Exmouth’s penultimate game in Devon’s senior club championship was at home against Teignmouth. Although missing a number of their top players, Exmouth still outgraded the visitors by 115 points, and on paper it looked a relatively easy challenge, except that at this level nothing can be taken for granted. Pre-match chat before the kick-off revealed, for example, that Graham Bramley (109) had already beaten and drawn with Alan Brusey (181) in club games, and Stormin’ Norman Tidy was sweeping all before him in 2014, including having won his section in the recent E. Devon Congress. And that was only on the bottom boards, while the top 3 consisted of the regular triumvirate of Brusey, Ingham and the British U-150 champion, John Gorodi, all capable of beating anyone at any time. So this was clearly not going to an easy task.
And sure enough, Tidy swept away Oliver Wensley, (who won the E. Devon Premier 2 years ago) in short order, after a quick draw on Bd. 2, leaving Teignmouth needing only 1½ points from the last 4 games to spoil the party for the home team. However, John Ariss had left himself very weak on the white squares around his king, and Gosling was not slow to extract full advantage. Playing a Closed Sicilian, Steve Martin managed to open lines to Gorodi’s king, especially down the h-file, and again extracted maximum advantage with a quick, sharp attack. Chris Scott played steadily, gradually putting a positional squeeze on his opponent, eventually getting adjacent central pawns on the 6th rank that couldn’t be stopped. This win secured the 3½ points required. But the Bd. 1 game went the full distance, with Shaw winning a piece and having a positional advantage, but shortage of time meant he lost his way, losing a piece back, and with it the game. Fortunately, in the circumstances it didn’t matter as the match was already won.
The games are all accessible on the chessdevon website.
The win puts Exmouth in top spot, a point clear of the holders, Newton Abbot, the teams to meet in what will now be the deciding match in April. Unlike last year, game points won’t be a factor as it’s impossible for teams to tie at the top on the same number of match points.
|1||M. Shaw||176||0||1||A. W. Brusey||181|
|2||Dr. J. Underwood||171||½||½||W. H. Ingham||160|
|3||S. Martin||165||1||0||J. G. Gorodi||159|
|4||O. E. Wensley||157||0||1||N. F. Tidy||123|
|5||B. G. Gosling||152||1||0||J. A. Ariss||119|
|6||C. J. Scott||145||1||0||G. Bramley||109|