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.