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WECU Championship Shared (07.04.2018.) 980

At the end of the wettest, coldest March in living memory, the West of England Championship and Congress took place at the Manor Hotel, Exmouth over the Easter weekend. The absence of last year’s winner, GM Keith Arkell and Jack Rudd cast a small shadow over the proceedings, though it opened up the prospect of possible victory to almost half the Open section, so in that sense it was less of a procession and more of a real dogfight for every half point.

The final outcome was as follows: Open Section 1st Richard McMichael (King’s Head) 5½/7 pts. 2nd= Dominic Mackle (Torquay) & Lewis Martin (Brown Jack – Wiltshire) 5 pts. Although McMichael took the cheque for £400, as a Londoner he was not eligible for the title of WECU Champion which was shared by Mackle and Martin. The Grading Prize was a 6-way split between Alan Crombleholme (Walsall); John Stephens (Exmouth); Dave Littlejohns (Taunton); Roger de Coverley (Bourne End); Chris James (Dunbar) & James Forster (Southbourne) all on 3½.

Major Section: 1st Geoffrey Brown (Folkestone) 5½. 2nd Yasser Tello (Wimbledon). 3rd= Ronnie Burton (Weymouth);  Yuyang Wang (Plymouth); Jamie Morgan (Cornwall); Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) & Paul G. Jackson (Coulsdon) all 4½.

Minor Section: 1st= Eddie Fuerek (Glos) & Gerald Parfett (Athenaeum). 3rd= Ray Hunt (E. Devon); Ken Alexander (E. Budleigh) & Andy Proudfoot (Plymouth) all 4½. Grading Prize: Kevin Markey (Stroud).

Here is a game from Rd. 1 between a local player and a Turkish Cypriot.

White: A. Gorgun (1619) – Black: J. Stephens. (1991)

Sicilian Defence [B52]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.0–0 Nc6 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 e6 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 Often regarded as Black’s freeing move in this opening. 10.e5 Ne4 11.a3 Be7 12.Nbd2 Nxd2 13.Bxd2 0–0 14.b4 White should be thinking about an early king-side attack, but his knight doesn’t have a single move on the board, so he tries on the opposite wing, which is  traditionally where Black will be aiming for activity. 14…b5 15.Qb1 a5 16.Qb2 axb4 17.axb4 Qb7 18.Rec1 Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Ra8 20.Rxa8+ Qxa8 21.Ne1 Qa4 22.Nc2 Nxd4 23.Qxd4 Qxc2 24.g3 h6 25.Qa7 Bxb4! 26.Qb8+ Kh7 27.Bxb4 Qb1+ 28.Kg2 Qe4+ 29.f3 Qxb4 This skirmish leaves Black 2 passed pawns up. 30.Qe8 Qb2+ 31.Kh3 b4 32.f4 Qc2 33.g4 Kg6 34.f5+ exf5 35.e6 White’s first question – should Black defend f7 or attack? 35…fxg4+ 36.Kg3 Qd3+ 37.Kxg4 h5+ 38.Kh4 Qe4+ 39.Kg3 Qxe6 0-1 Question answered.

Last week’s 2-mover by John Brown of Bridport, taken from Brian Gosling’s excellent biography of the near-forgotten 19th century composer, was solved by 1. Qe7! Black has 7 attempts to escape the inevitable, but each is met by either White’s queen, bishop or knight.

In this position Brian Gosling (W) found a combination that gave him a small but significant material gain.

White to play and win material

WECU Council Meeting 2016

The West of England Chess Union’s Council Meeting (or AGM) was held at the Shrubbery Hotel, Ilminster on Saturday 4th June, with President, Brian Hewson, in the chair and Roger Morgan taking notes.

It was mostly routine, but essential stuff. There was some discussion as to the best way of determining the Ladies Champion in the annual WECU Congress. As things stand at the moment, getting  4/7 points in the Minor Section beats getting 3.5 in the Open, but which is the better performance? Several possible alternatives were mentioned, from maintaining the status quo to abolishing the Ladies trophy altogether, and several in between; e.g. tournament grade and, most radical of all, asking the ladies their opinion.

The role of presidential succssion usually takes up a fair amount of time each year, both at and before the meeting. Brian Hewson (Devon) was due to complete his second year in the Chair, with a Deputy President stepping up to the plate. Except that, in the previous 12 months, no Deputy had been identified/persuaded to take this on. Apparently, Robin Kneebone had toyed with the idea, but eventually decided that he was so fully committed to Cornish chess and keeping that particular boat afloat, that he wouldn’t be able to do justice to the Union role. Former President, Fenella Headlong, had also been approached, but the combination of work and family commitments made it very difficult for her to accept. In the end, former President , Gerry Jepps (Somerset), was persuaded to reprise the role. He tried to protest that the art of chairmanship was not his greatest skill, but the room was convinced that his great experience as a successful organiser over many years far outweighed this, and he was readily voted in, and will take the chair at the 2017 Executive Meeting. All other officers were re-elected en bloc.

Both trophies were available for presentation, the Harold Meek Cup for the 1st team competition and the Wayling Cup for the 2nd team. Normally, the President will hand each cup to the delegate of the winning county, but this was complicated by the fact that the President was also the match captain of both teams. So the Fixtures Secretary, Phil Mead, readily stepped in to the breach.

Phil Mead (l) presents the Harold Meek Cup to the Devon 1st team captain, Brian Hewson.

Brian Hewson also receives the Wayling Cup, the 18th consecutive year Devon have won it.

WECU’s “New” Deputy President.

At the West of England Chess Union’s annual Council Meeting on Saturday, Cheltenham’s Philip Meade stepped down from his four year cycle as President and a successor was sought. Each of the six constituent counties get an opportunity to nominate a candidate and as it was Hampshire’s turn it had been suggested that John Wheeler would be an ideal person for the role. The fact that he had done this job before was not deemed to be a problem as he has many attributes. He is an active, life-long player at a high level and a quietly efficient administrator and organiser in a number of areas.

Here is a game of his from nearly 40 years ago in which he beats a renowned opponent in the WECU Championship, held at Falmouth. Notes by the former Scottish champion, the late Dr. J. M. Aitken.

White: A. R. B. Thomas. Black: J. F. Wheeler.

Petroff Defence–Steinitz Attack [C43]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Bd6 6.0–0 0–0 7.c4 Nc6 A suggestion of Tarrasch, in place of the earlier …c6, which leaves the initiative with White. 8.Nxc6 White chooses what I consider to be the best reply. 8…bxc6 9.c5 Be7 10.Nc3 f5 11.f3 Ng5 12.Be3 f4 13.Bf2 Bf5 14.Re1 Qd7 15.Re5 Bxd3 16.Qxd3 Bf6 17.Re2 Nf7 18.Rae1 Nh6 19.Re6 Rfe8 20.Rxe8+ Rxe8 21.Rxe8+ Qxe8 22.b4 g6 23.Ne2 Nf5 24.Nxf4 Bxd4! Black plays neatly hereabouts. If 25. Bxd4 Nxd4 Qxd4?? Qe1 mate. 25.Kf1 Ne3+! 26.Kg1 Nc2! 27.Ne2 Bxf2+ 28.Kxf2 Nxb4 Black has now won a pawn but his knight is driven out of the game. 29.Qc3 Na6 30.Nf4 Qe7 31.Nd3 The knight aims at e5, g4 & f5. Also, Qa5 is immediately threatened. 31…Qg7 The exchange is forced, but White’s pieces are so well placed that he should not have much trouble in drawing. Unfortunately for himself, he tries too hard for more. 32.Qxg7+ Kxg7 33.Ke3 Kf6 34.Kd4 Ke6 35.a3 g5 36.g4 Nb8 37.f4 gxf4 38.Nxf4+ Kf6 39.h4 Nd7 40.Nd3 a5 41.Nc1 Ne5 42.Nb3 Nf3+ 43.Ke3 a4 44.Nd4 The pawn ending was White’s idea, but he under-estimated his opponent’s chances. 44…Nxd4 45.Kxd4 Ke6 46.Kd3 Ke5 47.Ke3 h6 48.Kf3 Kd5 is a powerful alternative, as after 49.Kf4 Kc3! 50.g5 hxg5+ 51.hxg5 d4. Black has the advantage; I think he should win the eventual queen ending. 48…d4 49.Ke2 Kf4 50.g5 hxg5 51.hxg5 Kxg5 52.Kd3 Kf5 53.Kxd4 Kf4 54.Kc4 Ke4 55.Kb4 Kd4 56.Kxa4 Kc4! This key move wins by force -Kxc5 only draws. White has little choice in what follows. 57.Ka5 Kxc5 58.Ka6 Kd4 59.Kb7 c5 60.a4 c4 61.a5 c3 62.a6 c2 63.Kxc7 c1Q+ 64.Kb8 0–1

White to play and mate in 2.

White to mate in 2.

WECU Council Presentations

Left home at 12.50 for the WECU Council Meeting at Ilminster, and as General Secretary was stocked up with spare agendas and sets of minutes, in spite of having sent these out well before – (there’s always somebody that’s forgotten to bring their copy). There had been several apologies flagged up and I had expected a relatively small attendance, but this was not the case as 13 showed up, filling every seat round the table. 

Phil Meade as retiring President took the chair and it had been tacitly agreed beforehand that he would steer things through to the end, even though Deputy President Malcolm Steevens of Dorset would swap offices with him when the Election of Officers item was reached. 

Wearing his other hat as Fixtures Secretary (he has many others at home, he told us) he presented his summary of the past season’s results, and his proposed programme of fixtures for 2010 – 11, already approved by the Executive in March, was ratified. 

2009 – 2010 Results. 

Div. 1 (H. Meek Cup) Corn Devon Glos Hants Som Pts. Pos.
Cornwall XXX 5 Def. 0 5th
Devon 11 XXX 10 8 11 7 1st
Gloucestershire w/o 6 XXX 8 8 4 2nd=
Hampshire 8 8 XXX 8 3 4th
Somerset 5 8 8 XXX 4 2nd=


Div. 2 (Wayling Cup) Devon Dorset Hants Pts. Pos.
Devon XXX 10 w/o 4 1st
Dorset 6 XXX 0 3rd
Hampshire def 10½ XXX 2 2nd

 2010-2011 Proposed Programme: 

Rd. 1 Sat. 16th Oct. ‘10 Glos v Corn Dev v Dorset Som v Hants
Rd. 2 Sat. 4th Dec. ‘10 Dev v Corn Hants v Glos Dorset v Som
Rd. 3 Sat. 22nd Jan. ‘11 Hants v Dev Glos v Som Cornwall (bye)
Rd. 4 Sat. 12th Feb. ‘11 Corn v Hants Som v Dev Glos (bye)
Rd. 5 Sat. 12th Mar. ‘11 Dev v Glos Dorset v Hants Corn v Som

 Entries for 2010-2011 season based on current information.

  WECU WECU   ECF Stages        
  Div. 1 Div. 2              
    (bds) Open Minor U-180 U-160 U-140 U-120 U-100
Corn Yes No              
Devon Yes Yes (16)     Yes        
Dorset No Yes (16)              
Glos Yes No   Yes          
Hants Yes Yes (12)   Yes     Yes    
Som. Yes No              
Wilts No No              

 Devon had won both cups and their team captain, Brian Hewson received them from the President.

Devon Captain, Brian Hewson (l), receives the Div. 1 Cup from WECU President, Phil Meade.

Brian Hewson receives the Div. 2 Cup from WECU President, Phil Meade.

This opportunity was taken for President-elect, Malcolm Steevens to make a presentation to Frank Kingdon in recognition of his near half century service to Dorset chess, which coincided with the length of time he had been with the Union.

WECU President-elect presents Frank Kingdon with commemorative plaque.

  Frank Kingdon first appeared on the westcountry chess scene 48 years ago, in 1962, when he became Secretary of the Dorset C.C.A. and their delegate to W.E.C.U. shortly after moving to his present home in Weymouth. This was his first stepping-stone into chess organisation. 

By 1969 he had switched to becoming Correspondence Chess Co-ordinator for Dorset and Grading Officer for WECU and the Union Delegate to the BCF. 

In 1976 he was elected WECU President, and as soon as he stepped down from that post he was elected President of Dorset, a role he reprised in the late 1980s. In the mid-1980s he took on the post of WECU’s Fixtures Secretary, a job he did until retirement at the 2009 Council meeting, when he was elevated to the status of Life Vice-President. 

He was a founding member of the Dorset Congress in 1964, which he recalls as starting at the former club at the Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment of which he was a member, before settling in Weymouth. He ran this for many years until ill-health forced his retirement in 2008, after which no-one could be found to replace him in the short term – he was literally irreplaceable. The event has now been incorporated into the Bournemouth Bicentenary Congress in October 2010. 

Although a naturalised Dorset man, Frank is, in fact, a Devonian. He was born in Plymouth in 1929 before moving to the tiny village of Puddington, between Tiverton and Crediton, and finally to Exeter at the age of 3. There are still family connections in that area as he has a sister in Exmouth.  He attended Hele’s School in Exeter before starting his national service in 1947 with REME where he trained on servicing computers, which in those days were as a big as a house.

After being demobbed he became a pioneering atomic scientist, working first at Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment, the main centre for nuclear power research in the UK. It was the site of Europe’s first nuclear reactor in 1946, and once housed as many as five reactors. Later, he transferred to Winfrith, a UK Atomic Energy Authority site, near Dorchester, which opened in 1958 and was used for nuclear reactor research and development until the 1990s. 

Frank Kingdon with plaque.

                © R. H. Jones 2010