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Archive for the ‘Current season news’ Category

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

Exeter-Exmouth Bremridge Cup Result (27.02.2016.)

It was time for another top level encounter between near neighbours on the Exe, Exeter & Exmouth. 

Exmouth were without 2 of their top players, Stephens and Shaw, while Exeter had been able to beef up their team with 2 new acquisitions from the University. Matthew Best is a 2nd year economics student, while Chris Lowe is on the University staff, teaching English Grammar to anyone who needs it.  However, although he has just arrived in Exeter this season after 20 years in Sussex, he is not new to Devon, having been part of the Paignton Palace crew in the early 1980s. This was situated in Paignton but distinct from the old town club, and was based in Palace Avenue. Its membership consisted mainly of older Juniors, centred around future IM, Gary Lane, and included players like Paul Aston, A. K. Swift,  Brian Boomsma, the Hawthorne brothers et al.  They won the Bremridge Cup in 1982, ‘83 and ‘86, so Lowe was no stranger to this tournament. As the teenagers grew up they went their separate ways and the club eventually broke up. 

These changes made the teams very closely matched on every board, and the outcome impossibe to predict.  The games ended in 2 rafts of three, the first batch being all draws. Firstly, the Regis-Martin game came to an agreeable end when neither player had any advantage. Abbott vs Lowe came down to a R&Ps ending in which neither player felt inclined to push too hard in case it collapsed against them, as can happen all too often. There was nothing placid about Body vs Wensley, in which White quickly got a strong kingside attack in a Scotch Game. However, White spent so much time looking for the killer blow, that he ran short of time and agreed a draw. 

There was then a lull as the other 3 games played out. Pope vs Scott was eventually drawn in an even position, leaving the last 2 games which were definitely not even in any way. Underwood-Paulden had been a complex position from the start in which pieces were left en prise while Black probed for weakenesses all over the board. Eventually, White cracked, and attention then suddenly focussed on Gosling’s game. He had only c. 2 minutes left and was reduced to just ticking off his last few moves before move 40 was reached. He was a piece up but there were pieces and pawns all over the board. However, right at the death he found the far-from-obvious winning move that offered a piece back, but if taken would enable him to queen a pawn. A win and the match was saved. 3-3 was about what one would expect, the grades being what they were.

     Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                               27.02.2016.
  EXETER  Grd     EXMOUTH Grd    
1 Dr. Tim Paulden 185 1 0 Dr. Jon Underwood 184    
2 Dr. Dave Regis 180 ½ ½ Steve Martin 183    
3 Chris Lowe 179 ½ ½ Mark V. Abbott 177    
4 Giles Body 163 ½ ½ Oliver E. Wensley 171    
5 Matthew Best 155 0 1 Brian G. E. Gosling 157    
6 Sean Pope 142 ½ ½ Christopher J. Scott 150    
  Totals 1,004 3 3   1,022    

 

Exeter's Dave Regis (nearest) and Tim Paulden make their first moves.

Chris Lowe (facing) getting back to the Devon chess scene, against Mark Abbott.

Boards 4 (nearest) & 5.

Exeter's captain, Sean Pope in action.

Exmouth Club’s New Grades – Jan. 2016

The ECF’s new grades are out today, and those listed under the Exmouth heading are as follows.

Mostly the changes are little more than a point or two up or down, although worthy of mention are John Dye’s appearance on the list for the 1st time and Simon Blak’s 6 point increase (standard) and 8 point rise in rapidplay.

The new grades won’t affect a member’s eligibility for club teams in the DCCA as the July 2015 grades remain in force throught the subsequent season, but for individual entries into congress, these must be used, as the change may affect which section one can play in. 

Ref Member Name Standard Previous Rapid Previous
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 177 A 178 A 172 D 166 D
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 133 B 133 B 115 D 112 D
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 111 B 105 B 100 C 92 C
304385L   Dye, John 57 F            
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 157 B 154 A        
181711F Bronze Grist, Ivor G 91 C 100 C 86 E 87 E
140874E Bronze Hodge, Fred R 96 C 92 C 128 F 135 E
266234G Bronze Hurst, Kevin J 175 C 183 E 168 D    
113895K Silver Jones, Robert H 118 B 118 B 133 B 137 C
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 183 B 184 B 157 C 166 E
116002D Bronze Murray, Stephen 150 B 151 B 140 E 141 E
118154D Silver Rogers, David R 137 A 140 A        
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 150 A 149 B 152 C 157 B
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 178 A 177 A 178 A 171 B
155629A Gold Stephens, John 196 A 196 B 182 E 182 D
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 104 F 105 F        
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 B 162 B        
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 184 C 186 C 192 D 202 D
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 171 A 170 A 154 D 156 C
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