Archive for August, 2013
The round started with Howell in a clear lead, a half point ahead of Hebden and Gordon followed by 9 on 4.5. By this stage, the cream has risen to the top with 9 of the top 10 players having GM titles or norms and most of the chasing pack have titles. Outstanding in this respect is the exception, local player and current Devon Champion (his only title), Dominic Mackle, riding high among the GMs with a score of 4.5.
It was a Black Day indeed for the top boards – not a White win to be seen anywhere. Howell maintained his half point lead, but Williams, Ghasi and Arkell hauled themselves into 2nd = on 5.5. Defending champion, Gawain Jones, made progress with a win over Chapman to reach 5 pts.
Nette Robinson – Chess Artist:
Nette (short for Annette) Robinson, is an artist who is putting on an exhibition of her chess-based work at the venue.
Originally from Essex, she graduated from Chichester University in Art & Music before taking a post-graduate diploma in jazz from Chichester College. She is a saxophonist and vocalist, having fronted several British jazz groups, most notably Michael Garrick’s Lyric Ensemble.
Given her two skills, she started a series of paintings of jazz legends, but a couple of years ago, she experienced a damascene moment when, from nowhere, she felt the urge to get involved in chess – to learn the moves and history of the game, and naturally enough, to portray this in paint.
She has joined in with this commemorations, and produced a picture based on the deciding move in the deciding game in the 1st Championship between Napier and Atkins. (see below). Other picires are monochrome portraits of key figures in chess; Fischer, Alekhine, Capablanca et. al but the most colourful ones represent positions in key games. These are reminiscent of the later works of Mondrian, Van Doesburg and the de Stijl Group, which is very much where she’s coming from. See what you think.
The Rd. 6 draw for the top 5 games on the demonstration boards was as follows:-
Peter Wells joins the top table after his win against Kosten, as does Dominic Mackle after his win over Gary Lane. The other newcomer was Keith Arkell.
Of these 5 games, Howell kicked on with a win to put himself in a clear lead on 5.5. The Hebden v. Gordon draw put them 2nd=, while there is a whole phalanx of 9 players on 4.5, as some fell back with draws allowing winners like Arkell, Ghasi and Kosten to make up ground with wins. Though undefeated, defending champion Gawain Jones has conceded 4 draws, and needs a good 2nd week to get back in contention.
Senior chess activity is becoming so popular that new grade-limited sections have been introduced to cater for the number involved. So as well as the 65 players in the main section, there are 24 in the U-130 Seniors section and 19 in the U-150. Do the maths and that’s 108 entries in total . This latter tournament was held during the 1st week, allowing these stronger players to enter the Open section as well if they so wished, while the U-130s are held concurrent with the main section.
The U-150 was won by local player, John Gorodi, who has a grade of 159. How so? Well, that’s his new grade, whereas his grade when entering was 141. In circumstances like this it would be very hard, for example, to deny a player whose grade had just gone up from 129 to 131 a place in the U-130, after he/she had taken a special week off work and booked his hotel room for Week 2. Anyone who thinks Gorodi was, perhaps a little lucky in this respect, should bear in mind the fact that he suffered a nasty car crash on his way home on the Wednesday evening and was barely strong enough to travel in to play for the last 2 rounds, and could barely walk up to collect his trophy. (see below).
The afternoon started with the announcement of Andrew Martin’s Rd. 4 Game of the Day, which went to Tony Kosten for his win over Danny Gormally, one of his less difficult decisions.
Unlike yesterday, when the outcomes of the top 5 games had a bit of everything, today’s results had a certain unformity – i.e. four White wins.
The Gordon – Howell game was a risk-averse affair, as one might have expected, as it keeps them in joint 1st place, but they are now joined by Hebden and Wells on 4.5/5. It’s always the case that a player’s fortunes can swing wildly at this stage in the tournament – towards the end of the first week. It seems but a few hours ago that Gormally was joint leader with a 100% score; now, after consecutive losses he’s little higher than 50%. Defending Champion, Gawain Jones, started brightly with a Game of the Day win, but after 3 draws, he was playing almost unnoticed amongst the crowd (Bd. 11) – riding in the peleton, to use a Tour de France analogy, but nothing a couple of wins won’t put right.
The Gambit – a one-act play:
Stewart Reuben has arranged for 6 performances of a chess-based play to be performed on the Friday and Saturday.
The play’s origins can be found when, at a creative writing workshop, the author, Mark Reid, was tasked with finding a story in the newspapers and using that as a basis for a script. He chanced on an article on the relationship between the two former world chess champions, Anatoly Karpov and his successor, Garry Kasparov. Karpov was a protégé of the Soviet Communist system in contrast to the more free-thinking, outspoken, Western-influenced Garry Kasparov. This relationship was fractured after their world championship match in which Karpov had a big lead which was gradually being whittled away as he apparently weakened under the pressure of the younger Kasparov’s late charge. Suddenly, with Karpov on the verge of being overtaken, the match was stopped on the grounds of Karpov’s physical and mental exhaustion. Kasparov suspected political interference behind the scenes, the authorities not wishing their man to be overthrown by someone they regarded as a “loose cannon”.
At the time, the author was also experiencing a broken friendship, so could empathise with their situation, and the idea for the play was thus germinated.
The play starts 25 years after their feud with Kasparov, played by Nick Pearce, visiting his old adversary (played by Ben Rigby) in his flat. Their 50 minute dialogue explores the breakdown in the relationship between them, but asks the question as to which direction Russia should go as the old Soviet system breaks down. As we know, Kasparov today is very active in Russian politics, tending towards the anti-establishment.
The set is minimal – just two chairs, a table, chess board and set. As they talk, they play the moves of what is clearly the last game of their 1985 match.
Having the kind of brain he possesses, Stewart Reuben was not simply content to arrange for 5 performances in the Riviera, but though it a good idea to have the play performed on
This gang of ne’er-do-wells was discovered lurking near the entrance to the venue shortly before the start of Rd. 4.
Answer/s to the above question are:-
(a) They are all playing in the 100th British Championship.
(b) They are all currently resident in Devon.
l-r: Alan Brusey (Newton Abbot); Robert Thompson (Kingskerswell); John Stephens (Exmouth); IM Gary Lane (Paignton / Sydney); GM Keith Arkell (Paignton); IM Jack Rudd (Bideford) & Steve Homer (Powderham).
Missing is Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot), making a total of 8 - surely some kind of record.
Before play started, there were prizes to be presented to the winners of the problem-solving competition the evening before. This comprised of 6 positions with 5 points available for each, the proceedings overseen by GM Christopher Jones. Prizewinner were announced by Lara Barnes and cheques handed over by Alex McFarlane.
Four solvers got the maximum 30 points, and the tie-break was the speed of correct solving.
4th in 60 minutes Peter Horlock. (£10)
3rd in 38 minutes John Lawrence of Paignton (£15)
2nd in 36 minutes Ali Jaunooby (£20)
1st in 34 minutes Giles Body of Lympstone Nr. Exmouth (£30)
|1||Howell||1||0||Zhou||73||Winning move an example of the power of the check.|
|2||Gordon||1||0||Fernandez||49||Finely-balanced endgame with 2 pawns each, symmetrically arranged.|
|3||Gormally||0||1||Kosten||21||A short sharp win for Black.|
|4||Palliser||0||1||Hebden||40||Black’s central 4 pawn mass decided the outcome.|
|5||Chapman||½||½||Hawkins||22||White’s excellent start to the campaign continues.|
These top 5 games finished like this, with a bit of everything in the mix – 2 Black wins; 2 White wins; 2 miniatures; 2 finely-balanced endgames and a short draw. Howell, Gordon and Hebden are intent on setting a hot pace, while Chapman is also having an excellent start to the week.
The Palliser-Hebden game started at a great lick, but at the end White’s 3 remaining pieces were all on the edge of the board, unable to cope with a phalanx of 4 central pawns all shuffling forward with menacing intent.
As can be seen in the above photograph, Fernandez seems to spend a lot of time throughout the game, calmly gazing into the middle distance when it’s his move.