It would be easy to claim that it would be ridiculous to have 44 players in one section with grades from 198 to 70, and several former British Champions in different forms of the game, a GM and a former World Record holder all in the mix. Yet this is what happened this year in the Exmouth Seniors, and in most years before. One could imagine it descending a procession of massacres, unsatisfying for winner and loser alike. Yet it rarely, if ever, turns out this way. There are upsets galore, as modest club players regularly rise to the opportunity to play a much higher-graded opponent, and so it happened this year.
For example, Teignmouth player, Bill Ingham, lowest graded player in the top section, before the grading prizes kicked in, carved through the field, including the top 2 grades, to take clear 1st prize. There were other notable stories too. Michael Dow (127) mated the GM in Rd. 2 and led the field, before proceeding to lose his next 3 games; The GM only scored 50%; Andrew Footner, arrived an hour late for Rd. 1, was defaulted and then proceeded to win the next 4 games to come 2nd=; These were the stories that caught the eye, but many games were entertainingly well-fought.
The “Junior” Section (50 – 64 yrs) was more predictable and the top 3 grades got the main prizes, and the top player in each Graded Section, took the Grading Prize. No prize for Cornishman Colin Sellwood, but in very elevated company he went through undefeated with 5 draws.
Seniors Chart 2016
"Junior" Section 2016
General view of the playing hall from the Controller's table, with Arbiter Tony Tatam striding purposefully forward.
View from the entrance looking half left.
Rd. 3: Bill Ingham against Ewart Smith, former Controller of this event, but now just happy to play.
Steve Murray, late of the Met. Office, and Barbara Newcome of Exmouth Hospital, fellow members of the local club, meet in Rd. 4 of the "Juniors" section.
Rd. 4: Identical twins, identically dressed: Martin Cutmore (nearest) plays Colin Sellwood, who drew every game in distinguished company, while brother David faces Paul Botham.
Rd. 4: Malcolm Belt (Exmouth) on his way to a win against Sid Jones (Dorchester).
Rd. 4: With 3 wins under his belt, Bill Ingham now faces the top seed, Jim Johnson (198), a test he passed with flying colours.
Rd 4: Yorkshireman Paul Kendall plays M. Adams (Martyn!) while another Yorkshireman, Richard Hall plays Peter Wood (Hastings)
Rd. 4: Ian Heppell, who makes a habit of snatching 1st prize in the final round, here makes a move against the top seed, Graham Bolt - game drawn and both entered the final round in joint 1st place on 3/4
Rd. 5: Heppell could only draw against the solid play of Alan Brown, while Graham Bolt (right rear) beat David Cutmore to come clear 1st.
Rd. 5: Andrew Footner's 1st round debacle, believing it to be a 2 p.m. start, only seemed to spur him on to make amends, here notching up his 4th consecutive win, beating Correspondence GM, Richard Hall (blue shirt), in a dramatic game. In the foreground, Robert Everson goes on to beat Alan Dean (Exmouth and Tiddleywinks World Championship contender).