Exmouth’s first weekend match of the season was one of the toughest tasks they could expect – a Div. 1 Bremridge Cup encounter against the current holders, Newton Abbot. Before the visitors arrived, the home team would probably have settled for a draw, but a comparison of the team sheets showed that Exmouth actually outgraded their opponents on 5 of the 6 boards and made them wonder whether a win might be possible.
Exmouth lost the toss and took Black on odd-numbered boards. Stephens and Mackle set about each other like a hurricane, whipping out 20 moves in just 5 minutes each. Then, Mackle took 45 minutes for his 21st move as the position looked highly complex, with pieces hanging all over the board.
Meanwhile, 4 draws followed at a more sedate pace in the middle order. Hurst/Kinder was a 19 move draw, while Wensley had to rise from the dead to snatch a fortuitous draw from an opponent who was moving instantaneously in a rook & pawn endgame. Shaw and Gosling both had possible chances near the end but agreed draws as time started pressing around move 27.
As the Bd. 1 game approached its climax, Stephens was a rook up, but Mackle’s pieces excercised great threats and the utmost care was needed by both sides. Eventually, Black managed to ease the corset he had been strapped in for so long, and managed to start running his 3 united kingside pawns. This proved the decisive factor and he would have queened one of them had not Mackle resigned.
But just as a win seemed possible, David Toms lost on time in a complex position, leaving a drawn match.
|DCCA Div. 1|
|1||John Stephens||192||1||0||Dominic Mackle||202|
|2||Kevin Hurst||176||½||½||Andrew Kinder||162|
|3||Oliver Wensley||172||½||½||Nijad Rahimili||161|
|4||Meyrick Shaw||166||½||½||Trefor Thynne||158|
|5||Brian Gosling||164||½||½||Paul Brooks||157|
|6||David Toms||159||0||1||John Allen||149|