Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ganger vs Armstrong

The following "Spot the Continuation" position was given in the July 2011 edition of the British Chess Magazine. Black has just blundered with 45...Bc3? Can you find a strong move for White?

5k2/2r1q3/2p2pQ1/1pP1p3/1P3PBP/2b5/3R2K1/8 w - - 0 45
5k2/2r1q3/2p2pQ1/1pP1p3/1P3PBP/2b5/3R2K1/8 w - - 0 45
I.R. Ganger vs W. Armstrong

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Knight in distress

White is threatening to capture the Black Knight, what is Black's crushing reply?
Black to move:

r6r/1p2bpk1/1q6/p2pP3/3n1P2/P1BQ4/1P4PP/R4R1K b - - 0 1
r6r/1p2bpk1/1q6/p2pP3/3n1P2/P1BQ4/1P4PP/R4R1K b - - 0 1

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WWYD? #3

Club champion Louis fought his way to this position last night and uncorked a monster move (if you'll forgive the mixed metaphors).

r2r1bk1/pp1b1p1p/1q1N1np1/4pP2/2PnP3/BPN3PP/P5BK/1R1Q1R2 w - - 0 19
r2r1bk1/pp1b1p1p/1q1N1np1/4pP2/2PnP3/BPN3PP/P5BK/1R1Q1R2 w - - 0 19

White's first move is not that hard, but can you find the crushing continuation?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Somerset Division 2: Frome vs Norton Radstock

Exactly one year ago I participated in the season's opening Division 2 match featuring Frome at home facing a weaker Norton Radstock team. To shamelessly plagiarise from an esteemed co-author it was déjà vu all over again. Needless to say the outcome was much the same as before. It seems quite clear that it's all just a little bit of history repeating.

The Frome team have swapped their boards 1 and 2 this year, owing to Chris's remarkable 18 point grading drop. The other big news is my shocking defection to the Trowbridge team. I'm sure Dave Weston is breathing a sigh of relief. Time will tell if this results in the Somerset trophy spending more time in sunny Wiltshire. Anyway, as a consequence Kevin and John moved up to boards 3 and 4 this time around.

For the visiting team boards 2 and 3 swapped places and their boards 4 and 5 swapped with entirely different people. Thus the scene was set for another unpredictable chess league offering. Norton Radstock are known for playing above expectations on occasion. They only narrowly lost the fixture last year and that was against a stronger Frome side.

Board 6 was first to finish. John Nicholls won against a Scandinavian Defence with an early outing for Black's queen. John decided to swap this off causing some damage to his own pawn formation. However the decision turned out to be a wise one, with White gaining a nice lead in development as compensation.

Chris was next to taste victory, winning a piece and the game. You can review this for yourself using the PGN viewer below. Note that Chris is an exponent of the Petroff Defence and is obviously comfortable taking either side.

Paul Humphreys proved that his defeat of Chris Purry last year was no fluke with an impressive attacking display, causing Gerry Jepps to think so hard that he forgot his queen was attacked. This was duly captured by a bemused Mr Humphreys thus causing immediate resignation. So Frome's lead was cut from 2-0 to 2-1.

Kevin had an interesting game, playing aggressively with Black against White's solid set-up. The opening and middlegame passed by without incident and the game turned into a battle of White's queen and pawn versus Black's rook, knight and bishop. Both players seemed to be uncomfortable with the unusual material imbalance. Kevin eventually broke his opponent and converted to a winning B+2P vs. 3P ending. He then proceeded to snatch a half-point from the jaws of victory having completely forgotten about the "wrong-coloured bishop" drawing idea. Kevin took this change in fortunes graciously, remarking that earlier in the game he had offered to split the point. When queried about this refusal of a draw, it transpired that Geoff Cooper had actually failed to hear the offer!

John Fisher, who had somehow gained a bishop early on, finished his game around this time to win Frome the match. Finally Geoff Berryman converted an opposite coloured bishop ending with apparent ease to wrap things up.

Frome4½-1½Norton Radstock
Jepps, Gerry0-1Humphreys, Paul
Purry, Chris1-0Cook, Stephen G
Paine, Kevin½-½Cooper, Geoff G
Fisher, John1-0Carrick, Peter
Berryman, Geoff1-0Grist, Ivor
Nicholls, John1-0Cooper, Catherine

WWYD? #2

I hate to rub salt into what must be a very sore wound, but a team-mate had this position (or near enough) last night.

8/6k1/6p1/2b4p/P5P1/6KP/8/8 b - - 0 1
8/6k1/6p1/2b4p/P5P1/6KP/8/8 b - - 0 1

Black to play and not throw the win away...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Coaching weekend

Are any readers available this weekend - 15th/16th October (either for one day only or for both)?
Please leave a comment if you are interested in top-class coaching at the Trowbridge Chess Club.
We have a limited number of spaces to offer on a first-come first-served basis.

Endgame Study

Here's a nice little study I saw in this weekend's Daily Telegraph. The solution's moves are hidden but once you've given up(!) use the arrows and you'll see a very eloquent ending. The only clue - White's first move is not check but forces the sequence for a lovely checkmate!

White to move and win.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Clarke vs Jerolim 1954

I found this remarkable game in my copy of 202 Surprising Checkmates by Fred Wilson and Bruce Alberston. If you don't like the pgn4web viewer below then you can play through the game on or NicBase.

The book contains many such unusual checkmating moves. Here's another example. Spot the tactic #2. Black to play and win.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

WWYD? #1

The admirable Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog carries a series of posts entitled Blue or Red Pill?. The premise is simple: sometimes chess offers you a stark choice. For example, trade down to a bishop ending or a rook ending? Continue the attack or swap off the major pieces?

Imitation is the sincerest of flattery, so here is Trowbridge's equivalent. In this game (played on Thursday) White has a choice of square for his queen. Should he keep the queens on with Qe2/e1 or should he force an exchange with Qe4? I've conveniently ignored Qd3 which appears to be a weak alternative allowing ...Qxd3 followed by ...Rxd4.

What would you do?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spot the tactic #1

A new theme of posts inspired by The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog's Miss Easy Tactics! series.

In this position as White (to move) I somehow failed to spot a fairly obvious continuation. Can you do better?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chippenham (Westinghouse) have a new website

OK guys just keeping you informed that Chippenham (a.k.a. Westinghouse) have a new website.

Take a look guys it is cool.....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Keynsham Rapidplay

A Mr Lawrence Wilmshurst has contacted Trowbridge Chess Club to inform us of the annual one-day Rapidplay event at Keynsham on Sunday 25th September 2011. This event is already listed in the ECF calendar but we are more than happy to remind our readers of local chess events.

This tournament comprises six 50 minute games. The venue is roughly half way between Bristol and Bath and is apparently "easily accessible from both the M4 and M5". From Trowbridge it is less than an hour's drive via the A36 or A4. Round 1 starts at 11:00 and round 6 finishes at 17:20.

The competition is open to all and the application form (in either PDF or Word format) is available on the Bristol and District web site. There are three sections: Open, under 150, and under 110 ECF. The entry fee is £12 (£10 for juniors). If you require further information please contact Lawrence on 01275 834659.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kamsky - Svidler, World Cup 2011

Kamsky,Gata (2741) - Svidler,Peter (2739) FIDE World Cup 2011

This game was contested today. What did Black play here?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Somerset League Fixtures 2011-12

Here are the new season's fixtures (subject to change). Please refer to the Somerset County Chess Association for any official updates.

Somerset Knock-Out
In the annual 8 board Somerset Knock-Out Cup holders Taunton receive a bye directly into the semi-final. Trowbridge find themselves away to Frome in what could be a very close match.

Mon14 NovemberGlastonburyNorton Radstock
Tue15 NovemberFrome
Thu17 NovemberSedgemoorYeovil
Semi13-17 February 2011

Final12-16 March 2011

Somerset Division 2 East
Trowbridge are hopeful of winning back the Charles Marsh (East) trophy from Frome.
For this 6 board league there has been a change to the grading limit: the average grade per player in the team may not exceed 145. This could give team captains a selection headache: last year's 165 ECF cap on boards 2-6 was a lot easier to plan for. However there shouldn't be any significant change to the shape of teams as a result of this rule adjustment. All 4 teams are used to fielding a low graded board 6.

Wed12 October BathTrowbridge
Thu10 NovemberTrowbridgeNorton Radstock
Tue13 DecemberFromeTrowbridge
Thu12 January 2012TrowbridgeBath
Thu23 February 2012Norton RadstockTrowbridge
Thu22 March 2012TrowbridgeFrome

Somerset Division 3 East
In Division 3 no player graded over 145 is eligible and the sum total for the team must not exceed 500. Players graded under 95 are deemed to be 95 ECF. Ungraded players are considered to be graded 110.

Tue18 OctoberFromevsTrowbridge
Thu17 NovemberTrowbridgevsBath
Thu8 DecemberNorton RadstockvsTrowbridge
Thu19 January 2012TrowbridgevsFrome
Wed15 February 2012BathvsTrowbridge
Thu15 March 2012TrowbridgevsNorton Radstock

Friday, September 2, 2011

Trowbridge Club Championship 2011-09-01

Club champion Louis gets off to a great start with this sparkling win against Roy in a main-line Winawer French. 13.Re1 was a brave gambit that paid off after 14...Rh7? This move defends against everything except the breakthrough sacrifice 14.e6!! preventing Black from consolidating with ...Be6. The finish is clinical. Louis is on a 172 ECF performance for this season.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wiltshire Yeoman (Broadmead)

A friendly couple of chaps (Yeomen?) visited Trowbridge Chess Club this Thursday and I hope we made them feel welcome. Apparently they can be found at the Wiltshire Yeoman and are partial to a beer and a game of chess.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011-12 grades

Congratulations to Tim, Dave Marshall, Roy, Adrian, and Louis who each achieved a grade increase of 6 points or greater. Tim becomes the highest graded of the currently active Trowbridge players; albeit by a very small margin.

Player ECF (new) 2010 ECF League Results (2010-11)
Woodward, Tim 155 148 +13 =3 -4
Leonard, Mark 153 152 +21 =14 -12
Rothwell, Derek 152 154 +8 =3 -6
Weston, David 149 150 +9 =5 -7
Marshall, Dave 141 131 +11 =9 -3
Ludlow, Roy 131 125 +17 =10 -8
Williams, R Gareth 131 134 +9 =5 -9
Davis, Adrian 122 116 +4 =3 -3
Burton, Louis 82 69 +10 =9 -20
Ransom, Tony 73 79 +0 =3 -13
Crucefix, Nigel 71 84 +2 =3 -17

Wiltshire 4-a-side

These grading changes do not greatly affect Trowbridge's strongest Wiltshire team as Tim (who leapfrogs from 4th to 1st) is not a regular player. It is likely that Derek and Mark will continue to alternate playing boards 1 and 2. Dave Marshall is a welcome addition as the club's 5th strongest player and will hopefully feature on board 4 next season.

Now for the opposition teams: Swindon's Mark Jones is still their board 1 despite dropping some grading points. Infrequent squad player Anthony Lake pips Richard Carver for the number 2 spot and Steve Reynolds overtakes Gordon Chapman and could easily feature on board 4 or higher (perhaps as an alternative to Mike Walters). P.S. I smell another Carver vs Marshall match!

For Brown Jack, Adam Burroughs overtakes Jon Coats but their standard team is otherwise unchanged. Nationwide's team is also unaltered.

Wiltshire Minor

Dave Marshall should continue to feature in the Minor team. This year he will take board 1 ahead of Gareth. Trowbridge's strongest team would appear to (additionally) comprise Roy, Gareth and Louis. A formidable arrangement!

Brown Jack have Jon Coats available and Wayne should play ahead of Luke Burroughs. Otherwise their squad is not affected. The Westinghouse team is also unchanged, as is Swindon's except Anthony Lake could feasibly play ahead of Richard Carver.

Friday, July 22, 2011

2010-11 Review : Somerset Divison 3 East

Bath are this year's Division 3 East champions albeit on a tie-break with Trowbridge.

YearDivision 3E
2005-6FromeTrowbridge did not enter a team
2007-8Yeovil BTrowbridge =2nd-4th

2010-11BathTrowbridge =1st

Somerset Division 3 East 2010-11

Norton Radstock21311½12½5

Team Bath Trowbridge N / Radstock FromeHome Pts
3 - 1 2 - 2 2 - 24
Trowbridge2½ - 1½
2½ - 1½2½ - 1½6
Radstock1 - 33 - 1
2½ - 1½4
Frome1½ - 2½1 - 32½ - 1½
Away Pts 4211

Trowbridge won all 3 of their home matches and also beat Frome away. However Bath did not lose any of their remaining fixtures and showed good Away form. A key result was Bath's home match against Trowbridge where they managed a win even without the unbeaten Dave Allen on top board.

Dimond, Peter1-0Williams, R Gareth
Norton, Hugh0-1Marshall, Dave
Brown, Christian1-0Ludlow, Roy
Burrows, John1-0Ransom, Anthony

Player Results

For more details you can view Roger Fenton's Somerset team results.


Frome did not fare well on boards 1 and 4:

11-2-32 Gerry Udell (1½/2), Geoff B (½/1), John Fisher (0/2), Mike White (0/1)
21-4-13 Nick Jones (½/2), Gerry Udell (1½/2), Mike White (1/2)
33-2-14 Christy Blance (½/1), Mike White (2/3), John Nicholls (1½/2)
41-0-51 Christy Blance (1/3), Nick Jones (0/1), Rhys White (0/2)

Club Secretary Gerry Udell was unbeaten with a 142 ECF performance (exactly the same as his performance in Division 2). Captain Mike White also played well: his two losses were to Trowbridge's Roy Ludlow.


12-3-1 Gareth (1½/3), Dave Marshall (½/1), Tim Woodward (½/1), Roy Ludlow (1/1)
23-3-0 Dave Marshall (2½/3), Roy Ludlow (½/1), Adrian Davis (1½/2)
31-1-4 Roy Ludlow (1/2), Nigel Crucefix (½/4)
43-0-33 Louis Burton (2/4), Anthony Ransom (1/2)

This was very much a team effort from Trowbridge, but arguably their top player was Dave Marshall who was undefeated in 4 matches.


13-3-0 Hugh Norton (½/1), Peter Dimond (1/1), Dave Allen (3/4)
22-0-42 Angus Plumbly (1/1), Hugh Norton (0/2), Christian Brown (1/3)
33-1-2 John Burrows (0/1), Christian (1/2), John Leon (1/1), Angus Plumbly (1½/2)
44-0-24William Wilshere (1/1), John Burrows (2/2), Max Cox (0/1),  Hugh Norton (1/1)

Bath's star player was Dave Allen with a 152 performance including a draw against Tim Woodward.

Norton Radstock

Returning player Peter Horne did very well this season after a break of over 10 years!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2010-11 Review : Somerset Divison 2 East

The first in a short series of posts looking back at the recently completed season.

The Somerset County Chess Association website now lists Frome as Division 2 East champions for 2010-11. Therefore Frome win the Charles Marsh trophy back from Trowbridge. In recent years these two teams have dominated the division and their 6 board matches are hotly contested.

2002-3Trowbridge B
2003-4Norton Radstock
2008-9FromeOn tie-break with Trowbridge

A full list of the trophy holders can be found here.

Somerset Division 2 East 2010-11

Norton Radstock20413½22½4

Note that although the SCCA site incorrectly shows Frome scoring 10 points, the true results (with individual player records) can be found here.

A key match this season was Trowbridge's home fixture against Frome. This turned out to be the only drawn result in the division.

Rothwell, Derek0-1Purry, Chris
Hibbitt, Arthur1-0Jepps, Gerry
Weston, David0-1Leonard, Mark
Woodward, Tim1-0Paine, Kevin
Davis, Adrian1-0Berryman, Geoff
Ransom, Anthony0-1Fisher, John

The outcome on board 1 was unexpected... Derek had started the season brightly;drawing the occasional game but only losing to Sven Zeidler (204). However his last five games of 2011 were all losses. Conversely, Frome's strongest player Chris Purry had an uncharacteristically poor start taking only 2 draws from his first 10 games. This was his only win in Division 2 all year.

On board 2 Arthur faced the combative Gerry Jepps who essayed a From's Gambit. Unforunately for Gerry he played the same sub-standard move that I had erroneously used against Arthur exactly one week previously! Gerry held out longer than I had managed, but the loss seemed almost inevitable.

On board 3 I found a nice tactic winning a piece and eventually swapped off enough material to force a win in the endgame. This gave me a 7th straight win against Dave Weston. The remaining boards were true to form, with team captain Kevin unable to match a Tim Woodward flushed with victory (and following 4 straight wins) at Blackpool Congress.

Team Bath N / Radstock Frome TrowbridgeHome Pts
Frome 4 - 2 3½ - 2½
4 - 26
Trowbridge3½ - 2½5½ - ½ 3 - 35
Bath4½ - 1½3½ -2½1½ - 4½4
Radstock4 - 21 - 54 - 24
Away Pts 0032

The table above illustrates how much of an advantage the home team enjoys, with 9 out of 12 fixtures lost by the visiting side. For example, Trowbridge were able to defeat Norton Radstock by 5 points at home. However what was arguably a stronger team away to a weakened Radstock side subsequently lost 4-2 in a remarkable reversal.

Player Results

Glastonbury player Roger Fenton has compiled a list of Somerset team results, with player breakdowns. I will highlight the top performers in Division 2 East below.


Frome performed very well on the lower boards as shown in the following table:

12-2-23Chris (+1=2-2) + Gerry Jepps (+1=0-0)
42-1-3Geoff/Kevin/John F
53-2-14John F/Geoff/Gerry U/Mike
65-0-15Gerry U/John F/John N/Mike/Rhys

Arguably the best showing came from boards 5 and 6 player and Club Secretary Gerry Udell with a 100% record and a 142 ECF performance. I expect to see a significant increase in Gerry's grade this year. Also impressive was the undefeated John Fisher who was not out of his depth even when promoted to board 4. I believe that these two players made the difference to the Frome squad. Match results can easily turn on the outcome of the bottom board. Yours truly was unbeaten with a 160 performance. Gerry Jepps was surprisingly defeated by Trowbridge members in both the Home and Away fixtures.


11-2-32Derek + David Weston (with 2 draws)
23-2-14Tim/Arthur/David W

Backbone of the Trowbridge team was undoubtedly Tim Woodward. Tim appeared in every match, covering boards 2 to 4 (playing behind the higher graded Derek and/or David Weston and also Arthur in the second half of the season). Tim produced 5 wins, including one against the formidable Gerry Jepps in a lost Away match.

Another notable player was Nigel Crucefix on board 5 or 6 who performed 30 points above his current ECF grade. His one loss was to the in-form John Fisher of Frome. Roy Ludlow also scored well on boards 4 and 5, doing the double on Bath's John Leon.


Bath's star player had to be Ron Gregory on board 1, with 3 wins and a 199 performance. Ron beat both Derek and Chris Purry.

Norton Radstock

Board 1 player Paul Humphreys put in a very solid 166 performance. Last year he scored W1-D2-L3 drawing with Chris Purry. This year he won 3 and lost 2, beating Chris and Derek in the process.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Frome Major Rd 3 : Weston vs Price

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wiltshire 4-a-side : February update

Trowbridge fielded a somewhat weakened team last week against Nationwide and suffered their first loss of the season. Unfortunately for Trowbridge both their boards 1 and 2 were unavailable on the night. This left the team out-graded by 117 points (in total).  Dave Marshall held in-form Adrian Champion to a draw, but the other players couldn't match their opponents.

First place is now in the hands of Nationwide, should they win their remaining fixtures. The full table and results can be found here.

Trowbridge 3 1 1 79
Nationwide 1 1 0 311
Swindon 1 0 2 28
Brown Jack 0 0 2 08

Trowbridge results

Thu21 October 2010Trowbridge3-1Swindon
Thu2 December 2010Nationwide2-2Trowbridge
Thu9 December 2010Trowbridge-1½Brown Jack
Thu6 January 2011Swindon1-3Trowbridge
Thu10 February 2011Trowbridge½-3½Nationwide
Mon28 March 2011Brown JackTrowbridge

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wiltshire 4-a-side update

Trowbridge have now played 4 matches: 2 at home (wins) and 2 away (a win and a draw). Mathematically speaking this is only sufficient to guarantee third place in the league. However a draw against Nationwide (next month) would put them in a strong position. A win would guarantee equal first place (although Trowbridge could still lose out on a tie-break.)

The only other fixture contested so far resulted in a win for Swindon away to Brown Jack. It seems that some clubs have been struggling to field a full team. Let us hope that there is resurgence in Wiltshire chess during 2011.

Trowbridge 3 1 0 711
Swindon 1 0 2 28
Nationwide 0 1 0 111
Brown Jack 0 0 2 08

Trowbridge results

Thu21 October 2010Trowbridge3-1Swindon
Thu25 November 2010Nationwide2-2Trowbridge
Thu9 December 2010Trowbridge-1½Brown Jack
Thu6 January 2011Swindon1-3Trowbridge
Thu10 February 2011TrowbridgeNationwide
Mon28 March 2011Brown JackTrowbridge