Archive for the ‘Current season news’ Category
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.
|129415F||Gold||Abbott, Mark V||177||A||178||A||172||D||166||D|
|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|
|118154D||Silver||Rogers, David R||137||A||140||A|
|248908K||Bronze||Scott, Chris J||150||A||149||B||152||C||157||B|
|242384E||Gold||Toms, David A||161||B||162||B|
Exmouth’s defence of the DCCA Div. 1 tournament continued with a match against Tiverton. Originally scheduled as a home match for Exmouth, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. Finding 5 hrs parking in Exmouth on a Saturday afternoon is near impossible at the best of times, but add to this the £50 hire charge being asked by several places, and the Manor Hotel being closed for the week, led Exmouth to asking whether Tiverton could host the match. This was agreed and Exmouth were happy to pay their £17.50 hire charge.
So far so good; but the weather conditions driving up the motorway towards Tiverton were atrocious to the point of being potentially dangerous, with torrential rain and spray all the way. John Stephens driving up from Plymouth found the main A38 blocked and he was redirected to minor roads and phoned in to say he would be late, and Steve Martin didn’t know where the venue was situated in the town. Thus the omens were not good, but at least all the Exmouth team were in place by 2.30. The Tiverton team was somewhat compromised by the unavailability for one reason or another of several of their top players; Rudd, Richardt, Duckham, Hunter et al. and they had drafted in 2 other Cornish players besides Simon Bartlett to make up a competitive team.
In spite of all this, play got under way at the appointed hour (14.30); quiet descended and a drama slowly unfolded.
The first games to finish were on Bds 5 &6. On bottom board, Chris Scott was able to fork 2 rooks with his knight on move 24 and it was all over 3 moves later. On Bd. 5 Oliver Wensley reported on his game tus: “White abandoned his regular Kings’ pawn opening in light of a recent match against his opponent, albeit rapid play, where his Caro-Kann defence was extremely effective.
Whether or not this shocked Black, he seemed completely fine with his Dutch defence until move eleven where, with White as yet uncommitted to castling, he decided to go on the offensive with 11…. Qh5. This allowed White to win a key central Pawn as Blacks’ back rank defences had been abandoned. Having analysed the position, Black stood equal by developing his Queens’ Bishop to e6 instead. Here White probably would have played Ng5 attacking it.
White had earlier ceded the Bishop pair advantage to Black in order to prevent Ne4. The better way forward for Black would be to develop his Bishop to e6 and potentially allow white to equalise by allowing the exchange of his Bishop for Whites’ Knight.
After the text move, White realised the e5 space was in the offing for his Knight should a series of exchanges take place & this is what occurred. In the end, White took advantage of the open e-file & with Black’s queenside not developed, managed to get the advantage.” After playing 21.Ne5 getting his knight established in a forward position with threats, Black resigned.
And the games continued to finish in sequence – Bds. 4, 3, 2, and finally Bd. 1 which went to the last few seconds of extra time, and each one went to the visitors. Mark Abbott got the upper hand with just a rook and 2 minor pieces left. Jon Underwood’s game revolved around control of the long dark-square diagonal towards his opponent’s king, which finished with a fatal skewer. This left the top two games which were very finely balanced throughout, until the clock eventually decided the outcome. Bd. 2 featured a R+4 vs R+5 pawn ending. Martin had the extra pawn, but Retallick, with great concentration, managed to create his own threats. Looking at the clocks it appeared both players had the same amount of time left – a few minutes each, but in his concentration on the board, Retallick hadn’t fully appreciated that his few minutes left was of his 20 minutes extra time, while Martin’s few minutes left was of his original allocation of 100 minutes to reach move 40. Suddenly his clock started flashing red to indicate all his time had elapsed. 5-0. The Stephens-Hewson game looked completely blocked with pieces being shuffled around behind a barrier of pawns. When Stephens was down to 3 minutes left, compared to his opponent’s 7 minutes, he launched a pawn advance that opened the a-file and he won a piece. His own pieces now had some room to manoeuvre and Black had to use up his time advantage in trying to work out the better lines. Eventually, his time ran out with Stephens’ own clock well into his final minute.
Such results at this level are rare, but not unique, as Brian Hewson recalled a Plymouth 6-0 Exeter result between 2 evenly matched teams; the following year the same two teams in the same competition recorded Plymouth 0-6 Exeter.
|Bremridge Cup Div. 1 09.01.2016.|
|1||B. W. R. Hewson||176||0||1||J. K. F. Stephens||196|
|2||L. Retallick||171||0||1||S. Martin||184|
|3||P. Hampton||175||0||1||Dr. J. Underwood||186|
|4||S, Bartlett||167||0||1||M. V. Abbott||178|
|5||I. S. Annetts||151||0||1||O. E. Wensley||170|
|6||G. Fotheringham||135||0||1||C. J. Scott||149|
There were 3 adopted Devonians at the World Seniors Championship being held in Italy.
Mark Jordon posted this report on Rds. 7 & 8 on the ECF website.
In the last installment we reported that Keith Arkell had reached 5/6 in the 50+ and was about to face GM Mohr (2443) in Round 7. Unfortunately for his hopes of at least repeating the success of his Silver medal last time, Arkell lost against a player who is clearly on form. Therefore, to keep his chances of a medal alive, Arkell needed a win in Round 8. This was not to be, and he suffered another loss, this time at the hands of GM Ivanov (2506). If he finishes strongly he still has a chance of a medal but this is a big ask given his present position in the rankings and with only three rounds to go. If he doesn’t win a medal he at least has some compensation in the form of a win, on a tiebreak with Mohr, in the Seniors Blitz event which took place on the first rest day.
The battle for the first is proving very competitive with no-one managing to break clear of the pack. After round 8 Nikolic, tournament favourite and former World Championship Candidate, is in the lead on 6.5/8 with GMs Rosentalis, Ivanov and Mohr in hot pursuit on 6/8. Of the other English participants, Meyrick Shaw is having a very good tournament with a performance well above his current rating and a score of 4.5/8. Brian Hewson is on 3.5/8 and Owen Phillips 3/8.
His final report included this para:
Meyrick Shaw, as mentioned in previous articles, had a very good tournament, defeating IM Smolin (2295) and achieving draws against GM Kristiensen (2420) and IM Soylu (2377) along the way, and ended with a score of 6/11 and an 80 point boost to his Elo. The other English participants were Brian Hewson 5.5/11 and Owen Phillips 5/11, both of whom performed creditably.
Now that the event is over, here is a preview of the Western Morning News column for Saturday, which takes the story a little further…
Acqui Terme, midway between Genoa and Turin, is said to be one of the prettiest towns in Italy, and for most of November has been hosting the World Seniors Chess Championships. The bulk of the English entry in the one hundred strong 50–65 yrs section, was made up of three adopted Devonians; Keith Arkell (Paignton), who came 1st= last year, Meyrick Shaw (Exmouth) and Brian Hewson (Tiverton). This time, however, Arkell (4th seed) couldn’t quite maintain his previous form and finished 12th= on 7/11 points, and not very far behind him were Shaw (60th seed) 30th= on 6 pts and Hewson (53rd seed), 45th= on 5½, which made Shaw’s the stand-out performance. In Rd. 1 he was paired against a Grandmaster.
White: M. Shaw (2020). Black: GM Jens Kristianson (2420).
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 b6 4.Nbd2 Bb7 5.c3 Be7 6.Qc2 c5 7.e4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Normally one would retake towards the centre with 8.cxd4 but the text is slightly better. 8…Nc6 9.Nxc6 Bxc6 10.Rd1 0–0 11.Bd3 Nh5 12.Bg3 h6 13.Nc4 Nxg3 14.hxg3 This time it’s appropriate to take towards the centre as it opens the h-file, allowing the rook to focus on the enemy king’s position. 14…Qc7 15.f4 d6 16.Ne3 Bringing forces over to the kingside. 16…Rad8 17.Qe2 Qb7 18.Ng4 Rfe8 The critical position 19.Rd2? White missed the chance of a possible win if he had proceeded with his sacrificial attack immediately.19…e5 Black would like to bring his bishop to g5 with the dual purposes of shoring up his defences and attacking along the dark diagonal. 20.Nxh6+! gxh6 21.Qg4+ Kh7 22.Qf5+ The king must remain in contact with his h-pawn. For example, if 22…Kg7 22…Kg8 23.Rxh6 and White has a number of different mating combinations. 23.Qg4+ Kh7 24.Qf5+ Drawn by forced repetition of moves. A good start in the tournament for the club player. His Rd. 7 game went like this:
White: M. Shaw (2020). Black: Brian McLaren (2176)
Dutch Defence [A80]
1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 b6 5.Bd3 Bb7 6.c4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 0–0 9.Qb3 d6 10.c5 Bd5 11.c4 Be4 12.cxd6 cxd6 13.Be2 Nc6 14.Qa3 A double hit on d6. 14…e5 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Nxe5 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Black has lost a pawn so far in these exchanges and seeks to catch up, but there’s an old adage about the danger of snatching at knights’ pawns. 17…Bxg2 18.Rg1 Bc6 19.Rd1 Suddenly all White’s pieces have long files and diagonals to exploit. 19…Qc8 20.Qd6 Ne8 21.Qh6! piling on the pressure. 21…Qb7 22.Bh5 Qe7 23.Qxc6 Qxe5 24.Qxa8 Qxh2 25.Rh1 1-0 Black is a whole rook down with no compensation.
The Exmouth team made their annual pilgrimage to Seaton on a dark stormy midwinter night (nothing unusual there), with little hope of doing anything much against the new Champions. Sure enough, on arrival the home team were at maximum possible strength (599 rapidplay grading points) while the visitors were c. 50 points light. However, their low expectations proved unfounded as the match turned out to be what might possibly be one of the biggest upsets of the season in Devon chess.
Scott and Jones had no trouble in holding the fort in the middle order. In fact, in Game 2, Scott, with plenty of time left, a rampant queen and in no immediate trouble, let off his opponent with a draw when he had only seconds left on his clock. Blake had some careful defending to do at times in spite of his material advantage, but managed to avoid any potential pitfalls, while team captain, Mark Abbott was on top form and enjoyed 2 decisive wins against the most highly-graded rapidplay expert active in the DCCA leagues.
Everyone in Devon chess was pleased that earlier in the year Seaton had won their first DCCA trophy, the Newman Cup, very well-deserved after many years of trying, and indeed, they may yet retain it this year, in spite of this inauspicious start. But as in all sports, while winning a trophy is one thing – retaining it is quite another.
|Newman Cup (rapid)||19.11.2015.|
|1||Jonathan Underwood||202||0||0||1||1||Mark Abbott||166|
|2||Steve Dean||150||½||½||½||½||Chris Scott||157|
|3||Martyn Adams||139||½||½||½||½||Bob Jones||137|
|4||Alan Dowse||108||0||0||1||1||Simon Blake||92|
Exmouth may have been blitzed several times during WW2, but Exmouth Chess Club had its first taste of true Blitz Chess last night, when they managed to borrow 4 new digital programmable clocks, which were set at 3 minutes per player per game, with an added increment of just 2 seconds per move made. This meant games could last little longer that 8 minutes – if that, making it a true baptism of fire. Seven members turned up and played each other twice, with colours reversed, that’s if they could actually remember what colours they’d had in the first game, such was the mind-numbing qualities of the process, otherwise they tossed again.
After 12 games each, these were the results:- (current Rapidplay grades are indicated – not quite the same as blitz, but near enough).
This has been an annual pre-season jaunt for decades, designed to get the brainwaves back into operation after the summer break. The buzzer itself was constructed by Fred Hodge in his garden shed many moons ago, and works perfectly.
The organisation is simple. Set the buzzer going at opening time, in our case 6 p.m. and anyone can arrive at any reasonable time. (a) Write your name on the results chart. (b) Wait for a fellow member to be free. (c) Toss for colour. (d) White makes the 1st move on the next convenient “buzz”. However obvious the reply, Black must wait the 10 seconds till the next buzz before making his/her reply. And so on. (e) Fill in the result on the chart
At the start of each game, those 10 seconds seem like an eternity, but once in the middlegame that same time span is reduced to the blinking of an eye, as one searches desperately for the best continuation; is it better to attack or defend in this fiendishly complicated position?!
Here is the completed chart. The grades are their current rapidplay grades, or standard grade where they don’t have a rapidplay grade. Of course, the Buzzer tournament is technically not rapidplay (it’s much worse than that) but it does give a clue as to relative skills.
RapidPlay is proving to be a forte of Chris Scott, who certainly played above his grade on this occasion.
The new Grading List came out recently, with the majority of members showing a healthy up-turn in the grades, arising out of what was a highly successful season, both in inter-club matches and congresses.
Well done to all concerned – but don’t forget…… what goes up must come down!
|Abbott, Mark V.||178||171||166||168|
|Badlan, Tom W.||82||81||77||77|
|Gosling, Brian G.E.||154||148|
|Grist, Ivor G.||100||98||87||83|
|Hodge, Fred R.||92||94||135||131|
|Hurst, Kevin J.||183||183|
|Jones, Robert H.||118||125||137||139|
|Murray, J Stephen||151||141||141||140|
|Rogers, David R.||140||152|
|Scott, Chris J.||149||154||157||159|
|Stephens, John K.F.||196||196||182||181|
|Thomson, David John||105||152|
|Toms, David A.||162||159||144|
|Underwood, Jonathan WR||186||182||202||196|
|Wensley, Oliver E.||170||151||156||154|
Also, hearty congratulations are due to John Stephens, who has topped off a brilliantly successful season for the Club by becoming the Devon Individual Champion, after beating Dr. T. J. Paulden in a play-off after drawing their 1st game.
Exmouth hosted a Newton Abbot team, knowing that a win for either side would be enough to win the Mamhead Cup Devon’s Division 2, although Exmouth had the feint comfort that a 2-2 draw would give them the title. To this end, both captains had packed their teams with grading points up to the permitted maximum of 639. Both clubs had their top player on Bd. 1, but the difference then was that Newton Abbot had averaged their next 3 boards, while Exmouth had packed everything they had on to Bds. 2 & 3, and filling in an improving player on Bd. 4, in the hope that he might be able to extract something from his game. Team captain, Oliver Wensley, was unable to fit himself in the team, and was obliged to watch from the sidelines.
This particular hope was not borne out as Blake’s opponent, the rapidly improving Vignesh Ramesh, whose latest rapidplay grade is actually 160+, won and Exmouth went 0-1 down, which put increasing pressure on the other 3. For some time, there seemed little between the sides in each game. Eventually, Mark Abbott, using the greater freedom that his pieces had, managed to conjure up a sharp winning attack, thereby levelling the score.
Bds 1 and 3 both went down to the final seconds of normal time and final minutes of extra time. Stephens was gradually being positionally stifled, as Mackle got a pawn to the 7th and his opponent had to commit a knight to h8 to block it. Eventually he had to concede as Mackle could pick up pawns at will. Shaw had gone a piece up, but Brooks found a lot of counterplay as his pieces were better unified. Shaw had to reconfigure and reorganise his army, which he managed. With c. 2 minutes left for each player he won a central pawn with a knight fork that swapped off queens and immediately after a bishop fork won a rook, and with it the game.
A finish to the match that was as nerve-wracking for the spectators as the players. Thus Exmouth added the Mamhead Cup to the Bremridge Cup they had won a fortnight before.
The match details and resulting league table as follows:
|Mamhead Cup||Div. 2 25.04.15.|
|1||J. K. Stephens||194||0||1||D. Mackle||203|
|2||M. V. Abbott||173||1||0||M. Hui||150|
|3||M. Shaw||170||1||0||P. Brooks||154|
|4||S. Blake||102||0||1||V. Ramesh||132|
|Mamhead Div. 2||1||2||3||4||5||+||-||pts|
Devon’s RapidPlay tournament, the Newman Cup, has in recent years been the preserve of the same three clubs, Exmouth, Tiverton and Seaton, with Seaton being very much the underdogs. However, under the driving force of their captain, Steve Dean, they have never been downcast or tempted to give it all up, and in fact this season has seen a big change. The difference is the return to the fold of Jonathan Underwood after an absence of several years in the US. He has returned to the Devon scene, refreshed and re-invigorated, turning out regularly for the Devon county team, for Exmouth in Devon’s 1st Division and Seaton.
On Wednesday evening he turned out on top board for Seaton against his other club, Exmouth, in the Devon RapidPlay League. With a RapidPlay grade of 196 and surely about to break the 200 barrier in the next list, he was too much of a handful for the home captain, Mark Abbott, and made it 4 wins to nil in the home and away matches this season. Similarly, on Bd. 3, Oliver Wensley’s attacking skills proved too much for Alan Dowse in both games, with knights seeming to do most damage . On Bd. 2, Chris Scott, nearing the time limit, made an illegal move which lost the 1st game, but got his revenge in the next game when his king became very active in a N+Ps endgame and managed to force one through to queen. On Bd. 4, Simon Blake got a winning advantage in the first game, but lost his way in the 2nd, and Hazel Welch took full advantage, as she is wont to do.
4-all was probably a fair result on the night, but not enough to give Exmouth any hope of retaining the title.
|1||M. V. Abbott||167||0||0||1||1||J. Underwood||196|
|2||C. J. Scott||157||0||1||1||0||S. K. Dean||151|
|3||O. E. Wensley||151||1||1||0||0||A. Dowse||113|
|4||S. Blake||91||1||0||0||1||Mrs. H. Welch||111|
The first game to finish was on Bd. 4 where Scott was trying to hold an endgame position with a rook each and bishops on opposite coloured squares. With best play it might have been possible to hang on, in view of the bishops, but the pressure told and he inadvertently allowed White’s bishop to fork K & R. 1-0 to Exeter.
Shaw then managed to convert his positional advantages into material gain, forcing a win to level the scores. Dave Regis then restored Exeter’s lead by applying constant pressure in the endgame. Shortly after, Oliver Wensley exploited the advantage a well-placed, attacking bishop pair vs two defending knights, and forced resignation, to make it 2-all.
Almost immediately Exeter drew ahead for the 3rd time when Sean Pope made the most of a mistake by his opponent in allowing him back into the game. He won the exchange and then made equal swaps to snuff out any chance of a kingside attack.
This assured Exeter of avoiding a loss, but the win hung on the outcome of the top game, which went into extra time after Paulden ran down to the very last second on his digital clock before completing his 40th move. He had delayed development of his queenside pieces until late in the game and was struggling to get them usefully deployed thereafter. White was the exchange up at this point and his pieces were better coordinated and were focussed on the enemy king. However, the win wasn’t immediately clear and he had a long think over his 41st move before finding a knight pseudo-sacrifice that won immediately whether the knight was taken or not, making the final score 3-all.
|Bremridge Cup||Sat. 14th March 2015|
|1||Dr. T. J. Paulden||187||0||1||J. K. F. Stephens||196|
|2||Dr. D. Regis||181||1||0||Dr. J. W. R. Underwood||180|
|3||Dr. G. Body||171||0||1||M. Shaw||173|
|4||S. Waters||164||1||0||C. J. Scott||154|
|5||Dr. T. D. P. de Piro||160e||0||1||O. E. Wensley||151|
|6||S. Pope||141||1||0||B. G. E. Gosling||148|
If it was unusual to have a match at this level with no drawn games, it was even more so that every game was a White win, giving the final result sheet a certain symmetry.
Exmouth’s final match in this competition is against Teignmouth, while Exeter are due to play Newton Abbot.