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Paignton Congress 2015 – Day 3

The Congress has usually started to take shape by Rd. 3. In the Premier there were already only 2 players on a maximum 2/2; naturally being the top 2 seeds, Arkell and Berry had to meet this early. Having started with the white pieces, it was Arkell’s turn to have White again, always a slight advantage. Indeed, he did manage to establish the kind of position he’s probably best at, with all rooks on, and his good knight against a poorer bishop. It was a potent piece, defending well and covering potential threats while having some itself, and Arkell is not the kind of player to let slip these small advantages, even if he has to sit on his hands all evening, content to play the long game.

Further down the order, a former WECU President, John Wheeler (W) faced a former WECU Champion, Maurice Staples, who played the Chigorin Defence. After castling on opposite wings, it was Wheeler who mananaged to secure open lines for his pieces to attack down the kingside. Black’s counter on the opposite wing was a move or two too slow, and Wheeler finished with a sharp combination.

  Paignton Premier       Round 3    
Bd. White         Black    
1 Arkell, K. C 2505 (2) Berry, S. H. 2294 (2)
2 Hewson, B. W 2080 (1½)  ½  ½ Littlejohns, D 1994 (1½)
3 Dilleigh, S. P 2064 (1½)  ½  ½ Pickersgill, A. O. 1991 (1½)
4 Hempson, P. W. 2059 (1)  0 Gostelow, D. W. 2042 (1½)
5 Wheeler, J. W. 2117 (1) 1 0 Staples, M. J. 1975 (1)
6 Slade, T 1998 (1)  1 Brown, A. M. 2088 (1)
7 Bolt, G 2004 (1)  0 Brusey, A. W. 1998 (1)
8 Gibbs, D. C. 1784 (½)  0 Bass, J. W. 2018 (½)
9 Spanton, T. R. 1958 (½)  0 McKenna, J. P. 2138 (0)
10 Toms, D. A. 1908 (0)  1 Byway, P. V. 2158 (0)

No sooner had the calm of the afternoon descended on the playing hall at the back of the hotel, than a party broke at the front, where the hotel management had laid on a bit of a do for the guests in celebration of the Queen’s record-breaking longevity. I came across this quite by chance, and as a reporter always on the look-out for a good story, asked the lady at the door if I could perhaps take a few photographs of the colourful scene and was welcomed in, treated to champagne (choice of red, white or blue) and afterward tea, sandwiches and cakes. The guests were mostly made up a coach party of pensioners from Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas, who joined in whole-heartedly with the entertainment provided by Spencer, the resident organist, and a female duo calling themselves “The Two Jonnies”, referring to their costume, typical of the so-called stage door Jonnies of the late Victorian and Edwardian era. They gave it their all, with a range of war-time songs like Underneath The Arches – a couple of real old pros, adept at working the crowd.

Arkell & Berry chat before hostilities break out.

The top boards on the Challengers section.

Would Sir prefer red, white or blue champagne?

Waiting for the show to start.

Getting into the spirit.

Spencer the organist is up for it, too.

The Two Jonnies can't wait to get on stage!

... and off they go!

The chess congress going on in the background, while exciting to the players, could hardly expect to match this for sheer spectacle and pizzazz.

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