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Arkell Clinches 1st Place At Paignton (17.09.2011.)

Top seed Keith Arkell clinched the top prize at this year’s Paignton Congress after this last round game against a fellow Torbay resident.

White: D. Mackle (196). Black: K. C. Arkell (226).

Polish Defence [A04]

1.Nf3 b5 The Polish Defence, not often seen, especially in key games, but not without its benefits. It hits at c4 immediately and provides a long diagonal for the bishop. 2.e4 Bb7 3.Bxb5 Players facing either the Polish Opening or Defence rarely choose to exchange their central e-pawn for the b-pawn. 3…Bxe4 4.0–0 Nf6 5.d4 e6 6.c4 Be7 7.Nc3 Bb7 8.d5 0–0 9.Bf4 Re8 10.Re1 Bf8 11.Nd4?! “More testing was 11.dxe6 What follows now is a demonstration of the superiority of an extra pawn in the centre, particularly as regards relative King safety. Black’s queenside pawns are not weak and easily defended” (KCA). 11…c6 12.dxc6 Nxc6 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Bxc6 dxc6 15.Qf3 Qb6 16.b3 Bb4 17.Na4 Qb7 18.Re2 Control of the d-file will prove crucial, so 18.Red1 might be better. If White doesn’t grab the chance, Black certainly will. 18…Red8 19.Be5 Be7 20.Ree1 Rd7 21.Rad1 Rad8 22.h3 h6 23.Bc3 Qc7 24.Nb2 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 26.Nxd1 Qd6 Now control of the d-file is complete. 27.Ne3 a6 28.g3 Nd7 29.Ng4 f5 30.Ne3 Bf6 31.Bxf6 Nxf6 32.h4 Ne4 Black’s queen & knight now combine to force the issue. 33.g4 Nd2 34.Qd1 f4 35.c5 35.Nc2 Qd3 36.Kg2 e5. 35…Qd3 36.Qc2 Qe2 If the attacked knight moves, the White Queen is lost to Nf3+ 37.Qg6 Nf3+ 0-1 White resigned in view of 38.Kg2 forced 38…Nxh4+ winning the queen. Or 38.Kh1 Qe1+ 39.Kg2 and again Nxh4+.

Mackle had to make do with a £13 share of the grading prize instead of the £500 he would have got had he won this game.

Runner-up in the Premier was Steve Berry of Wimbledon. Other section winners were as follows:

Challengers (U-180): 1st= R. Thompson, J. Waterfield and R. Webster. Intermediate (U-150) 1st= N. Dicker, M. Stone and R. Kearsley. Minor (U-125): 1st D. Burt. American: 1st= G. Harrison & R. Desmedt. Morning Swiss: 1st= D. Siddall and R. Bryant.

Many of the games played at Paignton may be downloaded from the chessdevon website, while contains reports, pictures and a comprehensive prizelist.

In last week’s position, White won quickly with a queen sacrifice 1.QxR and Black resigned immediately because after 1…RxQ 2.b7 and all White’s pieces combine to force the b-pawn forward.

Here is an easy 2-mover from 1905 by W. A. Shinkman.

White to mate in 2.

Paignton Approaches (03.09.2011.)

The 61st Paignton Congress starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at Oldway Mansion with over 200 entries, and concludes on Saturday morning. A list of all the winners will appear here in two weeks time, but daily coverage will be available on-line as the chessdevon website will be making all games available and the keverelchess website will contain reports and photographs within minutes of being taken. The two sites will be linked so that one can switch from pictures and reports to games at a click of the mouse.

Here is a miniature from Round 2 of the 2009 Premier section.

White: R. James (2226). Black J. Robinson (2029).

Scotch Game [C45]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.Nb5 Bxe3 threatening mate 7.fxe3 Both sides go all out for maximum carnage. 7…Qh4+ 8.g3 Qxe4 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 Qxh1 11.Qd6 Nge7 12.Nd2 Qd5 13.Qc7+ Ke8 14.Qxc8+ 1-0 Black resigned because of  14…Nxc8 15.Nc7+ Kd8 16.Nxd5 and after all that mayhem White is left a piece up.

The 5th Boniface Memorial Congress took place last weekend in Bristol and the Open Section was won by Bob Jones (no relation). 2nd= were Chris Beaumont, Dave Collier and Terry Stuttard. There was a multiple tie in the Major, between A. Borkowski, T. Thorpe, B. O’Gorman, R. Pearce and R. George. The Minor was won by M. Probert.

In last week’s game, Rudd played the brilliant 1…Qf1+!! Now if 2.Kxf1 Rh1 is mate as the knight covers the King’s flight square (a theme in several recent puzzles) or 2.Rxf1 Ne2 mate.

Playing computer chess on sites like the Internet Chess Club (ICC) can be viewed either as an additional outlet for the super-keen player, or a soft option for those who can’t be bothered to leave their fireside on a cold winter’s night and go down to the local club to face a “real” opponent. Either way, on-line chess is a good way of keeping sharp, with games usually timed at a very fast pace. This one, for example, sent in this week by a reader, allowed each player 15 minutes for all moves.

White: Dr. T. Paulden (174). Black: “Empire” (175).

Larson’s Opening [A01]

1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.g3 e5 4.Bg2 Be6 5.Nf3 f6 6.0–0 g5 7.d3 h5 8.c4 d4 9.e3 Bc5 10.exd4 Nxd4 11.Nbd2 c6 12.Re1 Kf7 13.Ne4 Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 g4 15.Ng5+ Kg6 reaching the following position. Black now thinks that as he’s attacking two pieces he must win one of them, and yet he resigned two moves later. How so?

White to play and win.

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 4

Premier results Rd. 4

Crouch under-estimated the strength of Berry’s threatened attack and paid the price; Berry thus  became the clear leader on a maximum 4/4. Meanwhile Arkell won against Brown to become clear 2nd, having dropped a half point when his opponent in the previous round was able to force a perpetual check. 7 players are tied in 3rd place on 3 points.

N.B. Rd 4 games are accessible on

Challengers Rd. 4

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 3

Having, at yesterday’s welcoming remarks, noted the good fortune of two fine days out of two, I certainly wasn’t going to be too smug about it as I guessed what was in store for today, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The day dawned with mist, fog, heavy rain and gale force winds, all compounded by the return to school, thus multiplying manyfold the amount of traffic on the roads before 9 a.m. During the morning at Oldway, a 30 foot tree was blown down, crushing a wire fence before it half covered a tennis court. Had it fallen the other way, it would certainly have crushed half a dozen cars parked nearby.

It was a relief to get in the hall and out of the foul weather. The morning session proceeded smoothly, my own game ending relatively quickly in an easy draw, taking my tournament grade to laughable 180.

This is how the section as a whole finished up after Rd. 2.

Results for Rd. 2 of the Morning Tournamant.

In the 3rd Round of the Premier, played in the afternoon, Arkell dropped a half point to Richard Almond who managed to force a perpetual check, this leaving Colin Crouch and Steve Berry the only two on a 3 point maximum, having beaten Dominic Mackle and Steve Dilleigh respectively. Level with Arkell on 2.5 are the Swede Henriksson and Alan Brown of Northampton.

N.B. Rd. 3 games available on

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 2

Raced from Exmouth to Paignton, fearing the worst as the schools go back and parents clog the roads taking their children to schools a long way from home, but actually getting through all the potential black spots for jams without even stopping and arriving with half an hour to spare for the 5 Round A.M. event . At the start of play, I welcomed everyone, especially those who were not present at the opening yesterday, before introducing the Arbiter, Vic Cross, who had recently returned from taking an England Junior team on a European tour, finishing with a win over Belgium.

The morning progressed very sweetly, apart for one person, who shall be nameless, mistook the starting time  for 10 a.m. and defaulted by five minutes. My own game finished after 90 minutes, leaving 3 hours before the start of the afternoon. Another example of how hours spent playing chess can pass like the blinking of an eye, while a shorter time waiting around can seem like days; it’s all relative.

Results for the Morning event. The 2 blanks were White wins.

View from the balcony outside the playing room.

Below: Towards 2 o’clock, players start to find their places at the board.

Before the kick-off.

Former winner, Dr. Peter Hempson, considering his options against 1.d4

Bds. 1 & 2: Keith Arkell vs Dave Collier; J. McKenna vs Colin Crouch.

Marian Cox (l) and Doreen Helbig in the Minor.

Christine Constable on Bd. 1 of the Minor, dwarved by the fireplace in the Winaretta Room.

Bottom 4 Bds in the Minor play in the grandiose Mayor's Parlour.

Jacqueline Barber-Lafon (formerly Thynne), enjoying her return to chess after a 24 year lay-off

Here is how Rd. 2 of the Challengers finished.


N.B. Rd. 2 games may be found at:

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 1

I arrived at Oldway c. 11 a.m., 3 hours before the scheduled start, but with several things to sort out before then – including finding somewhere to work doing all this scribbling on-line and, in order to do this, to get my new computer dongle to work properly. I negotiated a small corner behind the bookstall and set about trying to work out the problems of getting the wretched thing to work, or at least show some spark of interest, but nothing doing. 

Meanwhile, all the time, a process ion of players would come up to me, sat mainly hidden from view and obviously engrossed in my self-set task, and ask if I was the Organiser and could they “register”.  I was happy enough to point them in the right direction, but began to wonder why they kept picking on me when there were scores of other folk milling around and I was so clearly pre-occupied. I came to the conclusion it was my suit and matching paisley pattern tie that was to blame; no-one else was even wearing a tie. 

Along came the Deputy Chairman of Torbay Council and, well before time, we were able to touch base on who was to say what at the Opening Ceremony. Thereafter, he was addressed by various people as the Chairman, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, but Torbay does have a rather unusual civic hierarchy, so he must be used to it. 

At the appointed hour, (1.45 p.m.) we three processed arond the balcony and into the main playing hall. I said a few words of welcome to all players; the regulars made it seem a bit like a school reunion, but the sprinkling of foreign players always added spice to the mix. There was a small group from Dresden, unusually two from Sweden, and one from the Republic of Ireland.  I should have stopped here, but in my head earlier I’d thought of the ending “…and let’s not forget the Cornish”. Then rejected it as not only not funny enough but bordering on bad taste, but in the heat of the moment, blurted it out anyway. No-one laughed, of course, so I quickly handed over to Cllr. Roger Stringer, who went on to continue the welcomes to Torbay in general and Paignton in particular. His consort, Mrs. Shelagh Stringer, was then presented with a lovely bouquet of flowers by Pearl Smith, wife of the Chief Arbiter. And then we all trooped off to the back of the hall for a photo opportunity involving one of the titled players in the Premier.

(NB: Rd. 1 Results of top 2 sections may be found at the end of this post.)

Minutes later, Ewart Smith called “Start White’s clock”, and the show was finally on the road. 

Top seed, Grandmaster Keith Arkell, gets to meet Deputy Chairman, Cllr. Roger Stringer with wife Shelagh

Arkell then gets down to the serious business, vs David Littlejohns.

Colin Crouch, back after 6 years, trying to get his grade back up.

Johan Henriksson, a rare visitor from Sweden.

Players in the Minor dwarfed in the Mayor's Parlour.

The Mayor's Parlour.

For "Open" read "Ron Bruce Premier" - Draw Rd.1.

For "Major" read "Challengers" - Draw Rd. 1.

The Minor Rd. 1 Draw.

Here are the Rd. 1 results for the top 2 sections.

Premier Rd. 1 Results

Tony Tatam's immaculate recording of the Challengers' results Rd. 1

N.B.  Rd. 1 games may be found at