Games: Chess

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The Independent Culture
THE 49TH Paignton Congress is under way at Oldway Mansion in Paignton and will continue till Saturday. Though entries are slightly up overall, the Premier itself is somewhat weaker than usual; the most notable absentee is Keith Arkell, who has taken first place, shared or by himself, on nine previous occasions. But paradoxically (or rather, logically) this has only increased the excitement in a much more open contest.

After just two rounds, every one of the 30 competitors had dropped at least half a point, leaving no fewer than 15 - half the field - equal first on 1.5/2. Serious culling in the third round on Tuesday reduced these to just three: P. Hempson, M. White and R. Barton.

Fairly unusual at the top level, Alekhine's Defence (1 e4 Nf6) nevertheless has some devoted followers (I used it in anger for the first time in more than 20 years in my first game with Pablo Ricardi at Las Vegas - which ended in a draw). It has had several outings at Paignton this time, including these two on Tuesday.

Although 15 ...Nxe5?! looked promising in the diagram 15 ...Qd5 was much safer, threatening both ...Qxf3 and ...Qxa2. If then 16 Qxa4 Qxf3; or 16 Be2 Qxa2; or 16 Ke2 Bxc3 17 bxc3 Nxe5, when 18 dxe5? loses to Qxd1+ 19 Qxd1 Nxc3+; however 16 Kf2 Nxc3 17 bxc3 Bxc5! and, eg, 18 Be2 is not very clear.

Not 22 Bd3? Nb2 23 Bg5 Rd5! (avoiding 23 ...Rxd3+? 24 Kc2) and taking the bishop next move. But at the end, White could have played on with 25 Ke1 Rd1+ 26 Kf2.

White: D. Hodge

Black: J. Menadue

Paignton 1999

White got a good pawn structure after 18 a4 but 20 Qf4 was very casual - 20 Re3 was sensible. 21 h3 was still fine but it was only after 22 Rf1?? thatWhite was lost.

White: J.C. Cock Black: R.H. Pearce

,ab , b

nhns,hnh

,f,h, ,

, N N ,

fc N , ,

, V CH,

HNS, , N

, ,GZD,G

1 e4 Nf6

2 e5 Nd5

3 d4 d6

4 c4 Nb6

5 f4 Bf5

6 Nc3 dxe5

7 fxe5 Nc6

8 Be3 e6

9 Nf3 Bg4

10 Qd2 Qd7

11 Qf2 0-0-0

12 Rd1 Bb4

13 c5 Na4

14 Qc2 Bxf3

15 gxf3 (see

diagram)

15 ...Nxe5?!

16 dxe5 Qxd1+

17 Qxd1 Rxd1+

18 Kxd1 Nxb2+

19 Kc2 Bxc3

20 Kxc3 Nd1+

21 Kd2 Rd8+

22 Ke2 Nc3+

23 Kf2 Nd1+

24 Ke2 Nc3+

1/2-1/2

1 e4 Nf6

2 e5 Nd5

3 d4 d6

4 c4 Nb6

5 Nf3 g6

6 Nc3 Bg7

7 exd6 cxd6

8 Be3 0-0

9 Be2 Nc6

10 0-0 Bg4

11 b3 e5

12 dxe5 Bxf3

13 Bxf3 Nxe5

14 Rc1 Qd7

15 Bxb6 Nxf3+

16 Qxf3 Bxc3!

17 Rxc3 axb6

18 a4 Rfe8

19 Rd1 Ra5

20 Qf4 Rae5

21 g3? Qh3!

22 Rf1?? Re1

23 Rc1 Qxf1 Checkmate!

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