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Cream of the Cornish (18.02.2017.)

After a loss to Devon in October, Cornwall came back in their next match recently with a creditable 8-8 draw against Somerset. Cornish names 1st in each pairing:- 1.J. Menadue (189) 0-1 T. Goldie 196). 2.M. I Hassall (183) ½-½ B. Edgell (200). 3.J. Hooker (177) ½ – ½ M. French (170). 4.L. Retallick (176) 1-0 D. Littlejohns (176). 5.D. Saqui (176) 1-0 M. Richardt (184). 6.R. Kneebone (174) ½ – ½ G. N Jepps (159). 7.J. Morgan (170) ½-½ A. Champion (153). 8.C. Sellwood (154) 0-1 C. Purry (149). 9.G. Trudeau (153) 1-0 J. Fewkes (142). 10.P. Gill (149) 1–0 M. Worrall (139). 11.R. Stephens (148) 0-1 M. Baker (137). 12.J. Nicholas (147) 1-0 C. Mckinley (127). 13.M. Hill (143) 0–1 A. Byrne (127). 14.J. Henderson (129) 0-1 G. Greenland (113). 15. D. R Jenkins (125) 1-0 M. Maber (104). 16. D. Lucas (121) 0-1 J. Beviss (90).

The Cornish Championships were held at Carnon Downs at the weekend. The defending champion, James Hooker (Camborne) again kept a cool head under pressure and retained his title  with 3½/5 points, while close on his heels were Robin Kneebone (Carrick), Gary Trudeau (Liskeard), Colin Sellwood (Camborne) and Mark Watkins (Penwith)

The Falmouth Cup for those graded U-146 was won by the relative newcomer, Jan Rodrigo (Penwith) with 4½, followed by Harvey Richings (Penwith) and Martin Jones (Newquay).

The U-120 grading prize was won by Anton Barkhuysen (Camborne), and the U-100 prize was won by John James (Penwith), while Thomas Oates’ performance (Camborne) was judged the best by a junior.

Here is James Hooker’s Rd. 2 game with notes kindly supplied by the winner.

White: C. Sellwood. Black: J. Hooker. Sicilian Defence [B40]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.0–0 White should have played e5 here to stifle Black’s e5 and d5 idea and to make the d3 bishop better. 8…e5 The wasted tempo with e6 earlier and now e5 means little as White’s bishop on d3 is now restricted, and Black is looking for a strong centre with a future d5 push. 9.Qf3 0–0 10.Qg3 Re8 11.Bd2 d5 12.exd5 cxd5 13.Bg5 Creates a threat of trading and grabbing the d5 pawn, but lost a tempo by playing Bd2 previously. 13…Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qd6 15.Be2? The decisive error, allowing Ne4 as it’s not pinned anymore and leaving the bishop on g5 very few squares. 15…Ne4 16.Qe3 f5 17.Rfd1 Defending with tricks, f4 will be met with Qxe4. 17…Qc6 18.Bh4 White’s best shot now is 18 Bh5 g6, 19 Bf3. The point being to get Black to play g6 so he doesn’t have the h6 and g5 idea trapping the bishop. 18…f4 19.Qd3 Nxc3 20.Re1 Nxe2+ 21.Rxe2 If 21 Qxe2 then Qh6 and White’s bishop on h4 is lost 21…Ba6 0–1

The key move to last week’s problem by Dave Howard was 1.Qa4! after which all Black’s ‘tries’ fail.

This week’s 2-mover is by the Cornish problemist, Dr. Maurice Edwin McDowell Jago (1902-‘98). He was born in St. Buryan, where his father, Ashley Tilsed, was also a GP.

White to play and mate in 2

Simon Bartlett – 1954-2017

Simon Bartlett’s funeral was held yesterday (08.02.2017.) and his great friend, Ivor Annetts, has compiled these facts and memories of Simon, and invited anyone to make use of them.

He writes as follows:

Simon was born, brought up and educated, in Paignton.  He attended a boys’ school and did extremely well, gaining admittance to Bristol University to read law.  After a time he decided that this was not for him, and he took a year off in Morocco.  He then returned to Bristol University to read chemistry and was awarded a degree in that subject.  Apart from a brief period with another company, the whole of his working life was spent with a chemical company in Cornwall called Key Organics.  At its peak, Simon led a team of seven researchers.  Their task was to produce organic chemical compounds with particular properties as requested by the company’s customers.  During the 90s, China began to be able to do this much more cheaply and this led to Simon eventually being the sole researcher for Key Organics.  He told me on more than one occasion that he still got a kick out of doing his job.  Simon eventually retired at the age of 58 and gave every indication that he was thoroughly enjoying his new life.

I first met Simon around 28 years ago at Tor Abbey.  It was a unique chess occasion, as the West of England Championship was held at that prestigious venue.  Brian Boomsma was also a competitor and he and Simon were already friends.  Years later Simon was to become the godfather of Brian’s new son.  At Tor Abbey, Brian introduced me to this 35 years old confident upstart, then graded at something like 125, and over the next few years the three of us, all very different from each other, became close friends.

During the chess year we would enter anything up to half a dozen or more congresses across the west country.  It became traditional for the three of us, frequently joined by Brian’s partner Lynda, to meet up for an Indian meal on the Saturday night.  Fueled by too many bottles of house red, the conversation would flow, arguments would sometimes be intense, and occasionally when Brian and I took opposing views, Simon would remain the calm, objective and rational one.  And now I realize that throughout all of the intervening years, I have never seen Simon angry or, apart from his final few months, emotionally disturbed in any way.

He was tremendously well-read, retained facts, and had a lively enquiring mind.  He was particularly knowledgeable on economics, his partner, Margaret having a degree in that subject.  I well remember his scary, penetrating analysis at the time of the financial crisis in 2008.

Ten years or so ago we discovered that we both had had experiences with the game of bridge, with Simon’s being rather more than an experience as he played regularly in a Camelford club.    We arranged to partner each other once per week as members of an online bridge club.  I vaguely remembered elements of the Acol and Blackwood bidding systems; Simon knew them inside out and tempted me towards something called a Precision Club(?) system.  He was also, to my eyes, extremely skilled at playing the cards.  After a time, this, with chess, was too much for me and so I pulled the plug on our bridge soirees.  Simon, true to his character, showed no concern at my decision.  It is extremely possible that he was secretly relieved at not having to continue to carry the burden of teaching a novice.  If so, he showed no sign of it.

I am also indebted to him for sharing his chess opening expertise with me.  Following explanations from Simon, I did at various times experiment with the Sveshnikov Sicilian – Simon insisting on calling it the Pelikan – the Grunfeld and the French Wing Gambit.  It soon became clear that Simon’s occasionally risky, tactical play was not consistent with my attempted cautious positional style.  I well remember him saying,

“The point about chess is that you are trying to have fun!”

Another Simon quote I remember is,

“People are passionate about all kinds of things throughout their lives.  With me it’s chess.”

Such was his passion for the game that some years ago he joined Tiverton Chess Club in order to strengthen the club’s team in Devon County team competitions.  At week-ends he would regularly play for Tiverton in the Bremridge (Div 1), Mamhead (Div 2) and the Rooke Cup.  On occasion he accepted my invitation to play in midweek Exeter & District League matches.  Every single game he played for Tiverton involved him in a 150 mile round trip from his home in Camelford.  For DCCA week-end home matches he would lunch with me and my partner, Yvonne, in Tiverton.  There were never any quiet moments during those lunches.  I came to believe that Simon possessed a restless mind; always thinking, always enquiring; always ready to discuss.  Yvonne tells me of how he was always able to answer her scientific queries and how he always replied to her enquiring emails accurately and concisely.

Shortly after the diagnosis of his condition, I stayed with him and Margaret overnight in Camelford and experienced the overwhelming attention of his Great Dane, Boris, and his Irish Wolf Hound, Maeve.  The contentment of Simon and Margaret, with their dogs and Margaret’s horses was clear.  He had often spoken to me of his joy in walking the dogs in the surrounding countryside.  Quite recently a fashion magazine had been shooting in the Camelford area and the photographer decided that he needed an Irish Wolf Hound to stand next to one of his wiry female models.  Enquiries led to Simon and Margaret’s door and I well remember the pleasure shown by Simon next time I saw him.  It wasn’t just the handsome fee that Maeve had earned for him.  He showed me the magazine, and the pride at having Maeve gracing the pages of an upmarket fashion mag. was clear to see.

On an earlier occasion he had found his dogs useful in a different way.  Noisy neighbours had moved in next door and repeated requests for the music to be turned down had had no effect.  A visit to the offenders with Boris and Maeve did the trick!

I have received many tributes to Simon from chess players across the West Country and beyond.  I end with one of them from Brendan O’Gorman, photographer for the ECF:

“Dreadful news but thanks for letting me know. I liked Simon. He had a sense of humour and, beyond the chess board, was smarter than your average chess player.

Clash of the Titans (11.02.2017.)

The current Devon Champions, Exmouth, hosted local rivals, Exeter, in a match on Saturday that would not only confer local bragging rights but probably determine who would win this year’s Devon club championship.

The omens were not good for the hosts, as Exeter were able to field their strongest team, probably one of the strongest sides seen for many a decade, while Exmouth were under par, conceding c. 16 points per board over Bds 3 – 6 – a big ask. However, the match proved to be a truly titanic struggle as each game came to an end.

First of all, Exeter’s captain, Graham Bolt, won the toss yet chose to give their opponents White on top board. That was the first to finish, when O’Neill came unstuck and resigned, and put Exmouth 1-0 up. Was Bolt’s tactic a wise one? Next, Chris Scott got a valuable draw against Jamie Morgan, playing his first game for Exeter. Then, Oliver Wensley generated enough pressure to cause his opponent to run out of time.

Thus Exmouth had 2.5 point after 3 games, and it seemed highly possible they would be able to get something from the other 3 games to squeeze at least a draw.  Then Dave Regis, who had 2 minor pieces for a rook, forced a win, while Bolt found himself in an ending with 2 bishops against 2 knights with a sprinkling of pawns on either side. The bishops found good long diagonals enabling his king to advance, keeping the black knights and king on their back rank, and a win was inevitable. 2.5 all, with former Scottish International, Paul Hampton, locking horns with Paulden, in what for the most part had been a blocked position. However, in seeking active play for his queen, he allowed Regis’ queen in to the centre. With just 2 minutes of extra time left on both clocks, there was a titanic struggle with both queens grabbing any pawn they could get hold of, preferably with check, and Paulden succeeded in this race.

So, with just seconds to go, Exeter took the lead for the first time in the match, and with it the match.

The details were:-

Bremridge Cup    Div. 1        11.02.2017
EXMOUTH Grd EXETER Grd
1 J. Underwood 187 1 0 P. A. O’Neill 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 G. Bolt 190
3 P. Hampton 166 0 1 T. J. Paulden 187
4 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 C. Lowe 175
5 B. G. Gosling 159 0 1 D. Regis 175
6 C. J. Scott 152 ½ ½ J. Morgan 170
1,017 1,082

Capa’s Endgame Techniques (11.02.2017.)

The Cornish County Championship and Congress is currently taking place at Carnon Downs Village Hall and will finish tomorrow tea time. Results here next week.

February being a short month and the Exeter Congress traditionally taking place in early March means that this event is rapidly approaching. It takes place at its usual venue, the Corn Hall on the weekend starting Friday 10th March, i.e. 3 weeks on Friday. Dr. Tim Paulden has taken on the role of Congress Secretary and has constructed a special website for it, with enhanced features, like on-line payment of entry fees. It’s well worth a look, at eastdevonchesscongress.com.

This game was played in a Devon league match at the weekend and illustrates several old sayings about rook and pawn endings. They are a game in themselves, full of subtle nuances that elude even grandmasters at times. Probably the most accessible introduction is still Capablanca’s 1921 book, Chess Fundamentals, which is quoted.

White: O. E. Wensley (168). Black: A. W. Brusey (166).

Petroff Defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bb4 5.d3 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Qxf3 12.gxf3 Nd4 13.Bxd4 exd4 After this early carnage they are already down to a rook ending, with White having the disadvantage of doubled pawns. 14.Rg1 With all immediate danger past, there’s little point in White castling, as the king will need to be in the centre as an active piece. “The best way to defend such positions is to assume the initiative and keep the opponent on the defensive”. 14…0–0 15.Kd2 Rfe8 16.Rae1 The open e-file must be contested. 16…f5 17.f4 Kf7 18.Re5 g6 19.h4 Rad8 20.Rge1 b6 21.b4 c6 22.a4 Rxe5 23.fxe5 Rd5 24.f4 a6 25.Rb1 h6 26.c4 dxc3+ 27.Kxc3 g5 28.hxg5 hxg5 29.d4! 29.fxg5 Rxe5 would create too much space for Black’s rook. 29…gxf4 30.Kc4 Kg6 31.Rg1+ Kh5 There is now a lot of move-counting to do by both sides. 32.e6 Rd8 33.a5 Creating a path for White’s king to advance later. The decisive difference here is that White’s king can both attack and defend whereas Black’s can only defend.33…bxa5 34.bxa5 f3 35.Rg3 f4 If 35…f2 36.Rf3. 36.Rxf3 Kg4 The rest of the game has similarities with last week’s ending. 37.Rf1 f3 38.Kc5 Kg3 “Advance the pawn that has no pawn opposing it”, so…39.e7! Re8 40.Kd6 Kg2 41.Rc1 f2 42.Kd7 Ra8 43.e8=Q Rxe8 If 43…f1=Q?? 44.Qg6+ Kf2 45.Qf5+ Ke2 46.Qxf1+ etc. 44.Kxe8 f1=Q 45.Rxf1 Kxf1 46.Kd7 1-0 Black will lose his c-pawn and White can easily shepherd his extra pawn forward.

In last week’s position, Anand won immediately with RxB+ removing the White queen’s only defender, and the fact that it’s check means that Topalov must give up his queen.

Here is a new 2-mover by David Howard. Black has plenty of material available to move around and ward off all threats…  except one. What is that key move?

White to play & mate in 2

Badlan & Adams (08.02.2017.)

Former club member, Tom Badlan, passed away earlier this week.

He was born in Tenbury Wells, on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, and in his youth played in goal for the local football team. He entered the retail business which took him to East Anglia for a spell, before becoming General Manager of Beatties in Wolverhampton, one of the biggest department stores in the West Midlands.

Retirement took him to Newton Poppleford, where he joined the Sidmouth Chess Club, later moving to Exmouth. Although dementia took its toll and he was unable to cope with club life, he maintained contact through near neighburs Fred Hodge and Malcolm Belt, who played chess with him at his home. He had a chess computer on the go in every room of his house. He was a steady player right to the end, with a strong defence that could be difficult to break down.

Having lost one member, we get another in his place. Dave Adams has returned to Exmouth after a spell in Dunbar, on the coast near Edinburgh. Having just moved in to a house in Halsdon Road, he will shortly be treading the relatively short walk to the Club. Short for him, who has walked the Andes from South to North, plus many other paths around the world, playing chess with any other aficianado he might meet on the way. His current grade being, as it ever was, in the mid-130s, he will be a welcome asset to team captains, as the club is short of players of that strength.

Mamhead Match: Exmouth vs Newton Abbot (04.02.2017.)

Exmouth hosted a team from Newton Abbot for their match in Devon’s 2nd Division, the Mamhead Cup. Losses by Chris Scott and Malcolm Belt were off-set by a well-judged win by team captain, Oliver Wensley, against the highly-experienced Alan Brusey. Alan’s chess has suffered in recent years during a period of ill-health, but he is now back to something like his best. Both players aimed to keep things simple by sweeping almost everything off the board and getting down to a rooks & pawn ending by move 13. However, there is nothing simple about rook & pawn endings; even GMs are prone to errors at this stage of the game, but Oliver judged all the nuances very well and came out the winner.

This left the onus on Meyrick Shaw to try for a win in order the rescue a draw. This involved a 63 move game against an opponent who has, in past matches against Exmouth, proved a cool and resourceful player. However, Meyrick kept the pressure and and eventually ran out the winner.

DCCA  Mamhead Cup  Div. 2
EXMOUTH NEWTON ABB0T
1 Oliver WENSLEY 168 1 0 Alan BRUSEY 166
2 Meyrick SHAW 163 1 0 Paul BROOKS 161
3 Chris SCOTT 151 0 1 Vignesh RAMESH 154
4 Malcolm BELT 127 0 1 Charlie HOWARD 143
609 624
2 2

Wensley vs Brusey and Shaw vs Brooks (nearest)

Howard vs Belt (nearest)

Simon Bartlett – Funeral Arrangements

Ivor Annetts has announced details of the funeral of Simon Bartlett, who passed away a few days ago.

He writes:-

Dear Chess Friends,

Margaret Wallace, Simon Bartlett’s partner, telephoned this evening with the details of Simon’s funeral:

Wednesday 15th February, 2.30 pm, at Glyn Valley Crematorium, Turfdown Road, Fletchers Bridge, Bodmin, PL30 4AP and afterwards at The Mason’s Arms, Market Place, Camelford, PL32 9PB

Please note that the Crematorium is on the Bodmin – Liskeard Road and not in Bodmin itself.

‘No flowers’ by request but donations may be made to Brain Tumour Research via    https://www.justgiving.com/braint

Team Selection – A Captain’s Dilemma (04.02.2017.)

The semi-final of Devon’s team knock-out tournament, the Rooke Cup, took place on Saturday between Newton Abbot and Exeter. It’s for teams of 8 players whose combined grades must add up to less than 1,120 – an average of 140 per person. This presents captains with a team selection dilemma; should they field a low-graded player on bottom board to enable them to incorporate several stronger players higher up the order (Plan A)? Alternatively, they could put a very strong player on top board, almost certain to win, in the hope that the others can at least hold their own (Plan B). In this case, Newton Abbot chose the former course, while Exeter went for the latter. So how did that work out?

The outcome was a win for Newton Abbot by 4½-3½, the details being as follows: (Exeter names 1st in each pairing).

1.Tim Paulden (187) 1-0 Alan Brusey (166). 2. Chris Lowe (175) ½-½ Trefor Thynne (170 ). 3. Sean Pope (144) ½-½ Vignesh Ramesh (154). 4. Alan Dean (141)1- 0 1 Charles Howard (150). 5. Eddy Palmer (129) ½-½ John Allen (141). 6. William Marjoram (127) 1-0 Joshua Blackmore (138 ). 7.Edmund Kelly (137) 0-1 Wilf Taylor 137. 8. Brian Aldwin (97) 0-1 Prabhu Kashap (55e).

Newton Abbot’s sacrificial lamb was new member Kashap, a 50-something Anglo-Indian and not very experienced at this kind of thing. He was fully expected to lose, and when after 45 minutes he had lost a piece, yet still continued to exchange off material, this seemed a certainty. But his opponent made a crucial slip in the ending and allowed Prabhu to queen a pawn and win not only his game but the match as well. Chess can be a funny old game.

White: P. Kashap. Black: B. Aldwin.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be6 5.Bxe6 fxe6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d4 c6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.dxe5 dxe5 Black’s doubled pawns in the centre should present him with difficulties in coordinating his pieces, but White helps out. 10.Nxe5?? 10…Nxe5 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8 If and when a piece down, one should try and keep as many of your pieces as possible i.e. avoid exchanges unless it confers some other advantage – not a tactic White employs. 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bf4 Bd6 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.f4 Bd4+ 17.Kh1 Kf7 18.Rd1 Bb6 19.Rxd8 Bxd8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 exd5 Now White’s lost all his pieces and has a queenside pawn deficit. But all is not yet lost. Perhaps something will come along. Meanwhile, Black could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the game will just play itself out to the inevitable win. 22.g4 Ke6 23.Kg2 d4 24.Kf3 g6? Black should challenge White’s potentially passed pawn with 24…g5 25.Ke4 The tide is turning 25…c5 26.f5+ gxf5+ 27.gxf5+ Kf7 28.Kd5 Bb6 28…Bc7 29.a4. 29.Kd6 c4 30.e6+ Ke8 31.f6 d3 32.f7+ Kf8 33.cxd3 cxd3 34.e7+ Kxf7 35.Kd7 d2 36.e8=Q+ Kf6 37.Qe2 1-0.

This position arose in a recent game between two former World Champions, the Bulgarian Veselin Topolov (W) and Indian Vishy Anand, who saw a knock-out blow; can you?

Black to play

Exotic Wijk aan Zee (28.01.2017.)

After Hastings, the next event on the European chess circuit is that held in the Dutch village of Wijk aan Zee, (pop. 2,400) but sponsored by the nearby steelworks, formerly Hoogovens, then Corus and now Tata.

The top Masters Section reads like the membership of some exotic United Nations committee, namely M. Carlsen, (Norway). W. So (Philippines-born). S. Karjakin, I. Nepomniachtchi  & D. Andreikin (all Russia); L. Aronian (Armenia); P. Harikrishna & B. Adhiban (both India): P. Eljanov (Ukraine); R. Wojtaszek (Poland); Y. Wei (China); R. Rapport (Hungary); L. Van Wely & A. Giri (both Netherlands). Even the “local” player, Anish Giri, has a Nepalese father, Russian mother and spent much of his childhood in Japan.

Here is his Rd. 6 win after 5 draws.

White: Anish Giri (2773). Black: Ian Nepomniachtchi (2767)

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Var. [B91]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.g3 e5 7.Nde2 Be7 8.Bg2 Nbd7 9.a4 b6 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.Qxd5 Rb8 12.Nc3 0–0 13.0–0 Bb7 14.Qd1 Rc8 15.Re1 h6 16.Bh3 Rc6 White sees how to win a pawn and disrupt Black’s defences. 17.Bxh6! gxh6 18.Qg4+ Bg5 19.Qxd7 Qxd7 20.Bxd7 Rc7 21.Bf5 Bd2 22.Red1 Bxc3 23.bxc3 Rd8 24.Rab1 Rc6 25.f4 exf4 26.e5 Bc8 27.Be4 Rxc3 28.Rxd6 Rxd6 29.exd6 Rc4 If 29…fxg3 30.Rxb6 30.Bd3 Rc6 31.Rd1 setting a trap – if 31…Rxd6 32.Bh7+ winning the rook. 32.Bxa6 fxg3 33.hxg3 and the advanced d-pawn will prove decisive. 1–0

The solution to last week’s 2-mover was 2.Ra4! and whatever Black tries will be met by different mates.

The final round of the British Chess Problem Solving Championship takes place on Saturday 18th February at Eton College. The competition started last summer with the publication of the “Starter Problem”, in this case a 2-mover by John Rice. Prospective competitors were invited to send in their solutions, and those with the correct key move were sent a set of 8 further problems of varying types and difficulty, to be returned to the organiser by the end of November. Anyone with a good score was invited to the final. The list of qualifiers for this year may be found on the event website.

Here is that starter problem from June 2016, the solution to which was 1.Qb4! threatening 2.Qc4#. Black’s 5 efforts to escape and White’s replies were as follows: 1…Rxb4  2. Nxb4#.

1…Rc5    2.Nb6#.

1…Sc6    2.Nc7#.

1…Bc5    2.Qe4#.

1…Bxe5  2.Rxe5#.

Incorrect solutions submitted, together with Black’s refutations, were as follows:-

Claim            Refutation(s)

1.Qf4?            1…Nf5!

1.Nb6+?         1…Rxb6!

1.Qxg5?         1…B any move!

1.Qa5?           1…B any move! & 1…Nf5!

1.Qc1?           1…Bc3!

1.Qe2?          1…Be3! & 1…Nf5!

1.Qg2+?        1…Nxg2!

1.Rc5+?         1…Bxc5! & 1…Rxc5!

1.Nb4+?         1…Rxb4!

Simon Bartlett R. I. P.

Simon Bartlett, one of the most regular figures on the schess scene in Devon & Cornwall, passed away on Wednesday evening, after a short but brave fight against an aggressive form of cancer.

His great friend over the years, Ivor Annetts, broke the news yesterday morning, as follows:-

It saddens me greatly to have to inform you that my dear friend, Simon Bartlett, passed away last evening.  His partner, Margaret, telephoned me with the news this morning.

As you probably know, in August last year he was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and was given between three and sixth months to live; he managed four and a bit.

Simon was a self-confessed chess obsessive.  You will have come to know him because of that.  He would have been 63 in just over two weeks time.

I will inform you of the funeral arrangements as soon as they are made known to me.  In due course I will attempt an obituary for Chess Devon and Keverel Chess.

The words of Brian Hewson come to mind as I write.  Brian’s reaction to the news of Simon’s diagnosis was: “This is terrible news. He is such a great bloke!.”

Ivor Annetts.

Simon was noted for his exotic shirts, which brightened up many a photograph that I took at various events. Here are a couple that jump off the page.

Simon, appearing to offer up a prayer before the start of play at the Seniors' Congress in Exmouth.

Simon & Ivor Annetts playing for Tiverton in the Devon Team Blitz Tournament

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