Steve Boniface Memorial Congress on 25th to 27th August

You can tell when the long summer break from league chess is coming to a close when the Steve Boniface Memorial Congress arrives. Traditionally held on the August Bank Holiday, this cracking local congress is an excellent opportunity to warm up ahead of the new league season.

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The Steve Boniface Memorial Congress might just be my favourite tournament in the local chess calendar.  There are not many times when I haven’t played it in the 13yrs I have played in the Bristol league (last years new fatherhood status was a rare but allowable exception). For me it has always signified the end of the summer break from chess and a first opportunity to try out all of my new novelties , openings and general hard studying that I have conducted over May, June, July and August. Its also a welcome opportunity to catch up with club mates and engage in the usual friendly banter!

As congresses go, it is a standard Swiss format with five rounds played across Friday to Sunday.  A FIDE rated Open section is accompanied by a Major (U155 ECF) and Minor (U125 ECF) meaning there is something for everyone. The Steve Boniface Memorial is one of four congresses run throughout the year by Alan Papier, the Bristol leagues congress secretary (Thanks Alan!) and in recent years they have attracted a number of titled players including IM Chris Beaumont and GM Keith Arkell.

I am particularly excited this year as for the first time ever I will be trying my luck in the Open section having achieved a personal best of 152 in the new July grades.  Whilst I fully expect this to put me bottom of the Open field, I feel like my chess is improving through playing tougher opposition.  A creditable 12th finish out of 20 in the Somerset New Years Congress has given me the (perhaps misguided) belief that I won’t finish bottom of my favourite tournament.  Anyway, fortune favours the brave so I will write back next week on how I get on…

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Like all of the main Bristol Congresses, a final highlight is the location and playing area.  Held at Bristol Grammar School in the heart of Clifton, I’ve really enjoyed the venue in terms of both playing but also having access to lots of local shops and restaurants between games.  Particularly useful following those brutal losses in less than 20 moves…

In terms of money there is over £750 of prize money split relatively evenly across the three main sections.  Overall, what is not to like about this great congress that ushers in the new season.

In other local chess news, the 4th and final round of the Downend Summer Quickplay is also this week on Tuesday 22nd August.  Currently Morris Stranger (University Chess Club) and Atilla Reznek (Downend & Fishponds Chess Club) are tied at the top on 11.5pts but there is a big chasing pack so anything could happen.

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Current top standings in the Downend Summer Quickplay after 3 rounds.

The entry form for the Steve Boniface Memorial Congress can be found here or Alan Papier can be contacted on 0789 982 65 15 or chinadoc@chinadoc.force9.co.uk.


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

 

 

Letter from Llandudno

Fourteen players from the Bristol league participated across all categories in the 2017 British Chess Championships. Jerry Humphreys reports from Llandudno on how the South West faired.

This year’s championships were the first in the new format, truncated to one week and two weekends. So the traditional 11 rounds have been reduced to 9 for the two main events, and the junior, senior and rated events all occur in parallel. Except for the younger age groups which are played over two or three days so competitors can play in two age groups. There are also the traditional morning and weekend tournaments and rapidplay on the second Saturday.

The Championships consist of 21 events, and are played in the exceptionally large Venue Cymru but there were other events going on and we did not have access to all the rooms. The organisers had their work cut out trying to make the main room less cramped as the tournaments got into swing. It all worked out ok in the end and somewhere round 330 people sat happily playing chess in the main hall with junior tournaments and a couple of smaller events moved off into separate rooms.

Fourteen Bristol players took part in the British events this year, up from the pre-tournament count as my fellow traveller Daniel Young of Bristol University fame was delighted to tell me on the train that I was due to receive a phone call from Alex Holowczak. Ravi Haria was playing in another event and turning up two days late so they needed a filler for the Championship. As it turned out Nick Arkell withdrew after Round 2 so in the end it had to be a seven game effort.

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Horfield legend Steve Dilleigh in the over 50’s scored 4/7

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Clifton’s Gareth Morris scored 50% in the over 50’s

Leading payers at the start of the Championship were David Howell, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones, with another 11 GMs below. Also another grandmaster, John Nunn, playing in the Over 50s along with Gareth Morris and Steve Dilleigh. Nunn drew his first game, against another former Bristol Uni player Alan Punnett, but proved far too strong for the field thereafter.

Emms v McShane

Emms vs. Mcshane on the top boards

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A tough field of British talent was on display

Llandudno is a 19th century resort developed from a copper mining village and the mines on the headland of the peninsula can be visited by a popular tram which takes visitors up the steep hills in two stages. The narrow neck of land gives the added attraction of two seafronts, with views to Anglesey and Dublin on one side and industrious wind farms providing renewable energy on the other. The town is largely owned by Lord Mostyn who has insisted on the frontages retaining their historic feel and being kept in impeccable order, so the town has a picturesque character highly appealing to visitors.

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The tournament attracted 1061 entries from 821 separate competitors, the latter figure being higher than the last two years (797 in Bournemouth and 766 for Coventry) and in fact higher than any year for which I have records. 102 entries for the Championship will not be repeated again as next year’s event will be the first for which new qualifying criteria apply, with the aim of making the Championship largely an over 200s event, as it used to be until more places started being awarded in the last couple of decades.

Arkell v Howell

Arkell vs. Howell in the main Championship

The Bristol winner of the event was Oli Stubbs, who was part of a huge pile-up of players in first place on 4/5 in the Under 140s, with a 154 performance. Here is a full list of all the Bristolian results.  Well done all!

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Oli Stubbs on his way to joint first place in the under 140’s

Kandara

Despite being one of the lowest seeds Kandara Acharya scored 2.5 / 6 in her age category.

Bristol Results Championship

  • Jerry Humphreys, Downend 3½ /7

Over 50s

  • Steve Dilleigh, Horfield 4/7
  • Gareth Morris, Clifton 3½/7

Under 12

  • Toby Kan, Downend 4½/7
  • Yuvraj Kumar, Bath 3/7
  • Samir Khan, Bath 3/7

Under 11

  • Samir Khan, Bath 4/7
  • Toby Kan, Downend 3/7

Under 10

  • Kandara Acharya, North Bristol 2½/7

Under 140

  • Oli Stubbs, Downend 4/5 (1st=)

Weekend Open (Atkins)

  • John Waterfield, Clifton 3/5

Weekend Under 150 (Soanes)

  • Richard Livermore, Downend 2½/5
  • Chirag Hosdurga, 2/5

Weekend Under 120 (Yates)

  • Grant Daly, Downend 3/5
  • Kevin Langmaid, Yate 3/5
  • Shaun Walsh, Downend 2/5

Rapidplay

  • Grant Daly, Downend 4/9
  • Oli Stubbs, Downend 4½/9

Featured Games

Finally here are two playable games from the championships featuring fine wins by Bristol Players.

  1. Steve Dilleigh (2075) vs. Kevin Goater (2128)
  2. Michael Ashworth (1946) vs. Jerry Humpreys (2041)

 


 

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Jerry Humphreys

Jerry plays for Downend and Fishponds Chess Club and is the Treasurer for the Bristol and District Chess League. He is also a regular contributor to the Bristol Chess Times.

From the Front Line: Gambit Night Review

What would chess be without gambits? Good question! Not half as fun is your answer; as 20 or so swashbucklers proved on Thursday night – battling on new ground over the board as well as new actual ground in North Bristol’s new venue in Filton.

Lifelong gambiteer Steve Woolgar resurrected the tournament this year and prepared 28 gambits – dished out at random before each game began.

1

Gambits on cards often forced players into unknown territory – for example here followed e3, Bb4+ Bd2 and pawn takes e3! The bishop can’t be taken so white has to play with very messed-up pawns.

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For some it was a daring expedition outside of their super-solid repertoire; for others it was welcome respite – where for once they will be just as prepared for the opening as their opponents.

The setting was an active night at Filton sports centre – the ironically unsound chess being played in a noisy former squash court, which was between a swimming pool and a snooker room – but more importantly next to the bar, which would feature more as the night progressed.

3

Nothing but water (I assume its water, might be sprite, who knows) for the two eventual champions Henry Duncansson (left) and Alex Rositter who squared off in round 4 – settling on a draw and winning all their other matches.

4

“Really, I’m supposed to defend this with ten minutes?” Clevedon’s own Stuart Iles (right) bagged the grading prize with 3/5.

The play of the day has to go to the one and only opening theoretician Dave Tipper, who delivered – wait for it – a smothered mate on the board, afterwards explaining to the crowd that the particular gambit line inevitably led to a smooth kingside attack.

Personally, I practice the 5-move smothered mate combination before every chess game (it’s just that satisfying) but as yet have not been able to use it. Dave beat me to it in heroic fashion…

5

The inimitable Nh6 double-check, followed up by the lunge Qg8+!! And the knight returns to f7 to ‘smothermate’ the king.

6

Huzzah!

Thanks to Steve Woolgar for a great effort getting this tournament back on the calendar and a great night of gambiteering – let’s hope some of them work their way into league repertoires this season.


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Mike Harris

Mike is a regular pretender in Bristol’s top division and can also be seen propping up local tournament ladders. He writes a regular column for the Bristol Chess Times and plays a solid 20 openings a season.

Problems in August with GM Chris Jones

There has always been some overlap between the world of chess playing and the world of solving chess problems. John Nunn and Jonathan Mestel hold the GM title for each. International chess problem solving competitions these days are organized in much the same way as international playing tournaments, with ELO solving grades, title norms, etc.. The G.B. team, headed by those two GMs, tend to do well and, with sponsorship from Winton Capital, are competing in the World Championships in Dresden from 7th to 9th August.

If you want to get a flavour of the sort of problems you face in such solving contests try your hand at this one. Composed by Yves Cheyan in 1992, it’s mate in 2 – i.e., find the only move that forces mate next move. It was used in a solving competition organized by the British Chess Problem Society (BCPS) in Nottingham earlier this year.

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One’s eye is drawn to the potential for moves by the c5R, but problems rarely have a checking key, and all the moves by the c5R fail to force mate next move.

A subtler approach is 1.Rhh5. Now, with a new guard provided for d5, moves by the c5R on the c-file are threatened. But 1…Qb7! successfully defends.

The key is 1.e4! (Could be the title for an openings book…) After this key (threat 2.Rc3), the defences and their refutations show the potential scope of most of the pieces in a different light – 1…Bd3+ 2.Rcc2; 1…fxe e.p. 2.Nb3; 1…Nd3 2.Nc2; 1…Bc4 2.Rd5; 1…Kd3 or c3 2.Rc3.

One more problem, also from that solving event in Nottingham. This time it’s a selfmate in 2 – i.e., White has to find the only move after which every black reply enables White to force Black to mate him on his second move. (By G. Thomas, it was published in 1980.)

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If it were Black to move then after moves of the black bishop White would capture it and then Black would have to play 2…Ra1#. Note particularly 1…Be4 2.Nxe4 and 1…Bxe6 2.Qxe6, because inspection reveals that there isn’t any way in which White, to play, can fully preserve the status quo, and we’re going to have to change those two responses. The key is in fact 1.Ne2!, which has a threat, 2.Qc4+, after which 2…Kxc4 would now be mate (since 1.Ne2 has neutralized the guards of both the c3N and the h2R). It would be 2.Qc4+ that White would now have to play after 1…Be4. All but one of the other captures of the bB are as before, but the shining exception is 1…Bxe6 2.Qc2+!!. Two ‘!’s because I particularly like the fact that after 2…bxc2 the black bishop now guards the a2R! It’s this sort of imagination-stretching feature that can make solving such a pleasure.

Final Position Below (editors note – Very nice!)

solution

If you want to try your hand at solving, there are always problems on the BCPS website – www.theproblemist.org.


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Chris Jones

Chris holds the Grandmaster title for Chess Problem Composition and uses his skills to write a regular column for the Bristol Chess Times.  He is also a  longterm Horfield Chess Club player (where he is acting secretary).

Bristol juniors compete on the national chess stage

The UK Chess Challenge is a National competition for school children across the country. Starting back in September with over 40,000 participants, we are pleased to report a number of talented juniors from the Bristol league have made it to the finals. The Bristol Chess Times spoke to John Stubbs from Downend & Fishponds chess club to learn about the striking performance from our local juniors.

Beginning in local school tournaments and then moving onto a series of regional and national finals the UK Chess Challenge is the largest chess competition for juniors in the UK.  From a field of 40,000 children, no less than four juniors from the Bristol & District league have qualified for the final top 200 places in the upcoming national Terafinal weekend competition, the culmination of the UK chess challenge! Across a range of age categories these daring youngsters have succeeded at the local heats, regional Megafinals and finally the Northern and Southern Gigafinals. The Gigafinals were recently held on the 16th and 23rd of July.

We are pleased to pass on our congratulations to:

  • Kandara Acharya (U9) of North Bristol CC for finishing first in her section of the Northern Gigafinal;
  • Toby Kan (U11) of Downend & Fishponds CC for finishing third in his section in the Northern Gigafinal;
  • Chirag Hosdurga (U12) of North Bristol CC for finishing second in his section in the Southern Gigafinal;
  • Oliver Stubbs (U15) of Downend & Fishponds CC for finishing second in his section of the Southern Gigafinal.

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I have included some photos from the finals including one of Oliver drawing with a 178 graded opponent and then analysing with International Master Mike Basman. A great showing but also perhaps a stark warning for those daring to cross swords with these young chess players in the upcoming new season.  Under estimate them at your peril!

Photo one,Mike Basman

The Terafinal Final is being held on the 12th and 13th August at Daventry and we wish all the Bristol players good luck!


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

South Bristol Rapidplay

A wonderful day long chess tournament that will tide over serious players whilst we wait for the new league season to begin. A healthy 25 minutes each ensures a high standard of chess is possible but then so are horrific blunders…

Although still relatively young in terms of years on the circuit, the South Bristol CC Rapidplay is a really enjoyable local tournament that sprung up a few years a go.  I’ve always thought it came at exactly the right place in the chess calendar when most league players are starting to turn their gaze towards the upcoming new season at the beginning of September.

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It is a six round rapidplay with the first round beginning at 10am.  Its £15 to enter (£12 for under 16s) and one the day entries are accepted.  South Bristol CC are always welcoming so if your are thinking about joining the Bristol & District chess league then this tournament is a nice stepping stone and welcome insight to competitive league chess.  The competition will be fierce and fun but perhaps most importantly the tea and coffee is free!

The South Bristol Rapidplay is at Whitchurch Folk House, East Dundry Road, Bristol, BS14 0LN on Saturday 12th August. Entry forms are on the main chessit.co.uk website. Contact Roy Day for any questions or applications: royday39@yahoo.co.uk.

Hopefully see you there!

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mecircle

Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

 

 

Gambit night is back!

Its a well known fact that Gambit Night is one of the crazier nights in the Bristol chess calendar. This fun night from North Bristol Chess Club is rapidly becoming a summer tradition so the Bristol Chess Times endeavoured to find out some more.

Im ashamed to say that Gambit Night is the only Bristol Tournament I have never played in after 13yrs in the league.  Its not a deliberate thing, more a timing issue over the summer months as I’ve often been away or unavailable. So what is Gambit night?

Gambit Night is an evening of blitz with a twist.  At the start of every game the players choose a card with a random gambit written on it. The players are forced to set up the board from the position on the card and then the clocks are started (10 minutes)! Im told that much crazy crazy play follows and it is especially a great leveller between players of different skill. For a league that prides itself on a very high standard of serious chess, the North Bristol CC Gambit Night provides a well established tradition of tongue in cheek chess with a healthy dose of fun (and swearing).  To top it all off the North Bristol crew only charge a modest £3 charge for a full evening of gambit mayhem. Bargain!

To honour this upcoming crazy night in the Bristol chess calendar I decided to look at some dubious gambits with a Bristol twist.  Lets start with “The Clifton Gambit” which stems from a correspondence match between Clifton and Dublin chess clubs in the 19th century.  It took me a while to translate this gambit from the old style notation recorded on the Clifton website and to be honest was left a little cold with its lack of immediate craziness.

The Clifton Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2. f4 pxp 3. Be2?!

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Just what exactly is white gaining from this move?  A quick scan of the statistics shows white scores 51% whilst the computer shows  a score of -1.2 so quite frankly I’m unimpressed.  If you are going to gambit then atleast lets get some dynamic compensation going.  Maybe I’m missing something…

In my quest for a crazy dynamic gambit I was reminded of Horfield’s Mike Harris (Bristol Chess Times first correspondent who will be attending Gambit night and reporting back on his findings) love of the Latvian.  Mike will literally play anything in the Latvian so I’ve just chosen the best gambit I could find with the stupidest name.  Ladies and Gentlemen I give you The Lobster Gambit.

The Lobster Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2.nf3 f5 3. g4?!

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Lovely stuff! Now thats a gambit I can get behind! What a lovely claw shape! Heres hoping North Bristol CC are paying attention and add this crustacean to their deck of gambit cards in the next couple of days.

Ill be honest that my knowledge of Bristolian themed gambits is limited so I welcome any thoughts from longer serving league members than myself.  The final (tenuous) Bristolian connection I could find was the Wing Gambit of the Bishops opening, purely based on Bristol’s proud aeronautical heritage with Conchord. Like I said tenuous.

The Wing Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 b4

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This remarkable move scores a nice healthy 60% with white (from 94 games) and only scores -0.52 with computer analysis.  Dare I say that in the context of a standard club player, then this might actually be sound?! Heres hoping for picking this card at Gambit Night!

So that ends our tour of Bristol themed gambits.  Im sure more knowledgable heads than me may have other crazy lines with a west country twist so feel free to leave a comment below!

Gambit Night is on the 3rd August this year at the Ratepayers Arms, Filton.  The first round starts at 19:45 and entries are accepted on the night. Any questions (and special thanks) can be directed to Steve Woolgar: knightskies@sky.com.

Lets go burn some pawns!


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.