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37th E. Devon Congress – Day 2

A quick look at last year’s prize list shows how many of the prizewinners listed there are absent this time round. At a 204 grade Mackle is 15 points ahead of his nearest rival and should be hot favourite to win the Open, yet he lost his Rd. 1 game on Friday evening against a newcomer from Kettering. This merely serves to encourage the others, the 170-189s, all of whom now think they stand a chance of a prize, so we should be in for some fighting chess in the later rounds.

2011 prizelist

After 2 rounds there were already only 2 on maximum points, and these were the natural pairing, Littlejohns and Homer. Yet as the latter had already booked a bye for Rd. 4 he was pre-destined to drop at least a half point later. It all looks very open indeed.

Rd. 3: Bd. 1 - Littlejohns v Homer

Meanwhile, at the other end.... Duckham v Jepps.

Dave Regis v Dominic Mackle.

Cornwall vs Hants & Devon vs Somerset Results.

After the earlier matches this season in which Devon beat Cornwall (11½-4½) and Hampshire beat Devon (10-6), simple logic would dictate that a Hants-Cornwall match should be a very one-sided affair. Yet the Cornish are always capable of turning the logic of the chessboard on its head, and they beat Hampshire 7-5 at Gittisham Village Hall last Saturday, thanks to wins by Robin Kneebone, Gary Trudeau, Theo Slade, Colin Sellwood and David Jenkins, backed up by draws from Messrs Hassall, Retallack, Bartlett and Wilman. Hampshire’s three winners were Ian Thompson, Tom Anderson and Lawrence Pearman.

As reported last week, Theo Slade became the West of England U-12 Champion the previous weekend, and was not overawed on this occasion by making his debut on Board 7. This was his game in which he exploits his opponent’s unwise captures.

White: C. Priest (151). Black: T. Slade (147).

Queen’s Bishop Opening [D02].

1.d4 e6 2.Bf4 d5 3.Nf3 Bd6 4.Bxd6 Qxd6 5.e3 Qb4+ 6.Nc3 Qxb2 7.Nb5 Qb4+ 8.c3 Qe7 9.Qa4 c6 10.Nxa7 A very dangerous move – trying to grab cheap pawns like this often rebounds. 10…Bd7 11.Ne5 f6 12.Nxd7 Qxd7 13.Rb1 13.Na6 Now the jackdaw knight is trapped. 14.Nxc6 Nc7 If 14…bxc6 15.Bxa6. 15.Qc2 bxc6 16.Bd3 f5 Sealing off the centre from White’s attacking pieces and freeing f6 for his knight. 17.0–0 Nf6 18.Rb7 With the centre sealed, White must try to dominate the b-file in order to generate some activity. 18…0–0 19.Rfb1 Ne4 20.c4 Nd6 21.R7b6 Rfc8 22.c5 Ndb5 23.Qb3 Ra3 24.Qc2 Now another piece is trapped. 24…Na8 25.R1xb5 cxb5 26.Bxb5 Qe7 27.Rd6?? The rook can be taken for nothing, but Black doesn’t spot this at first. 27…Ra7 28.a4? Clearly White doesn’t notice the danger either, but Black needs no second invitation. 28.Ra6 would avoid further unequal loss of material. 28…Qxd6 White resigned in view of 29.cxd6 Rxc2.

Meanwhile, at Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset I comfortably overcame Devon I by 10½-5½, even though two Somerset players failed to turn up and reserves had to be drafted in at the last minute, both of whom won their games. By way of compensation, Devon’s 2nd team won equally comfortably (10-6) and thereby retained the Wayling Cup. More details next week, together with the results from the East Devon Congress which continues today in Exeter.

Last week’s 2-mover by Dave Howard was solved by 1.Ng8!

The British Solving Championship was held last weekend at Eton College and the new Champion is the Scottish GM Colin McNab (61/65 pts), followed by J. Mestel (59) and J. Nunn (56). The best non-seeded competitor was David Hodge. This 2-mover is one of the problems used in the competition.

White to play & mate in 2.

37th E. Devon Congress Starts

The 37th East Devon Congress got under way at 7 p.m. last night, with total entries up to 119, slightly higher than last year but still too low for the event to remain viable at its present splendid, but expensive, venue. The Committee is currently keeping under review the question of venues – to remain at the Corn Hall and push up entry fees in order to break even, or explore other avenues in the city, less expensive but possibly with other positives.

The Corn Hall, formerly St. George’s Hall, is owned by Exeter City Council, who have been approached by the Committee, asking if the rental could be reduced in consideration of the extra business that the event brings into Exeter. Their reply has been that, in the present financial climate, the Council is seeking to increase its annual income, not reduce it, although they did agree to hold the current rate for a year. The fact that, if the event moved to another venue, they would have lost all that rental, seems of no concern to the Council. Presumably there’s a queue of other organisations waiting to grab the 1st weekend in March every year.

If there are any other potential venues in Exeter looking for the business, get in touch with the Committee.

Meanwhile, top seed in the Open Section is local player Dominic Mackle with his January grade of 204 making the only player in the 200s and no-one in the 190s, though there will be a chasing pack of hungry aspirants in the 180s eager to bring him down if he makes the slightest slip at any time.

General view of the playing area.

Rd. 1 Draw.

Top games under way: Jaszkwsky v Mackle nearest.


Last minute entries Krzyzanowski & Stephens play on bottom bd.

Devon Ladies Trophy Lost & Found

Devon’s Ladies Champion’s trophy had been lost for c. 15 years until last autumn when it was traced to being in the possession of an earlier winner, Miss Paula Le Gallez.

Brian Hewson made arrangements to collect it and took it to the opening night of the East Devon Congress earlier this evening, where an informal presentation was made to the current title-holder, Hazel Welch of Seaton.

It’s a handsome cup and it is hoped that it will be kept under better surveillance in future.

Hazel Welch united with the newly-found trophy.