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Archive for July 18th, 2010

Exmouth vs Hellevoetsluis (17.07.2010.)

The Borough of Torbay has been twinned with the port of Hellevoetsluis in Holland since 1988. This is no accident , for that year was the tercentenary of the landing at Brixham of William of Orange on his way to assume the British throne in the “Glorious Revolution”.

The background to this great event in 1688 lay in the growing unpopularity of King James II. In fact, the British had had an uneasy relationship with the Sturat Kings for most of the 17th century. From 1603 James I was a Catholic assuming the monarchy of a Protestant country; Charles I was famously executed; his son Charles II was restored to the throne and became the “Merrie Monarch”. He died without legitimate issue (though with 12 illegitimate ones) and was succeeded by his brother James II, who possessed the ability to alienate great swathes of the country to the point where they wished to be rid of him. William of Orange, who had pragmatically married his own 1st cousin, Mary Stuart, was invited to “invade” the country whereupon he would be acclaimed as the new king.

He set sail from Hellevoetsluis with an army of 30,000, heading for the North East under the terms of Plan A. However, unfavourable winds took the ships down the English Channel instead, and they landed at Brixham unexpectedly and unforeseen on November 5th, anniversary of an earlier plot to usurp a Catholic Stuart king. Nevertheless, this plan was successful, James fled into exile and William & Mary reigned as joint monarchs.

The tradition of a small fighting army of Dutch, leaving Hellevoetsluis and landing in Torbay continues to this day, in the form of a group of chessplayers under the leadership of Jan Straatman. As in 1688, they are welcomed by the English before commencing a token battle. In fact, this chess link is one of the most fruitful and regular aspects of the twinning connection as they have visited at least 8 times.

The latest encounter is taking place this weekend. A small group of 4 players flew in to Exeter Airport on Saturday morning, and their first match was against Exmouth the same evening. It had been difficult for the home team to field a team that more closely matched that of the visitors as their identities were unknown until the day of the match. After drinks in the bar of the Manor Hotel and an exchange of souvenirs, the match got under way.

  Exmouth       Hellevoetsluis  
1 Brian Hewson 184 1 0 Bonne Faber 133e
2 Dave Rogers 149 1 0 Jan Straatman 117e
3 Bob Jones 140 1 0 Wim Nordermeer 108e
4 Malcolm Belt 119 1 0 Wim Heijer   95e
      4 0    

Hewson’s game ended fairly quickly after he followed a policy of sensible piece development before initiating a quick winning attack. The other games, however, were all more closely fought. Jones had won a piece in the opening, but  without due care and attention could easily have fallen to one of several back rank mates. Belt was left with Bishop + 3 pawns against Rook and 2, yet somehow managed to usher two pawns to the 7th rank on opposite sides of the board; the rook could stop one but not the other from queening. Rogers had positional pressure, but could only win after swapping off all pieces and leaving himself with a strong extra pawn.

Their visit continues on Sunday with a team rapidplay tournament taking place at Forde House, Newton Abbot, where William stayed on his 2nd night, with his army encamped on Milber Downs nearby.

Here are some scenes from the Saturday match:-

Seated (l-r): Wim Heijer; Bonne Faber; Jan Straatman; Wim Nordermeer. Standing: Brian Hewson; Dave Rogers, Malcolm Belt, Bob Jones.

The Dutch team in action.

Hewson makes a move against Faber

Jan Straatman makes a move.

R+2 vs B+3 - which way will it go?

Local Successes In UK Land Chess Challenge (17.07.2010.)

The world’s largest chess tournament is the UK Land Chess Challenge which usually attracts around 70,000 entries from juniors each year. Regional finals have already been held and the better players went forward to the Southern area “Gigafinals” held recently at Wellington College, Berkshire. There were several outstanding performances from Devon and Cornwall players. Here they are – all scores out of 6.

U-7s: James Lloyd (Kelly College); Connor Golding (Stover); Jason Stephens (Perran-ar-Worthal).

U-9s: Theo Slade (Marhamchurch) 5½; Thomas Koyla 4½ & Ella Bibby (both Broadclyst);  Edmund Kelly (Exeter School) & Henry Snelson (St. Just). Elsa Frangleton (S. Tawton). U-10s: Tom Adams 4 & Taylor Finch 4 (both Exeter School); Sophie Robinson 4½, Simon Priddle 3½ & Reece Whittington 3 (all Broadclyst). Sam Kingsland (Morchard Bishop). Joshua Young (Lympstone). U-11s: Joe Gabriel 4 & Tomas Trott 4 (both Broadclyst); Bailey Watling (Trewirgie); Ebony Jeffries (St. Uny). U-12s: Ben Newman (Broadclyst); David Richards (Penair). U-15s: Adam Simmonds (Launceston). U-16s: Samuel Crouch (S. Dartmoor). U-17: Robert Thompson 4½ (Torquay Boys’ G.S.); Daniel Miller (Launceston).

The top performances were by Theo Slade who was clear 1st, Robert Thompson who was 2nd= and Thomas Koyla who was 3rd=, all in their respective sections, while the sheer number of players from Broadclyst Community Primary School was remarkable.

Here is a game from Round 4 of the Under-9s.

White: Theo Slade (123). Black: Liam Reed.

Nimzowitsch Defence [B00]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 Nc6 3.d5 Nb4 4.a3 Na6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bc5 7.Nxe5 0–0 8.Bd3 Re8 9.Nf3 Ng4 attacking f2 10.0–0 d6 11.Bg5 f6 12.Bh4 Bd7 13.h3 Ne5 14.Nxe5 dxe5 15.Kh1 Bd4 16.Ne2 Bxb2 17.Rb1 Bd4 18.Nxd4 18…exd4 19.Qh5 Nc5 20.Bc4 Kh8 21.f3? White intended to protect his pawn on e4 but in doing so has cut off his queen’s retreat. 21…Re5 22.Qf7 the queen’s only square. For a moment, Black thinks he’s cut off all the queen’s escape routes and just has to be attacked. 22…Be8?? Unfortunately, in doing so he has created a new possibility. 23.Qf8#

The solution to the Mansfield problem last week was 1.Qe7! which closes all Black’s possible escape routes.

In this clever 2-mover by the 19th century genius Samuel Loyd, Black’s formation of rooks and bishops, invented by him, was known as “Organ Pipes”. White is materially down but has one move that wins against any defence.

White to mate in 2 moves.