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British Championships Approaching

The British Championships start in a fortnight in Kingston-Upon-Hull’s City Hall, as part of their UK City of Culture activities (2017-2020).  Generous support and sponsorship has attracted a healthy entry of 750+ and rising every day. The Championship section of 57 includes 15 GMs and 25 others with a Masters title, and there are 20 other sections available to enter. Check out the ECF website for latest developments.

Cornishman Michael Adams has returned to the fray after missing out last year. At Bournemouth in 2016 he became Champion with the unsurpassed score of 10/11, and in this company will need to be at his very best again to repeat that.

At Bournemouth, the last round pairing was most unusual, almost bizarre. For the final round, Adams should have been paired against one of his closest rivals, but he’d already played all of them, whereas another player, almost 500 rating points lower, had done exceedingly well up to that point and was the only realistic opponent. However, the almost surreal nature of the situation may have got to him, as Adams showed what he can do, given half a chance.

White: M. Brown (2252). Black: M. Adams (2727)

Scotch Game  [C45]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 White decides to go for the open Scotch Game, which can lead to complicated positions with lots of activity. exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 White is bound to want to be as aggressive as possible Nb6 9.Nc3 Qe6 10.Qe4? White’s queen now plays little significant part in the game. g6 11.Bd3 Bg7 12.f4 0–0 13.0–0 f5 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Bd2 d5 16.Qe2 If 16.cxd5 Bf5 17.Qf3 Qd4+ and White would be under severe pressure. 16…Ba6 17.Rae1 Bxc4 18.Bxc4 Nxc4 19.Bc1 a5 20.Qc2 Rae8 Black’s development is now complete, but White’s queen seems to want to run away and hide. 21.Qa4 Qd4+ 22.Kh1 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Qf2 24.Rg1 It’s too late for the queen to be effective. e.g. 24.Qd1 Nxb2 25.Bxb2 Qxb2 26.Ne2. 24…Bd4 25.Rd1 Re8 26.h3 Re1+ 27.Kh2 Qg1+ 28.Kg3 Ne3 0-1. If 29.Rd2, Black has the choice of 29…h5 or Nf1+ winning more material. A ruthless display by Adams.

Last week’s game was finished off even more ruthlessly by 13 year old Nadia Jaufarally, thus:-

16.Nh6+ Sacrificing a piece with check in order to retain the initiative 16…gxh6 17.Bc4+ Kh8 Now throw in the queen & rook for good measure. 18.Qxe8+ Nxe8 19.Rxe8+ Bf8 Blocking the check with a piece already under attack – feels like a good idea. 20.Rxf8+ Nxf8 21.Be5# Oh dear – the bishops apply the coup de grace. 1–0

In 1910 Alain White published The White Rooks, a collection of 100 positions in which White had only rooks to help administer a swift mate, from which I’ve selected several in recent weeks. The year before, he’d published Knights & Bishops, a collection in which White has no queen or rook, but only the minor pieces in which to finish Black off in short time. This is a 2-mover from that book.

White to mate in 2

Bristol Summer Congress 2018 Results (29.06.2018.) 992

The recent Bristol Summer Congress took place at the Grammar School and demonstrated its increasing popularity by attracting116 players of whom 51 were in the strong Open Section, which unusually included 11 of the participating 25 juniors. It’s not uncommon for relatively inexperienced juniors to play in the lower sections in the hope they won’t get too badly smashed up, but here there were, for example, in the Open a 10 yr old with a grade of 190, and two 13 yr old girls all winning prizes against strong adult opponents as the following list testifies. The ages of juniors have been included to amplify the point. Open:- 1st= Alan Merry (238 – Barbican) & Mike Waddington (196 – Dorchester) 4½. 3rd= Simon Roe (208 – Cavendish); Graham Moore (210 – Bury St. Edmunds); Michael Handley (196 – Cowley); Patryk  Krzyzanowski (195 – Bristol) & Philipp Prasse (169 –  Germany/Bristol Uni.) all 3½. Grading Prize: Rajat Makkar (190 – Reading – 10 yrs) & Sam Jukes (161 – Barry) all 3½. Junior Prize: Aditya Munshi (191 – Nottingham -13 yrs) & Nadia Jaufarally (158 – Essex – 13 yrs.) 3½.

Major: 1st= Robert Radford (157-Keynsham); Yuyang Wang (158 – Plymouth – 12 yrs); Brendan O’Gorman (155-NHSS); Chris Strong (151 – Clevedon) 4/5. Grading: John Belinger (121 – Milton) 2½. Junior Prize: Max Walker (144 – Churchill – 13 yrs.) 3½

Minor: 1st= Mike Jennings (107 – Bristol); William Taplin (106 – Keynsham); John Harris (114 – Stroud); Daoyi Wang (119 -Bristol Uni.) all 4; Grading: Johan Mathew (70 – Richmond – 7 yrs) 3. Junior: Jessica Mellor (101 – Surrey – 9 yrs.) 3½

Full details of pairings and individual results for all players, and photographs may be found on the website chessit.com.

This is one game from the Open Section that got spectators talking.

White: Nadia Jaufarally (158) [age 13] Black:  Elizaveta Sheremetyeva (156) [age 15]

Caro-Kan Defence [B17]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 4…Bf5 looks tempting in order not to get the bishop blocked, but can itself lead to trouble after 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 and the bishop may be wishing it had stayed at home a little longer. 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Ng3 e6 7.Bd3 Qc7 8.Qe2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Ng5 e5 11.f4 exf4 12.Bxf4 Qd8 13.Rae1 White is now already fully developed while Black is somewhat cramped and finds her bishop attacked. 13…Re8 Solving one problem but creating another 14.Nxf7! Qb6 14…Kxf7 looks suicidal in view of White’s overall development. 15.c3 Bc5 Black is responding with threats of her own. Which brings us to this week’s diagram. Can White retain the initiative? Have a go yourself. White to play and win in 6.

White to play and win in 6

Nadia finished a half point ahead of Grandmaster Keith Arkell, so need we worry about a new generation of young stars coming through?

In last week’s 2-mover by Christopher Reeves White’s queen had 9 moves, 8 of which could be countered by Black, except 1.Qb3!

Cornish Chess (23.06.2018) 991

The Cornish C.A. Secretary, Ian George, writes to say that on 3rd and 31st July and 28th August (all Tuesdays), there will be a chess gathering in the restaurant of the Plume of Feathers, Fore Street, Pool, Redruth TR15 3PF to which all are welcome. These will be informal gatherings for recreational chess. It’s intended to try some kriegspiel, pairs chess and any other variants of the game that people want to play. Equipment  provided. Ages 12+.

Everyone knows the best chessplayer ever to come out of Cornwall is Michael Adams, but who would be the next best? A leading candidate would be Reginald Pryce Michell (1873-1938). The family came from Camborne where his father, Stephen, was a copper assayer at the Pendandrea mine, the old chimney stack of which still stands guard over the town. It was a vital job as he had to constantly monitor the quality of the ore being mined, which affected the viability of the mine on which the jobs of hundreds of miners depended. When the mining industry collapsed the family moved to Penzance where Stephen’s in-laws ran a millinery business. Father and his 3 sons, Reginald being the youngest, were all keen players and members of the Penzance Club and went through all their games at home. He joined the club aged 15 and was club champion within 2 years. When the millinery business failed, probably a consequence of the mining collapse, Stephen became a landscape artist on the back of the rise of the Newlyn School and English impressionism, but eventually the whole family moved to London.

Reginald became British Amateur Champion in 1902, played in 8 England vs. USA cable matches between 1901 and 1911 and twice represented England in Olympiads, London 1927 and Folkestone 1933 in 1932/3. He finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the British Championship proper, but greater success over the board eluded him as he worked hard at his career, becoming Permanent Secretary in the Admiralty, and chess was just one of several hobbies.

Here is a notable game of his played at Hastings in 1931.

White: R. P. Michell. Black: E. Colle.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Here is the Nimzowitsch Defence  again, touted as Black’s strongest counter to the Queen’s Pawn. 4.Qb3 This move was popular at the time but is now seen as (a) abandoning e4 to Black’s knight and (b) bringing the queen into play too quickly, making it liable to attack, as in this game, not that this troubled Michell. 4…c5 5.dxc5 Nc6 6.Nf3 Ne4 7.Bd2 Nxc5 8.Qc2 f5 9.g3 0–0 10.Bg2 d5 11.cxd5 exd5 12.a3 d4 13.axb4 Nxb4 14.Qd1 Be6 15.0–0 Bb3 16.Qc1 dxc3 17.Qxc3 attacking both knights. 17…Nc2 18.Qxc5 Nxa1 19.Rxa1 White got both knights for his rook. 19…Qd5 20.Qb4 Qc4 21.Nd4 Rfd8 22.Qxb3 1–0 After 22…Qxb3 23.Nxb3 White would be 2 pieces up.

In last week’s position, White could win material by 1.Qxg6. Black cannot afford to take it because of the sequence 1…Pxg6  2.Nxg6+ Kh7 3.Nxf8+ King moves and 4.NxQ and White would be a rook & 2 pawns up, so play continues otherwise and White has won a significant pawn.

Here is a 2-mover by an adopted Cornishman, Rev. Chris Reeves (1939-2012), who composed the majority of his 80+ problems in his 20s.

White to mate in 2

Devon vs Lincolnshire Results (16.06.2018.) 990

Devon failed in their bid to reach the Final of the Minor Counties tournament, losing to the current holders Lincolnshire 10-6 in the semi-final held on Saturday. This tournament’s regulations state that the playing grades of any 16 man team should not, when added together, exceed 2880 or an average of 180 per person. The fact that Lincolnshire chose to include Grandmaster Matthew Turner did not unduly worry Devon as they would have to pay the price in terms of grades lower down the order. On the top 6 boards Devon only lost 3½-2½, yet out-graded Lincs on all of the next 11 boards – grounds for cautious optimism, but it was in this area that the match was truly lost, going down 6½-3½.

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

1. J. Underwood (191) 0-1 M. Turner (GM – 248). 2.J. Stephens (189) ½-½ N. Birtwistle (196). 3. J. Fraser (192) ½-½ S. Milson (193). 4. G. Bolt (188) 0-1 P. Cumbers (196). 5. S. J. Homer (181) 1-0 N. Stead (187). 6. T. Paulden (189) ½-½ M. Smith (197). 7. J. Wheeler (187) 0-1 J. Kilshaw (183). 8.M. Abbott (186) 0-1 I. David (169). 9.B. Hewson (179) 1-0 K. Palmer (163). 10. P. Hampton (175) 0-1 D. Georgiou (159). 11. J. Haynes (176) 0-1 P Cusick (169). 12. S. Martin (184) 0-1 F. Bowers (165). 13. D. Cowley (175) 1-0 C. Holt (160). 14. J. Duckham (164) 0-1 R. Herbert (161). 15.P. Brooks (166) ½-½  K. McCarthy (161). 16. W. Ingham (157) 1-0 A. Parnian (147).

One bright spot for Devon was this miniature that put them in the lead for a while. Analysis kindly supplied by the winner.

White: N. Stead. Black: Stephen Homer.

Nimzowitsch Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4+ 4.Nf3 Ne4 A move played by Karpov so it can’t be bad. It has the advantage of avoiding 5.Bg5, my opponent’s usual set-up. 5.Qc2 d5 5…f5 is the alternative. 6.e3 0–0 7.Bd3 f5 8.0–0 c6 9.cxd5 exd5 I’d seen White’s next move, with the pin of Black’s d-pawn against his king and the possible loss of a pawn on e4. 9…cxd5 is the alternative, but I decided to go for the pawn sacrifice after 10…Bd6 and 11. White takes twice on e4. 10.Qb3 Bd6 10…Qe7 is a better move, but the move played sets a deadly trap. 11.Nxe4?? This looks natural but in fact it’s a blunder. Correct is 11.Bxe4 fxe4 12.Nxe4 Bc7 13.Ne5! when Black’s d-pawn remains pinned and Black will have to prove sufficient compensation for the lost pawn which will follow on 13.Nxe4 11…fxe4 12.Bxe4 Kh8! Breaking the pin and once White’s bishop moves away gives rise to a deadly exchange sacrifice on f3. 13.Bc2 Rxf3! The move I’d envisaged on move 9. The follow-up with 14.Qg5+ wins, as it allows the queen to transfer to h5 with a double attack on h2 and f3. 14.gxf3 Qg5+ 15.Kh1 Qh5 16.f4 Qf3+ 17.Kg1 Bh3 and mate cannot be avoided.0-1.

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 1.Qa8! waiting for Black to fall on his sword, as all moves lose.

This position arose in a game recently in which White played a conservative 1.Ne2. Did he perhaps miss something a little more enterprising?

White to play

50th Cotswold Congress Results (09.06.2018.) 989

The 50th Cotswold Congress took place over the Whitsun weekend at the King’s School, Gloucester, with the following results: (all points out of 6). Open Section; 1st Keith Arkell (237) 5. 2nd Peter Cusick (169-Grantham) 4½. 3rd= Dom Mackle (196-Torquay); Tim Headlong (188-Brown Jack) & Tim Spanton (163) all 4. Grading prize Andrew Waters. (158 – Kent).

Major: 1st Andrew Munn (150-Bristol) 5½. 2nd Jamie Morgan (149-Penzance); 3rd= Rich Weston (153-Cowley) & Andrew Price (151-Leamington) 4. Grading Prize(a) Dave Rogers (131-Exmouth). Grading prize(b) Ethan Gardiner (106-Manchester).

Minor: 1st Nigel Morris (123-Leamington) 5. 2nd= C. Costeloe (122-London); Rob Furseman (120-Newmarket), Georgina Headlong (116-Brown Jack) & Rohan Palet (85-Glos). Grading prizes: Christine Constable (105-Bude) & Paul Munroe.

Top grade was GM Keith Arkell and he duly won after conceding a couple of late draws. In this game he showed what he is more than capable of doing.

White: J. Jenkins (180). Black: K. Arkell.

Nimzo-Indian Defence – Rubinstein Variation.  [E41]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Signature moves of the Nimzo-Indian Defence, one of Black’s most potent weapons against the Queen’s Gambit. 4.e3 A quiet move developed by the Polish GM, Akiba Rubinstein, against which Black must strike quickly before White can develop his centre. c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 d6 7.0–0 Now that the bishop has served its purpose it can go, leaving Black free to concentrate on the enemy king’s position. Bxc3 8.bxc3 e5 9.e4 Bg4 10.d5 Ne7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Nh4 h6 Both white bishops are now severely restricted in scope. 13.Qe2 g5 14.Nf5 Nxf5 15.exf5 Qe7 16.Re1 0–0–0 17.a4 Rdg8 18.g4 h5 19.a5 hxg4 20.hxg4 Rh4 21.f3 e4! Giving up a pawn to allow his queen access to the attack without interfering with his rooks’ open h-file – cheap at the price. 22.Bxe4 Qe5 23.Qg2 Rgh8 24.Re2 Rh3 Threatening Rg3 winning the queen. 25.Bc2 Qxc3 26.Ra3 Qxc4 27.Rd3 Nxg4 Continuing the break-up of White’s kingside, but equally effective is 27…Bxf5 28.gxf5 Qh4 and the triple attack down the h-file will again quickly exact heavy gains. 28.Qxg4 Rh1+ 29.Kf2 R8h2+ 0-1. Further resistance was hopeless. All 60 games from the Open Section may be found on Dave Tipper’s website, chessit.co.uk.

The last Westcountry team left in the National Stages is Devon who play on Saturday against Lincolnshire, the holders, at Kemerton, Worcestershire in the semi-final of the Minor Counties section. No Westcountry team has ever held this particular title, and Lincs are the current holders, so a tough battle is guaranteed.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.f3+! forcing 1…Kf4, then 2.Pxg7+ a discovered check from which there is no escape.

This week’s position is taken from David Howard’s 2005 book, My 100 Best Two-Movers. It looks fearsomely complicated but there are patterns to be discerned which should lead you to the solution.

White to mate in 2

Frome Congress Results (02.06.2018) 988

183 players entered the recent 29th Frome Congress, and the winners were as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st= S. Jones, V. Stoyanov & R. de Coverley 4 pts. Grading prizes: U-2050 1st P. Anderson. 3½. U-1900 1st= J. Turner & S. Jukes 3.

Major Section: (U-165); 1st= D. Marshall; J. Fisher; S. Appleby & F. Pittman 4. Grading prizes: U-155: D. Watson & J. Lobley 3½. U-144: S. Williams 3½. Intermediate (U140) 1st G, Miller 5.        2nd= R. Millener; J. Beviss & B. Headlong 4. Grading: U-129: I. Kamotskiy 3½. U-116: T. Gough 3½. Minor (U-110) 1st= S. Walsh & M. Archbold 4½. 3rd J. Grover 4. GPs (U-100): D. Williams; E. Fields; M. Fields & P. Allaway. 3½. GP U-86: M. Cox 3½.

The Somerset champions for each section were as follows: Open: Tim Headlong (Brown Jack). Major: Dave Marshall (Trowbridge). Intermediate: Jamie Beviss (Langport). Minor: James Grover (Bath).

Entering the final round, Simon Jones was in with a chance of 1st place, but had the Black pieces.

White: J. Turner. Black: S. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Lasker Variation [B33]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 forces Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 This is a retreat, but the alternative 8…Ne7 constricts Black’s kingside development. 9.c3 Be7 10.a4 0–0 11.Be3 a6 12.Na3 f5 13.Bd3 Nd7 14.f4 Nf6 15.fxe5 Ng4 Ironically, the very piece that had to retreat earlier now forces the same fate on White. 16.Bg1 Nxe5 17.Be2 f4 18.Bf2 Qe8 Now all but one of Black’s pieces are heading for the enemy king’s position.19.0–0 Qg6 Also very strong was 19…Bh3 20.bf3 Nxf3+ and if 21.Qxf3 Bg4 wins the queen.  20.h4 Qh6 21.Nc2 g6 22.Bf3 Bxh4 23.Nd4 Bg3 Threatens mate. 24.Bxg3 fxg3 25.Re1 Qh2+ 26.Kf1 Bh3 27.Ke2 If 27.gxhe Qxf7 mate. Bxg2 28.Ke3 Nc4+ 29.Ke4 Qh4+ 0-1 30.Kd3 would be forced and 30…Nxb2+ wins the queen.

This miniature took place in the Major:

White: P. Markham.  White: A. Papier

Queen Pawn’s Game [D00]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Ne7 8.f3 Nf5 Attacking a piece and opening lines for his other pieces to attack. What could possibly go wrong? 9.Qd2 Qh4+ 10.g3 Nxg3 Black jumps in, seeing attacking chances for himself. 11.Bb5+ 11…c6? Black needs to develop more pieces e.g. 11…Bd7! 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Bf2 e3 14.Qxe3 Qb4+ 15.c3 Qxb2 etc. 12.Bg5 Qh5 13.dxc6+- Be6 14.Qd7+! 1–0. If 14. ..BXQ 15 PxB mate.

Thanks to Dave Tipper for supplying these and many other game scores. Much more information may be found on the somersetchess.org website.

In last week’s 2-mover by David Shire, White should play 1.Nde5! after which Black will not be able to evade all the mating threats.

This week’s position is a return to the rooks-only theme of Alain White from his little book published in 1910. Because of the limited resources available. e.g. no knights beloved of composers, the vast majority in this category involve more than 2 moves, but this is one of the few.

White to play and mate in 2.

Quarter Final Results of Devon & Cornwall (19.06.2018.) 986

The West of England’s 2 teams that went forward to the National Stages were Devon & Cornwall, and they played their quarter-final matches on Saturday. Devon faced Worcestershire in the Minor Counties section, and cruised through 9½-6½. Devon won the toss and had white on the odd-numbered boards. Devon names 1st in each pairing: 1. D. Mackle 0 – 1  K. Hurney. 2. J. Underwood ½ – ½ Z. Koneki. 3. J. Stephens 1 – 0 E. Osbourne. 4. T. Paulden ½ – ½ D. Lambourne. 5. J. F. Wheeler ½ – ½ L. Davis. 6. S. Martin 0 – 1 P.Kitson. 7. G. Ross-Andrews ½ – ½ G. Jackson. 8. B. W. Hewson. 1 – 0 I. I Clarke. 9. C. Lowe ½ – ½ P. Barker. 10. J. Haynes 1 – 0 S. Mellor. 11. P. Hampton 1 – 0 N. Towers. 12. D.Cowley 1 – 0 S. Woodhouse.  13. T. F. Thynne 0 – 1 J. Welch. 14. P. Brooks 1 – 0 G. Dyett. 15. J. Duckham 1 – 0 M. Hadley. 16.  Y. Wang 0 – 1 B. Fuller.

Meanwhile, Cornwall faced a sterner examination, losing 4-12 to a Surrey team that was at maximum strength. Cornish players 2nd in each pairing. 1. C. Briscoe ½ – ½ J.Menadue. 2. R. Granat 1 – 0 J. Hooker. 3. R. Haldane 1 – 0 L. Retallick. 4. D. Rosen 1 – 0 M. Hassall. 5. D.Young. 0 – 1 G.Healey. 6. J. Shepley 1 – 0 T.Manton. 7. I. Heppell 1 – 0 C. Sellwood. 8. S. Galer ½ – ½ R. Smith. 9. P. Stimpson 0 – 1 A. Hussain.  10. O. Phillips ½ – ½  T. Willis. 11. N. Faulks 1 – 0 G. Trudeau. 12. I.McLeod ½ – ½ J. Morgan. 13. H. Jones 1 – 0 M. Hill . 14. J. Eckert 1 – 0  J. Henderson 15. J. Fox 1 – 0 D. R. Jenkin. 16. N. Grey 1 – 0. (def.)

No game scores have yet emerged from either match. Surrey will now play Suffolk, while Devon face last year’s champions, Lincolnshire, in the semi-finals

In last week’s position, Spassky lost out to 1.Qg3+ Kh8 2.Rf7! 1-0 Play might have continued 2… Rg2 3.Rxf7+ Kh6 4.Qh3+ Kg6. 5.Qhf+ etc.

This week’s 2-mover is the starter problem for the Winton British Chess Solving Championship 2018-19. White is playing up the board, has the move and must mate in 2 against any Black defence. There is no entry fee and is open only to British residents. Competitors need only send White’s first move, known as the key move, to either Nigel Dennis, Boundary House, 230 Greys Rd., Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 1QY, or by e-mail to winton@theprobleist.org.  Don’t forget to mention that you saw the problem in the Western Morning News.

All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 31st July 2018 and must give the entrant’s name & home address. Juniors U-18 on 31st July 2018 must also give their date of birth.

After the closing date, all competitors will be sent (a) the answer to the starter problem and (b) those who got it right will receive the Postal Round, consisting of 8 more difficult and varied positions.

In due course the best competitors and 5 best juniors will be invited to the Final at Eton College on Saturday 23rd February 2019. The ultimate winner will win the right to represent Great Britain at the World Solving Championships 2019.

White to mate in 2.

Chess – The Musical – is back!

Among his many skills and interests, Sir Tim Rice is a keen chessplayer. After his early successes as a lyricist teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber for musicals like Evita, he drew up plans for an old idea of his in which the Cold War was acted out over a chessboard, much as the Fischer-Spassky match of 1972 had been. In 1982 he approached his regular tunesmith partner with the idea, but by then Lloyd Webber was unable to help, being fully committed with his own project, Cats. It was suggested to him that as Abba was at that moment in the act of breaking up, the two Bs in that particular partnership, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, might be looking for fresh opportunities. They jumped at the chance, and Chess -The Musical was born.

Notoriously difficult to stage, especially trying to cater for different audiences as it toured the world, but the songs quickly became all-time classics. Its latest incarnation opened recently at the London Coliseum to excellent reviews.

While the sociopathic Fischer-based  character was largely retained, Spassky was just too nice a gentleman to be a sparky on-stage persona, and it was thought to be loosely based on someone like Victor Korchnoi.

In this latest production, this character is played by Michael Ball, former pupil at Plymouth College.

Here’s a game from that epic 1972 encounter. Fischer had virtually given his opponent a 2 point start, but Spassky hadn’t won any of the next 8 games and was 6½– 3½ down. Here is Game 11, in which the Russian knows he has to come up with something special.

White: B. V. Spassky. Black R. J. Fischer Sicilian Defence [B97]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 Fischer went for the Poisoned Pawn variation for a second time in the match, but Spassky had done some homework on it.  9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 This was one “improvement”, as it breaks up Black’s kingside pawns and makes it difficult for him to castle there. 11.Be2 h5 Denying White’s bishop that square.  12.0–0 Nc6 13.Kh1 Avoiding a possible check later. 13…Bd7 14.Nb1! A remarkable idea, intended to keep Black’s queen trapped in a cage of her own making. 14…Qb4 If 14…Qb2 15.a3 followed by Nc3 & Ra2 trapping the queen. 15.Qe3 Denying b6 as an escape route. 15…d5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.c4 Nf5 18.Qd3 h4? 19.Bg4! Nd6? 20.N1d2 f5 21.a3 Qb6 22.c5 Qb5? 23.Qc3! Now White has threats to rook & knight while a4 wins the queen. There’s no way out., but Fischer plays on anyway 23…fxg4 24.a4 h3 25.axb5 hxg2+ 26.Kxg2 Rh3 27.Qf6 Nf5 28.c6 Bc8 29.dxe6 fxe6 30.Rfe1 Be7 31.Rxe6 Rh8 1-0. Spassky’s best game so far played, but it was not enough in the long run.

The answer to last week’s position was 1.Qxf5+ KxQ 2. Bd3 mate, as the king has nowhere to go.

Here is your chance to beat Spassky. He is all set to mate with Qxa3#, but it’s not his move. Is there anything you, as, White, can do about it?

White to play against Spassky

End of Season matches (05.05.2018.) 984

Devon’s last match in Division 1 was played out on Saturday between Exmouth and Newton Abbot. As both teams had already lost home and away to Exeter, there wasn’t much to play for, except to avoid the wooden spoon. In this, Exmouth succeeded narrowly, but there were wins for both teams.

At quickplay Paul Hampton has few equals on the local circuit. He won this game, but missed a mating combination.

White: P. D. Hampton (172). Black: C. V.  Howard (154).

Bird’s Opening  [A03]

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.b3 Be7 5.Bb2 c5 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 b6 8.Qe1 Bb7 9.d3 Qc7 10.Ne5 Bf8 11.Nd2 0–0–0 12.Ndf3 Ne8 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.c4 Now knowing which side Black has castled, White wastes no time in launching an attack against it. 14…Nd6 15.b4 Nf5 16.cxd5 exd5 17.bxc5 Bxc5 18.d4 Bd6 19.Rc1 threatening Bb5. White can ignore the threat to his e3 pawn as the knight would be needed to defend the white-square bishop, especially with Black’s king & queen are in line. 19…Kb7 20.Ne5 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Nxe3 White gifts the e-pawn as it frees up all his pieces.  22.Ba6+ Kxa6 23.Qxe3 Qd7 24.Rf3 Rc8 25.Rcf1 f6 26.exf6 gxf6 27.Rxf6 Rc7 28.Ba3 Qg7 29.Bd6 Bb5 30.R1f2 Rc4 31.Be5 Re8 Welcome to the game. Now Black has options. 32.Qa3+ Ra4 33.Qd6 Qg4 34.h3 Qe4 35.Kh2 Rc8 36.Rf7 Bd3 The killer move. 37.Rxa7+! The killer move. 37…Kxa7 38.Qd7+ Check and forking both rooks. 38…Ka6 39.Qxc8+? Wrong rook; White missed a mate in 4 by taking the other rook viz 39.Qxa4+ Kb7 40.Rf7+ Rc7 41.Rxc7+ Kb8 42.Qe8# 39…Ka5 40.Qc3+ Ka6 41.Rd2 1-0

A rapidly-improving junior, Ramesh showed his growing class with this win over a more experienced opponent.

White: V. Ramesh (164). Black: S. Martin (186)

Sicilian Defence – Dragon Variation [B72]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 Nf6 8.f3 Bd7 9.Qd2 a6 10.h4 h5 11.0–0–0 b5 White having committed to castling long, Black moves to launch a pawn storm, but it takes a lot of moves to get the a & b pawns onto really threatening squares, which perhaps could be better used completing piece development  12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Kb1 Qc7 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Bd7 16.Rhe1 a5 17.Bd3 b4 18.Qf2 Rb8 19.Bd4 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Black has left castling too late 20…Rg8 If 20…0–0 21.Rxe7. 21.Re2 e6 22.dxe6 Bxe6 23.Rde1 Kd7 24.Re5 Ke7 25.R5e4 Qc5 26.Qxc5 dxc5 27.Re5 Rgc8 28.Bxg6! Not difficult to see; just the fruit of everything that’s gone before. 28…Kf6 29.Bxh5 Re8 30.b3 Rbc8 31.Bg4 Rc6 32.Bxe6 fxe6 It’s now a pure R&P endgame, except that Black doesn’t have enough of the latter. 33.Kc1 a4 34.g4 axb3 35.axb3 c4 36.bxc4 Rxc4 37.R5e4 Rc3 38.R1e3 Rec8 39.Rxe6+ Kf7

The solution to last week’s ancient teaser was 1.Rhg7! Wherever the king or knight move will allow one of the rooks to mate on the back rank.

In this level-looking position from 1995 White noticed a breakthrough move.

What did he play?

Two Games from the Champion. (14.04.2018.) 981

In the recent WECU Championship, the absence of the 2017 winner, Keith Arkell, opened up the way for about 10 other players to seize their opportunity. Of these, it was Dominic Mackle who led the charge. In this Rd. 4 game he pounces of an early error by one of the Scandinavian juniors and quickly takes full advantage.

White: D. Mackle. Black: Leif Halfstad.

King’s Indian Defence.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 c5 6.Nc4 d5 7.Nce5 a6? Necessary was 7…Nfd7 to counter the twin knight threat. 8.Ng5 Rg8 9.Ngxf7 Qe7 10.c3 b5 11.Bd3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 Qxf7 13.Ne5 Qe7 14.Bg5 g6 15.dxc5 Bg7 16.c6 Bc8 17.0–0 Qc7 18.Bf4 Qd6 19.a4 b4 20.a5 Qc5 21.cxb4 Qxb4 22.Qc2 Qe7 23.Rac1 Ra7 24.c7 with the twin threats of Nc6 forking Q & N or Qc6+ 1-0

In the penultimate round he faced the experienced FIDE Master, Mike Waddington, so couldn’t expect any blunders to help him.

White: M. Waddington. Black: D. Mackle.

French Defence.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 The Burn Variation, played regularly by the Yorkshireman Amos Burn (1848–1925) and later taken up by World Champion, Tigran Petrosian. 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 Black doesn’t mind opening up the g-file and later exploits it with fatal results. 7.Nf3 a6 8.Bd3 f5 9.Ned2 c5 10.c3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Nc6 12.Nb3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 White could block the check but decides to castle the long way round, which takes up valuable time. 13…0–0 14.a3 Be7 15.Re1 Bf6 16.Bc2 a5 17.a4 Nb4 18.Kf1 b6 19.Ne5 Ba6+ 20.Kg1 Rc8 21.Bb1 Kh8 22.Qh5 Threatening to fork K&Q. 22…Rc7 23.Re3 Bxe5 24.dxe5 f6 25.h3 Bc4 26.Qf3 Rg8 27.g3 f4 28.Rc3 Nd5 29.Rc2 White has 4 pieces stuck in the corner while Black is opening lines against the white king. How does he retain the initiative? 29…fxg3 30.fxg3 f5 31.Kh2 Nb4 Attacking a rook while vacating d5 for his bishop to further pressure to bear on the white king’s corner. 32.Rd2 Bd5 33.Qe3 Rcg7 34.g4 fxg4 35.Be4 Black’s bishop is well enough protected which gives Black the chance to further strip away the castle walls. gxh3 36.Rf1 Qh4 37.Bxd5 Nxd5 38.Qe1 Rg2+ 39.Kh1 Qg5 40.Rdf2 h2 41.Qe4 Rg1+ There’s no escape as there are several other mates. e.g. 41…Rxf2 42.Rc1 Qg1+ 43.Rxg1 42.Kxh2 Qg3#.

Cornwall qualified for the National Stages of the Inter-County Competition and entered the Minor Counties Section, where they have been drawn against Surrey, the match to be played on Sat. May 12th at East Huntspill TA9 4RA.

In last week’s position, White played 1.Qd3 which threatens mate on one side of the board and wins a knight on the other.

Imagine you were playing Bobby Fischer in a simultaneous match in which he’s given all his opponents the White pieces. Even so, they’ve all lost and it’s up to you to salvage some collective pride, but he’s attacking your rook. Where should it go?

White to play.

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