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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.

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

18th Royal Beacon Seniors’ Congress Results(18.11.2017.) 960

Last week saw the 18th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress held in Exmouth, with a long list of winners – over a third of the players took home prizes, and here are some (all points out of 5):

Seniors Section (65+): 1st Ivan Myall 4½ (£100); 2nd= Steve Berry; Mike Wiltshire & Bill Ingham (Teignmouth) all 4 (£60). Grading Prize (U-155) 1st= Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh) & A. Hibbitt both 3½ (£25) .

Junior Section (50–64): 1st Steve Dilleigh (Bristol) 4 (£100). 2nd= Alan Brown; Mike Waddington (Dorchester) & Jon Wells. All 3½ (£60). Grading prizes: (U-175): 1st= Steve Dean (Seaton) & Tim Spanton both 3. U-160 1st Paul Jackson 3 (Bournemouth). (U-135) 1st= Ian Blencowe (Gloucester); Graham Hillman (Wimborne) & Susan Selley (Exmouth) all 2½.

One of the biggest surprises of the week occurred in Rd. 2 of the Seniors section. Stephen Berry was the top graded player and expected to win, but came a cropper here.

White: W. Adaway (165). Black: S. Berry (202).

Alekhine’s Defence [B05]

1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine’s Defence, tempting White’s pawns forward so they possibly overreach themselves and become weak targets. 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0–0 Be7 7.h3 Bh5 8.c4 Nb6 9.exd6 cxd6 10.Nc3 0–0 11.Be3 N8d7 12.Rc1 Bxf3 13.gxf3 If 13.Bxf3 White loses a pawn to 13…Nxc4. 13…e5 14.f4 exd4 15.Qxd4 Nc5 16.Rfd1 Qc8 17.Kh2 Rd8 18.Rg1 Ne6 19.Qe4 Bf6 20.Bxb6! Bxc3 Black seems to have made a grave miscalculation which loses material, though little better was 20…axb6 21.Nd5 threatening either to win the bishop or fork queen & rook on the other wing. 21.Bxd8 Bxb2 22.Rc2 Bd4 23.Bh4 Black emerges from the skirmish a whole rook down and in deep trouble. Can White hold his nerve, as there is activity all over the board? 23…Qc5 24.Bg4 Nxf4 25.Bg3 Ng6 26.Rd1 Be5 27.Bxe5 dxe5 White’s rook pair now take control. 28.Rd5 Qb6 29.Bf5 Rf8 30.c5 Qb1 Equal exchanges will greatly help White’s cause…. 31.Bxg6 hxg6 32.Rxe5 Qd1 33.Qe2 Qd4 34.Qe3 …. but not Black’s. 34…Qa4 35.Rd2 Kh7 36.Re4 Qb5 37.a4 Black has no counterplay and can only dodge the bullets. 37…Qc6 38.Rd6 Qc7 39.Rh4+ Kg8 40.Re4 b6 41.Re8 bxc5 42.Rxf8+ Kxf8 43.Qe5 Kg8 44.Rd5 Qa5 45.Qb8+ Kh7 46.Rd8 g5 47.Rh8+ Kg6 48.Qd6+ f6 White has a mating net based on the white squares. 49.Qd3+ Kf7 50.Qd5+ Kg6 51.Qe4+ Kf7 52.Qe8#

Berry felt a little hurt by this unexpected upset until I pointed out to him that William Adaway was not just an average club player. Before his lengthy absence from the game while he pursued a career, he had had some outstanding results including a draw against the famous Hungarian GM Lajos Portisch in a big London congress and a win against GM Adrian Hollis. He didn’t feel quite so bad knowing that.

Last week’s position was solved by 1.Bf8 after which only Black’s knight can move, and it’s the only piece preventing 2.Qh6 mate.

Here is a similarly deceptive 2-mover. White to play.

White to mate in 2

Devon vs Cornwall At Altarnun (11.11.2017.) 959

Another small piece of chess history was acted out on Saturday when a Cornish Under-160 team hosted one from Devon in Altarnun Village Hall. The sides consisted of 16 players, each of whom had a grade of 159 or below, the first time such a match has been played by either county. The other novelty was the venue which had never hosted such a match before. Altarnun, tucked away near the A30, doesn’t have quite the same Cornish ring to it as places like Mevagissey or Zennor, but although it has a population of just a few hundred souls, it is in fact the largest parish in the county comprising over 15,000 acres, and includes the famous Jamaica Inn.

The two teams looked well-matched on paper, although the Devon players may have had the slight edge of a handful of grading points in the bottom half of the team list. At the half way point, the Cornish non-playing captain, Mark Hassall, even suspected Cornwall had the edge, but as the games progressed, those few extra grading points made the difference, with Devon running out 11-5 winners. Details with Cornish players first in each pairing:

1.C. Sellwood 0-1 A. Brusey. 2.R. Smith 1-0 C Howard. 3.G. Trudeau 0-1 B. Gosling. 4.J Morgan 1-0 M. Best. 5.A. Hussain 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 6. P. Gill 0-1 S. Coutu-Oughton. 7. J. Rodrigo 0-1 J. Butland. 8.J. Nicholas 1-0 A. Kinder. 9.M. Hill ½-½ S. Murray. 10.R. Clarke ½-½ S. Clarke. 11.J. Wilman 1-0 R. Wilby (captain). 12.S. Pearce 0-1 B. Wilkinson.  13.D. Jenkins 0-1 A. Hart-Davis. 14.I. Renshaw 0-1 J. Allen. 15. M. Jones  0-1 R. Jones. 16.S. Edwards 0-1 R. Smith.

Both teams had a Richard Smith, a Clarke and a Jones. Both Smiths won but were at opposite ends of their team, while the Clarkes and Joneses played each other. After a long game, the Clarkes were left with just a bishop and pawns each and drew, while this was the other game.

White: Mr. Jones. Black: Mr. Jones.

1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 d5 7.d3 Be7 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Re1 Bc5 10.c3 Qe7 11.d4 Bd6 12.Qc2 Rac8 13.b4 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Nf3 Bd6 17.Nd4 Ready to jump left or right. 17…Qd7 18.Nf5 c5 19.Nxd6 White can’t afford to open up the c-file, so 19…Qxd6 20.b5 Qd7 21.a4 Rfe8 22.Rad1 Qe6? This innocuous-looking move proves to be the turning point as it removes defence from the bishop and allows… 23.c4 Rcd8 24.Bxf6 Removing a defender of d5… 24…Qxf6 and acquiring a central defended passed pawn. 25.cxd5 25…Re5 26.e4 Qe7 Time to mobilise all the central pawns.  27.f4 Rh5 28.e5 Bc8 29.d6 Qd7 30.Qe2 Rh6 31.Be4 Qh3 32.Qg2 Given White’s pawn superiority, it’s time to simplify out. 32…Be6 33.Qxh3 Bxh3 34.f5 Rh5 35.e6 If 35.f6 gxf6 36.exf6 Kf8 37.Bc6 Be6 38.d7 Rf5 39.Rf1 Re5. 35…fxe6 Or 35…Bxf5 36.e7 Re8 37.Bxf5 g6 38.Bg4. 36.fxe6 Bxe6 37.Bxh7+ Kxh7 38.Rxe6 Rf5 39.d7 Rff8 40.Re7 Kg8 41.Rde1 Kh8 42.Re8 Kh7 43.Rxf8 Rxf8 44.Re8 1–0

This week’s position is a 2-mover. White to play.

A Busy Fortnight Ahead. (04.11.2017.) 958

It’s certainly proving to be a busy start to the season, with Devon’s Team Blitz tournament, a county match, and two congresses… and that’s just in the space of a fortnight.

Devon’s Team Blitz tournament has been a regular calendar item for decades, but has recently proved increasingly attractive, with teams, greater in number and strength entering year on year. This time, thanks to the efforts of the organiser, Trefor Thynne, there were 15 teams of 4 players assembling at the Newton Abbot Chess Club, eager for 6 rounds of mayhem, and just 12 minutes per player thinking time for all moves. After a brain-addling afternoon the winning team was Exeter Ninjas (20/24 pts) thus retaining the Thomas Cup, and comprised Tim Paulden, Paul O’Neill, Graham Bolt & Giles Body. 2nd Bideford (15); 3rd Exeter University “A” (14½); 4th Newton Abbot “A” (14); 5th Exmouth Eagles (13½); 6th Exeter Uni. “B” (13) winning the Hodge Cup for the highest score by a team graded U-600; 7th= Tiverton; Weymouth & Dorchester and Sidmouth (all 12½); 10th= Seaton & Torquay Boys’ G.S. (both 12). 12th Newton Abbot “B” (11½); 13th Torquay (11); 14th= Barnstaple & Exmouth Egrets (9). The only player to win all 6 games was International Master, Jack Rudd, of the Bideford team. But interestingly, the title of the cup-winning Sidmouth team concealed the fact that it comprised just one family, Julian Bacon and his 3 sons Nicky (16), Ollie (13) & Benny (10) – a remarkable achievement. A fuller report with charts & photographs of this and the other events may be found on

This afternoon, Devon and Cornwall will be meeting at Altarnum Village Hall, just off the A30, in an U-160 match – the first step on the road to the ECF Inter-County U-160 team final next June. On Monday the Royal Beacon Seniors’ Congress starts in Exmouth, finishing on Friday, and that evening the Torbay Congress starts at the Livermead House Hotel, and continues through the weekend. They were placed back-to-back, and informally called the South Devon Chess Festival, so that players travelling from north and east of the Watford Gap can enjoy a full week of chess with 10 games making the long journey more worthwhile.

Here is a game from the winning team of the Blitz tournament on Sunday.

White: T. Paulden. Black: J. Stephens.

1.b3 Larsen’s Opening: when there is so little time to think, it’s a good idea to try something a little off the well-beaten track. 1…e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 a6 4.Ne2 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 d5 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 Bd6 9.Nd2 Bf5 10.Nf3 0–0 11.0–0 Re8 12.c4 a5 13.Rc1 Ne4 This loses a tempo to a mating threat, and Black seems to be on the back foot hereafter. 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.c5 Bf8 16.Ne5 Re6 17.b4 Bg6 18.f4 Be4 19.f5 Rxe5 20.Qxe5 Nd7 21.Qf4 Bxc5 22.f6 Bd6 23.Qg5 g6 24.Rxc6 Bf8 25.Rfc1 Ra7 26.Bd4 Nb6 27.Bxb6 cxb6 28.Rc8 Qd6

Which brings us to this week’s position. Black has just played Qd8–d6 to escape the attention of White’s rook. How can White now end it quickly?

White to play

Devon’s First Div. 1 Match of the Season (29.10.2017,) 957

Devon’s 1st league match of the season took place on Saturday between old rivals Exmouth and Exeter, in the 1st Division, the Bremridge Cup. It was also a small piece of chess history as it was the first time DCCA had decreed that digital clocks should be used in their league matches, in this case giving each player 90 minutes thinking time, and an extra 30 seconds being automatically added by the clock each time a move was made. It resulted in a 4-2 win for Exeter, but there will be a return match later in the year. Here are 2 games from the match – a win for each team.

White: Chris Scott (160). Black: Jeremy Amos (144).

Sicilian Defence – [B32]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 It is generally reckoned that if Black, playing the Sicilian Defence, can get in …d5 without incurring any setback, he is well on the way to securing the initiative, so White, if he gets the chance, will try to protect against it by playing c4, called the Maroczy Bind, 6…a6 7.N5a3 f5 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nc2 0–0 12.Bd3 f4 13.Be2 g5 Black is really throwing caution to the winds. 14.Bg4 Nd4 15.Be2 g4 16.Nxd4 exd4 17.Nd5 d3 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Qxd3 Qxb2 20.0–0 f3 21.gxf3 gxf3 22.Bxf3 Bh3 23.Bg2 Bxg2 24.Kxg2 Rxf2+ 25.Rxf2 Qxa1 This skirmish leaves the position materially level, but Black’s pieces could not be further apart, while White’s have the freedom of the board to unite against an undefended king. 26.Qxd6 Qg7+ 27.Kh3 Threatening Rg2 winning the queen. 27…Qc3+ 28.Kh4 Qe1?? Losing his queen by force. 29.Qg3+ Kh8 30.Rf8+ Rxf8 31.Qxe1 Kg7 32.Kg5 Rf7 33.Qc3+ Kf8 34.Qe5 Rg7+ 35.Kh6 Re7 36.Qh8+ Kf7 37.Qxh7+ 1–0

White: John Morrison (144). Black: Brian  Gosling (148).

Vienna Game  [C27]

1.e4 d6 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.f4 Signature move of the Vienna Opening with the idea that if 4…exf4 5.d4 wins back the pawn while setting up a strong pawn centre. 4…Bg4 5.Be2 Bxe2 6.Qxe2 c6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.d4 Qa5 9.Bd2 Qc7 losing a tempo. 10.0–0 exd4 11.Nxd4 0–0–0 12.Nb3 h5 13.a4 Ng4 14.a5 Be7 15.h3 Ngf6 16.Qc4 White keeps probing at weak spots. 16…Rhf8 17.Be3 Nc5 18.Nxc5 dxc5 19.Qe2 White could have opened up the position with 19.Bxc5 Bxc5+ 20.Qxc5 which would have won a pawn, but he declined that option. 19…Kb8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 cxd5 22.Qxh5 d4 23.Bd2 c4 24.Qf3 Bc5 25.b4 cxb3 26.Qxb3 Opening the b-file to Black’s king. 26…d3+ 27.Kh1 Bd4 28.Rac1 dxc2 29.Rxc2 Qd7 From its unprepossessing square, White’s bishop suddenly strikes out and delivers a fatal blow. 30.Bb4! Rfe8 31.Bd6+ Ka8 32.Rc7 1–0

In last week’s position, Philidor decided he could take the knight, allowing Black to continue 1…d2, on the verge of queening, but the rest of his moves are forced. 1. Rc7+ Kg8. 2.f6 gxf6 3.exf6 Rd4+ 4.Ke5 Rd5+. 5.Kf4 Rd4+. 6.Kg3 Rxg6. 7.hxg6.

This week it’s White to play & mate in 2

White to play & mate in 2

Philidor’s Sad Demise – (21.10.2017.) 956

The greatest player of the 18th Century was Francois-André Danican Philidor (1726-1795). A child prodigy in both music composition and chess, he became a familiar figure in court circles, which after the French Revolution did him no favours, and after one of his annual visits to London to play matches against wealthy patrons, in 1793 it was felt too dangerous for him to return to his wife and children, as his name was on a hit-list of dangerous “émigrés”. So he was left marooned in London, taking residence at 10, Ryder Street, Piccadilly. Parted from his family he was physically and emotionally broken. He fell ill and died there, and was buried on 3rd September 1795 in one of the new cemeteries on the edge of the city, adjacent to where the first Euston Station would be built in 1837.

His contemporaries found his skills at simultaneous and blindfold play quite incredible, and his book, L’Analyze des Échecs went into 100+ editions worldwide and influenced chess theory for generations, not being fully appreciated until the 20th century.

If his lonely end was not sad enough, more was to come, when in 1849, Euston station was extended with platforms 9 & 10 added by taking over part of Philidor’s cemetery. Some of the headstones were laid out as paving stones but what happened to the disinterred coffins, including Philidor’s, is not known.

Members of the Staunton Society, Chairman Barry Martin and Ray Keene, having got Howard Staunton’s neglected grave renovated in Kensall Green cemetery and a blue plaque erected, lobbied English Heritage to get a plaque for Philidor placed in Ryder Street. They declined saying that “he was not famous enough”.

Here is a game of his, played at odds in London in 1789 against one of his regular opponents, J. Wilson. Philidor is White and is without his QN, while Wilson gives up his f7 pawn.

1.e4 Nh6 2.d4 Nf7 Philidor follows his normal plan of occupying the centre with pawns and developing pieces in support. 3.f4 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.c3 cxd4 6.cxd4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bb4+ Annoying, as White is without his knight to block the check 8.Ke2 Qc7 9.a3 Be7 10.Be3 d6 11.b4 Bd7 12.Rc1 Qd8 Black is already finding it difficult to find good squares for his pieces. 13.h3 Rc8 14.g4 Nb8 15.Qd2 Rxc1 16.Rxc1 d5 17.e5 a6 18.f5 h6 19.fxe6 Bxe6 20.Bf5 Bxf5 21.gxf5 Bg5 22.e6 Bxe3 23.exf7+ Kxf7 24.Qxe3 Re8 25.Ne5+ Kg8 26.Qf4 Qf6 27.Kf3 Rf8? 28.Ng6! Re8 29.Qe5! Qxe5? 30.dxe5 The exchange of queens works in White’s favour as it unites his forward pawns. Nc6 31.Kf4 Kf7 32.Rd1 d4 33.h4 Rd8 34.Ke4 b5 35.h5 a5 Desperation – he has little else to do. 36.Rc1 d3 This brings us to this week’s diagrammed position. Black has a freely advancing pawn backed by a rook, so will our hero have time to take the undefended knight? What will he do?

In last week’s position, White could play 1.Qe1! which threatens to both capture the knight and to “skewer” Black’s queen and rook.

Can Philidor afford to risk taking Black's knight?

Success For Torquay Schoolboys (14.10.2017.) 955

Last weekend saw an International Schools Team Tournament at Millfield School, Somerset, in which the Devon representative was Torquay Boys’ Grammar School. The format involved all schools playing 2 preliminary rounds, on the basis of which teams were allocated to the Championship or Major Section for the 5 subsequent rounds.

Having lost their older and more experienced players to tertiary education, Torquay had a younger team than usual and just failed to qualify for the top section, but were well-placed in the Major. Their team comprised the following players, with their final scores out of 7.

Bd. 1: Vignesh Ramesh (3). 2. Ben Sturt (3½). 3. Jakub Kubiac (3½). 4. Ben Sanders-Watt (3½). 5. Luke Glasson (6½). 6. Isaac Kennedy-Bruyneels (6). 7. Toby O’Donoghue (3½). 8.Oliver Mortimer (2½). 9. Evan McMullan (5½). 10 Kiernan Raine (6). 11. James Gibbs (4½) & 12. Surinder Virdee (5½).

Luke, Isaac, Evan, Kieran and Surinder all won prizes for the Best Board performance.

The final school positions in the Major were as follows: 1st TBGS. 2nd Chepstow School. 3rd St. Benildus College, Dublin. 4th St. Andrews College, Dublin. 5th Colaiste Eanna (Dublin ‘A’). 6th Colaiste Eanna (Dublin) ‘B’.

The Championship Section finished as follows: 1st Gonzaga College (Dublin) ‘A’. 2nd Royal GS. Guildford. 3rd Millfield. 4th Winchester. 5th Q.E. School, Barnet & Gonzaga College ‘B’.

The very strong Isle of Man tournament ended a few days ago, with a victory for World Champion, Carlsen. The draw for Rd. 1 was done randomly, which was lucky for some, like Carlsen and Adams who were drawn against much weaker opponents, while the much closer seeds, Caruana and Kramnik were paired together. Here is Adams’ first game.

White: M. Adams (2738). Black:  V. Bianco (2086).

Caro-Kann – Arkell-Khenkin Variation [B12]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 The Arkell-Khenkin Variation, pioneered by our local player and Russian ex-pat Igor Khenkin. Although a 2nd move by the same piece in the opening would seem to be bad, both had successes with it and pioneered its use. 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 Ba6 8.e6 fxe6 9.0–0 Bxd3 10.cxd3 g6 11.Bf4 Bg7 12.Qe2 Nf6 13.Nd2 Nh5 14.Be5 0–0 15.Nf3 Bxe5 16.Nxe5 An excellent outpost for the knight. 16…c5 17.g3 Qd6 18.Rac1 Rac8 19.Rfe1 Ng7 20.h4 Rf5 21.b4 Rc7 22.bxc5 Rxc5 23.d4 Rc7 24.Qd2 Rf8 25.Rxc7 Qxc7 26.Rc1 Qb7 27.g4 Ne8 28.Qe3 Nc7 29.h5 Kg7 30.hxg6 hxg6 31.Nd7 Rc8 Completing the desertion of their king by Black’s pieces. 32.Qg5 Threatening e5 and e7. 0–1 Analysis shows that 1…Rf8, although losing the rook is the only move to avoid a quicker forced mate. 1–0

In last week’s position played out in Manchester in 1929, after 1.RxB QxR there followed 2.Ng5 threatening both the queen and Rxh7 mate, so 2…Qg6 is forced, but White continues with 3.RxP+ QxR and 4.Nf7+ is what is called a smothered mate – probably the move that Black overlooked when he originally accepted the “gift”.

In this position White has a move that wins significant material.

White to play

S. Devon Chess Festival Details (07.10.2017.) 954

The South Devon Chess Festival starts in exactly one month’s time when the 18th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress starts on Monday 6th November at Exmouth. This will consist of a game a day throughout the week, finishing on Friday afternoon and giving everyone who wishes to partake in both just enough time to get down to the Livermore House Hotel, Torquay, where the 51st Torbay Congress will start at 7 p.m. that evening. This will provide players with 10 games in 7 days. For more details about the Seniors event, contact the Organiser by e-mail at, and for the Torbay Congress contact Phil McConnell on Downloadable entry forms for both events may be found on several local websites including

In last year’s Seniors event, Andrew Footner mistook the start time of Rd. 1 and was defaulted, which meant he had to pull out all the stops in his remaining games, which he did winning all 4 and coming 2nd=.

White: M. Dow. Black: A. F. Footner.

Scandinavian Defence [B01]

1.e4 d5 Signature move of the Scandinavian Defence, immediately asking a question of White. 2.exd5 the most usual answer. Black now has to choose whether to retake immediately, the Main Line, in which case his queen will be attacked, or to leave it for the time being and build up an attack against it.  2…Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.Be2 Bxe2 5.Qxe2 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.c3 0–0–0 8.Be3 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.0–0 Bd6 11.Nbd2 Rhe8 12.Rfd1 Nd3 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Qc2 a6 15.Bd4 c5 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Ne3 Qe4 18.Rd2 Bh6 19.Ne1 Nxf2! Black wins a pawn as Whte’s knight is triple attacked. 20.Rxd8+ Rxd8 21.Qxe4 Nxe4 22.Nf5 Bf4 23.Nf3 Ng5 24.N5h4 Rd6 25.Re1 Re6 Black is trying very hard to get his f-pawns undoubled. 26.Kf1 Kc7 27.Re2 Rxe2 28.Kxe2 Kd6 Black’s king now sets off on an 11 move odyssey. 29.c4 Ke6 30.Kd3 h5 31.b3 Nxf3 32.Nxf3 Kf5 33.h3 Be5 34.Ng1 Bb2 35.Nf3 Kf4 36.Ke2 Kg3 37.Kf1 f5 38.Ng1 Be5 39.Ne2+ Kh2 40.Kf2 f4 41.Kf3 h4 42.Nc1 Kg1 43.Nd3 Bd6 44.Nc1 If White tried to win a pawn with 44.Nxf4 there follows 44…Bxf4 45.Kxf4 Kxg2 46.Kg4 f5+ 47.Kxf5 Kxh3 and the h-pawn will queen, so the knight is reduced to impassivity. 44…Kf1 45.Nd3 f6 46.Nc1 Ke1 47.Nd3+ Kd2 48.Nb2 Kc2 49.Na4 b5 50.cxb5 axb5 51.Nb6 Kb2 0–1 White resigned, fearing his pawns would be gobbled up, but the position was perhaps less clear than that. e.g. 52.a4 Kxb3 53.axb5 c4 threatening to break away. 54.Nxc4 Kxc4 55.Kg4 Kd5 As the bishop covers the b8 queening square, the king needs to come across asap. 56.Kxh4 Ke5 57.b6 Kf5 58.Kh5 Ke4 59.Kh4 and it’s still unclear.

In last week’s position, Mrs. Hogg played 1.f7+ forcing 1…Rxf7 and allowing 2.Rh8 mate.

In this position from a game c. 100 years ago, in an attempt to break through Black’s well set up defences, White offered the sacrifice of the exchange with 1.RxB, an offer Black considered and then accepted. Was he wise to do so?

WECU Jamboree Results (23.09.2017.)

The West of England Jamboree took place on Sunday at the Kenn Centre, next to the A38. Five teams of 12 players took part, in a format that guarantees each team has 6 whites and 3 of their players will face one of the other 4 teams. Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire entered teams, while Devon, being the home side and currently possessing plenty of chess talent, entered a 1st & 2nd team.

Most pairings were closely enough matched in strength to make their games long and well-contested.

It was, perhaps, no great surprise that Devon A came 1st with 9½/12 points, followed by Somerset (7 pts); Cornwall (5); Devon B (4½) and Gloucestershire (4). The complex results chart and some photographs may be found on while games may be found on

The event was organised by Mark Hassall of the Carrick Club, and his game bore a striking resemblance to the one he played at last year’s jamboree, and printed here at the time.

White: M. Hassall (168). Black: P. O’Neill (188).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B99]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Last year his opponent played 7…e5 in order to free up his white square bishop, an idea that didn’t work. 7…Be7 Subsequent moves will vary in detail from a year ago but are very much following the same plans. 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.f5 Nc5 13.a3 Rb8 14.Bh3 b4 15.axb4 Rxb4 16.g5 Qa5? A loss of tempo, in view of 17.Nc6 Qb6 If Black had pressed ahead with 17…Qa1+ there would follow 18.Kd2 Qxb2 19.Rb1 Nb3+ 20.Ke1 Qxc2 21.Nxb4 winning the queen. 18.Nxb4 Qxb4 19.fxe6 Nxe6 20.gxf6 Bf8 21.Rhg1 Qc5 22.e5 dxe5 23.Qa8 h5 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.Ne4 Qc7 26.Nd6+ Bxd6 27.Rxd6! Qc4 1-0 and Black resigned as White has several lines ending in mate, the most direct being  28.Rc6 hitting queen and bishop.

Here is an instructive miniature from the same tournament.

White: C. J. Scott (160). Black: A. Champion (147).

Alekhine’s Defence [B03]

1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine’s Defence, in which Black tries to lure Black’s pawns forward to a point where they become unstable and can be more easily attacked, as White will by then have neglected his piece development. 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.f4 dxe5 5.fxe5 Nc6 6.c4 Nb6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Nf3 e6 9.Nc3 Qd7 10.Be2 0–0–0 11.Qd2 Be7 12.0–0–0 Nb4 13.a3 Nc2 Black has succeeded in getting in behind White’s front lines 14.c5 But the White pawns press ahead anyway. 14…Nxe3 15.cxb6 Nxd1?? Black sees only the chance of going a whole rook up, but completely overlooks his defences. 16.bxa7 c5 17.a8Q+ Kc7 18.Qa5+ 1–0.

In last week’s position White won simply with 1. QxR+. If 1…KxQ 2.Rh3# or 1…Kg8 2,RxP+ etc.

Here we have a bit of Tal magic from 35 years ago, as fresh today as the day it was created. He is looking for a quick finish before White can start to exploit his

vulnerable back rank. Any ideas?

Black to play and win quickly