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Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre

The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre  

The West of England Chess Union’s annual jamboree has been held at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre on the outskirts of Taunton for about a decade, with the host being Taunton Chess Club member, Martin Worrall, who also happens to be a technician at the centre.  

I’ve often wondered about the origin of the name/s attached to the centre, though have never quite got round to enquiring about it, assuming that it was probably the surnames of a couple of town councillors – the mayor, perhaps, and some local community activist. However, this year I made a point of asking Martin about it and he drew my attention to a plaque in the corner of the foyer, which told a very different story. (see picture 1 below) 

The name, in fact, refers to Mrs. Kathleen Tacchi-Morris who lived for 50 years at Long’s House, a rambling 17th century manor house in North Curry, just 5 miles east of Taunton, until her death in 1993. In their later years she and her husband had set up a trust fund to be used in the promotion of peace and harmony throughout the world. In 1999 the trust donated £1 million, together with a £2.1 million grant from the Arts Council, to create the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre.  

Yet behind this bald fact lies a story of an extraordinary life lived by an extraordinary lady from an exotic family. She was born in 1899 in Johannesburg, the eldest of five children to Percy George Tacchi and his wife, Rebecca Kathleen. Although both Londoners, Percy and Rebecca met in South Africa, where Percy was working as an engineer in the goldfields and Rebecca was training to be a doctor, as there was little chance of that happening in England at the time. After they got to know each other, Percy contracted typhoid and as Rebecca nursed him back to health they fell in love and got married. Shortly after Kathleen was born the combination of life in the goldfields and the Boer War decided the young family to return to the UK.  

Percy continued as an inventor, specialising in wheeled vehicles. While in South Africa he had set up a small company, Tacchi and Wright, building bicycles for the indigenous populace. Back in England he developed the first 4-cylinder motorcycle for Wilkinsons. (see picture 2 below). 

By this time, Kathleen was 10 years old and attending a school from which she was expelled for organising a pupils’ strike against the excessive corporal punishment that went on there. She was then sent to a boarding school in Manchester and got expelled from there as well after just four weeks, for complaining about the treatment of girls. From then on any education was received at home and was somewhat ad hoc. They lived in semi-rural Acton at this time, where they had a house built in Nemours Road.  

In the meantime four siblings arrived on the scene; in order of age they were Percy George junior, Mercia Olga, Maurice Phoebus and Ruby.  

Her father was a socialist and a member of the Fabian Society, taking Kathleen to all their meetings, where she got to know many of the founding members, including George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Annie Besant (future President of the Indian National Congress),  Leonard & Virginia Woolf, the Pankhursts and Sidney & Beatrice Webb.  

She also went to ballet lessons from an early age, before getting her first paid employment in a drapers shop in Leytonstone at 12½p per week. She spent WW1 at the Hotel Cecil, the HQ of the Air Force doing not a lot, as she confessed. After the war, most women workers had to give up their day jobs to make way for the returning soldiers and Kathleen had to scratch around for work. She phoned around numerous firms saying she’d heard they needed someone in the office, which of course they didn’t. One company challenged her by asking where did you hear that story from? Kathleen took up the challenge by going round to see the person she’s spoken to and on meeting her, gave her a job immediately. It was with a film-making company in Wardour St. and she was suddenly mixed up in the world of film people, socialising with the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. She had small parts in a few films utilising her dancing skills, including Coming Through The Rye, a 1923 silent film  starrng Alma Taylor and Ralph Forbes, and Men Are Not Gods (1936) directed by Alexander Korda. (see pictures 3 & 4 below).

Her film colleagues urged her to push harder for a foot up the ladder to stardom, which undoubtedly she could have done, but dancing was in her blood, not acting. Partly to escape the cinema circus and to concentrate on the dance she went to Paris in 1922 enrol at the Jacques-Dalcroze school.  

Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865 – 1950) was a Swiss composer, musician and music educator who developed eurhythmics, a method of learning and experiencing music through movement. Turning the body into a well-tuned musical instrument, Dalcroze felt, was the best path for generating a solid, vibrant musical foundation. The 57 yr old composer was smitten with his young student and regularly took her to the Paris Opéra where she met the likes of Diaghilev, Isadora Duncan and Picasso, who used to do their décor. Kathleen wasn’t entirely convinced with all of Dalcroze’s techniques but was able to adapt them to her own needs.  (see pictures 5 & 6 below)

On returning to England she trained groups of dancers who performed at the Hammersmith Palais and the Victoria Palace. In the early thirties there were trips to Antibes where she got mixed up in the Edward and Mrs. Simpson affair. Then in 1936 she married Walter Allan Stagg (1903 – 1984) an Equipment Officer in the RAF. They bought a house in North Curry before Stagg was posted to Malta. Kathleen quickly came to hate her lot, as her efforts to start a children’s dance school were forbidden by the rule that forces personnel should not fraternise with the locals. She gave her husband the ultimatum “Leave the forces or I will leave you – your choice”. He stayed on, Malta took an almighty pounding by the Luftwaffe throughout the war, and he went on to become one of the RAF’s top brass, being awarding the CBE in the Queen’s Coronation honours. 

Kathleen went back to their house in North Curry, a village she had come to love in her short time there. She met Richard Rodham Morris (1903 – 88) who came from a long line of auctioneers and estate agents, stretching back in North Curry throughout the 19th century. They married in Exeter in 1945, much against the wishes of his wider family, who were all country Conservatives, while she was cast as a communist atheistic free-thinker. Yet the marriage worked well enough, as “Rod” was in awe of her energy and enthusiasm and just let her get on with whatever she wanted to do.  

First of all she sacked all the servants at Longs House and turned over the vacated rooms and outhouses to her pet projects – initially looking after the local mothers of black children who’d been abandoned by their families and US fathers. There were also German Jewish refugees. A large barn was converted into a theatre and Lydia Sokolova from the Diaghilev ballet came down and taught ballet while Kathleen taught eurhythmics.  

This went on until 1950 when her life took an unexpected twist, best told in her own words.  

“It was an accident really, because I’d had three operations on my hip. I went to lecture on eurhythmics in Bradford and was staying there with friends. There was a newspaper on the breakfast table saying something about a conference on peace in Sheffield. I said “D’you know, I’d like to go to that. “Well let’s go”. I wasn’t allowed in as I hadn’t got a pass, but I waited outside. The doors opened and I could see Picasso on the platform. I thought ‘Goodness gracious me!’ So I wrote a note on the back of an old envelope in my handbag saying ‘Tacchi’s outside – please can she come in?’ I gave it to a policeman and said ‘Would you take that to Picasso?’ He said ‘Who’s Picasso?’ I said ‘He’s the second on the left.’ Picasso said ‘Of course, bring her in!’ So I went in and found myself sitting on the platform, and that was the beginning.  

“The place was packed with people; well-known people, writers and all sorts. It was terrific. I said to Picasso, ‘Why aren’t the women in this as well?’ He said ‘Well do something about it’ and I said ‘All right, I will’. He said ‘Promise you will?’ I said ‘Yes’. He said ‘We’re asked to shift this whole thing to Warsaw and I can’t go. Will you go there for me?’ I said ‘I’ve only got ten shillings on me’. I sent a telegram to my husband, saying ‘I’m going to Warsaw’. He sent one back saying ‘I take a dim view of this’, but I took no notice, I just went.’  ….. When I saw the ruins of Warsaw and heard the story of their suffering, I knew that the rest of my life would be devoted to the struggle for peace.’  

She founded the organisation Women for World Disarmament which she ran tirelessly until 1987. 

In the 1950s her parents came down to live with her. Percy had all the space he needed for his workshops, while Rebecca died there just a few days short of her 100th birthday.  

During 1987 she was involved in setting up the trust whereby, after their death, the house and grounds could become an international centre for youth, to promote peace. Also that year, she arranged for her Women for World Peace organisation to be merged with the Campaign for World Disarmament, which allowed her to retire. Rod died in January 1988 aged 85 and she died 5 years later aged 94. (see picture 7 below)

A much fuller account of her remarkable life story may be found in the book Women Remember – An Oral History  (Routledge 1989) by Anne Smith, from which I have tried to extract the essence and combine it with other material available on-line. She also wrote a short autobiography entitled I Promised Picasso. Although it was never published there is a typescript version archived in the Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Langford Mead, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, TA2 6SF. This is kept with her many other papers relating to her long and active life.  

It’s not clear whether the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre is exactly what she had in mind when she made her original legacy plans, though it teaches dance and drama, both dear to her heart. In any case, far from being a white elephant, it is a successful venture with increasing activity year on year, with, for example, the number of technicians required to service it all up from the original 2 to 5.  

She would be amused to think that the warfare that is chess is strictly of the non-violent kind, and so accords with her precepts. 

The Arts Centre entrance

The inventor with his Wilkinson TAC motor-bike.

(3) Kathleen Tacchi in a publicity film shot.

(4) Another publicity film still.

(5) Emile Jaques-Dalcroze

(6) Eurhythmics in action

(7) Kathleen Tacchi-Morris reflects on her incredible life.

WECU Jamboree 2014 Results (15.09.14.)

The West of England Jamboree has been the Union’s annual pre-season get-together and rust-remover for many years and is still well-supported, even though, as in football, the concept of a season with a long summer break from the sport, is almost extinct. One hundred players and organisers gathered at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre on the outskirts of Taunton as per usual, although the word “outskirts” is also becoming redundant, as the town’s housing is  rapidly encroaching on the area with large new estates making the approaches to the centre look unfamiliar to even the most regular participant.

This year there were four teams of 12 in each section, with Cornwall entering a team in the Open Section for the first time in a number of years, probably decades – and a very competitive team it was, too. In the Grade-limited Section there was a team from Wiltshire, after an absence of c. 20 years – a welcome move in both cases.

Although headed by Somerset in the early stages, Devon’s strength-in-depth made certain of their win in the Open, winning all 6 of their games in the lower half. Gloucestershire scored 3.5 out of 5 at the top of the order, but then fell away, while Cornwall scored 4 pts from their top 7 games.

In the Graded Section, Devon’s Torbay League scored heavily in the lower reaches, while Wiltshire scored at the top and bottom of the order, the two teams coming 1st =. The Wiltshire Captain, Roy Ludlow took the trophy 1st, saying his wife would only allow him to keep it in the house until the Torbay Congress in November, where he’d gladly hand it over to Rob Wilby.

The event was organised by Ben Edgell. Jerry Humphries acted as Arbiter in the Open Section and another colleague did likewise in the other room. Martin Worrell, a member of Taunton C.C. and a technician at the Centre, kindly provided free tea and biscuits all afternoon.

Photographs to follow shortly.

The details were as follows: 

    W.E.C.U.         Jamboree  
    OPEN         SECTION  
Bd. team player Grd     team player Grd
1 A1 Jeremy Menadue 189 ½ ½ B1 Phil Meade 182
2 C1 Dominic Mackle 203 0 1 D1 Jack Rudd 224
3 B2 Thomas Thorpe 179 ½ ½ C2 John Stephens 194
4 D2 David Buckley 207 ½ ½ A2 Theo Slade 179
5 A3 Mark Hassall 178 1 0 C3 Kevin Hurst 191
6 B3 John Jenkins 176 1 0 D3 Peter Chaplin 189
7 D4 Mike Richardt 184 0 1 D4 Peter Kirby 173
8 C4 Steve Homer 188 1 0 A4 Grant Healey 178
9 C5 John Fraser 182 ½ ½ B5 Phil Dodwell 163
10 A5 David Saqui 173 0 1 D5 Pat Krzyzanowski 182
11 B6 Barry Whitelaw 159 0 1 A6 James Hooker 170
12 D6 David Littlejohns 178 ½ ½ C6 John Wheeler 181
13 A7 Simon Bartlett 169 1 0 B7 Alun Richards 136
14 C7 Jon Underwood 179 1 0 D7 David P-Kooiman 178
15 B8 Ian Blencowe 130 0 1 C8 Dave Regis 176
16 D8 James Byrne 165 1 0 A8 Gary Trudeau 155
17 A9 John Wilman 154 0 1 C9 Alan Brusey 176
18   d/f   0 1 D9 Gerry Jepps 163
19 D10 Andrew Gregory 158 1 0 B10 Jim Caterer 128
20 C10 Bill Ingham 176 1 0 A10 Richard Smith 149
21 C11 Brian Hewson 174 1 0 B11 Peter Bending 122
22 A11 Martin Jones 121 0 1 D11 Darren Freeman 158
23 B12 John Harris 115 ½ ½ A12 Barry Childs 107
24 D12 Alex Conway 156 0 1 C12 Meyrick Shaw 170
                 

                                            Summary

  Open 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Tot. Pos.
A Cornwall ½ ½ 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 ½ 3rd
B Glos ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 4 4th
C Devon 0 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1st
D Somerset 1 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 0 7 2nd

  

    GRADED         SECTION  
Bd. team player Grd     team player Grd
1 A1 Andy Bellingham 154 0 1 B1 Chris Purry 152
2 C1 Trefor Thynne 161 0 1 D1 Jim Sherwin 198
3 B2 Roger Knight 152 ½ ½ C2 Mike S-Brownbridge 164
4 D2 Andrew Cooper 174 1 0 A2 Adrian Champion 151
5 A3 Neville Senior 150 1 0 C3 Paul Brooks 154
6 B3 Jim Fewkes 150 ½ ½ D3 Ricardo Rei 168
7 D4 Tim Woodward 146 1 0 D4 Chris Fewtrell 149
8 C4 Andrew Kinder 146 0 1 A4 Chris Strong 148
9 C5 Rob Wilby 140 0 1 B5 Mark Baker 147
10 A5 Tristan West 147 ½ ½ D5 George Georgiou 139
11 B6 Simon Pickard 121 1 0 A6 Stan Wojcik 140
12 D6 Roy Ludlow 128 0 1 C6 John Allen 132
13 A7 John Wilkinson 115 1 0 B7 Simon Gray 114
14 C7 Vignesh Ramesh 131 1 0 D7 Gareth Williams 118
15 B8 Stan Hill 114 0 1 C8 Ben Wilkinson 129
16 D8 Richard Carver 116 0 1 A8 Roger Waters 112
17 A9 Mike Cooper 119 0 1 C9 John Dean 119
18 D10 David Brown 102 0 1 D9 Geoff Berryman 108
19 C10 Tony Tatam 107 1 0 B10 Mike Ward 93
20 C11 Roy Greenhalgh 100 1 0 A10 Roger Fenton 98
21 A11 Vic McAndrew 91 0 1 B11 Mike Walters 101
22 B12 d/f   0 0 D11 d/f  
23 D12 Robert Sparks 72 1 0 C12 Nandaja Narayanan 101
24 B9 Ivan Stringer 110 ½ ½ D9 Gordon Chapman 104

                                            Summary 

  Graded 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Tot. Pos.
A N & W Somerset 0 0 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 4th
B S & E Somerset 1 ½ ½ 0 1 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 3rd
C Torbay League 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1st=
D Wiltshire 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 1 1st=

 

Bd. 1 in the Open - Menadue vs Meade - game drawn.

Thorpe vs Stephens - a placid start before a frantic finish.

Homer (W) beat Healey in a clever endgame combination.

General view of the Open Section - Conway vs Shaw nearest.

James T. Sherwin vs T. F. Thynne - quite a game in the Graded Section.

Devon Captain and WECU President elect receives the Jamboree Cup from Organsier Ben Edgell (l)

Rob Wilby (l) & Roy Ludlow share the Graded Cup

Paignton Congress 2014 – Final Day (Rd. 7)

At the start of the final round, there was a tie between the five top-rated players in the Premier Section, – Gormally, Arkell, Ledger, Mackle & Bates – all on 4.5/6. Any one of the 5 could win it outright, while other possibilities included double ties, triple ties or, if they all drew, a 5-way tie. The possibilities ran into double digits, and the only certainty was that would be no quick draws in this round.

 The pairings were Arkell vs Mackle; Bates vs Gormally and McKenna vs Ledger. Arkell played an open game and managed at several points in the game to create small threats, forcing Mackle to exchange pieces, and it wasn’t long before an endgame was reached, an aspect of the game in which Arkell is an acknowledged master. With R+2 minor pieces each left on the board, Black at least had some activity, but he chose to exchange off the rooks, after which White had most of  the attacking options and Mackle resigned. Arkell could relax as the leader in the clubhouse and watch the other three slug it out. He relaxed even more when Bates and Gormally agreed a draw. This left Ledger fighting for a win in order to share 1st prize. And strive he did as the game went on for hour after hour, finishing long after the room was empty of players. After 6 hours play, McKenna avoided a loss on time at the 2nd time control by seconds, and it went down to R vs R+P. The pawn was on the a-file, protected by K + R and far away from the White king, but McKenna managed to find just enough resources to prevent the queening, so a draw was agreed. Thus Arkell, the Paignton veteran, won his 20th 1st place in the 22 consecutive years he’s entered – doubly pleasing for him.

The second-to-last game to finish was Bd. 1 in the Challengers, where Mike Waddington, who had 6/6 points and had already won the section with a round to spare, was trying very hard to make it a clean sweep. But he was faced by the ever-steady Martin Page who had no intentions of falling in with his plans, and after many hours play, a draw was agreed. Although he failed in his bid for a 100% score, he finished with the highest score by any player in any section.

The full prize list was as follows.

  Ron Bruce Premier Rating   Pts/7 £
1st K. C. Arkell 2435 Cheddleton 600
2nd= D. W. Gormally 2500 Cheddleton 5 150
  R. A. Bates 2338 Hackney 5 150
  S. H. Berry 2322 Wimbledon 5 150
  D. J. Ledger 2235 Bedford 5 150
GPs          
U-2151 S. P. Dilleigh 2138 Horfield 4 17
  A. Brown 2095 Northampton 4 17
  P. R. Kemp 2078 Linton 4 17
U-2071 I. J. Myall 2054 Chelmsford 17
  G. Bolt 2013 Railways London 17
  A. Pickersgill 1990 Hastings 17
U-1981 A. W. Brusey 1951 Teignmouth 25
  A. F. Footner 1869 Dorchester 25
0/2 T. R. Spanton 1976 Hastings   20
           
  Rowena Bruce Challengers (U-180) Grd.      
1st M. P. Waddington 172 Dorchester 300
2nd = G. Body 169 Exeter 5 75
  M. C. Page 163 Insurance 5 75
  D. A. Patrick 159 Courier 5 75
  P. S. Morton 153 Hammersmith 5 75
GPs          
U-161 R. Clegg 160 Huddersfield 4 25
  A. Price 155 Leamington 4 25
U-149 A. M. Hibbitt 147 Banbury 4 25
  J. Morgan 147 Exeter 4 25
U-136 J. Robertson 123 E. Kilbride 4 50
0/2 A. M. Hibbitt 147 Banbury 4 10
  J. Morgan 147 Exeter 4 10
           
  Walker Minor (U-130)        
1st R. J. Kearsley 125 Wimbledon 6 300
2nd= K. R. Alexander 126 Seaton 150
  R. P. Hamilton 124 Metropolitan 150
GPs          
U-122 M. R. Harris 120 Colchester 5 50
U-113 A. R. Fraser 108 Beckenham 17
  M. Bolan 107 Ashtead 17
  S. Thacker 105 West Notts 17
U-104 R. Burroughs 86 Malvern 50
0/2 R. G. Waters 112 Taunton 20

NB: Grading prize winners do not quaify for a prize in a higher section, even though they might have a higher score.

  5-Rd. AM Grd Boniface   U-180 Pts/5 £
1st= B. G. Gosling 153 E. Budleigh/Exmouth 4 150
  R. A. Dean 158 Undercliffe 4 150
3rd= R. R. Sanders 178 Sudbury 60
  R. J. Gamble 161 Derby 60
  D. A. Patrick 159 Courier 60
  B. O’Gorman 157 DHSS 60
  A. M. Hibbitt 147 On a barge somewhere 60
U-161 D. Siddall 157 Austin Friars 3 50
U-154 N. G. Andrews 157 York 3 50
U-143 Ms G. A. Moore 142 Southampton 50
0/2 M. Adams 130 Sidmouth 20
           
  5-Rd. A.M.   Thynne   U-130    
1st R. J. Nash 125 Barnstaple 4 300
2nd= J. B. Farrell 128 Metropolitan 4 50
  A. Collins 126 Cowley 4 50
  M. J. Gunn 126 Guildford 4 50
  M. R. Harris 120 Colchester 4 50
  C. A. Fraser 113 West Bridgford 4 50
  Ms. J. Goldsmith 104 Harrow 4 50
U-126 P. P. Sartain 123 Guildford 25
  J. E. Dean 119 Plymouth 25
U-119 P. Harrington 118 Blackburn 25
  Ms. J. Gardiner 114 Hemel Hempstead 25
U-111 A. R. Fraser 105 Beckenham Bromley 50
0/2 J. G. Davis 128 Guildford 20

 

The state of play after Rd. 6 in the Premier

The draw for the final round in the Premier.

Top board: Bates vs Gormally - destined for a draw.

Mackle starts White's clock - game on!

Final round draw for the Challengers.

 

Mike Waddington, who has already won the Challengers Section, wants to make it a perfect score but is faced by the redoubtable Martin Page.

 

So pleasant is the weather, post-game analysis can be held in the hotel gardens

Paignton Congress – Day 6

Friday morning marks the end of the morning tournaments. At the end of the final round, perhaps the most remakable result was Richard Nash’s clear 1st place in the new Thynne section. In recent years Richard has always been around in Paignton during the congress, to watch the play and organise the Blitz tournament each Thursday evening. However, this year marked the 60th anniversary since  his first entry in the 4th Congress in 1954 and he felt it the right moment to dip his toe in the water again. It was well rewarded. The full prize list was as follows:
  5-Rd. AM   Boniface   U-180 Pts £
1st= B. G. Gosling 153 E. Budleigh/Exmouth 4 150
  R. A. Dean 158 Undercliffe 4 150
3rd= R. R. Sanders 178 Sudbury 60
  R. J. Gamble 161 Derby 60
  D. A. Patrick 159 Courier 60
  B. O’Gorman 157 DHSS 60
  A. M. Hibbitt 147 On a barge somewhere 60
U-161 D. Siddall 157 Austin Friars 3 50
U-154 N. G. Andrews 157 York 3 50
U-143 Ms G. A. Moore 142 Southampton 50
0/2 M. Adams 130 Sidmouth 20
           
  5-Rd. A.M.   Thynne   U-130    
1st R. J. Nash 125 Barnstaple 4 300
2nd= J. B. Farrell 128 Metropolitan 4 50
  A. Collins 126

 

Last Rd. Draw

Last Rd. Draw

A formal handshake between Dean & Gosling got things under way.

Mike Gunn & Richard Nash start their final game

Patrick vs Hibbert (furthest) and Gamble vs Halmkin

Nash gets his cheque from Congress Organiser, Alan Crickmore.

Jennifer Goldsmith collects her prize

Patrick Sartain collects his cheque.

 

Gormally vs Arkell on their changed table.

 

Bates vs Berry in their penultimate game.

Paignton Congress 2014 – Day 5

This is the time when the finishing line starts to beckon for both the 5 Rd. morning sections and the main event in the afternoons.

However, before the serious stuff got under way at 2 p.m. there was an amusing diversion. It has become a little tradition at Paignton that any regular competitor who reaches the grand old age of 90 gets a presentation book. This year it was the turn of John G. Sowerby who passed this particular milestone a few days ago. He had the pick of the bookstall to choose from, and opted for a copy of  Arkell’s Odyssey, as he felt it was a bit late in life for him to wrestling with some heavy tome on the openings. He agreed to be present at the start of the afternoon round, even though he was only playing in the mornings. Unknown to him it was arranged that Keith himself should present John with a signed copy, to a round of generous applause. Immediately, then, Keith was himself surprised that it was announced that he had recently won the vote for the ECF’s Player of the Year award, by a country mile – again, to generous applause.

Then the focus was back on John. At the start of play on Tuesday morning, John got him game under way but slowly became aware that all was not well on the board. By move 8 the players realised that John’s king and queen were on the wrong squares. But not before the photographs were taken, and if one looks closely at  the final photograph on the previous entry, one can just make this out.  Young Theo Slade and his father went to some trouble to crop the picture, blow up the image of John at the board, print off a nice copy and frame it for presentation to him at this moment. A photograph of the three players involved was taken outside shortly after.

John Sowerby with Keith Arkell (l) and Theo Slade.

 

The long-promised better weather finally arrived and allowed post-game analysis to be carried on outside.

Paignton Congress 2014 – Day 2

Monday may be Day 2 of the congress, but it marks the start of the 5 Rd. Morning Tournament. Three factors encouraged the organisers to split the entry into 2 section, for the first time. Firstly, the entry for the morning event has been slowly growing over the years, as some players prefer to get the torture over by midday and have the rest of the day to relax, while others prefer to have two games a day, morning and afternoon. Secondly, the grade ceiling for the morning has gradually been raised, in order to increase the entry, and thirdly, there was a feeling among the lower ranks that they stood little chance of any prize against this stiffer opposition. 

Therefore, the Boniface Section went from grades 179 down to 130, while the newly-named Thynne Section was open to all players U-129 and below, and with a £750 prize fund for them alone. This appears to have been a popular move. 

However, the shock of the day, if not the congress so far, was found in the afternoon’s Premier, where top seed, Grandmaster Danny Gormally, lost to WECU’s retiring President, John Wheeler. On the adjacent board the other GM, Keith Arkell, was being met with stout resistance from Steve Dilleigh until early evening. 

The morning sections get under way. with the Boniface on the right and the Thynne forming the left column.

 

Bd. 1 in the Boniface involved Ronnie Burton (W) vs R. Bryant.

At the lower end of the Thynne Section, Jacquie Barber-Lafon makes an opening move against J. W. Carr, while seated next to 90 year old John Sowerby of Colchester.

Paignton Congress 2014 – Day 1 (31.08.2014.)

It's Torbay and the schools are back. Must be time for the Paignton Congress. Here at its new venue of the Livermead House Hotel, right on the sea-front.

Don't forget the hotel was someone's private residence once.

The view from the venue - a luxury liner in the Bay under the bluest of skies.

At 2 p.m. DCCA President, Mr. Paul Brooks welcomed all participants, in fron of the preoccupied arbiters, Tony Tatam (green), John Ariss (blue) and Victor Cross (yellow)

General view of the playing area. The re-alignment of the tables has created more space for movement around the room.

Tactics used are many and varied. Simon Bartlett's shirt, for example, is clearly giving his opponent a headache.

Top seed, Grandmaster Danny Gormally, completes his kingside fianchetto.

2nd seed, Grandmaster Keith Arkell, reflects on his opening move.

The number of lady players has almost reached double figures this year. On these 2 boards, for instance, they outnumber the men by 3 to 1. Nearest the camera is the noted chess artist, Nette Robinson.

Adams Stars at Olympiad (23.08.2014.)

The recent 41st Olympiad at Tromsø was won by China, who at the outset were seeded 7th of the 177 participating teams of 4, based on the rating of their players. Second were Hungary (5th seed) and 3rd were India (18th seed). This serves to illustrate how the balance of power is moving from west to east. England came a disappointing 28th (10th seed), Ireland were 66th (62nd seed), Scotland were 83rd (65th seed) and Wales were 105th (98th seed).

One bright spot for England was the outstanding performance of Michael Adams, who scored 6½ points from the 9 games he played. Only a split on tie-break denied him the gold medal for the best individual performance on Board 1, and he had to settle for silver. This game from Rd. 5 against Vietnam was probably his best.

White: Le Quang Liem (2710). M. Adams (2740).

Catalan Opening.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 White goes in for the Catalan Opening, a system named by Tartakover after he tried it in Barcelona in 1929. 3…d5 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Nf3 c6 7.Qb3 0–0 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.Rc1 a5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Na3 Qe7 13.e3 Rd8 14.Rab1 g6 15.Qc2 Bg7 16.Rd1 Nf6 17.Ne5 Bd7 18.Nxd7 Rxd7 19.Rd2 e5 Breaking open the centre to create space for his pieces. However it also allows White’s knight to join the fray. 20.dxe5 Qxe5 21.Rbd1 Rad8 22.cxd5 Nxd5 23.Nc4 Qe6 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Nxa5 d4 26.exd4 Qxa2 27.Nb3 Qa4 28.Ra1 Qb4 29.Qc3 Qb6 30.Ra4 Qe6 31.Nc5 Forking queen and rook, but Black has a vital check available. 31…Qe1+ 32.Kg2 Rc7 33.Rc2 Qe8! Hitting the undefended rook and threatening …b6 winning the pinned knight. 34.Rc4 b5 35.Rb4 Black may be a pawn down, but this is the beginning of the end for White as Adams launches a powerful attack. 35…Rxc5 36.Qxc5 Forced, as the defending pawn was pinned. 36…Bf8 The point of Black’s sacrifice, as becomes clear. 37.Qxb5 Qe4+ Now both rooks are attacked. 38.Kg1 Qxc2 39.Ra4 Qb1+ 40.Kg2 Qe4+ 41.f3 Qc2+ 42.Kh3 Qd1 43.f4 h5 44.Qc4 Rxd4! 0–1 If now 45.Qxd4 Qf1+ forcing 46.Kh4 Be7+. Or if 45.Ra1 Qg4+ 46.Kg2 Rxc4 In fact, White is mated in every variation. Match drawn 2-2.

Vietnam eventually finished level with England on match points but came 27th on tie-break.

The Paignton Congress starts a week tomorrow at the Livermead Hotel. Enquiries about last minute entries should go to Alan and Linda Crickmore on 01752-768206 or e-mail plymouthchess@btinternet.com.

The solution to last week’s problem was 1. Bb8! Here is another 2-mover by Lt. Col. George Kirkpatrick Ansell, who was killed in action exactly 100 years ago next week.

Chess Problemist Shot (16.08.2014.)

The one million British and Commonwealth WW1 fatalities cut swathes of heartbreak through every walk of life. Even the esoteric world of chess problemists did not escape.

Witheridge and Bristol’s Comins Mansfield, for example, was gassed in the trenches and temporarily blinded, but he survived to become a universally acknowledged genius of the 2-mover.

Less well-known was Lt. Col. George Kirkpatrick Ansell who was killed in the first days of the war. Born in 1872 in Wymering near Portsmouth, the son of a soldier, William and his wife Harriet, he joined the 5th Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Dragoon Guards, and served under Baden-Powell in South Africa. In France, two weeks after the declaration of war, the two armies met for the first time at Mons, after which the British sought to make an orderly retreat. On 31st August Ansell’s men were settled for the night in the small village of Néry. In the early morning mist of 1st September, a lost battalion of Germans blundered into them and more fighting broke out. Ansell’s unit was sent out to attack on the flank, which was an effective counter, and to get a good view of the skirmish he rode to the top of a nearby bluff. However, this made him a perfect target for German snipers and he was shot in the chest and died within 15 minutes, the most senior British officer to be killed at that point.

He is one of 51 Britons buried in Verberie, one of the 65 war cemeteries in the small department of Oise. The full account of what became known as “The Affair at Néry” can readily be found on-line and makes fascinating reading.

He had been a keen composer and publisher of chess problems before enlisting but once in the army his love of horses in general and polo in particular gradually took over.

He left a 9 year old son, Michael, who had a strangely parallel early life. He joined the same regiment as his father, played polo and rode competitively. Early in WW2 he, too, found himself retreating in the face of an advancing German army. He hid in a hayloft, and was shot at by British troops who assumed he was the enemy. As a result he was blinded, but this did not stop his involvement with horses. From his home, Pillhead House, Bideford, Col. Sir Mike Ansell became the driving force of British show jumping and equestrianism in the post war decades, making it a regular feature of TV scheduling.

The answer to last week’s position was 1…Rb3+! and if 2.axb3 Ra1 mate.

Here is one of Col. Ansell’s early 2-movers.

White to mate in 2

Devon C.C.A AGM

This brief review of Devon’s A.G.M. on Friday evening is a summary only, and does not constitute the official minutes which will be provided by the Secretary Trefor Thynne. However, the facts are believed to be correct at the time of publication.

All following officers were all re-elected en bloc.

  Office Incumbent
a President Paul Brookes
b Secretary Trefor Thynne
c Treasurer Keith Atkins
d Competitions Ray Chubb
e Match Captain Brian Hewson
f Congress Sec. Alan Crickmore
g Junior chess Vacant
h Grading officers Sean Pope / Ray ChubbTony Tatam / John Ariss
i Archivist Dave Beckwith
j Publicity Bob Jones
k WECU Delegates Brian Hewson & Keith Atkins
l ECF Delegate Ben Edgell

 

Some of the trophy presentations:

County President Paul Brooks presents County Secretary Trefor Thynne with the Schofield Cup.

New Devon Individual Champion, Dr. Tim Paulden, receives his trophy.

Tony Tatam receives the President's Award for services to Devon Chess.

Trefore Thynne, top scorer for Devon, receives the Match Captain's Award

Leagues Title Bds Limits Winner Score Runner-Up Score
Div. 1 Bremridge 6 Open Exmouth 7/8 Tiverton 5/8
Div. 2 Mamhead 4 U-640 Barnstaple 6/8 Tiverton 5/8
Div. 3 Schofield 4 U-560 Newton Abbot 5/8 Tiverton 5/8
Div. 4 Moyle 4 U-480 Barnstaple 6/8 Exeter 6/8
RapidPlay Newman 4 U-600 Exmouth 6/8 Tiverton 4/8
Junior Bloodworth 4 U-540 Newton Abbot 4 Torquay BGS 4
Knockout Rooke 8 U-1120 Newton Abbot 5 Tiverton 3
Individual Ch.       T. J. Paulden 6/8    
Intermediate Ch.       H. W. Ingham 1½/2 R. Wilby ½/2
Minor Champ.       V. Ramesh 3½/4 W. Taylor 2½/4
Ladies Champ.       J. Barber-Lafon 2/2 N. Narayanan 1
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