September 2017 Review

Winter is soon upon us, but at least that means chess is kicking off all over Bristol! The first month has already seen 50+ league matches full of blunders, brilliancies, a swindle here and there and a few shock results. We bring you a league recap, an update on our own predictions and our very first Game of the Month.

Division 1

All teams are now out of the blocks, even the students are back in town and began with the first drawn match of div 1 (they’ve always been a very drawish team…). Meanwhile Horfield B have been so keen to take themselves out of potential relegation talks that they have climbed all the way to the top of the table (6pts/4). However, lurking on 100% are Downend B and Bristol Chess Times’ favourites for the title, Clifton A. Some top clashes coming in October…

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Division 2

Again soundly on target for our prediction, South Bristol B are sitting on top with 6pts/3 and a consistent 4 gamepoints per match, thanks to a great start by Neville Senior and the rapidly improving Dorota Pacion. Grendel and Horfield C are also on 100% so far, and still very early days for the whole table – with A, B, C and D teams present division 2 never rests!

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Division 3

If division 1 and 2 have been making it look like we know what we are talking about at the Bristol Chess Times, Div 3 has been very accommodating, with Yate and Keynsham taking the early lead. However, our ‘Dark Horse’ prediction of Hanham is looking less good with an unfortunate 0pts/3 but still early days in the season.

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Division 4

It might be a stretch to say this one is going to plan – but the revamped North Bristol B (2pts/1 and our pick for runner-up) are the only team on 100%… just saying… Nevertheless it is wide open already, and more importantly bursting at the seams with 12 teams this year. A possible resurgence of division 5 on the way soon? October should bring a bit of clarity to the tables – or perhaps more complications – you never know with chess.

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September 2017 Game of the Month

Our first ever Game of the Month goes to… [drumroll]… young Aron Saunders from Downend – in his debut game!

Aron Saunders vs. Peter Strong – Play through full game

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A swarming kingside attack earns the first Bristol Chess Times Game of the Month Award for September.

No doubt the (slightly older) more experienced members of the club looked on thinking ‘slow down!’ but secretly harked back to a time when they could attack with the speed and finesse that Aron showed in this game. Junior chess in general at both Downend and Clevedon in particular has some fantastic support from club members and it will be great to see its future influence on the league, including more battles like this one. It starts with Peter’s bishop+knight taking on f2, winning a rook+pawn for the trouble – a typical exchange in which material is equal but creates imbalance on the board. Spotting the resulting weakness in the opponent’s kingside, Aron launches an attack and offers a series of no less than four ‘Greek gifts’ – I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a flourishing sequence:

Firstly, 12. Bf6! can’t be taken because of the well-placed knight ready to jump in and fork king and queen. A good example of tactics supporting strategy. Secondly, the knight sortie via a check on e7 settles on f5 for more attacking potential – the bishop still can’t be taken because of the new threat of Qxh6+ and mate on g7.

Third, the other knight sacrifices itself the next move – again granting the queen access to h6 or g5 is much more important than a minor piece. And finally the odd-looking but in fact very swift 18.Nh7! which finally defends the bishop, and whether the knight is taken or not, the Queen has a clear path to h6. This forced a last-ditch queen sacrifice but it wasn’t enough this time. Downend F won the match 2.5-1.5 , well played to all!

If you would like to see a game or part of a game featured here, please get in touch with us. Great attacks, stoic defences, double-edged draws or just amusing positions – whatever makes a good read.

(editors note – Our thanks to Ian Pickup of Downend & Fishponds Chess Club for submitting Aron’s game.  Good luck to everyone in the league in October!)


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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 October with GM Jones

One of the pleasures of composing problems is to send them to overseas magazines and websites and then to receive feedback both from solvers and, in due course, from judges. Generally, an expert judge assesses all the problems in a particular genre published in a particular period and then produces his award. For instance the helpmates published in 2015-16 in the Danish problem magazine were recently judged, and you might like to look at a couple of the successful problems.

First, a word about helpmates. In many ways of all the problem genres they are at the furthest extreme from over-the-board play; and yet anecdotally I gather that they are the problems that most often entice players into an interest in problems. (I was a case in point.) In a helpmate, the ‘players’ conspire together to reach a position in which Black is mated. If you are already familiar with helpmates you may like to have a go at solving these two, though the second one would tax even an experienced solver!

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Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen (a strong player and composer of studies, I believe)
Helpmate in 3
2nd Honourable Mention, Problem-skak 2015-16

We are looking for a BWBWBW sequence landing Black in mate. There’s only one way to do it. Composers generally have in mind a theme for their problems (puzzle element on its own isn’t enough for a good helpmate), and in this case the composer set himself the task of having five consecutive line openings, as follows (remember, Black plays first): 1.Qxf5 d4 2.Bc1 Rb3 3.Bd1 Bxf5#.

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Henry Tanner
Helpmate in 6 and 1/2 moves – two solutions
Prize, Problem-skak 2015-16

Most of the time Black moves first in helpmates, but sometimes the composer’s idea works best if he starts with a white move – hence in this case “6 and 1/2”: we begin with a white move and thereafter Black and White alternate moves six times to reach the mate position. What’s more, this time there are two solutions. Composers like to spice up their problems by having two solutions which either are strongly complementary or radically different. (Whichever, it’s important to minimize the same moves cropping up in both solutions.)

In this case, it’s two radically different solutions. And you might think that the composer fails my test of showing a theme. On the other hand though, solutions as long as these can show a lot of interesting play in themselves (remember: the move orders have to be absolutely forced) and here we get two interesting solutions for the price of one! Also, as the judge commented, “the opening moves to b3 and h8 … add a welcome unifying factor”. So, here goes:

1…Kb3 2.Bh8 Kc4 3.Kg7 Kxd4 4.Kf6 Kxe3 5.Ke5 Kd2 6.Kd4 e4 7.Be5 Nb3# and
1…Nb3 2.Kh8 Nd2 3.exd2 e4 4.d1R e5 5.Rg1 exf6 6.Rg7 f7 7.Rh7 f8Q#.

Well, OK, the move …e4 did crop up both times, but for different reasons… I especially like the first solution, but the second, with its intricate precision, also has its charms.

If you are interested to look at other problems in this genre, or in any others (some traditional, some very non-traditional), you may like to visit the website of the British Chess Problem Society.


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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).

Revisiting the Bristol Chess Times 25 years on

Twenty five years after he became editor, Horfield’s John Richards digs up his first copy of the Bristol Chess Times from 1992.

Twenty five years ago this month, I was the new editor of the Bristol Chess Times. I switched the production to being totally computer-based for the first time, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Layout was done in Microsoft Word on a PC running Windows 3.1, then printed on a laser printer. The pages were taken to an agency for photocopying, picked up a few days later, folded and collated, stapled and put in envelopes for posting. It was a lot of work to produce about 100 copies of a 16 page issue every two months.

Now we are used to having results and tables on tap, but back then, the website was still 4 or 5 years away. I would drop in on Chris Carter, the Match Secretary, and copy the results and tables by hand, then take them back home and type them in.

Here is my first issue, number 89, September 1992. It has articles on the debate about the introduction of a game fee, the controversy over introducing quickplay finishes, Alan Ashby’s Memorable Games, and a lot more. I hope you enjoy it.

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John Richards

John has been playing for Horfield for longer than anyone else cares to remember (but was actually 1983). Never quite managing to get to a 180 grade, he is resigned to the fact that he probably never will. He set up the original Bristol League website and has been, at various times League General Secretary, Recruitment and Publicity, Chess Times Editor, Bristol 4NCL Manager and an ECF Arbiter. 

 

Bristol represents at the English Rapidplay Championship in Liverpool

Here is little report from The English Rapidplay Championship at the weekend of the 23rd September. It was held at the Cunard Building on Liverpool waterfront. This inaugural event was sponsored by Signature Living with an overall prize fund of £10,000!

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If you needed somebody then Help was on hand throughout the weekend… (ahem)

There were several Fide sections and other Junior events over the weekend. With over 230 entrants it was a busy schedule. In the Open section there were several G.M’s and I.M’s, with a strong field of over 50 players. The main Rapidplay Championships were held over Saturday and Sunday with 9 rounds in all sections. (25mins plus 10 sec increments).

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A beautiful venue with a remarkable prize fund!

From Bristol and Bath we were represented by four juniors Oliver Stubbs (Standard 1600 section), Kandara Archarya and Samir Khan (under 12 section), Dwiti Kandara (Under 8’section).

  • Oliver Stubbs 8/9 – English Rapidplay ‘Standard’ Champion (Well Done! – editors note)
  • Samir Khan 4/5 – Joint 2nd Under 12’s
  • Kandara Archarya 2/5
  • Dwiti Archarya – 4/9 Under 8’s

It was a great event, held in a majestic venue, with fantastic surroundings.

The Open Section’s two stand out players were G.M Daniel Gormally, and I.M Ahmeet Ghasi. Both were unbeaten over their 9 rounds. Thankfully nobody was wearing shorts, and in the end D. Gormally came through to secure the Open Championship with a fine score of 8/9.

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Prize giving to GM Gormally.

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Top boards pondering (its a technical term)

In the Standard Section Oliver Stubbs had a great weekend remaining unbeaten over the weekend and winning his section with also of 8/9. It was a real test of endurance for Oli, and there were a few nervy moments. However, he won his last round to finish a clear winner by 1.5 points.

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Oli collecting his prize (photo credit to Liverpool Chess Club)

Samir Khan had a great tournament, and his section came down to the last round where he was just pipped to the post for first place

I really recommend the event for next year. A great location, and significant prize money! All sections were very exciting with many many games coming down just to increment play…. and blunders galore !

John and Geoff

John and Geoff enjoy a friendly on a beautiful chess set.


 

John Stubbs

John plays for Downend & Fishponds Chess Club.  He is also responsible for reporting on junior chess for the league, running the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay and is a regular contributor to the Bristol Chess Times.

Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay – 28th October 2017

With the season well underway, it is always a refreshing break to play some shorter rapid games, take on new opponents from outside of the league, and have fun kibitzing between rounds. The Chipping Sodbury rapidplay is a one-day event in traditional Swiss format (each round you play opponents on similar scores to you) with 3 grading sections (Open, U155 and U125 ecf grade).

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Graham Mill-Wilson received much praise for running so many Bristol tournaments over many years, and recently moved away from Bristol, leaving everyone wondering what would happen to the Bristol tournament scene. (Read Graham’s fitting report from his last ever ‘CS Rap’ here).

Thankfully Downend’s John Stubbs has volunteered to take this one on – and there are some welcome plans for the future:

  • Firstly, the event will be catered for the first time! I think it’s fair to say that Chipping Sodbury is a quaint and charming town, but lacks the breadth of lunch options Bristolians may be accustomed to – or that a chess player needs to refuel after 3 intense rounds of rapidplay. There will be homemade sandwiches, cakes, and other snacks, as well as tea and coffee available.
  • Secondly, following the league’s footsteps, the timing will include increments. 20 minutes for the whole game, plus 5 seconds per move – in an effort to avoid ‘time scrambles’. No doubt this may cause a bit of a headache for arbiter Geoff Gammon when that awkward 100+ move game arises, encroaching on the next round.
  • Thirdly, there is a £100 top prize guaranteed in the open section, without any change to the other prizes (runners up, grading, and junior).

These 3 changes should make a big difference in participation – it is great to see more new players, including many juniors, entering tournaments and should ensure their continued presence on the calendar. The plan is that the rapidplay can be run consistently twice a year (as it was until a few years back) and will be FIDE rated pretty soon (n.b. on this October edition, it is ECF rated only).

For those partaking – points also count towards the Bristol Grand Prix (we should really explain what the Bristol Grand Prix is at some point – editors note) of which the current standings will be available on the day.

I will be official photographer for the day – as well as playing in the open section. I expect the competition to be very tough, and given that my rapid rating qualifies me for the major as well I will not be one of the favourites… possibly even the bottom seed! Nevertheless let’s hope for good weather and great games in all 3 sections.

You can find the download the entry form, or contact John (07876 326935 / email jcdstubbs@yahoo.co.uk) for any queries.

See you there!


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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 September with GM Jones

As I mentioned last time, in early August the British solving team were competing in the World Solving Championships in Dresden. They did very well, but were ‘pipped at the post’.

In the individual event, John Nunn, a GM both as a player and as a solver, was narrowly beaten by many-times-World-Champion Piotr Murdzia of Poland. And there was a similar story in the ‘main event’, the team championships, with the Poland team pushing GB (three playing GMs, John Nunn, Jonathan Mestel and Colin McNab, with Ian Watson as captain and reserve solver) into second place. Still, GB finished ahead of many strong teams; it was a highly creditable performance. Since acquiring some years ago sponsorship from Winton Capital Management we’ve been able to send our strongest team to such events and it’s nice to know that we have a good chance of at least being in a medal position in them.

The team championships are spread over two days and comprise six rounds, each focussed on a different type of chess composition, sat in exam conditions. Solvers are challenged to solve quickly but accurately – the problems selected are ones that are far from straightforward. The first round is devoted to ‘mate in 2’ problems. Here is one of the problems:

 

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Arthur F. Mackenzie, 1st Prize, Sydney Morning Herald 1905
The bK is well hemmed in, but immediate battery checks fail – if the Nc3 moves then Black can play 1…Kxd5, and after 1.c6+ he has 1…Bc5. So it’s a safe bet that White will make a threat that isn’t related to these batteries and that in defending against that threat it will become possible to play a battery mate. The key is 1.Na3!, threatening 2.Nc2. Now Black has various checking defences. If he plays 1…Rxd5+ he’ll no longer have the resource 2…Kxd5, so the cross-check 2.Ncb5 is mate. If he plays the d7R to d6 or e7 he’ll no longer have 2…Bc5, so the cross-check 2.c6 mates. The key not only leaves the e3R en prise, it leaves it en prise with check, but then the cross-check 2.Ne4! (an indirect use of the a1B’s battery) is mate. Finally, there’s 1…Rh2 2.Re4.
The second round features 3-movers. Here solvers have to be particularly careful because unlike the 2-mover round (in which they only have to give the key move) they have to spot all Black’s defences and give the second moves by White that refute these defences. Consider this one:
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Jan Hlineny, 1st Prize, Cesky spolek sachovni v Praze 1891
If you take up solving seriously I think that there is more work to do familiarizing yourself with the approach to mates in more than 2 than to mates in 2 (where possibilities for mate are immediately apparent). Here, the key is I think difficult to spot because it has a quiet, non-spectacular threat (the spectacular comes later!). That’s not to deny though that the key is attractive because 1.Ra7! creates two flights for the bK. The threat is the mundane 2.Rxd7 – if Black allows this then he is simply cornered and unable to prevent mate next move.
So one defence is 1…d6. The response to this is again hard to find if you’re expecting sparkling tactics: after the prosaic 2.Ke3! Black simply can’t prevent mate next move. But what about 1…d5, after which 2.Ke3 can be met by 2…d4+? Well, now 2.Nec6+! works; with d5 occupied, 2…Ke4 is met by 3.Qxh7. Finally, the spectacular bit – if 1…Kd6 then with a flourish you can play 2.Qe6!. For full marks solvers had to see all this. They weren’t required to say that after 1…Kd4 or 1…Kf6 the threat 2.Rxd7(+) still works, though they will have had to reassure themselves that this is indeed the case after the new possibilities for Black’s second move.
And after solving the 2-movers and 3-movers, solvers will have still had the daunting prospect of helpmates, selfmates, studies, etc., ahead of them… Rather them than me!

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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).

2017 / 18 Review & Predictions

Blink and the summer is gone and yet another Bristol & District Chess League season is upon us. Ahead of all the excitement kicking off next week, Bristol Chess Times looks ahead and offers our thoughts on the coming battles…

Four divisions, 41 teams and over 300 players will soon collide in a maelstrom of broken pawns and splintered boards (ok I might be over egging it somewhat but there are some very competitive Bristolians’ out there).  Thats right its the start of the 2017/18 Bristol & District Chess League!

Last season Downend & Fishponds Chess Club walked to three of the four available titles so it remains to be seen whether they can continue to hold on to all the silverware.  Here are my top picks for the coming season.

Division 1

Last year Downend cantered into Christmas on the back of eight straight wins which meant that even when they took their foot of the gas in the second half of the season they could still cruise to the title.  However, putting last year to one side, in recent times the top division has been very close and its interesting to note the lesser teams are also getting stronger, meaning dropped points away to Bath, University, Clevedon and the B teams is a distinct possibility.

  • ChampionsClifton A: Out of the mix in the last couple of seasons but still a very strong side with strength across their top 12 boards. Consistency could drive them to the top.
  • Runners UpDownend & Fishponds A: The summer has not been kind and they are not the powerhouse of last year with lots of big money transfers to the London leagues. Whilst always dangerous, I can’t see them bringing their top game every week.
  • Dark HorsesHorfield A: Have been sniffing around the title and I often feel are the Bristol chess equivalent of Liverpool FC.  They were great in the 80’s, beat the big clubs all the time and then lose to Barnsley.  But one of these years…

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Will International Master Chris Beaumont help Clifton steal the title back of Downend? 

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Or will the sassy, free flowing attacking style of Horfield finally deliver a first league title since 2001?

Division 2

Perhaps the bloodiest of the Divisions with high quality chess littered with late night blunders.  I love Division 2, quirks and all! Notoriously hard to call each year unless a big name club dropped out of Division 1 the year before, here are my predictions:

  • ChampionsSouth Bristol B: A strong squad that can turn out week in, week out will ensure that South Bristol B will compete in every match this year.  You won’t see many default points and that can be the difference in the long bloody slog that the quest for the Division 2 title can become.  South Bristol B by a whisker!
  • Runner UpNorth Bristol A: A club on the up, North Bristol have a new name and a raft of new players.  Think Manchester City FC circa 2008. I don’t believe they will have the ability to sculpt a title winning squad in their first season since big change arrived at the club but they will hound their neighbours from South of the river all the way and might just get rewarded with a place at the top table in 2018/19.
  • Dark HorsesCabot: Simply because Bedminster is surely the sleeping giant of the Bristol Chess scene?! With the rest of the division taking lumps out of each other, Cabot could easily cruise along in the chasing pack until the closing days of the season.  Ones to watch, mark my words!

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With a new stadium this year, will Cabot CC rise up to be the powerhouse of chess Bedminster has needed for so long?

Division 3

The trickiest Division to predict in my opinion given the almost yearly injection of fresh blood as clubs promote from their junior ranks and new starters typically add to the element of the unknown. Anyway here we go…

  • ChampionsYate A: Maybe its just me but I struggle playing Yate A.  Well drilled, strength from Board 1 to 6, never give up.  All the attributes of a side that can have the stamina and grit to dig out a title push.  They are nearly always in the top 3 of the division and its about time they sealed the silverware.
  • Runners UpKeynsham: Relegated from Division 2 last year, Im predicting an instant return for this little club to the South East of the city. Experienced league players who will likely be unfazed against any juniors or  newcomers to the league means I predict Keynsham will tick over the points nicely.  Only strength in depth makes me question whether they can claim the Division 3 title.
  • Dark HorsesHanham: There are atleast four other clubs in the Division who on their day could string a run of results together but I’m going to plumb for Hanham based on their experience in the Division.  They have been in the Division for a while without threatening so maybe this could be their year.

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With only 9 teams and a raft of equally matched teams, Division 3 could be a very hard league to predict this year.

Division 4

A massive 12 teams are competing this year in Division 4 which is encouraging signs for the strength of the league and the clubs more junior / newcomer ranks.

  • ChampionsDownend F: Simply because Downend & Fishponds have one of the best setups in the league for junior chess, I have to go for the team that will be coached and watched over by the talented folk at Downend.  Im thinking Alan Hansen “you win nothing with kids” era Manchester United FC. Go for it!
  • Runners UpNorth Bristol B: As already stated, they have a raft of new players and grand ambitions.  Expect them (or their C team) to push all the way.
  • Dark HorsesUniversity B: Always an unknown quantity depending on freshers week so it would be daft not to consider the University B team from throwing a spanner into the works of the Division 4 title.

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North Bristol Chess Club could well prove to be the “elephant in the room” in this years chess season (Ahem)

So there we go! We will check back at the end of the year to see how many of my 12 predictions came true.  I hope you have enjoyed our (slightly tongue in cheek) review of the upcoming season and are feeling as excited as I am about your clubs and your own chances. If you have any predictions of your own then please leave them in the comments below.

Good luck to everyone playing this year!


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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.

From the Front Line: Steve Boniface Memorial Congress 2017

Eighty eight contestants battled it out across three days and hundreds of games at this years Steve Boniface Memorial Congress. Fresh off the bank holiday weekend, we report on the winners as well as look at some strange goings on with 170 move games…

This years Steve Boniface Memorial Congress was an enjoyable affair. The fantastic weather meant that even those who crashed early on in their games could still walk around with a smile on their faces whilst they waited for the next round (well I did at least). But enough about the weather, lets crack on to the winners.

The FIDE Open (28 entrants) was won by 4th seed Koby Kalavannan (213 ECF, Coulsden Chess Federation).  After taking a bye in round 1, Koby took no prisoners and won four games on the bounce to finish clear top with 4.5 out of 5.  His impressive victory included the scalps of two titled players, WCM Lynda Smith and IM Chris Beaumont. A full link to the cross tables for the Open can be found here.

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The final round battle for the Open title.  Koby Kalvannan (right) took the win against Ashley Stewart to score an impressive 4.5 / 5.

With so many top level games in flight its difficult to pull out highlights, although I’m sure many players will find it hard to forget the 170 move marathon in round 2 between Adam Musson (white) and Ashley Stewart (black) which (thanks to the increment) actually carried on into the start of the next round! Remarkable stamina from both players but Ashley eventually won out.

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Top seeds in action!

A score of 4 out of 5 was enough to leave three players tied in first place in the Major section (29 entrants) – Stephen Williams (152 ECF, Essex), Devan Patel (146 ECF, Rushall) and Mathew Wilson (142 ECF, Cardiff). In general the Major was very tightly packed in with the top 14 players all within a point of each other.  A full link to the cross tables for the Major can be found here.

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Participants in the fiercely contested Major section.

Finally the Minor section (31 entrants) was solely won by Tomas Jankowski (122 ECF, Bristol & Clifton CC). The sole representative from a Bristol & District League club to make it to the winners podium! A full link to the cross tables for the Minor can be found here.

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Tomas Jankowski (in green t-shirt), sole winner of the Minor section on 4.5 / 5

This years Steve Boniface Memorial Congress was also the last to be organised by Alan Papier, a loyal and hard working servant of the league for many years.  In true appreciative fashion, a whip round was had in the tournament hall (when Alan wasn’t looking) and a generous presentation and round of applause made prior to the start of the last round.  Im sure many local players will wish Alan all the best and thank him for his organisational duties over the years.

He is being ably replaced by Igor Doklestic of Bristol & Clifton Chess Club who will be working with myself and the League Management Committee to ensure our local tournaments go from strength to strength.

Another great aspect of this years congress was the high attendance by juniors (thanks in  no small measure I’m sure to the excellent Chess in Schools initiative). Twenty juniors (23% of the total entrants) took part with 13 from Somerset and five actually competing in the Major section (editors note – my thanks to John Stubbs for these statistics).

Finally, Im sure all of you (ok, so a small bunch from Horfield CC maybe) are desperately wondering how my venture into the FIDE Open panned out.  I like to think…respectable.

I finished on 2.0 out of 5.0 with 1 win, 2 draws and 2 losses.  Ranked 25th out of the starting 28, my score was enough to give me a creditable joint 19th place finish.  I thoroughly enjoyed every game and can honestly say I wasn’t blown off the board at any time.  As a final teaser, I have included a position from a hard loss I experienced in Round 1 against Gareth Morris of Clifton Chess Club.  Gareth had just launched a vicious hacking attack at me resulting in a naked king with material unbalances abounding. The question is, what is blacks correct move? How to protect the king after whites last move Qh6 check. The question is one of correct strategy (that I did not adopt). I have included a link to my annotated game underneath the board.

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White has just captured blacks rook on h6.  How should black defend? (full annotated game here)

The next tournament on the Calendar is the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay on the 28th October.  But before then we have the return of the league season! Stay tuned to the Bristol Chess Times for our upcoming review of the season featuring predicted winners and losers.


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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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…

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

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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!)

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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).