Archive for the ‘Exmouth Club’ Category
With only 6 days to the start of this year’s East Devon Congress, the new Entry Secretary, John Stephens, told me that, at 183, he was the 6th highest-graded player in the Open. It was accepted that very often the top players leave their entries to the last minute, and this was no exception. By the Friday evening, he had dropped to 10th, as a whole raft of top players had joined the fray, bringing the total to 43 and making this the strongest Exeter Open for many years. The top 20’s average grade was 188.
The overall entry was 125, bringing the event safely over the break-even point. As the regulars well know, the hall is spacious, with a waiting space and facilities for refreshment adjacent. In John Ariss and Tony Tatam they have excellent Arbiters, but the Committee has dropped to just three people, which is causing concern to them. The regulars are Mark Abbott and Sean Pope, while John Stephens has replaced Alan Maynard who moved to near Weston-Super-Mare. They have put out an appeal for at least 2 more local players to come forward and share the load, if the event is to continue satisfactorily.
The rivalry between these neighbouring clubs is rarely greater than in the Bremridge Cup, Devon’s premier inter-club tournament, and after their reverse at the hands of Teignmouth the previous Saturday in a Div. 2 match, Exmouth approached this particular encounter knowing anything was possible. Both teams were well below full strength and a major factor in the eventual outcome was clearly going to be the depth of the reserve pool. In this respect, it seems Exmouth were slightly better off.
Exmouth won the toss and chose to have White on Bds. 1, 3 & 5. The Wensley-Marjoram game on Bd. 3 set off at a rate of knots with White trying a Scotch Gambit, which Black bought in to. This allowed a short-term bishop sacrifice on f7 and Black’s game, which featured a king stuck in the centre, quickly fell apart thereafter. 0-1
The Scott-Amos game featured a much steadier opening, though Black found himself a pawn up but his pieces somewhat pegged back behind his pawn shield. In giving up a pawn to free up his position, he also opened it up to his opponent’s benefit. Soon after, he blundered R & B and resigned immediately.0-2.
Bd. 6 featured a game between 13 yr old Taylor Finch and the vastly experienced Scot, Steve Murray. In a c3 Sicilian, Taylor pressed early on and was soon 2 passed pawns up, but in so doing, had helped Black by opening long lines for his rooks and bishops, while his own Kingside pieces remained untouched. The game turned on how long Black could frustrate his opponent’s development by creating threats. In this respect it was Black who succeeded, whose rook pair cut swathes across the board in the endgame. 0-3.
On Bd. 4 Brian Gosling had given up his queen for 3 pieces, but in a complex position could make no telling inroads into White’s defences, and he offered a draw. Palmer correctly consulted his captain as to whether he should accept. He returned to the board, shook hands and the match was won. ½-3½
Meanwhile, the games on the top 2 boards continued. On 2, a Black knight forked Q & R and Underwood resigned. 1½-3½.
On top board, Boyne played the French Winawer, which led to an increasingly complex postion that, nevertheless, remained in the book until move 20 when Black missed a trick. He later sacrificed a knight in order to get in a back rank attack, but that fizzled out with Black a rook and bishop down. White had held out and Black resigned as he could not assemble any more attacks and White could unscramble his heavy pieces. 1½-4½
|1||A. B. Boyne||197||0||1||J. K. Stephens||186|
|2||Dr. D. Regis||176||1||0||Dr. J. Underwood||171|
|3||A. Marjoram||146||0||1||O. E. Wensley||157|
|4||E. Palmer||133||½||½||B. G. Gosling||152|
|5||J. Amos||129||0||1||C. J. Scott||145|
|6||T. Finch||87||0||1||S. Murray||141|
So it was the visitors’ greater strength and experience on the lower 3 boards that made the difference. Nevertheless, the score did not necessarily reflect the closeness of several of the games.
Exmouth approached this match in bullish mood, on the backs of a win against Newton Abbot and a win and a draw against Tiverton, in 3 different competitions. However, there’s nothing like chess for bringing folk back down to earth again, and this was the case here.
In the first game to finish, Abbott gave up a piece in order to try and get a stranglehold on White’s back rank with mating threats. Ingham had to be careful, and he was, managing to repeat moves 3 times. At this point, although Shaw’s position looked unclear, Wensley and Scott seemed to have their games under control. But as Shaw started to run out of time, Wensley lost his outside passed pawns and was suddenly on the back foot, while Scott missed a winning move and had to settle for a draw as Tidy was able to repeat moves. Shaw’s position collapsed under time pressure, leaving Wensley forced to try for a win in order to save the match, but with only pawns and opposite-coloured bishops left there was nothing he could do except agree a draw. Full results below.
This loss rather undid the excellent win against Newton Abbot just two weeks earlier. We now await the visit of Barnstaple on 12th April, the final match in Division 2.
|Mamhead Div. 2.||15.02.2014.|
|1||Alan Brusey (B)||181||1||0||Meyrick Shaw||172|
|2||Bill Ingham (W)||160||½||½||Mark Abbott||165|
|3||John Gorodi||159||½||½||Oliver Wensley||159|
|4||Norman Tidy||123||½||½||Christopher Scott||142|
Exmouth’s last match in Devon’s Newman Cup (for RapidPlay teams of 4 totalling U-600 grade) was against Tiverton and was effectively a cup final, with the winner taking all. However, Tiverton had a built-in edge as a 4-4 draw would give them the Cup on the 1st level of tie-break (game points). Before clocks were started, their captain explained that even if we had been level on game points, Exmouth would still have lost out due to having lost to Tiverton in Rd. 1, which led his opponent to quip “I see – even if we win we lose!”
Tiverton won the toss and chose Black on Bd. 1. for the 1st round. Simon Blake played forcefully and at one point was looking at the opportunity of possibly being able to sacrifice his queen for a back rank mate, but his opponent was alert to the risk. The game finished with opposite coloured bishops and level pawns all on squares that could not be attack by the enemy piece, amd a draw was agreed.
Oliver Wensley was happy to push all his pawns forward whenever he could, which Annetts avoided taking, so the endgame featured two long strings of pawns across the board, like WWI trench lines, except that Oliver was able to probe for weaknesses and eventually had 2 pawns that could run for the line. Annetts could only stop one by letting the other queen.
On Bd. 2 Mark Abbott started with some advantages in piece development but was unable to convert this into any other more practical advantage and the game slid into a R+5 vs R+4 endgame, and Atkin’s extra pawn was central, advanced and shepherded by his king. However, Abbott’s rook cleverly pecked away at the other pawns, won one back and the danger was over. Draw agreed.
The game on Bd. 1 was more difficult to assess by the spectator. Hewson had an attack down the open g-file against the enemy king involving Q, R + N, which White was managing to hold, while creating a passed pawn on the a-file that could not be ignored. The pressure built up as time started to press and it was Hewson that broke first.
Exmouth had to score a minimum of 4½ points to win the cup and a 3-1 lead from Rd. 1 was a healthy start, but this competition is notorious for the way in which the luck changes from one round to the next. For any one player, the hardest thing to do is to win both games outright, so nothing could be taken for granted.
Sure enough, Blake’s position crumbled after overlooking a knight capture in the middle of the board and Exmouth started with a loss. This was evened up when Annetts overlooked a bishop skewering both rooks and getting out of that merely allowed a bishop to fork king and knight, and Wensley scored his 2nd win soon after.
Abbott’s endgame looked not unlike the first one in some respects, but this time Atkins did not let things slip and he evened up their personal scores.
In the top game, Shaw broke through against the enemy king using both bishops, a knight and his queen, which was enough to win, leaving the round a 2-2 draw, but 5-3 overall.
The competition overall has once again proved a close one, with all teams losing at least one match.
|Bd||Exmouth||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Tiverton||Grd|
|1||M. Shaw||164||1||1||0||0||B. W. Hewson||184|
|2||M. V. Abbott||159||½||0||½||1||K. P. Atkins||139|
|3||O. E. Wensley||146||1||1||0||0||I. S. Annetts||140|
|4||S. Blake||100||½||0||½||1||J. Knowles||117|
Devon have experienced several defeats at the hands of Hampshire in recent years, so it was of some interest to see whether changing the venue from Wincanton to the old Roman town of Ilchester might have some effect on the eventual outcome. Ilchester, the only Roman town in Somerset apart from Aqua Sullis, situated as it is beside the old Fosse Way at its junction with the A303, seems to have changed little since its historic heyday, with the Town Hall probably built on the site of the Roman Forum.
The playing room is comfortable, warm and well-lit, with a small analysis area and kitchen adjacent. The only disadvantage was that it was an upstairs room, making the carrying of equipment somewhat more onerous.
The first result in was a quick draw between former colleagues Regis and Bellers, but closely followed by a win for Jonathan Underwood, and Devon were never headed from then on, although never by more than 1 or 2 points. Eventually, with the last game in progress, Devon led 8-7, but with Stephens down to his last 2 minutes, abandoning his recording and having to move almost instantly in a complex unclear position. Yet somehow he managed to coordinate his remaining 3 pieces, Queen, rook and a knight had hadn’t moved for 44 moves, into a mating net. Match won 9-7.
|Devon 1st||Hampshire 1st|
|1||S. J. Homer||189||½||½||I. D. Thompson||217|
|2||J. K. Stephens||186||1||0||W. M. McDougall||192|
|3||P. D. Sivrev||183||½||½||D. R. Tunks||188|
|4||Dr. D. Regis||180||½||½||C. J. V. Bellers||186|
|5||J. Fraser||180||½||½||P. F. Cooper||182|
|6||B. W. R. Hewson||179||0||1||D. W. Fowler||181|
|7||J. F. Wheeler||176||½||½||A. McDougall||173|
|8||A. W. Brusey||167||½||½||F. N. McLeod||168|
|9||M. Shaw||176||½||½||S. W. Knox||167|
|10||Dr. J. Underwood||171||1||0||D. F. Thompson||160|
|11||T. F. Thynne||166||0||1||C. P. A. Priest||158|
|12||W. H. Ingham||169||1||0||S. J. Smith||158|
|13||P. Brooks||163||½||½||G. A. Jones||158|
|14||S. Martin||166||1||0||Miss G. A. Moore||147|
|15||M. Stinton-Brown.||155||0||1||B. A. Kocan||146|
|16||N. Rahimili||148||1||0||J. I. Chilton||139|
|Devon 2nd||Hampshire 2nd|
|1||O. E. Wensley||157||½||½||T. J. Chapman||135|
|2||B. G. E. Gosling||152||½||½||K. G. Steele||134|
|3||A. S. Kinder||152||½||½||J. G. Young||133|
|4||C. J. Scott||145||½||½||D. Culliford||131|
Here are some views of the match in progress.
Jim O’Grady, who passed away shortly before Christmas at the age of 74, had been a member of both Exmouth and Newton Abbot Chess Clubs.
He was of working class Liverpool Irish origins, and on leaving school without any qualifications, started work as a bus conductor. At some point he decided to rejoin the educational trail, determined to do better the second time around. Starting from scratch, he eventually graduated and became a teacher. Continuing this upward path through the educational hierarchy he finished up as the Head of a large comprehensive school in Birmingham, a big enough challenge for anyone.
For health reasons he was forced to retire early, and moved to Exmouth where he was a member of the Chess Club for about 2 years. However, for family reasons he had to relocate to South Wales for a number of years. He then returned to Devon, settling in Ipplepen and joining the Newton Abbot Club.
He took his chess very seriously, playing with a modest grade over the board ( c. 130 at his best) , but at a much higher level in correspondence play – at near Master level he claimed, though this was possibly as much to do with the excellence of his computer program as his innate skill.
A requiem Mass was held on 8th January at St. Joseph’s Church, Newton Abbot, with a number of his fellow chess club members in attendance, and Trefor Thynne representing the DCCA.
Having lost at home to Tiverton in Rd. 1, a trip to Newton Abbot for our 2nd match on Feb 1st 2014, was not a prospect to be relished. With a grading ceiling of 639 both teams had opted to keep as close as possible to the average of 160 per player, rather than playing a 190+ player on Bd. 1 in the hope of a sure win, while hoping the 120+ on Bd. 4 might be able to scrape a result.
The first game to finish by a considerable margin was that involving the Ajerbaizani ex-pat, Rahimili, who seems to share with Jack Rudd the inability to play at a speed less than that of an express train throughout any game. His game lasted a little less than half of the allocated 4 hours, most of which ws taken up by his opponent. Scott blundered a piece away entering the endgame, yet within a few moves, Rahimili had blundered not only a piece back but most of his pawns as well, with no counterplay.
Brian Gosling won the exchange and maintained a strong grip on the position, managing to win further material and the game. 2-0 up but the other two faced strong opposition. Shaw blundered a piece in the endgame but hung on to see how his neighbour would fare in a very tight N+P endgame. When Wensley offered and got a draw when 2 pawns up, Shaw resigned immediately, as the match was won.
|1||John Fraser||167||1||0||Meyrick Shaw||172|
|2||Paul Brooks||167||½||½||Oliver Wensley||157|
|3||Nijad Rahimili||162||0||1||Chris Scott||142|
|4||Wilf Taylor||136||0||1||Brian Gosling||151|
Having been the first of the 5 teams involved to have a bye, Exmouth’s first match in the Bremridge Cup (Div. 1) did not come till after Christmas, when they hosted Tiverton. The whole story was one of near disaster from beginning to end. The Tiverton team was already weakened when their Bd. 1 player, Dave Littlejohns, suddenly discovered there were no trains between Taunton and Exeter that day due to major works on the track and he wouldn’t be able to make alternative arrangements. Brian Hewson phoned back to offer a lift, but there was no reply from the land line and he had no mobile number. In the end he went to the house in the hope that Littlejohns would be there, which he was, and the pair arrived in Exmouth shortly before the 2.30 start, with jangling nerves.
Meanwhile, Bob Jones, ever-cautious, had arrived at the club room an hour early, only to find the usual playing room had been double-booked and a full scale lecture was going on. After going into panic mode for 5 minutes, he worked out that the match could be held in the day-room using arm chairs to sit in, with extra cushions if needed. It was a little cramped for space but was workable. Once play started it was utterly quiet and neither group impinged on the other.
As they were considerably under-full strength themselves Exmouth were surprised to find themselves the stronger on paper by 45 grading points. First game to finish was Underwood-Bartlett, when White miscalulated a long series of exchanges to find himself a piece down with no compensation or counter-play. On Bd. 4, Club President, Mark Abbott, found himself with the only queen and attacking opportunities, but failed to make the best of it and was forced to trade the queen back. He ended up with R vs R+B but with a pair of united central pawns keen to queen, and he managed to win when one of them could not be stopped. Score level at 1-1. Then Shaw sacrificed a pawn in the opening and offered a second, which was declined. Eventually his opponent’s gifted pawn proved the deciding factor in a tight endgame. 2-1 to the visitors. Chris Scott, playing his first game in the Bremridge, sneaked home in another tight ending. His bishop, the only piece on the board, managed to hold back a pawn storm, first blocking them, allowing the king to gobble them up. 2-2.
Brian Gosling had struggled on for some time a piece down, and was able to make threats with his active queen, but eventually had to concede the game to Keith Atkins. This left the Bd. 1 game to decide things. Reaching the late endgame with a blocked position, Littlejohns found his pieces hemmed in to one corner, and Stephens was able to get a rook to invade the position, get behind the white pawns and start picking them off. Stephens had only seconds left but played at lightning speed to move his king and pawns forward. His win brought the score to 3-3 with no drawn games.
|1||John Stephens||190||1||0||Dave Littlejohns||186|
|2||Jonathan Underwood||172||0||1||Simon Bartlett||174|
|3||Meyrick Shaw||172||0||1||Brian Hewson||165|
|4||Mark Abbott||165||1||0||Ivor Annetts||152|
|5||Brian Gosling||151||0||1||Keith Atkins||142|
|6||Chris Scott||142||1||0||John Knowles||128|
The Newman Cup is Devon’s RapidPlay Tournament, held by Exmouth numerous times in recent years. Their defence started with a reverse at the hands of Tiverton last month, making their away match to Seaton a crucial one.
It is a commonplace that away matches to Seaton are held in the depths of winter, when the trip there has to be made during the rush hour, with a great wind blowing and rain thrashing down. Last night was no exception. Progress was slow and the venue was reached with only minutes to spare before the scheduled start of 7 p.m. However, on arrival, the venue was locked and the key-holder unobtainable as a group of chess-players and others huddled in the doorway. Eventually, she arrived and play started just a few minutes late.
Rd. 1 started well with Simon Blake winning quickly and Oliver Wensley getting a draw, but Chris Scott was overwhelmed by the very steady Steve Dean, and Meyrick Shaw’s position, playing a Closed Sicilian, ran short of time and came unstuck against Steve Martin. So Rd. 1 was lost 2.5 – 1.5.
Fortunately, in this competition there’s always a second bite of the cherry, which is where Exmouth often hit back after an early loss. So in this case, when Blake won again. Scott played quickly, leaving Dean to get behind on the clock and he cracked under the pressure. Shaw invited the Alekhine’s Defence, but Martin opted not to play 2.e5 but preferred 2.d3 and soon found himself on the back foot with his King’s position in a mess and pieces undeveloped. Shaw managed to maintain th einitiative and eventually got a 2nd queen, forcing resignation. the 3-0 lead ensured a won match, and it mattered not that Wensley ran out of time in a winning position.
|Seaton||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Steve Martin||162||1||0||0||1||Meyrick Shaw||164|
|2||Steve Dean||148||1||0||0||1||Chris Scott||154|
|3||Alan Dowse||113||½||1||½||0||Oliver Wensley||146|
|4||Nicolas Bacon||108||0||0||1||1||Simon Blake||100|
Exmouth’s first match of the season was a home encounter vs Tiverton. It involves 4 players whose grades total U-640, and on this occasion the teams could hardly have been more closely matched.
Exmouth lost the toss, and it went downhill from there on. First, Simon Bartlett, who has been having an excellent spell in recent months, overcame his opponent in 26 moves. Steve Murray lost a piece on move 15 and Duckham gradually got a stranglehold on the position, not allowing his opponent any counter-play. This left Abbott and Gosling trying to rescue the match without having any positional or material advantages, much too tall an order given the strength of the opposition. Eventually, both did well to hang on for a draw at about the 50-move mark.
|Devon Div. 2||Mamhead Cup|
|1||Meyrick Shaw||172||0||1||Simon Bartlett||174|
|2||Mark Abbott||165||½||½||Brian Hewson||165|
|3||Brian Gosling||151||½||½||Ivor Annetts||152|
|4||Steve Murray||148||0||1||Jon Duckham||146|