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As reported briefly last week, Denys Bonner died in Exeter recently.

He was born in 1919 and was descended from two old Sidmouth families. His father moved around as Manager with the Westminster Bank before leaving the bank in 1930 and starting the old Moriglen Hotel in Exmouth. Denys joined the local club in 1943 and took them into the Exeter & District League when it was formed in 1953, leading them to the inaugural championship.

His job then took him to the Yeovil and Glastonbury area of Somerset as he was promoted through the ranks to becoming a bank manager himself. He became fully immersed in Somerset chess, including winning the county championship nine times, playing on the top boards for the county team and being its captain. He was a keen postal player and was Somerset’s top board for many years.

He was also a keen problemist, both as a composer and solver.

Strangely for such an active player in several aspects of the game, I can currently locate only one game of his and one problem – hopefully more will come to light in time.

He took part in the very strong 1st Barnstaple Congress in 1971 scoring 50%. One of his games was published in the tournament book, though it was not very good from his point of view, as his opponent was much lower graded yet held him to a draw.

White: P. A. Jones (1640). Black: D. P. Bonner (2040).

Ruy Lopez – Berlin Defence. [C67]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 Signature move of the Berlin Defence 4.0–0 Nxe4 5.d4 White is trying to clear the e-file as quickly as possible while the Black King is still in the centre. Nd6 6.Bxc6 bxc6 7.dxe5 Nb7 8.Re1 Be7 9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.Nf1 0–0 11.b3 Ne6 12.Bb2 d5 13.Ne3 f5 14.c4 f4 15.Nc2 Ng5 16.Nxg5 Bxg5 17.f3 dxc4 18.bxc4 Be6 19.Qe2 Qe8 And a draw was agreed at this point, even though Black was the stronger player by 400 rating points and there is a lot of play left in the game. The black bishops are somewhat constricted, however, and White has a passed pawn.

The 10th Seniors Congress starts in Exmouth on Monday 9th November and is followed by the Torbay Congress on the weekend 20th – 22nd November at the Riviera Centre, Torquay, so there’s another busy time ahead.

Last week’s game ending finished with 1…Ng4 threatening Qg2 mate, and if 2.hxg4 then 2…Qh4 mate.

This is the only problem by Denys Bonner I can find at the moment. It is a 2-mover and – be warned – it’s seriously difficult.

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