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Castle With A Twist (10.02.2018.) 972

Cornwall’s championship and general congress will be held on the weekend of 9th – 11th March at Carnon Downs. The winner of the top section, the Emigrant Cup, will be declared the Cornish Champion, while the Falmouth Cup is for players graded 145 or below in the January list. Full details may be found on the website cornwallchess.org.uk.

Devon’s Division 1, the Bremridge Cup, is a limited affair with only three clubs involved this year, playing a double round. Division 2, the Mamhead Cup, is more interesting with seven teams competing. The holders are Exmouth who have had to survive several close encounters as they try to retain the cup. At the weekend they travelled to Dartmouth in order to play the burgeoning South Hams Club. The venue was the magnificent house called The Keep built in 1856 like a castle with tower and turrets, in order to blend in with its situation overlooking the even more historic Dartmouth Castle and the whole estuary.

This match looked like going to the South Hams team until an unlikely late twist turned the tide. It was ironic that it should be a castle that administered the coup de grace.

White: P. McConnell (128). Black: M. Belt (119). King’s Indian Defence [A47]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Be7 7.Nbd2 Nh5 8.Bg3 Nxg3 9.hxg3 h6 10.Qc2 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc6 12.a3 Rc8 13.Qa4 0–0 14.Ke2? White ultimately pays the price for keeping his king in the centre. Better was 0-0. 14…d6 15.Rh2 Qc7 16.d5 exd5 17.Qg4 with 3 pieces bearing down on Black’s rather lonely king 17…f5! The best reply, though it loses material in the short term. 18.Bxf5 Rxf5 19.Qxf5 Black’s exchange sacrifice not only staves off the immediate threats but also allows his knight & white-square bishop a chance to work in concert, which they do to great effect. 19…Ba6+ 20.Kd1 Ne5 21.Nd4 Bd3 22.Qe6+ Kh7 23.f4 Bc2+ 24.Ke1 Nd3+ 25.Ke2 Nc5 26.Qxd5 Bd3+ 27.Kf2 Bf6 28.Kg1 Ne4 Threatening a back rank mate. 29.Nxe4 Removing the immediate threat, but it’s not enough. 29…Qc1+ 30.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 31.Kf2 Rf1# 0–1

The 43rd East Devon Congress starts a week on Friday at the Corn Hall, Exeter, details of which may be found on a new website called Chess Hawk. The site’s front page via the calendar has links to the congress brochure and means of paying to enter, plus a list of current entries. The Open Section looks like being a strong tournament with 17 players graded above 170, and more entering all the time as Rd, 1 approaches.

Hopefully, solvers will have realised that the queen in last week’s position should have been white.

This position arose last year between a Cornish and Devon player, Jeremy Menadue (Truro) and Matthew Wilson (Teignmouth). Black’s pieces are somewhat cramped which allows White (Menadue) to reap material benefit. How did he do this?

White to play