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Somerset & Devon in Close Fight (02.12.2017.) 962

Devon and Somerset’s 1st and U-160 teams met on Saturday at Sampford Peverell Village Hall, the latter fielding their strongest team for several seasons. On paper, bds 1-8 looked competitive, while Devon seemed likely to run away with it on bds 9–16. However, that’s not how it worked out, as Devon were left scrambling right to the end in order to scrape home by the narrowest of margins, 8½ – 7½. The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing): 1. W. Braun (203) 0-1 J. Rudd (215). 2. D. Mackle (198) 0-1 B. Edgell (202). 3. G. Bolt (196) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (197). 4. J. Underwood (192) 0-1 A. Wong (189). 5. P. O’Neill (188) 1-0 A. Gregory (175). 6. S. Martin (186) 1-0 A. Cooper (174). 7. J. Wheeler (185) ½-½ D. Painter-Kooiman (163). 8. B. Hewson (184) ½-½ L. Bedialauneta (159). 9. T. Paulden (183) ½-½ R. Radford (157). 10. S. Homer (181) ½-½ D. Freeman (156). 11. C. Lowe (176) ½ -½ G. Jepps (156). 12. D. Cowley (173) 1-0 R. Knight (156). 13. P. Hampton (172) 1-0 D. Peters (156) 14. O. Wensley (172) 1-0 A. Conway (150). 15. J. Haynes (171) 1-0 A. Champion (147). 16. P. Brooks (170) 0-1 C. Purry (147).

It was more clear cut in the grade-limited match where Devon’s strength in depth got them through comfortably, 8½-3½.

1. A. Brusey (158) 1-0 P. Chapman (141). 2. C. Howard (155) 1-0 C. Fewtrell (146). 3. B. Gosling (154) 1-0 C. McKinley (144). 4. N. Butland (150) 0-1 C. Strong (144). 5. P. Halmkin (148) ½-½ T. Wallis (144). 6. A. Kinder (147) 1-0 U. Effiong (142). 7. M. Quinn (146) 1-0 J. Fewkes (141). 8. J. Blackmore (143) 1-0 N. Mills (133). 9. R. Wilby 140 ½-½ B. Radford (133). 10. A. Hart-Davis (135) ½-½ M. Baker (130). 11. J. Allen (134) 0-1 C. Lamming (129). 12. R. Jones (128) 1-0 M. Willis (129).

Here is the top game of the day.

White: W. Braun. Black: J. Rudd.

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.h3 0–0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.g4 Nc5 9.Bd3 At this point, Rudd had his longest think, wondering about the wisdom of exchanging his active knight for the blocked bishop. Often pieces blocked out of the action for long periods have a nasty habit of wreaking havoc once they have broken their bonds. However, Rudd decided not to risk this possibility. 9…Nxd3+ 10.Qxd3 Ne8 11.g5 f5 12.gxf6 Nxf6 13.0–0–0 Black immediately acts against the enemy king’s position. 13…a6 14.Nge2 b5 15.c5 b4 16.Na4 a5 17.Ng3 Ba6 18.Qc2 h5 19.Kb1 h4 20.Nf1 Nh5 21.cxd6 cxd6 22.Qc6 Be2 23.Nd2 If 23.Re1 Bd3+; or 23.Rd2 Bf3 Either way White’s position is unravelling. 23…Rc8 24.Qb6 Qd7 25.Qxa5 Bxd1 26.Rxd1 Qxh3 27.Nb6 Qg4 clearing the path for the passed pawn with a threat. 28.f3 Rxf3 29.Nxc8 Rxe3 30.Ne7+ Kh7 31.Rc1 Re2 32.Qxb4 Qg2 33.Rd1 The Private is just three steps from a Field Marshall’s baton 33…h3 34.Qxd6 h2 35.Qe6 h1=Q 0–1

In last week’s position, Timman lost to 1.Rxe5 leaving the queen no meaningful move. If 1…QxR there follows 2.Qf3+ Kh2 3.Qf2 Kh3 4.Bc8+.

Here is a traditional but more difficult 2-mover.

White to mate in 2.

Devon vs Somerset (26.11.2017.)

Devon & Somerset’s 1st and U-160 teams met yesterday at a new venue, Sampford Peverell’s Village Hall. It proved an ideal set-up, situated, as it is, almost on the county border, close to the M5 and with its own main-line railway station, Tiverton Parkway. The hall itself was ideal in every respect, and being decked out with boughs of holly brought a seasonal touch to the proceedings.

The 1st team meeting proved to be a match of two halves – the top and bottom half. Somerset had a strong top 4, but conceded more and more the further one went down the team lists, and from that alone one could reasonably expect a fairly comfortable win for Devon. The fact that it didn’t turn out that way seemed to lie in the middle orders, boards 7 – 11 where Devon enjoyed a 20 grading points advantage on every board, yet failed to record a single win. This, coupled with the fact that Somerset won all 4 top games, made it a very close, sweaty-palmed afternoon indeed. If Devon hadn’t been offered some free help – one no-show and a suicide – there might have been a somewhat different outcome.  The Devon Captain’s observations follow:-

Meanwhile, the U-160s took no such chances, losing only 2 of their 12 games. They have now won both of their matches in the WECU stage, and await the draw for the National Stages, early next year.

Jonathan Underwood wrote as follows:

When I saw the Somerset team before the match, I’d thought we should have a large lead on the lower 12 boards (where we outgraded them by on average 20 points) which would win the match provided nothing too disastrous happened on the top four, which proved somewhat prophetic.

At the venue there was an ill omen as the first lot of tables we found were of a height intended for toddlers, but eventually we found the right ones. First panic over. I thought the place was very suitable and would certainly book it again.

By the time the match started Somerset were still missing three of their players, only two of whom did eventually turn up, leaving Steve Martin with a wasted journey and Devon with a point. It wasn’t our first though, as Oliver’s opponent miscued his gambit and resigned after 10 moves.

Looking around at a fairly early stage of the match our three Pauls seemed to be going well, with Paul Hampton’s opponent running short of time already after just 10 moves on the board. Jos Haynes also looked to be winning, and soon afterwards both he and Paul O’Neill added wins to draws from Tim, Brian, Chris and Stephen Homer. One way or the other games involving Jack Rudd always finish quickly, and this time Walter succumbed to the Somerset IM. Devon led 6-3.

Things on the other top boards weren’t looking so good. Dominic ran out of time after 29 moves and Graham had to contend with a menacing passed pawn. I offered a draw thinking my opponent was bound to accept as he was significantly worse albeit, with a big lead on time. I was wrong. Over the next few moves my position improved to winning.. and then went to dead lost as I struggled with the clock. A similar reverse befell Paul Brooks and it was 6 all.

By now Dennis had a pair of bishops for a rook, which together with his opponent’s weakened pawn structure proved enough to win, but Graham had to resign shortly afterwards and it was 7 all. So we went down 4-0 on the top boards.

At this stage Paul Hampton’s lead on the clock was down to a few minutes, with a complicated open position and only 25 moves made. John was holding an awkward bad bishop against knight endgame.  With only a minute or so left Paul’s opponent went for simplifications, which seemed to leave him worse though not obviously losing, but having to consider a lot of possible threats in no time. I not sure whether Paul or I was the more relieved to see the flag fall around move 33. John’s game was agreed drawn within seconds, and Devon scraped home 8.5-7.5.

Thanks to everyone who turned out to play. I have now learned the wisdom of always fielding the strongest possible team, just in case it’s one of those days.

Jon.

Bd Devon 1st team Grd Somerset 1st team Grd
1 Walter Braun 203 0 1 Jack Rudd 215
2 Dom Mackle 198 0 1 Ben Edgell 202
3 Graham Bolt 196 0 1 Pat Krzyzanowski 197
4 Jon Underwood 192 0 1 Arturo Wong 189
5 Paul O’Neill 188 1 0 Andrew Gregory 175
6 Steve Martin 186 1 0 Andrew Cooper 174
7 John Wheeler 185 ½ ½ D. Painter-Kooiman 163
8 Brian Hewson 184 ½ ½ Lander Bedialauneta 159
9 Tim Paulden 183 ½ ½ Robert Radford 157
10 Steve Homer 181 ½ ½ Darren Freeman 156
11 Chris Lowe 176 ½ ½ Gerry Jepps 156
12 Dennis Cowley 173 1 0 Roger Knight 156
13 Paul Hampton 172 1 0 Dave Peters 156
14 Oliver Wensley 172 1 0 Alex Conway 150
15 Jos Haynes 171 1 0 Adrian Champion 147
16 Paul Brooks 170 0 1 Chris Purry 147
Devon U-160s Somerset U-160s
1 Alan Brusey 158 1 0 Philip Chapman 141
2 Charlie Howard 155 1 0 Chris Fewtrell 146
3 Brian Gosling 154 1 0 Chris McKinley 144
4 Nick Butland 150 0 1 Chris Strong 144
5 Peter Halmkin 148 ½ ½ Tim Wallis 144
6 Andrew Kinder 147 1 0 Utibe Effiong 142
7 Martin Quinn 146 1 0 Jim Fewkes 141
8 Josh Blackmore 143 1 0 Nigel Mills 133
9 Rob Wilby 140 ½ ½ Ben Radford 133
10 Adam Hart-Davis 135 ½ ½ Mark Baker 130
11 John Allen 134 0 1 Chris Lamming 129
12 Bob Jones 128 1 0 Martin Willis 129

Some nervous banter among the top boards before play started

Geberal view of the hall, decked out with boughs of holly and other festive trimmings

Somerset's top 4 boards get down to action, except Krzyzanowski whose empty chair bears witness to his being late.

Exotic and exciting Venezuelan, Arturo Wong, nearly reduced Devon's captain to tears with his fighting finish after being well down in the middlegame.

WECU Jamboree Results (23.09.2017.)

The West of England Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Kenn Centre, next to the A38. Five teams of 12 players took part, in a format that guarantees each team has 6 whites and 3 of their players will face one of the other 4 teams. Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire entered teams, while Devon, being the home side and currently possessing plenty of chess talent, entered a 1st & 2nd team.

Most pairings were closely enough matched in strength to make their games long and well-contested.

It was, perhaps, no great surprise that Devon A came 1st with 9½/12 points, followed by Somerset (7 pts); Cornwall (5); Devon B (4½) and Gloucestershire (4). The complex results chart and some photographs may be found on keverelchess.com while games may be found on chessdevon.org.

The event was organised by Mark Hassall of the Carrick Club, and his game bore a striking resemblance to the one he played at last year’s jamboree, and printed here at the time.

White: M. Hassall (168). Black: P. O’Neill (188).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B99]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Last year his opponent played 7…e5 in order to free up his white square bishop, an idea that didn’t work. 7…Be7 Subsequent moves will vary in detail from a year ago but are very much following the same plans. 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.f5 Nc5 13.a3 Rb8 14.Bh3 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.g5 Qa5? A loss of tempo, in view of 17.Nc6 Qb6 If Black had pressed ahead with 17…Qa1+ there would follow 18.Kd2 Qxb2 19.Rb1 Nb3+ 20.Ke1 Qxc2 21.Nxb4 winning the queen. 18.Nxb4 Qxb4 19.fxe6 Nxe6 20.gxf6 Bf8 21.Rhg1 Qc5 22.e5 dxe5 23.Qa8 h5 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.Ne4 Qc7 26.Nd6+ Bxd6 27.Rxd6! Qc4 1-0 and Black resigned as White has several lines ending in mate, the most direct being  28.Rc6 hitting queen and bishop.

Here is an instructive miniature from the same tournament.

White: C. J. Scott (160). Black: A. Champion (147).

Alekhine’s Defence [B03]

1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine’s Defence, in which Black tries to lure Black’s pawns forward to a point where they become unstable and can be more easily attacked, as White will by then have neglected his piece development. 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.f4 dxe5 5.fxe5 Nc6 6.c4 Nb6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Nf3 e6 9.Nc3 Qd7 10.Be2 0–0–0 11.Qd2 Be7 12.0–0–0 Nb4 13.a3 Nc2 Black has succeeded in getting in behind White’s front lines 14.c5 But the White pawns press ahead anyway. 14…Nxe3 15.cxb6 Nxd1?? Black sees only the chance of going a whole rook up, but completely overlooks his defences. 16.bxa7 c5 17.a8Q+ Kc7 18.Qa5+ 1–0.

In last week’s position White won simply with 1. QxR+. If 1…KxQ 2.Rh3# or 1…Kg8 2,RxP+ etc.

Here we have a bit of Tal magic from 35 years ago, as fresh today as the day it was created. He is looking for a quick finish before White can start to exploit his

vulnerable back rank. Any ideas?

Black to play and win quickly

WECU Chess Jamboree (17.09.2017.)

The West of England Chess Union’s annual Jamboree was held on Sunday 17th September, at a new venue, called the Kenn Centre, adjacent to the A38 near the foot of Haldon Hill in Devon. This was designed to make it a little easier for the Cornish players to get there, although it’s still a good distance from Truro.

This year there was no Graded Section, but Devon used their more numerous troops to form a 1st team from the best 12 avaialble players, and a 2nd team from the next best dozen. This latter team used up some of the players who would in earlier years have formed the basis of a grade-limited team.

The Centre proved to be an excellent venue for the event, being modern in construction, with large playing hall, analysis room, kitchen facilities and ample parking. It will be surely used again at some point for chess events.

The Organiser, Mark Hassall, (standing centre) having enjoyed a quick win, takes time to monitor the progress of his Cornish team-mates. The nearest game involves clubmates Brian Gosling (B) vs Oliver Wensley (partly obscured) Brian Gosling

The outcome can be best shown in these 2 tables.

KEY
Teams Pos Pts
D1 = Devon 1st team Bd. 1 1st
S2 = Somerset Bd. 2 2nd 7
C3 = Cornwall  Bd. 3 3rd 5
D2nd 4 = Devon 2nd team Bd. 4 4th
G5 = Gloucestershire  Bd. 5 5th 4
Bd Team White Grd Black Grd Team
1 C1 J. Menadue 191 ½ ½ N. Crickmore 214 D1
2 D2nd 1 J. Haynes 171 0 1 J. Rudd 215 S1
3 D2 W. Braun 203 1 0 M. Ashworth 192 G1
4 S2 F. Fernando 182 1 0 J. Hooker 178 C2
5 G2 J. Jenkins 185 1 0 T. Thynne 170 D2nd 2
6 C3 L. Retallick 174 ½ ½ P. Brooks 170 D2nd 3
7 S3 A. Footner 181 1 0 P. Meade 178 G3
8 D2nd 4 M. Shaw 169 0 1 G. Bolt 196 D3
9 G4 P. Kirby 177 ½ ½ D. Saqui 169 C4
10 D4 J. Underwood 192 ½ ½ A. Bedialauneta 159 S4
11 C5 M. Hassall 168 1 0 P. O’Neill 188 D5
12 G5 P. Masters 175 ½ ½ D. Freeman 156 S5
13 D2nd 5 D. Regis 166 0 1 R. Kneebone 164 C6
14 D6 S. Martin 186 1 0 R. Ashworth 161 G6
15 S6 R. Knight 156 ½ ½ V. Ramesh 164 D2nd 6
16 C7 T. Manton 163 0 1 M. Taylor 144 G7
17 D2nd 7 W. Ingham 163 0 1 J. Wheeler 185 D7
18 D8 B. Hewson 184 1 0 N. Senior 150 S7
19 S8 T. Woodward 150 ½ ½ R. Stephens 160 C8
20 G8 A. Gibson 139 0 1 M. Wilson 161 D2nd 8
21 C9 C. Sellwood 155 0 1 T. Paulden 183 D9
22 D2nd 9 C. Scott 160 1 0 A. Champion 147 S9
23 D10 C. Lowe 176 ½ ½ A. Richards 133 G9
24 S10 C. Purry 147 1 0 R. Smith 153 C10
25 G10 I. Blencowe 131 ½ ½ G. Body 157 D2nd 10
26 C11 G. Trudeau 148 1 0 P. Bending 122 G11
27 S11 T. Wallis 144 0 1 P. Hampton 172 D11
28 D2nd 11 T. Lundin 156 1 0 J. Morgan 146 C12
29 G12 D. Walton 109 0 1 N. Mills 133 S12
30 D12 O. Wensley 172 1 0 B. Gosling 154 D2nd 12

The Essential Role of a County Captain (04.03.2017.)

The role of county captain is not recommended to those of a nervous disposition, but it is a vital job if competitive teams are to be fielded in important matches. The all-conquering Somerset team has lost its captain of recent years, and with no replacement coming forward, it shows. Devon have had the excellent services of Brian Hewson as captain for many years, but he also retired after this match, with no replacement yet identified. How will this affect future Devon teams? On this occasion Devon beat Somerset by 12½-3½ in the 1st team and 11-1 in the 2nd team, and his game follows. Somerset names 1st in each pairing: 1.B. Edgell (200) 1-0 D. Mackle (208). 2.A. Footner (175) 0-1 J. Stephens (193). 3.A. Gregory (164) 0-1 O’Neill (185). 4.J. Lobley (160e) 0-1 S. Homer (190). 5.G. N. Jepps (159) 0-1 T. Paulden (187). 6. L. Bedialauneta (149) ½-½ J. Underwood (183). 7.N. Senior (156) 0-1 B. Hewson (187). 8. C. Purry (149) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.C. Fewtrell (143) 0-1 J. Wheeler (174). 10.T. Wallis (144) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 11.O. Isaac (117) 0-1 P. Sivrev (175). 12. T. Alsop (130) 0-1 D. Regis(175). 13.C. McKinley 0-1 (127) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 14.M. Baker (137) ½-½ T. Thynne (170).15. A. Byrne (127) 0-1 O. Wensley (168). 16. S. Pickard(129) 0-1 W. Ingham (162).

2nd teams: 1.M. Willis (126) ½-½ B.Gosling (159) 2.A. Stonebridge (121) 0-1 V. Ramesh (154). 3.G. Greenland (113) 0-1 C. Scott (151). 4.J. Beviss (110e) ½-½ L. Hafstad (142). 5. K. Kyriacou (97) 0-1 N. Butland (150). 6. R. Fenton (111) 0-1 M. Quinn (146). 7. R. Harris  (112) 0-1 C. Keen (150). 8.B. Thornley (111) 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge (145). 9.D/f 0-1 I.Annetts. 10.M. Cooper (97) 0-1 R. Whittington (137). 11.D. Smith (91) 0-1 W. Taylor (137). 12.d/f 0-1 R. Wilby.

White: N. Senior. Black: B. W. Hewson.

Queen’s Pawn Game D05

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 c5 3.Nf3 e6 4.Bd3 d5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Qc7 7.0–0 Bd6 8.Re1 0–0 9.e4 Threatening e5 forking bishop & knight 9…cxd4 10.cxd4 10…dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Bxe4 f5 13.Bc2! h6 14.Bb3 Threatening Black’s pinned e-pawn. 14…Nd8 15.Bd2 Bd7 16.Rc1 Bc6 Black has little choice but to lose his e-pawn, or play much of the game on the back foot. 17.Bxe6+ Nxe6 18.Rxe6 Qd7 19.Qb3? The threat of a discovered check looks attractive but is a mistake.  Black missed the best move 19…Bd5! as the queen cannot take the bishop because of Bxh2+ and the queen is lost. 20.Rce1? Having missed it earlier, he now gets a second chance. 20…Bd5! 21.Re8+ 21…Rxe8 22.Rxe8+ Qxe8 23.Qxd5 White emerges the exchange down. 23…Qc6 24.Qb3 Kf8 25.d5 25…Qe8 26.Nd4 Qe4 Threatening both the unprotected knight and mate on b1. 27.Ne6+ Kg8 28.g3 b6 29.Qb5 29…Re7! 30.Qc6? Probably realising his mistake, White hopefully offered a draw here but Black had also noticed that the d-pawn was now pinned and the knight can taken with impunity. 30…Rxe6! 0–1

Here is a hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard of Somerset.

White to mate in 2

Gloucestershire’s Varying Fortunes (24.12.2016.)

Last month, Gloucestershire beat a Somerset side, weakened by defaults, by 9½-6½ points, the details being as follows:- (Glos. names 1st in each pairing). 1.P. Townsend (200) 0-1 J. Rudd (213). 2.J. Stewart (191) 1-0 P. Krzyzanowski (183). 3.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 M. Stanforth (179). 4.M. Ashworth (186) 1-0 A. F. Footner (175). 5.J. Jenkins (181) ½ -½ M. French (170). 6. P. Masters (179) 1-0 Default. 7.J. Jones (176) ½ -½ D. Freeman (163). 8.C. Mattos (174) 1-0 G. N. Jepps (159). 9.P. Kirby (171) 0-1 A. A. Champion (153). 10.P. J. Meade (163) 1-0 R. Knight (150). 11.J. Fowler (158) ½ -½ C. Purry (149). 12.R. Dixon (155) ½ -½  J. E. Fewkes (142). 13.R. Ashworth (153) ½ -½ T. Wallis (142). 14.P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Strong (133). 15. A. Killey (138) 1-0 Default. 16.I. Blencowe (129) 1-0 d/f.

It was a different story when they subsequently met a strong Devon side. The top half of the match was competitive with Gloucestershire sharing the points 5 – 3, but from board 9 down Devon were able to field a raft of 170+ players, too strong for their opponents to cope with. The details as follows:- (Glos. names first). 1.N. Hosken (187) 0-1 D. Mackle (208). 2.M. Ashworth (186) ½-½ J. K. Stephens (192). 3.J. Jenkins (181) 1-0 Dr. T. J. Paulden (187). 4.P. Masters (179) 0-1 P. O’Neill (185). 5.C. Mattos (174) ½-½ S. Homer (190). 6.D. Dugdale (172) 0-1 Dr. J. Underwood (183). 7.P. Kirby ½-½ B. W. R. Hewson (182). 8.P. J. Meade (163) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.J. Fowler (158) 1-0 Dr. D. Regis (175). 10.R. Ashworth (153) ½-½  P. Sivrev (175). 11. P. Baker (146) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 12.A. Papier (143) 0-1 J.  F. Wheeler (174). 13.A. Killey (136) ½-½ T. F. Thynne (170). 14.I. Blencowe (129) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 15.A. Richards (123) ½-½  O. E. Wensley (168). 16.P. Bending (115) 0-1 M. O. Marshall (166).

This was the complex game from Bd. 4 in which both players became very short of time.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bg5 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.d5 a6 9.0–0 Rb8 10.Qc2 Qa5 11.a4 Re8 12.h3 Nf8 13.Rfd1 Bd7 14.Bf4 Qb4 15.Ne1 Qb6 16.Ra3 Rbd8 17.a5 Qc7 18.Bf3 Bc8 19.Qd2 N8d7 20.Nd3 b6 21.axb6 Nxb6 22.b3 Nfd7 23.Ne4 Bb7 24.Ra2 h6 25.g4 e5 26.dxe6 26.Bh2 Might have been better in the longer term. 26…Rxe6 27.Nxd6 Bxf3 28.Nxf7 attacking queen & rook. 28…Ne5 Better might have been 28…Qc8 29.Nxd8 Qxd8 30.Rc1 29.Nxd8 Rd6 Not 29…Qxd8? 30.Nxe5 Qxd2 31.Rdxd2 leaving Black the exchange & 2 pawns down. 30.Nxe5 Bxd1? Better would be 30…Rxd2 31.Rdxd2 Bxe5 31.Nd3 Bxb3 An alternative continuation might be 31…Qxd8 32.Bxd6 Bxb3 33.Nxc5 Bxa2 34.Ne6 leaving Black with a bishop for 2 pawns. 32.Ne6! Qc6 33.Bxd6 Bxa2 Black also had 33…Nxc4 34.Qe2 Qxd6 35.Nexc5 Bxa2 but White has threats after 36.Qxa2. 34.Ndxc5 Bxc4 35.Nxg7 Kxg7 35…Nc8 36.Be5 Qxc5 37.Qd8+ Qf8 38.Ne8. 36.Qd4+ Kh7 37.Bf4? 37.Qf6 would have threatened mate after 38.Qe7+ K moves, 39.Qe8. 37…Qd5? 38.Qxd5? 38.Qf6 followed by 39.Be5 would threaten mate. 38…Nxd5 39.Bd6 Kg7 40.e4 Nc3?? 41.Be5+ Kf7 42.Bxc3 1–0

Last week’s problem was solved by 1.Qe4!

This new 3-mover is a little more difficult than usual, so you might need to find a quiet spot somewhere after the Christmas dinner.

White to play and mate in 3

Somerset & Devon Meet Varying Fortunes. (28.05.2016.)

Westcountry teams met with varying fortunes on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the National Stages of the Inter-County Championships. Devon had entered the grade-limited U-180 section and were paired against Middlesex, to whom they lost in the Final last year. This time, however, fate intervened on Devon’s behalf, as a third of the Middlesex team were held up in heavy traffic and while most arrived late, two didn’t make it at all, thus gifting Devon a close win by 8½-7½ in a match they might otherwise have lost.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing). 1.Meyrick Shaw (177) 0-1 W. Taylor (170). 2.Mark Abbott (178) ½-½ M. Dydak (170). 3.John Wheeler (177) 1-0 G. Batchelor (176). 4.Trefor Thynne (167) 0-1 A. Hayler (170). 5.M. Gosling ½-½ R. Harper (172) 6.Paul Hampton 1-0 A. Fulton (170). 7.Dennis Cowley (160) 1-0 R. Kane (164). 8.G. Body (163) 1-0 def. 9.Bill Ingham (158) ½-½ W. Phillips (162). 10.P. Brooks (158) 1-0    J. Kay (162). 11.Brian Gosling (154) 1-0 def. 12.Martin Quinn (159) ½-½ P. Morton (160). 13.Mike Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 0-1 L. Fincham (160). 14.Nick Butland (155) ½-½ L. Boy (153). 15.Kevin Hindom (155) 0-1 A. McGuinness (151). 16.Ivor Annetts (151) 0-1 J. Sargent (152).

Devon thus avenged their 2015 final defeat, and now go on to meet Essex in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, it was a different story for Somerset who had entered the Minor Counties section, which, despite its title, is a much stronger tournament, as there is no grade limit. They were paired against Suffolk who turned up with a 16 man team whose average grade was 182 compared to Somerset’s 145, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Somerset lost the match, but nevertheless 14½-1½ is a crushing defeat. Gerry Jepps was their only winner and Chris Purry got the solitary draw.

Last week’s Frome Congress also incorporated the Somerset individual championships, which go to the highest-placed Somerset player in each section.

These went as follows:  Open: David Buckley (Bath) who received the Denys Bonner Trophy.  Major: Tim Woodward (Trowbridge) got the Leon York Trophy.

Intermediate: Hugo Fowler, (Millfield School) got the Roy Hossell Cup.

Minor: Alastair Drummond (Bristol Cabot) got the Cyril Chapman trophy, and Robert Skeen (Churchill Academy) was awarded the Jean Mackereth Cup for the best ungraded player in the Minor.

The Cotswold Congress starts this morning at the King’s School, Gloucester and continues for 6 rounds until Monday evening. Results next week.

In last week’s position White simply played 1.Rd1! and Black’s forward rook is pinned in two diections, so must fall.

This week’s position is another world premier by Dave Howard. White can clearly spend time chasing the Black king with a series of checks, but how can he mate in just 3 moves?

White to mate in 3

East Devon Congress 2016 – Day 2

Rd. 2 started with Keith Arkell down among the pack, after his draw against John Wheeler, and due to face Stephen Appleby. Steve knew this in advance and collared me to ensure that when Keith came in, a little late as per usual, I would be present to take a commemorative snap. This was duly done (see below). Several new faces appeared, those who’d taken a Friday evening bye.

However, several byes were taken in the afternoon, mainly by the Cornish players involved, plus Jack Rudd, as Cornwall were due to play Somerset at Exminster, a couple of miles outside Exeter. This displayed an admirable loyalty to both their county team and the Congress, but did little for their form, as all three, Saqui, Sellwood and Constable, all lost, in a heavy defeat.

Bd SOMERSET  Grd     CORNWALL  Grd
1 Jack Rudd 215 1 0 Jeremy Menadue 187
2 Ben P Edgell 200 1 0 James Hooker 178
3 Patryk Krzyzanowski 199 0 1 Robin Kneebone 177
4 Stephen AJ  Whatley 195 1 0 David Saqui 175
5 James Byrne 178 1 0 Gary Trudeau 160
6 Andrew F Footner 174 1 0 Colin Sellwood 155
7 Andrew M Gregory 165 1 0 Richard Stephens 147
8 Darren Freeman 165 1 0 John Wilman 141
9 Barry Morris 163 1 0 Adam Hussain 130
10 Chris S Purry 154 ½ ½ David R Jenkins 119
11 Roger D Knight 153 1 0 John Constable 119
12 Lander Bedialauneta U/G 1 0 Barry Childs 112
13 Mark R Baker 151 0 1 Jason Henderson UG
14 Neville N Senior 151 1 0 Hugh Brown 94
15 Adrian W Champion 134 1 0 Gabriel Rusalowitz UG
16 Chris TJ McKinley 129 1 0 Chris Hussain UG
      13½    

One thing began to emerge during the day was the burgeoning strength of the Exeter University players. There were two University teams of 4 in for the Team Prize, and there were other players not included. Since the demise of the University Chess Club some decades ago, after an illustrious history, the number of notable players emerging from the campus to participate in local matches and tournaments, have been few and far between. Past efforts by Exmouth and Exeter club members to revive things on site have met with little positive response. These days, however, players are coming out of the University in significant numbers. Some are joining the local City Club to augment their teams, but there are surely enough to form their own University teams to particiapte in DCCA and Exeter & Dist. Leagues. It just needs a good student organiser to get a grip on things.

A special moment in the chess career of Stephen Appleby, though ultimately it didn't end well for him.

 

Rd. 2: Rudd vs Littlejohns & Regis vs the Russian Andrei Rozanov

 

Rd. 2 - Bd. 1 in the Major - Devon elder, Ivor Annetts vs Exeter School pupil, Leif Hafstad.

Dwvon Beat Somerset (13.02.2016.)

After a number of losses to Somerset in recent years, Devon managed to pull one back last weekend in their match at Chedzoy Village Hall, by winning 8½-7½. It was a close but fair result as Devon outgraded their opponents, often significantly, on 11 of the 16 boards. Somerset were a couple of top players light, while Devon had two new strong players, which tipped the balance. The details were: (Devon names first in each pairing). 1.D. Mackle (207) 1-0 J. Rudd (216). 2.J. Stephens (196) 0-1 D. Buckley (205). 3.J. Underwood (186) ½-½ B. Edgell (199). 4.S. Homer (181) 0-1 P. Krzyzanowski (197). 5.S. Martin (184) 0-1 D. Littlejohns (182) 6.A. Brusey (184) ½-½ J. Byrne (173). 7.B. Hewson (176) 1-0 A. Gregory (166). 8.C. Lowe (179) ½-½ D. Freeman (165). 9.D. Regis (180) 1-0 B. Morris (174). 10.J. Wheeler (177) ½-½ G. N. Jepps (167). 11.P. Hampton (175e) 1-0 C. Purry (160). 12.O. Wensley (170) 0-1 R. D. Knight (157). 13.T. Thynne (167) 1-0 L. Bedialauneta (151e). 14.G. Body (163) ½-½ M. Baker (150). 15.W. Ingham (158) 1-0 J. E. Fewkes (147). 16.V. Ramesh (143) 0-1 A. Bellingham (152).

The 2nd team match was a one-sided affair with the more highly-graded Devon team in the ascendant, winning 9½-2½. The details were as follows:- 1.P. Brooks (158) 1-0 J. Lee (141). 2.B. Gosling (154) 1-0 M. Worrall (147). 3.M. Stinton-Brownbridge (158) 1-0 T. Wallis (137). 4. M. Quinn (159) ½-½ (131). 5.N. Butland (155) ½-½ A. Champion (128). 6.K. Hindom (155) 1-0 S. Pickard (138). 7.I. S. Annetts (151) 0-1 C. Strong (155). 8.A. Frangleton (147) 1-0  C. McKinley (142). 9.A. Hart-Davis (151) ½-½ N. Mills (129). 10.C. Scott (149) 1-0 P. Wojcik (119).  11.M. Best (155) 1-0 R. Fenton (104). 12.R. Wilby (142) 1-0 B. Lee (112).

Here is the Devon captain’s win.

White: Brian Hewson (179). Black: Andrew Gregory (165).

Sicilian Defence [B27]

1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c3 c5 4.e4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.h3 Nc6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 a6 9.Rc1 0–0 10.Bd3 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.0–0 Qa5 13.Qa4 Re8 14.Rfd1 b5 15.Qxa5 Nxa5 16.b4 Nb7?! 16…Nc4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Nd5 (18.Bg5 Be6 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Rac8 22.Rc5 Be7 23.R5xc4 Rxc4 24.Rxc4) 18…Nxd5 19.exd5 Bd7 20.Rxc4 Ba4 21.Rd2. 17.a4! bxa4 18.Nxa4 with the threat of Nb6. 18…Nd7? Better might have been 18…Nd6 19.Nb6 Rb8 20.Nxc8 Nxc8 21.Bxa6 Black cannot retake on b4 and that pawn can then make significant progress up the board under the protection of bishops and rooks. 19.Bc4 Nd8 20.Bd5 Rb8 21.Ba7! Rxb4 22.Rxc8 1–0. 22…Rf8 If 22…Rxa4 23.Bb3 White’s rooks and bishops are cutting swathes across the queenside, and Black must lose material. Slightly better would be 22…Rf8, but Black is lost anyway.

In last week’s position Black won decisively with a queen sacrifice. 1…QxR 2.NxQ Nd2+ forcing 3.Ka1 or a2 Ra8 mate.

Here is another new 2-mover from Dave Howard of East Harptree.

White to play and win in 2

East Devon Congress Approaches.

County captains are having to beef up their teams these days if they are to keep up with their opponents, and that means getting their very best players out at weekends. In the Somerset vs Gloucestershire match earlier in the season, this was the game from Board 1.

White: GM Matthew Turner (238) – Black: Joey Stewart (200).

Semi-Slav Defence [D46]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0–0 0–0 8.e4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 11.Bc2 Re8 12.b3 Bf8 13.Ne5 h6 14.Qd3 g6 15.Re1 Qe7 16.Qh3 Nd7 17.Bxh6 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Bxh6 Black’s queen has some scope to probe the queenside, but mustn’t neglect queenside development e.g. 18…Qa3 19.Rae1 Rd8 20.Bxf8 Qxf8 21.Rd1. 19.Qxh6 Bd7 20.Rg5 From now on, White conducts a relentless kingside attack. 20…Qf8 21.Qh5 Re7 22.Qf3 How carefully did White check out the possibilities after 22.Bxg6 fxg6 23.Rxg6+ Rg7 24.Rh6 threatening 25.Rh8 mate 24…Re7 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.Rxf8 Rxf8 27.Qg5+ and Black has R+B for the queen, though they are both somewhat hemmed in and Black will find it hard to shake off the shackles. 27…Kf7 28.Re1 Rg8 29.Qf4+. Clearly he decided not to risk it. 22…Qg7 23.h4 Be8 24.h5 f6 25.Rg3 g5 26.h6 Qxh6 27.Rh3 Qf8 28.g4 Rg7 29.Rh6 Rd8 30.Rxf6 Rf7 31.Qe4 Qe7 If 31…Rxf6?? 32.Qh7 mate. 32.Rxe6 Qd7 33.Re1 Rf8 34.Re7 threatening 35.Qh7 mate 34…Qxe7 35.Qxe7 Rd7 36.Bh7+ 1-0. There would follow 36…Kh8 37.Qxf8+ Kxh7 38.Rxe8 etc.

The 41st East Devon Congress starts 4 weeks on Friday at the Exeter Corn Exchange. The new January grades were published last week, so potential entrants can now be sure of which sections they are eligible for, and need not delay their entries further. These should go to the Entry Secretary, Tim Paulden (e-mail  timpaulden@gmail.com). If needed, entry forms are downloadable from the chessdevon website. The available sections are the Open; the Major for under-155 grades and the Minor for under-125 grades.

Here is a game from last year’s congress by one of the joint winners.

White: Dominic Mackle (208). Black: Stephen Dilleigh (185)

Queen’s Gambit [D30]

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.e3 Be7 5.Nbd2 0–0 6.Bd3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Ne4 10.Qc2 Black is now faced with either losing a key central pawn or weakening his pawn structure in order to defend his knight. 10…f5 11.Rad1 Rc8 12.a3 Ndf6 13.Ne5 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nd7 15.f4 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Bg5 17.Qe2 Qe7 18.Ra1 a5 19.a4 dxc4 20.bxc4 Qd7 21.Kh1 c5 22.Rad1 Qxa4 23.d5 Qe8 24.e4 The weakness of Black’s pawns now becomes apparent as White’s queen cuts loose. 24…fxe4 25.Rxf8+ Qxf8 26.Qxe4 g6 27.Qg4 Qh6 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qxb6 Ba8 30.Rf1 Rf8 31.Qxc5 Rxf1+ 32.Bxf1 Bf4 33.Qc8+ winning the bishop. 1–0

Taken from a recent game, this position is materially level, but Black has a knockout blow available. Can you see it?

Black to play and win by force.