Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Mate in two

The puzzle below was written in 1920 by Lionel Penrose of Colchester Chess Club. It is probably his best known puzzle and took 1st place in The Observer's puzzle competition. White to play and mate in two. Solution given in the comments section.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Rapidplay grades

The rapid play grades for active Colchester players on the July ECF Grading List are:

302172LVoelker, Norbert170E
274746HCatabay, Michael164F 
186371LStemp, Matt162E
140673FBarnes, Nathan158E150E
299554CKjenner, Svein150D151E
250046CBellinger, Clive140E
293018DJohnson, Mark117B118B
155695CDaley, Phil106E
213710ASmith, Peter99E
227455DDuff-Cole, John97E
256466LGoodman, Ed67E70E

A number of players appear on the list (or have non-F grades) for the first time.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Club competitions round-up

The 2016/17 club championship was won by Svein Kjenner, the crucial game being his win against Nathan Barnes.

Ed Goodman won the Club Shield (for best performance by a player graded under 120).

The Grand Prix (best combined score in Club Championship/Shield, Tony Locke Rapidplay and NECL matches) was won by Nathan Barnes.

Nathan also won the Tony Locke Rapidplay. Cross-table for the rapidplay competition is shown below.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

July 2017 Grades

The July 2017 ECF Grading List has been published. The standard play grades for active Colchester players are:

186371LStemp, Matt183D175D
302172LVoelker, Norbert177C174D
139627EGooding, Ian175C187C
140673FBarnes, Nathan164A156B
299554CKjenner, Svein162C157C
301977ASchnell, Felix155D155E
120924DWagstaff, Michael149C145C
250046CBellinger, Clive136C131C
155695CDaley, Phil118C113C
117812LRemmer, Brian112C108C
293018DJohnson, Mark111B113A
213710ASmith, Peter110B115B
227455DDuff-Cole, John100B95C
256466LGoodman, Ed93C88D
308949GCatrinar, Adrian73F 

A few players have increased their grades - with Matt Stemp, Nathan Barnes (both +8), Svein Kjenner, Clive Bellinger, Phil Daley, John Duff-Cole and Ed Goodman (all +5) having the most significant increases. Adrian Catrinar appears on the list for the first time.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Division 1 round-up

Both Colchester teams in Division 1 finished in the top half of the table. Colchester A finished 4th (6 wins, 1 draw, 3 defeats) with their best results being 4-0 wins against Braintree and Billericay. Overall, the A team have had a great season as they won the knockout competition but their league result was not quite as strong. There were a number of good individual performances - the A team were unbeaten on board 4 and only lost one game on board 3. Matt Stemp won all his games on the top two boards.

Colchester B finished in 6th place (with 5 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses). Their best results were a surprise 3-1 win against Writtle A and a 4-0 win against Billericay. Again there were lot of strong individual results; the B team scored more than 50% on boards 2 and 3.

The combined A/B team player statistics (by board) in the league are:

Board 1 (Total 10/20)
Nathan Barnes4/8
Matt Stemp3/3
Ian Gooding2.5/6
Svein Kjenner0.5/2
Norbert Voelker0/1

Board 2 (Total 10.5/20)
Norbert Voelker2.5/6
Matt Stemp2/2
Svein Kjenner2/2
Michael Catabay1.5/2
Mike Wagstaff1.5/3
Felix Schnell1/4
Nathan Barnes0/1

Board 3 (Total 14/20)
Svein Kjenner5.5/7
Felix Schnell3/3
Norbert Voelker2/2
Mike Wagstaff1.5/2
Nathan Barnes1/2
Matt Stemp0.5/1
Clive Bellinger0.5/2
Phil Daley0/1

Board 4 (Total 12.5/20)
Nathan Barnes5.5/6
Clive Bellinger2/4
Pete Smith1.5/3
Michael Catabay1/1
Felix Schnell1/1
Mike Wagstaff1/3
John Duff-Cole0.5/1
Phil Daley0/1

Below is the finish from the game on board 4 in the Writtle A - Colchester A; tripled pawns aren't always bad. The match finished in a draw.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.05.17"] [Round "?"] [White "Barnes, Nathan"] [Black "Forrester, Andy"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B00"] [Annotator "Barnes,Nathan"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r3r1k1/p2n1n2/1p1q1p2/3ppNp1/3P2P1/P1PP1P2/3B1Q2/R3R1K1 b - - 0 26"] [PlyCount "38"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 26... Qf8 $6 {The queen is awkwardly placed here; it looks sensible as it seems to help strengthen the defence around the king but it is almost trapped.} 27. c4 $1 a5 {Best} (27... dxc4 $2 28. Bb4 $1 {[%csl Rc5,Rd6,Re7,Rf8,Rg7,Rh6] Black has to give up a piece as his queen has no where to go.} Nc5 29. dxc5 a5 30. Bc3 bxc5 31. dxc4 $18) 28. cxd5 $14 {White has gone a pawn up, the tripled pawns are actually quite strong as they control the centre of the board.} Nd6 29. Ng3 {Re-routing the knight to e4.} b5 $6 30. Ne4 exd4 31. Qxd4 Ne5 32. Kg2 $16 {Strengthening the defence before carrying on.} Rec8 $2 (32... Nxe4 { was Black's best option, though White still has a nearly winning position.}) 33. Nxf6+ Qxf6 34. Qxe5 {Good enough} (34. Rxe5 {was slightly better than the queen capture} Rc2 35. Rd1) 34... Qxe5 35. Rxe5 Rc2 36. Re2 {with time starting to run out I decided to play simple, obvious moves that maintained the advantage.} (36. Rxg5+ {is clearly the best move.}) 36... Re8 37. Kf2 Kf7 38. Rae1 Ra2 $2 39. Bxa5 $1 Rxa3 40. Bb4 Rxe2+ 41. Rxe2 Ra6 42. Re6 Ra2+ 43. Ke3 Ne8 $2 (43... Nc8 44. Rc6 Ra8 (44... Na7 45. Rc7+ Ke8 46. Bc5) 45. Kd4) 44. Re7+ Kf8 45. Ra7+ 1-0

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Division 2 round-up

Colchester C finished in 6th place (out of 7) in NECL Division 2; with three wins, four draws and five defeats in the league. Positions 3 to 6 were very close together in this division, so the C team were not far away from finishing 3rd - despite having a low average grade compared to most of the other teams in the division. The team scored particularly well on board 1.

The player statistics (by board) are:

Board 1 (Total 8/12)
Mike Wagstaff5.5/8
Clive Bellinger2/2
Felix Schnell1/2

Board 2 (Total 3.5/12)
Clive Bellinger2.5/7
Brian Remmer0.5/1
Pete Smith0.5/2
Phil Daley0/2

Board 3 (Total 5.5/12)
Phil Daley2.5/4
Pete Smith2/5
John Duff-Cole0/2

Board 4 (Total 5.5/12)
Pete Smith2/3
Brian Remmer1/3
Phil Daley0.5/1
John Duff-Cole0.5/2
Ed Goodman0.5/2

Below is the finish from the game played on board 1 in the match against Braintree B. Black's king is exposed and White takes advantage quickly and effectively.

[Event "League"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.03.15"] [Round "?"] [White "Wagstaff, Mike"] [Black "Delieu, Tom"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C18"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b4r/ppqk1pp1/4p1n1/3pP1Bp/2pP1P1P/P1P3Q1/2P1B1P1/R4RK1 b - - 0 16"] [PlyCount "40"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [SourceDate "2017.05.29"] 16... Kc6 17. Qf3 $1 {[%cal Re2c4]} b5 18. a4 {renewing the threat} Ba6 19. axb5+ Bxb5 20. f5 $1 exf5 (20... Nf8 21. fxe6 {wins at least a pawn} Nxe6 $2 ( 21... fxe6 22. Qf7 {not the best move, but simple and good enough} Qxf7 23. Rxf7 g6 24. Raxa7 Rxa7 25. Rxa7 Nd7 26. g4 hxg4 27. Bxg4 $18 {the extra pawn and bishop pair mean white is winning easily}) 22. Qxd5+ $1 {the queen can't be taken} Kxd5 $2 23. Bf3#) 21. Qxf5 Raf8 22. e6 Ne7 23. Bxe7 Qxe7 24. exf7 Rh6 ({the bishop is safe} 24... Qxe2 $2 25. Rfe1 $1 Qg4 26. Re6+ {and mate follows in a few moves}) 25. Bf3 Rd6 26. Bxh5 Rf6 27. Qg5 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Qxg5 29. hxg5 Kb6 30. Kf2 Bd7 31. Ke3 Bf5 32. g6 Bxc2 33. Kf4 Be4 34. g3 Ra8 35. Ke5 Kc6 36. Rxa7 1-0

Monday, 29 May 2017

Division 3 round-up

Colchester D finished in 6th place (out of 11) in NECL Division 3, with four wins, one draw and five defeats in the league. Their 3-1 win in the final match of the season moved them up from 9th. The team's best result of the season was probably a 2.5-1.5 win against Braintree C, despite having an average grade 32 points lower than that of their opponents.

The player statistics (by board) are:

Board 1 (Total 4/10)
Phil Daley1.5/2
Brian Remmer1/2
Pete Smith0.5/4

Board 2 (Total 4.5/10)
Brian Remmer1.5/2
John Duff-Cole1.5/2
Pete Smith1/1
Phil Daley0.5/1
Mark Johnson0/3

Board 3 (Total 4.5/10)
John Duff-Cole4/6
Ed Goodman0.5/3

Board 4 (Total 4/10)
Adrian Catrinar2/6
Ed Goodman1/1

Below is a game from the match against the Division 3 winners, Clacton C. Annotations are by Mark.

[Event "NECL Division 3"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.03.14"] [Round "?"] [White "Johnson, Mark"] [Black "Ciorga, Marek"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "113"] [BlackElo "124"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 c5 5. cxd5 {after the exchanges in the centre my opponent will be left with an isolated pawn to attack.} exd5 { Alternatively} (5... cxd4 6. dxe6 Bxe6 7. Qxd4 {leaves me a pawn up}) (5... Nxd5 6. e4 {gives me nice quick development}) 6. Bg2 Be7 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O O-O 9. b3 {looking to control d4 and stop his pawn advancing, makes sense to put the bishop on b2} Re8 10. Bb2 Ng4 11. Nd4 {I was pleased with this move, putting the knight on a central outpost and blocking both his his bishop and pawn, alternatively} (11. e3 Nxf2 12. Rxf2 (12. Kxf2 $4 Bxe3+ 13. Ke2 Bd4+ 14. Kd2 Bxb2 $19) 12... Bxe3 {this variation looked quite scary at the time. The computer seems to think i am fine but then again it plays much better than I do. Blacks attack looks pretty good to me.}) 11... Nc6 12. e3 a6 13. Nc3 { hitting d5} Nxd4 ({At the time I thought his best option would be} 13... Bxd4 14. exd4 Nf6 {giving up the bishop pair but saving his d5 pawn}) (13... Be6 { loses to} 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15. Qxg4) 14. exd4 Ba7 15. Nxd5 Rb8 16. Rc1 Qd6 17. h3 Nf6 18. Nxf6+ Qxf6 19. Qd2 Qg6 20. d5 $4 {Awful move, opening up the line of his bishop and allowing Qxg3 with a nasty attack on my kingside. I noticed this as soon as I pressed my clock, and spent the next few minutes with my best poker face on.} Rd8 {my opponent either doesnt notice Qxg3 or saw something i didnt} 21. Bd4 {lets try to get rid of that bishop} Bxd4 22. Qxd4 b5 23. Rfd1 Bb7 24. d6 {time to push that passed pawn!!} Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Rd7 26. Rc7 Rbd8 {neither of us apparently noticed that after} (26... Rxc7 27. dxc7 Qc6+ {picks up the pawn}) 27. Qb6 Qe4+ ({obviously if} 27... Rxd6 28. Rxd6 Rxd6 (28... Qxd6 29. Qxd6 Rxd6 30. Rc8+) 29. Qb8+ {both win instantly}) 28. Kg1 h6 29. Rxd7 Rxd7 30. Qb8+ Kh7 31. Qc8 Qe2 32. Rc1 ({At this point it still felt like i should be winning, i thought that} 32. Qxd7 Qxd1+ {would allow a perpetual check, but of course after} 33. Kh2 Qe2 34. Qxf7 {protects the f2 pawn nicely. I should have gone for this!}) 32... Qe6 33. Qxa6 Rxd6 34. Qxb5 { still a pawn up and feeling confident. Surely I can't lose?!} Rd2 {so at this point both a2 and h3 are hanging. Which do i save? The connected passed pawns look too good.} 35. a4 Qxh3 36. Qf1 $2 {a pointless backward move. a5 is much better.} Qe6 37. b4 Qe4 38. Rc4 $4 {god knows what i was thinking here, Rb1 is obvious and much better.} Qd5 39. Qb1+ g6 40. Rc1 $4 {The final mistake and a completely losing move. My plan was to bring my rook to guard f1, freeing up my queen for more active duties. Unfortunately, i have not noticed just how dangerous the semi open h-file is.} (40. Qe4 {would save the game} Rd1+ 41. Kg2 Qh5 42. Qh4 Qd5+ {with a draw by perpetual check}) 40... Qf3 41. Rf1 { protecting f1, now its just a case of pushing those passed pawns..?} Rd5 $3 { Whoops. They are going to count for nothing now, there is no good defence to 42. ...Rh5 and either 43....Rh1# or Qh1#} 0-1