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11th Beacon Seniors Congress – 5th & Final Day

The round got off to its usual start with a few words to the assembled players. It was announced that the hotel had been booked for the 2011 seniors congress and rooms could be booked with immediate effect. Everyone thanked the Arbiter, Ewart Smith, with a warm round of applause and his wife Pearl was presented with a signed copy of the recent publication, A History of the Paignton Congress, which they had both attended in September.

The wallcharts showed an overnight  triple-tie for the lead in the “Junior” section between Mike Yeo, Simon Bartlett and Alan Brusy on 3 pts with Ronnie Burton a half point behind and no-else in contention.

  White       Black  
1 M. Yeo (3) 1 0 A. W. Brusey (3)
2 S. Bartlett (3) ½ ½ C. Sellwood (1½)
3 R. Burton (2½) ½ ½ M. Roberts (1½)
4 S. Dean (1½) ½ ½ D. Rogers (1½)
5 I. McAllan (1½) 1 0 J. Ariss (1)

The first prize was determined after 30 mins when Alan Brusey failed to turn up for the 10 a.m. start and had to be defaulted, guaranteeing Yeo at least a share of 1st place. This is the 2nd time a senior DCCA officer has missed the earlier start of a final round this autumn, which probably cost them prize-money. It was left to Simon Bartlett to see if he could catch Yeo by beating his fellow Cornishman, Colin Sellwood. For much of the game it looked as if he would succeed as he pressed hard, but Sellwood managed to wriggle out and a draw was agreed. At least Bartlett was clear 2nd. Burton’s draw secured him the U-160 Grading Prize.

The Seniors section, with over 5X the number of participants, was a more complicated position, there being 8 players with a chance of sharing 1st place. Their fortunes went as follows:-

  White       Black  
1 P. Stimpson (3½) ½ ½ J. Dodgson (3½)
2 T. Stuttard (3) 1 0 J. Footner (3½)
3 H. Welch (3) 0 1 C. Carr (3)
4 T. Rixon (3) 0 1 A. Footner (3)

Stimpson & Dodgson settled for a painless draw, knowing only John Footner could overtake them. But he lost in a complicated position. John’s brother, Andrew, made amends by beating Rixon and joining the other two on 4 points, which was now going to be the winning score. It remained to see how Hazel Welch, who had been having a magnificent tournament, would fare against Chris Carr. She was holding a drawn ending until most other games were finished, but with only a rook and pawns each she finally had to give way. Nevertheless her overall performance gave her the U-116 Grading Prize. So five of the eight in the chart above came 1st=. The full results as follows (all scores out of 5):

Junior Tournament.

1st M. Yeo (Wessex)      4                           £65.00

2nd S. Bartlett (N. Cornwall) 3½           £45.00

Grading prize (U-160)

R. Burton (Weymouth)        3                    £25.00

Senior Tournament.

1st= A. Footner (Dorchester); C. Carr (Ashtead); T.Stuttard (Taunton); J. Dodgson (Sussex) & P. Stimpson (Guildford). All 4 pts.   £35.00

Grading prize (155 – 138)  M. Adams  (Sidmouth/Seaton) & P. Wood (Hastings) both    3½       £25.00

Grading prize (137 – 116) P. Wojcik (Taunton) £50.00

Grading prize (U-116) Hazel Welch (Seaton) 3  £50.00

WECU Ladies Champion, Hazel Welch, in last round action against Chris Carr

The Footner brothers met with varying fortunes on the last day.

Stimpson (l) and Dodgson's quick draw gets them to 4 points.

Bartlett & Yeo, 2nd & 1st in the "Juniors".

The chasing group, led by Ken Norman and Peter Wood.


In joint 1st place, Terry Stuttard, new face on the westcountry circuit but formerly active in Greater Manchester.

11th Beacon Seniors Congress – Day 4

Round 4 of a 5 round tournament is getting to the sharp end of the process. At the start of the round there were no less than 20 players either in the lead or half a point shy of it, any of whom stood a chance of becoming overall winner, providing they could conjure up a win-win finish. The 6 on 2.5 were paired as follows: Footner J vs Ken Norman; Dodgson vs Openshaw and Everson vs Stimpson. The 14 on 2/3 pts were paired thus: Footner A vs Hurn; Carr vs Burt; Wood vs Velker; Rixon vs Annetts; Scown vs Hazel Welch; Wojcik vs Hibbitt and Ross vs Stuttard.

At the end of the day, many games finished decisively, with wins by Dodgson, Stimpson and Footner J keeping them at the head of the field on 3.5.  Behind them on 3 points are Footner A; Carr, Rixon; Stuttard and Hazel Welch, who is having a wonderful tournament.

The top 2 games for the final round are Stimpson vs Dodgson and Stuttard vs Footner J.

In the “Junior” Section the day ended with a triple tie for the lead, between Bartlett, Brusey and Yeo. Ronnie Burton is alone on 2.5 points. The draw for Rd. 5 is Yeo vs Brusey and Bartlett vs Sellwood and the overall “Junior” winner will come from one of these 4.

At the end of the evening I was able to confirm the hotel booking for 2011.

So, the 12th Beacon Seniors Congress will start on Monday 7th November 2011. 

Ken Norman replies to John Footner's opening move on Bd. 1


John Dodgson plays David Openshaw (foreground) and Everson plays Stimpson.


The chasing group headed by Chris Carr against Dave Burt.

11th Beacon Seniors Congress – Day 3

After a fairly dismal start to the week weatherwise, Exmouth enjoyed a cloudless, wind-free day for the 3rd round, and it was noticeable how much nearer the start time of 1 p.m.  players arrived, as they enjoyed to sunny interlude.

Every one of the “Junior” games finished decisively, with Simon Bartlett and Alan Brusey moving into the joint lead on 2.5/3 pts. Details:-

Ariss (½) 0 1 Roberts (0)
Bartlett (1½) 1 0 McAllan (1½)
Brusey (1½) 1 0 Dean (1)
Burton (1) 1 0 Sellwood (1)
Rogers (1) 0 1 Yeo (1)

Meanwhile, in the Seniors Section, Robert Everson won the last Rd. 2 game to finish on Tuesday, thereby joining Dodgson and Footner, J in the lead with a maximum 2/2. However, today all three drew their games and so were joined in the lead by 3 winners, namely Ken Norman, David Openshaw and Phil Stimpson, creating a 6-way tie for the lead.

Steve Dean tries the Caro-Kann against Alan Brusey, as Simon Bartlett greets Ian McAllan.

Ariss plays Roberts, Burton (partly hidden) plays Colin Sellwood, while Yeo waits for Dave Rogers to appear.

Tom Maloney (W) plays Mike Wiltshire on bottom board.

Wojcik (W) plays Sid Jones, while Norman Tidy takes on Dr. Dave Toms.

11th Beacon Seniors Congress – Day 2

The day started badly, being cold, wet andthe rocks on the other side of the estuary. Fortunately, the weather eased as the morning progressed.

Among the early arrivals was the familiar face of Mike Wiltshire from Kent, but who has family in the town. He told me he had recently been appointed President of the world-wide organisation, Chess Collectors International. At their last gathering, the out-going President, the German Dr. Tomas Thomsen, had said in his farewell speech that the role demanded at least 2 out of 3 qualities; being a good organiser, good-looking and a dumbo. He felt Mike was therefore fully qualified as he passed two tests – the first two, of course. At their “Bring-and-Buy” sale, he had purchased a Jacques box that contained one of the first 100 of their Staunton sets, thus being signed by Staunton himself. After this, they soon became so popular that they resorted to an ink stamp for the Staunton signature.

In the “Junior” section, Mike Yeo was again held to a draw, this time by Simon Bartlett, with the only decisive games being Sellwood’s win over John Ariss and local player Dave Rogers’ win over Malcolm Roberts.

  White     Black
1 Colin Sellwood 1 0 John Ariss
2 Mike Yeo ½ ½ Simon Bartlett
3 Ian McAllan ½ ½ Alan Brusey
4 Steve Dean ½ ½ Ronnie Burton
5 Malcolm Roberts 0 1 Dave Rogers

In the Seniors Section, the 53 players were quickly whittled down to only 2 remaining on 2/2 with only one drawish-looking game lingering on. These were John Dodgson who beat Malcolm Page and John Footner who beat Andrew Price. These were followed by a raft of players on 1.5/2, these being (in alphabetical order) Dave Burt, Andrew Footner, Bob Hurn, Peter Lucas, Ken Norman, Dave Openshaw, Brian Ross, John Shaddick, Terry Stuttard and Wim Velker of Leusden, Holland.

The rest are hoping for better things tomorrow – and the day after….

General view of the playing area after start of play.

The whole of the "Junior" section.

(foreground) Yeo vs Bartlett & McAllan vs Brusey.

Top game in the Seniors: Wim Velker vs Ken Norman (drawn)

Mike Wiltshire, new President of Chess Collectors International. Here managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

11th Beacon Seniors Congress – Exmouth (Day 1)

Logistical preparations at the Royal Beacon Hotel went as well as they have ever done. The evening before, tables were all set out by the staff before Messrs Smith (Arbiter) and Jones (Organiser) arrived. Tablecloths were quickly laid out and equipment distributed.

It wasn’t until the final hour before play was due to start at 1.p.m. today (Monday) that  little cracks started to appear in these smooth arrangements. One player missed his train in London, and then missed the next one as well, and phoned in to say he would be late. Another regular thought it was a 2 p.m. start before being reminded by his wife that it had always been 1 o’clock and had to drive quickly across 2 counties to arrive late. Two players walked in whose entry had unaccountably gone AWOL (it happens every year) , while a fifth got stuck in the Gents for 10 minutes until staff arrived to prize open the door. All good fun, but all hurdles were cleared by the appointed hour, even the latcomers escaping being defaulted.

It has to be noted that the overall entry was down a little on recent years – 53 in the Seniors (the over-60s) and 10 in the “Juniors” ( the 50-somethings). At least this meant a little extra leg-room for everyone.

Though small in numbers, the “Juniors” looked a strong section on paper with last year’s winner, Mike Yeo, (195) a clear favourite, and late entry John Ariss (111) looking like a potential lamb to the slaughter. But things didn’t work out like that at all, as Ariss got a quick draw with Steve Dean (156) of Sidmouth, and Ronnie Burton of Weymouth got a draw against Yeo after a much longer struggle.

Faced with 53 in the Seniors and a wide ability range, Ewart Smith chose to adopt an accellerated Swiss system in order to avoid any David v Goliath mis-matches in Round 1. Under this system, instead of the top half (according to playing strength) playing the bottom half, the top quarter play the 2nd quarter, and the 3rd quarter play the 4th. This keeps the ability range to reasonable proportions. There seemed to be fewer eyebrow-raising results here, and the top seeds came through unscathed – Ken Norman, John Dodgson, John Footner, Martin Page and Phil Stimpson, to name but 5.

Here are bits of the action in both sections….

Top game in the Seniors - Ken Norman vs Brian Gosling

The draw paired 2 of the 3 lady players - former British Ladies Champion, Dinah Norman, (facing) & WECU Ladies Champion, Hazel Welch.

Peter Lucas vs Marian Cox

Andrew Footner (r) vs Arthur Hibbitt, who won the Best Game prize at the recent Paignton Congress. He was presented with his cheque at the opening ceremony.

Roger Scowen in action - an expert on Lewis Carroll's involvement with chess.

"Juniors" Foreground: Alan Brusey (r) vs Colin Sellwood, with Burton vs Yeo.

"Juniors" Ariss vs Dean, with Simon Bartlett and Dave Rogers also with the white pieces.

Rudd 1st= in Uxbridge Masters (06.11.2010) 605

Devon’s top two resident players joined 33 others in last week’s Uxbridge Masters Tournament. Grandmaster Keith Arkell of Paignton was top seed, while International Master Jack Rudd of Bideford was 4th. However, after the scheduled 9 rounds it was a case of positions reversed as Rudd finished 1st= with Aaron Summerscale while Arkell came 4th. Significant in this outcome was their individual encounter in Rd. 4.

White: J. Rudd (210). Black: K. C. Arkell (231).

Queen’s Indian Defence – Nimzowitsch Variation.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Ba6 Nimzowitsch’s favoured treatment of this opening. 5.Qc2 b5 6.cxb5 Bxb5 7.Nc3 Ba6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.e4 9.Ne5 is met by 9…c6. 9…c6 10.Bg5 0–0 White is keen to develop as quickly as possible and the a6 bishop prevents castling short, so… 11.0–0–0 From now on it will be a race to attack the opposing king. 11…d5 12.e5 Nfd7 13.h4 Re8 13…Bxg5+ 14.hxg5 would open long lines for White to exploit. 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Ng5 Nf8 Black is being forced onto the back foot. 16.f4 Nbd7 17.f5 h6 18.fxe6 fxe6 If 18…hxg5 19.exd7 Nxd7 20.hxg5 Qxg5+ 21.Kb1 Nf8 22.Qf2 19.Nh3 c5 20.Nxd5! exd5 21.Bxd5+ Ne6 22.Nf4 Rather than winning the exchange by grabbing the rook, White threatens to win a whole minor piece – a greater material gain. 22…Ndf8 23.dxc5! Again, White eschews the rook in favour of another pawn, leaving him with 3 pawns for the piece he has sacrificed, and this c-pawn plays a decisive role. 23…Rad8 24.Bb3 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Bc8 26.Rd6 Meanwhile, the e6 knight is still pinned. 26…Qf7 27.h5 Kh8 28.c6 Qc7 29.Qc4 Qa5 threatening both e1 and e5 30.Qc3 Qb6 31.Ng6+ Nxg6 32.hxg6 Qc7 33.a4 Qe7 34.Kb1 Ng5 35.Bd5 Bf5+ Now Black’s pieces are becoming more active. 36.Ka1 Ne4 37.Bxe4 Bxe4 38.c7 White’s earlier decision to take the c-pawn is bearing fruit. 38…Bf5 39.Qc5 Be6 40.Qc6 Bc8 White is still a piece down and needs to bring matters to a swift conclusion. 41.Qxe8+! Qxe8 42.Rd8 Qg8 43.b4 there’s no need to take the queen immediately – it’s not going anywhere. 43…a6 44.b5 axb5 45.axb5 h5 46.b6 h4 47.gxh4 1-0 Black is left in “zugswang”, having no move except one that will worsen his already dire position. A splendid overall performance by Rudd.

The solution to last week’s complex position was 1.Nf6! threatening Nd7, and Black playing 1…Nb6 to cover this allows 2.Qa5 mate. Other Black moves are also met with mate.

This position shows Michael Adams (White) facing a strong attack. How should he best respond to be sure of a result?

White to play and win.

Rudd Appointed ECF Director

I see Jack Rudd was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the English Chess Federation at a special meeting on Monday, to fill one of the 2 vacancies left after their AGM the previous Saturday. It is hoped he can bring to the Board his experience as an IM and organiser. This comes hot on the tail of his playing success in coming 1st= at the Uxbridge Masters Tournament a few days earlier. so he will undoubtedly be feeling on the crest of a wave of activity at the moment.

Having spent several years on the Management Board myself, I know what their meetings can be like, and wish him well in this new venture for him.