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Exmouth’s New Grades 2017- 18

The new grading list has just been released, and these are the Exmouth Club’s full and associate members’ details.

The majority have risen; the falls are relatively small.

Name Standard Prev. Rapid Prev.
Abbott, Mark V 183 A 176 A 177 C 177 C
Belt, Malcolm 119 B 126 A 118 C 113 D
Blake, Simon 106 E 106 C 102 C
Braun, Walter 203 D
Dean, Alan J 140 D 139 D 139 A 140 D
Gosling, Brian GE 154 A 159 A 148 D 147 E
Grist, Ivor G 84 C 83 C 75 D 77 E
Hampton, Paul DJ 172 B 166 E 193 C 195 D
Hurst, Kevin J 173 D 173 C
Jones, Robert H 128 B 126 A 138 B 135 C
Martin, Steven 186 A 185 A 159 C 157 D
Murray, J Stephen 147 A 148 B 144 D 141 D
Newcombe, Barbara 92 D 85 E 83 D
Rogers, David R 130 A 128 A
Scott, Chris J 160 B 152 B 150 C 151 B
Shaw, Meyrick 169 A 159 A 186 B 177 B
Thomson, David 99 E 124 F
Underwood, Jon WR 192 C 187 C 180 B 186 B
Wensley, Oliver E 172 A 168 A 164 B 160 C

Exmouth’s Exciting End-of-Term Experiences.

If there has been a more concentrated and closely contested climax to a season, I don’t recall it.

Four matches, four victories and two trophies in 12 days represents as rich a reward as anyone at the club could reasonably expect.

Let’s start on Saturday 22nd April in the Mamhead Cup, Devon’s Division 2. With one match to play, Exmouth and Newton Abbot were joint leaders on match points, but Exmouth having scored a half point more in games. So Exmouth simply did not have to score less points against the final opponents, Teignmouth, than Newton Abbot did against Barnstaple. As Newton Abbot did win their match 3.5 – o.5, Exmouth had to beat Teignmouth by at least the same score …. or more – a big ask. But they equalled Newton Abbot’s winning margin, so winning the Mamhead Cup by half a game point.

Exmouth Teignmouth
1 O. E. Wensley 168 ½ ½ W. H. Ingham 162
2 M. Shaw 163 1 0 Rev. C. Doidge 124
3 C. J. Scott 151 1 0 N. F. Tidy 122
4 M. Belt 127 1 0 A. Webster 82
609 ½ 490

Three days later, on Tuesday 25th April, there was an away match against Exeter in the E. Devon RapidPlay League. This turned out to be not quite as close a match as the previous one, thus winning that league, and a second trophy in 4 days. (Photos below)

Exeter & Dist. League   –   RapidPlay League  Div. 1     25.04.2017.
Exeter Rd 1 Rd 2 Exmouth Rd 1 Rd 2
1 S. Pope 149 ½ ½ C. J. Scott 151 ½ ½
2 R. Whittington 136 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
3 R. Player 114 0 0 Dr. M. Marshall 140 1 1
4 Dr. J. Maloney 96 0 0 R. H. Jones 135 1 1
3 5

The following Saturday, Exmouth entertained Newton Abbot in the final round of the Bremridge Cup, Devon’s Division 1. There was no trophy at stake this time as Exeter had already secured overall victory by virtue of their narrow win over Exmouth earlier in the year, but nevertheless rivalry is always keen. Both teams were without 2 top players, but the six pairings looked to favour the home side.

However, at the halfway point, Exmouth went 1-0 down, and had no discernable advantage in the other 5 games, so it was backs-to-the-wall time for sure. Oliver Wensley went right down to K+P vs K but his king was in front of his pawn and the opposing king was not inclined to allow him the freedom to move aside, so game drawn. Then rather suddenly, the other four games, in spite of their closeness throughout, all went Exmouth’s way, leaving the final score 4.5 – 1.5, certainly a scoreline that belies the actual play.

DCCA    –   Div. 1   Bremridge Cup        29.04.2017.
Exmouth grd Newton Abbot grd
1 W. Braun 195 1 0 P. Brooks 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 A. W. Brusey 169
3 P. D. Hampton 166 1 0 V. Ramesh 139
4 M. V. Abbott 176 1 0 A. Kinder 125
5 O. E. Wensley 168 ½ ½ C. V. Howard 143
6 C. J. Scott 152 1 0 J. E. Allen 145
1043 4½ 1½ 910

Exmouth vs Newton Abbot: A study in collective concentration.

Bd. 1: Paul Brooks vs Walter Braun.

Bds 3 & 4: Ramesh vs Hampton & Abbott vs Kinder.

Bds 5 & 6: Howard vs Wensley & Scott vs Allen.

This was closely followed by another home match on Wednesday night, against Exeter in the E. Devon League Div. 1. This time the odds seemed to favour the visitors, with Barbara Newcombe, a newcomer this season to OTB chess,  playing her first 1st team match for the Club. Her draw against the experienced Will Marjoram, in the face of a 40 point difference in their grades, seemed to inspire the others, the home side running out 3.5 – 0.5 winners.

So the situation is that, with only 3 teams involved, Exmouth have lost to Seaton but beaten Exeter, who play Seaton next week. If Exeter win that match it could be 3-way tie situation – unless complicated tie-breaks come into play. Who knows, a third trophy might come our way, but no-one here’s holding their breath on that one.

Exeter & Dist. League   –   League  Div. 1     03.05.2017
Exmouth grd Exeter grd
1 M. V. Abbott 176 1 0 Dr. T. Paulden 185
2 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 Dr. D. Regis 169
3 Dr. M. O. Marshall 162 1 0 R. Whittington 139
4 B. Newcombe 85 ½ ½ W. Marjoram 125
591 ½ 618

Exmouth's winning RapidPlay team: Seated (l) Chris Scott & Alan Dean (capt.). Standing (l) Bob Jones & Michael Marshall.

Exeter's home team: Seated (l) Sean Pope & Reece Whittington. Standing (l) Richard Player & John Maloney.

Rd. 1 gets under way.

Exeter & Dist. League   –   RapidPlay League  Div. 1     25.04.2017.
Exeter Rd 1 Rd 2 Exmouth Rd 1 Rd 2
1 S. Pope 149 ½ ½ C. J. Scott 151 ½ ½
2 R. Whittington 136 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
3 R. Player 114 0 0 Dr. M. Marshall 140 1 1
4 Dr. J. Maloney 96 0 0 R. H. Jones 135 1 1
3 5

Clash of the Titans (11.02.2017.)

The current Devon Champions, Exmouth, hosted local rivals, Exeter, in a match on Saturday that would not only confer local bragging rights but probably determine who would win this year’s Devon club championship.

The omens were not good for the hosts, as Exeter were able to field their strongest team, probably one of the strongest sides seen for many a decade, while Exmouth were under par, conceding c. 16 points per board over Bds 3 – 6 – a big ask. However, the match proved to be a truly titanic struggle as each game came to an end.

First of all, Exeter’s captain, Graham Bolt, won the toss yet chose to give their opponents White on top board. That was the first to finish, when O’Neill came unstuck and resigned, and put Exmouth 1-0 up. Was Bolt’s tactic a wise one? Next, Chris Scott got a valuable draw against Jamie Morgan, playing his first game for Exeter. Then, Oliver Wensley generated enough pressure to cause his opponent to run out of time.

Thus Exmouth had 2.5 point after 3 games, and it seemed highly possible they would be able to get something from the other 3 games to squeeze at least a draw.  Then Dave Regis, who had 2 minor pieces for a rook, forced a win, while Bolt found himself in an ending with 2 bishops against 2 knights with a sprinkling of pawns on either side. The bishops found good long diagonals enabling his king to advance, keeping the black knights and king on their back rank, and a win was inevitable. 2.5 all, with former Scottish International, Paul Hampton, locking horns with Paulden, in what for the most part had been a blocked position. However, in seeking active play for his queen, he allowed Regis’ queen in to the centre. With just 2 minutes of extra time left on both clocks, there was a titanic struggle with both queens grabbing any pawn they could get hold of, preferably with check, and Paulden succeeded in this race.

So, with just seconds to go, Exeter took the lead for the first time in the match, and with it the match.

The details were:-

Bremridge Cup    Div. 1        11.02.2017
EXMOUTH Grd EXETER Grd
1 J. Underwood 187 1 0 P. A. O’Neill 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 G. Bolt 190
3 P. Hampton 166 0 1 T. J. Paulden 187
4 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 C. Lowe 175
5 B. G. Gosling 159 0 1 D. Regis 175
6 C. J. Scott 152 ½ ½ J. Morgan 170
1,017 1,082

Badlan & Adams (08.02.2017.)

Former club member, Tom Badlan, passed away earlier this week.

He was born in Tenbury Wells, on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, and in his youth played in goal for the local football team. He entered the retail business which took him to East Anglia for a spell, before becoming General Manager of Beatties in Wolverhampton, one of the biggest department stores in the West Midlands.

Retirement took him to Newton Poppleford, where he joined the Sidmouth Chess Club, later moving to Exmouth. Although dementia took its toll and he was unable to cope with club life, he maintained contact through near neighburs Fred Hodge and Malcolm Belt, who played chess with him at his home. He had a chess computer on the go in every room of his house. He was a steady player right to the end, with a strong defence that could be difficult to break down.

Having lost one member, we get another in his place. Dave Adams has returned to Exmouth after a spell in Dunbar, on the coast near Edinburgh. Having just moved in to a house in Halsdon Road, he will shortly be treading the relatively short walk to the Club. Short for him, who has walked the Andes from South to North, plus many other paths around the world, playing chess with any other aficianado he might meet on the way. His current grade being, as it ever was, in the mid-130s, he will be a welcome asset to team captains, as the club is short of players of that strength.

Mamhead Match: Exmouth vs Newton Abbot (04.02.2017.)

Exmouth hosted a team from Newton Abbot for their match in Devon’s 2nd Division, the Mamhead Cup. Losses by Chris Scott and Malcolm Belt were off-set by a well-judged win by team captain, Oliver Wensley, against the highly-experienced Alan Brusey. Alan’s chess has suffered in recent years during a period of ill-health, but he is now back to something like his best. Both players aimed to keep things simple by sweeping almost everything off the board and getting down to a rooks & pawn ending by move 13. However, there is nothing simple about rook & pawn endings; even GMs are prone to errors at this stage of the game, but Oliver judged all the nuances very well and came out the winner.

This left the onus on Meyrick Shaw to try for a win in order the rescue a draw. This involved a 63 move game against an opponent who has, in past matches against Exmouth, proved a cool and resourceful player. However, Meyrick kept the pressure and and eventually ran out the winner.

DCCA  Mamhead Cup  Div. 2
EXMOUTH NEWTON ABB0T
1 Oliver WENSLEY 168 1 0 Alan BRUSEY 166
2 Meyrick SHAW 163 1 0 Paul BROOKS 161
3 Chris SCOTT 151 0 1 Vignesh RAMESH 154
4 Malcolm BELT 127 0 1 Charlie HOWARD 143
609 624
2 2

Wensley vs Brusey and Shaw vs Brooks (nearest)

Howard vs Belt (nearest)

Plymouth’s Return To The Bremridge Cup (26.11.2016.)

Last Saturday saw a small bit of chess history unfold, as Plymouth returned to the Bremridge for the first time in a period best measured in decades, probably between 25 and 30 years. That they did so was on the condition that John Stephens, Exmouth born & bred and their top player in recent years, left the Exmouth team and signed on for Plymouth, his current active club membership. The splendid ambience of the Plymouth Bridge Club on Mutley Plain, more than did justice to the occasion.

However, on the day, both teams were missing members who were unavailable for whatever reason. Exmouth had 5 players out: Stephens (for reasons already explained), Shaw & Marshall playing in the World Seniors event in the Czech Republic; Wensley (wedding – not his!), Abbott (Exeter City FC home match), while Plymouth were 3 down. This resulted in the two teams being very closely matched as regards current grades, with only a few points between them.

Once play got under way, the first game to finish was on Bd. 5 where Scott managed to get a knight up front that forked the queen and both rooks – not so much a fork as a trident. Murray got a slight positional edge against Rob Wilby, but was unable to develop it into any lasting advantage and a draw was agreed.

The game on Bd. 2 was a strange one in that Pollock, early on, won the exchange with a knight forking queen and rook, but subsequently kept dropping pawns here and there, to a point where Steve Martin still had 7 pawns lined up against just 4, so the material advantage lay with him, especially as White’s rook just couldn’t find any meaningful activity. Eventually, the black pawns sprang to life and charged forward like a swarm of little black ants against which the rook was powerless.

Plymouth’s up-& coming Nick Hodge kept his cool under Gosling’s various ploys, and gradually got his pieces into advanced positions against the enemy king, to keep the match alive. He has a place booked at St. Andrews University for the next academic year, so will be another loss to the club as his strength will surely continue to grow.

In the top game, Stephens went wrong late in the game to a point where it was resignable, but he played on in view of the match position and the chance that there were possibilities of a swindle, as time was very short and the position still needed careful manoeuvring, but Underwood, under extreme time pressure, managed to avoid all such traps and queened a pawn.

The last game to finish featured a finely balanced endgame between Paul Hampton and the home captain, Sivrev, which finished with 2 blocked pawns each and a draw was agreed.

Most games available in PGN  on chessdevon.org.

DCCA  Division 1 – Bremridge Cup  26.11.2016
Plymouth Grd Exmouth Grd
1 John Stephens 192 0 1 Jonathan Underwood 183
2 Richard Pollock 181 0 1 Steve Martin 182
3 Pavel Sivrev 175 ½ ½ Paul Hampton 167
4 Nick Hodge 159 1 0 Brian Gosling 159
5 Mike Stinton-Brownbridge 145 0 1 Chris Scott 151
6 Rob Wilby 137 ½ ½ Steve Murray 151
989 2 4 993

General view of the playing room.

P. Hampton vs P. Sivrev

Pollock vs Martin

Scott vs Stinton-Brownbridge (nearest) & Wilby vs Murray.

Exmouth’s New Club-Room (26.08.2016.)

Exmouth Chess Club, currently Devon’s Division 1 Champions, have moved to new premises, at The Holly Tree Inn, Withycombe Village Road, EX8 3AN, where they now meet every Wednesday from 6 p.m.

To mark this occasion, a friendly 7 board match was arranged in their new club-room against their nearest neighbours, East Budleigh, led by team captain, Brian Gosling.

The result was a win for the home team, the score-line of which makes it look somewhat easier than it actually was.

The details were (Exmouth names first in each pairing):

1. Mark Abbott ½-½ Dr. Michael Marshall. 2. Meyrick Shaw 1-0 Brian Gosling. 3. Malcolm Belt 0-1 Ken Alexander. 4. Bob Jones 1-0 Mike Lee. 5. Simon Blake 1-0 Barbara Newcombe. 6. Ivor Grist 1-0 Max Lee. 7. Fred Hodge 1-0 Sam Lister. Total – 5½ – 1½.

Both Exmouth and East Budleigh welcome new members interested in competing face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball rather than just on-line.

East Budleigh meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month in the Hall of All Saints Church, Hayes Lane, the church tower of which can be seen for miles.

The match gets under way (East Budleigh facing)

Top 3 boards: Abbott vs Marshall. Shaw vs Gosling & Belt vs Alexander

Exmouth’s New Grades 2016/17

The new Grading List is just out and here is a simplified version of the Exmouth Club’s details. Mostly it shows a few minor shifts up and down, but the main point of interest is Jonathan Underwood achieving the magic 200 grade for his rapidplay track record.

The biggest change is a drop of 15 points by Meyrick Shaw, who can be consoled by the fact that he came 5th in the ECF’s Player of the Year poll. If he drops a few more points next year he might come 4th. The 12 yr old girl who came 1st had the advantage of every one of her fellow pupils voting for her, it is alleged.

Ref Member Name 16/17 15/16 Rapid 15/16
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 172 177 170 172
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 127 133 114 115
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 105 111 102 100
304385L Bronze Dye, J 67 57 77
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 159 157
181711F Bronze Grist, Ivor G 87 91 80 86
140874E Bronze Hodge, Fred R 96 96 128
266234G Bronze Hurst, Kevin J 174 175 178 168
113895K Silver Jones, Robert H 123 118 134 133
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 182 183 156 157
116002D Bronze Murray,  Steve 151 150 138 140
118154D Gold Rogers, David 134 137
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 151 150 151 152
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 163 178 175 178
155629A Gold Stephens, John 192 196 176 182
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 99 104
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 161
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 183 184 200 192
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 168 171 157 154

Exmouth Retain Bremridge Cup Div. 1 (04.04.2016)

Exmouth’s final match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition was against old rivals Teignmouth, at the Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the sea, with Teignmouth town feintly visible on the other side of the bay.

Looking at the team lists and grades, one might assume this could be an easy proposition for the cup holders, were it not for three things; (a) nothing is certain in chess (b) Exmouth were 3 X 170+ players light, for various reasons, including a family wedding and an Exeter City vs Plymouth Argyle match and (c) on the night of the recent Storm Katie, with the winds howling all around the town, the non-playing Captain, Bob Jones, heard a loud bang in the middle of the night. In the morning, fearing the worst and expecting some degree of structural damage to the house, as there had been in the previous storm only a couple of weeks earlier, he found the noise had been caused by the Bremridge Cup falling off its perch for no apparent reason. Could all this be an omen?

In the event, Teignmouth, too, were under-strength, with their top player, Alan Brusey, unwell. Yet the games went on and on – there were no quick wins anywhere. In fact, it was only when the endgames were reached that the differences in grade began to tell. All 6 games then finished within quite a short time of each other, and suddenly the match was over.

EXMOUTH Grd TEIGNMOUTH Grd
1 John Stephens 196 1 0 Bill Ingham 158
2 Dr. Jon Underwood 184 1 0 Nathan Mills 154
3 Steve Martin 183 1 0 Peter E. Halmkin 151
4 Brian Gosling 157 1 0 Rev. Charles Doidge 129
5 Chris Scott 150 1 0 John Ariss 121
6 Steve Murray 150 1 0 Norman F. Tidy 119
1,020 6 0 832

This left Exmouth with 3 won matches and one drawn. The match they came closest to losing was against Exeter, where Exeter were leading 3-2 and one unclear ending in progress. In the event, Brian Gosling found a clever pseudo-sacrificial move that won the game and saved the match.

Summaries of results and performances are as follows:

Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4
Bd vs Newton A vs Tiverton vs Exeter vs Teignmouth
1 Stephens 1 Stephens 1 Underwood 0 Stephens 1
2 Underwood ½ Martin 1 Martin ½ Underwood 1
3 Martin ½ Underwood 1 Abbott ½ Martin 1
4 Abbott ½ Abbott 1 Wensley ½ Gosling 1
5 Wensley ½ Wensley 1 Gosling 1 Scott 1
6 Scott ½ Scott 1 Scott ½ Murray 1
6 3 6
Name P W D L %
John Stephens 3 3 0 0 100
Jon Underwood 4 2 1 1 62.5
Steve Martin 4 2 2 0 75
Mark Abbott 3 1 2 0 66
Oliver Wensley 3 1 2 0 66
Brian Gosling 2 2 0 0 100
Chris Scott 4 2 2 0 75
Steve Murray 1 1 0 0 100
Bremridge Cup Div. 1       2015 – 16 season
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Tot. For Against
1 Exeter X 1 0 0
2 Exmouth 1 X 2 2 2 7 18½
3 Newton Abbot 2 0 X
4 Teignmouth 0 X
5 Tiverton 2 0 X

Exmouth Retain Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)

Exmouth’s final match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition was against old rivals Teignmouth, at the Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the sea, with Teignmouth town feintly visible on the other side of the bay.

Looking at the team lists and grades, one might assume this could be an easy proposition for the cup holders, were it not for three things; (a) nothing is certain in chess (b) Exmouth were 3 X 170+ players light, for various reasons, including a family wedding and an Exeter City vs Plymouth Argyle match and (c) on the night of the recent Storm Katie, with the winds howling all around the town, the non-playing Captain, Bob Jones, heard a loud bang in the middle of the night. In the morning, fearing the worst and expecting some degree of structural damage to the house, as there had been in the previous storm only a couple of weeks earlier, he found the noise had been caused by the Bremridge Cup falling off its perch for no apparent reason. Could all this be an omen?

In the event, Teignmouth, too, were under-strength, with their top player, Alan Brusey, unwell. Yet the games went on and on – there were no quick wins anywhere. In fact, it was only when the endgames were reached that the differences in grade began to tell. All 6 games then finished within quite a short time of each other, and suddenly the match was over.

Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)     02.04.2016.
EXMOUTH EXMOUTH EXMOUTH EXMOUTH
1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1
2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2
3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3
4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4
5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5
6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6

This left Exmouth with 3 won matches and one drawn. The match they came closest to losing was against Exeter, where Exeter were leading 3-2 and one unclear ending in progress. In the event, Brian Gosling found a clever pseudo-sacrificial move that won the game and saved the match.

Bremridge Cup Div. 1       2015 – 16 season
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Tot. For Against
1 Exeter X 1 0 0
2 Exmouth 1 X 2 2 2 7 18½
3 Newton Abbot 2 0 X
4 Teignmouth 0 X
5 Tiverton 2 0 X
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