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March 2017
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E. Devon Congress 2017 – Exeter – Rd. 1 (10.03.2017.)

This event started back in 1976 in a relatively small way, but 3 years later, with the benefit of local sponsorship, the entries shot up to 219. That year it was won by John Nunn ahead of a chasing pack that included Dave Rumens, Plaskett, Blackstock, Franklin and Peter Sowray – quite an array of up-and coming players of the time.

Since those heady days, the numbers have slipped, especially in recent years, but this year, for no obvious reason, the entry went right back up to the 150s, with a late influx of titled players. Devon residents Keith Arkell and Jack Rudd, were present, as one might expect, of course, but there were new names like IM David Pardo Simon, a Spanish student at the University, and an Austrian FM, Walter Braun, who had turned up to live in Exmouth only a few days earlier. Oh, and someone called John Nunn, making his first appearance here since 1979. His appearance could be a factor in the increased interest this year, but also there was an unparalelled entry of 12 from the University.

This year’s 42nd East Devon Congress got under way this evening in Exeter’s commodious Corn Hall, with words of welcome from Congress Secretary, Dr. Tim Paulden, whose energy in creating a new website for the event, with facilities for easy on-line entry, could be a 3rd factor.

The pictures set the scene and tell the story:-

Petra & John Nunn after checking the pairings for Rd. 1

Roger Hutchings (W), formerly of Barnstaple, takes on Keith Arkell on top board, but gets his queen trapped after 16 moves. David Pardo Simon, a Spanish student currently studying at Exeter University, looks on.

Austrian FM, Walter Braun (W) enjoyed a quick win against John Bass. Braun won their game in 8 moves, one of the shortest games in the Open in its 42 year history.

Former Scottish Junior International, Paul Hampton, faces Graham Bolt, and wins in c. 28 moves. Next to Bolt is Bill Adaway, who once got a draw against Portisch in a big London Open.

The diminutive figure that looks, at first glance across a crowded room, like a primary school pupil, is in fact Miss Ang from Singapore, currently a student at Exeter University.

... and she's giving congress regular, Brendan O'Gorman, quite a lot to think about.

Top board in the Minor: Christine Constable vs Ken Alexander. Christine's husband, John, is helping out as an arbiter in the absence through illness of Tony Tatam, while Ken is Secretary of the Torbay Congress and delivered the new, multi-coloured entry forms.

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