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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.

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

From Bude To The Isle of Man (10.10.2015.)

Peter Clarke, the well-known chessplayer, columnist, author and bibliophile died last December after a long illness, and it was his family’s wish that an event of some sort should be held in his memory. It was decided that the scheduled 3rd Bude RapidPlay should be renamed the 1st Peter Clarke Memorial Tournament. This was held in Bude on Saturday, and the gathering of local players was joined by a number of the Clarke clan, including his wife, Peggy, her youngest brother, Philip Wood, two of their 3 daughters, Pennie and Salli and 3 grandchildren.

The winner of the Open Section was Steve Piper (Salisbury) whose chess career started as a junior at the Holsworthy Chess Club, founded by Peter, while the Runner-Up was Peter’s brother-in-law, Philip Wood.

The U-140 Section was won by Kelvin Hunter (Tiverton) and joint Runners-Up were Reece Whittington (Exeter), Steve Williams (Chester), Martin Jones (Newquay) & Robert Jones (Exmouth). Full details of all players’ results may be found on the keverelchess website.

Meanwhile, possibly the strongest International Open ever on British soil has been taking place this week on the Isle of Man, where 100 top players are fighting for a prize fund of £30,000 in the Masters Section alone. In Rd. 2 Devon resident GM Keith Arkell was paired with Cornish-born Michael Adams, which resulted in this tactically tricky game.

White: K. Arkell (241). Black: M. Adams (267).

Queen’s Gambit. [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Bf5 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Bd6 11.0–0 0–0 12.Rab1 a5 13.Qc2 Re8 14.Rfe1 Qc8 15.Bg3 Bxg3 16.hxg3 Ne4 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Nd2 Nf6 Attention now turns to the queenside, where a tactical skirmish takes place. 19.b4 axb4 20.Rxb4 b5 21.a4 Nd5 22.Rb2 Rxa4 23.Nxe4 Qc7 24.Qd3 Qa5 25.Rc1 Ra3 26.Qb1 g6 27.Qc2 If 27.Rxc6 losing the queen. 27…Ra1. 27…b4 28.Nd6 Rc3 29.Qd1 Re7 30.Nc4 Qa6 31.Rxb4 Rcxe3 If now 31…Nxb4 32.Rxc3. 32.Rb8+ Draw agreed. A fine result for Arkell, but was followed in the next round by this nightmare.

White: D. Howell (274). Black: K. Arkell.

French Defence – Tarrasch Var. [C10]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.0–0 Ngf6 8.Neg5 Bd6 9.Re1 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 h6 Intending to push the knight away, but it launches into a violent attack. 11.Nxe6! fxe6 12.Rxe6+ Kf7 13.Bc4 Kf8 14.Qf5 Nb6 15.Bb3 Be7 16.Bd2 c5 17.dxc5 Qxd2 18.cxb6 Qg5 19.Qf3 axb6 20.Rxe7 Kxe7 21.Qxb7+ Kd6 22.Qxb6+ Ke5 23.Qe6+ Kf4 24.g3+ Kf3 25.Bc4 Ne4 26.Be2+ Kxe2 27.Qxe4+ Kd2 28.Qd3# 1–0

Last week’s original 2-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Na8! threatening 2.Nf3 mate. If the c-pawn takes the knight, 2.Rc4 mate follows.

This position arose in a Grandmaster rapidplay game earlier this year. What win did White miss before going on to lose the game?

White to play and win by force.

Arkell’s Paignton Max. (26.09.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell has made the Paignton Congress virtually his own personal fiefdom during the past two decades, having come 1st, either clear or shared, almost every year. This time, however, he had just lost 7 rating points at his previous event at Coulsdon and was determined to make this up by scoring a maximum 7/7 points at Paignton, something he’d done only once before. In spite of his superior skills and rating at this event, this is not so easy to achieve in practice, as all or any one of his seven opponents are inclined to raise their game against the master and thereby force a draw, or even an unexpected win. But he stayed focussed throughout, kept things simple, and made it to the finishing line with the 7 points he wanted.

2nd= on 5 points were Stephen Berry (Wimbledon) and local player Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) who had his best-ever  result, after many years taking part. 4th on 4½ was 14 yr. old Theo Slade (Barnstaple). Grading prizes (U-2005) went to Graham Bolt (London Railways) and Adrian Pickersgill (Hastings). The slow starter prize (0/2) went to Jason McKenna (Oxford).

Arkell’s two best games were against Berry and this one from Rd. 6. Note how he keeps everything as simple as possible by exchanging off Black’s active pieces, thereby leaving Black completely without any piece activity.

White: Keith Arkell (241). Black: Steve  Dilleigh (187).

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Variation [D35]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Bd3 Nh5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.0–0 g6 11.Re1 0–0 12.e4 dxe4 13.Bxe4 Qd8 14.d5 cxd5 15.Nxd5 Ndf6 16.Rc1 Nxe4 17.Rxe4 Nf6 18.Rd4 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Qf6 20.Qd4 Qxd4 21.Nxd4 Re8 Suddenly Black is left with only one active piece against three.  22.h4 h5 23.Rc7 a6 24.Rd6 Rb8 25.f3 The bishop doesn’t have a decent move on the board, which in turn leaves the rooks unconnected. 25…Kf8 26.Rb6 Ra8 27.Kf2 Re7 28.Rxe7 Kxe7 The rook & knight now have control of the board, and there’s little Black can do about it. 29.a4 Ra7 If 29…Rb8 30.Nc6+ wins the exchange viz 30…bxc6 31.Rxb8. 30.a5 Bd7 In the absence of any threats, White’s king can stroll up the board at leisure to add his own two-pennyworth to the attack. 31.Ke3 Bc8 32.Kf4 f6 33.g4 hxg4 34.fxg4 Bd7 35.g5 fxg5+ 36.Kxg5 Be8 37.Re6+ Kf8 38.Kf6 Ra8 39.Re7 Rb8 40.Ne6+ Kg8 41.Rg7+ Kh8 42.Rc7 Kg8 43.b4 Kh8 44.Re7 Kg8 45.Nc5 Kf8?? 46.Rg7 and in order to avoid the knight’s immediate mating threat, Black must incur more material loss. 1–0

In last week’s game ending, Rowena Bruce finished with a queen sacrifice, possibly the most satisfying finishes of all. 22.Qxh7+! Black’s next three moves are forced. 22…Nxh7 23.Nxf7+ Kg8 24.Ne5+ Kh8 25.Nxg6# 1-0. The mysterious “Mr. Black” was, in fact, her husband, Ron.

In this position how does White mate in 2?

White to play and mate in 2.

Arkell’s Optimism (19.09.2015.)

I wrote recently of the disappointment Grandmaster Keith Arkell must have felt at his anticlimactic finish to the recent British Championship. It seems he wasn’t downhearted for long, however, as immediately after, he took part in the massive Vienna Open tournament, where 460 players competed, and he came away 1st=, having beaten four other GMs on the way, and getting a career-best tournament rating of 2700+. It was a performance that so far seems to have been somewhat under-reported in the chess press.

So he arrived at the Paignton Congress full of optimism and a wish to add to his twenty 1st places since 1986, hopefully with a maximum score of 7/7.

In this Rd. 3 game, a former WECU President beats a former WECU Champion.

White: John Wheeler (177) Black: Maurice Staples (171).

Queen’s Gambit – Chigorin Defence.  [D07]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 7.bxc3 Nf6 8.c4 forcing Black onto the back foot, 8…Qd6 9.d5 Ne7 10.Nf3 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxd2 12.Nxd2 f5 13.e4 0–0 14.Qb3 Kh8 15.Qc3 c5 16.0–0–0 Now the test is who can be first to mount a telling attack against the enemy king. 16…f4 17.Be2 Ng8 18.Nf3 Nf6 19.Nd2 Bd7 20.g3 The start of line-opening operations. 20…Rae8 If 20…fxg3 21.hxg3 and White will be able to attack down the h-file. 21.Rhg1 a6 22.g4 On the other hand, White can now run his pawns forward at will. 22…b5 23.g5 Ng8 24.Bh5 Re7 25.Bg4 b4 26.Qh3 Rfe8 27.Nf3 Bxg4 28.Rxg4 Rb7 29.Rd3 b3 30.axb3 Qb6 31.Nh4 g6 32.Nf3 32…Qa5 33.Kb2 Reb8 34.Nd2 The 8th time this overactive horse has moved. Qc7 35.Rh4 White’s greater manoeuvrability is paying off. 35…Qg7 36.Qe6 a5 37.Rdh3 a4 38.Rxh7+, and Black resigned because although after 38…Qxh7 39.Rxh7+ Rxh7 Black has 2 rooks for the queen, usually slightly stronger, White has 40.Qxe5+ winning one of the rooks 1–0.

In last week’s position White could win by 1.Qc5! threatening 2.QxQ mate. If Black takes the queen, apparently for nothing, White has 2.c3 mate. If 1…exf2 2.Nd2 mate.

Here is the game that the 11-times British Ladies Champion, Rowena Bruce of Plymouth, said on BBC Radio was her favourite. The notes are her actual words as spoken.

White: Rowena Bruce. Black: Mr. Black.

1.f4 Nf6 2.e3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.d4 0–0 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.Nbd2 d6 9.h3 Nbd7 10.Qe1 Qc7 11.g4 e5 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Qg3 Putting an extra piece on the e-pawn, and preventing Black from playing …e4. So Black plays… 13…Nd5 14.Ne4 Rae8 15.Bd2 Kh8 16.Qh4 N5f6 Black smells trouble on his king’s wing. 17.Nfg5 Threatening to win a piece by Rxf6. 17…Bxe4 18.Bxe4 exd4 One pawn down. 19.Bd5 dxe3 Two pawns down. 20.Rae1 exd2 Might just as well give him the bishop also! 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 Any idea what the next move might be?

White to play and win by force.

Small Clubs’ Survival Struggle (20.06.2015.)

The smaller chess clubs have always struggled to survive. In Exeter alone the list of casualties is a long one. Those at the Wyvern Barracks Officers’ Mess and Sidwell St. YMCA disappeared over a century ago, to be followed by St. Luke’s and St. Loye’s Colleges, the Civil Service and even the once-mighty University. In the wider county, the clubs at Dawlish, Buckfastleigh, Winkleigh, Tavistock and Dartington have also long since gone. Other counties are doubtless the same.

It is refreshing, therefore, to see, bucking the trend, a new club created at East Budleigh (pop.650), where they recently invited the Grandmaster Keith Arkell to give a simultaneous display. He won every game, of course, but commended Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott for their resilience in adversity for which they received book prizes, and for this one Arkell also kindly added his own instructive insights.

White: C. J. Scott (154). Black: K. C.  Arkell (234.)

Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Be7 5.Bd3 d5 6.h3 Nbd7 7.Nd2 0–0 8.Ngf3 b6 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Re1 Perhaps White should play 10.Qc2 to prevent 10…Ne4. 10…Ne4 11.Ne5 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qg4 f5 16.Qg3 Qxg3 17.fxg3 Rac8 18.Nc4 It’s a nice idea to try and bring the knight to the outpost on e5, but there is a tactical problem. 18…Rfd8? Better would have been 18…cxd4 19.Nd6 Rc6! 20.Nxb7 dxc3 21.bxc3 Rfc8 and Black is near to winning. 19.Ne5 cxd4 20.exd4 b5 21.Rac1 Rc7 22.b3 g6 22…g5! is more to the point. 23.Red1 Kg7 24.Kf2 Nicely played. It is important to prevent Black from getting in …f4 24…g5 25.Ke3 Rf8 26.Rf1 h5 27.h4! Again well played. Black was threatening 27…h4 28 gxh4 f4! with a clear advantage. 27…gxh4 28.gxh4 Kf6 29.g3 Rg8 30.Kf4 Rcg7 31.Rg1 Rd8 32.Ke3 Ba8 33.Rc2 The idea of my previous move was to meet a possible 33.c4 bxc4 34.bxc4 Rb8 grabbing the b-file. The position is about equal here. 33…a5 If 33…Rdg8 34.Kf4 Rg4+ 35.Nxg4+ Rxg4+ 36.Ke3 f4+ 37.Kf2 e3+ 38.Ke2 but my connected passed pawns won’t last very long. 34.c4? A mistake on which I failed to capitalise. 34…bxc4? I should have played 34…f4+ 35.Kxf4 Rxd4 and the more you look at this position the more you realise White is completely lost. 35.Rxc4! Not giving me a second chance. 35…Bd5 36.Ra4 Ra8 37.Nc4? The losing move, as it allows me to break through on the kingside. Better would have been 37.Kf4 Rc7 and although Black stands a little better, there is still a lot of work to do. 37…Rag8 38.Kf2 f4 39.Ne5 e3+ 40.Ke2 Rxg3 41.Rxg3 Rxg3 42.Rxa5 Rg2+ 43.Ke1 f3 44.Rxd5 Rg1# 0–1

Last week’s game between Aitken and Keffler ended with the combination 1…QxR+! forcing 2.NxQ Nf3+! and 3.Re1 mate cannot be avoided.

The problemist Arthur G. Pike of Redlands, Tiverton, died recently at the age of 92. Several of his 2-movers have appeared in this column over the years, and this is one of his best.

White to mate in 2 moves

Keith Arkell Simul. (10.06.2015.)

Grandmaster Keith Arkell visited the fledgling chess club at East Budleigh at the weekend. Popular though the hard-working GM is, attendance was affected by the fact that, quite by chance,  there were a number of other activities that weekend, not least the WECU Council Meeting at Ilminster and Devon were due to play Lancashire in the Semi-Final of the National Stages. Wives will only permit so much chess activity in any one weekend. That was bad luck on the Organiser and founder of the new club, Brian Gosling. 

Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable session. Keith took on all-comers, playing everyone twice, and afterwards going through the games from memory, giving advice on the run of play. He picked out the 2 games that gave him the most trouble and they were awarded book prizes. These were Malcolm Belt and Chris Scott of the Exmouth Club, and their prizes, suitable inscribed, were presented to them at their Club in the Royal Beacon Hotel. Keith had analysed their games, the scores of which were posted on the ECF website together with an account of the occasion.

Arkell in action: Belt nearest and Scott furthest.


Belt & Scott play through one of the games, with their book prizes on show.


They found a better move - but too late!

Arkell Wins Bristol Spring Congress Open (25.04.2015.)

Keith Arkell followed up his recent success in the West of England Championship by winning the Bristol Spring Congress last weekend with a maximum 5/5 score; no surprise as he was by far the strongest player involved. In 2nd= place were Juraj Sokolsky (Slovakia), Chris Beaumont (Clifton), Steve Dilleigh (Horfield) and Richard Savory (Downend), all on 3½. Savory was awarded the British Championship Qualifying Place and on tie-break won the Bristol League Trophy for being the highest-placed player from the local league. Grading prizes: (U-176) 1st Theo Slade (Barnstaple). (U-160) 1st Kajetan Wandowicz (Horfield).  

Major: (U-155) 1st Max French (Frome). 2nd= Alan Papier (Clifton) & George Georgiou (Swindon). Grading prizes: (U-139) 1st Adrian Walker (Stroud). (U-125) 1st James Galloway. Papier became the Bristol League U-155 Champion.

Minor Section: (U-125) 1st= D. McGeeney (Cabot); G. Mill-Wilson (Yate); R. Ludlow (Trowbridge); A. Sage (Bath); R. Morris-Weston; D. Archer (Godalming); K. Langmaid (Yate) & A. Drummond (Cabot). Grading prizes: (U-108) 1st W. Grant (Frome). U-100: D. Woodruff (Keynsham). Junior prize: Harry Grieve (Guildford). Langmaid became the Bristol League U-125 Champion.

Here is a sharp finish from Rd. 4.

White: K. C. Arkell (234). Black: D. Pugh (184).

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e4 d6 6.dxe6 Bxe6 7.Ng5 Nc6 8.Nxe6 fxe6 9.Bc4 Qd7 10.a4 0–0–0 An immediate invitation for White to attack on the queenside. 11.Bg5 Be7 12.a5 creating a possible outpost on b6 for his knight. 12…Kb8 Avoiding possible nasty knight checks. 13.0–0 h6 14.Bd2 g5 Black must be doing the same thing on the kingside, but those pawns have a long way to travel. 15.Na4 d5 16.exd5 exd5 17.Be2 Nd4 18.Bc3 Nxe2+ 19.Qxe2 Rhe8 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qf3 Bd4? 21…Be5 would have avoided material loss and got in a dig at White’s king e.g. 22.Nxc5 Qd6 23.Nd3 Bxh2+. 22.c3 g4 23.Qd3 Be5 24.Nxc5 Qd6 25.b4 Bxh2+ White is not worried by the check, in fact it gains a tempo. 26.Kh1 Be5 27.Rae1 h5 28.Re2 Re7 29.Rfe1 Qf6 30.Kg1 Bd6 Extra defence for the rook with the hope of removing that awkward knight, yet from this fairly even-looking position, the Grandmaster strikes like a cobra and suddenly it’s all over. 31.Rxe7 Bxe7 32.Re6 Qg5 33.Qg3+ Ka7 34.Rxa6+! 1–0 If 34…bxa6 35.Qc7+ Ka8 36.Qb7#.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was

1.Ng3! If 1…Ke3 2.Bg1#; 1…Ke5 2.Qb2#

1…Nxe4 2.Nf5# or 1… any other knight move 2.Bg1#. The par solving time allowed for the experts was 7 minutes, so how did you compare?

The American, Paul Morphy (1837-1884), is considered one of the all-time chess geniuses. In this game he has neglected his piece development somewhat more than Black (Thomas Jefferson Bryan), yet still wins in 5 moves, even against the best defence.

Morphy (W) to play and win in 5.

Paignton Congress 2014 – Final Day (Rd. 7)

At the start of the final round, there was a tie between the five top-rated players in the Premier Section, – Gormally, Arkell, Ledger, Mackle & Bates – all on 4.5/6. Any one of the 5 could win it outright, while other possibilities included double ties, triple ties or, if they all drew, a 5-way tie. The possibilities ran into double digits, and the only certainty was that would be no quick draws in this round.

 The pairings were Arkell vs Mackle; Bates vs Gormally and McKenna vs Ledger. Arkell played an open game and managed at several points in the game to create small threats, forcing Mackle to exchange pieces, and it wasn’t long before an endgame was reached, an aspect of the game in which Arkell is an acknowledged master. With R+2 minor pieces each left on the board, Black at least had some activity, but he chose to exchange off the rooks, after which White had most of  the attacking options and Mackle resigned. Arkell could relax as the leader in the clubhouse and watch the other three slug it out. He relaxed even more when Bates and Gormally agreed a draw. This left Ledger fighting for a win in order to share 1st prize. And strive he did as the game went on for hour after hour, finishing long after the room was empty of players. After 6 hours play, McKenna avoided a loss on time at the 2nd time control by seconds, and it went down to R vs R+P. The pawn was on the a-file, protected by K + R and far away from the White king, but McKenna managed to find just enough resources to prevent the queening, so a draw was agreed. Thus Arkell, the Paignton veteran, won his 20th 1st place in the 22 consecutive years he’s entered – doubly pleasing for him.

The second-to-last game to finish was Bd. 1 in the Challengers, where Mike Waddington, who had 6/6 points and had already won the section with a round to spare, was trying very hard to make it a clean sweep. But he was faced by the ever-steady Martin Page who had no intentions of falling in with his plans, and after many hours play, a draw was agreed. Although he failed in his bid for a 100% score, he finished with the highest score by any player in any section.

The full prize list was as follows.

  Ron Bruce Premier Rating   Pts/7 £
1st K. C. Arkell 2435 Cheddleton 600
2nd= D. W. Gormally 2500 Cheddleton 5 150
  R. A. Bates 2338 Hackney 5 150
  S. H. Berry 2322 Wimbledon 5 150
  D. J. Ledger 2235 Bedford 5 150
U-2151 S. P. Dilleigh 2138 Horfield 4 17
  A. Brown 2095 Northampton 4 17
  P. R. Kemp 2078 Linton 4 17
U-2071 I. J. Myall 2054 Chelmsford 17
  G. Bolt 2013 Railways London 17
  A. Pickersgill 1990 Hastings 17
U-1981 A. W. Brusey 1951 Teignmouth 25
  A. F. Footner 1869 Dorchester 25
0/2 T. R. Spanton 1976 Hastings   20
  Rowena Bruce Challengers (U-180) Grd.      
1st M. P. Waddington 172 Dorchester 300
2nd = G. Body 169 Exeter 5 75
  M. C. Page 163 Insurance 5 75
  D. A. Patrick 159 Courier 5 75
  P. S. Morton 153 Hammersmith 5 75
U-161 R. Clegg 160 Huddersfield 4 25
  A. Price 155 Leamington 4 25
U-149 A. M. Hibbitt 147 Banbury 4 25
  J. Morgan 147 Exeter 4 25
U-136 J. Robertson 123 E. Kilbride 4 50
0/2 A. M. Hibbitt 147 Banbury 4 10
  J. Morgan 147 Exeter 4 10
  Walker Minor (U-130)        
1st R. J. Kearsley 125 Wimbledon 6 300
2nd= K. R. Alexander 126 Seaton 150
  R. P. Hamilton 124 Metropolitan 150
U-122 M. R. Harris 120 Colchester 5 50
U-113 A. R. Fraser 108 Beckenham 17
  M. Bolan 107 Ashtead 17
  S. Thacker 105 West Notts 17
U-104 R. Burroughs 86 Malvern 50
0/2 R. G. Waters 112 Taunton 20

NB: Grading prize winners do not quaify for a prize in a higher section, even though they might have a higher score.

  5-Rd. AM Grd Boniface   U-180 Pts/5 £
1st= B. G. Gosling 153 E. Budleigh/Exmouth 4 150
  R. A. Dean 158 Undercliffe 4 150
3rd= R. R. Sanders 178 Sudbury 60
  R. J. Gamble 161 Derby 60
  D. A. Patrick 159 Courier 60
  B. O’Gorman 157 DHSS 60
  A. M. Hibbitt 147 On a barge somewhere 60
U-161 D. Siddall 157 Austin Friars 3 50
U-154 N. G. Andrews 157 York 3 50
U-143 Ms G. A. Moore 142 Southampton 50
0/2 M. Adams 130 Sidmouth 20
  5-Rd. A.M.   Thynne   U-130    
1st R. J. Nash 125 Barnstaple 4 300
2nd= J. B. Farrell 128 Metropolitan 4 50
  A. Collins 126 Cowley 4 50
  M. J. Gunn 126 Guildford 4 50
  M. R. Harris 120 Colchester 4 50
  C. A. Fraser 113 West Bridgford 4 50
  Ms. J. Goldsmith 104 Harrow 4 50
U-126 P. P. Sartain 123 Guildford 25
  J. E. Dean 119 Plymouth 25
U-119 P. Harrington 118 Blackburn 25
  Ms. J. Gardiner 114 Hemel Hempstead 25
U-111 A. R. Fraser 105 Beckenham Bromley 50
0/2 J. G. Davis 128 Guildford 20


The state of play after Rd. 6 in the Premier

The draw for the final round in the Premier.

Top board: Bates vs Gormally - destined for a draw.

Mackle starts White's clock - game on!

Final round draw for the Challengers.


Mike Waddington, who has already won the Challengers Section, wants to make it a perfect score but is faced by the redoubtable Martin Page.


So pleasant is the weather, post-game analysis can be held in the hotel gardens