plays the key move of the Semi-Slav. 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.e5 Nd5 10.Be2 h5 11.h4 g4 12.Ng5 Be7 13.Nge4 Bb7 14.0–0 White can afford to castle as his h-pawn is poisoned bait. e.g. 14…Bxh4 15.Bxh4 Qxh4 16.Nd6+ Nd7 15.Rc1 Nxc3 16.Rxc3 c5 17.Nd6+ Bxd6 18.exd6 Qb6 19.Be5 f6 White now has to decide whether to retreat  his threatened bishop or continue to go all out for attack. 20.Bxg4 White might have tried  20.Qd2 fxe5 21.dxe5 Nxe5 22.Re3 Qc6 23.f3 to prevent an immediate mate. 23…gxf3 24.Rxe5 fxe2 25.Rxe6+ Kd7 26.Re7+ Kd8 and Black has been forced to give up castling. 27.Rxe2 20…hxg4 21.Qxg4 0–0–0 White has sacrificed a piece to attack on Black’s weakened white squares but Black’s King has scooted away to safety anyway. 22.Bxf6 White also had 22.dxc5 Qc6 23.Bxf6 Nxf6 24.Qxe6+ Nd7 25.Rg3. 22…Nxf6 23.Qxe6+ If White had envisioned a fork here, it doesn’t work out, and the game is effectively over. 23…Nd7 24.d5 Rde8 25.Qh3 Qxd6 26.Rd1 Rh5 White is 2 pieces down and his key d-pawn is bound to fall, so he resigned. 0–1

With February just around the corner the East Devon Congress cannot be far away. It starts on the evening of Friday 4th March. Details from Alan Maynard on 01363-771133 or e-mail:

In last week’s position Jack Rudd played 1.Rxd4!! and if 1…exd4 then 2.Bxd4 supporting the knight to check on b6. So Black replied 1…Nd2 to prevent the rook coming to c4 2. Rxd2 Rxd2 3.Rc4 Qxc4 4.bxc4. This was admittedly a complicated one by any standard. This week’s 2-mover is somewhat more clear-cut. White to play.

White to play and mate in 2

Devon and Hants In Close Encounter.

 Ref: 565.    Date: Sat. 30.01.10. 

Devon and Hants In Close Encounter. 

The Devon–Hants match last Saturday finished in an exciting 8-8 draw. The top half of the teams were well-matched and finished 4-all, but Devon out-graded their opponents significantly on all the lower 8 boards, yet still only managed to draw these 4-all as well. Devon’s five winners were John Stephens, David Twine, Stephen Schofield, Mike Stinton-Brownbridge and Andrew Kinder. This was Devon’s top win – notes based on those kindly supplied by the winner.

White: J. K. Stephens (182). Black: B. Jenks (185).  Sicilian Defence [B38]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.c4 This constitutes the Maroczy Bind making it difficult for Black to play the freeing d5 later. 5…Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0–0 8.Be2 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 d6 10.0–0 a5 weakening his b6. 11.Rb1 Bd7 12.f3 Bc6 13.Qd2 Nd7 14.Be3 a4 15.b4 axb3 16.axb3 Ra3 Perhaps Black should try something like 16…f5 in order to contest White’s hold on the centre. 17.Rfc1 Nc5 18.Bd1! Black overlooked this move, which allows White to advance his Q-side pawns and push back Black’s pieces. 18…Qa8 19.b4 Na4 20.Bxa4 Bxc3 Black is fatally weak on the dark squares after this exchange. 21.Rxc3 Qxa4 22.b5 Bd7 23.Bh6 Rc8 24.Qd4 e5 Other moves are no better as 24…f6 also leads to mate or massive material loss. e.g. 25.Qd5+ e6 (if 25…Kh8 26.Qf7 Rg8 27.Qxe7) 26.Qxd6 Ra1 27.Rbc1 Qa7+ 28.c5 b6 29.Qe7 Bxb5 30.Qxe6+ Qf7 31.Qxc8+ Qe8 32.Qxe8+ Bxe8 33.Rxa1. The game concluded with 25.Qxd6 Ra1 26.Qf6 Qa7+ 27.c5 Rxb1+ 28.Kf2 Black has a bravado check but cannot escape the noose. 1–0

At the same time, Devon’s Juniors were taking part in a team tournament in Wiltshire. The U-14s came 3rd out of 4 behind Berkshire and South Wales. The U-11s came 2nd behind S. Wales and ahead of Somerset and Wilts. The U-9s did best of all, coming 1st ahead of S. Wales and Wiltshire. Devon’s star player was Theo Slade on Bd. 1 of the U-9s, the only one to score maximum points.