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Exmouth On Course to Retain Div. 1 Title

If there was a feeling of deja vu last night, it might have had something to do with the fact that Exmouth and Tiverton have already met 4 times this season in various competitions, and this fifth encounter was in Division 1 of the Exeter & District League, the newly-named “Premiership”. Having already won their first 2 matches in this tournament, against the Met. Office and Exeter A, a good result here would keep them on course to retain the League’s main trophy.

However, Tony Hart came unstuck against an in-form Keith Atkins (his last game against Exmouth notwithstanding), as the Tiverton player sacrificed material to smash his way through to the Black king, eventually winning the queen.

On the brighter side, Wensley established a pawn on the 7th rank in the middlegame, greatly restricting Duckham’s options and piece development. Eventually, he did manage to release his own rooks but, as they abandoned defence for attack,  Black’s threats materialised into a winning combination. 1-all.

On top board, Stephens entered the endgame with a time and slight positional advantage, both of which evaporated as the 1st time control approached. Errors of judgement on both sides meant the game finished as a draw, which focused attention on the last game, Shaw-Annetts. Shaw had won a pawn in the centre, and as more material came off they were left with Shaw’s R+3 vs R+2, all pawns connected and on the king’s side. Annetts was very much on the back foot but defended well, and 2 pawns each came off. Eventually, with 2 minutes left on his clock, Annetts stopped the clock and claimed a draw as White couldn’t win “by normal means, whatever that means”. After some discussion about the rules, it was agreed the position probably was drawn anyway, and therefore, so was the match.

With only Exeter B left to play, Exmouth are in a good position, though nothing can be taken for granted.

  Exeter League Div.1       28.03.’12  
  Exmouth Grd     Tiverton Grd
1 John K. Stephens 173 ½ ½ Brian Hewson 178
2 Oliver Wensley 164 1 0 Jon Duckham 153
3 Meyrick Shaw 150e ½ ½ Ivor Annetts 152
4 Tony Hart 145e 0 1 Keith Atkins 146
    632 2 2   629

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