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Teignmouth RapidPlay & Jersey Festival Results (08.04.2017.)

The Teignmouth RapidPlay tournament took place on Saturday, with these players emerging with prizes after 6 gruelling rounds.

Open Section: 1st Lorenz Hartmann (Exeter Uni.) 5 pts. 2nd= Oliver Wensley (Exmouth) & John Fraser (Exeter Uni.) both 4½. Grading prizes: U-166: Steve Dean (Seaton) 3½. U-151: Alan Dean (Exmouth). 2½

Graded Section (U-137): 1st Duncan Macarthur (Keynsham) 5½. 2nd Reece Whittington (Exeter) 5. U-122: Macey Rickard (Teignmouth); Graham Mill-Wilson (Yate & Sodbury); John Constable (Bude); Gregor Fotheringam (Tiverton) & Zoe Strong (Clevedon) all 4. U-111: Nicholas Cunliffe (Wells); David Thomson (Exmouth) & Christine Constable (Bude) all 4. U-94: Peter Strong (Exeter Uni.) 4.

Team Prize: Exeter University (Hartmann, Fraser & P. Strong).

Juniors:U-16; John Skeen (Churchill Academy) 3½. U-14: Max Walker (Churchill Academy) 4½. Photographs of the action may be found on

All this week, the Jersey Festival Congress has been taking place with Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) the focus of Westcountry interest. He is 7th seed overall, some way behind Jon Speelman and Hillarp Persson. In Rd. 2 on Sunday he faced the Swede with the following result:- notes kindly supplied by the winner.

White: Jack Rudd (2177). Black: Tiger Hillarp Persson (2503)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 Be7 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.g3 b5 13.f4 This break changes the character of the position, but White couldn’t see what else to do. 13…Nb6 14.fxe5 dxe5 15.Bxb6 Qxb6 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Rd8 18.Bg2 0–0 19.Na5 Re-routing the knight to c6 from where it does a good defensive job, as Black has little play if he cannot access the c- & d-files. 19…Bd6 20.Nc6 Rde8 21.Rhf1 Ng4 22.Rde1 f5 23.Qg5 e4 24.Qxh5 24.Qg6 was a better way to drive the advantage home. 24…Qc5 25.Rxf5 Rxf5 26.Qxe8+ Rf8 27.Qxe4 24…Ne3 25.Bh3 Nxf1 26.Rxf1 Qe3 White had missed this route back for the queen. 27.Bxf5 Qh6 28.Qg4 e3 29.Nd4 g6 30.Re1 Qh5 31.Be6+ Kh8 32.Qe4 Black now played 32…Rf2 and offered a draw, which was declined. 33.Qxe3 Ref8 34.a3 A flight square for the king may be needed later. 34…Qxh2 35.Ka2 Kh7 36.Bg4 Qxg3 the best move. 37.Rh1+ 1-0 Rh2 would have been OK, but Black mistakenly picked up his queen. This may have been a stroke of luck for Rudd, but 2 games later he was leading the field by a clear point. He lost to Speelman in Rd. 5 but was still joint leader on 4/5 points.

NB:  Since going to press on Wednesday, Rudd kept his nerve and his form and was always in 1st place, either clear or shared. He won his last game on Saturday and finished 1st= with Alan Merry. More details next week.

In last week’s position (above) White could ignore Black’s attack as he had 1.RxB+ KxR 2.Rb8 mate.This 2-mover is more difficult, having been one of the problems in the recent British Solving Championships. What is White’s one move to enable mate next time against any Black defence.

Gold Fever! (01.04.2017.)

There must be some gene in the Devonian make-up that compels them to go to the other side of the world on crackpot missions looking for vast quantities of gold. This was first displayed by Sir Walter Raleigh, late of East Budleigh, who in 1617 led a second expedition up the Orinoco in search of the fabled city of El Dorado. It was a doomed venture and many of his men, including his only son, Watt, died in the attempt. Raleigh reported back to King James I, who had him executed for his failure.

300 years later gold fever broke out again when Col. Percy Fawcett, born in Torquay and brought up in Teignmouth, led several expeditions into the Brazilian interior on the same mission. The very name El Dorado was, by this time, tainted, so Fawcett called it the Lost City of Z. Out this week is a major film of the story.  Like Raleigh, Fawcett took his son on his final expedition, which simply vanished without trace. Several expeditions were subsequently sent to look for the expedition that was looking for gold, but no trace of Fawcett or cities of gold has ever been found.

Meanwhile, Percy’s older brother, Douglas was living a life every bit as exotic as his sibling. He was a pioneering science fiction writer well ahead of H. G. Wells, philosopher, mountaineer, photographer, racing motor cyclist and motorist. For many more details on his life visit keverelchess/biographies/edouglas fawcett.

He was also a keen chess player all his long life, last playing at Paignton in 1959.

In 1904 he took part in a special Rice Gambit tournament, financed by the US millionaire, Isaac Rice, who had devised a gambit in a line of the King’s Gambit and wished to test it out with top players.

White: D. Fawcett. White: James Mortimer

Kings Gambit – Rice Gambit [C39]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bd6 8.0–0 White is gambitting not just a pawn but his central knight. 8…Bxe5 All games in this tournament had to start from this position. 9.Re1 Qe7 This was the defence most favoured by Black in the tournament, and was Prof. Rice’s own choice. 10.c3 and this was White’s preferred response. 10…g3 11.d4 Ng4 12.Bxf4 Bxf4 Less favoured by computer analysis is 12…Qxh4 13.Qf3 Qh2+ 14.Kf1 f6 15.dxe5 fxe5 16.Bxe5 Qh1+ 17.Ke2 Nxe5 18.Qf6 leaving Black’s Queen, rook & knight all attacked. 13.Rxe7+ Kxe7 14.Qf3 Be3+ 15.Kh1 f5 16.d6+ cxd6 17.Qd5 Rf8 18.Na3 Nf6 19.Qf3 f4 20.Re1 Nc6 21.Qxf4 Ng4 22.Rxe3+ Nce5 23.Qg5+ Ke8 24.dxe5 d5 25.Bb5+ Bd7 26.Bxd7+ Kxd7 27.Qxg4+ 1–0 The check is vital, giving White time to cover Black’s threatened back rank mate.

In last week’s position (above) it’s Black’s knight that is trying to hold everything together, but unsuccessfully as White won easily after 1.RexB and if 1…NxR 2.Rb7+ forcing 2…RxR 3.PxR and the pawn cannot be stopped from queening.

In this position White is facing a strong attack. How should he proceed?

A Recent Nunn Win & WECU Junior Winners (25.03.2017.)

Grandmaster John Nunn’s unexpected appearance at the recent East Devon Congress undoubtedly created some extra interest in the event, and he didn’t disappoint, coming clear 1st with 4 wins and finishing with a draw. This was his game from Rd. 3.

White: Stephen Piper (187). Black: John Nunn (236).

Grünfeld Defence [D79]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.0–0 0–0 8.d4 Ne4 9.Qb3 Nc6 10.Rd1 Na5 11.Qb4 Bf5 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Nh4 Bg4 14.Bxe4 Bxe2 15.Re1 Ba6 16.Bg5 Re8 17.Rad1 Rc8 Grabbing the open file with a rook – a contributory factor in Black’s win. 18.b3 b6 19.Ng2 Qd7 20.Be3 Bb7 21.Bxb7 Nxb7 22.Nf4 Nd6 23.Nd3 Rc2 24.a4 Nf5 Black must have calculated carefully that his advanced rook cannot become trapped and picked off. 25.Ne5 Qd5 26.Nc4 Rd8 27.Na3 Rb2 28.Nc4 Ra2 The rook cuts a lonely figure on a2, but cannot be taken, so must lie quietly. It doesn’t move again. 29.Rd3 e6 30.Red1 h5 As the White pieces are situated in the centre, Black chooses this moment to attack White’s king’s position. 31.Qe1 h4 32.Qf1 hxg3 33.hxg3 Qe4 34.Qg2 Qg4 35.d5 exd5 36.Rxd5 Just as White’s rooks break free for their self-imposed constraints, Black strikes. 36…Qxd1+! 37.Rxd1 Rxd1+ All other things being equal, two rooks are generally deemed to be stronger than a queen, providing they have scope to move and can cooperate, as is the case here. 38.Kh2 Nxe3 39.Nxe3 Rdd2 40.Qa8+ Kh7 41.Qxa7 Rxf2+ 42.Kh3 f5 Blocking off g5 as a possible escape route. 43.Kh4 Rh2+ 0–1 Resigned in view of 44.Kg5 Rh5+ 45.Kf4 Rf2#.

The West of England Junior Championships were held in Swindon last month, and the main winners were as follows:-

U-18: Michael Ashworth (Wotton Hall, Gloucester). U-18 Girls: Zoe Varney (Somerset). U-16: Oliver Howell (Somerset). U-14: Max Walker (Churchill Academy) & Ben Headlong (Swindon). U-12: Adam Hussain (Truro Prep School). U-12 Girls: Georgia Headlong (Swindon). U-10: Daniel Yu (Hants). U-10 Girls: Jaime Ashworth (Wotton Hall). U-9: Matthew Timbrell (Somerset). U-8: Daniel Shek (Yately Manor School). U-8 Girls: Jessica White (Wiltshire).

The West of England Congress starts a fortnight on Friday in Exmouth, with entries currently standing at 60 and rising. Time, therefore, not to risk missing the cut-off by getting entries to the Secretary, Meyrick Shaw, (tel: 01395-275494 or e-mail: Entry forms are downloadable from

The solution to last week’s 2-mover (above) was 1.Qe7! threatening 2.Qh4#.

This week’s position came from a recent game played in the 4NCL. As with 2 rooks vs a queen, Black’s 2 minor pieces should be slightly stronger than a rook, all other things being equal, but in this case they are not, as White has the opportunity to sweep away this slight inequality. How so?

White to play & win quickly

East Devon Congress Winners (18.03.2017.)

The East Devon Congress was held in Exeter last weekend and attracted a higher than usual entry of 155, including half a dozen with a Masters title.

The prizewinners were as follows:

Open Section: 1st John Nunn 4½. 2nd= Keith Arkell (Paignton), Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) & Mike Waddington (Dorchester) all 4 pts.

Major: (U-155) 1st David Archer (S. Hams) 4½. 2nd= Arthur Hibbitt (Banbury), Lander Arrasate (Sedgemoor), Brendan O’Gorman (DHSS), Charles Keen (Sidmouth), and Darrell Watson (Bourne End), all with 4 pts.

Minor (U-125) 1st Grant Daly (Downend) 4½. 2nd= Ken Alexander (Tiverton), Ray Hunt (Sidmouth), Paul Errington (Bournemouth), Tim Crouch (King’s Head), Maurice Richards (Liskeard) and Tim Roberts (Exeter Uni.) all 4 pts.

This was the first time GM John Nunn had played in this event since 1979, and the result was exactly the same as then; clear 1st on 4½ points ahead of a number of top players of the day.

The event has its own website,, containing more details and has pictures of the action.

One of the Master players was an Austrian called Walter Braun, who had moved to Exmouth days before. His Rd. 1 game was one of the shortest ever played in the event and illustrates the need for caution even in the first few moves.

White: Walter Braun (203). Black: John Bass (166).

Queen’s Pawn Game [D01]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 c5 4.Bxf6 gxf6 5.e4 dxe4 6.dxc5 Qxd1+ 7.Rxd1 Bf5 8.Nd5 1–0 resigned in view of 8…Na6 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Nxf6+ exf6 11.Rxd7 Nxc5 12.Rd5+ Ke7 13.Rxc5 leaving Black a piece down and his position wrecked.

Meanwhile, someone else was making the same mistake.

White: R. Hutchings. Black: K. Arkell.

Benoni Defence [A62]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Bg2 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8 10.Nd2 Nbd7 11.Nc4 Nb6 12.Qb3 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 a6 14.Qh4 Ng4 15.Bg5 sealing his own tomb. 15…f6 16.Bd2 Re5 Trapping White’s queen which cannot avoid 17…Rh5 0–1.

This weekend the 31st Wiltshire and WECU junior championships are being held at St. Joseph’s Catholic College, Swindon. SN3 3LR.

After that will be the Teignmouth RapidPlay Congress on 1st April at Trinity School, Teignmouth, TQ14 8LY.

This will be followed by the West of England Congress, starting on Good Friday, 14th April, at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth.  Entry forms for both events are downloadable for

In last week’s position, the only thing preventing Jonathan Underwood (W) constructing a mating net by Bf6 was the knight, so 1.QxN! removes that obstacle and mate is inevitable.

This week’s 2-mover was composed exactly 50 years ago by Godfrey Quack, late of Exmouth.

White to mate in 2 moves

Bristol Spring Congress Results (11.03.2017.)

Bristol’s Spring Congress took place on the last weekend of February. Keith Arkell (240 – Paignton) won the Open Section with a maximum 5 points, as there was no-one anywhere near him in rating. The nearest was Thomas Villiers (204 – Barnet), who duly came 2nd.

The other sections were more closely contested with a quadruple tie in the Major (U-155), between George Georgiou (Swindon); Sam Jukes (Barry); Robert Radford (Keynsham) and Alan Papier (Bristol & Clifton), all on 4 pts.

The Minor (U-125) was won by James Rosseinsky (Horfield) on 4½ pts followed by Grant Daly (Downend), on 4.

This was Arkell’s final game that clinched his 1st place.

White: Keith Arkell (2406). Black: Joseph Turner (1936).

King’s Indian Defence – Fianchetto Variation [E62].

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0–0 5.g3 d6 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0–0 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.cxd5 Qxd5 12.Qxd5 Nxd5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 If 13…Bxe5 14.Bxd5 Nd4 15.e3. 14.Bxd5 c6 15.Bb3 a5 16.a4 Nd7 17.Rab1 Nc5 18.Bc2 Rfe8 19.Be3 Ne4 20.Rfd1 Re7 21.Rd3 Rae8 22.Bb6 Chasing after pawns on the edge of the board may not appear significant at this stage of the game, but at the end winning this pawn is the difference between the two sides.  22…h5 23.e3 Re5 24.Rd7 Rd5 25.Rxd5 cxd5 26.Bxa5 d4 After the next skirmish. White has a 2–1 pawn majority, which he is adept at exploiting to his advantage. 27.exd4 Bxd4 28.Bxe4 Rxe4 29.Kf1 h4 30.Bd2 Be5 Now the road is clear to push those pawns a.s.a.p. 31.b4 Bd6 32.a5 Rd4 It’s also time for the king to step forward and play his part …. providing it’s safe to do so. 33.Ke2 f5 34.Bc3 Re4+ 35.Kd3 hxg3 36.hxg3 Rg4 37.Bd4 Bb8 38.b5 Kf7 39.a6 Ke6 No better is 39…bxa6 40.bxa6. 40.axb7 Kd5 41.Be3 g5 42.Rc1 f4 43.gxf4 gxf4 44.Bd4 f3 45.Rc5+ Kd6 46.Rc8 Black’s bishop must fall. 46…Rxd4+ 47.Kxd4 Ba7+ 48.Ke4 1–0.

The ECF’s Chess Book of the Year 2016 was Chess for Life by Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan (Gambit – £15.99). The subtitle describes the book: “Understanding how a player’s chess skills develop and change with the passage of time”. To this end they interviewed a number of older players, and Keith Arkell contributed a section on rook & pawn endings, described by the judges as “masterly”, and “a mini textbook in itself”. His endgame mastery was on show at Bristol, as in the above game, making early exchanges of material in order to simplify and get to the endgame, where he could better exercise his skill.

The solution to last week’s problem by  Dave Howard was 1.Qe8! threatening 2.Qa4 mate. Black’s rooks have several tries, but 2.Nc5++ is also mate. The week before’s was solved by 1.Qa3! and not 1.Qxe3 which had inadvertently been left in from the previous week. Apologies for that.

This position arose in a recent game in the Devon leagues. Black has just played Qa6, so why did he resign next move?

White to move and Black resign

The Essential Role of a County Captain (04.03.2017.)

The role of county captain is not recommended to those of a nervous disposition, but it is a vital job if competitive teams are to be fielded in important matches. The all-conquering Somerset team has lost its captain of recent years, and with no replacement coming forward, it shows. Devon have had the excellent services of Brian Hewson as captain for many years, but he also retired after this match, with no replacement yet identified. How will this affect future Devon teams? On this occasion Devon beat Somerset by 12½-3½ in the 1st team and 11-1 in the 2nd team, and his game follows. Somerset names 1st in each pairing: 1.B. Edgell (200) 1-0 D. Mackle (208). 2.A. Footner (175) 0-1 J. Stephens (193). 3.A. Gregory (164) 0-1 O’Neill (185). 4.J. Lobley (160e) 0-1 S. Homer (190). 5.G. N. Jepps (159) 0-1 T. Paulden (187). 6. L. Bedialauneta (149) ½-½ J. Underwood (183). 7.N. Senior (156) 0-1 B. Hewson (187). 8. C. Purry (149) ½-½ S. Martin (182). 9.C. Fewtrell (143) 0-1 J. Wheeler (174). 10.T. Wallis (144) 0-1 C. Lowe (175). 11.O. Isaac (117) 0-1 P. Sivrev (175). 12. T. Alsop (130) 0-1 D. Regis(175). 13.C. McKinley 0-1 (127) 0-1 P. Hampton (161). 14.M. Baker (137) ½-½ T. Thynne (170).15. A. Byrne (127) 0-1 O. Wensley (168). 16. S. Pickard(129) 0-1 W. Ingham (162).

2nd teams: 1.M. Willis (126) ½-½ B.Gosling (159) 2.A. Stonebridge (121) 0-1 V. Ramesh (154). 3.G. Greenland (113) 0-1 C. Scott (151). 4.J. Beviss (110e) ½-½ L. Hafstad (142). 5. K. Kyriacou (97) 0-1 N. Butland (150). 6. R. Fenton (111) 0-1 M. Quinn (146). 7. R. Harris  (112) 0-1 C. Keen (150). 8.B. Thornley (111) 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge (145). 9.D/f 0-1 I.Annetts. 10.M. Cooper (97) 0-1 R. Whittington (137). 11.D. Smith (91) 0-1 W. Taylor (137). 12.d/f 0-1 R. Wilby.

White: N. Senior. Black: B. W. Hewson.

Queen’s Pawn Game D05

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 c5 3.Nf3 e6 4.Bd3 d5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Qc7 7.0–0 Bd6 8.Re1 0–0 9.e4 Threatening e5 forking bishop & knight 9…cxd4 10.cxd4 10…dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Bxe4 f5 13.Bc2! h6 14.Bb3 Threatening Black’s pinned e-pawn. 14…Nd8 15.Bd2 Bd7 16.Rc1 Bc6 Black has little choice but to lose his e-pawn, or play much of the game on the back foot. 17.Bxe6+ Nxe6 18.Rxe6 Qd7 19.Qb3? The threat of a discovered check looks attractive but is a mistake.  Black missed the best move 19…Bd5! as the queen cannot take the bishop because of Bxh2+ and the queen is lost. 20.Rce1? Having missed it earlier, he now gets a second chance. 20…Bd5! 21.Re8+ 21…Rxe8 22.Rxe8+ Qxe8 23.Qxd5 White emerges the exchange down. 23…Qc6 24.Qb3 Kf8 25.d5 25…Qe8 26.Nd4 Qe4 Threatening both the unprotected knight and mate on b1. 27.Ne6+ Kg8 28.g3 b6 29.Qb5 29…Re7! 30.Qc6? Probably realising his mistake, White hopefully offered a draw here but Black had also noticed that the d-pawn was now pinned and the knight can taken with impunity. 30…Rxe6! 0–1

Here is a hitherto unpublished 2-mover by Dave Howard of Somerset.

White to mate in 2

Nunn’s Visitation (25.02.2017.)

The ECF’s Team Challenge, is now in its 4th year and a qualifying event attracting 14 teams was held recently at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School .

The competition, for secondary school teams of 4 players, involves 4 rounds with each player having 12 minutes per game. Five schools sent teams to this year’s event, but the hosts entered 6 teams to increase the competition. The competition was organised by Tim Onions and Trefor Thynne who are in charge of chess at the Grammar School.  Last year TBGS was awarded the title of Chess Leadership School by the ECF in recognition of its efforts to promote chess in other south-west schools.

1st Torquay Boys’ Grammar School “A”            14 points (out of 16). 2nd= Clyst Vale Community School & Stover School, Newton Abbot (both10½). 4th=  TBGS Yr. 9 & TBGS year 8  “A” (both 9½). 6th= TBGS “B” & TBGS Yr. 8 “B” (both 8½). 8th Teignmouth Community School  “B”                               (8). 9th=  Coombeshead School, Newton Abbot “A” & Teignmouth “A  (both 7½). 11th TBGS Yr. 7 (6½). 12th Stover “B” (5). 13th Fusion (a team comprising reserves) (4). 14th Coombeshead “B” (2).

The winners, who qualify for the national finals to be held in London on 29th March, and the two teams finishing 2nd= were presented with medals.

Bristol’s Spring Congress is taking place this weekend at Bristol Grammar School, while the E. Devon Congress will take place on 10th – 12th March in Exeter. Tim Paulden has taken over as Secretary of the event and has set up a new website for it, where one can both enter and pay on-line. His energy seems to be getting results as the top section is attracting some strong players. Local Grandmaster Keith Arkell has signed up, as has Austrian master player Walter Braun. More surprising, perhaps, is the entry of John Nunn, formerly in the world’s Top 10, and something of a legend in chess circles. He has a GM title for playing and another for problem solving, not to mention an academic doctorate – a true polymath. World Champion Magnus Carlsen once explained why he thought extreme intelligence could actually prove to be a hindrance to one’s chess career, and cited as an example Nunn’s never having won the World Championship. He said “He has so incredibly much in his head. Simply too much. His enormous powers of understanding and his constant thirst for knowledge distracted him from chess”.

This would not be Nunn’s first appearance in Exeter, however, – he played in 1979, when he came 1st, ahead of Rumens, Plaskett, Blackstock, Franklin & Sowray.

The British Problem Solving Championship took place last weekend at Eton College, where the winners are usually either Nunn or Jonathan Mestel. This year, however, they were pushed down to 2nd & 3rd by a relative newcomer, Ian Watson of Durham. David Hodge, formerly of Exminster and Torquay BGS, came 5th while Jon Lawrence of Torquay came 17th.

This was the 1st of their problems, a 2-mover with c. 6 minutes allowed for solving.

Dr. Jago’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Qxe3!

White to mate in 2 moves

Cream of the Cornish (18.02.2017.)

After a loss to Devon in October, Cornwall came back in their next match recently with a creditable 8-8 draw against Somerset. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1.J. Menadue (189) 0-1 T. Goldie 196). 2.M. I Hassall (183) ½-½ B. Edgell (200). 3.J. Hooker (177) ½ – ½ M. French (170). 4.L. Retallick (176) 1-0 D. Littlejohns (176). 5.D. Saqui (176) 1-0 M. Richardt (184). 6.R. Kneebone (174) ½ – ½ G. N Jepps (159). 7.J. Morgan (170) ½-½ A. Champion (153). 8.C. Sellwood (154) 0-1 C. Purry (149). 9.G. Trudeau (153) 1-0 J. Fewkes (142). 10.P. Gill (149) 1–0 M. Worrall (139). 11.R. Stephens (148) 0-1 M. Baker (137). 12.J. Nicholas (147) 1-0 C. Mckinley (127). 13.M. Hill (143) 0–1 A. Byrne (127). 14.J. Henderson (129) 0-1 G. Greenland (113). 15. D. R Jenkins (125) 1-0 M. Maber (104). 16. D. Lucas (121) 0-1 J. Beviss (90).

The Cornish Championships were held at Carnon Downs at the weekend. The defending champion, James Hooker (Camborne) again kept a cool head under pressure and retained his title  with 3½/5 points, while close on his heels were Robin Kneebone (Carrick), Gary Trudeau (Liskeard), Colin Sellwood (Camborne) and Mark Watkins (Penwith)

The Falmouth Cup for those graded U-146 was won by the relative newcomer, Jan Rodrigo (Penwith) with 4½, followed by Harvey Richings (Penwith) and Martin Jones (Newquay).

The U-120 grading prize was won by Anton Barkhuysen (Camborne), and the U-100 prize was won by John James (Penwith), while Thomas Oates’ performance (Camborne) was judged the best by a junior.

Here is James Hooker’s Rd. 2 game with notes kindly supplied by the winner.

White: C. Sellwood. Black: J. Hooker. Sicilian Defence [B40]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.0–0 White should have played e5 here to stifle Black’s e5 and d5 idea and to make the d3 bishop better. 8…e5 The wasted tempo with e6 earlier and now e5 means little as White’s bishop on d3 is now restricted, and Black is looking for a strong centre with a future d5 push. 9.Qf3 0–0 10.Qg3 Re8 11.Bd2 d5 12.exd5 cxd5 13.Bg5 Creates a threat of trading and grabbing the d5 pawn, but lost a tempo by playing Bd2 previously. 13…Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qd6 15.Be2? The decisive error, allowing Ne4 as it’s not pinned anymore and leaving the bishop on g5 very few squares. 15…Ne4 16.Qe3 f5 17.Rfd1 Defending with tricks, f4 will be met with Qxe4. 17…Qc6 18.Bh4 White’s best shot now is 18 Bh5 g6, 19 Bf3. The point being to get Black to play g6 so he doesn’t have the h6 and g5 idea trapping the bishop. 18…f4 19.Qd3 Nxc3 20.Re1 Nxe2+ 21.Rxe2 If 21 Qxe2 then Qh6 and White’s bishop on h4 is lost 21…Ba6 0–1

The key move to last week’s problem by Dave Howard was 1.Qa4! after which all Black’s ‘tries’ fail.

This week’s 2-mover is by the Cornish problemist, Dr. Maurice Edwin McDowell Jago (1902-‘98). He was born in St. Buryan, where his father, Ashley Tilsed, was also a GP.

White to play and mate in 2

Capa’s Endgame Techniques (11.02.2017.)

The Cornish County Championship and Congress is currently taking place at Carnon Downs Village Hall and will finish tomorrow tea time. Results here next week.

February being a short month and the Exeter Congress traditionally taking place in early March means that this event is rapidly approaching. It takes place at its usual venue, the Corn Hall on the weekend starting Friday 10th March, i.e. 3 weeks on Friday. Dr. Tim Paulden has taken on the role of Congress Secretary and has constructed a special website for it, with enhanced features, like on-line payment of entry fees. It’s well worth a look, at

This game was played in a Devon league match at the weekend and illustrates several old sayings about rook and pawn endings. They are a game in themselves, full of subtle nuances that elude even grandmasters at times. Probably the most accessible introduction is still Capablanca’s 1921 book, Chess Fundamentals, which is quoted.

White: O. E. Wensley (168). Black: A. W. Brusey (166).

Petroff Defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bb4 5.d3 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qxf3 12.gxf3 Nd4 13.Bxd4 exd4 After this early carnage they are already down to a rook ending, with White having the disadvantage of doubled pawns. 14.Rg1 With all immediate danger past, there’s little point in White castling, as the king will need to be in the centre as an active piece. “The best way to defend such positions is to assume the initiative and keep the opponent on the defensive”. 14…0–0 15.Kd2 Rfe8 16.Rae1 The open e-file must be contested. 16…f5 17.f4 Kf7 18.Re5 g6 19.h4 Rad8 20.Rge1 b6 21.b4 c6 22.a4 Rxe5 23.fxe5 Rd5 24.f4 a6 25.Rb1 h6 26.c4 dxc3+ 27.Kxc3 g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.d4! 29.fxg5 Rxe5 would create too much space for Black’s rook. 29…gxf4 30.Kc4 Kg6 31.Rg1+ Kh5 There is now a lot of move-counting to do by both sides. 32.e6 Rd8 33.a5 Creating a path for White’s king to advance later. The decisive difference here is that White’s king can both attack and defend whereas Black’s can only defend.33…bxa5 34.bxa5 f3 35.Rg3 f4 If 35…f2 36.Rf3. 36.Rxf3 Kg4 The rest of the game has similarities with last week’s ending. 37.Rf1 f3 38.Kc5 Kg3 “Advance the pawn that has no pawn opposing it”, so…39.e7! Re8 40.Kd6 Kg2 41.Rc1 f2 42.Kd7 Ra8 43.e8=Q Rxe8 If 43…f1=Q?? 44.Qg6+ Kf2 45.Qf5+ Ke2 46.Qxf1+ etc. 44.Kxe8 f1=Q 45.Rxf1 Kxf1 46.Kd7 1-0 Black will lose his c-pawn and White can easily shepherd his extra pawn forward.

In last week’s position, Anand won immediately with RxB+ removing the White queen’s only defender, and the fact that it’s check means that Topalov must give up his queen.

Here is a new 2-mover by David Howard. Black has plenty of material available to move around and ward off all threats…  except one. What is that key move?

White to play & mate in 2

Team Selection – A Captain’s Dilemma (04.02.2017.)

The semi-final of Devon’s team knock-out tournament, the Rooke Cup, took place on Saturday between Newton Abbot and Exeter. It’s for teams of 8 players whose combined grades must add up to less than 1,120 – an average of 140 per person. This presents captains with a team selection dilemma; should they field a low-graded player on bottom board to enable them to incorporate several stronger players higher up the order (Plan A)? Alternatively, they could put a very strong player on top board, almost certain to win, in the hope that the others can at least hold their own (Plan B). In this case, Newton Abbot chose the former course, while Exeter went for the latter. So how did that work out?

The outcome was a win for Newton Abbot by 4½-3½, the details being as follows: (Exeter names 1st in each pairing).

1.Tim Paulden (187) 1-0 Alan Brusey (166). 2. Chris Lowe (175) ½-½ Trefor Thynne (170 ). 3. Sean Pope (144) ½-½ Vignesh Ramesh (154). 4. Alan Dean (141)1- 0 1 Charles Howard (150). 5. Eddy Palmer (129) ½-½ John Allen (141). 6. William Marjoram (127) 1-0 Joshua Blackmore (138 ). 7.Edmund Kelly (137) 0-1 Wilf Taylor 137. 8. Brian Aldwin (97) 0-1 Prabhu Kashap (55e).

Newton Abbot’s sacrificial lamb was new member Kashap, a 50-something Anglo-Indian and not very experienced at this kind of thing. He was fully expected to lose, and when after 45 minutes he had lost a piece, yet still continued to exchange off material, this seemed a certainty. But his opponent made a crucial slip in the ending and allowed Prabhu to queen a pawn and win not only his game but the match as well. Chess can be a funny old game.

White: P. Kashap. Black: B. Aldwin.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be6 5.Bxe6 fxe6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d4 c6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.dxe5 dxe5 Black’s doubled pawns in the centre should present him with difficulties in coordinating his pieces, but White helps out. 10.Nxe5?? 10…Nxe5 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8 If and when a piece down, one should try and keep as many of your pieces as possible i.e. avoid exchanges unless it confers some other advantage – not a tactic White employs. 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bf4 Bd6 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.f4 Bd4+ 17.Kh1 Kf7 18.Rd1 Bb6 19.Rxd8 Bxd8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 exd5 Now White’s lost all his pieces and has a queenside pawn deficit. But all is not yet lost. Perhaps something will come along. Meanwhile, Black could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the game will just play itself out to the inevitable win. 22.g4 Ke6 23.Kg2 d4 24.Kf3 g6? Black should challenge White’s potentially passed pawn with 24…g5 25.Ke4 The tide is turning 25…c5 26.f5+ gxf5+ 27.gxf5+ Kf7 28.Kd5 Bb6 28…Bc7 29.a4. 29.Kd6 c4 30.e6+ Ke8 31.f6 d3 32.f7+ Kf8 33.cxd3 cxd3 34.e7+ Kxf7 35.Kd7 d2 36.e8=Q+ Kf6 37.Qe2 1-0.

This position arose in a recent game between two former World Champions, the Bulgarian Veselin Topolov (W) and Indian Vishy Anand, who saw a knock-out blow; can you?

Black to play