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Devon vs Lincolnshire Results (16.06.2018.) 990

Devon failed in their bid to reach the Final of the Minor Counties tournament, losing to the current holders Lincolnshire 10-6 in the semi-final held on Saturday. This tournament’s regulations state that the playing grades of any 16 man team should not, when added together, exceed 2880 or an average of 180 per person. The fact that Lincolnshire chose to include Grandmaster Matthew Turner did not unduly worry Devon as they would have to pay the price in terms of grades lower down the order. On the top 6 boards Devon only lost 3½-2½, yet out-graded Lincs on all of the next 11 boards – grounds for cautious optimism, but it was in this area that the match was truly lost, going down 6½-3½.

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

1. J. Underwood (191) 0-1 M. Turner (GM – 248). 2.J. Stephens (189) ½-½ N. Birtwistle (196). 3. J. Fraser (192) ½-½ S. Milson (193). 4. G. Bolt (188) 0-1 P. Cumbers (196). 5. S. J. Homer (181) 1-0 N. Stead (187). 6. T. Paulden (189) ½-½ M. Smith (197). 7. J. Wheeler (187) 0-1 J. Kilshaw (183). 8.M. Abbott (186) 0-1 I. David (169). 9.B. Hewson (179) 1-0 K. Palmer (163). 10. P. Hampton (175) 0-1 D. Georgiou (159). 11. J. Haynes (176) 0-1 P Cusick (169). 12. S. Martin (184) 0-1 F. Bowers (165). 13. D. Cowley (175) 1-0 C. Holt (160). 14. J. Duckham (164) 0-1 R. Herbert (161). 15.P. Brooks (166) ½-½  K. McCarthy (161). 16. W. Ingham (157) 1-0 A. Parnian (147).

One bright spot for Devon was this miniature that put them in the lead for a while. Analysis kindly supplied by the winner.

White: N. Stead. Black: Stephen Homer.

Nimzowitsch Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4+ 4.Nf3 Ne4 A move played by Karpov so it can’t be bad. It has the advantage of avoiding 5.Bg5, my opponent’s usual set-up. 5.Qc2 d5 5…f5 is the alternative. 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 f5 8.0–0 c6 9.cxd5 exd5 I’d seen White’s next move, with the pin of Black’s d-pawn against his king and the possible loss of a pawn on e4. 9…cxd5 is the alternative, but I decided to go for the pawn sacrifice after 10…Bd6 and 11. White takes twice on e4. 10.Qb3 Bd6 10…Qe7 is a better move, but the move played sets a deadly trap. 11.Nxe4?? This looks natural but in fact it’s a blunder. Correct is 11.Bxe4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Bc7 13.Ne5! when Black’s d-pawn remains pinned and Black will have to prove sufficient compensation for the lost pawn which will follow on 13.Nxe4 11…fxe4 12.Bxe4 Kh8! Breaking the pin and once White’s bishop moves away gives rise to a deadly exchange sacrifice on f3. 13.Bc2 Rxf3! The move I’d envisaged on move 9. The follow-up with 14.Qg5+ wins, as it allows the queen to transfer to h5 with a double attack on h2 and f3. 14.gxf3 Qg5+ 15.Kh1 Qh5 16.f4 Qf3+ 17.Kg1 Bh3 and mate cannot be avoided.0-1.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Qa8! waiting for Black to fall on his sword, as all moves lose.

This position arose in a game recently in which White played a conservative 1.Ne2. Did he perhaps miss something a little more enterprising?

White to play