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WECU Inter-County Championship – U-160 Section. (04.11.2017.)

Three WECU counties decided to enter the U-160 section of the ECF’s Inter-County Championship. These were Devon and their two neighbours, Cornwall and Somerset. Devon’s first match was against Cornwall, with the latter being deemed the home side. Non-playing captain, Mark Hassall, wanted to avoid the parking problem, often experienced in the town centres of Plymouth and Launceston on a Saturday afternoon, and went for the small village of Altarnun, near the A30 south of Bodmin Moor. The village hall was spacious, warm, well-lit and well provided for refreshments.

The top 11 boards were well-matched and Mark Hassall felt at one point that Cornwall had rather the better of things, and in fact Devon only won by 6-5 on Bds 1 – 11. However, from then on down, the grade differential increased significantly, and Devon won all 5 games, making the fnal score 5-11, which somewhat belies the struggle on the higher boards.

Full details were:-

WECU Inter-County Championship

Bd Cornwall U-160 Grd Devon U-160 Grd
1 Colin Sellwood 155 0 1 Alan Brusey 158
2 Richard Smith 153 1 0 Charles Howard 155
3 Gary Trudeau 148 0 1 Brian Gosling 154
4 Jamie Morgan 146 1 0 Matthew Best 154
5 Adam Hussain 145 0 1 Mike Stinton-Brown. 154
6 Percy Gill 144 0 1 Sam Coutu-Oughton 151
7 Jan Rodrigo 141 0 1 Nick Butland 150
8 Jeff Nicholas 140 1 0 Andrew Kinder 147
9 Mick Hill 139 ½ ½ Steve Murray 147
10 Richard Clark 137 ½ ½ Steve Clarke 143
11 John Wilman 136 1 0 Rob Wilby 140
12 Stephen Pearce 126 0 1 Ben Wilkinson 138
13 David Jenkins 121 0 1 Adam Hart-Davis 135
14 Ian Renshaw 121 0 1 John Allen 134
15 Martin Jones 116 0 1 Robert Jones 128
16 Sam Edwards 100 0 1 Richard Smith 124
Totals 2168 5 11 2312

Start time approaching and waiting for sets.

The top boards soon after kick-off

The lower boards

Bd. 1: Alan Brusey vs Colin Sellwood.

Bd. 5: Mike Stinton-Brownbridge vs Adam Hussain.

Bd. 7: Nick Butland vs Jan Rodrigo

Standing in the hall doorway one can see the impressive facade of the Wensleyan Chapel, marking a spot where John Wesley regularly used to stop on his travels to preach to Cornwall's industrial workers further south.

Although Altarnun is a small village, its parish is, in fact, the largest in the county, encompassing over 15,000 acres of Bodmin Moor, coniferous forest etc. This large wall map, done for the Millennium and hanging in the hall, marks out the Parish boundary in yellow, and shows many features to be found within.

Devon vs Cornwall At Altarnun (11.11.2017.) 959

Another small piece of chess history was acted out on Saturday when a Cornish Under-160 team hosted one from Devon in Altarnun Village Hall. The sides consisted of 16 players, each of whom had a grade of 159 or below, the first time such a match has been played by either county. The other novelty was the venue which had never hosted such a match before. Altarnun, tucked away near the A30, doesn’t have quite the same Cornish ring to it as places like Mevagissey or Zennor, but although it has a population of just a few hundred souls, it is in fact the largest parish in the county comprising over 15,000 acres, and includes the famous Jamaica Inn.

The two teams looked well-matched on paper, although the Devon players may have had the slight edge of a handful of grading points in the bottom half of the team list. At the half way point, the Cornish non-playing captain, Mark Hassall, even suspected Cornwall had the edge, but as the games progressed, those few extra grading points made the difference, with Devon running out 11-5 winners. Details with Cornish players first in each pairing:

1.C. Sellwood 0-1 A. Brusey. 2.R. Smith 1-0 C Howard. 3.G. Trudeau 0-1 B. Gosling. 4.J Morgan 1-0 M. Best. 5.A. Hussain 0-1 M. Stinton-Brownbridge. 6. P. Gill 0-1 S. Coutu-Oughton. 7. J. Rodrigo 0-1 J. Butland. 8.J. Nicholas 1-0 A. Kinder. 9.M. Hill ½-½ S. Murray. 10.R. Clarke ½-½ S. Clarke. 11.J. Wilman 1-0 R. Wilby (captain). 12.S. Pearce 0-1 B. Wilkinson.  13.D. Jenkins 0-1 A. Hart-Davis. 14.I. Renshaw 0-1 J. Allen. 15. M. Jones  0-1 R. Jones. 16.S. Edwards 0-1 R. Smith.

Both teams had a Richard Smith, a Clarke and a Jones. Both Smiths won but were at opposite ends of their team, while the Clarkes and Joneses played each other. After a long game, the Clarkes were left with just a bishop and pawns each and drew, while this was the other game.

White: Mr. Jones. Black: Mr. Jones.

1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 d5 7.d3 Be7 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Re1 Bc5 10.c3 Qe7 11.d4 Bd6 12.Qc2 Rac8 13.b4 e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Nf3 Bd6 17.Nd4 Ready to jump left or right. 17…Qd7 18.Nf5 c5 19.Nxd6 White can’t afford to open up the c-file, so 19…Qxd6 20.b5 Qd7 21.a4 Rfe8 22.Rad1 Qe6? This innocuous-looking move proves to be the turning point as it removes defence from the bishop and allows… 23.c4 Rcd8 24.Bxf6 Removing a defender of d5… 24…Qxf6 and acquiring a central defended passed pawn. 25.cxd5 25…Re5 26.e4 Qe7 Time to mobilise all the central pawns.  27.f4 Rh5 28.e5 Bc8 29.d6 Qd7 30.Qe2 Rh6 31.Be4 Qh3 32.Qg2 Given White’s pawn superiority, it’s time to simplify out. 32…Be6 33.Qxh3 Bxh3 34.f5 Rh5 35.e6 If 35.f6 gxf6 36.exf6 Kf8 37.Bc6 Be6 38.d7 Rf5 39.Rf1 Re5. 35…fxe6 Or 35…Bxf5 36.e7 Re8 37.Bxf5 g6 38.Bg4. 36.fxe6 Bxe6 37.Bxh7+ Kxh7 38.Rxe6 Rf5 39.d7 Rff8 40.Re7 Kg8 41.Rde1 Kh8 42.Re8 Kh7 43.Rxf8 Rxf8 44.Re8 1–0

This week’s position is a 2-mover. White to play.