Exmouth put themselves in pole position to retain Devon’s RapidPlay League, the Newman Cup, after a comfortable away win over Seaton, last evening.
Exmouth won the toss (for a change) and opted for white on the odd-numbered boards in Rd. 1. It’s of less significance in a 2 round match like this, but if it helps to build a lead by half time, it can’t be too bad. In fact, Exmouth white players both recorded quick wins. Hazel Welch overlooked the fact that after an exchange of pieces her opponent could grab her b-pawn without any of the risks that usually attend the snaffling of a knight’s pawn, and it rather went downhill from then on. Simon Blake ran out of time, and Shaw was involved in a desperate finish in which he allowed his opponent counter-play. However, with seconds left, Alexander missed the best line and time ran out for him too. 3-1 at the break.
In Rd. 2, Stephens agreed a quick draw. The position in Jones’ game was much more blocked than in their first encounter, but he eventually found the space for his pieces (Q + 2R) while Hazel’s were trapped behind her own pawns, and he managed to break through. Blake, meanwhile, was having his game of the season so far, winning material left and right, and rightly giving some of it back in order to simplify out to a win. Ken Alexander showed his skill by beating his opponent, winner of the recent Kingsbridge RapidPlay.
It only remains for the return match to be played. Exmouth may be in pole position, but nothing will be, nor can be, taken for granted. This game has a nasty habit of biting you on the b-t-m.
|Newman Cup||RapidPlay League|
|Seaton||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Exmouth|
|1||S. K. Dean||152||0||½||1||½||J. K. F. Stephens||184|
|2||K. Alexander||129||0||1||1||0||M. Shaw||164|
|3||H. Welch||116||0||0||1||1||R. H. Jones||148|
|4||A. Dowse||131||1||0||0||1||S. Blake||96|