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Paignton Congress 2011 Day 1

I arrived at Oldway c. 11 a.m., 3 hours before the scheduled start, but with several things to sort out before then – including finding somewhere to work doing all this scribbling on-line and, in order to do this, to get my new computer dongle to work properly. I negotiated a small corner behind the bookstall and set about trying to work out the problems of getting the wretched thing to work, or at least show some spark of interest, but nothing doing. 

Meanwhile, all the time, a process ion of players would come up to me, sat mainly hidden from view and obviously engrossed in my self-set task, and ask if I was the Organiser and could they “register”.  I was happy enough to point them in the right direction, but began to wonder why they kept picking on me when there were scores of other folk milling around and I was so clearly pre-occupied. I came to the conclusion it was my suit and matching paisley pattern tie that was to blame; no-one else was even wearing a tie. 

Along came the Deputy Chairman of Torbay Council and, well before time, we were able to touch base on who was to say what at the Opening Ceremony. Thereafter, he was addressed by various people as the Chairman, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, but Torbay does have a rather unusual civic hierarchy, so he must be used to it. 

At the appointed hour, (1.45 p.m.) we three processed arond the balcony and into the main playing hall. I said a few words of welcome to all players; the regulars made it seem a bit like a school reunion, but the sprinkling of foreign players always added spice to the mix. There was a small group from Dresden, unusually two from Sweden, and one from the Republic of Ireland.  I should have stopped here, but in my head earlier I’d thought of the ending “…and let’s not forget the Cornish”. Then rejected it as not only not funny enough but bordering on bad taste, but in the heat of the moment, blurted it out anyway. No-one laughed, of course, so I quickly handed over to Cllr. Roger Stringer, who went on to continue the welcomes to Torbay in general and Paignton in particular. His consort, Mrs. Shelagh Stringer, was then presented with a lovely bouquet of flowers by Pearl Smith, wife of the Chief Arbiter. And then we all trooped off to the back of the hall for a photo opportunity involving one of the titled players in the Premier.

(NB: Rd. 1 Results of top 2 sections may be found at the end of this post.)

Minutes later, Ewart Smith called “Start White’s clock”, and the show was finally on the road. 

Top seed, Grandmaster Keith Arkell, gets to meet Deputy Chairman, Cllr. Roger Stringer with wife Shelagh

Arkell then gets down to the serious business, vs David Littlejohns.

Colin Crouch, back after 6 years, trying to get his grade back up.

Johan Henriksson, a rare visitor from Sweden.

Players in the Minor dwarfed in the Mayor's Parlour.

The Mayor's Parlour.

For "Open" read "Ron Bruce Premier" - Draw Rd.1.

For "Major" read "Challengers" - Draw Rd. 1.

The Minor Rd. 1 Draw.

Here are the Rd. 1 results for the top 2 sections.

Premier Rd. 1 Results

Tony Tatam's immaculate recording of the Challengers' results Rd. 1

N.B.  Rd. 1 games may be found at

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