Search Keverel Chess
Monthly Archive


Welcome to the Keverel Chess website, which will be covering all chess matters relating to Exmouth and Exmouth players, whether played or written in the town or further afield.

In addition, there will be a selection of chess books available to discriminating collectors. Lists will be updated regularly and enquiries about books listed may be e-mailed.


Here are some short biographies of chessplayers who have made above-average contributions to chess at some level, whether in Devon or further afield.

The 1st editions of some of these articles got their first airing on the chessdevon website, and the author is grateful to its webmaster for that opportunity. These early ones have now all been reviewed and updated where new information has come to light before posting here.

Copyright remains with the author who will be pleased to receive further information for inclusion, or make corrections where necessary. Family history researchers should contact the author in the first instance with a view to a possible useful exchange of information.

Introduction to Exmouth Chess Club

Weekly Chess Column.

The Plymouth-based Western Morning News carries one of the oldest chess columns in any provincial daily paper. It was started in 1891 and has continued ever since in one form or another, in spite of having shifted for a short spell to another title in the same stable, the Illustrated Western Weekly News.

For the past 55 years it has had just three correspondents: J. E. “Eddy” Jones (1956 – 63); K. J. “Ken” Bloodworth (1963 – 1999) & R. H. “Bob” Jones from 1999.

For all this time, it has reported weekly on the chess activities within its readership’s area, Devon & Cornwall, However, since December 2010, in a cost-cutting exercise and rationalisation, the WMN joined forces with its Northcliff Group neighbour, the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, to produce a weekend supplement in common, called Westcountry Life. Fortunately, they retained the chess column, which means it now gets a much wider readership, and this must be reflected in the scope of what it records. So the activities in Somerset and Gloucestershire must get equal billing, as it were, with those of Devon & Cornwall.

One must hope this experiment will prove successful and continue. We hope chess followers will purchase the two papers in question, at least their Saturday edition, as this is the point of the exercise. However, I have permission to reproduce it on this website for the benefit of those outside the readership area.

To that end, I aim to post it here a day or two after its appearance in the paper.

Bob Jones

Devon’s Annual Graded Jamboree (15.01.2018.)

Devon’s annual jamboree took place at the Isca Centre in Exeter, involving teams from three quarters of the county. The East comprised players from clubs in the Exeter & District League, though not all clubs were represented. Similarly, the South team was made up of players from clubs involved in the Torbay League, while the West team drew from a solitary club, Plymouth, and a population base probably greater than either of the other two areas.

The team grade limit of 1,650 made it an average of 137 per player, with no player being allowed to be lower than 100. The East succeeded in getting closest to that maximum, with the South & West both c.35 points lower.

As there were 3 teams, players were paired on the Hutton pairing formula, which ensures that each team has six Whites, upfloats and opponents from the other two teams.

Two charts are needed to make full sense of the outcome. The first shows exactly who played who, and the result.

The 2nd shows each team’s total.

Bd White Black
1 Thynne, T. F. 170 S1 ½ ½ O’Neill, P 188 E1
2 Scott, C. J. 160 E2 ½ ½ O’Brien, M 159 W1
3 Schofield, J. 156 W1 0 1 Wilson, M 161 S2
4 Brusey. A. W. 158 S3 ½ ½ Stinton- M 154 W3
5 Butland, N 150 W4 1 0 Hafstad, L 159 E3
6 Ang, S. A. 139 E4 ½ ½ Kinder, A 147 S4
7 Quinn, M 146 W5 0 1 Blackmore, J 143 S5
8 Taylor, W 136 S6 0 1 Dean, A 140 E5
9 Southall, C 135 E6 1 0 Wilby, R. G. 140 W6
10 Hart-Davis, A 135 W7 1 0 Marjoram, W 128 E7
11 Jones, R. H. 128 E8 0 1 Allen, J. E. 134 S7
12 Cockerton, M 125 S8 ½ ½ McConnell, P 128 W8
13 Bacon, N 124 E9 1 0 Tatam, T 114 W9
14 Dean, J 112 W10 0 1 Ariss, J 115 S9
15 Sturt, B 116 S10 1 0 Palmer, E 129 E10
16 Scholes, R 112 E11 1 0 Tidy, N. F. 101 S11
17 Kennedy- I 100 S12 ½ ½ Crickmore, A. E. 108 W11
18 Proudfoot, A 106 W12 1 0 Aldwin, B 100 E12
East South West
1 P. O’Neill 188 ½ T. F. Thynne 170 ½ M. O’Brien 159 ½
2 C. J. Scott 160 ½ M. Wilson 161 1 J. Schofield 156 0
3 L. Hafstad 159 0 A. W. Brusey 158 ½ M. Stinton- 154 ½
4 S-A. Ang 139 ½ A. Kinder 147 ½ N. J. Butland 150 1
5 A. Dean 140 1 J. Blackmore 143 1 M. Quinn 146 0
6 C. Southall 135 1 W. Taylor 136 0 R. G. Wilby 140 0
7 W. Marjoram 128 0 J. E. Allen 134 1 A. Hart-Davis 135 1
8 R. H. Jones 128 0 M. Cockerton 125 ½ P. McConnell 128 ½
9 N. Bacon 124 1 J. Ariss 115 1 A. Tatam 114 0
10 E. Palmer 129 0 B. Sturt 116 1 J. E. Dean 112 0
11 R. Scholes 112 1 N. F. Tidy 101 0 E. A. Crickmore 108 ½
12 B. Aldwin 100 0 I. Kennedy 100 ½ A. Proudfoot 106 1
1642 1606 1608 5

Most years, the result is a close one, a triple-tie being recorded more than once. This time, however, the South (Torbay) won by a clear 2 points, losing only 2 games in the process.

Listening to the opening remarks and welcome by the host, Dr. Tim Paulden.

The game on Board 1 featured Trefor Thynne (W) and Paul O'Neill - game drawn.

General view of the higher boards - nearest is Mike Stinton-Brownbridge making a move against Alan Brusey.

Another view of the higher boards - Sara-Ann Ang in play against the Torbay Captain, Andrew Kinder.

Nearest is Phil McConnell facing Mark Cockerton on Bd. 12.

The victorious Torbay team, with team captain, Andrew Kinder, holding the trophy.

Hastings Winners (13.01.2018.) 968

Wise Men from the East arrived in Bethlehem shortly after Christmas bringing a gift of gold, so perhaps it was appropriate that they did well at the Hastings Christmas Congress, not bringing but taking much gold back with them in the form of prize money.

Indian GM Deep Sengupta and Chinese IM Yiping Lou, tied for 1st prize on 7 points, each receiving £1,600 and being jointly awarded the Golombek Trophy.  Third prize was shared between Uzbek GM Jahongir Vakhidov and two Indian IMs Stany and Das on 6½ points. Then came the English brigade in 6th place, Danny Gormally, Mark Hebden, Keith Arkell and Steve Mannion, with Iranian Borna Derakhshani and Norwegian Pal Royset all on 6 points.

A bright spot came with the award of the Best Game prize to Danny Gormally for his Rd. 6 game against Alexandr Fier, the tournament 2nd seed from Brazil.

White: D. Gormally (2477). Black: A. Fier (2576)

Torre Attack [A48]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 The signature move of the Torre Attack, named after the Mexican player Carlos Torre (1905-78) Bg7 4.Nbd2 0–0 5.e4 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Nb3 a5 8.a4 h6 9.Bd2 Nc6 10.Bb5 Ncb4 11.c3 c6 12.Be2 Na6 13.0–0 b6 14.Re1 c5 15.Bd3 cxd4 16.Nbxd4 Nc5 17.Bc2 Bb7 18.Ne5 All White’s minor pieces are bearing down on the enemy king’s position, with the queen able to support, leaving Black with choices to make. 18…Rc8 18…e6 would have given his queen a route out, eg 19.Ng4 Qh4. 19.Ng4! hitting h6. 19…Kh7 Not good enough is 19…h5 20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Nxf7+ Rxf7 22.Bxg6 Rf6 23.Qxh5+ Kg8 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Bh6 Bxh6 26.Qxh6+ Kg8 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Qh8#. 20.Nxh6 Nf6 If 20…Bxh6 21.Qh5 winning the bishop. 21.Nhf5 21.Ng4 was also good for White. e.g. 21…Qd5 22.Nxf6+ Bxf6 23.Qg4 Qd7 24.Qf4 Qc7 25.Qh6+ Kg8 26.Bg5 Bxg5 27.Qxg5 e6. 21…gxf5 22.Nxf5 e6 23.Nxg7+ Kxg7 24.Bh6+ Kg8 24…Kxh6 25.Qc1+ Kg7 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Qh6+ Kg8 28.Re3; If 24…Kxh6? 25.Qc1+ and White has several mating lines. 25.Qc1 Qd5 Black has his own mating threat, but it’s easily dealt with. 26.f3 Nh5 If Black tries to save his rook with 26…Rfd8 there would follow 27.Qf4 and Black’s king is quite trapped and vulnerable. 27.Bxf8 Kxf8 28.Qh6+ Ng7 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qxg7 Qd2 31.Rac1 Rd8 32.Qg3 Rd5 33.Qf2 Qh6 34.Rcd1 Rh5 35.Qd2 1-0 forcing off the queens, otherwise there might follow 35…Rxh2 36.Qd6+ Kf6 37.Qd4+ Kg5 38.Qd8+ and White has a number of mating lines.

Tomorrow, 3 teams of 12, from the East, West & South of Devon compete in a Jamboree at the Isca Centre, Exeter. Full details next week.

In last week’s position, it wasn’t hard for White to see 1.QxR! and if 1…QxQ 2.Re8+. The power of the e7 pawn was unanswerable.

This position arose recently in which Keith Arkell was White, who could doubtless see that his pieces had greater mobility than his opponent’s. How did he quickly profit from this slight advantage?

White to Play

Poor Blackburne (06.01.2018.) 967

The 93rd Hastings Congress finished yesterday evening, too late to report on today, but after 7 of the scheduled 9 rounds Keith Arkell was well placed at 3rd=. There was a prize fund of £5,250 to be shared between the top 7 players.

Meanwhile, the World RapidPlay Championship was taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where a 1st prize of £186,000 awaited the winner, who proved to be Vishi Anand of India. The World Blitz Championship also took place there, won by Magnus Carlsen (Norway), 2nd Sergey Karjakin (Russia) and 3rd Vishi Anand, with similar rewards.

All of which would suggest that the world’s top players today can make a reasonable living out of chess. But it was not always so. For example, Britain’s top player for decades was Joseph H. Blackburne (1841 – 1924). He became a chess professional in 1862 after having decided a career in a Manchester office was not for him.

He won the 2nd British Championship in 1869 after a tie-break against the holder, Cecil De Vere, and played all over Europe, 53 major tournaments in as many years, getting many prizes and winning so many games he was nicknamed “The Black Death”.

To keep up his income, in winter months he participated in long series of simultaneous matches all over the country – there can hardly have been a club in the kingdom not to have been visited by him at some point. On tours of the Westcountry, for example, he visited Plymouth in 1888 where he played members simultaneously and blindfold. He returned in 1891 playing 8 club members blindfold one evening and 37 members simultaneously the next. Later, he visited Redruth (10 opponents) and Truro. It was a precarious living for one so talented, and he never enjoyed the best of health throughout his life, so in 1911 the BCF launched a testimonial appeal, which raised £800 and suitably invested guaranteed Blackburne an income of £2 per week, which doubtless helped keep a roof over his head.

What would he think of today’s rewards?

Here is a game he played at Bristol in 1875 against an opponent who went on to become a Ladies World Champion. Blackburne was without sight of the board and playing nine others at the same time.

White: Blackburne. Black: Mary Rudge.

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 h6 6.0–0 d6 7.Nxc3 Nf6 8.Bf4 Be7 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Rad1 Nge5 11.Bxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.Qe2 Bd6 14.f4 0–0 15.f5 Qg5 16.Rf3 Qh5 17.Nd5 Kh7 18.Qd3 f6 19.Rg3 Miss Rudge has played very carefully, and though her game is cramped she here makes an ingenious attempt to win. 19…Bxf5 20.exf5 e4 21.Rh3 Qxf5 22.Qe2 Qe5 23.Ne3 c6 24.Ng4 Bc5+ 25.Kh1 Qg5 26.Rh5 Qxh5 27.Nxf6+ winning the queen. 1–0

The solution to last week’s NF letter problem was 1.Nc3! If 1…KxR 2.b7 discovered mate. If 1…e2 2. Qf2 mate or any other move 2.Rc4 mate.

This position arose during last year’s Hastings. White to play and win by force.

White to play

Hastings History (30.12.2017.) 966

The 93rd Hastings Congress started on Thursday and continues for 9 rounds until next Friday. The top 3 seeds are the GMs Deep Sengupta of India (2589); Alex Fier of Brazil (2587) and Jakhongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan (2518). In spite of their undoubted strength, it could be argued that they are not exactly familiar names to the man in the street, even to those who follow chess events.

However, a lesson could be learned from the very first congress held in the town in 1895. In May of that year, having explored the idea of an International Masters Tournament, and secured generous local funding, the Hastings Club Secretary sent out invitations for a tournament with a prize fund of £500 (£60,000 today) and guaranteed consolation money for non-prizewinners. There were 35 entries, mostly the great and good from around the world, including the current and future World Champions, Steinitz and Lasker, and the Committee had to narrow the entry down to 22. Inadvertently, they allowed in the Venetian Beniamino Vergani, an amiable chess journalist who had only arrived to report on the event, but mistakenly put his name on an entry form. He was ranked with another relative unknown, Harry Pillsbury of the U.S. It would be a bit cruel to say they weren’t household names – even in their own households, but they were certainly unknown quantities in Europe. As expected, Vergani came last, but Pillsbury, to everyone’s amazement, came clear 1st, and from then on was never out of the headlines. 2nd was Tchigorin, 3rd Lasker, 4th Tarrasch & 5th Steinitz.

Here is one of his wins from Hastings.

White: H. Pillsbury. Black: W. Steinitz.

Queen’s Gambit – Exchange Var. [D35]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.e3 Be6 8.Nge2 Nc6 9.g3 cxd4 10.exd4 Bb4 11.Bg2 Qb6? 12.0–0 0–0–0 Though this move has been criticised, it’s almost forced. Black must protect his d-pawn and his king would be unsafe on e8 or g8. 13.Na4 Qa6 14.a3 Bd6 15.b4 Bg4 16.Nac3! Ne7 17.b5 Qa5 18.Qb3 Kb8 19.h3 Be6 20.f4 f5 21.Rfc1 Rd7 22.Na4 Rc8 23.b6! This prevents Black doubling his rooks and limits scope for his queen. 23…a6 24.Nec3 Rc6 25.Bf1 Rd8 26.Na2 Bd7 27.Nb4 Rcc8 28.Nc3 Rg8 If instead 28…Qxb6 29.Nxa6+ Ka7 30.Nb4 leaves White with a fine attacking game. Or if 30…Bxb4 31.axb4+; Or if 28…Bxb4 29.axb4 Qxb6 30.b5 axb5 31.Na4 again, with a fine game. 29.Kf2 h5? 29…Rg6 is better. 30.h4 Bxb4 31.axb4 Qxb6 32.Be2 Rg6 33.Nxd5 Qe6 34.Bf3 Bc6 35.Re1 Bxd5 36.Rxe6 Bxb3 37.Rxe7 Rc2+ 38.Re2 Rc3 39.Rae1 Rb6 40.Rd2 Rxb4 41.d5 Rc2 42.Rxc2 Bxc2 43.Bxh5 Be4 44.Bxf7 Rd4 45.Be6 Rd2+ If 45…Bxd5 46.Bxf5 46.Re2 Rd3 If 46…Rxe2+ 47.Kxe2 and White’s h-pawn will romp home at leisure. 47.Re3 Rd2+ 48.Ke1 Rd4 49.h5 Bxd5 50.Bxf5 Bf7 51.h6 Rd8 52.g4 a5 53.g5 1–0

Last week’s 2-mover was taken from a book in which White’s pieces are printed in red and Black’s are blue, which makes it easy to transcribe incorrectly. The 2 bishops on the 7th rank should have been white, as here, not black. Apologies.

A Christmas Theme (23.12.2017.) 965

Sixteen players took part in last weekend’s Cornish Christmas RapidPlay in Tuckingmill. They all won a prize of some sort, but the main ones were 1st Colin Sellwood (Camborne) on 4½/5. 2nd= were David Saqui and Jan Rodrigo (both Penwith) on 4/5. Tom Oates (Camborne) won the junior prize with 3.

The January issue of Chess magazine, which will be out early, effectively as a Christmas issue, will include the story of how R. D. Blackmore, world famous author of Laura Doone, came to invite William Steinitz, future World Chess Champion, round to his house for Christmas dinner. It’s an unlikely but fascinating story, yet true.

The traditional post-Christmas chess feast is the venerable Hastings Congress. Here is a game from the Challengers Section of the 1965 Hastings event, taken from the British Chess Magazine and introduced by their reporter, Owen Hindle.

“It seems incredible that A. R. B. Thomas has been playing at Hastings for over 40 years. His style is as lively as ever, particularly in his pet lines against the Sicilian. Play through this game, you will enjoy it!”

ARB had spent 40 years teaching at Blundell’s School in Tiverton, which Blackmore had attended as a pupil, and if, by this time, he had reached the stage of Grand Old Man of chess, Mike Basman was, by contrast, an 18 year old tyro, destined to become an IM with a penchant for exotic openings. He was born Mikayel Basmadijan of Armenian parentage, and his babysitter was a young Cleo Laine, who usually managed to sing him to sleep.

White: Andrew Thomas. Black: M. Basman.

1.e4 c5 2.c3 The c3 Sicilian, which has since become even more popular. 2…Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 dxe5 9.d5 Now White is asking the first serious question. 9…e4 Basman was never one to be cowed and chooses to counter-attack. 10.dxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Kxd1 exf3 12.Bb5 One threat is met, to be replaced by another. 12…Kd8 13.Bf4 Bg4 14.Kc2 Bf5+ 15.Kb2 Kc8 16.Rhd1 g5 17.Rd8+! 1–0 After 17…Kxd8 18.cxb7 there are several mating combinations in 5 or 6 moves. Work them through when you get a chance.

Last week’s position was a case of “Give something to win something”. That is, 1.Qg8=Q+! forcing 1…RxQ  losing the queen but unpinning the bishop which can now play 2.Be5+ Rg7 3.BxR+ KxB allowing White to get his queen back with 4.Ph8=Q+ Kf7 and 5.Nxd4 denies Black any series of checks.

Edith Baird née Winter-Wood (1859-1924) was adept at constructing all sorts of chess problems, including ones in which the pieces took the form of letters of the alphabet. One Christmas she published this 2-mover in the Illustrated London News with the title Noël Fantaisie: can you see how the pieces form the initials NF? And she added this quotation from The Merchant of Venice:- “Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you,” as valid a seasonal wish now as then.

White to mate in 2

New Year Events (16.12.2017.) 964

The first local congresses of 2018 are the Somerset New Year Congress on Saturday & Sunday 13th & 14th January, at the Walton Park Hotel, a beautiful venue overlooking the Severn estuary in  Clevedon, BS21 7BL. Details are obtainable from the organisers, Colin and Rebecca Gardiner on 01209-217210 (before 9 p.m.), or e-mail congresssecretary

Following that is the Simon Bartlett Memorial Chess Congress for Friday to Sunday 26th to 28th January at the Livermead House Hotel, Torquay. Details may be found on the Bude Chess Club website Although there have already been two large events at this popular sea-front venue this Autumn, the prize fund of £2,300 should attract entries.

Simon Bartlett (1954 – 2017), one of the most regular players on the Westcountry congress circuit was born in Paignton, eventually taking a degree in chemistry at Bristol University. He spent most of his career at Key Organics in Camelford, before he was diagnosed with a brain tumour which proved fatal.

Here is a game of his from the 2013 Torquay Open in which he beats Arkell; not the Grandmaster, Keith Arkell, but his brother Nick.

White: S. Bartlett (1943). Black: N. Arkell.

Pillsbury Defence [B07]

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 Nd7 6.Bd3 Qc7 7.f4 White goes for a strong pawn centre. 7…b5 8.Nf3 Bb7 9.Ne2 Ngf6 10.Ng3 a6 11.f5 c5 12.c3 0–0–0 13.0–0 c4 14.Bc2 d5 15.Bf4 Qb6 16.e5 Ne4 17.Qe1 Playable was 17.Bxe4 after which 17…dxe4 18.Ng5 Bd5 19.Nxf7 Bxf7 20.e6 Bxe6 21.fxe6 Qxe6 22.Rae1 etc. 17…Nxg3 18.Qxg3 h6 19.fxg6 fxg6 20.Qxg6 Qxg6 21.Bxg6 Rdf8 22.Bg3 Nb6 23.Nh4 Kd8 24.Nf5 Rhg8 25.Bh7 Bc8 Probably best 26.Bxg8 Bxf5 Now Black must win the exchange back, leaving White just the pawn up. 27.Rxf5 Rxf5 28.Be6 Rf8 29.b3 h5 30.Rf1 White cannot allow Black to dominate the open file. 30…Rxf1+ 31.Kxf1 Bh6 32.Ke2 Ke8 33.Be1 Kf8 34.Bd2 Bxd2 35.Kxd2 Time now for the kings to do some work. 35…Kg7 36.Ke3 Kg6 37.g3 h4 38.Kf4 hxg3 39.hxg3 Kg7 40.Bf5 A much better square for the white-square bishop, which must have scope to move freely. 40…cxb3 41.axb3 a5 42.Bb1 White has to beware of Black’s outside pawn which could prove a lasting threat later on. 42…a4 43.Ba2 If 43.bxa4 bxa4 and White will be tied down watching that a-pawn. 43…e6 One would think g4 would be the natural move, but White has a plan. 44.Ke3 Kg6 45.Kd2 Kf5 46.bxa4 Nxa4 47.Kc2 This is just a ruse to encourage Black’s king forward. 47…Kg4?? He falls for it. 48.Bxd5 exd5 49.e6 Catch-me-if-can – it must queen. 1–0

In last week’s position, White can play 1.Nf3 and if Black replies 1…Kc3 2.Nc2 mate.

This position arose in a game earlier this year. Black is itching to get in 1…e3+, but it’s not his move. Will this fact be of any help to White?

White to play and avoid defeat.

Another Win For The Cornish (09.12.2017.) 963

For many years, Cornwall played their county matches in the Victory Hall, Exminster, but have recently transferred to Shillingford Village Hall, on the other side of the M5, where they played Gloucestershire recently. The result was a crushing 12-4 win for the Cornish, helped by defaults as four of the visitors failed to turn up. Even so, it was still an 8-4 win on games played. The details were as follows (Cornish names 1st in each pairing). 1.Jeremy Menadue (191) ½-½ M. Ashworth (192). 2.James Hooker (178) 1-0 C. Mattos (190). 3.Lloyd Retallick (174) 0-1 J. Jenkins (185). 4.David Saqui (169) ½-½ P. J. Meade (178). 5.Mark Hassall (168)        0-1 P. Masters (175). 6.Robin Kneebone (164) 1-0        M. Roberts (167). 7.Richard Stephens (160) 1-0 J. Ashworth (161). 8.Colin Sellwood (155) 0-1 M. Taylor (144). 9.Gary Trudeau (148) 1-0 A. Richards (133). 10     .Jamie Morgan (146) 1-0 D. Walton (109). 11.Percy Gill (144) 1-0 R. Jones (108). 12.Mick Hill (139) 1-0 J. Jones (61). 13. Richard Smith (153) 1-0 d/f. 14.Adam Hussain (145) 1-0 d/f. 15.Jan Rodrigo (141) 1-0 d/f.16.Jeff Nicholas (140) 1-0 d/f.

Most of the Cornish wins were long affairs, but not this one.

White: Chris Mattos (Stroud – 190). Black: John Hooker (Camborne – 178)

1.d4 d6 The Pillsbury Defence, named after the great American Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1872 – 1906) who died young but played in Devon on several occasions. 2.Nf3 Nd7 3.Bf4 Ngf6 4.h3 g6 5.e3 Bg7 6.Bc4 0–0 7.0–0 c5 8.c3 d5 9.Bd3 Qb6 Asking the first of several questions: i.e. attacking White’s b-pawn  10.b3 Ne4 11.Nfd2 f5 12.f3 Nxd2 13.Qxd2 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Kh1 Be6 16.Bg3 Rad8 17.Bf2 c4 18.Bc2 Qa6 19.b4 Nc6 A 2nd question is posed. 20.a4? Not the right answer as it overlooks… 20…Nxb4 21.Na3 Nxc2 22.Nxc2 Qd6 23.Rfb1 Rd7 24.a5 g5 25.Nd4 g4 26.Nb5 Qe5 27.f4 Qf6 28.h4 Re8 29.g3 Bf7 30.Ra3 Qe7! And finally, threatening to lay a trap for both rooks: e.g. 31…a6 would attack one rook’s sole defender. 31.Ra2?? White sees that threat but not the more serious  one. 31…Qe4+ Forking king and rook. 0–1

The Camborne Club are organising their annual Christmas RapidPlay tournament next Friday at their venue, the Bickford Smith Bowling Club, Tuckingmill. There’s no need to enter in advance but entrants should arrive by 7 p.m. for a 7.15 start. The competition will consist of a 5 round Swiss with 12 minutes each on the clock. The games will not be graded. There will be a vast quantity of prizes to give out afterwards. It is intended that play will end at 10.15 p.m with the prizegiving following immediately. Seasonal refreshments after round 2 with tea, coffee, biscuits, etc. available throughout. They hope to welcome a large entry from around the county to this popular event.

Last week’s 2-mover was supposed to be a little more difficult than usual, but not to the point of impossibility, as the white pawn on b4 was inadvertently omitted. Here it has been corrected, so should now still be difficult, but at least possible. Apologies for the error.

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.


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.

51st Torbay Congress Report (25.11.2017.) 961

Within hours of the Seniors Congress finishing in Exmouth, the scene of action moved across the Exe to the Torbay Congress in Torquay, with another 5 games to be played and prizes to be won. The successful players included the following, several of whom had won a prize at the earlier event: (scores out of 5).

Open Section: 1st= S. Berry & D. Mackle (4). 3rd= M. Waddington & S. Dilleigh (3) Grading Prize (U-187) 1st= J. Wheeler; D. Littlejohns & J. Forster all 2½.

Major Section (U-170): 1st= R. Taylor & P Sivrev (4½). 3rd= Y. Tello & R. Goodfellow (4). GPs (U-160) 1st= M. R. Wilson & M. J. Harris (3½). (U-155) 1st M. Stinton-Brownbridge (3½). (U-144) S. Williams (3).

Intermediate Section (U-140): 1st= E. Hurst & A. K. Riley (4½). 3rd D. J. Jenkins (4). GPs (U-120) 1st M. Schroeder. (U-132) 1st= I. Blencowe; R. Livermore & N. Fisher (3).

Foundation Section (U-120): 1st Y. Wang (5). 2nd= J. Madden; A. Proudfoot & C. Constable (4). GPs (U-107) 1st= A. Stonebridge: J. P. Fursman & N. F. Tidy (3½). (U-98) 1st= K. Ashby; P. Broderick & J. Carr (3). (U-82) 1st= E. Holliday & J. Gibbs (2½).

Steve Dilleigh of Bristol was in fine form throughout both tournaments, coming clear 1st in the very strong Junior section at Exmouth, and a 3rd prize here. He plays steady, patient chess and will take advantage of any chances coming his way.

White: S. P. Dilleigh. Black: D. Simpson Queen’s Gambit – Semi-Slav Def. [D45]

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Be7 6.Qc2 0–0 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Rd1 Qc7? Overlooking the pin. 12.Nxb5 Qb6? 13.Nc3 Rfc8 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bd2 a5 16.Rac1 h6 17.Nc5 Nxc5 18.dxc5 Nd7 19.b4 axb4 20.Bxb4 Ba6 21.Bc4 This blocks 2 pieces from defending c5, but Black is mistaken in thinking this allows him to win the c5 pawn. 21…Nxc5? 22.Bxc5 Bxc4 23.Qxc4 Bxc5 24.Qxc5 Black has simply lost a knight for very little. 24…Rxa2 25.Qd6 White now rightly aims to make equal exchanges, which Black needs to avoid, but not at all costs. 25…Qb7 26.Qd7 Qa6 27.Ne5 Rb8 Black needed to hang on with… 27…Rf8 and if 28.Nxc6 Qe2 29.Rf1. 28.Qxf7+ Kh7 29.Rd7 1–0

Many more games from the event may be found on while details of how all competitors did are on the event website

This afternoon Devon’s 1st and 2nd teams meet their Somerset counterparts at Sampford Peverell Village Hall. The 2nd teams are comprised of players all graded U-160, and with Cornwall make up a triangular tournament for the right to progress to the National Stages of the U-160 Section.

In last week’s position, White won after 1.Qa2+! and although either Q or R can take it, 2.Nb3 is double check and mate.

In this position, Black is playing the fine Dutch player, Jan Timman, and has sacrificed a couple of pawns in order to get some attacking chances, a plan that succeeded. How did Black force his way to mate in 6 moves?

Black to move against Jan Timman