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E. Devon Congress 2017 – The Endgame

Nunn's quick draw guaranteed him at least a share of 1st prize, but none could catch him. He has now entered the event twice - in 1979 and 2017, a mere 38 years apart, and each time he won with 4.5/5 ahead of a competitive field. He was happy to be photographed with the Steve Boniface Cup, but as his trophy cabinet at home is already full to overflowing, he regretfully had to leave it with the Committee.

Arthur Hibbert (W) in action against 7th seed, David Archer (S. Hams), the winner to take the trophy.

.... and David Archer came out on top, clear 1st in the Major Section.

Grant Daly of the Bristol Club, Downend & Fishponds, and 19th seed in his section, won the Minor, with a handsome trophy to go with it.

E. Devon Congress 2017 – Final Day (12.03.2017.)

By the end of Rd. 4, the Open Section had developed into a mini tournament between the titled players just playing among themselves. Top seed, Arkell had had a dodgy game against his former pupil, Rudd and dropped a half point, but Nunn’s scorecard was unblemished, while, the Spanish IM, Simon, the Austrian FM, Braun, and Tournament Secretary,Tim Paulden himself, were never far away.

A few scenes from the end of Rd. 4: Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh & Exmouth) plays Stephen Homer (Newton Abbot), while next door, Dave Littlejohns (Taunton) plays Adam Woodruff, formerly of Exmouth.

Jamie Morgan (Exeter) in action against Meyrick Shaw (Exmouth)

At the top of the Minor Section, Paul Errington faces Joy, one of the Fursman sisters, in front of Martin Maber against Ken Alexander

The 5th & final round gets under way with a handshake between John Nunn (4/4) and Jack Rudd. The prospect of a bright and breezy game in the usual Rudd style pleased the neutrals, but the game ended with a quick & quiet draw in 10 moves. There might have been an element of disappointment in the hall, but then, if John Nunn offered you a draw, wouldn't you accept?! It guaranteed Nunn at least a share of 1st prize.

David Pardo Simon kicks off against Keith Arkell. Both knew from early on that a win would catch Nunn in 1st place, but they could only manage a draw, Arkell having to draw on all his endgame powers to achieve that.

Walter Braun kicks off against Tim Paulden, who, in spite of the heavy organisational load in this his first year in charge, had an excellent tournament. The game finished as a draw, with only a knight and less than a handful of pawns each. It was good to have a fresh face featuring among the regulars, and he hopes to be on the local scene for the foreseeable future.

Bristol Spring Congress Results (11.03.2017.)

Bristol’s Spring Congress took place on the last weekend of February. Keith Arkell (240 – Paignton) won the Open Section with a maximum 5 points, as there was no-one anywhere near him in rating. The nearest was Thomas Villiers (204 – Barnet), who duly came 2nd.

The other sections were more closely contested with a quadruple tie in the Major (U-155), between George Georgiou (Swindon); Sam Jukes (Barry); Robert Radford (Keynsham) and Alan Papier (Bristol & Clifton), all on 4 pts.

The Minor (U-125) was won by James Rosseinsky (Horfield) on 4½ pts followed by Grant Daly (Downend), on 4.

This was Arkell’s final game that clinched his 1st place.

White: Keith Arkell (2406). Black: Joseph Turner (1936).

King’s Indian Defence – Fianchetto Variation [E62].

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0–0 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.cxd5 Qxd5 12.Qxd5 Nxd5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 If 13…Bxe5 14.Bxd5 Nd4 15.e3. 14.Bxd5 c6 15.Bb3 a5 16.a4 Nd7 17.Rab1 Nc5 18.Bc2 Rfe8 19.Be3 Ne4 20.Rfd1 Re7 21.Rd3 Rae8 22.Bb6 Chasing after pawns on the edge of the board may not appear significant at this stage of the game, but at the end winning this pawn is the difference between the two sides.  22…h5 23.e3 Re5 24.Rd7 Rd5 25.Rxd5 cxd5 26.Bxa5 d4 After the next skirmish. White has a 2–1 pawn majority, which he is adept at exploiting to his advantage. 27.exd4 Bxd4 28.Bxe4 Rxe4 29.Kf1 h4 30.Bd2 Be5 Now the road is clear to push those pawns a.s.a.p. 31.b4 Bd6 32.a5 Rd4 It’s also time for the king to step forward and play his part …. providing it’s safe to do so. 33.Ke2 f5 34.Bc3 Re4+ 35.Kd3 hxg3 36.hxg3 Rg4 37.Bd4 Bb8 38.b5 Kf7 39.a6 Ke6 No better is 39…bxa6 40.bxa6. 40.axb7 Kd5 41.Be3 g5 42.Rc1 f4 43.gxf4 gxf4 44.Bd4 f3 45.Rc5+ Kd6 46.Rc8 Black’s bishop must fall. 46…Rxd4+ 47.Kxd4 Ba7+ 48.Ke4 1–0.

The ECF’s Chess Book of the Year 2016 was Chess for Life by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan (Gambit – £15.99). The subtitle describes the book: “Understanding how a player’s chess skills develop and change with the passage of time”. To this end they interviewed a number of older players, and Keith Arkell contributed a section on rook & pawn endings, described by the judges as “masterly”, and “a mini textbook in itself”. His endgame mastery was on show at Bristol, as in the above game, making early exchanges of material in order to simplify and get to the endgame, where he could better exercise his skill.

The solution to last week’s problem by  Dave Howard was 1.Qe8! threatening 2.Qa4 mate. Black’s rooks have several tries, but 2.Nc5++ is also mate. The week before’s was solved by 1.Qa3! and not 1.Qxe3 which had inadvertently been left in from the previous week. Apologies for that.

This position arose in a recent game in the Devon leagues. Black has just played Qa6, so why did he resign next move?

White to move and Black resign

E. Devon Congress 2017 – Exeter – Rd. 1 (10.03.2017.)

This event started back in 1976 in a relatively small way, but 3 years later, with the benefit of local sponsorship, the entries shot up to 219. That year it was won by John Nunn ahead of a chasing pack that included Dave Rumens, Plaskett, Blackstock, Franklin and Peter Sowray – quite an array of up-and coming players of the time.

Since those heady days, the numbers have slipped, especially in recent years, but this year, for no obvious reason, the entry went right back up to the 150s, with a late influx of titled players. Devon residents Keith Arkell and Jack Rudd, were present, as one might expect, of course, but there were new names like IM David Pardo Simon, a Spanish student at the University, and an Austrian FM, Walter Braun, who had turned up to live in Exmouth only a few days earlier. Oh, and someone called John Nunn, making his first appearance here since 1979. His appearance could be a factor in the increased interest this year, but also there was an unparalelled entry of 12 from the University.

This year’s 42nd East Devon Congress got under way this evening in Exeter’s commodious Corn Hall, with words of welcome from Congress Secretary, Dr. Tim Paulden, whose energy in creating a new website for the event, with facilities for easy on-line entry, could be a 3rd factor.

The pictures set the scene and tell the story:-

Petra & John Nunn after checking the pairings for Rd. 1

Roger Hutchings (W), formerly of Barnstaple, takes on Keith Arkell on top board, but gets his queen trapped after 16 moves. David Pardo Simon, a Spanish student currently studying at Exeter University, looks on.

Austrian FM, Walter Braun (W) enjoyed a quick win against John Bass. Braun won their game in 8 moves, one of the shortest games in the Open in its 42 year history.

Former Scottish Junior International, Paul Hampton, faces Graham Bolt, and wins in c. 28 moves. Next to Bolt is Bill Adaway, who once got a draw against Portisch in a big London Open.

The diminutive figure that looks, at first glance across a crowded room, like a primary school pupil, is in fact Miss Ang from Singapore, currently a student at Exeter University.

... and she's giving congress regular, Brendan O'Gorman, quite a lot to think about.

Top board in the Minor: Christine Constable vs Ken Alexander. Christine's husband, John, is helping out as an arbiter in the absence through illness of Tony Tatam, while Ken is Secretary of the Torbay Congress and delivered the new, multi-coloured entry forms.

Paignton Congress Prizewinners (17.09.2016.)

The Paignton Congress finished at the weekend with the following prizewinners. (All points out of 7). Premier: 1st Keith Arkell (Paignton) 6½. 2nd Ashley Stewart (Royston) 4½. 3rd= Graham Bolt (Exeter); Stephen Peters (Aylesbury) & Mike Waddington (Dorchester). A. Stewart was awarded the Qualifying Place for next year’s British Championship.

Challengers (U-180): 1st= N. Burrows & A. Milnes both 5½. 3rd= K. Hurst (E. Budleigh); J. Hickman (Reading) & R. Everson (Dartford) all 5 pts.

Minor (U-135): 1st L. Bullock (Hackney) 5½. 2nd= E. Fierek (Gloucester); D. Gilbert (DHSS); G. Parfett (Athenium) & R. Everson (Dartford) all 5 pts.

Boniface 5-Rd Morning: 1st Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) 4/5 pts. 2nd= J. Hickman (Reading) & R. Puchades (Cosham) both 3½.

Thynne 5-Rd Morning (U-135): 1st N. Andrews (York). 2nd= P. Foster (Medway); A. Collins (Cowley); M. Roberts (Holmes Chapel) & J. Shaddick (Basingstoke) all 3½.

Local player, Brian Gosling , won the top section of the Morning tournaments, after starting with this win in Rd. 1. Notes based on those by the winner.

White: B. Gosling (159). Black: A. Hibbitt (158).

Sicilian Defence – Closed System.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nbd2 Bg7 5.g3 d6 reinforcing e5. 6.Bg2 Rb8 7.a4 a6 8.0–0 Bd7 9.Re1 b5 10.axb5 axb5 11.Nb3 e5 12.Bg5 Bf6 13.Be3 Bg7 14.c3 Preventing intrusion by Black via b4 & d4. 14…Nge7 15.d4 c4 Black attacks the knight and wins space but White has a positional sacrifice in mind. 16.dxe5 cxb3 17.exd6 Nc8 18.e5 For the knight sacrifice White has a protected passed pawn on d6 and the more active pieces. 18…0–0 19.Bg5 Qb6 20.Qxb3 White now has 3 pawns for the knight, a balance of forces favouring White. 20…Be6 21.Qd1 Nxe5? If 21…b4 Black could hope to survive. 22.Nxe5 Nxd6? Better was 22…Bxe5 23.Rxe5 Nxd6. 23.Be3 Qc7 24.Nc6 Rb7 24…Ra8 hoping against hope 25.Rxa8 Rxa8. 25.Bf4 White’s pieces all have long lines and diagonals, while Black is losing material. The pin on the knight is fatal. 1–0. Play might have continued 25.Bf4 Re8 26.Qxd6 Qxd6 27.Bxd6+.

Many more games from the event may be played through or downloaded from the chessdevon website.

The West of England Inter-County Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton, with, like Paignton, a lower than usual entry. Devon retained the Congress Cup for the top section with 8½/12 points, followed by Somerset (6) and Cornwall (3½). The grade-limited section was won by the Torbay League (7½/12), followed by Gloucestershire (6) and Somerset II (4).

Last week’s 2-move miniature by David Howard was solved by 1.Qg1! threatening 2.Qg5 mate. If 1…Kxh4 2.Qh2 mate.

Here is a 2-move finish by Keith Arkell from a game earlier this year. If it seems relatively easy from this point, the skill lies in reaching the position in the first place.

White to play and win.

Paignton Congress & Latest on Oldway Mansion (09.09.2016.)

The Paignton Congress started on Sunday with another slight drop in entries, and some talk among players and organisers about the possible reasons for this, including comparisons between the relative virtues of its original venue of 62 years, Oldway Mansion, and its current one at the Livermead House Hotel. The latter is an excellent venue, but there seems to be an unconscious yearning for a return to its roots.

As is well-known, Oldway was acquired  by James Brent’s Akkeron Group, with promises of turning the main building into a luxury hotel and hopes that the congress might be able to return there. But nothing was done as Brent and the Torbay Council locked horns over the best way to proceed. In January Akkeron sued the Council for £8 million in damages, but this also came to nothing, and meanwhile Oldway continued to decay. Now, for the sake of the building before it becomes too far gone to do anything with, Brent has washed his hands of the whole project, and Oldway is back in Council hands.

Inspectors representing Historic England, recently checked the fabric of the building inside and out, and have reported that the empty building is not deteriorating as badly as many feared. So if the Council can obtain the necessary funds from a variety of sources, including the National Lottery and various heritage funds, there may be some hope that the Congress may be able to return there one day.

Meanwhile, local Grandmaster, Keith Arkell is a nailed-on certainty to win the Premier, so far ahead is he in grading of the other 17 players in that section. We can only admire the seven games he will have played by the last round this afternoon. Here, for example, is his Rd. 1 game which features a very short, sharp finish.

White: Graham Bolt (190). Black: Keith Arkell (241).

King’s Fianchetto Opening

1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 c5 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 d4 5.Ne4 e5 6.c3 Be7 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.Nxf6+ Bxf6 9.0–0 0–0 10.a3 Bf5 11.Nd2 Threatening to double Black’s pawns. 11…Qd7 12.Ne4 With twin threats to c5 and f6. 12…Be7 13.Bd2 a5 14.a4 Be6 15.Qc2 f5 With pieces developed Black now commences a kingside attack. 16.Ng5 Bxg5 17.Bxg5 f4 18.gxf4 exf4 White’s black-square bishop could become trapped after …h7; Bh4 g5.  19.Bh4 g5! Arkell’s favourite move, played whenever possible. 20.Bxg5 The pawn has gone, but lines have been opened down which Black can attack. 20…Qg7 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Kh1 f3 23.Rg1 It’s a tussle for control of the g-file and Black seems vulnerable with his queen in front of his king. 23…fxe2 24.c4 If 24.Bh6 Bd5+. 24…Rxf2! 25.Bh4 Bg4 26.Rxg4 Rf1+ Less neat is 26…Qxg4 27.Bxf2 Qf3+ 28.Kg1 Rf8. 27.Rg1 Qxg1# 0–1

In last week’s position White won after 1.RxR+ Kf7 2. NxB+ Kf6 3.PxN=Q mate.

Here is a new 2-move miniature by David Howard.

White to mate in 2

British Championships Get Under Way (29.07.2016.)

The British Championship started on Monday at the Bournemouth Pavilion and continues until next Friday. Of the 86 entries in the Championship section itself, 11 are GMs, namely, in order of strength, Michael Adams; David Howell; Gawain Jones; Nick Pert; Mark Hebden; Tamas Fodor; Danny Gormally; John Emms; Keith Arkell; Chris Ward & Peter Wells. Cornishman Adams must be clear favourite, but there are other Westcountry residents in the mix, including Jack Rudd (Bideford), Brian Hewson (Tiverton), Jeremy Menadue (Truro), Steve Dilleigh & Carl Bicknell (both Bristol).

Games may be followed live on the event website – britishchesschampionships.co.uk.

A feature of the early rounds in this kind of tournament, the Swiss system, is that the grandmasters are drawn against opponents from halfway down the list and one can expect quite a few “massacres”, but this time most lasted up to 50 or 60 moves as the GMs played carefully, having no wish to finish up with egg on their faces by starting off with a surprise loss.

Here is an exception from Rd. 2.

White: K.C. Arkell (241). Black: Freddy Hand (192)

Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D23]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 Unusual, but White clearly wishes to guide his highly-graded, 13 year old opponent onto less familiar territory, and gets his queen active on the queenside right from the start. 4…dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bg4 6.Nbd2 Nbd7 7.g3 e6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Ne5 Bh5 Not 10…Nxe5? because of 11.dxe5 and Black must lose either bishop or knight. 11…b5. 11.Ndf3 Rc8 12.Bg5 c5 13.Rac1 h6 14.Nxd7 Nxd7 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.Rfd1 The rooks are connected laterally and have the promise of activity down the files ahead of them. 16…Nb6 16…cxd4 17.Qxc8 Rxc8 18.Rxc8+ Kh7 19.Nxd4 and given their open lines, the 2 rooks should be slightly stronger than the queen. 17.Qb5 Rfd8 18.Qa5 continuing the queenside probing. 18…Bxf3 19.Bxf3 cxd4 20.Qxa7 Qb4 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Bxb7 Establishing 2 passed pawns. 22…Rc5 23.b3 Ra5 Black rightly wants to attack the pawns, but White’s open lines enable him to prevent this.  24.Qb8+ Kh7 25.Be4+ f5 26.Bb1 Rb5 27.Qf4 Threatening d4. 27…Rd5 28.Rc1 Rightly grabbing the open file. 28…Rd7 29.Qe5 Threatening e5.  29…Re7 30.Rd1 Nd5 Black’s hoping to get in Nc3 forking rook and bishop, but White has a clever resource. 31.Bxf5+ winning 2 pawns. 31…exf5 32.Qxf5+ Kh8 33.Qxd5 Rxe2 34.Qxd4 1–0 Resigns. Not 34.Rxd4? because of 34… Qe1+ 35.Kg2 Qxf2+ 36.Kh3 Qxh2+ 37.Kg4 Rxa2 and the win seems to have evaporated.

Last week’s position was easily solved by 1.QxR+! If Black takes the queen either of the white rooks can come to the h-file to administer mate, or if he retreats to g8 the queen herself mates on g7.

Here we have a position from a 1999 game by John Emms (W). What winning move did he have?

White to play

East Devon Congress 2016 Rd. 1

If ever a sign were needed of the enduring popularity of this Exeter-based event, in spite of its financial problems of recent years, the entry of 53 in the Open was surely it, in spite of the fact that the Committee always seem to issue their entry forms much later on than most congresses – often a matter of weeks rather than months. The list of entries, (see below) shows much more than the “usual suspects”, but an eclectic mix, with a good sprinkling of new faces. Russia and Norway appear in the Club column; there’s a significant Cornish contingent; Devon ex-pats returning to the fold (e.g. Piper – Holsworthy// Shapland & Hutchings – Barnstaple // Lowe – Paignton), not to forget former Kenyan Champion, Humphrey Andolo.

At the top of this exotic pile, by some margin, was Paignton-based GM Keith Arkell, fresh from his 1st= at Bristol the previous weekend. Just before the start, his Rd. 1 opponent, John Wheeler, was sitting patiently behind the black pieces awaiting his opponent’s arrival, and I jokingly warned him against trying the Caro-Kan as Keith was an acknowledged expert, which of course he already knew. But he needed no words of warning from me as he set about squeezing a draw from the game. In fact, at the beginning of  a double rook and pawns ending John was a pawn up. Keith was able to win it back but could make no further progress. and a draw was agreed.

The entry for the Open Section.

Arkell arrives a little late.

 

Bill Adadway moves against No. 2 seed, Jack Rudd.

 

General view of a well-filled playing hall.

Bristol League Spring Congress 2016 – Results.

Bristol’s Spring Congress took place last weekend at Bristol Grammar School. The winners were as follows, with grade and club after each name:

Open Section: 1st= Keith Arkell (243- Paignton) & Ezra Kirk (225 – Cheddleton). 3rd Stephen Meek (185 – S. Bristol). Grading prize: Cherupali Ramprasad (110 – India). Major Section (U-155): 1st Chris Purry (154 – Frome). 2nd James Hennefeld (141 – Downend). 3rd Howard Millbank (125 – Horfield). Grading prize; Anthony Carver (129 – Hanham). Minor Section (U-125). 1st Jason Blaxill (117 – S. Bristol). 2nd David McGeeney (123 – Bristol Cabot). 3rd Geoff Ainsley (123 – Calderdale). Grading prize: Grant Daly (100 – Downend). Junior Prize: Max French: (164 – Millfield School).

Arkell did not have it all his own way, as he did last year, and had to fight hard in some endgames. But he made excellent use of his knights, as in this game from round 3.

White: Carl Bicknell (201). Black: Keith Arkell. (243)  Caro-Kan Defence – Arkell/Khenkin Variation. [B12].

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 Signature move of this variation, much analysed by Arkell and the Russian-born Igor Khenkin, independently, in the 1980s and given their name by the magazine New In Chess. 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 Ba6 8.0–0 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 e6 10.c4 Ne7 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Be3 Nf5 13.Bc5 Bxc5 14.Qb5+ Qd7 15.Qxc5 Rc8 16.Qb4 Ne7 17.f4 0–0 18.Nc3 Rb8 19.Qa3 Nf5 20.Rac1 Ne3 21.Rf2 Nc4 Knight and rook combine to harass White’s queen. 22.Qa4 Qe7 23.b3 Rb4 24.Qa6 Rb6 25.Qa4 Ne3 26.Qd4 Nf5 27.Qd3 Rc6 28.Rcc2 If 28.Rfc2?! Qc5+ 29.Kh1 Ne3 30.Na4 (If 30.b4 for example, Qb6 31.Na4 Rxc2 32.Rxc2 Qxb4 33.Qxe3 Qxa4) 30…Qxc2!! 31.Rxc2 Rxc2 32.Qxe3 d4! 33.Qxd4 Rc1+ 34.Qg1 Rxg1+ 35.Kxg1 Rc8. Meanwhile, back to the game. 28…Qb7 29.h3 g6 30.Qb5 Rb6 31.Qd3 Rb4 32.Na4 Rd4 33.Qc3 Rd1+ 34.Kh2 d4 35.Qc6 Qe7 36.Nc5 Ne3! seriously embarrassing the white rooks. 37.Rfd2 If 37.Rb2 Ng4+ 38.Kg3 (not 38.hxg4?? Qh4#) 38…Nxf2 39.Rxf2 and Black is the exchange up with a very dangerous d-pawn waiting to charge forward. 37…Rxd2 38.Rxd2 Nf1+ forking king and rook 0–1.

This weekend the action moves to the East Devon Congress at the Corn Exchange, Exeter, which started yesterday evening and continues until Sunday afternoon. The Open Section has an unusually large entry this year, probably nearing 60 players, which should make for some interesting games.

In last week’s position, Alekhine beat Lasker after 1.Nf5+ forcing 1…Kh8 2.Qxg6 and if 2…PxQ 3.Rh3 mate.

This position was taken from actual play and appeared in Tattersall’s A Thousand Endgames Vol 1, published in 1901. White to move and should win, of course, but only if he makes the right moves, otherwise Black may be able to draw.

White to play and ensure the win.

Bristl Spring Congress 2016 (20.02.2016)

The Bristol Spring Congress started on Friday evening 19th February in the 6th Form Common Room of Bristol Grammar School, and will run through till Sunday evening. As well as the Open Section there is the Major, open to players graded Under-150, and the Minor for the Under-125s. The detailed results and games will eventually be downloadable from the Bristol League website; www. chessit.co.uk.

Last year’s winner of the Open was Grandmaster Keith Arkell with a perfect score of 5/5. His strongest adversary was Chris Beaumont, and this was their game from Round 3.

White: C. Beaumont. Black: K. C. Arkell.  

1.Nf3 b5 2.e4 Bb7 A kind of Polish Opening in reverse. Clearly both players wanted to steer clear of well-known opening lines and rely on their skill at the board. 3.Bxb5 Bxe4 4.d4 Nf6 5.0–0 e6 6.c4 c6 7.Ba4 Na6 8.Nc3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Nc7 10.Bf4 Rc8 11.Rfe1 Be7 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bc2 d5 Black wishes to establish a presence in the centre. 14.c5 Rb8 15.Qg3 Rb7 16.Be5 Nce8 17.Rb1 Nd7 18.Qd3 g6 19.Bf4 Nc7 20.b4 Bg5 21.Bd6 Be7 22.Bxe7 Qxe7 Black’s pawns are well-established on white squares, which frustrates the white-square bishop, and the best place to attack a pawn chain is at the base.  23.b5 Nb8 24.bxc6 Rxb1 25.Rxb1 Nxc6 26.Ba4 Na5 27.Qg3 Rd8 28.h4 Kg7 29.Bc2 Ne8 30.Ba4 Nf6 31.Bd1 Nc6 Black looks to have a solid king-side position, though White does have a passed pawn which may come in handy later. 32.Qf4 e5 33.dxe5 Nxe5 34.h5 Nd3 35.h6+ White is keen to try and break open Black’s king’s position. 35…Kg8 36.Qd4 Qe1+ 37.Kh2 Qe5+ 38.Qxe5 Nxe5 39.Rb7 Rc8 40.Bb3 Neg4+ White doesn’t have to worry about protecting his  c-pawn as the attacking rook must not leave the back rank just yet. 40…Rxc5 41.Rb8+ But Black’s acknowledged mastery of the endgame enables him to start taking control. 41.Kg3 Nxh6 42.Nxd5 Nxd5 43.Bxd5 Rxc5 44.Bb3 a5 45.Kf3 Re5 46.Ra7 g5 47.g4 Kg7 48.Bc2 Rc5 49.Bb3 Rc3+ 50.Ke4 Nxg4 51.Rxf7+ Kg6 52.Ra7 Nxf2+ With 2 connected passed pawns corralled by their king, the win is assured. 53.Kd4 Rc6 54.Bf7+ Kh6 55.Rxa5 Rf6 56.Bd5 g4 57.Ra7 g3 58.a4 Rd6 59.Ra8 Nh3 60.Rg8 Ng5 61.Re8 g2 0–1.

Here is the shortest decisive game from the Open.

White: N. Ralphs. Black: M. Staniforth.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nxd4 5.Qxd4 Ne7 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Qe3 d6 8.Bd2 Be7 9.0–0–0 0–0 Now who can get their attack in first. 10.Bd3 Ne5 11.f4 Nxd3+ 12.Qxd3 c6 13.f5 b5 14.Bf4 b4 15.Ne2 Qa5 16.Kb1 Ba6 17.Qf3 d5 Both are doing well at this stage. 18.Ng3 c5 19.e5 Bb7 20.f6 gxf6?? 21.Nf5 1-0 The knight both attacks the unguarded bishop and will help with a forced mate.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Bb6! and if 1…Bxb6 2.Rd4 mate. Black has other “tries”, but none is sufficient.

This 2-mover was composed by Sam Loyd in 1904 for Lasker’s Chess Magazine.

White to move and mate in 2