The Gazette - May 2016

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

David Hodgkins Memorial Tournament

The Hall Mark hotel, Derby, was the Venue for the 2016 BCA AGM and Tournament. This event was dedicated to the memory of David Hodgkins, one of our most popular and industrious members, who died in January 2015. We were delighted to have members of David's family with us, including: his mother, Phyllis, and his sister, Sally. The family party also included Thomas Kenealy, Sally's son and David's nephew. In spite of not having played any competitive chess for a while, Thomas was keen to play in the tournament named after his Uncle David.

Other notables who attended the event included: our fundraiser extraordinaire, Julia Scott with her husband, Roy and two representatives from Apex Credit Management, where David worked. This company had made BCA its charity for the year 2015 raising just under £20,000 which donated to BCA. We also learned they have made BCA their charity for the year 2016; a measure of the esteem in which David was held by his work colleagues.

The event was organised by Steve and Hazel Burnell. The arbiters were Gerry Walsh and Julie Leonard, assisted by Peter Gibbs, steward. We were grateful to the Freemasons Provincial Grand Charity of the Province of Derbyshire, who donated the £500 prize fund.

The tournament was run in two sections, an open with 13 competitors, and a Challengers with 12 competitors. We were pleased to welcome two who were playing in their first BCA tournament: Graham Pennington and Owen Phillips. Owen has been doing some sterling work in our Junior Development programme and delivers coaching to members via Skype.

Round 1 in the Open saw a couple of upsets, with seeds 10 and 11 , Ian Blencowe and Stan Lovell beating seeds 4 and 5, Mark Kirkham and Bill Armstrong. Meanwhile, the top two seeds, John Gallagher and Chris Ross appeared to be in good form, each winning their first two games. Round 3 was a key round, with John and Chris being drawn against each other. Chris came out on top, opening up a clear lead which he maintained to the end of the tournament. In the final round John was drawn against Owen, a win for either of them would have clinched second place. Their draw, however, meant they tied for 2nd/3rd place, a point behind Chris.

The Challengers was a closely fought affair. Eleven year old, Efe Shimwell was competing in just his second BCA weekend event. After a draw with the wily campaigner, George Phillips, they each continued their unbeaten progress finishing equal 1st/2nd on 4 points, followed by Gary Wickett and Voldi Gailans 3.5 equal 3rd/4th. For full final scores see the end of this report.

The prizes were presented by David's sister, Sally, who expressed her sincere thanks for the friendship and pleasure had David had enjoyed during his membership of BCA.

The Annual General Meeting took place on the Saturday afternoon. It was a well attended, lively meeting, with some meaty discussions and, well managed by our Chairman, Norman Wragg.

One of the keys to a successful event for an association like BCA, with many visually impaired members, is the venue. The Hallmark starts off with a big plus, being located so close to the Derby railway station. I felt the standard of service was good and the quality of the meals was also good. The staff were friendly and helpful. Another bonus was that the chess playing returned to the spacious Garden Room, with its decent sized tables that allow plenty of space for the two boards, clocks and various forms of recording equipment. Add to this our two tireless organisers, Steve and Hazel Burnell, and it is easy to see why this event was such a success.

Stan Lovell

Final Placings and Scores:


4.5 points: Chris Ross 1st + trophy

4 points: John Gallagher and Owen Phillips =2nd

3 points: Graham Pennington (Graham won Grading Prize B)

2.5 points: Mark Kirkham, Colin Chambers, Ian Blencowe and Stan Lovell (Stan won Grading Prize C)

2 points: Bill Armstrong and Les Whittle (Bill and Les shared Grading Prize A)

1.5 points: Steve Burnell

1 point: Phil Gordon and Roger Waters


4 points: Efe Shimwell and George Phillips (Efe and George were joint first. The trophy went to Efe on tie-break)

3.5 points: Gary Wickett and Voldi Gailans (They shared 3rd prize. Voldi also won a share of Grading Prize A)

3 points: Gill Smith and Mike Lowery (Gill won Grading Prize B and Mike won Grading Prize C)

2.5 points: Jim Cuthbert (Jim won a share of Grading Prize A)

2 points: Dan Rugman and John Osborne

1 point: Thomas Kenealy, Richard Harrington and Eleanor Tew

Here is the round three encounter between the top two seeds in the Open. Chris Ross writes:

The game is interesting, in that Black deviates from theory on move 6. The move itself seems innocuous, but it has deep implications for Black's setup. The realisation that the text move on move 6 is inaccurate, means that time should be taken to investigate why. Once that is established, White obtains a sizeable advantage.

Chris Ross v John Gallagher {B34: Sicilian: Accelerated Dragon}

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. Nf3

{The "Sniper" is neutralised. Taking the opening on has proven advantageous for White. Theory has shown that 4. dxc5 gives White a plus, although Black has tricks which must be dealt with carefully. Often, Black will be obliged to sacrifice a pawn with b7-b6 and lines can become open. The text move chosen here steers the game into the Sicilian Dragon variation. There is no good way for Black to avoid this.}

4... cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 a6?

{Black is attempting to avoid any theoretical lines. The expansion on the queen-side is an acceptable notion, but is not considered by the theory to this opening. Why is that? There must be reasons otherwise it would have been played many times at top levels. Knowing this enables one to focus strategically from the outset. Also important is a working knowledge of other opening principles. This is not necessarily the theoretical knowledge of other lines, but the concepts, objectives and tricks that can be inherent in those lines. Here, 6... a6 provides similar lines and weaknesses, to those seen in the Morra Gambit. Although the opening is not a Morra Gambit, the similarities are such, that common threads and threats can be used.}

7. Nd5!

{Black has grave difficulties. The b6 square is targeted. Black cannot prevent a knight outpost on the b6 square. White's immediate threat is 8. Nxc6 followed by Bb6 and Nc7+ which is a common theme in the Morra Gambit. 7... Rb8 does not save Black. If 8. Nxc6 then bxc6 protects b6 so White needs to find a better eighth move and it is not that much of a leap of imagination to find 8. Nf5! with similar threats of 9. Bb6 and the attack on the Dragon-Bishop. Painful as it may be, 7... Be5 is Black’s only real option. 8. f4 Bc7 (to cover b6) is the only way in which Black can realistically play the position. White can simply play 9. Bc4 and take the errant Dragon-Bishop at any stage.}

7... Nxd4 8. Bxd4 Bxd4 9. Qxd4 Nf6

{Black desperately attempts to block up all the lines. The dark-square weaknesses are fatal though. Intriguingly, White does not have to take on f6 here and give Black permanent structural weaknesses. The occupation of b6 paralyses Black to such an extent that he is unable to complete development without significant material loss.}

10. Nb6 Rb8 11. e5

{Not only gaining time on the black knight, but also clamping down on the black d-pawn. For Black to develop his light-squared bishop, d7-d6 needs to be achieved. White is not going to allow this to happen easily.}

11... Nh5 12. O-O-O

{Squeezing down on the d7-pawn even more and preventing it from advancing. As Black is so paralysed on the queen-side, he should consider sacrificing this pawn in any case.}

12... O-O 13. Bc4

{Simple and fluid. White completes development without further delay. He has a huge advantage and tactics do not have to be invoked until development is completed. 12. g4 is enticing, but not necessary. The black knight is headed backward in any case and leaving a loose pawn on g4 is only a tactical liability. With the text move, Black is prevented from playing f7-f6, which may have freed up his position. The clamping effect on the black pawns and pieces is continued with the least amount of fuss. 13. Nxd7 Bxd7 14. Qxd7 Qa5 would win a pawn, but gives Black open lines and a sense of compensation for the pawn. It is more debilitating to proceed with the squeeze.}

13... Ng7 14. f4

{A strong move that ultimately causes Black to collapse. It puts a pawn on a dark square and secures the central spear-point on e5. The black d7-pawn is pinned against the black queen. If 14... Ne6, White can enter into a good-knight vs. bad-bishop ending with 15. Bxe6 when it would be necessary for Black to recapture with the f-pawn. White can then play g2-g3, solidifying the f4 pawn and pawn chain and completely clamping Black down.

White also has to consider how to answer 14... Nf5 driving the white queen away. Of course, 14. g4 would do this, but this leaves a pawn on a vulnerable square and does not support White’s plan. With the text move, the f2 square is vacated for the queen making 14. … Nf5 redundant, as it would soon be driven away with g2-g4.}

14... Qc7

{This loses material, but it is tough to find a good move for Black. Indeed, he should give up the d-pawn in the hope of easing his cramped position. 14... d6 is his only real try.}

15. Nd5 Qd8

{Losing an exchange. 15... Qa5 will only drop the e7-pawn with check and White can march the h-pawn down the board very quickly. The bishop on c4, which was usefully developed before any pawn-storm on the king-side, defends the pawn on a2. 15... Ne6 16. Nxc7 Nxd4 17. Rxd4 only loses a piece for Black.}

16. Qa7

{Ensnaring the loose rook. Black struggles on for a few more moves, but it is effectively over now.}

16... b5 17. Qxb8 bxc4

{A pause for thought here. To play tactically or consolidate quietly and gain lots of time on the clock? In such positions like this and with a time-control of 90-minutes for all moves, the latter approach is usually best.}

18. Qb4

{Simple. Attractive would be 8. Qxc8 Qxc8 19. Nxe7+ Kh8 20. Nxc8 Rxc8 21. Rxd7}

18... Ne6 19. Nxe7+ Kg7 20. Nd5

{Once again, choosing the path of least resistance. White’s f-pawn is defended and f6 is targeted. 20. f5 gxf5 21. Nxf5+ Kh8 is the messy route and entirely unnecessary.}

20... a5 21. Qxc4 Bb7 22. Nf6

{Another outpost is occupied. The g2-pawn is of no significance. Its capture will only open the g-file against the black king.}

22... Bc6 23. Rd6

{All outposts are suitably occupied. The slow squash continues. 23. f5 is the more aggressive approach.}

23... Qc7

{23... Bxg2 24. Rg1 Bc6 25. Rg3 allows a heavy piece switch across to the h-file.}

24. Rhd1 Rd8 25. g4

{Now all of the white pieces are coordinated, it is time to prise open the black king.}

25... Qb7 26. f5 Bb5 27. Qd5

{Offering an exchange of queens, which Black cannot take. In any case, the white queen will re-route via d2 to g5 and mate will soon follow. Black resigns.}