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Peter Keffler Remembered.

Continuing my tribute to the late Peter Keffler, this fascinating struggle from the 1960 West of England Championship was awarded the Best Game Prize by Dr. Jim Aitken, former WECU and Scottish Champion, whose annotations these are, taken from the souvenir bulletin.

White: Y. P. Keffler. Black: D. G. Wells.

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation [B90]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 a6 8.f3 Qc7 9.Qd2 Be7 10.0–0–0 Na5 11.g4 b5 A game of attack on different wings now seems well under way; but for once appearances are deceptive 12.b3 White probably considered this apparently weakening move as a  necessary preliminary to his combination, and in fact an immediate 12.g5 Nd7 13.Ndxb5 axb5 14.Nxb5 would be drastically refuted by 14…Nb3+ which mates or wins the queen. 12…Rb8 13.g5 Nd7 14.Ndxb5! An interesting exchange combination that can arise in a number of Sicilian positions. Here the 3 united passed pawns and strong bishop pair give White good long range chances. 14…axb5 15.Nxb5 Qd8 16.Nxd6+ Bxd6 17.Qxd6 Qe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rd2 e5 20.Rhd1 Nc6 Preparatory to …Rd8. An immediate 20…Rd8 is refuted by  21.Bc5+ Ke8 22.Bd6 followed by Bxe5. 21.a4 Rd8 22.Bb5 Bb7 23.a5 Ba8 24.Ba4 Rbc8 25.b4 Ndb8 26.Bc5+ Ke8 27.Rxd8+ The rook exchanges should have been avoided if possible as they relieve the pressure on Black considerably and so jeopardise the win. I think 27.Rd5 threatening 28.Rxe5+ would win quickly, as after 27…Nd7  28.Bd6 Black is terribly tied up, and 27…f6 28.gxf6 gxf6 29.Bg1 is also much against him. 27…Rxd8 28.Rxd8+ Kxd8 29.Bb6+ Kc8 30.b5 Nd8 31.Be3 Ne6 32.Bb3 Nd7 33.Bxe6 fxe6 34.c4 Kc7 35.c5 Nb8 36.Kc2 Nc6! correctly fearing that the White pawn mass will win against normal lines, Black finds an ingenious piece sacrifice to break them up – an idea that as the next move shows deserved a better fate. 37.bxc6 Kxc6 38.h4 Kb5 39.h5 Kxa5? Missing his chance. 39…g6! leaves a dead draw, as White can never break through. Black probably thought the position was blocked anyway, overlooking White’s 42nd move. 40.g6 hxg6 41.hxg6 Bc6 42.Bh6! Be8 43.Bxg7 Bxg6 44.Bxe5 Kb5 45.Bd6 Bh5 46.f4 Kc4 47.f5 Still trying for a swindle. If now 47.c6? Bf3! draws. 47…exf5 If 47…Bf3 not 48.fxe6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Kd5 and Black will draw, but 48.f6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Bg6 50.c6 wins.  Fine’s rule for the ending B+2 disconnected passed pawns vs B is very relevant – “if the pawns are 2 or more files apart, they win; if they are only one file apart, they draw”. 48.exf5 Kd5 49.f6 0–1

This is one of Peter Keffler’s game endings that I gave last year, but is worth another look. How does he beat Dr. Aitken (W)? Black to move.

Black to play and win

In last week’s position Spassky won after 1.Bxh7+ Kxh7 2.g6+ Kg8 3.Ng5 fxg6 4.Qf3 forcing 4…Qxg5 5.Bxg5 dxe5 6.Rac1.

Devon vs Cornwall 1902 & Remembering Peter Keffler.

The very first match between Cornwall and Devon took place in Truro in October 1902, with the home team winning 15½-9½. No games are known to have survived, but the names alone give an indication of where the clubs and centres of activity were situated, and might strike a chord among some readers. Cornish names 1st in each pairing & Plymouth Club membership reduced to (P):

1. P. J. Dancer (Helston) 0-1 T. Taylor (P). 2. H. M. Fox (Falmouth) 1-0 H. L. Bowles. 3. R. Davy (Penzance) 0-1 G. M. Frean (Torquay). 4. A. Mayne (Falmouth) 0-1 C. F. Cooper (P). 5. F. H. Pascho (P) 1-0 E. D. Fawcett (Totnes). 6. F. H. Carlyon (Truro) 1-0 W. W. Rickeard (P.). 7. S. Y. Williams (Penzance) 1-0 W. H. Phillips (P). 8. C. E. Trethewey (Truro) ½-½ W. W. Hooper (P). 9.C. Dowsall (Wadebridge) 1-0 Rev H. Bremridge. 10. T. G. Mead (Falmouth) 1-0 A. S. Stoneman (P). 11. W. E. Grenfell (Truro) 0-1 E. Pearse (Devonport). 12. Dr. Butlin (Camborne) 1-0 Col. Bennett (P). 13. C. E. Harby (Wadebridge) ½-½ Mrs. R. A. Bowles. 14. F. R. Pasco (Truro) ½-½ C. T. Blanshard (Totnes). 15. A. Menhennick (Wadebridge) 1-0 T. Whitby (Devonport). 16.H. Tonkin (Penryn) 1-0 S. Word (P). 17. W. Boxhall (St. Austell) F. Langdon (Devonport). 18. L. Hall 1-0 Rev. H. R. Kruger (Exeter). 19. C. Hoadley (Helston) H. D. Nicholson (P). 20. E. Retchford (Penryn) 0-1 C. W. Wood (P). 21. A. E. Preston (St. Mawes) 0-1 R. S. Nicole (Exeter). 22. H. Knowles (Helston) 1-0 E. A. Pryor (Axminster). 23. F. Marsh 1-0 W. H. Daw (Teignmouth). 24. H. T. Robinson (Camborne) 0-1 Rev. Moyle (P). 25.C. Jenkin 1-0 Miss M. Hunt.

Peter Keffler, a veteran of Somerset chess, died just before Christmas at the age of 92. Yvon Peter A. G. Keffler was born in the West Derby district of Liverpool in 1923, his mother’s maiden name being Desplanches. An older brother, Guy, was killed in May 1943 during the last days of the North Africa campaign. Peter attended Oxford University where he was a contemporary of Leonard Barden. After graduating he went to Bath and in 1952 married a Miss Heaven in Stroud. In the 1950s he was a hugely enthusiastic organiser of Somerset teams in the County Correspondence Championships, having between 7 and 11 teams (depending on who you listened to) entered in the Ward-Higgs and lower divisions. Even after moving to Essex he continued in this role. As a player he would have been graded at about 200, with a bold attacking style that was sometimes brilliant but not always sound. Back in June I gave one of his best games in the WECU Championship in which he beat the Scottish Champion, Dr. Jim Aitken.

In last week’s position, Geller salvaged a half point after 1.Bxf6! Black can retake 3 ways. If 1…Qxf6 2.Qg8 mate, or 1…Kxg6 2.Qg6 mate. So 1…Pxg6 is the only option, after which White can keep checking on d7 and d8.

In this 1965 game Geller was not so lucky. How did White finish him off?

White to play and win

Devon Reach National U-180 Final (13.06.2015.)

On Sunday, Devon met Lancashire at Worcester in the semi-final of the Inter-County Championship U-180 grade section. It was a close match that finished 8-8, with 4 wins to each team and 8 drawn games. As replays are not possible a tie-break rule called board count is invoked. Under this system the score of the bottom game is discounted, until a clear winner emerges. As Lancs won the game on Bd. 16, that win was eliminated, leaving Devon the winners, going through to the Final in Warwick on July 4th.  The details were: (Devon names 2nd in each pairing) 1. J. Cooper ½-½ Dr. J. Underwood. 2. S. Riley 1-0 Dr. D. Regis. 3. R. Newton 0-1 A. Brusey. 4. M. Whitehead ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson. 5. M. Parker 0-1 S. Martin. 6. P. Jackson 0-1 M. Abbott. 7. R. Ashcroft  ½-½ M. Shaw. 8. J. Lyth ½-½ W. Ingham. 9. A. Clarkson 1-0 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 10. C. Rutlidge ½-½ K. P. Atkins. 11. P. Taylor 0-1 Dr. D.Toms. 12. R.Collins ½-½ O. E. Wensley. 13. D. Owen ½-½ C. J. Scott. 14. C. Fisher ½-½ P. Brooks. 15. W. O’Rourke 1-0 A. Kinder. 16. N. Jayawarna 1-0 V. Ramesh.

The ending to last week’s game was 1…Rxc3+ smashing open the White king’s position. If 2.b2xc3 then Ba3 is mate.

The Hungarian Laszlo Polgar was an assiduous collector of chess material that he used in the early tuition of his 3 daughters, Susan, Sofia and Judith. He later published this material in two large tomes, one on problem-like mates and another on winning middlegame combinations, the latter consisting of 4,158 positions in its 1,015 pages. From it, this position caught my eye, marked up only as “Aitken – Keffler: Newquai 1951”. This sparked a hunt for the actual game score from which the diagram was taken. I guessed it probably referred to a West of England Championship, held at the Penolver Hotel, Newquay at Easter 1951, but the problem was that neither Aitken nor Keffler played in that event. However, the Championship did return there 3 years later, and Aitken became joint champion with A. R. B. Thomas. Thomas was unbeaten but Aitken did lose one game – in Rd. 4 to Peter Yvon Keffler, then of Somerset. Polgar simply got the year wrong. The full game score, taken from the souvenir bulletin, was as follows:

White: J. M. Aitken. Black: P. Y. Keffler.

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Var. [B70]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd7 10.Bxc6 Rb8 11.exd6 0–0 12.0–0 Ne5 13.dxe7 Qxe7 14.Bg2 Bg4 15.Qe1 Rfe8 16.Qe3 Qd7 17.Qf4 Bh3 18.Rd1 (see diagram). White is 2 pawns up and this seems a natural enough move as it (a) unpins the fianchetto bishop (b) develops the rook and (c) attacks Black’s queen. But it’s not quite as good as it looks, as Keffler now demonstated. Peter Keffler now lives in Suffolk, aged 92, and plays for the Braille Chess Association.

Black to play and win by force