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April 2014
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Cornwall Championship & Glos. vs Somerset (22.02.2014.)

A strong Somerset team beat Gloucestershire 13-3, without losing a single game in their recent match. Somerset names 1st: 1.D. Buckley 1-0 J. Stewart. 2.J. Rudd 1-0 N. Hosken. 3.P. Krzyzanowski ½-½ D. Lambourne. 4.B. Edgell 1-0 J. Jenkins. 5.M. Payne ½-½ M. Ashworth. 6.P. Chaplin ½-½ P. Kirby. 7.D. Littlejohns 1-0 P. Meade. 8.B. Morris 1-0 B. Whitelaw. 9.P. Cusick ½-½ P. Dodwell. 10.C. Purry ½-½ A. Walker. 11.R. Hearne 1-0 P. Baker. 12.G. Jepps 1-0 G. Taylor. 13.W. Taylor 1-0 K. Bendall. 14.A. Champion 1-0 R. Ashworth. 15.J. Fewkes ½-½ A. Richards. 16. R. Knight 1-0 P. Bending.

The Cornwall Championship was held at Stithians recently, and saw Mark Watkins (Camborne), the defending champion, retaining his title with 4½/5 points. 2nd was 13 yr old Theo Slade (Bude) on 4 pts and 3rd was Grant Healey (Falmouth) with 3 pts.

The intermediate section for players graded U-145, the Falmouth Cup, was won by Marcus Pilling (Truro) on 4 pts.

A one-day rapidplay event was held on the Saturday for players graded U-86 and was won by Kenton Richings (Camborne) ahead of Harvey Richings.

A key game in the Championship was this one from Rd. 2.

White: Grant Healey (162). Black: Mark Watkins (188).

Trompowsky Attack [A45]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.Nc3 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6 7.a3 d4 8.Na2 e5 9.Bg5 Bxc5 10.e4 Black has to decide whether to take or not. The former option will hand White an initiative, but will Black have compensations? 10…dxe3 11.Qxd8+ Kxd8 12.0–0–0+ Ke7 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Bxe6 Kxe6 15.Nc3 Rad8 16.Nge2 h6 17.Na4 Bd4 18.Bxf6 Kxf6 19.c3 Bb6 20.Nxb6 axb6 21.Rhe1 Ke6 22.Ng3 f5 23.f4 White still can’t take the pawn with 23.Rxe3 because of the fork 23…f4. 23…exf4 24.Nh5 g5 Black has 5 pawns advancing against 2. 25.g3 Ne5 26.Re2 Rxd1+ 27.Kxd1 Rd8+ 28.Ke1 Nd3+ 29.Kf1 Ke5 30.gxf4+ gxf4 31.Kg2 Ke4 32.Nf6+ Ke5 33.Nh5 Nc1 34.Re1 Rd2+ 35.Kh1 Nd3 0-1 White’s pieces on the edge of the board can do nothing against the 3 passed pawns.

The E. Devon Congress is taking place next weekend at Exeter’s Corn Exchange. With the entries in so far, the Open has about 8 players all closely matched and in with a chance. However, the top players often have a habit of leaving their entries to the last minute, so things may change. For details contact the Entry Secretary John Stephens on 07891-648689 or e-mail johnkfstephens@hotmail.com.

Mrs. Baird’s Valentine problem last week was solved by 1.Kd6!

In this 2-mover, White must be careful to avoid stalemate.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Exeter vs Exmouth – Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)

The rivalry between these neighbouring clubs is rarely greater than in the Bremridge Cup, Devon’s premier inter-club tournament, and after their reverse at the hands of Teignmouth the previous Saturday in a Div. 2 match, Exmouth approached this particular encounter knowing anything was possible. Both teams were well below full strength and a major factor in the eventual outcome was clearly going to be the depth of the reserve pool. In this respect, it seems Exmouth were slightly better off.

Exmouth won the toss and chose to have White on Bds. 1, 3 & 5.  The Wensley-Marjoram game on Bd. 3 set off at a rate of knots with White trying a Scotch Gambit, which Black bought in to. This allowed a short-term bishop sacrifice on f7 and Black’s game, which featured a king stuck in the centre, quickly fell apart thereafter. 0-1

The Scott-Amos game featured a much steadier opening, though Black found himself a pawn up but his pieces somewhat pegged back behind his pawn shield. In giving up a pawn to free up his position, he also opened it up to his opponent’s benefit. Soon after, he blundered R & B and resigned immediately.0-2.

Bd. 6 featured a game between  13 yr old Taylor Finch and the vastly experienced Scot, Steve Murray. In a c3 Sicilian, Taylor pressed early on and was soon 2 passed pawns up, but in so doing, had helped Black by opening long lines for his rooks and bishops, while his own Kingside pieces remained untouched. The game turned on how long Black could frustrate his opponent’s development by creating threats. In this respect it was Black who succeeded, whose rook pair cut swathes across the board in the endgame. 0-3.

On Bd. 4 Brian Gosling had given up his queen for 3 pieces, but in a complex position could make no telling inroads into White’s defences, and he offered a draw. Palmer correctly consulted his captain as to whether he should accept. He returned to the board, shook hands and the match was won. ½-3½

Meanwhile, the games on the top 2 boards continued. On 2, a Black knight forked Q & R and Underwood resigned. 1½-3½.

On top board, Boyne played the French Winawer, which led to an increasingly complex postion that, nevertheless, remained in the book until move 20 when Black missed a trick.  He later sacrificed a knight in order to get in a back rank attack, but that fizzled out with Black a rook and bishop down. White had held out and  Black resigned as he could not assemble any more attacks and White could unscramble his heavy pieces. 1½-4½

  Bremridge Cup       22.02.2014.  
  Exeter  Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 A. B. Boyne 197 0 1 J. K. Stephens 186
2 Dr. D. Regis 176 1 0 Dr. J. Underwood 171
3 A. Marjoram 146 0 1 O. E. Wensley 157
4 E. Palmer 133 ½ ½ B. G. Gosling 152
5 J. Amos 129 0 1 C. J. Scott 145
6 T. Finch   87 0 1 S. Murray 141
    868       952

So it was the visitors’ greater strength and experience on the lower 3 boards that made the difference. Nevertheless, the score did not necessarily reflect the closeness of several of the games.

Stephens & Boyne lock horns in a complex French Winawer.

Clock ticking and White appears stumped for an opening move.

Wensley, with a sly grin, already eyeing up Bxf7+

 

Bds 4 - 6 in a separate room.

 

A battle of Youth vs Experience on Bd. 6

Devon Beat Hants In Close Match (15.02.2014.)

Devon met Hampshire at the weekend and the new venue of Ilchester Town Hall, brought a new result (a 9-7 win) after a series of Devon losses in recent years Devon names first:- 1. S. Homer ½-½ I. Thompson. 2. J Stephens 1-0 W. McDougall. 3.P. Sivrev ½-½ D. Tunks. 4.D. Regis ½-½ C. Bellers. 5.J. Fraser ½-½ P. Cooper. 6.B. Hewson 0-1 D. Fowler. 7. J. Wheeler ½-½ A. McDougall. 8.A. Brusey ½-½ F. McLeod. 9. M. Shaw ½-½ S. Knox. 10.J. Underwood 1-0 D. Thompson. 11.T. Thynne 0-1 C. Priest. 12. W. Ingham 1-0 S. Smith. 13. P. Brooks ½-½ G. Jones. 14. S. Martin 1-0 Miss G, Moore. 15. M. Stinton 0-1 B. Kocan. N. Rahimili 1-0 J. Chilton.

Dr. Underwood’s early win gave Devon an early lead and they were never headed, though the match result still depended on this last game to finish. If White had won, Hampshire would have drawn the match. After a long positional game the game ends suddenly.

White: W. M. McDougall (192). Black: J. K. Stephens (186).

Queen’s Gambit – Slav Defence [D12]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Qb3 Qc8 8.Bd2 Nbd7 9.Rc1 a6 10.Be2 Bd6 11.0–0 Qb8 12.g3 Ne4 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.Bb4 0–0 15.f3 Bg6 16.Nxg6 hxg6 17.Rfd1 Nf6 18.Kg2 Bxb4 19.Qxb4 Qc7 20.a4 a5 21.Qb3 Rfe8 22.f4 Rad8 23.Bf3 Qe7 24.c5 Qc7 25.Qc3 Ra8 26.Rb1 Ra7 27.b4 axb4 28.Rxb4 Rea8 29.Qb3 Nd7 30.Rb1 Rb8 31.g4 f6 32.Qc2 Kf7 33.Be2 Rh8 34.Qb3 Rb8 35.Qd3 Rh8 36.Qb3 Rb8 37.Bd1 g5 38.fxg5 fxg5 39.Bc2 Nf6 40.Rf1 Rh8 41.h3 Ke7 42.Bg6 Rh6 43.Qb1 Qd7 44.Rf2 Kd8 45.Rfb2 Kc8 46.Bd3 Qc7 47.Qd1 Kb8 48.Qe2 Ka8 49.Rb1 Rh4 50.Rf1 Ra5 51.Rh1 e5 52.e4 White has 2 minutes left for all his moves yet must avoid losing or the team will miss a vital win. No pressure, then. 52…dxe4 53.Bxe4 exd4 54.Bf3 Qf4 55.Rd1 Rxc5 56.Rdxd4 Qc1 57.Rd8+ Ka7 58.Rbd4 Rc2 59.Rd2 Rxd2 60.Rxd2 Qc5 61.Rb2 Nd5! Having remained stationary for 44 moves the knight springs to the rescue. White sees the threatened fork on f4 but not the even greater danger on h6. 62.Qd2 Nf4+ 63.Kh2 Rxh3# 0–1

The 2nd team match was reduced to four games after Hants defaulted on most boards, handing Devon a 10-2 win. 1. O. Wensley ½-½ T. Chapan. 2. B. Gosling ½-½ K. Steele. 3. A. Kinder ½-½ J. Young. 4.C. Scott ½-½ D. Culliford.

In last week’s position, although Black was a rook down, he had 1…Bb2+! Taking it would leave his queen defenceless, so White has to reply 2.Ka4 to which Black replies 2…b5+ forcing 3.Ka5 allowing 3…Bc3 pinning queen against king so that 4.QxQ is impossible.

With love in the air this weekend, here is a heart-shaped 2-mover by Mrs. Baird (née Winter-Wood) who died in Paignton 90 years ago this month.

Love doing this 2-mover

Exmouth Lose in Div. 2 …. again. (15.02.2014.)

Exmouth approached this match in bullish mood, on the backs of a win against Newton Abbot and a win and a draw against Tiverton, in 3 different competitions. However, there’s nothing like chess for bringing folk back down to earth again, and this was the case here.  

In the first game to finish, Abbott gave up a piece in order to try and get a stranglehold on White’s back rank with mating threats. Ingham had to be careful, and he was, managing to repeat moves 3 times. At this point, although Shaw’s position looked unclear, Wensley and Scott seemed to have their games under control. But as Shaw started to run out of time, Wensley lost his outside passed pawns and was suddenly on the back foot, while Scott missed a winning move and had to settle for a draw as Tidy was able to repeat moves. Shaw’s position collapsed under time pressure, leaving Wensley forced to try for a win in order to save the match, but with only pawns and opposite-coloured bishops left there was nothing he could do except agree a draw.  Full results below.

This loss rather undid the excellent win against Newton Abbot just two weeks earlier. We now await the visit of Barnstaple on 12th April, the final match in Division 2.  

General view of the Alice Cross Centre, Teignmouth.

Shaw vs Brusey nearest.

Ingham vs Abbott

Wensley vs Gorodi

Tidy vs Scott

  Mamhead Div. 2.       15.02.2014.  
  Teignmouth       Exmouth  
1 Alan Brusey    (B) 181 1 0 Meyrick Shaw 172
2 Bill Ingham     (W) 160 ½ ½ Mark Abbott 165
3 John Gorodi 159 ½ ½ Oliver Wensley 159
4 Norman Tidy 123 ½ ½ Christopher Scott 142
    623   638

Exmouth Retain Newman Cup (12.02.2014.)

Exmouth’s last match in Devon’s Newman Cup (for RapidPlay teams of 4 totalling U-600 grade) was against Tiverton and was effectively a cup final, with the winner taking all. However, Tiverton had a built-in edge as a 4-4 draw would give them the Cup on the 1st level of tie-break (game points). Before clocks were started, their captain explained that even if we had been level on game points, Exmouth would still have lost out due to having lost to Tiverton in Rd. 1, which led his opponent to quip “I see – even if we win we lose!” 

Round 1:

Tiverton won the toss and chose Black on Bd. 1. for the 1st round.  Simon Blake played forcefully and at one point was looking at the opportunity of possibly being able to sacrifice his queen for a back rank mate, but his opponent was alert to the risk. The game finished with opposite coloured bishops and level pawns all on squares that could not be attack by the enemy piece, amd a draw was agreed.

Oliver Wensley was happy to push all his pawns forward whenever he could, which Annetts avoided taking, so the endgame featured two long strings of pawns across the board, like WWI trench lines, except that Oliver was able to probe for weaknesses and eventually had 2 pawns that could run for the line. Annetts could only stop one by letting the other queen.

On Bd. 2 Mark Abbott started with some advantages in piece development but was unable to convert this into any other more practical advantage and the game slid into a R+5 vs R+4 endgame, and Atkin’s extra pawn was central, advanced and shepherded by his king. However, Abbott’s rook cleverly pecked away at the other pawns, won one back and the danger was over. Draw agreed.

The game on Bd. 1 was more difficult to assess by the spectator. Hewson had an attack down the open g-file against the enemy king involving Q, R + N, which White was managing to hold, while creating a passed pawn on the a-file that could not be ignored. The pressure built up as time started to press and it was Hewson that broke first.

Round 2:

Exmouth had to score a minimum of 4½ points to win the cup and a 3-1 lead from Rd. 1 was a healthy start, but this competition is notorious for the way in which the luck changes from one round to the next. For any one player, the hardest thing to do is to win both games outright, so nothing could be taken for granted. 

Sure enough, Blake’s position crumbled after overlooking a knight capture in the middle of the board and Exmouth started with a loss. This was evened up when Annetts overlooked a bishop skewering both rooks and getting out of that merely allowed a bishop to fork king and knight, and Wensley scored his 2nd win soon after.

Abbott’s endgame looked not unlike the first one in some respects, but this time Atkins did not let things slip and he evened up their personal scores.

In the top game, Shaw broke through against the enemy king using both bishops, a knight and his queen, which was enough to win, leaving the round a 2-2 draw, but 5-3 overall.

The competition overall has once again proved a close one, with all teams losing at least one match.

Bd Exmouth Grd Rd 1 Rd 2   Rd 1 Rd 2 Tiverton Grd
1 M. Shaw 164 1 1   0 0 B. W. Hewson 184
2 M. V. Abbott 159 ½ 0   ½ 1 K. P. Atkins 139
3 O. E. Wensley 146 1 1   0 0 I. S. Annetts 140
4 S. Blake 100 ½ 0   ½ 1 J. Knowles 117
                   
  Totals 569 3 2   1 2   580

Devon vs Hants (08.02.2014.)

Devon have experienced several defeats at the hands of Hampshire in recent years, so it was of some interest to see whether changing the venue from Wincanton to the old Roman town of Ilchester might have some effect on the eventual outcome. Ilchester, the only Roman town in Somerset apart from Aqua Sullis, situated as it is beside the old Fosse Way at its junction with the A303, seems to have changed little since its historic heyday, with the Town Hall probably built on the site of the Roman Forum. 

The playing room is comfortable, warm and well-lit, with a small analysis area and kitchen adjacent. The only disadvantage was that it was an upstairs room, making the carrying of equipment somewhat more onerous.

The first result in was a quick draw between former colleagues Regis and Bellers, but closely followed by a win for Jonathan Underwood, and Devon were never headed from then on, although never by more than 1 or 2 points. Eventually, with the last game in progress, Devon led 8-7, but with Stephens down to his last 2 minutes, abandoning his recording and having to move almost instantly in a complex unclear position. Yet somehow he managed to coordinate his remaining 3 pieces, Queen, rook and a knight had hadn’t moved for 44 moves, into a mating net. Match won 9-7.

  Devon 1st       Hampshire 1st  
1 S. J. Homer 189 ½ ½ I. D. Thompson 217
2 J. K. Stephens 186 1 0 W. M. McDougall 192
3 P. D. Sivrev 183 ½ ½ D. R. Tunks 188
4 Dr. D. Regis 180 ½ ½ C. J. V. Bellers 186
5 J. Fraser 180 ½ ½ P. F. Cooper 182
6 B. W. R. Hewson 179 0 1 D. W. Fowler 181
7 J. F. Wheeler 176 ½ ½ A. McDougall 173
8 A. W. Brusey 167 ½ ½ F. N. McLeod 168
9 M. Shaw 176 ½ ½ S. W. Knox 167
10 Dr. J. Underwood 171 1 0 D. F. Thompson 160
11 T. F. Thynne 166 0 1 C. P. A. Priest 158
12 W. H. Ingham 169 1 0 S. J. Smith 158
13 P. Brooks 163 ½ ½ G. A. Jones 158
14 S. Martin 166 1 0 Miss G. A. Moore 147
15 M. Stinton-Brown. 155 0 1 B. A. Kocan 146
16 N. Rahimili 148 1 0 J. I. Chilton 139
      9 7    
             
  Devon 2nd       Hampshire 2nd  
1 O. E. Wensley 157 ½ ½ T. J. Chapman 135
2 B. G. E. Gosling 152 ½ ½ K. G. Steele 134
3 A. S. Kinder 152 ½ ½ J. G. Young 133
4 C. J. Scott 145 ½ ½ D. Culliford 131
      8 0 Defaults  
      10 2    
             

 

Here are some views of the match in progress.

General view of the Main Hall

General view of the top boards

Top 4 games - Bellers V Regis nearest.

Boards 9 - 12 (nearest)

Bd. 16 Chilton V Rahimili nearest.

Adams in Gibraltar (08.02.2014.)

The annual Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival has become increasingly popular in recent years, reflected in the entry total of 429 at this week’s event. The top section alone, the Masters, has 150 participants, among them 26 Grandmasters of whom Michael Adams is the highest rated. Here is his Round 2 win against a fellow GM.

White: M. Adams (2754). Black: Al-Sayed Mohammed (2476).

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation [B90]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Nbd7 7.Be2 e6 8.g4 White goes for a thematic quick kingside attack, aiming to castle queenside and throw everything available down the kingside. 8…h6 9.f4 g5 10.f5 Ne5 11.h3 b5 Black aims to do likewise but on the opposite wing – it’s a question of who can break through first. 12.a3 Qe7 13.fxe6 fxe6 14.Nf3 Nfd7 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Qd2 Bb7 17.0–0–0 Rd8 18.Kb1 Bg7 19.Rhf1 Grabbing the open file and preventing immediate castling. 19…Nf7 20.Bd4 0–0 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Qd4+ Ne5 23.Rxf8 Qxf8 If 23…Rxf8 White wins a pawn and can take control of the d-file with 24.Qxd6 Qxd6 25.Rxd6. 24.a4 bxa4 25.Nxa4 Kg8 26.Nb6 Qg7 27.Nc4 attacking d6. 27…Nf7 28.Qe3 Bc6 29.e5 d5 If 29…dxe5 30.Rxd8+ Nxd8 31.Nxe5 Bb7 32.Bc4. 30.Qb6 Rc8 An alternative was 30…dxc4 31.Rxd8+ Nxd8 32.Qxd8+ Qf8 33.Qxf8+ Kxf8 but White wins a pawn after 34.Bxc4 Bb7 but not 35.Bxe6 Bg2 36.Bf5 Bxh3 37.e6 h5 38.Kc1 and the king must come over to cover any danger. 31.Qxa6 Rc7 32.Qb6 Nxe5 33.Qb8+! Kh7 34.Nxe5 Qxe5 The rook is now pinned and the queen cannot leave its defence. 35.Rf1 With the threat of winning rook or queen after Rf7+ 1–0.

The event finished on Thursday and with 2 rounds to go the clear leader was the Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk with Adams among a whole raft of players in equal 2nd place on 6 points.

This afternoon sees the next round of the Inter-County championship with Devon facing Hampshire at a new venue in Ilchester.

Meanwhile, also today, not content with trying to be Cornwall’s youngest champion for many years, 13 yr. old Theo Slade is taking on up to 12 players at once in Truro’s Lemon Street Market, between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just turn up to play or watch (£5 to challenge Theo.

In last week’s position, Hebden won with an exchange sacrifice 1.Rxc5 Qxc5 2.Rc1 Qb6 3.Qf4 threatening Qf6. 3…f5 4.exf6 0-0 5.Qd6 Qd4 6.Qxe6 Kh8 7.Qe7 Qa7 8.Rxc6 1-0

In this game from last year, Black, a rook down, might have been considering resigning before discovering a neat resource. How did Black force a win in 3 moves?

Black to play and win

Jim O’Grady 1939 – 2013

Jim O’Grady, who passed away shortly before Christmas at the age of 74, had been a member of both Exmouth and Newton Abbot Chess Clubs.

He was of working class Liverpool Irish origins, and on leaving school without any qualifications, started work as a bus conductor. At some point he decided to rejoin the educational trail, determined to do better the second time around. Starting from scratch, he eventually graduated and became a teacher. Continuing this upward path through the educational hierarchy he finished up as the Head of a large comprehensive school in Birmingham, a big enough challenge for anyone.

Jim on graduation

For health reasons he was forced to retire early, and moved to Exmouth where he was a member of the Chess Club for about 2 years. However, for family reasons he had to relocate  to South Wales for a number of years. He then returned to Devon, settling in Ipplepen and joining the Newton Abbot Club.

He took his chess very seriously, playing with a modest grade over the board ( c. 130 at his best) , but at a much higher level in correspondence play – at near Master level he claimed, though this was possibly as much to do with the excellence of his computer program as his innate skill.

A requiem Mass was held on 8th January at St. Joseph’s Church, Newton Abbot, with a number of his fellow chess club members in attendance, and  Trefor Thynne representing the DCCA.

Exmouth vs Newton Abbott (Mamhead Cup – Div 2)

Having lost at home to Tiverton in Rd. 1, a trip to Newton Abbot for our 2nd match on Feb 1st 2014, was not a prospect to be relished. With a grading ceiling of 639 both teams had opted to keep as close as possible to the average of 160 per player, rather than playing a 190+ player on Bd. 1 in the hope of a sure win, while hoping the 120+ on Bd. 4 might be able to scrape a result.

The first game to finish by a considerable margin was that involving the Ajerbaizani ex-pat, Rahimili, who seems to share with Jack Rudd the inability to play at a speed less than that of an express train throughout any game. His game lasted a little less than half of the allocated 4 hours, most of which ws taken up by his opponent. Scott blundered a piece away entering the endgame, yet within a few moves, Rahimili had blundered not only a piece back but most of his pawns as well, with no counterplay.

Brian Gosling won the exchange and maintained a strong grip on the position, managing to win further material and the game. 2-0 up but the other two faced strong opposition. Shaw blundered a piece in the endgame but hung on to see how his neighbour would fare in a very tight N+P endgame. When Wensley offered and got  a draw when 2 pawns up, Shaw resigned immediately, as the match was won.

  Newton Abbot Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 John Fraser 167 1 0 Meyrick Shaw 172
2 Paul Brooks 167 ½ ½ Oliver Wensley 157
3 Nijad Rahimili 162 0 1 Chris Scott 142
4 Wilf Taylor 136 0 1 Brian Gosling 151
    632   622

 

General view of the match - Taylor-Gosling nearest.

General view of ther match - Scott-Rahimili nearest.

Bd. 1 Shaw vs Fraser.

Bd. 2 - Brooks vs Wensley

 

Bd. 4 Taylor-Gosling

Exmouth’s 1st Bremridge Match 2013-14

Having been the first of the 5 teams involved to have a bye, Exmouth’s first match in the Bremridge Cup (Div. 1) did not come till after Christmas, when they hosted Tiverton. The whole story was one of near disaster from beginning to end. The Tiverton team was already weakened when their Bd. 1 player, Dave Littlejohns, suddenly discovered there were no trains between Taunton and Exeter that day due to major works on the track and he wouldn’t be able to make alternative arrangements. Brian Hewson phoned back to offer a lift, but there was no reply from the land line and he had no mobile number. In the end he went to the house in the hope that Littlejohns would be there, which he was, and the pair arrived in Exmouth shortly before the 2.30 start, with jangling nerves.

Meanwhile, Bob Jones, ever-cautious, had arrived at the club room an hour early, only to find the usual playing room had been double-booked and a full scale lecture was going on. After going into panic mode for 5 minutes, he worked out that the match could be held in the day-room using arm chairs to sit in, with extra cushions if needed. It was a little cramped for space but was workable. Once play started it was utterly quiet and neither group impinged on the other.

As they were considerably under-full strength themselves Exmouth were surprised to find themselves the stronger on paper by 45 grading points. First game to finish was Underwood-Bartlett, when White miscalulated a long series of exchanges to find himself a piece down with no compensation or counter-play. On Bd. 4, Club President, Mark Abbott, found himself with the only queen and attacking opportunities, but failed to make the best of it and was forced to trade the queen back. He ended up with R vs R+B but with a pair of united central pawns keen to queen, and he managed to win when one of them could not be stopped. Score level at 1-1. Then Shaw sacrificed a pawn in the opening and offered a second, which was declined. Eventually his opponent’s gifted pawn proved the deciding factor in a tight endgame. 2-1 to the visitors. Chris Scott, playing his first game in the Bremridge, sneaked home in another tight ending. His bishop, the only piece on the board, managed to hold back a pawn storm, first blocking them, allowing the king to gobble them up. 2-2.

Brian Gosling had struggled on for some time a piece down, and was able to make threats with his active queen, but eventually had to concede the game to Keith Atkins. This left the Bd. 1 game to decide things. Reaching the late endgame with a blocked position, Littlejohns found his pieces hemmed in to one corner, and Stephens was able to get a rook to invade the position, get behind the white pawns and start picking them off. Stephens had only seconds left but played at lightning speed to move his king and pawns forward. His win brought the score to  3-3 with no drawn games.

  Exmouth Grd     Tiverton Grd
1 John Stephens 190 1 0 Dave Littlejohns 186
2 Jonathan Underwood 172 0 1 Simon Bartlett 174
3 Meyrick Shaw 172 0 1 Brian Hewson 165
4 Mark Abbott 165 1 0 Ivor Annetts 152
5 Brian Gosling 151 0 1 Keith Atkins 142
6 Chris Scott 142 1 0 John Knowles 128
    992 3 3   947