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).

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.