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Penrose, Wade and the Scotch Gambit. (01.03.2014.)

The 10-times British Champion, Dr. Jonathan Penrose, was 80 in October. As a teenager he brought the Scotch Gambit back into popularity, and Bob Wade recommended it for White in his system called Method Chess, based on Penrose’s games.

It is indeed a dangerous weapon, as after 3.d4 White plans to open up the game early on and there are many ways Black can go wrong. This example arose in an inter-club match at the weekend.

White: O. Wensley (157). Black: W. Marjoram (146).

Scotch Gambit [C44]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.bxc3 Bc5? Black already has things to think about, as White has several open lines to exploit. Best might be 6…Bd6. Too good a chance to pass up. 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Qxc5 White could have added to the disruption with 9.Qh5+ Kf8 10.Qxc5+ d6. Or 9…g6 10.Qxc5 Qe7 11.Qe3 d6 12.0–0. 9…Qe7 10.Qc4 b5 11.Qe2 Nf6 12.0–0 Qxe4 13.Qxb5 with the threat of Re1 13…Kd8 14.Ng5 White can keep the niggling threats going. 14…Qg6 15.Ne6+! dxe6 Black had little choice, but his king is further exposed. 16.Qxc6 Rb8 17.Bf4 Nd5 18.Rd1 Bd7 19.Bxc7+ Ke7 If 19…Nxc7?? 20.Qxd7#; 19…Ke8 20.Qd6 Rb7 21.c4 Qc2 22.Na3 Qa4 23.cxd5; Possibly the least worst move is 19…Kc8 20.Qd6 Rb7 21.Ba5 Ba4 22.Re1 and Black does have activity while White still needs to complete development. 20.Qd6+ Kf7 21.Qxd7+ Kf6 22.Bxb8 Rxb8 23.Rxd5 Rxb1+ If 23…exd5?? 24.Qd6+ winning the rook. 24.Rd1 Rxa1 25.Rxa1 a5 26.Qd4+ Kf5 26…e5 27.Qd6+ Kf5 28.Qxg6+ hxg6. 27.Qd3+ Kf6 28.Qxg6+ Kxg6 29.Rd1 1–0

The British Chess Problem-Solving Championship was held at Eton College at the weekend. It is usually won by any combination of Jon Nunn, Jon Mestel and Colin McNab, whenever all three are free to enter. In 2012 it was McNab, Mestel and Nunn, in that order; last year it was McNab, Nunn and Mestel, and this year it was 1st Nunn, 2nd Mestel and 3rd McNab.

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Na5+! Kd6 2.Rd5 mate or 1…Ke8 2.Rc8 mate.

Christopher Jones, Bristol’s own Grandmaster of chess composition, was on Channel 4’s Countdown programme recently, but he fell at the first hurdle. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on composing a form of problem called “helpmate” in which Black makes the first move and both sides conspire to mate Black in a specified number of moves. If that sounds complicated, it is. One of his earliest compositions was this standard 2-mover, published in 1987. This in itself is complicated enough to hint at the route he would subsequently take. Clue: think sacrifice.

White to mate in 2