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Jones Regains Title (12.08.2017.) 946

At the start of the final round of the British Championship on Sunday, there were no less than 7 players with a chance of reaching the 7 points that could involve them in the almost inevitable play-off. In the event 4 players managed it, namely Gawain Jones, Luke McShane, John Emms & Craig Hanley, which made the play-off easier to organise. In the semi-final Jones beat Howell and MacShane beat Hanley. In the subsequent final, played using the controversial Armageddon tie-break rules, it was Jones that kept his nerve and wits to wear down McShane and take the title for the first time since 2012.

Jovanka Houska became British Ladies Champion for the 6th time. Other prizewinners were as follows: U-21 1st= Ravia Haria (Wood Green) & Andrew Horton (3Cs). 50+: 1st John Emms (Wood Green).

Some of the winners from the other sections were as follows: Seniors 50+: 1st John Nunn. 65+: 1st= Stephen Berry (Wimbledon) & Roger Emerson (Guildford). U-180: 1st O. Chinguun. U-160: 1st= G. Brown & O. Chinguun. U-140: R. Clegg (Huddersfield). U-120: 1st C. Fraser W. Bridgford). U-100: 1st Y. Kumar (Bath. U-16: 1st= K. Kalavannan (Surbiton). U-14: 1st V. Stoyanov (Sandhurst). U-12: 1st C. Tombolis (Richmond). U-11: Y. Han. U-10: A. Chung. U-9: 1st= J. Birks & G. Clarkson. U-8: 1st= S. Verma & S. Lohia.

Here is the new champion’s game from Rd. 3.

White: IM Richard Palliser (2408). Black: GM Gawain Jones (2660).

Ruy Lopez -  Steinitz Defence [C75]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 One of the more conventional openings from the 450+ played in the Championship. Players of this strength should know it well. 3…a6 4.Ba4 d6 The Steinitz Defence Deferred, the theme of which is for Black to wait to see how White deploys his pieces before deciding on his own plan.  5.c3 5…Bd7 6.0–0 g6 7.d4 Bg7 8.Bg5 f6 9.Be3 Nh6 10.dxe5 dxe5 The opened d-file becomes a big factor later in the game. 11.Qd5 Qe7 12.Na3 0–0–0 13.Qd2 Ng4 Bringing the knight into play, attacking a bishop that doesn’t have a move on the board. 14.Qe2 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 f5 16.exf5 gxf5 Generally, pawns should take towards the centre, and this has the additional advantage of opening lines to White’s king. 17.Rad1 Kb8 18.Rd5 e4 19.Bxc6 Bxc6 20.Rxf5 Rd3 21.Qg5 Qd7 22.Nd4 Bxd4 23.cxd4 Rxd4 24.Rc5? Surely it was time to bring the knight in from the cold with 24.Nc2. 24…e3 Offering a pawn in order to open up further lines to White’s king. 25.Qxe3 Rg8 grabbing more space on the k-side. 26.g3 Rd1 27.f3 Re8 28.Re5 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Qd1+ 30.Kg2 Rxe5! setting up a neat combination. 31.Qxe5 Qxf3+ 32.Kh3 Bd7+ 33.Kh4 Qg4# 0–1

In last week’s position, it was White’s bishops that do the damage. 1.QxP+! forces 1…PXQ then 2.Bg6 mate.

Here is a championship-level 2-mover by Comins Mansfield that first appeared in this paper 80 years ago.

White to play & mate in 2

British Championship Surpises. (05.08.2017.) 945

Of the 103 competitors in the British Championships, which reaches its climax tomorrow in the final round, 13 are Grandmasters. These tend to sail through the early rounds as they are drawn against players from the lower reaches, but their games get progressively tougher as their opponents will have the same score. Approaching the half-way mark at Llandudno, most of the GMs had avoided mishaps, with one or two exceptions.

In this game the veteran and 7th seed Mark Hebden (60 next year) took on a strong player (41st seed) who is not quite a household name in chess circles, and the outcome was probably the biggest upset of the opening 4 rounds.

White: John Merriman (210). Black: GM Mark Hebden (242).

King’s Indian Defence – Sämisch Variation [E81]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Bg5 a6 7.Qd2 c6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.Nge2 e5 10.d5 cxd5 11.cxd5 White’s pawns will take some shifting, and prove to be the key to the game. 11…b5 12.0–0 Nc5 13.Bc2 a5 14.a3 a4 15.Nc1 Bd7 16.Nd3 Qb6 17.Be3 Nh5 18.Ne2 Rac8 19.Rac1 f5 20.Nxc5 dxc5 Freeing up Black’s backward pawn, but also White’s advanced d-pawn. 21.Bd3 Qd6 22.g3 f4 23.gxf4 exf4 24.Bf2 c4 25.Bb1 25…Bh3 Attacking White’s rook, which normally one would expect to be moved, but White makes the decision to ignore that threat and pursue his own agenda – i.e. exploiting his 2 central pawns. 26.Nd4 Bxf1 27.Kxf1 Qd7 28.Ne6 Rfe8 29.Nxg7 Qh3+ 30.Kg1 The best place to attack a pawn chain is at its base, but Black must deal with the knight first. 30…Kxg7 31.Qc3+ defending his f-pawn – White can’t afford to be too generous with his defensive pieces. 31…Kg8 32.e5 Best to push the central pawns quickly, while knight + queen are stuck on the rim. 32…Rcd8 33.d6 Ng3 34.Re1 Nf5 35.Be4 Ng7 36.Bc6 Ne6 Now it’s Black’s turn to ignore an attack on a rook. 37.Bxb5 White doesn’t wish to simplify the position by exchanging pieces as he’s still the exchange down – better to maintain his grip on the position. 37…Ng5 38.Bc6 holding the vital f-pawn. 38…Kg7 39.Bb6 Kh6 40.Bxd8 Rxd8 41.Kh1 Rb8 42.d7 Rb3 43.Qd2 Rd3 44.Qxf4 1-0. With the knight pinned and the bishop still holding the f-pawn, the e-pawn is free to storm ahead. Play might have continued…. 44…Qf5 45.Qxf5 gxf5 46.e6 Nxe6 47.Rxe6+ Kg5 48.Re8 etc.

In last week’s position, White could simply take the rook because when its protective bishop retakes, White’s rook mates on the back rank.

Going in to the 6th of 9 rounds, the joint leaders are former child prodigies Luke McShane and David Howell on 4½/5, with no less than 11 players just a half point behind. When it finished tomorrow, it’s likely that a series of tie-break games will be needed.

This position arose in a game played at Walsall 20 years ago. Black is attacking both queen and c-pawn, so what is White’s best response?

White to play and win by force.

British Championships Start Today (29.07.2017.) 944

The British Championships start this afternoon at 2.30 at the new venue of Llandudno. All games can be followed as they are played by going to the event website britishchesschampionships.co.uk/live-games-2017.

David Howell is top seed, but will have to meet some strong opposition in the shape of former champions Gawain Jones and Jonathan Hawkins, and the too-rarely seen Luke McShane.  A safer bet for a 1st prize would be Grandmaster John Nunn who is streets ahead of his 29 co-entrants in the 50+ Seniors section, both in experience and current strength.

Here is a recent game of his from the 50+ section of the World Senior Teams Championship in May.

White: M. Adams. Black: J. D. M. Nunn.

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.h3 e5 7.Nde2 h5 8.Bg5 Be6 It should be noted that John’s opponent here is not former World Championship finalist Michael Adams, but Mark Adams of Wales – a different proposition,  and playing someone of Nunn’s calibre, White will be keen to get as much material off the board as soon as possible, in the hope this will simplify matters. However, it rarely does in cases like this, as the GMs are experts in “keeping it simple”. 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Nec3 g6 12.a4 Nc6 13.Bd3 Bh6 14.0–0 0–0 15.Qe1 Rc8 16.f4? Probably not the best plan as it’s Black that eventually benefits from this opening up of the kingside. exf4 17.Nxf4 Ne5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Rxf8+ Qxf8 20.Qe2 White is hoping to bring his rook to f1 to complete his piece development and attack the queen, but Nunn is a move ahead of this plan. 20…Qf4 21.Qf2 Qg5 22.Kh1 Rf8 It’s Black that grabs the f-file. Now all Black’s pieces are focussed on the kingside, while most of White’s are on the queenside.  23.Qd4 Ng4 24.Nd1 If 24.hxg4 Qh4+ 25.Kg1 Bf4 with several mating lines. You could work them out. 24…Qd2 25.Qc3 Qf4 threatening mate on h2, so forces… 26.hxg4 From now on, Nunn uses the open lines for his pieces to maximum effect. 26…Bg7 27.Qe1 Be5 Again threatening mate on h2. 28.g3 Qxg4 29.Kg2 Qf3+ 30.Kh3 Qg4+ 31.Kg2 Rf3 0-1 The final straw, as Black has everything focussed of the isolated g-pawn. White may be a piece up, but they are powerless. White’s least worst option would have been 32.Qf2 Rxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Qxg3+ 34.Ke2 and Black would presumably push his 2 passed pawns.

No sooner has “the British” finished than the Paignton Congress will be not be far away, taking place during the week starting Sunday 3rd September. Entries can be done online at dccapaigntonchess.com or postally via the entry form.

In last week’s position, White could win by force after 1.Qg8+! KxQ (if 1.RxQ Nf7 mate). 2.Ne7+ Kf8 (if 2…Kh8 3.Nf7 mate) 3.N7g6+ PxN. 4.NxP mate.

This week, White’s queen is under attack, so to where should he move it for best results?

Queen attacked - what to do?

Dave Rumens 1939-2017 (22.07.2017.) 943

The British Championships at Llandudno start next Saturday, with a total entry in the 21 different sections standing at 923. Most interest will naturally fall on the top section, the overall British Championship, with an entry of 100. There’s no sign of the current Champion, Michael Adams, or Nigel Short entering the lists, but with 3 other members of England’s Olympiad team, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane as top seeds, there should be plenty to maintain the chess public’s interest throughout the 9 rounds.

The death of Dave Rumens at the age of 77 was announced earlier this month.

He was selected to represent England in the Glorney Cup U-18 international tournament in Glasgow 1957, in company with Michael Mcdonald-Ross and John Lawrence. Consequently, when, in the wake of the Fischer-Spassky match of 1972, a tidal wave of new weekend congresses swept the country as every town and city in the UK wanted to harness the enthusiasm this generated, and Rumens, being in his prime, was ideally placed to benefit as he won 1st prizes time after time throughout the ‘70s.

As White. he loved playing f4 in the opening, as in the Bird’s Opening, and he was particularly ruthless against the Sicilian Defence, when he ventured an early f4, which gained him many wins and became known as the Grand Prix Attack.

In later years he could be seen at British Championships, hanging about waiting for one or more of his child protégés to finish, before he helped them with post-game analysis.

Here is a typical game of his from Hastings in 1975.

White: David E. Rumens. Black:  Glenn Lambert.

Bird’s Opening [A02]

1.f4 Named after Henry Bird, (1830 – 1908) a lover of eccentric openings. 1…g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.e3 c5 4.Be2 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Qe1 The usual way to get the queen active. 6…0–0 7.d3 d5 8.Nbd2 Qc7 9.Qh4 b6 10.e4 Early pressure in the centre is the key. 10…dxe4 11.dxe4 Bb7 12.e5 Nd5 13.Ne4 Nd4 14.Bd1 Ba6 15.Re1 Rad8 16.c3 Nxf3+ 17.Bxf3 Bd3 18.e6! f5 If 18…fxe6 19.Ng5 Threatening to mate and fork 4 major pieces. 19.Ng5 is played anyway. 19…Nf6 20.Be3 Ba6 21.Nf7 Rb8 22.Bf2 Bd3 23.Re3 Be4 24.Rd1 Qc6 25.Bxe4 fxe4 26.Qh3 Qa4 Black’s queen finds some counterplay, but all his other pieces are still at home. 27.Ra1 Qc2 28.Rf1 Qxb2 29.f5 Qxa2 30.fxg6 Rxf7 31.exf7+ Kf8 32.Bg3 Rd8 33.Bc7 Black’s rook must stay on the back rank and there is only one available square. 33…Ra8 and finally a sacrificial coup de grace 34.Rxf6 Bxf6 35.Qxh7 Black has a bravado check but mate on g8 is unavoidable. 1–0

In last week’s position, White could ignore the mating threat as he had 1.RXB+ KxR 2.Qd8+ forcing Kf7 and 3.Bd4 is mate.

In this position from a game in 1972, how did White benefit from his superior development?

White to move

British Championships @ Llandudno (15.07.2017.)

No sooner have the club and inter-county competitions ended for the season, than the British Championships loom on the horizon. This year’s event starts a fortnight today at Venue Cymru, a spectacular development on the Llandudno seafront, which is proving popular with players, if the current list of entries is anything to go by. With more coming in every day, total entries have already reached 859, of which 92 are in the main event, the British Championship. The top seeds are David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane, while Devon-based players include Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd and Brian Hewson. John Nunn has entered the 50+ Seniors section.

The healthy entry may be something to do with the fact that the schedule has been shortened from 11 rounds to 9. The previous formula consisted of 2 full weeks with a rest day in between, totalling at least 2½ weeks away from home, which is a big commitment in time and money, while the new arrangement means it will last just over one week.

Anyone can keep up to date with developments throughout on the event website britishchesschampionships.co.uk where games may be followed as they are being played.

Here is another of Devon’s four wins in their recent U-180 Championship Final against MIddlesex.

White: Bill Ingham (165). Black: D. Jagdeep (161)

Queen’s Pawn Opening – Mason Variation.

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Mason’s Variation, named after the Irishman, James Mason (1845 – 1905) who played it regularly. 2…Nf6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.c4 c6 6.Qb3 Qb6 7.c5 Qxb3 8.axb3 Nbd7 9.Nc3 Nh5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 Nxg3 13.hxg3 Bg7 14.b4 White’s freedom to expand on the queenside and the greater flexibility of his rooks along the board edges are keys to his win. 14…0–0 15.b5 White sensibly seeks to eliminate his weaker doubled pawn. 15…Rfb8 16.Kd2 e5 17.b4 exd4 18.Nxd4 Bxd4 19.exd4 Kg7 20.Bd3 Bxd3 21.Kxd3 Nf6 eyeing up g4. 22.Rhe1 Kf8 23.Ra2 Re8 24.Rea1 Black is unable to double his rooks on the e-file without losing pawns, so White can afford to leave his king to guard that. 24…Ne4 25.Nxe4 dxe4+ 26.Ke3 securely blocking the e-file. Now White’s rooks can get to work. 26…cxb5 27.Rxa7 Rab8 28.R1a5 b6 29.R5a6 Kg7 30.Rxb6 Rxb6 31.cxb6 Rb8 32.b7 f5 33.d5 Kf6 Allowing White’s rook to get where it needs to be … behind his pawn, but there seems nothing much better. 34.Kd4 h5 35.Ra6+ Ke7 36.Rb6 Resigns, as White will shortly have 3 passed pawns supported by rook & king, while Black’s 4 pawns will not be able to break through on the other wing. 1–0

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bb4! and any move by the e-pawn next move will be mate or if 1…d3 2.Qa1#.

In this ending from a game played last year, Black is all set to checkmate, if it was his move – but it’s not. What, if anything, can White do about it?

It's White's Move

Devon Win National U-180 Championship (08.07.2017.)

Devon faced Middlesex in the Final of the U-180 Championship at Leamington Spa on Saturday. Both teams were very closely matched and it was clear every half point would count. The initiative swung back and forth, between very tight limits, and in the end the match finished 8-8. In these situations, the tie-break is determined by adding together the numbers of the boards on which wins were achieved, and the team with the lower total is deemed to have won the match by virtue of having won on the higher boards. Using this formula Devon got 1+ 3 + 13 + 14 = 31, compared to Surrey’s 6 + 8 + 11 + 15 = 40.

The details were as follows (Devon names 1st in each pairing) :-

1.John Fraser 1-0 B. Kelmedi. 2.John Wheeler ½-½ S. Coles. 3.Mark Abbott 1-0 M. Grigorian. 4.Chris Bellers ½-½ I. Calvert. 5.Dennis Cowley ½-½ G. Bachelor. 6.Dave Regis 0-1 A. Hayler. 7.Paul Hampton ½-½ M. Dydak. 8.Oliver Wensley 0-1 A. Fulton. 9.Jos Haynes ½-½ R. Campbell. 10.Alan Brusey ½-½ R. Walczak. 11. Alex Taylor 0-1 J. White. 12.Paul Brooks ½-½ P. Kennelly. 13.Bill Ingham 1-0 J. Dhemrait. 14.Meyrick Shaw 1-0 J. Hudson. 15.Steve Dean 0-1 J. Rubek. 16.Brian Gosling ½-½ R. Thursby.

Here is the top game of the day.

White: J. Fraser (178). Black:  B. Kelmendi (183)

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation – Yugoslav Attack  [B76]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.f3 Qa5 9.0–0–0 White’s moves of Be3, f3 and castling long constitute the Yugoslav Attack in which White establishes a firm grip on the centre before storming the kingside. Black must counter on the other wing especially down the c-file, “leading to fierce struggles and opportunities for both sides” (Tony Miles). 0–0 10.Kb1 Bd7 11.Nb3 Qc7 12.Bh6 Rfc8 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.g4 Be6 15.h4 Ne5 16.Nd4 Nc4 17.Bxc4 Qxc4 18.h5 Ng8 19.hxg6 fxg6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.exd5 h6 22.Ne6+ Kf7 23.c3 b5 24.Qc2 Qa4 25.Qe2 Rab8 26.Rd4 Rc4 27.b3 Qa5 28.Rxc4 Probably too risky at this stage was 28.bxc4? although after bxc4+ 29.Qb2 Rxb2+ 30.Kxb2 leaves White with 2 rooks for his queen. 28…bxc4 29.Qxc4 Nf6 30.Rxh6 Qxd5 31.Ng5+! Effectively the winning manoeuvre. 31…Kg7 32.Rh7+ Black’s knight is overloaded. 32…Kg8 33.Qxd5+ Nxd5 34.c4 Nb6 35.Rxe7 White goes 2 pawns up and the rest is a matter of technique. 35…Nxc4 36.Rxa7 Ne5 37.Ne4 Rb4 38.Ra4 Rb6 39.Rd4 Nf7 40.Kb2 Kf8 41.a4 Ke7 42.a5 Ra6 43.b4 Ne5 44.Nd2 Kd7 45.Kb3 Kc7 46.Ka4 Nc6 47.Rd3 Ra8 48.Nc4 Rd8 49.b5 Ne7 50.Ne3 d5 51.b6+ Kb7 52.Kb5 d4 53.a6+ Kb8 54.Kc5 Rc8+ 55.Kxd4 Nc6+ 56.Ke4 Re8+ 57.Kf4 Rf8+ 58.Kg5 Nb4 59.a7+ Kb7 60.Rb3 Nc6 61.Nd5 Nd4 62.Ra3 Nxf3+ 63.Rxf3 Rxf3 64.Nc7 Resigns in view of 64…Rf8 65.a8Q+ Rxa8 66.Nxa8 Kxa8 67.Kxg6 and White’s g-pawn will queen. 1–0

In last week’s position White played 1.Re6! PxR 2.BxB+ etc.

Here is a new 2-mover by Dave Howard.

White to move and mate in 2

End of Season Review (01.07.2013.)

The passing of June means the end of the chess season, with club and county AGMs and the handing out of silverware throughout the Westcountry.

The Cornish AGM will be held at 7 p.m. in Carnon Downs Village Hall (TR3 6GH) on Wednesday 19th July, where Carrick A will receive the County Shield for winning Division 1, and the Camborne delegate with receive the Roberts Cup (Div. 2). Their county team had a good season, beating and drawing respectively against Gloucestershire and Somerset. This enabled them to participate in the Quarter Finals of the Minor Counties section of the National Stages, where they were drawn against Leicestershire, which was played at Mark, near Brent Knoll. The Midland county might have been fancied to win the match anyway, but they left nothing to chance and fielded a very strong team, winning all but 2 games. Only Andrew Greet on Bd. 1 was able to keep the Cornish flag flying.

Devon had an excellent season by any standards, winning the WECU hat-trick of Jamboree, 1st & 2nd s. In the National Stages U-180 section, they beat Notts in the ¼-Final and Surrey in the Semi and now face Middlesex in the Final. At Devon’s AGM, cups were awarded as follows: Div. 1 (Bremridge Cup) – Exeter; Div. 2 (Mamhead Cup) – Exmouth; Div. 3 (Schofield Cup) -  Barnstaple; Div. 4 (Moyle Cup) – Newton Abbot; Team Knock-out (Rooke Cup) – Newton Abbot; RapidPlay (Newman Cup) – Tiverton. Junior League (Bloodworth Cup) – Sidmouth Juniors.

Retiring county captain, Brian Hewson, named Oliver Wensley as his Player of the Year. Here is his game against S. Hams back in March in which he executes a short, sharp kingside attack.

White: O. Wensley. Black: S. Levy.

1.e4 b6 2.Nf3 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 Bb4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Qe2 d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.Bd2 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Be7 10.0–0 0–0 11.a4 Getting the isolated pawn to become active. 11…Nd7 12.a5 c5 13.Bf4 Bf6 14.Rfd1 Qc8 15.Ne5 Bxe5 16.dxe5 f5 17.Bb5 White also had the choice of 17.Bc4, possibly slightly stronger. 17…Rf7 18.a6 Bc6 19.c4 h6 threatening …g5 and …f4 20.h4 Nf8 21.h5 g5 22.hxg6 e.p. Nxg6 23.Bxh6 a kingside breakthough 23…Rh7 24.Bg5 Qe8 25.Rd6 Bxb5 26.cxb5 solving White’s weak queenside pawn formation. 26…Rc8 27.c4 Nf8 28.Ra3 All White’s pieces are now poised to attack Black’s weakened king’s position. 28…Rcc7 29.Bf6 Rh6 hoping to double up the rooks. 30.Rg3+ Rg6 31.Rd8 Qf7 32.Qh5 with threats, including mate on h8, that Black cannot withstand. 1–0.

In last week’s position White could win by sacrificing with 1.Rh8+ forcing 1…KxR 2.Qf8 mate.

This position is taken from a game played 8 years ago and White is looking for a way to break though to the Black king. It wasn’t easy to find the key move, but once he did, everything fell into place.

White to play and win

Is This The Breakthrough? (24.06.2017.)

Many chessplayers are also keen on, and good at, contract bridge, and the two games have similar appeals as both are excellent mental and socialising activities. For decades, the English Bridge Union and ECF have tried, and failed, to convince HMRC that the games should be categorised as sports, thus becoming exempt from having to pay VAT on tournament entry fees. In 2015 the High Court ruled that bridge and chess were not sports eligible for lottery funding, with lawyers acting for Sport England telling the Court that the games were no more a sport than “sitting at home reading a book”.

Consequently, as reported earlier, the long-time organiser of the world’s biggest tournament for junior chessplayers, Mike Basman, was declared a bankrupt for his failure to collect VAT.

Recently, however, the English Bridge Union took their case to the European Court of Justice, and one of its most senior lawyers, the Advocate General, Maciej Szpunar, argued that sport should be understood as something that involved the “training of mental or physical fitness in a way that is generally beneficial to the health and well-being of citizens”, and recommended that Bridge be exempted from VAT in the UK.

He also noted that the International Olympic Committee was among organisations that “expressly include mental sports or endorse activities without a physical element”, having classified Bridge as a sport in 1998.

Also, the 2011 Charities Act adopted a definition of sport as “activities which promote health involving physical or mental health or exertion”, which specifically included “mind sports”.

Advocate Generals’ recommendations are not necessarily binding, but the courts rarely go against their rulings.

Where Bridge leads, English Chess Federation officials must now surely follow, and quickly, to make sure Chess does not miss out. But can it be done before Brexit?

Devon’s opponents in the U-180 team championships will be Middlesex who squeezed past Essex after an 8-all draw and tie-break rules were applied. This will take place at Warwick next month, and will be Brian Hewson’s last match as Devon Captain, having won the West of England hat-trick of the Jamboree in the Autumn, and the 1st & 2nd divisions of the inter-county championship. It would be a great treat to win the National title as well. His final award of Devon Player of the Year went to Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) for his unbeaten run of games against strong opposition.

There’s only room for a short game this week. White: R. Combe. Black: W. Hasenfuss. (Folkestone 1933). 1.d4 c5 2.c4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.Nxe5?? Qa5+ winning the knight. Combe had the last laugh by wining the 1946 British Championship at a canter in the greatest upset in the history of that event.

In last week’s position (above) Black could play 1… Rd2! with threats of a back rank mate.

In this position, Black is a piece up with a free-wheeling queen. Is there anything White can do about it?

White to play

Devom March On To A National Final (17.06.2017.)

After beating Nottinghamshire in the quarter finals of the U-180 Inter-County Championship, Devon met their semi-final opponents, Surrey, on Saturday at Burcombe Village Hall, on the A30 near Salisbury. The teams were very evenly matched in strength, apart from one Surrey player having to withdraw at short notice and being replaced by a lower-graded reserve. His eventual loss was the difference between the teams as Devon finished 8½-7½ winners. They now go on to play in the Final next month. The details were as follows:- (Devon names first in each pairing).

1.John Fraser (178) ½-½ R. F. Holmes. 2.John Wheeler (176) 1-0 F. Hernandez. 3.Mark Abbott (176) 1-0 D. J. Young. 4.Chris Bellers (173) ½-½ J. Ranga. 5.Plamen Sivrev (173) 1-0 D. Sedgwick. 6.Trefor Thynne (165) ½-½ J. P. Foley. 7.Oliver Wensley (168) ½-½ M. Smart. 8.Jos Haynes (165) ½-½ M. G. Smith. 9.Alan Brusey (161) ½-½ N. L Edwards. 10.Paul Brooks (162) 0-1 O. S. Phillips. 11.Meyrick Shaw (159) 0-1 N. Faulkes. 12.Bill Ingham (165) ½-½ I. Deswarte. 13.Brian Gosling (159) ½-½ P. D. Barasi. 14.Chris Scott (152) ½-½ P. Gibbons J. 15.Andrew Kinder (153) 0-1 N. D. Grey. 16.Martin Quinn (145) 1-0 D. J. Howes.

Here is Devon’s unusual opening and subsequent win from Bd. 2.

White: F. Hernandez (178). Black: John Wheeler (176).

Scotch 4 Knights [C47]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 White’s pawn on e4 is no longer protected as its defender is pinned. 6.f3 This seems a reasonable defensive move but then… 6…Nxe4? A gambit usually assumes the voluntary loss of a pawn in return for advantages other than purely material. Offering a whole piece is much more unusual, especially in such a crucial match.  However, if it was Black’s wish to lead his opponent into unfamiliar territory, he surely succeeded in that.  7.fxe4 Qh4+ 8.Ke2 If 8.g3 Qxe4+ forking king & rook, but after 9.Qe2 Black’s queen is pinned anyway, so there’s no real advantage. 9.bxc3 Qxe4+ At least Black gets 2 pawns for his knight, and White’s pawns, isolated and doubled, look a mess compared to Black’s.  10.Be3 d6 11.Nf3 0–0 12.Qd3 White would like to make equal exchanges won’t help Black’s cause, so… 12…Qg4 13.h3 Qh5 14.Kd2 Bf5 15.Qc4 Be6 16.Qf4 Qd5+ 17.Bd3 Rfe8 18.Rhb1 Threatening Rb5 winning the White queen. 18…Ne5 19.Qe4? The threatened mate forces Black’s hand, but it proves bad for White. 19…Qxe4 20.Bxe4 Nc4+ 21.Kd3 Nxe3 22.Bxb7? In not retaking immediately, White has miscalculated.  22…Bf5+! Not just check but defending the knight as well. 23.Kd2 Rad8 White has now lost his one piece advantage and is a pawn down. 24.Nd4 Nc4+ 25.Kd1 Bd7 26.Rb4? A fatal error, inviting c4; but first… 26…Ne3+ 27.Kd2 c5 forking rook & knight. 0–1

The key to last week’s position (above) was 1.NxP+ and if 1…PxN 2. Qd6#, or 1…Kf8 2.Qh8#.

This week’s position came at the end of a game played in the US Championships earlier this year. Black to play and win.

Black to play and win

Cotswold Congress Results (10.06.2017.)

The Cotswold Congress finished on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, and of the 116 competitors the following emerged with prizes:-

Open Section: 1st= Michael Ashworth 186 – Wotton Hall) & Tim Kett (202 – Cardiff). 3rd= Don Mason 193 – Shirley), Martin Simons (194- Southbourne) & Joe Stewart (194 – Gloucester). Grading prize: Ian Clarke (168 – Malvern). Junior prize: Charlie McClaren (177 – Wotton Hall).

Major Section (U-155) 1st T. Woodward (154 – Trowbridge). 2nd= D. Edwards (142 – Witney); C. Hosdurga (141 – Bristol); B. O’Gorman (150 – DHSS); A. Papier (139 – Bristol) & I. White (148 – Wotton Hall). Grading prizes (U-145) D. Curry (139 – Halesowen) . (U-136) A. Di-Vetta (127 – Bridgend). Junior: Eleanor Hapeshi (136 – Kings’ School).

Minor Section (U-125): 1st= S. Butterworth (120) & K. Langmaid (114 – Yate). 3rd= B. Aubrey (108 – Dragon School), C. Frazer & Rachel McIntosh (110 – Chepstow). Grading prizes: (U-111) Christine Constable (106 – Bude). (U-100) Z. Ashraf (77 – Wiltshire).

Joint winner of the Open, 55 year old Tim Kett has been playing since he was 4, but only since retiring early from his career as a software specialist with a global company about 3 years ago has he been able to play much more frequently. He has thrice been Welsh Champion (2012 -14 & -16) and with his wife, Sarah, has set up TSK, which brings coaching to schools and individuals in South Wales, where they are heavily involved in the Chess in Schools and Communities project. He has truly made his hobby his 2nd career.

Here was his Rd. 5 win against the no. 3 seed.

White: T. J. Kett (202). Black: Martin Simons (194)

Nimzowitsch Defence [B00]

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.d4 d6 4.d5 Nb8 5.Bg5 c6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Nbd7 9.0–0–0 Taking a considerable but calculated risk, as Black’s queenside pawns are well-placed to launch an attack at any time. But at least White has castled while Black still has some way to go.  9…Qc7 10.Be2 g6 11.Qe3 Bg7 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 c5 14.Qe3 a6 15.f4 Before Black’s pawns can fully mobilise, White concentrates on the centre. 15…b5 16.Bf3 b4 17.Ne2 Rb8 18.g4 h6 19.h4 Completing an impressive array of advanced kingside pawns, forcing Black to divert his attention away from his own plan of attack. 19…h5 20.gxh5 Nxh5 21.Bxh5 Rxh5 22.Ng3 Rh7 23.e5 dxe5 24.f5 Nf6 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.Qg5 Kf7 27.Rhe1 e4 28.Nxe4 Rh5 29.d6! Best. White is not to be diverted, as the centre is rapidly breaking open to his advantage. 29…Qc6 If 29…Rxg5? 30.Nxg5+ Ke8 31.dxc7 Ra8 32.Ne6 Black has lost a rook and White threatens 38.Rd8=Q+. 30.Qf4 Rf5 31.Ng5+ 1–0 Play might have continued… Kg8 32.Qc4+ Rd5 33.dxe7 Re8 34.Rxd5 Qxd5 35.Qxa6 Kg7 36.Ne6+ with the deadly fork 37.Nc7 to follow.

In this week’s position, almost hidden among all these pieces is a mate in 2 for White. Can you see it?

White to play

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