Friendly Games Coordinator (not a committee post): Mark Hague, as above.
Periodicals Distributor (not a committee post): Richard Harrington, 51 Iveagh Court, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 5DN. Tel: 01442 236707.
Non-braillists: Richard Kidals (print), Mark Hague (tape).
Note: The views expressed by members in the gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.
Some Notes from the Tournament Organiser 3
Forthcoming Events 4
International Chess Tournament in Lithuania. 5
Diamond Jubilee Quiz 5
Notes on the 2007 AGM 7
Treasurer’s Report 8
Tournament Director’s Report 9
Membership Secretary’s Report 10
Rapid Play Championship 12
Chess Clocks 12
Windermere Theme Break 2007 12
AGM Congress, 2007 13
Tyson Triumphs in his Challenge 17
Request for Feedback on Chess Literature 17
Solution to Study 18
An apology for a couple of errors in the last gazette. First there was a couple of errors in the jubilee quiz in the Braille version of the gazette. This has been corrected in this edition of the gazette so if you intend to enter the quiz please use and hold on to this version of the quiz. On the cassette version, the price for accommodation at the individual European Championships in August was given as £883, when in fact it was £583. On checking the files I sent to be embossed for Peter to read on to cassette, I found that I had stated the correct price of £583 so maybe an extra dot slipped in somewhere in the embossing process; I have found similar occurrences when proofreading the Braille chess magazine. In any case I am sorry if this error caused anybody receiving the cassette version any inconvenience.
Congratulations are due to Bill Armstrong and Paul Cumbers for their excellent performance in the British Chess Problem Solving Championships. A report will appear in the August gazette.
Since this edition of the gazette is quite large I won’t extend it any further by rambling on so with the usual thanks to anyone who has contributed towards meeting the costs associated with the production of the gazette and with a request for copy for the next gazette to reach me by the end of the first week in July I’ll end here.
Some Notes from the Tournament Organiser
Firstly, an apology. Perhaps I should be apologising on behalf of the Midland Hotel for the embarrassment they caused some of our members who stayed on the Sunday night following the AGM tournament. Some members were asked to pay for their dinner which they had already paid for in their payment for the Sunday night. It would appear that the staff on duty that evening were unaware that the deal that had been agreed with the hotel included the same terms for the Sunday night as for the other two nights. This was £50 per person per night single and £45 per night sharing. BCA gave a £5 subsidy to members and associate members for the Friday and Saturday nights. If any member paid for his/her meal in the restaurant on Sunday night and has not been reimbursed, please let me know.
Now, yet another plea for the support of those few who find difficulty in planning far enough ahead to make their bookings on time. We realise, however, that there are times when circumstances get in the way of forward planning, so if you find yourself in this position let the organiser know. It is likely you will receive understanding treatment. Please read the booking conditions which follow ‘forthcoming events’. Please let me stress the main points which are not being observed by some who are therefore causing unnecessary work for the tournament organiser and for our treasurer.
Point 1: Closing date. We publish a closing date which is determined by the requirements of the hotel and the work we have to do to prepare our booking. Where possible entries and bookings should be made by that date. Entries and bookings after that date must include the late booking penalty. If there is a good reason why you are not able to make your booking on time, contact the organiser.
Point 2: Booking on-line or by telephone. If you book on-line or by telephone, or if you send your cheque direct to the treasurer, please remember you must still notify the organiser that you have made your payment and of your requirements. Remember, it is the organiser who makes your room reservation and who attends to your other requirements. It is important that you pass on this information to the organiser personally; do not rely on others to pass it on.
Point 3: Finally, if you have any suggestions which will improve the way we organise tournaments, please let us know.
13th-24th August 2007. European Individual Championship for Blind and Partially Sighted Players.
St. Aidan’s College, Durham.
This event is played over nine rounds. Rounds 1 to 6 will be played from Tuesday 14th to Sunday 19th August. There will be a rest day on Monday 20th August. The final three rounds will be played from Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd August. The rate of play will be 40 moves in two hours for each player followed by an extra hour each for the completion of the game. BCA will be offering financial support to five leading players. Others may enter at their own expense. The cost in en suite facilities, full board, will be £583 for the eleven nights. The cost in good standard rooms will be £473 for the eleven nights. En suite rooms will be allocated firstly to the official parties from abroad and to the qualified players from the UK.
Any member wishing to enter or receive further information should contact the organisers Stan and Jan Lovell. Closing date 31st May 2007.
9th-11th November 2007. 75th Anniversary Tournament. Holiday Inn, Solihull.
For this event, which will celebrate our 75th anniversary, all members and associate members are offered the special price of £50 to include two nights dinner, bed and breakfast, with a gala dinner and entertainment on the Saturday night.
There will be five rounds of chess with games played at a rate of 1 hour each player for all moves. This will allow players more breathing space to enjoy the party spirit with family and friends. The cost for those wishing to stay for the Sunday night will be £47 per person to include dinner, bed and breakfast. Please note: Those entering should only send £50 per person. Payments for extra nights should be made to the hotel on arrival. Those booking on-line, by telephone or by sending a cheque to the treasurer are reminded they must personally notify the organiser when they have booked.
The closing date for bookings is 20th September 2007. As we are expecting a larger number than usual, we strongly recommend early booking. As usual we offer a warm welcome to our overseas friends who we hope will turn up in great numbers.
Organisers: Stan and Jan Lovell, 28 Gosfroth Avenue, Redcar, TS10 3LL. Telephone 01642 775668.
Sean O’Brien has asked for the following to be included in this section of the gazette:
The 2008 AGM and five-round tournament will be held at the Royal Cambridgeshire Hotel, Trumpington Street, Cambridge from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th March, 2008. The hotel is built in a Georgian style and is situated about 3 miles from Cambridge station. Further details will appear in the August gazette.
VH UK residents under the age of 25 participating in BCA events receive free entry and free accommodation.
Cheques should be made payable to the Braille Chess Association or B.C.A. Building society cheques should have the name of the sender clearly marked. Post-dated cheques are not accepted. Entries and bookings received after the advertised closing date are subject to a £6 late booking penalty and are accepted subject to the discretion of the tournament organiser.
Those booking on-line or by telephone banking must ensure their payment is cleared by the closing date and must inform the treasurer and tournament organiser.
Those booking extra nights are requested not to send payment for the extra nights to BCA as this should be paid to the hotel. It is, however, necessary for them to inform the tournament organiser in order that their rooms may be reserved.
Special requests for room requirements etc should be made to the tournament organiser and not to the hotel.
BCA reserves the right to refuse or cancel any entry or to exclude any person from any event it runs.
Banking details for those who may wish to make a telephone or internet banking payment to the BCA.
Name: Braille Chess Association;
Sort Code: 405240;
Account Number: 00082456.
If you choose this method of payment please add a simple description indicating what you are paying for, e.g. Solihull tournament 2006.
International Chess Tournament in Lithuania.
The BCA has received an invitation to an international chess tournament for visually impaired players to be held in Zelve, Lithuania from 20th to 29th June 2007. The tournament, a nine round Swiss for individual players rather than teams, has been arranged to mark 55 years of Lithuanian Braille chess.
The venue for the tournament is a recreation centre on the bank of Lake Zelve, about 30 miles from Vilnius, the country’s capital. The overall cost will be around 260 Euros per person. Transport will be provided from Vilnius to the playing venue.
Anyone interested in playing should get in touch with me as soon as possible. The closing date for entries is 1st June.
Diamond Jubilee Quiz
Rules and regulations: As one of the events of the year I have agreed to use my considerable amount of material to run a quiz to which the committee have agreed.
All paid-up members of the BCA are eligible. The prizes are £50, £30 and £20 to the three with the best score. The solution given in the source will be the one that counts.
This is a quiz with a difference: All positions are taken from games actually played. You will usually be asked two questions, the first testing your skill in assessing the position given, the second asking you to choose the right continuation from the proffered options, but you will only score top marks if you give a line for the rejected options. The number of points awarded for each correct answer is given at the end of each question.
The closing date has been extended to 31st July and the winners will be announced at the autumn tournament. There were a couple of errors in the Braille and print versions of the gazette so keep a hold of these diagrams which are the correct ones. They will not be repeated when the solutions are published in the February 2008 gazette.
Your answers should be sent to me, Hans Cohn, in Braille, on compact cassette or by e-mail, in that order of preference.
I hope you will all have a try; any sense of inferiority should be balanced by the knowledge that even the players did not always find the right continuation. You will have the advantage of being ‘programmed’ by the knowledge that the position in front of you marks the critical point of the game, and a special effort, not always drastic, is required to exploit it. At the very least a through study of the positions, together with the solutions which will be quoted in full, should heighten your understanding of the strategy and tactics of chess.
White, who is to move, forces resignation in six. It’s a few ‘revenge checks’ that white has to negotiate to win this (6 points).
Notes on the 2007 AGM
The Midland Hotel in Derby was the setting for a lively anniversary year AGM held on Saturday 3rd March 2007 and attended by a total of 39 people. The following paragraphs spotlight some of the more important points from the meeting.
The Chairman paid tribute to the group of people in 1932 who had started the BCA. To use a chess metaphor, they had clearly planned for a long strategic game and so we, 75 years later, must not rest on our laurels but must renew our efforts to bring new young blood into the organisation and retain it.
With this theme in mind, the BCA Committee had put forward a motion to extend the maximum age for junior membership from 21 to 25. Juniors tended to drift away when they reached around the age of 21 and tended not to become full members of the BCA. The Committee had wondered whether, by retaining juniors beyond university age and into working life, they might be more likely to stay as long term members. The majority view was that, bearing in mind the importance of the issue, it was worth giving it a try. The motion was passed by a comfortable majority.
Still on the junior theme, Alastair Irving had decided not to seek re-election as the Junior Representative. He had run out of ideas on how to tackle the role and had decided that it was time to hand over to someone with fresh ideas. Unfortunately, there were no nominations for the post.
The Treasurer reported that our fundraiser, Julia Scott, had raised nearly £35,000 during the year, compared with £19,000 the previous year, an excellent performance. The meeting recorded a vote of thanks to Julia and asked the Secretary to pass this on to her. The Treasurer stressed how important it was for members to put forward ideas and possible fundraising leads. The fundraising climate was not getting any easier and any ideas that might help to unlock doors would be most welcome.
The Secretary drew attention to the need to produce a written statement of our approach to health and safety, not only to clarify exactly what procedures should be in place but also to provide assurance where necessary to potential donors. He went on to seek views on a suggestion that people attending BCA events should be invited to provide medical details and contact details of a person at home in case of an emergency. It was recognised that this was more important for those people attending an event on their own. After some discussion it was agreed that, where people felt it to be helpful, they should provide appropriate medical and contact details in a sealed envelope and leave it with the hotel reception.
Hans Cohn raised the important point that people with hearing aids tended to switch them off at night and would not necessarily hear a fire alarm in a hotel. It was agreed that where an individual was concerned that they might not hear a fire alarm, they should inform the hotel reception on arrival so that the hotel could make appropriate arrangements. It was also agreed that it would be worth checking with the Royal National Institute for the Deaf whether there was a device that would help in such situations.
Bill Armstrong explained that the amount of publicity we could attract was dependent on BCA members and what they had achieved. He urged members to get in touch with him if they had done anything that could possibly be newsworthy and he would do his best to generate publicity. He cited the case of Chris Ross who had performed so well at the IBCA World Individual Chess Championship in Goa. Chris confirmed that there had been a significant amount of publicity including two radio interviews and a Daily Telegraph article. Bill was thanked for all his work in this area.
In a discussion of publications, Stan Lovell made reference to the fact that most of the new material going into the cassette library was being produced by Hans Cohn. Stan asked why sighted readers were no longer reading new books for the library or why material produced by Michael Basman was not being acquired. There was general agreement that renewed effort was required by the Publications Sub Committee to address this problem. Some volunteer readers did not like reading full length books and it was agreed that shorter articles would be more appropriate in such cases. Guy Whitehouse will produce an article for the Gazette seeking views from members on what type of new material they would like.
Hans Cohn expressed concern that, although he was producing a significant amount of material for the cassette library, very few people were using it. He suggested that an investigation was required to establish how many people did use the library and to establish the reasons why others did not. The Chairman agreed that the BCA Committee would pursue this issue.
The BCA’s 75th anniversary was being celebrated with the IBCA European Individual Championship in Durham in August and the International Autumn Tournament at the Solihull Holiday Inn in November. Good progress was being made with the arrangements for the European Individual Championship and Stan and Jan Lovell, the organisers of the event, were warmly thanked for all the work they had done so far. The aim with the Solihull event was to make it more of a fun weekend. In keeping with this approach, the BCA Committee had decided that the games should not be graded. There was some discussion around this point at the AGM but there was no wish to overturn the Committee’s decision.
Following the 2006 AGM, Bill Armstrong had been asked to seek views on the coaching of BCA players for international events and he presented a summary of his findings. A lively discussion took place and the Chairman concluded by observing that one size clearly did not fit all. The BCA Committee was anxious to support a coaching initiative by making funds available within reason and would continue to address the issue.
The year end accounts were approved at the AGM in Derby and these are then forwarded to the Charities Commission. You can obtain several years financial information on the BCA and various other charities if you choose via the commission’s web pages.
At the AGM and within my report I referred to the Fundraising Standards Board (FSB). This is a new development aimed primarily at promoting to Donors so that they can give to charities in confidence. The FSB is a national body promoting best practice and conveys that we are fully supportive of the FSB’s Charter. It promotes accountability in fundraising and aims to increase public awareness in charitable giving. I thank Chris Ross for linking this information on the BCA website. These web pages are a key communication tool within our membership but also to new and old Donors. So any good fundraising stories should be fed into this arena if possible.
Update on 1st Half of 2006 / 2007: Fundraising continues in a lively fashion but primarily off the back of the Durham Event. We need to bolster our general fundraising given the various plans for the next six months alone. I reported at the AGM that I am delighted to be able to report the BCA are in good shape financially to commit to the various events on the agenda. You can help influence future fundraising and promotional opportunities for the Braille Chess Association and ultimately help to sow a few seeds to help the continued flow of funds for the coming months and years ahead. Help and support is most welcome.
Telephone Banking & On-line Banking remains an option for all payments to the BCA. Your annual membership, life membership (remember at a promotional reduced rate); tournaments and of course chess sets, chess clocks etc. can all be paid for via telephone or on-line banking. Name of Bank: CAF Bank (Charities Aid Foundation); Sort Code: 40-52-40; Account: 00082456; Name of Account: Braille Chess Association.
Membership / Subscriptions: The BCA Committee elected to offer a Jubilee Promotion of Life Membership to the BCA for £50.00 (Currently £70). Whilst doing this it will hold the annual subscription fee at £7 for what I believe is the ninth year without an increase. Please pay promptly to help your committee with administration. Telephone banking or standing orders for subscriptions and the millennium draw do truly help.
Finance and fundraising sub-committee news: You may recall the request for general help on fundraising ideas. Well I will not disappoint by making the same request again. Some ideas are beginning to bear fruit but more will never go amiss. Once again we make a general request for your comments into this arena.
All fundraising ideas are appreciated. For fear of neglecting some of the events on-going: Regular raffle and bring and buy at tournaments, coffee mornings, chess tournaments, chess problem solving. Can you add to the list and help? A reminder again to contact either myself or Julia if you think of or know about a potential Donor.
Of course if you have any other issues which are of concern about fundraising, you are most welcome to write to me or e-mail or send a taped message to me as chair of the fund-raising subcommittee. I will endeavour to respond promptly.
To remind you once again, an idea does not necessarily have to be a money-raising idea but might help by raising the BCA’s profile or by encouraging new members to join. Effectively we continue to reap some benefits even if not always in the form of currency.
Millennium prize draw. Recent winners include:
R. Waters no. 72;
J. Gallagher no. 58;
Dr. R. Murphy no. 43;
Mr. G. Long no. 13;
Mrs. Hazell Burnell no. 56.
Thank you to all once again for your continued support. Your number remains in the draw unless you have been advised otherwise.
Richard Kidals B.A. (Hons) ACMA; FCIS.
Tournament Director’s Report
If anyone would be interested in taking part in an informal e-mail tournament please e-mail me at email@example.com or telephone 0207-8341742 stating your approximate playing strength and preference as to how you would like a tournament to be organised and when you would be available to take part. If in the future there is sufficient demand from BCA members, more formal e-mail tournaments will be organised for members.
39th BCA Championship.
Premier Group: Group Leader David Hodgkins
Wall-Way 0-1 Kings Indian 28
Scores: Way 1-1, Wall 0-1.
Group B: Group Leader Mark Hague
Mark Hague-Gallacher 1-0 Queens gambit declined 17
Leading Scorers: Spink 21, Sobers 12, Patching 8, Hodgkins 6.
Membership Secretary’s Report
The committee have decided that as it is our 75th anniversary to offer life membership at a reduced rate of £50 as from 1st March 2007 until 30th September 2008. If anybody who is not already a life member wants to take advantage of this, all they need to do is forward a cheque made payable to the Braille Chess Association (BCA) to either myself or our treasurer, Richard Kidals.
It is extremely important that members observe the following guidelines: If any person has details of a new member wishing to join the BCA, or you simply have a change of address, however slight, or require to change the medium in which you receive information, then please do not hesitate to contact myself either by phoning 01926 425803 or by writing to 44 Moorhill Road, Whitnash, Warwickshire, CV31 2LN.
Obviously, it is up to those playing correspondence chess to notify their opponents of any changes to their address or use of media.
Rapid Play Championship
As members will no doubt be aware, the BCA used to hold a rapid play championship where players had 30 minutes on the clock to make all their moves. This tournament was held over a Saturday and Sunday at a hotel and started on a Saturday afternoon.
However, in 2002 only five visually handicapped members and one associate member competed in the tournament, and in 2004 the tournament was cancelled due to lack of interest. At the AGM in 2005 members were asked whether there was any interest in such a tournament being arranged for 2006 and only a few members showed an interest.
The committee and tournament sub-committee would like to know from members whether there is any interest in reviving the rapid play championship for 2008. If anyone is interested, perhaps they could let me know either by writing to 44 Moorhill Road, Whitnash, Warwickshire, CV31 2LN, or by telephoning 01926 425803 by no later than Saturday, 30th June 2007.
David Hodgkins, Chair of the Tournament Sub-committee.
Many members will be aware that the manual chess clock which has been available from the RNIB has the disadvantage that it can be inadvertently stopped when feeling the time. A BCA modification to rectify this has been successfully trialled with the manufacturer Sinn und Kolles who have agreed to produce a batch of 30 of the modified clocks for the BCA.
We have therefore placed an order for 30 clocks but unfortunately these will now not be available until the end of September due to Sinn und Kolles having a problem with obtaining some of the parts that are required to manufacture the clock.
As was reported in the last gazette, the retail cost of the clock set by the manufacturers is very high. The price is £100 per clock. The technical sub-committee and the main committee have agreed a subsidy to BCA members of £40. Thus once the clock becomes available the cost to BCA members will be £60.
At present it has not been decided on the technical sub-committee who will be custodian of the manual chess clocks once we receive the batch from Sinn und Kolles. Please watch this space for further news.
RNIB will no longer stock the manual chess clock as they have decided that they do not sell enough to warrant a bulk purchase from the manufacturers.
Regarding adapted digital chess clocks, an advert has been placed in Chess Moves to see if anybody comes forward who could help us find a suitable manufacturer or person who could supply these. Chris Ross also informed us at the AGM that he was in contact with someone who might be able to help.
The technical sub-committee would like to thank Chris Ross for his invaluable help in this matter and it is hoped that in the not too distant future a solution may be forthcoming.
David Hodgkins, Chair of the Technical Sub-Committee.
Windermere Theme Break 2007
Sean O’Brien and Peter Gibbs write: The 14th theme break for BCA members was held at Windermere Manor from 31st January to 7th February. The week was organised under the excellent guidance of Peter Gibbs, ably supported by his lovely wife Celia.
The 17 players were divided up into three groups of four and one of five. Each group was assigned a trainer who gave them daily coaching sessions. When the training was over the knockout competition began until we had the two finalists which resulted in George Phillips and Alan Davey playing off for the trophy which George Phillips won. Before presenting the trophy to George, Peter Gibbs expressed his grateful thanks to the five trainers, Colin Chambers, Les Whittle, Sean Loftus, Stan Lovell and Norman Andrews, all of whom had given of their time voluntarily.
After the presentation, Chris Lawrence, Manager of the hotel, expressed his pleasure at having so many in the hotel and gave details of next year's theme break. This will be held from Saturday, 2nd February to Saturday 9th February at a cost of £259. However, if you make your booking three months in advance of this date you will receive a 10% reduction.
As a by-stander who had nothing to do with the chess, I thoroughly enjoyed the week. The food was excellent and the staff at the hotel were extremely helpful. For those of us who didn't play chess there were many historical tours arranged around Wordsworth's countryside. So, should anyone wish to pass away the cold winter days of February next year, be sure to put 2nd February in your diary - I can assure you, you won't regret it.
AGM Congress, 2007
The AGM congress took place from 2nd to 4th March at the Midland Hotel, Derby. It was a well-attended event; a contingent arrived from Ireland and other individuals, who had not played in BCA tournaments all that often recently such as Hans Cohn, Phil Smith and Stephen Brown, also put in a welcome appearance. We were all glad to welcome Lea Ryan and Gary Wickett to their second consecutive BCA tournament. A welcome newcomer participating in his first BCA event was associate member Tristram Cole. However, we were all sad to note that for what must be the first time in many years, Peter Price was unable to play in the tournament for health reasons, though we were all delighted to see him put in a brief appearance at the AGM meeting itself.
In the first round the stronger players gained their predicted victories over their lower-graded opponents, although there was nearly one exception; Roger Waters did reach a position against Graham where, according to Graham, with best play the game would have ended in a draw. The game appears at the end of this report. By the end of the second round, a by now familiar situation had arisen with Tyson Mordue, Chris Ross, Graham Lilley and Steve Burnell all on 2 points with others close behind on 1.5. In the Minor Richard and John Kidals were in the lead on 2 with Orlando Sobers close behind on 1.5 points.
If there could be said to be a decisive round in the Open it was round 3. Chris Ross and Graham Lilley drew their game; Tyson won a relatively miniature but highly interesting game against Steve Burnell and went into the lead by half a point. Your reporter had the privilege of playing on the giddy heights of table 3 against Colin Chambers but was duly fed through the mangle! In the Minor Richard Kidals was now in the lead on his own on 3 points with Orlando Sobers on 2.5; John Kidals had lost his third round game.
The tension was maintained in round 4 with all those with a realistic shot at winning the tournament drawing their games. In the Minor Richard Kidals, who was showing signs of coming down with a cold, lost and Orlando Sobers went into the lead on 3.5 points with John Kidals and Jim Cuthbert also winning and joining Richard Kidals on 3. In round 5, if Tyson could be held to a draw by associate member Tristram Cole, and Chris Ross or Graham Lilley won their games, there could still be a draw. However both Chris and Tyson won, giving Tyson a final outright victory by half a point. In the Minor John Kidals won against Orlando having at one point been a piece down and Jim Cuthbert also won, ensuring they finished joint first.
There were also notable performances in the last 2-3 rounds from those who had begun badly. Stephen Brown won his last two games to lift himself off the bottom of the table and Mark Kirkham drew and won his last two games to end on 2 points. Having been mangled by Colin and Ernie McElroy in rounds 3 and 4, your reporter managed to save a position in which I was a pawn down against Roger Waters to end on 2, sharing grading prize B with Mark Kirkham and Stephen Brown. Richard Murphy drew his round 4 game and won his last game against Stan to secure grading prize A. In the Minor John Osborne, who had lost his first 2 games won his next 3 and Gary Wickett won his last two to secure the grading prize in only his second tournament.
Apart from an administrative error on the Sunday night covered in the forthcoming events section of the gazette above, everyone I have spoken to has commented favourably on the hotel. I can certainly say that I personally found the staff friendly and always willing to help, and dinner seemed to be served reasonably promptly and, just as importantly, hot! The committee seem to be very keen to keep this hotel on our list.
Sheila also organised another raffle held before round 5. There was a bumper crop of prizes with several people taking away more than one prize. Thanks to all those who brought prizes and to Sheila for continuing this popular part of our events.
Thanks also to Gerry and Julie for carrying out the role of tournament arbiter in their usual efficient, unobtrusive manner.
Finally thanks to Stan and Jan for organising the tournament. As tournament organisers they have an unusually busy year; I for one feel this was a very successful start to that year.
Scores in the Open were: Mordue 4.5, Ross 4, Lilley, McElroy and Burnell 3.5, Cole, Chambers and Murphy 3, Whittle, Loftus, Hodgkins, and Cohn 2.5, Brown, Kirkham, Waters, Lovell and Whitehouse 2, Thacker 1.5, Smith 1, Phillips 0.
Scores in the Minor were: John Kidals and Cuthbert 4, Sobers 3.5, Richard Kidals and Osborne and Wickett 3, Patching 2.5, Hodges and Mark Hague 2, Harrington 1.5, Ryan 1.
1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Be3
Slightly weakening but Black can’t take advantage of the way in which White plays the opening. If -c5 then 4 c3 and White is threatening to take on c5. This is my second BCA tournament in a row in which in the first round someone has played this way against me in the Modern.
3 -d6 4 Nf3 Nd7 5 Be2 Ng8f6 6 Nc3 a6 7 a4
So white can not castle queenside anymore.
7 -b6 8 Qd2 Bb7
This is a mistake. Though I get a centre pawn for a wing pawn, my king position becomes very shaky. I should have played -Ng4 when the white bishop goes to f4 or g5. After Bg5 I play -f6 and on Bf4 I play -e5 10 Bg5 f6 11 Bh4 Nh6 and afterwards I play -0-0.
This is the Averbakh Variation of the King’s Indian Defence. White delays the development of his King’s Knight to keep his options open. The standard 6 -e5 loses material after 7 dxe5 dxe5 8 Qxd8 Rxd8 9 Nd5 attacking f6 and c7. Black’s 6th move in the game defends c7, prepares -e7-e5 and eyes the c5 square after White’s d4 Pawn is exchanged or advanced to d5.
6 -Na6 7 Qd2 e5 8 d5
At the Autumn tournament at Solihull last year Steve ventured the simplifying 8 dxe5 dxe5 9 Qxd8 Rxd8 10 Nd5 Rd6 11 Nxf6+ Bxf6 12 Bxf6 Rxf6 against me. However, after 13 Nf3 Bg4! Black had a small initiative and I won in 59 moves.
The text is the main line. Black immediately occupies the c5 square and the Knight can’t be driven off by 9 b4 immediately because he is attacking e4 twice.
8 -Nc5 9 f3 a5
Securing the Knight by preventing b2-b4. White now embarks on a Kingside Pawn advance and Black must ensure he has counterplay on the Queenside or in the centre.
10 g4 c6 11 h4 cxd5 12 Nxd5!?
This came as a surprise. The line in my book ‘Play the King‘s Indian‘ by Joe Gallagher went 12 cxd5 Bd7 13 Nh3, and now 13 -Qe8 forcing through -b7-b5 is okay. There is also the sacrifice 13 -b5!? 14 Nxb5, and here the Cuban master A. Perez has played the very complicated 14 -Nfxe4!? Worth analysing when you have a week or so to spare.
The text looks natural enough as it exploits the pin on the f6 Knight and occupies a key central square. I couldn’t recall this being mentioned in Gallagher’s book and thought there must be something wrong with it.
At first I considered 12 -Be6 and taking on d5 but I couldn’t see where my counterplay was coming from. After ten minutes thought it dawned on me that it was the Knight that was going to e6 and, after that, to the equally good square on d4. Only after that Black should seriously consider -Bc8-Be6-Bxd5. Upon consulting Gallagher’s book after the game I was very pleased to find that he wrote “12 Nxd5 is well met by 12 -Ne6”.
12 -Ne6! 13 Bxf6
After some thought. Both the dark-squared Bishops often play a major part in the King’s Indian, so Steve didn‘t make this decision lightly. However, the natural 13 Be3 runs into 13 -Nxd5 14 cxd5 Nd4, and if 15 Bxd4 exd4 then Black is quite happy with the opening of the long diagonal and the e-file. Here the Pawn on d4 is a strength, not a weakness. If 13 Nxf6+ Bxf6 14 Be3 then 14 -Bxh4+ is inconvenient. With the text Steve gains some time and yet more space on the Kingside. However, even though Black’s King’s Bishop remains hemmed in it is still both an important attacking and defensive piece as will become apparent.
13 -Bxf6 14 g5
Black’s d6 Pawn can often be a weakness in the King’s Indian and he must be prepared to sacrifice it to gain active play for his pieces. Hence the greedy 14 Nxf6+ Qxf6 15 Qxd6? is well met by 15 -Rd8. Now 16 Qb6 is met by 16 -Ra6, and the pin on the e6 Knight is broken while Black has also picked up a tempo to activate his Queen’s Rook. After 16 Qa3 I intended the disruptive 16 -Qf4 invading White’s weakened dark squares. My computer subsequently pointed out that 16 -Nd4 is also good because after 17 0-0-0 Bxg4! is playable. If 18 gxf4 Qf4+ 19 Kb1 Qxe4+ wins the Rook on h1. A perfect example of how weaknesses on one complex of squares can lead to disaster on the other and underlining the principle of active play given in the last paragraph.
14 -Bg7 15 0-0-0 Nd4(?)
Tempting, but played slightly prematurely. More flexible is 15 -a4 when White can’t play 16 h5 because his g5 Pawn is loose. Perhaps it would transpose to the game after 16 Bd3 Nd4 17 h5, but it would give White less of a free hand next move.
16 h5 Be6 17 Bd3!
A strong move which increases both White’s defensive and offensive options. White now also has Rh1-h2 to bolster the second rank if needed, and also the option of developing his Knight on e2. The latter may drop the Pawn on f3 but White won’t object to this if it opens up another line of attack. After the text move White has in mind the sequence Qh2 followed by hxg6 fxg6 Qxh7+.
Meanwhile Black is seriously considering -Bxd5, when the recapture exd5 allows -e5-e4 and the King’s Bishop is breathing fire down the long diagonal. Black is not that concerned about Qxh7+ because it is not checkmate, and after the reply -Kf7 he threatens -Rh8 trapping the Queen. Vishy Anand once said in an analogous position “I can’t get mated here because I have a dark-squared Bishop and White doesn’t.” A good point.
However, with the Bishop on d3, if Black has already exchanged on d5 and White has recaptured with the Pawn on e4, then in the above line -Kf7 is met by Bxg6+ mating.
After the text the game becomes very tense as things revolve around the relative timings of Qh2 for White and -Bxd5 for Black. With the opening of the h-file imminent, Black now hastens with his own Queenside counterplay as he has a neat tactical idea in mind to ensure lines are opened there.
17 -a4 18 Kb1
At the time I thought this was a mistake because it facilitated my idea, but it is difficult to find anything better. The obvious 18 Qh2 is met by 18 -Qxg5 with check, and the other tries suggested by my computer all have drawbacks.
19 h6 Bh8 reduces White’s attacking options and Black then has -f7-f6 to open lines and free his Bishop, while 19 Nh3 just drops the Pawn on f3. 19 Qe3 defends this Pawn but then White no longer has Qh2.
Fritz suggests 18 f4, but I don’t believe in a move that opens the long diagonal. Maybe 18 Kb1 is best after all because White isn’t forced into playing into Black’s forthcoming tactical idea.
18 -a3 19 hxg6?
Steve chooses the wrong moment to release the Kingside tension. After this Black has pressure down the f-file to add to his Queenside play, and the Knight on g1 never gets into the game because it is tied down to the defence of f3. Also Black gets the option of -Rf7 and -Bh8 to defend h7.
The obvious 19 b3 is okay if White is willing to submit to a slightly inferior position after 19 -Bxd5 20 cxd5 Qb6. White’s problem is that he wants to answer 19 -Bxd5 with 20 exd5, but he can’t do so because of 20 -Nxb3! Now 21 axb3 a2+ is check because of 18 Kb1 and Black wins material after promoting on a1.
It’s worthwhile pointing out that this line is viable even if White did have his Rooks connected! White doesn’t have to take on b3 of course but the missing Pawn in front of his King is important, and the inclusion of the Bishop on d3 in the Kingside attack is of no value if Black can safely go -Qxg5 after White plays Qh2.
There is the possibility of 19 b4 instead, but this does not look as solid as b3, and after 19 -Bxd5 20 exd5 (here 20 cxd5 Qb6 threatening 21 -Ra4 attacking b4 is dreadful) there is the useful sacrifice 20 -b5!?
Certainly Steve had lots to think about! He was using plenty of time on the clock.
19 -fxg6 20 Rf1
Steve begins to appreciate that he is in difficulties. All the above variations are still viable even after the exchange on g6. At least with the text White gets to threaten the strong line-opening f3-f4 if he ever gets to play Qxh7+ Kf7.
However, Black has now succeeded in opening lines and it quickly becomes apparent his attack has more venom.
By delaying -Bxd5 Black denies White the defensive resource Bc4. Now after 21 Qh2 Qa5 22 Qxh7+ Kf7 23 f4 Qxa2+ 24 Kc2 b1-Q+ Black mates first.
Here White should just recapture on b2. The move he plays is an unaffordable luxury that allows Black to make certain his Queen is involved in the Queenside action but by a route that avoids the exchange on a5. The text also rules out the switch of the Queen to the Kingside, so the initiative is now firmly in Black’s hands.
A strong move that denies Steve the chance to play the more desirable Queen capture on b2. Perhaps White should take advantage of the gap created by his last move to play 22 Bf1 and ensure he goes Qxb2 but after 22 -Bxd5 23 cxd5 Qa8 24 Qxb2 Qa4 his position is unconvincing.
Curiously I was also inspired to play a R-R6 (Rh3 on that occasion) move in my last-round game against Tristram Cole, and he soon also blundered in a poor position. Perhaps this will start a trend?!
22 Kxb2 Qa8!?
A neat way to bring the Queen into the attack. However, Black can also try the even stronger 22 -Bxd5 because if 23 Kxa3 Qb6! threatens 24 -Ra8 mate and 23 cxd5 or exd5 Qb6+ with the same point.
I was still trying to avoid giving White the option of Bc4, so I was intent on activating the Queen before exchanging on d5. Obviously all the forward Knight moves fail to 23 -Rxa2+, except 23 Ne7+ which is useless after 23 -Kf7. The Knight retreats 23 Nc3 or Nb4 are convincingly met by 23 -Qa5, a move I didn’t want to play while it simply allowed the exchange of Queens, but here the unusual triangulation with the Queen pays dividends.
After the quaint text move White could play 23 Kc1 Bxd5 24 exd5 which is a better defensive try, but even so after 24 -b5! Black is having all the fun. Here 25 cxb5 Qxd5 is an amusing way of justifying the presence of the Queen on a8, but 25 -Rc8+ 26 Kb1 Qa4 is an even better one!
23 Kb1 Bxd5 24 cxd5 Qa4
Alternatives were 24 -Rc8 and the sneaky 24 -Qa7 threatening 25 -Qb6+ because 26 Ka1 is answered by -Nb3+. However, once again I was intent on not allowing Bc4 and after the text I now have the tactic -Rxa2 Qxa2 Qd1+ in hand. The file for the King’s Rook has yet to be determined, but if it goes to the c-file a check with the Queen or the other Rook on the b-file could be fatal for White.
Black is now attacking a badly shielded King with a Queen, two Rooks and a Knight, and the defence is badly co-ordinated. Understandably, Steve now cracks under the pressure of both position and clock.
25 Bc2?? Qb5+ 0-1
Just in time for a miniature. If 26 Ka1 Rxa2+ 27 Kxa2 Ra8+ forces checkmate, while if 26 Bb3 Nxb3 27 Qb2, and now 27 -Nd4 or 27 -Qd3+ do the trick. Finally 26 Kc1 Rxa2 looks bad enough but 26 -Rc8 first is thoroughly convincing!
Now for the decisive game in the Minor tournament.
I am delighted to report that Tyson Mordue has successfully completed his chess challenge. During the 12 months of the challenge he played 145 competitive games, winning 89 of them drawing 42 and losing only 14. This is a truly remarkable achievement. Games against BCA members in BCA events were not included in the challenge.
Readers will recall that many BCA members and non members pledged 20 pence for every game that Tyson won during the challenge, although we placed a limit of £15 on the maximum possible settlement for each person (equivalent to 75 wins). Since Tyson has managed to reach this target, a payment of £15 is now due from each supporter.
If you were one of the supporters of the challenge, can I ask you please to send your donation to Tyson if at all possible. Alternatively, you can make your payment to Richard Kidals in the normal way but, in this case, please make it clear that the payment relates to the challenge. All cheques should be made payable to the Braille Chess Association.
An additional feature of the scheme was that supporters of the challenge were asked to guess how many games Tyson would win, a prize of £25 going to the person guessing correctly or getting nearest. No one guessed exactly 89 wins but one person predicted 88 and two people predicted 90 wins. In view of the success of the challenge, we have decided to give £25 to each of these supporters , making £75 in total.
Tyson undertook the challenge because it was our 75th anniversary year but the theme of 75 has run through the whole challenge. We placed a limit on the maximum settlement for each person, equivalent to 75 wins. Tyson’s score for the whole challenge was 75% and he won 75 games more than he lost. We are now paying out £75 in prize money.
Tyson will have raised well over £2000 for the BCA as a result of this challenge. Our congratulations and thanks go to him for this tremendous effort. Members present at the AGM showed their appreciation with a very warm round of applause.
Request for Feedback on Chess Literature
I have been asked to write an article for this edition of the gazette requesting people’s views on what chess literature we should be looking to have transcribed into accessible formats.
You will have read in Norman’s notes on the AGM that Hans had commented that although he had gone to a lot of trouble adding books to the cassette library nobody seemed to be making use of them. At committee meetings Mark Kirkham has also commented that he does not feel overworked as cassette librarian; it seems to be a regular few who request books.
It is actually a time-consuming job getting chess books recorded; a lot of work goes into finding and especially retaining volunteer readers, checking the quality of their work, trying to decide what books are worth recording etc. It can be discouraging for those involved in this work to discover that few if anyone wishes to make use of the results of their efforts.
We need to get a feel for what people would like recorded or transcribed into Braille. Although the publications sub-committee has people on it who are aware of what good chess books are on the market, we are often in the position of simply trying to guess what people might want. We also need to know why the cassette library seems little used; is it because of the books on offer, the fact that people don’t use cassettes much these days, the quality of recordings or is there something else?
So please make contact with the chairman of the publications sub-committee with your suggestions and comments. The sub-committees are being reconstituted at the committee meeting on 21st April and I will publish a list of who is on each sub-committee in the August gazette so you know who to contact. In the meantime you can always contact the cassette librarian Mark Kirkham or myself. We will pass on comments to the relevant people.
Solution to Study
Chris set an endgame puzzle in the last gazette and offers the following solution: White Kd7, pawn c7; Black: Kg3, Bh7, pawn b7. White to play and draw.
The theme is that White must be able to win the B-pawn somehow by giving up his own C-pawn effectively. The key lies in the K & P square motif developed by Reti with his famous studies with kings on h8 etc and illustrating that the quickest way for a king to march down a board is diagonally.
So, in the study position, White must get his king into the square of the B pawn. 1 Kc8! threatening the B-pawn and forcing its advance, otherwise, Black will play 1 -Bf5 and -Bc8, ensuring the pawn is protected and allowing Black to bring his king into play.
1 -b5, and now comes the big, big move. 2 Kd7!!
It’s extremely difficult to see that move. White needs to get back into the Square of the pawn, but must gain a tempo en route. The tempo gaining idea is to prevent -Bf5. There are two moves for Black here, but they result in exactly the same position: 2 -Bf5+ 3 Kd6 threatening to play Kc5 and win the pawn as Black cannot defend the pawn with the bishop in any way, as White will deflect the bishop by a promotion of the C-pawn. Therefore, Black must push on with 3 -b4.
Take a step back a minute, back to move 2 and Black’s other option. 2 -b4 3 Kd6 threatening to promote the pawn, which Black must stop with 3 -Bf5. Incidentally, if 2 -Kf4 3 Kd6 Bf5 (forced) 4 Kc5 Bd7 5 c8-Q Bxc8 6 Kxb5.
Position after 3 moves. White: Kd6, pawn c7; Black: Kg3, Bf5, pawn b4. OK, now for the tempo gain: 4 Ke5! threatening to take the bishop and to promote in 2 whereas Black needs 3 to promote. White can cover the queening square and has a simple win. Therefore, Black must move the bishop. 4 -Bc8 and, at last, White can step into the square of the pawn. 5 Kd4 and Black can not stop the capture of the b4-pawn. If 5 -b3 6 Kc3, and the pawn is lost as 6 -Be6 allows the promotion of the C-pawn and Kxb3. 5 -Be6 allows 6 c8-Q and Kc4 with Kxb-pawn whether on b4 or b3.