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Paignton Congress 2011 Day 5

The morning tournament has grown considerably in recent years, mainly because of the Committee’s efforts to encourage entries to it. For many years, the afternoon sections were full and the building generally packed to capacity, while for five hours of the morning and early afternoon a small huddle of enthusiasts were almost lost in the capacious hall. If the overall entry was to continue growing, the morning was the obvious place to accommodate any “overspill”. The prize fund was increased and the grading ceiling raised, with the result that this year nearly 50 players contest this quite strong section (Under-180).

Playing in the morning-only suits some people, who then have the rest of the day to enjoy some relaxing holiday activity, a visit to Paignton Zoo perhaps, or a ride on one of the steam railways in the area, while others seem unable to get enough chess and play both morning and afternoon, not to mention participating in any evening events that may be available.  The latter group present an extra consideration for the arbiters when they do the pairings, as they try to avoid pairing two players in an afternoon section if they already played each other in the morning tournament.

A feature of this morning’s play was that there were 10 wins for Black compared with only 6 for White, which echoes my own expereince in this section this week; triuphant with Black – shot down in flames as White. At stumps, Siddall, Bryant and Robert Thompson lead the field with 3.5/4, followed by Trefor Thynne and Ronnie Burton on 3. Details as follows:

N.B. Rd. 5 games available here

At the start of play in the premier, Berry led with 4/4 a half point ahead of Arkle in clear 2nd. They were clearly destined to meet in Round 5, and the rest were as follows:

Premier Rd. 5 draw.

Arkell vs Berry and Crouch vs Rosen (nearest).

Boards 3 - 5: From foreground: Burnett vs Henriksson; Hodgson vs Mackle & Almond vs Brown.

Play in the Intermediate: Richard Towers of Exeter (r) making a comeback to active chess after an absence of many years, plays Dave Rogers of Exmouth, a congress ever-present.

Paignton has always had an appeal to blind players and this year there are 4, each with their own particular boards and methods of recording moves. On the right here, Reg Cox and Garth Andrews take on unsighted opponents.

At the end of Round 5, the results of the top 2 sections were as follows:-

Premier Rd. 5 results

Challengers Rd. 5 results

As if all this was not enough for some, 23 players entered the evening Blitz tournament, organised annually by Richard Nash of Barnstaple. As usual, the total entry fee was returned to the players as prizes. These were the beneficiaries.

  Player   Pts rating Prize  
1st K. C. Arkell Paignton 5 2409 £25.00  
2nd M. Webb Bradford 4 2079 £15.00  
3rd= R. Thompson Newton Abbot   £2.50  
  S. Burke Ashfield   2038 £2.50  
  J. Henriksson Stockholm   2287 £2.50  
  R. Almond Hastings   2122 £2.50  
  23 entries          

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 4

Premier results Rd. 4

Crouch under-estimated the strength of Berry’s threatened attack and paid the price; Berry thus  became the clear leader on a maximum 4/4. Meanwhile Arkell won against Brown to become clear 2nd, having dropped a half point when his opponent in the previous round was able to force a perpetual check. 7 players are tied in 3rd place on 3 points.

N.B. Rd 4 games are accessible on

Challengers Rd. 4

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 3

Having, at yesterday’s welcoming remarks, noted the good fortune of two fine days out of two, I certainly wasn’t going to be too smug about it as I guessed what was in store for today, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The day dawned with mist, fog, heavy rain and gale force winds, all compounded by the return to school, thus multiplying manyfold the amount of traffic on the roads before 9 a.m. During the morning at Oldway, a 30 foot tree was blown down, crushing a wire fence before it half covered a tennis court. Had it fallen the other way, it would certainly have crushed half a dozen cars parked nearby.

It was a relief to get in the hall and out of the foul weather. The morning session proceeded smoothly, my own game ending relatively quickly in an easy draw, taking my tournament grade to laughable 180.

This is how the section as a whole finished up after Rd. 2.

Results for Rd. 2 of the Morning Tournamant.

In the 3rd Round of the Premier, played in the afternoon, Arkell dropped a half point to Richard Almond who managed to force a perpetual check, this leaving Colin Crouch and Steve Berry the only two on a 3 point maximum, having beaten Dominic Mackle and Steve Dilleigh respectively. Level with Arkell on 2.5 are the Swede Henriksson and Alan Brown of Northampton.

N.B. Rd. 3 games available on

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 2

Raced from Exmouth to Paignton, fearing the worst as the schools go back and parents clog the roads taking their children to schools a long way from home, but actually getting through all the potential black spots for jams without even stopping and arriving with half an hour to spare for the 5 Round A.M. event . At the start of play, I welcomed everyone, especially those who were not present at the opening yesterday, before introducing the Arbiter, Vic Cross, who had recently returned from taking an England Junior team on a European tour, finishing with a win over Belgium.

The morning progressed very sweetly, apart for one person, who shall be nameless, mistook the starting time  for 10 a.m. and defaulted by five minutes. My own game finished after 90 minutes, leaving 3 hours before the start of the afternoon. Another example of how hours spent playing chess can pass like the blinking of an eye, while a shorter time waiting around can seem like days; it’s all relative.

Results for the Morning event. The 2 blanks were White wins.

View from the balcony outside the playing room.

Below: Towards 2 o’clock, players start to find their places at the board.

Before the kick-off.

Former winner, Dr. Peter Hempson, considering his options against 1.d4

Bds. 1 & 2: Keith Arkell vs Dave Collier; J. McKenna vs Colin Crouch.

Marian Cox (l) and Doreen Helbig in the Minor.

Christine Constable on Bd. 1 of the Minor, dwarved by the fireplace in the Winaretta Room.

Bottom 4 Bds in the Minor play in the grandiose Mayor's Parlour.

Jacqueline Barber-Lafon (formerly Thynne), enjoying her return to chess after a 24 year lay-off

Here is how Rd. 2 of the Challengers finished.


N.B. Rd. 2 games may be found at:

Paignton Congress 2011 Day 1

I arrived at Oldway c. 11 a.m., 3 hours before the scheduled start, but with several things to sort out before then – including finding somewhere to work doing all this scribbling on-line and, in order to do this, to get my new computer dongle to work properly. I negotiated a small corner behind the bookstall and set about trying to work out the problems of getting the wretched thing to work, or at least show some spark of interest, but nothing doing. 

Meanwhile, all the time, a process ion of players would come up to me, sat mainly hidden from view and obviously engrossed in my self-set task, and ask if I was the Organiser and could they “register”.  I was happy enough to point them in the right direction, but began to wonder why they kept picking on me when there were scores of other folk milling around and I was so clearly pre-occupied. I came to the conclusion it was my suit and matching paisley pattern tie that was to blame; no-one else was even wearing a tie. 

Along came the Deputy Chairman of Torbay Council and, well before time, we were able to touch base on who was to say what at the Opening Ceremony. Thereafter, he was addressed by various people as the Chairman, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, but Torbay does have a rather unusual civic hierarchy, so he must be used to it. 

At the appointed hour, (1.45 p.m.) we three processed arond the balcony and into the main playing hall. I said a few words of welcome to all players; the regulars made it seem a bit like a school reunion, but the sprinkling of foreign players always added spice to the mix. There was a small group from Dresden, unusually two from Sweden, and one from the Republic of Ireland.  I should have stopped here, but in my head earlier I’d thought of the ending “…and let’s not forget the Cornish”. Then rejected it as not only not funny enough but bordering on bad taste, but in the heat of the moment, blurted it out anyway. No-one laughed, of course, so I quickly handed over to Cllr. Roger Stringer, who went on to continue the welcomes to Torbay in general and Paignton in particular. His consort, Mrs. Shelagh Stringer, was then presented with a lovely bouquet of flowers by Pearl Smith, wife of the Chief Arbiter. And then we all trooped off to the back of the hall for a photo opportunity involving one of the titled players in the Premier.

(NB: Rd. 1 Results of top 2 sections may be found at the end of this post.)

Minutes later, Ewart Smith called “Start White’s clock”, and the show was finally on the road. 

Top seed, Grandmaster Keith Arkell, gets to meet Deputy Chairman, Cllr. Roger Stringer with wife Shelagh

Arkell then gets down to the serious business, vs David Littlejohns.

Colin Crouch, back after 6 years, trying to get his grade back up.

Johan Henriksson, a rare visitor from Sweden.

Players in the Minor dwarfed in the Mayor's Parlour.

The Mayor's Parlour.

For "Open" read "Ron Bruce Premier" - Draw Rd.1.

For "Major" read "Challengers" - Draw Rd. 1.

The Minor Rd. 1 Draw.

Here are the Rd. 1 results for the top 2 sections.

Premier Rd. 1 Results

Tony Tatam's immaculate recording of the Challengers' results Rd. 1

N.B.  Rd. 1 games may be found at