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Paignton Congress – Adams Simultaneous (Day 3)

Arrived a little early at Oldway on Tuesday to hand out the free Paignton books to the last group of players, those in the Morning American in the Mayor’s Parlour. I found the 8 players gathered in a bit of a huddle, and then the morning Arbiter, Victor Cross, came in and addressed them all to sort out something of an anomaly.

The formulaic pairing table for the American had been published in the programme, and in a separate chart the 8 names had been listed alphabetically. However, the Arbiter for that section, (not Victor) had allocated the players to their numbers by lot, as one should do, and they had played Rd. 1 accordingly. The next day, the players sensed the anomaly and by discussion among themselves, sought to rectify matters by choosing a different opponent and playing them with colours opposite to what they had in Rd. 1, without any Arbiter fully realising what they were doing, thus further muddying the picture.

After it became clear what had happened, the previous evening Victor and the Senior Arbiter had had to devise a draw for the next 5 rounds, allowing the 2 games already played to stand, while ensuring the fairness of the new improvised draw in allocating the correct number of whites and blacks; i.e. 3 whites and 4 blacks to four players and 4 whites & 3 blacks to the others, without fear or favour. They seemed to appreciate the situation and were further mollified and distracted by having a free book thrust into their hands at that moment. A timely intervention.

Lost my own game by 12 noon and thus had 7 hours to wait before the start of the Michael Adams simultaneous match. Of all the evening events, this one seemed to have excited the imagination more than any other, and there was a palpable air of anticipation about the place. He and his wife, Tara, duly arrived about 6 p.m. and after a little meeting and greeting spent some time wandering around the Grade II listed gardens while tables and boards were manoeuvred into place in the restaurant.

The entry forms for the congress had invited any player who wanted to play Adams to tick a box. However, the constraints of the available space and time dictated that the room would only hold 30 tables. Add to this the GMs’ rule-of-thumb formula, ( 10 players per hour – i.e.  a 20 player simul would last 2 hours; 30 would be 3 hours etc. ) and the extra hour till 10 p.m. negotiated with the Caretaker, would be under threat. So, although many more wished to be involved, 30 names had to be chosen by lot. These comprised a goodly selection of players; locals & visitors – young and old – British & Continental – strong and weak, and so on. The fair sex was respresented by WECU Ladies Champion Hazel Welch and former British Ladies joint-Champion, Gillian Moore, (we won’t mention the year).

Finally, after a few welcoming words from the Host and two generous rounds of applause from the soon-to-be-slaughtered lambs, the match swung into quickfire action with Adams flitting round the boards; a quick handshake with each before making his 1st move, and on to the next. Discipline was good, each player waiting till Adams came to the board, allowing him to see the move being made, and writing his move down on duplicate scoresheets. 

This is a summary of the results. Mickey had brought along 6 small prizes in the shape of books and videos and the 5 gaining a result got to choose one. The solitary winner, Robert Thompson, has been making a habit of beating GMs in simuls, as he was the only player to beat Keith Arkell, when the latter came to his Torquay school earlier this year. 

Bd. Opponent   Grd Result Moves Opening
1 Gillian Moore   Southampton   144      1-0    35 Alekhine’s
2 M. Keeve   Dresden     1-0    29 Q.G.D.
3 G. Body   Lympstone   140    1-0    49 Sicilian
4 A. W. Brusey   Teignmouth   175   1-0    41 French
5 G. W. Harrison  Gosforth   137   1-0    29  
6 D. Walshaw   Jesmond   126   1-0    31  
7 B. O’Gorman   D.H.S.S.   157   ½-½    41 Sicilian
8 A. French   Streatham   185   1-0    56 Alekhine’s
9 W. Taylor   Sedgemoor   152   ½-½     
10 R. Waters   Taunton   124   1-0    23 Levitsky V.
11 J. C. Wells   N. Norfolk   175   ½-½    
12 J. C. Boyce   Bristol   149   1-0    45  
13 A. Doust   Marple   125   1-0    36 Alekhine’s
14 S. Schofield   N. Abbot   166   1-0    50 Scandinavian
15 R. Thompson   N. Abbot   173   0-1    39 K.I.D.
16 A. Billings   Torquay BGS.   148   1-0    26 Sicilian
17 G. W. Naldrett   Insurance   121   1-0    29  
18 P. Smith   Hastings   146   1-0    30 Sicilian
19 P. C. Wood   Hastings   146   1-0    26 French
20 C. Archer-Lock   Maidenhead   177  ½-½    39 French
21 P. Aston   Weymouth   154   1-0    
22 T. J. Woods   Milton Keynes   149   1-0    50 Pirc
23 H. Hocker   SG Karpov’s     1-0    16  
24 R. S. Scowen   Hampton   155   1-0    23 Spanish
25 R. J. Nash   N. Devon   138   1-0    44 French
26 M. A. Roberts   Holmes Chapel   139   1-0    44  
27 N. Dicker  Glastonbury   156   1-0    32 English
28 Hazel Welch   Seaton   115   1-0    40 Sicilian
29 I. Blencowe   Gloucester   136   1-0    31  
30 L. Plunkett   Ireland   137   1-0    23  
31 F. Sugden   Torquay BGS.   127   1-0    18 Spanish
                   Total     28 – 3    

John Constable made a video of the event, which he later edited and posted onYou-Tube. To see it, go to the You-Tube website and in the search box type “adams simul” and it should come up.

And now for some pictures…

On arrival, Mickey and his wife Tara, looked relaxed and confident.


Adams meets local player Stephen Schofield.


Adams starts his only losing game, against Robert Thompson.


Former British Ladies Champion, Gillian Moore, faces the current Champ.


Two wives of chessplayers - Tara Adams and Napoleon's Empress Josephine.


While play was in progress, Tara Adams explored the magnificent Gallery in Oldway Mansion.


Brendon O'Gorman held on for a draw from this position.


Robert Thompson close to the only win of the evening.


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