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44th Torbay Congress Prizelist (27.11.10.)

The Torbay Congress came to a successful conclusion on Sunday evening with a number of happy local winners, as follows (all scores out of 5):

Open Section: 1st K. C. Arkell (Paignton)  4½. 2nd= C. Beaumont (Bristol); J. Menadue (Truro); A. Pleasants (Weymouth) & J. Wheeler (Cosham): all 4. Grading prizes (U-184): D. Bennett (Bristol) & D. Sully (Penarth) both 4. (U-175): 1st= R. Webster (Notts); D. Twine (Plymouth) & R. Thompson (Newton Abbot): all 3½.

Major Section (U-170): 

1st J. Waterfield (Bristol) 4½. 2nd J. Nyman (Surrey) 4. 3rd= W. Ingham (Teignmouth) & M. Harris (Newcastle-U-Lyme) 3½. Grading prizes (U-160): I. Annetts (Tiverton); C. Woolcock (Barry) & J. Ayres (Scarborough). 3. U-154: J. Leung (Newton Abbot) 3.

Intermediate Section (U-150): 

1st= P. Willcock (Wimborne) & C. Keen (Exeter) 4½. 3rd E. Sandercock (Bucks) 4. Grading prizes (U-139): C. Strong. (U-130): 1st= M. Probert & P. Foster 3½.

Minor Section (U-120): 

1st= P. Saunders (Bristol) 4½.  

3rd= M. Cuggy (Brixham) & K. Spooner (Wimborne) 4.

Grading prizes (U-109): 1st= N. Mackie & J. Wallman 4. (U-94): 1st= J. Fraser (TBGS); M. Haines (Chard) & T. Hay (Teignmouth).

This is the game that clinched clear 1st prize for local resident Keith Arkell.

White: K. Arkell (231). Black: P. Helbig (191).

Grunfeld Defence [D76]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Nc3 Nb6 7.Bg2 Nc6 8.e3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8 10.b3 e5 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.Bb2 Qxd1 14.Rfxd1 c6 15.Rd2 Be6 16.Ne4 inviting the exchange of bishops 16…Bxb2 17.Rxb2 Red8 Both grabbing the open file and avoiding the threatened fork. 18.Nc5 Rab8 19.a4 a5 20.b4 Nc4 21.Nxe6 Inviting an exchange of rooks and breaking up Black’s kingside pawns. 21…fxe6 22.Rc2 Nd2 The knight ventures forward looking for action, but comes to a sticky end. 23.Rd1 Nb3 24.Rb1 Rd2 25.Rc3 and the knight has nowhere to go. 25…Rc8 26.f4 axb4 27.Rcxb3 c5 28.Bxb7 c4 29.Rxb4 A quicker end would have resulted from 29.Bxc8 cxb3 (29…c3 threatens to recover a queen, but White can cope – just. e.g. 30.Bxe6+ Kf8 31.Rxb4 c2 32.Rf1 Rd1 33.Rc4) 30.Bxe6+ Kf8 31.Rxb3 29…c3 30.Be4 c2 31.Bxc2 Rdxc2 32.R1b2 Rc1+ 33.Kf2 Ra1 34.Re4 Kf7 35.Rb7+ Kf6 36.Rxh7 1–0.

In last week’s problem, the White Queen can take either of the pawns on c4 or c5 before mating on the f-file. This week’s 2-mover is by John Brown (1827-63) of Bridport.

White to play & mate in 2.

Final of the Winter-Wood Shield – 2010.


When the Devon County Chess Association was formed in 1901, the Winter-Wood family had already been the county’s major chess dynasty for most of the 19th century. By that time, the patriarch, Thomas (1818-1905) was already well into his eighties and too old to play an active part in the new organisation, leaving that to his two sons, Edward and Carslake.

When Thomas died, his widow, Eliza Ann, offered to donate a trophy in his memory up to the value of £20, leaving it to the officials to decide its form and the nature of the competition. It was decided to have a knock-out tournament open only to the champions of club affilliated to D.C.C.A. It was presented at the AGM in October 1909 and first competed for the following summer. The original value of £20 had risen to £2,000 for insurance purposes in 1994, and remains one of the largest and most flamboyant chess trophies in the south-west, if not the whole country.

An early image of Thomas Winter-Wood on the shield.
















 This year:

This year’s entrants had been whittled down to two, and these met in the Final last evening at the Newton Abbot club; these being Andy Dunn, Champion of Torquay and Mark Abbott, Champion of the Exmouth Club. Dunn had the white pieces and opened 1.e4 to which Abbott replied with his favoured Sicilian Defence, which promised at least a lively game, if not a firework display.

Shortly after they started, the current holder of the Shield, Alan Brusey, walked in the room, and when I suggested to him it was a pity the prize could not have been there, for possible presentation at the end of the game, he immediately offered to go back home and get it, as he lived only a few minutes away. And in no time, it was in position on an adjacent table.

But by the very nature of a knockout formula, players tend to want to concentrate on avoiding defeat in order to stay in the mix, rather than going all out for a win and risking elimination, and this game never really took off, and a draw was agreed as the time control approached. A replay was agreed for 3 weeks time at Newton Abbott, with colours reversed.

In the 1950s, when such dour players as Ron Bruce and J. E. Jones were involved, multiple replays in the Winter-Wood were the norm, these two in particular often being locked into 4 or 5 replays in a single round. Jones was the Competition Secretary at this time and tried hard to change this tournament into a league, so that a draw would count as a half point, the players moving on to the next opponent, without unnecessary delays. However, this created a great furore within DCCA; the motion was defeated by the traditionalists causing Jones to leave the Association and concentrate on his other posts in WECU and the new Torbay League.

How many replays will be needed to decide this particular final?

Let battle commence (Dunn in red)

Draw agreed.

Exmouth make a bad start to the new season.

Exmouth’s first match of the new season was against Tiverton in the Newman Cup, a RapidPlay match in which two 1 hour games are played against the same opponent with colours reversed for the 2nd game. With a total grade limit of 599,  Exmouth fielded a combination of their 2 strongest players and 2 untried but promising newcomers. Tiverton, on the other hand, fielded 4 players all about the same strength in spite of the differences in their rapidplay grades.

Exmouth’s experiment back-fired big style, as 3 of the 4 players failed to register anything, and only John Stephens’ 2 wins preserved a fig-leaf of credibility.

  TIVERTON Grd           EXMOUTH Grd
1 I. S. Annetts 151 0 0   1 1 J. K. Stephens 181
2 J. Morrison 147 1 1   0 0 M. V. Abbott 178
3 K. Atkins 134 1 1   0 0 J. Dzenis 120e
4 J. Duckham 121 1 1   0 0 O. E. Wensley 120e
  totals 553   6     2   599

Picture below shows Bd. 4 nearest the camera. 

Exmouth (r) vs Tiverton - start of play.

44th Torbay Congress Prizelist

The Torbay Congress came to an end this evening after a smooth passage throughout the weekend. A greater strain was put on the backroom running, as Congress Secretary, Ray Chubb, was laid out on his settee at home, gingerly getting acquainted with his new hip bone. 

In common with other similar events, the overall entry was a little down on recent years, but the strength of the Open Section was beefed up considerably in the minutes before Kick Off on Friday evening, when first GrandMaster Keith Arkell walked in the hall unnanounced, followed a little later by IM Chris Beaumont, who, having no opponent available to play him, got a full point bye. 

By the start of the final round, Arkell led the field by a half point from a number of strong contenders. He was drawn against the current West of England Champion, Paul Helbig, and concentrated on keeping things uncomplicated as he simplified down to an endgame with 2 rooks and a minor piece each that he turned into a relatively quick win, so guaranteeing him clear 1st. 

Details of the prizelist were as follows (all scores out of 5 pts.):- 

Open Section: 

1st Keith Arkell (231) Paignton 4.5 pts. £200 

2nd= Chris Beaumont (208) Bristol; Jeremy Menadue (185) Truro; Allan Pleasants (185) Weymouth & John Wheeler (185) Cosham: all 3.5 pts.   £35 each. 

Grading prizes: (184 – 175 inc.) 

Dominic Bennett (182) Bristol & Dave Sully – Penarth  both 4 pts. £40 each. 

U-175: 1st= R. J. Webster (167) W. Bridgford; D. Twine (170) Plymouth & R. Thompson (173) Newton Abbot:  all 3.5 pts and £10 each. 

Major Section (U-170): 

1st J. Waterfield (167) Bristol 4.5 pts. £110 

2nd J. Nyman (159)  Surrey 4 pts. £70 

3rd= W. Ingham (164) Teignmouth & M. Harris (167)  Newcastle-Under-Lyme 3.5 pts. £20 each. 

Grading prizes (U-160): 

I. S. Annetts (155) Tiverton; C. Woolcock (155) Barry &  J. Ayres  (159) Scarborough.   3 pts. £10 each. 

U-154: J. Leung (145) Newton Abbot 3 pts. £30 

Intermediate Section (U-150): 

1st= P. Willcock (149) Wimborne & C. E. Keen (131) Exeter 4.5 pts. £90 each 

3rd E. B. Sandercock (146) Bucks 4 pts. £40 

Grading prizes (139 – 130): 

C. Strong  Clevedon £30 

U-130:  1st= M. Probert (123) White Knights & P. Foster (121) Medway  3.5 pts. £15 each. 

Minor Section (U-120): 

1st= P. Saunders (110) Bristol 4.5 pts. £90 each. 

3rd= M. Cuggy (115) Brixham & K. C. Spooner (118) Wimborne 4 pts. £20 each. 

Grading prizes (109 – 94): 

1st= N. Mackie (100) Bournemouth & J. Wallman (108) Dorset. 4 pts. £30 each. 

(U-94): 1st= J. Fraser (u/g) TBGS; M. Haines (88 ) Chard & T. J. Hay (93 ) Teignmouth £10 each. 

Of all the several areas within the Riviera complex, the Rosetor Room would appear to be by far the most suitable for this particular event. It is large enough to accommodate all sections with enough space between rows to allow people to wander and look at other games. It is thickly carpeted throughout, eliminating the distractions of creaking floorboards, chair-scraping and loud footsteps, while the general acoustics tend to muffle even whispered conversations.  At each end of the room there is a recessed area, one suitable for the bookstall and the other used for analysis and light refreshment, yet these possible sources of noise make no difference to the general hush throughout the room.  But it is only recently that this room has been made available to the congress – let’s hope it continues. 

And now for some scenes from the battlefront: 

Players share some banter before the final round starts.

General view of the room.

Arkell (r) starts against Paul Helbig.

Battle in Black Leather - Jeremy Menadue starts the action against Chris Beaumont.

Tyson Mordue awaits David Sulley's move.

The top games in the Intermediate Section.

11th Beacon Seniors Congress – Prizewinners.

The 11th Beacon Seniors Congress ended last weekend with several local winners in the prizelist.

Seniors Section: 1st= A. Footner (Dorchester); Chris Carr (Ashtead); Terry Stuttard (Taunton); John Dodson (Sussex) & Phil Stimpson (Guildford). All 4/5 pts. Grading prizes: (U-155) 1st= Martyn Adams (Sidmouth) & Peter Wood (Hastings) 3½ pts. (U-137): Patrick Wojcik (Taunton) 3 pts. (U-116) Hazel Welch (Seaton) 3 pts.

“Junior” Section: 1st Mike Yeo (Lymington) 4 pts. 2nd Simon Bartlett (Newquay) 3½ pts. Grading prize (U-160): Ronnie Burton (Weymouth) 3 pts.

Going into the final round, John Footner, one of 3 joint leaders having played with great brio, was paired against a new face who hadn’t played for 30 years.

White: Terry Stuttard (150e). Black: John Footner (175).

Sicilian Defence – Paulsen Variation [B48]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 White continues with sensible development, declining  6.Ndb5 Qb8 as other queen moves bring it towards the centre where it is liable to become an object of further attack. 6…a6 7.a3 b5 8.Be2 Bb7 9.0–0 Nf6 10.Nb3 10.f4 is a common response in this kind of position. 10…Ne5 11.f3 Ng6 12.Qe1 vacating the d-file for his rook. 12…Bd6 13.g3 h5 14.Rd1 h4 Black now threatens to break open the White King’s position entirely with all his pieces bearing down. 15.Rxd6 desperate measures… 15…Qxd6 16.Na5 Bc6 17.Qf2 hxg3 18.hxg3 e5 19.Rd1 Qe6 20.Bf1 0–0 As Black gives up the open h-file, it’s White’s turn to ask a few questions. 21.Bc5 Rfc8 22.Rd6 Qe8 23.Bh3 Nf8 24.Bf5 Ne6 25.Bb4 g6 26.Bh3 Kg7 27.Kg2 Qd8 28.Nd5 trapping his own rook. 28…Ne8 29.Rxc6 White gives up the exchange for the 2nd time in the game. 29…dxc6 30.Nb7 Qg5 If 30…Qd7 White is calling all the shots e.g. 31.Nc5 Qa7 32.Bxe6 fxe6 33.Nxe6+ Kh7 34.Nf8+ Kg7 35.Nb6 etc. 31.Bd2 Nf4+ 32.Nxf4 exf4 33.Bxf4 leaving both queen and rook attacked 33…Qe7 As White is a double exchange down, should he take this chance to recover some of the material deficit? Yes, but not just yet. 34.Qd4+ First he brings his queen to a more active square. 34…f6 35.Bxc8 Rxc8 36.Nc5 Rd8?? A natural-looking move that leads to a nice finish… 37.Qxd8 Qxd8 38.Ne6+ winning the queen back which will leave White a piece and 2 pawns up. 1–0

Last week’s problem by Christopher Reeves was solved by 1.Qb3!

This 2-mover by Barry Barnes has two possible solutions. Can you find either or both?

White to play and mate in two moves in 2 ways.

11th Seniors Congress – Local Press Coverage.

The Exeter-based Express & Echo covers most of East Devon, and every week includes a supplement specially dedicated to that area. This included coverage of last week’s Seniors Congress, seen below. They couldn’t resist the “Pawn Stars” pun, but the coverage is welcome, and the photograph excellent. Reporter:: Fran McElhone. Photographer:: Matt Minshull.

On the left in checkered shirt is regular attendee, Mike Wiltshire, who runs an insurance company in Dartford, Kent, but who has in-laws in Exmouth. He was recently appointed President of Chess Collectors International, a world-wide group of folk who specialise in collecting fine chess sets.

Next to him is another regular entrant of the Seniors, Dr. Robert Alphonsis Ryan, Irish by birth, he was formerly a GP in Derbyshire before retiring to Lyme Regis.

Express & Echo Cutting

Exmouth’s Latest Champion Crowned.

A little belatedly, maybe, but the Club’s latest champion, Club President Mark Abbott, received the Tempest Trophy from the 3-times previous winner, John Stephens, at the Club last night.

John Stephens (l) hands the championship trophy to Mark Abbott.


Later in the evening, John went down to a shock defeat in the current championship tournament at the hands of newcomer Oliver Wensley, both of them former Exmouth Junior Club members and used to play in the local Primary School Chess League.

Mark has been in good form throughout the year and on Thursday next plays Andy Dunne in the final of the Winter-Wood Tournament, played for by the Champions of clubs affiliated to Devon C. C. A. Having already won the Club’s Championship and Knockout tournaments, this could be his 3rd trophy of 2010.

11th Seniors Congress – Prizelist.

11th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress.


Seniors Section

1st=    Andrew Footner (175)     Dorchester  4 pts. £35.00

            Chris Carr            (166)     Ashtead               £35.00

            John Dodgson    (184)     Sussex                £35.00

            Terry Stuttard    (150e)   Taunton                £35.00

            Phil Stimpson    (178)     Guildford              £35.00

 Grading Prizes:

(155 – 138):

            Martyn Adams   (151)     Sidmouth  3½ pts. £25.00

            Peter Wood       (146)     Hastings   3½ pts. £25.00

 (137 – 116)

            Patrick Wojcik   (132)     Taunton   3 pts.   £50.00


            Hazel Welch      (115)     Seaton   3 pts.   £50.00

 Junior Section”:

 1st         Mike Yeo             (195)     Wessex   4 pts.   £65.00

2nd        Simon Bartlett   (162)     Newquay  3½.     £45.00

 Grading prize (U-160):

            Ronnie Burton    (152)     Weymouth 3 pts. £25.00

NB: Further photographs and a short report will appear in the Exmouth & East Devon supplement of Wednesday’s Express & Echo, East Devon’s local daily newspaper.

11th Beacon Seniors – A Review.

Looking back on the week, it all seemed to go very well, apart from a few minor glitches that were sorted within minutes. There was no need to call an ambulance at any point, and no-one went off at the end with someone else’s suitcase, as has happened in previous years – perhaps something one should expect in an event where the combined ages of the players reaches into the several thousand.

The “Junior” section finished as one might have thought, with Mike Yeo (195)  the clear winner, but not by the expected route. He started with 2 draws, while his nearest opponent, Alan Brusey (175), finished with a requested half point bye and a default, having overlooked the earlier start to the final round, which gifted Yeo at least a share of 1st prize. There had been an element of luck in Yeo’s penultimate game as well, when his opponent forgot to press his clock near the end and ran out of time. It was left to Simon Barlett to try and beat fellow Cornishman, Colin Sellman, in order to share 1st place, but try as he did, had to be content with a draw, and clear 2nd. Ronnie Burton did well in this company to remain, like Bartlett, unbeaten throughout, and he was rewarded with the U-160 Grading prize.

Faced with 53 players in the Senior Section,  graded from 187 – 79, Arbiter Ewart Smith chose the sensible option of employing the Accelerated Swiss pairing system, in order to avoid the possibility of a number of total mismatches in the 1st round. The pairing cards of the top half of the order had a green corner inked in, and as the rounds progressed it was easy to see the extent to which the two halves mixed in, with the cards of the in-form players from the lower half, like Hazel Welch (115), rising to the top, while some of the green-tipped cards sank to the nether regions of the pairing board.

The eventual 5-way tie for 1st place tells its own story of the closeness of the section, and there was prizemoney all the way down the list with approximately equal numbers in each band, so interest was maintained throughout the order and throughout the week. Of the five 1sts, Stimpson and Dodgson settled for a share of at least 2nd place with a quick draw, leaving only John Footner able to overtake them, who after having played with great focus throughout the week, lost to newcomer, Terry Stuttard in a complicated position. Stuttard hadn’t played chess for 30 years, but in his heyday was active in the Greater Manchester team under the captaincy of Jim Nicolson, one of our regular seniors in the early years. An estimated grade of 150 seemed not unreasonable in the circumstances, but he is clearly not as rusty as he thought he might be; next year’s Grading List will reveal all. Chris Carr started slowly with 2 draws, but then came through with 3 wins. He had to fight hard in his last game, as Hazel Welch, playing well above her grade, pushed him all the way in one of the last games to finish.

As they gradually left the hall, most players expressed their personal thanks to the officials and were certain in their wish to return next year. As I was packing up the kit, on his way out Mike Kaye thrust a large cheque into my hand to cover his entry for 2011, as he always does every year, because, as he explains, he has a bad memory. I always counter that I have just as bad a memory and a year hence will probably have forgotten that he did this – but it makes no difference – we usually muddle through. It’s all part of being a Senior.

Later this week, cheques will be sent out to all the winners, as well as a definitive prizelist to them and the usual media outlets. With a bit of luck, next year’s brochures might be ready too.

All legible game scores will be available on the chessdevon website, keyed in by Bill Frost.

11th Beacon Seniors Congress – Results (13.11.2010.)

The 11th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress finished in Exmouth yesterday afternoon, too late for any details of the prizewinners, which will appear next week. However, after 3 of the 5 rounds, the “Juniors” section (the 50-somethings) was led by local players Alan Brusey of Devon and Simon Bartlett of Cornwall. The Seniors section (for over-60s) was less clear, partly because of the number of upsets in each round. By definition, all the players are greatly experienced and know how to put a game to bed given half a chance.

Probably the shortest game in the history of the event was this one from round 3, which shows that a game of chess need not necessarily be a long drawn out affair, and has some relevant lessons. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

White: John White. Black: Mary Black.

Scotch Gambit [C44]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 White offers a pawn in order to break open the centre to his advantage. exd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Bc4 Be7 If Black decides to press on with 5…cxb2 there follows 6.Bxb2 and all White’s minor pieces are raking the board. Much the best move here is 5…d6 facilitating Black’s piece development. 6.Ng5? would be premature and answered by 6…Ne5, so… 6.Qd5 Suddenly there’s a threat of mate with no easy answers. How to meet it? 6…d6?? played one move too late. The only saving move now is 6…Nh6 which, although it loses the knight, at least allows Black to castle.  7.Bxh6 0–0 Now suddenly the mating threat has gone and White has his own problems to watch out for, or he will lose even more material than Black. 8.Bc1 or White will lose a rook and Black gain a second Queen. 8…Nb4 Now threatening both the queen and a fork check winning a rook. The boot is certainly on the other foot. 9.Qd1 c2 and Black makes good the loss of the knight. 10.Qd2 cxb1=Q 11.Rxb1 Nc6 Black is now a pawn up with a safely castled King and threats to be countered. Meanwhile, in the actual game, Black’s 6th move allowed a flight square for the king but to no avail. The game finished  7.Qxf7+ Kd7 8.Be6 mate.

One moral of the game is: Keep cool – things may not always be as bad as they first appear.

N.B. For more details and pictures look in the Blog section.

The next big event in the area is the Torbay Congress which starts at the Riviera Centre on Friday evening. Details from Ray Chubb on 01626-888255 or e-mail:

In last week’s position, Adams played Rfxf7 with a threat of mate in 1 that cannot be upset however Black conducts his own attack.

Here is a 2-mover by Christopher Reeves.

White to play and mate in 2.