Exmouth’s defence of the DCCA Div. 1 tournament continued with a match against Tiverton. Originally scheduled as a home match for Exmouth, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. Finding 5 hrs parking in Exmouth on a Saturday afternoon is near impossible at the best of times, but add to this the £50 hire charge being asked by several places, and the Manor Hotel being closed for the week, led Exmouth to asking whether Tiverton could host the match. This was agreed and Exmouth were happy to pay their £17.50 hire charge.
So far so good; but the weather conditions driving up the motorway towards Tiverton were atrocious to the point of being potentially dangerous, with torrential rain and spray all the way. John Stephens driving up from Plymouth found the main A38 blocked and he was redirected to minor roads and phoned in to say he would be late, and Steve Martin didn’t know where the venue was situated in the town. Thus the omens were not good, but at least all the Exmouth team were in place by 2.30. The Tiverton team was somewhat compromised by the unavailability for one reason or another of several of their top players; Rudd, Richardt, Duckham, Hunter et al. and they had drafted in 2 other Cornish players besides Simon Bartlett to make up a competitive team.
In spite of all this, play got under way at the appointed hour (14.30); quiet descended and a drama slowly unfolded.
The first games to finish were on Bds 5 &6. On bottom board, Chris Scott was able to fork 2 rooks with his knight on move 24 and it was all over 3 moves later. On Bd. 5 Oliver Wensley reported on his game tus: “White abandoned his regular Kings’ pawn opening in light of a recent match against his opponent, albeit rapid play, where his Caro-Kann defence was extremely effective.
Whether or not this shocked Black, he seemed completely fine with his Dutch defence until move eleven where, with White as yet uncommitted to castling, he decided to go on the offensive with 11…. Qh5. This allowed White to win a key central Pawn as Blacks’ back rank defences had been abandoned. Having analysed the position, Black stood equal by developing his Queens’ Bishop to e6 instead. Here White probably would have played Ng5 attacking it.
White had earlier ceded the Bishop pair advantage to Black in order to prevent Ne4. The better way forward for Black would be to develop his Bishop to e6 and potentially allow white to equalise by allowing the exchange of his Bishop for Whites’ Knight.
After the text move, White realised the e5 space was in the offing for his Knight should a series of exchanges take place & this is what occurred. In the end, White took advantage of the open e-file & with Black’s queenside not developed, managed to get the advantage.” After playing 21.Ne5 getting his knight established in a forward position with threats, Black resigned.
And the games continued to finish in sequence – Bds. 4, 3, 2, and finally Bd. 1 which went to the last few seconds of extra time, and each one went to the visitors. Mark Abbott got the upper hand with just a rook and 2 minor pieces left. Jon Underwood’s game revolved around control of the long dark-square diagonal towards his opponent’s king, which finished with a fatal skewer. This left the top two games which were very finely balanced throughout, until the clock eventually decided the outcome. Bd. 2 featured a R+4 vs R+5 pawn ending. Martin had the extra pawn, but Retallick, with great concentration, managed to create his own threats. Looking at the clocks it appeared both players had the same amount of time left – a few minutes each, but in his concentration on the board, Retallick hadn’t fully appreciated that his few minutes left was of his 20 minutes extra time, while Martin’s few minutes left was of his original allocation of 100 minutes to reach move 40. Suddenly his clock started flashing red to indicate all his time had elapsed. 5-0. The Stephens-Hewson game looked completely blocked with pieces being shuffled around behind a barrier of pawns. When Stephens was down to 3 minutes left, compared to his opponent’s 7 minutes, he launched a pawn advance that opened the a-file and he won a piece. His own pieces now had some room to manoeuvre and Black had to use up his time advantage in trying to work out the better lines. Eventually, his time ran out with Stephens’ own clock well into his final minute.
Such results at this level are rare, but not unique, as Brian Hewson recalled a Plymouth 6-0 Exeter result between 2 evenly matched teams; the following year the same two teams in the same competition recorded Plymouth 0-6 Exeter.
|Bremridge Cup Div. 1 09.01.2016.|
|1||B. W. R. Hewson||176||0||1||J. K. F. Stephens||196|
|2||L. Retallick||171||0||1||S. Martin||184|
|3||P. Hampton||175||0||1||Dr. J. Underwood||186|
|4||S, Bartlett||167||0||1||M. V. Abbott||178|
|5||I. S. Annetts||151||0||1||O. E. Wensley||170|
|6||G. Fotheringham||135||0||1||C. J. Scott||149|