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Archive for February 13th, 2014

Exmouth Retain Newman Cup (12.02.2014.)

Exmouth’s last match in Devon’s Newman Cup (for RapidPlay teams of 4 totalling U-600 grade) was against Tiverton and was effectively a cup final, with the winner taking all. However, Tiverton had a built-in edge as a 4-4 draw would give them the Cup on the 1st level of tie-break (game points). Before clocks were started, their captain explained that even if we had been level on game points, Exmouth would still have lost out due to having lost to Tiverton in Rd. 1, which led his opponent to quip “I see – even if we win we lose!” 

Round 1:

Tiverton won the toss and chose Black on Bd. 1. for the 1st round.  Simon Blake played forcefully and at one point was looking at the opportunity of possibly being able to sacrifice his queen for a back rank mate, but his opponent was alert to the risk. The game finished with opposite coloured bishops and level pawns all on squares that could not be attack by the enemy piece, amd a draw was agreed.

Oliver Wensley was happy to push all his pawns forward whenever he could, which Annetts avoided taking, so the endgame featured two long strings of pawns across the board, like WWI trench lines, except that Oliver was able to probe for weaknesses and eventually had 2 pawns that could run for the line. Annetts could only stop one by letting the other queen.

On Bd. 2 Mark Abbott started with some advantages in piece development but was unable to convert this into any other more practical advantage and the game slid into a R+5 vs R+4 endgame, and Atkin’s extra pawn was central, advanced and shepherded by his king. However, Abbott’s rook cleverly pecked away at the other pawns, won one back and the danger was over. Draw agreed.

The game on Bd. 1 was more difficult to assess by the spectator. Hewson had an attack down the open g-file against the enemy king involving Q, R + N, which White was managing to hold, while creating a passed pawn on the a-file that could not be ignored. The pressure built up as time started to press and it was Hewson that broke first.

Round 2:

Exmouth had to score a minimum of 4½ points to win the cup and a 3-1 lead from Rd. 1 was a healthy start, but this competition is notorious for the way in which the luck changes from one round to the next. For any one player, the hardest thing to do is to win both games outright, so nothing could be taken for granted. 

Sure enough, Blake’s position crumbled after overlooking a knight capture in the middle of the board and Exmouth started with a loss. This was evened up when Annetts overlooked a bishop skewering both rooks and getting out of that merely allowed a bishop to fork king and knight, and Wensley scored his 2nd win soon after.

Abbott’s endgame looked not unlike the first one in some respects, but this time Atkins did not let things slip and he evened up their personal scores.

In the top game, Shaw broke through against the enemy king using both bishops, a knight and his queen, which was enough to win, leaving the round a 2-2 draw, but 5-3 overall.

The competition overall has once again proved a close one, with all teams losing at least one match.

Bd Exmouth Grd Rd 1 Rd 2   Rd 1 Rd 2 Tiverton Grd
1 M. Shaw 164 1 1   0 0 B. W. Hewson 184
2 M. V. Abbott 159 ½ 0   ½ 1 K. P. Atkins 139
3 O. E. Wensley 146 1 1   0 0 I. S. Annetts 140
4 S. Blake 100 ½ 0   ½ 1 J. Knowles 117
                   
  Totals 569 3 2   1 2   580