Recently, I have been looking into the early years of the West of England Individual Championship. It started in 1946 when just four players were invited to compete for the title. These were Ron Bruce of Devon, Chris Sullivan of Gloucestershire, Capt. P. D. Bolland of Somerset and 23 year old H. V. Trevenen of Cornwall, who at that time was the new champion of the Bristol & Clifton Club. Trevenen was the surprise winner, and this was no fluke as he won again in 1949 and 1950 when it had been increased to a seven round 8-player tournament.
However, he seems to have been something of a mystery man, as no-one today, even those who can remember him, can relate anything about him, even his Christian names. He did suffer a nervous breakdown at some point and was hospitalised in Bodmin, but this is about all anyone knows. If any reader can add to this very small amount of information, I would be grateful.
Meanwhile, here is one of his games from the 1947 Championship, which demonstrates his sharpness. His opponent was the Gloucestershire and Bristol champion, Ron Slade, who was born in Plymouth and died in Cornwall at the age of 90.
White: R. A. Slade. Black: H. V. Trevenen.
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 Black has adopted a Pirc Defence formation, first popularised in the mid-’40s. 4.Bd3 Bg7 5.h3 Nbd7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 h6 Black will not be able to castle without losing his h-pawn as long as White’s pieces are lined up against h3. 8.Nge2 e5 9.0–0 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Rae1 Nxd3 12.cxd3 Bd7 13.f4 0–0 Black doesn’t hesitate to get castled. 14.f5 Kh7 15.Nce2 c5 16.Nf3 c4 17.fxg6+ fxg6 18.Ng3 cxd3 19.e5 Not 19.Qxd3? Bb5 19…Nd5 20.Qxd3 Nxe3 21.Qxe3 Leaving Black with the bishop pair against two knights. 21…Bb5 22.Rf2 dxe5 23.Nxe5 Rxf2 Slightly better was 23…Qh4 24.Rc2 Rae8. 24.Qxf2 Qd5 25.Ng4 While the knights are almost sidelined, the bishops cut swathes across the board. 25…Bc6 26.Re7 Rf8 27.Qe2 h5 28.Nh2 and now Black delivers a two-move knockout blow. 28…Qc5+ 29.Kh1 Rf2 0-1Resigned because of the devastating fork between the queen and h2. Play might have continued… 30.Qe3 Qxe3 31.Rxe3 Rxg2 32.Ne4 Rxb2 and White’s problems are too many and too serious to repair.
The East Devon Congress is taking place this weekend in Exeter’s Corn Hall, where the holder, Paul Helbig of Bristol, is defending his title. I will have full details of all prizewinners here next week.
White’s most efficient way of winning in last week’s position was to play 1.Bg8! and nothing the Black rook can do will prevent a mate on either g7 or h7.
This 2-mover is similar except that both sides have an extra piece to contend with.