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Posts Tagged ‘Bremridge Cup’

Exmouth Retain Bremridge Cup Div. 1 (04.04.2016)

Exmouth’s final match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition was against old rivals Teignmouth, at the Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the sea, with Teignmouth town feintly visible on the other side of the bay.

Looking at the team lists and grades, one might assume this could be an easy proposition for the cup holders, were it not for three things; (a) nothing is certain in chess (b) Exmouth were 3 X 170+ players light, for various reasons, including a family wedding and an Exeter City vs Plymouth Argyle match and (c) on the night of the recent Storm Katie, with the winds howling all around the town, the non-playing Captain, Bob Jones, heard a loud bang in the middle of the night. In the morning, fearing the worst and expecting some degree of structural damage to the house, as there had been in the previous storm only a couple of weeks earlier, he found the noise had been caused by the Bremridge Cup falling off its perch for no apparent reason. Could all this be an omen?

In the event, Teignmouth, too, were under-strength, with their top player, Alan Brusey, unwell. Yet the games went on and on – there were no quick wins anywhere. In fact, it was only when the endgames were reached that the differences in grade began to tell. All 6 games then finished within quite a short time of each other, and suddenly the match was over.

EXMOUTH Grd TEIGNMOUTH Grd
1 John Stephens 196 1 0 Bill Ingham 158
2 Dr. Jon Underwood 184 1 0 Nathan Mills 154
3 Steve Martin 183 1 0 Peter E. Halmkin 151
4 Brian Gosling 157 1 0 Rev. Charles Doidge 129
5 Chris Scott 150 1 0 John Ariss 121
6 Steve Murray 150 1 0 Norman F. Tidy 119
1,020 6 0 832

This left Exmouth with 3 won matches and one drawn. The match they came closest to losing was against Exeter, where Exeter were leading 3-2 and one unclear ending in progress. In the event, Brian Gosling found a clever pseudo-sacrificial move that won the game and saved the match.

Summaries of results and performances are as follows:

Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4
Bd vs Newton A vs Tiverton vs Exeter vs Teignmouth
1 Stephens 1 Stephens 1 Underwood 0 Stephens 1
2 Underwood ½ Martin 1 Martin ½ Underwood 1
3 Martin ½ Underwood 1 Abbott ½ Martin 1
4 Abbott ½ Abbott 1 Wensley ½ Gosling 1
5 Wensley ½ Wensley 1 Gosling 1 Scott 1
6 Scott ½ Scott 1 Scott ½ Murray 1
6 3 6
Name P W D L %
John Stephens 3 3 0 0 100
Jon Underwood 4 2 1 1 62.5
Steve Martin 4 2 2 0 75
Mark Abbott 3 1 2 0 66
Oliver Wensley 3 1 2 0 66
Brian Gosling 2 2 0 0 100
Chris Scott 4 2 2 0 75
Steve Murray 1 1 0 0 100
Bremridge Cup Div. 1       2015 – 16 season
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Tot. For Against
1 Exeter X 1 0 0
2 Exmouth 1 X 2 2 2 7 18½
3 Newton Abbot 2 0 X
4 Teignmouth 0 X
5 Tiverton 2 0 X

Exmouth Retain Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)

Exmouth’s final match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition was against old rivals Teignmouth, at the Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the sea, with Teignmouth town feintly visible on the other side of the bay.

Looking at the team lists and grades, one might assume this could be an easy proposition for the cup holders, were it not for three things; (a) nothing is certain in chess (b) Exmouth were 3 X 170+ players light, for various reasons, including a family wedding and an Exeter City vs Plymouth Argyle match and (c) on the night of the recent Storm Katie, with the winds howling all around the town, the non-playing Captain, Bob Jones, heard a loud bang in the middle of the night. In the morning, fearing the worst and expecting some degree of structural damage to the house, as there had been in the previous storm only a couple of weeks earlier, he found the noise had been caused by the Bremridge Cup falling off its perch for no apparent reason. Could all this be an omen?

In the event, Teignmouth, too, were under-strength, with their top player, Alan Brusey, unwell. Yet the games went on and on – there were no quick wins anywhere. In fact, it was only when the endgames were reached that the differences in grade began to tell. All 6 games then finished within quite a short time of each other, and suddenly the match was over.

Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)     02.04.2016.
EXMOUTH EXMOUTH EXMOUTH EXMOUTH
1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1
2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2
3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3
4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4
5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5
6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6

This left Exmouth with 3 won matches and one drawn. The match they came closest to losing was against Exeter, where Exeter were leading 3-2 and one unclear ending in progress. In the event, Brian Gosling found a clever pseudo-sacrificial move that won the game and saved the match.

Bremridge Cup Div. 1       2015 – 16 season
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Tot. For Against
1 Exeter X 1 0 0
2 Exmouth 1 X 2 2 2 7 18½
3 Newton Abbot 2 0 X
4 Teignmouth 0 X
5 Tiverton 2 0 X

Exeter-Exmouth Bremridge Cup Result (27.02.2016.)

It was time for another top level encounter between near neighbours on the Exe, Exeter & Exmouth. 

Exmouth were without 2 of their top players, Stephens and Shaw, while Exeter had been able to beef up their team with 2 new acquisitions from the University. Matthew Best is a 2nd year economics student, while Chris Lowe is on the University staff, teaching English Grammar to anyone who needs it.  However, although he has just arrived in Exeter this season after 20 years in Sussex, he is not new to Devon, having been part of the Paignton Palace crew in the early 1980s. This was situated in Paignton but distinct from the old town club, and was based in Palace Avenue. Its membership consisted mainly of older Juniors, centred around future IM, Gary Lane, and included players like Paul Aston, A. K. Swift,  Brian Boomsma, the Hawthorne brothers et al.  They won the Bremridge Cup in 1982, ‘83 and ‘86, so Lowe was no stranger to this tournament. As the teenagers grew up they went their separate ways and the club eventually broke up. 

These changes made the teams very closely matched on every board, and the outcome impossibe to predict.  The games ended in 2 rafts of three, the first batch being all draws. Firstly, the Regis-Martin game came to an agreeable end when neither player had any advantage. Abbott vs Lowe came down to a R&Ps ending in which neither player felt inclined to push too hard in case it collapsed against them, as can happen all too often. There was nothing placid about Body vs Wensley, in which White quickly got a strong kingside attack in a Scotch Game. However, White spent so much time looking for the killer blow, that he ran short of time and agreed a draw. 

There was then a lull as the other 3 games played out. Pope vs Scott was eventually drawn in an even position, leaving the last 2 games which were definitely not even in any way. Underwood-Paulden had been a complex position from the start in which pieces were left en prise while Black probed for weakenesses all over the board. Eventually, White cracked, and attention then suddenly focussed on Gosling’s game. He had only c. 2 minutes left and was reduced to just ticking off his last few moves before move 40 was reached. He was a piece up but there were pieces and pawns all over the board. However, right at the death he found the far-from-obvious winning move that offered a piece back, but if taken would enable him to queen a pawn. A win and the match was saved. 3-3 was about what one would expect, the grades being what they were.

     Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                               27.02.2016.
  EXETER  Grd     EXMOUTH Grd    
1 Dr. Tim Paulden 185 1 0 Dr. Jon Underwood 184    
2 Dr. Dave Regis 180 ½ ½ Steve Martin 183    
3 Chris Lowe 179 ½ ½ Mark V. Abbott 177    
4 Giles Body 163 ½ ½ Oliver E. Wensley 171    
5 Matthew Best 155 0 1 Brian G. E. Gosling 157    
6 Sean Pope 142 ½ ½ Christopher J. Scott 150    
  Totals 1,004 3 3   1,022    

 

Exeter's Dave Regis (nearest) and Tim Paulden make their first moves.

Chris Lowe (facing) getting back to the Devon chess scene, against Mark Abbott.

Boards 4 (nearest) & 5.

Exeter's captain, Sean Pope in action.

Exmouth’s Defence of Bremridge Cup Continues (09.01.2016.)

Exmouth’s defence of the DCCA Div. 1 tournament continued with a match against Tiverton. Originally scheduled as a home match for Exmouth, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. Finding 5 hrs parking in Exmouth on a Saturday afternoon is near impossible at the best of times, but add to this the £50 hire charge being asked by several places, and the Manor Hotel being closed for the week, led Exmouth to asking whether Tiverton could host the match. This was agreed and Exmouth were happy to  pay their £17.50 hire charge.

So far so good; but the weather conditions driving up the motorway towards Tiverton were atrocious to the point of being potentially dangerous, with torrential rain and spray all the way. John Stephens driving up from Plymouth found the main A38 blocked and he was redirected to minor roads and phoned in to say he would be late, and Steve Martin didn’t know where the venue was situated in the town. Thus the omens were not good, but at least all the Exmouth team were in place by 2.30. The Tiverton team was somewhat compromised by the unavailability for one reason or another of several of their top players; Rudd, Richardt, Duckham, Hunter et al. and they had drafted in 2 other Cornish players besides Simon Bartlett to make up a competitive team.

In spite of all this, play got under way at the appointed hour (14.30); quiet descended and a drama slowly unfolded.

The first games to finish were on Bds 5 &6.  On bottom board, Chris Scott was able to fork 2 rooks with his knight on move 24 and it was all over 3 moves later. On Bd. 5 Oliver Wensley reported on his game tus: “White abandoned his regular Kings’ pawn opening in light of a recent match against his opponent, albeit rapid play, where his Caro-Kann defence was extremely effective.

Whether or not this shocked Black, he seemed completely fine with his Dutch defence until move eleven where, with White as yet uncommitted to castling, he decided to go on the offensive with 11…. Qh5. This allowed White to win a key central Pawn as Blacks’ back rank defences had been abandoned. Having analysed the position, Black stood equal by developing his Queens’ Bishop to e6 instead. Here White probably would have played Ng5 attacking it.

White had earlier ceded the Bishop pair advantage to Black in order to prevent Ne4. The better way forward for Black would be to develop his Bishop to e6 and potentially allow white to equalise by allowing the exchange of his Bishop for Whites’ Knight.

After the text move, White realised the e5 space was in the offing for his Knight should a series of exchanges take place & this is what occurred. In the end, White took advantage of the open e-file & with Black’s queenside not developed, managed to get the advantage.” After playing 21.Ne5 getting his knight established in a forward position with threats, Black resigned.

White plays 22.Ne5 and Black resigns.

Scott played 22...Ne4 and White resigned 3 moves later.

 

And the games continued to finish in sequence – Bds. 4,  3,  2, and finally Bd. 1 which went to the last few seconds of extra time, and each one went to the visitors. Mark Abbott got the upper hand with just a rook and 2 minor pieces left.  Jon Underwood’s game revolved around control of the long dark-square diagonal towards his opponent’s king, which finished with a fatal skewer. This left the top two games which were very finely balanced throughout, until the clock eventually decided the outcome.  Bd. 2 featured a R+4 vs R+5 pawn ending. Martin had the extra pawn, but Retallick, with great concentration, managed to create his own threats. Looking at the clocks it appeared both players had the same amount of time left – a few minutes each, but in his concentration on the board, Retallick hadn’t fully appreciated that his few minutes left was of his 20 minutes extra time, while Martin’s few minutes left was of his original allocation of 100 minutes to reach move 40.  Suddenly his clock started flashing red to indicate all his time had elapsed. 5-0.  The Stephens-Hewson game looked completely blocked with pieces being shuffled around behind a barrier of pawns. When Stephens was down to 3 minutes left, compared to his opponent’s 7 minutes, he launched a pawn advance that opened the a-file and he won a piece. His own pieces now had some room to manoeuvre and Black had to use up his time advantage in trying to work out the better lines. Eventually, his time ran out with Stephens’ own clock well into  his final minute.

Such results at this level are rare, but not unique, as Brian Hewson recalled a Plymouth 6-0 Exeter result between 2 evenly matched teams; the following year the same two teams in the same competition recorded Plymouth 0-6 Exeter. 

  Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                         09.01.2016.    
Bd TIVERTON Grd     EXMOUTH Grd
1 B. W. R. Hewson 176 0 1 J. K. F. Stephens 196
2 L. Retallick 171 0 1 S. Martin 184
3 P. Hampton 175 0 1 Dr. J. Underwood 186
4 S, Bartlett 167 0 1 M. V. Abbott 178
5 I. S. Annetts 151 0 1 O. E. Wensley 170
6 G. Fotheringham 135 0 1 C. J. Scott 149
    975 0 6   1,063

 

Lloyd Retallick moves against Steve Martin.

Chris Scott (nearest/facing) & Oliver Wensley awaiting a move.

Shirtsleeved Mark Abbott & Jon Underwood with Martin in foreground.

General view of playing area.

Exmouth Retain Bremridge Cup – Div. 1 (11.04.2015.)

After wins against Newton Abbot and Tiverton, and a streaky draw against Exeter, Exmouth went into their last match knowing that even a narrow loss would leave them 1st= on match points, while even a draw would make them champions again. As the teams assembled at Teignmouth’s venue, the Alice Cross Day Centre, there was nervous banter between the players, with some mention of the possible odds on a 6-0 win for Exmouth, but this was only gallows humour from some of the home team; Exmouth were taking nothing for granted.

The only presumption was to be taking a team photograph with the cup, but this was only because it was probably the only time the team would all be present in the same place at the same time.  Naturally, it wouldn’t be used if Exmouth lost the match. To keep things even-handed, a team photo was taken of the Teignmouth team as well. (see below).

As the match got under way, a win seemed some way off, as Ingham & Underwood played a quick draw and went off to do other things, while Wensley, otherwise the in-form player, went a piece down against the dangerous Bramley, and there were no discernable advantages to Exmouth in the other 4 games – at that point. Nor could Gosling make any headway against Prior and a draw was agreed. So where was a won game, let alone a won match coming from? However, after 3+ hours play, games 3 to 5 all went the visitors’ way in rapid succession, as grades and experience told in the long run. Wensley recovered his piece and won with Q+R on the 7th rank. Martin was able to pick up pawns in the endgame and broke through, while Scott forced a series of errors from his opponent. With the match won, it left Stephens and Brusey playing for pride, neither willing to concede anything. They played an endgame right through to the last minutes of extra time, until Brusey’s flag fell in a losing position, while Stephens had about 3 minutes left. 

A 5-1 result was about what one might expect, looking at the team sheets, but it was mighty hard work getting there.

  Bremridge Cup       11.04.2015  
  Teignmouth Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 Alan W. Brusey 176 0 1 John K. Stephens 196
2 H. Bill Ingham 168 ½ ½ Jon Underwood 180
3 Norman F. Tidy 127 0 1 Steve Martin 175
4 Graham Bramley 117 0 1 Oliver E. Wensley  151
5 John Ariss 117 0 1 Chris J. Scott 154
6 Mike T.  Prior 116 ½ ½ Brian G. Gosling 148
    821       1,004
      1 5    

The final table was as follows:-

  Bremridge Cup Div. 1: 2015     Game points  
  Team 1 2 3 4 5 for against pts
1 Exmouth X 2 2 1 2 16½ 7
2 Newton Abbot 0 X 1 2 2 15 9 5
3 Tiverton 0 1 X 2 2 13 11 5
4 Exeter 1 0 0 X 2 10½ 13½ 3
5 Teignmouth 0 0 0 0 X 5 19 0

 

    NA Tiv Ex Te    
  ▼players.  Rd ► 1 2 3 4    
1 Stephens 0 1 1 1   3
2 Underwood ½ ½ 0 ½  
3 Martin 1 1   2
4 Scott 1 1 0 1   3
5 Gosling ½ 1 0 ½   2
6 Wensley ½ 1 1 1  
7 Shaw ½ 1  
    5 3 5   16½ 

 

The Teignmouth team: seated l-r:- Bill Ingham; Alan Brusey, Norman Tidy (Capt.). Standing: John Ariss; Graham Bramley & M. Prior.

The Exmouth team: seated l-r: Jonathan Underwood; John Stephens & Oliver Wensley. Standing: Chris Scott, Brian Gosling & Steve Martin.

General view; Ingham - Underwood nearest.

General view #2: Prior - Gosling nearest.

Bramley & Wensley in some post-game analysis.

A Black Day Indeed for Exeter & Exmouth In Div. 1. (14.03.2015.)

Local rivals Exeter and Exmouth met in the 3rd of 4 of their scheduled Division 1 matches. Exmouth were out-done by 4 doctors to 1, but gradewise the teams were very closely matched on paper. All but one of the players were established figures on the local scene and were familiar with their opponents’ strengths, the only relatively new face being the ungraded Tristram de Piro.   

Stephens vs Paulden on Bd. 1

The first game to finish was on Bd. 4 where Scott was trying to hold an endgame position with a rook each and bishops on opposite coloured squares. With best play it might have been possible to hang on, in view of the bishops, but the pressure told and he inadvertently allowed White’s bishop to fork K & R. 1-0 to Exeter.  

Shaw then managed to convert his positional advantages into material gain, forcing a win to level the scores. Dave Regis then restored Exeter’s lead by applying constant pressure in the endgame. Shortly after, Oliver Wensley exploited the advantage a well-placed, attacking bishop pair vs two defending knights, and forced resignation, to make it 2-all. 

Almost immediately Exeter drew ahead for the 3rd time when Sean Pope made the most of a mistake by his opponent in allowing him back into the game. He won the exchange and then made equal swaps to snuff out any chance of a kingside attack.  

This assured Exeter of avoiding a loss, but the win hung on the outcome of the top game, which went into extra time after Paulden ran down to the very last second on his digital clock before completing his 40th move. He had delayed development of his queenside pieces until late in the game and was struggling to get them usefully deployed thereafter. White was the exchange up at this point and his pieces were better coordinated and were focussed on the enemy king.  However, the win wasn’t immediately clear and he had a long think over his 41st move before finding a knight pseudo-sacrifice that won immediately whether the knight was taken or not, making the final score 3-all. 

  Bremridge Cup       Sat. 14th March 2015  
  Exeter Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 Dr. T. J. Paulden 187 0 1 J. K. F. Stephens 196
2 Dr. D. Regis 181 1 0 Dr. J. W. R. Underwood 180
3 Dr. G. Body 171 0 1 M. Shaw 173
4 S. Waters 164 1 0 C. J. Scott 154
5 Dr. T. D. P. de Piro 160e 0 1 O. E. Wensley 151
6 S. Pope 141 1 0 B. G. E. Gosling 148
    1,002 3 3    

If it was unusual to have a match at this level with no drawn games, it was even more so that every game was a White win, giving the final result sheet a certain symmetry.

  Exeter          Exmouth  
1 Paulden   B 0 1 Stephens W
2 Regis   W 1 0 Underwood B
3 Body   B 0 1 Shaw W
4 Waters   W 1 0 Scott B
5 De Piro   B 0 1 Wensley W
6 Pope   W 1 0 Gosling B
        3 3    

 Exmouth’s final match in this competition is against Teignmouth, while Exeter are due to play Newton Abbot.

Meyrick Shaw gets his game going.

Exeter captain, Simon Waters, starts with an English Opening.

Oliver Wensley against Tristram de Piro.

 

Sean Pope against Brian Gosling on Bd. 6

Exmouth Stagger Over the Line (23.03.2014.)

Exmouth’s penultimate game in Devon’s senior club championship was at home against Teignmouth. Although missing a number of their top players, Exmouth still outgraded the visitors by 115 points, and on paper it looked a relatively easy challenge, except that at this level nothing can be taken for granted. Pre-match chat before the kick-off revealed, for example, that Graham Bramley (109) had already beaten and drawn with Alan Brusey (181) in club games, and Stormin’ Norman Tidy was sweeping all before him in 2014, including having won his section in the recent E. Devon Congress. And that was only on the bottom boards, while the top 3 consisted of the regular triumvirate of Brusey, Ingham and the British U-150 champion, John Gorodi, all capable of beating anyone at any time. So this was clearly not going to an easy task.

And sure enough, Tidy swept away Oliver Wensley, (who won the E. Devon Premier 2 years ago) in short order, after a quick draw on Bd. 2, leaving Teignmouth needing only 1½ points from the last 4 games to spoil the party for the home team. However, John Ariss had left himself very weak on the white squares around his king, and Gosling was not slow to extract full advantage. Playing a Closed Sicilian, Steve Martin managed to open lines to Gorodi’s king, especially down the h-file, and again extracted maximum advantage with a quick, sharp attack. Chris Scott played steadily, gradually putting a positional squeeze on his opponent, eventually getting adjacent central pawns on the 6th rank that couldn’t be stopped. This win secured the 3½ points required. But the Bd. 1 game went the full distance, with Shaw winning a piece and having a positional advantage, but shortage of time meant he lost his way, losing a piece back, and with it the game. Fortunately, in the circumstances it didn’t matter as the match was already won.

The games are all accessible on the chessdevon website.

The win puts Exmouth in top spot, a point clear of the holders, Newton Abbot, the teams to meet in what will now be the deciding match in April. Unlike last year, game points won’t be a factor as it’s impossible for teams to tie at the top on the same number of match points.

  Exmouth Grd     Teignmouth Grd
1 M. Shaw 176 0 1 A. W. Brusey 181
2 Dr. J. Underwood 171 ½ ½ W. H. Ingham 160
3 S. Martin 165 1 0 J. G. Gorodi 159
4 O. E. Wensley 157 0 1 N. F. Tidy 123
5 B. G. Gosling 152 1 0 J. A. Ariss 119
6 C. J. Scott 145 1 0 G. Bramley 109
  Totals 966   851

 

The Exmouth team (facing)

The Bremridge Cup – a brief history.

Devon’s premier team tournament, the Bremridge Cup was inaugurated in 1902, with a cup donated by the newly-created DCCA’s then secretary, the Rev. Henry Bremridge, and has been competed for ever since. 

For many decades the tournament was a battle between Plymouth and Exeter. This was not surprising as Plymouth had by far the largest population base from which to draw players (c. ¼ million) and the club was led from the front by the charismatic Ron Bruce. This was off-set by Exeter having the University and a number of establishments of higher education, all providing a shifting population of young talents passing through. 

From time to time, other clubs were allowed their moment in the sun, as, for example, when a young Gary Lane emerged in Paignton, a star collecting around him a small constellation of aspirants. The University were immensely strong in the ‘60s and ‘70s, while Barnstaple once had enough talents to form a strong team of 6, winning in 1991 and 1992. 

But by the 1990s things were waning. Ron and Rowena Bruce and their generation had passed away or moved on, and the Plymouth Club had no appetite at all for weekend chess. Exeter, too, failed to identify a strong leader who could forge the city’s talents into a regularly competitive team. The University club folded altogether as students were left more and more to their own devices. Gary Lane grew up, moved on, and the Paignton Club folded. Teignmouth, an ever-present club in the tournament seized their chance, claiming their only win in 2001. 

While everyone was delighted at this well-deserved success, the DCCA could see that the tournament was on the slide. In the centenary 2001-02 season, only two clubs had entered the Bremridge Cup and there were no clubs at all in the Mamhead Cup (Div. 2). In order to try and address this alarming decline, the Association agreed that clubs could become more pro-active in their search for strong players willing to commit their Saturday afternoons. 

In this recruitment drive Exmouth were first off the mark. Ken Derrick, a 200 grade player formerly from Bristol, was discovered living quietly in an East Devon village, hitherto unknown to mainstream Devon chess. Likewise with Mike Cox, who lived nearby. Trefor Thynne, a former Exmouth Champion who had been inactive in recent years was also invited to join the party. This surge attracted Ivor Annetts and Brian Hewson from the Tiverton area where there was no top level chess at that time. 

In no time at all, Exmouth, who had only very rarely entered the Bremridge in its 100 years, became Devon champions 6 times in the 8 years from 2002, seemingly before other clubs had twigged what the secret was. This was only the short-term effect; Trefor Thynne’s interest was thereby re-awakened, and he went on to form the Newton Abbot Club, while Annetts and Hewson started doing the same for Tiverton as Exmouth had done. The result being 3 strong teams where none had existed before. 

This renaissance came to head this season with 5 teams entering the 1st division. Exeter had entered early, but when the familiar problem arose of needing a captain to organise things, and it looked as if they would have to withdraw, the day was saved by Dave Regis who stepped in after Christmas.

So, with at least 4 teams at full strength, it was clear that every team was capable of beating the other 4. And so it proved. 

When the day of the final match arrived (Tiverton vs Exmouth), there were still three possible outcomes. (a) If Tiverton won 6-0 they would win the cup; (b) If Exmouth won or only drew 3-3, they would win the cup and if Tiverton won by 3½-2½ or slightly better, Newton Abbot would win. Trefor Thynne, as Newton Abbot captain and a (very) interested party came along to witness fair play and to present the Cup to either club. 

Things had not gone well for the Exmouth Club, whose absentees were strong and plentiful enough to form a Bremridge team on their own, whereas Brian Hewson drove for 4 hours from Kent to arrive minutes before kick-off time, mentally and physically exhausted but determined not to miss the occasion. Also, the sounds of music and merriment, wafting upstairs from the bar below throughout, seemed to affect the visitors more than their opponents, and when Tiverton got to 3½-1½ with a game to go, it was clear neither was going to win the cup, and Trefor Thynne took it back with him, to hold for a 4th successive year. After he left, Underwood scored a fine endgame win to make the final score a tantalising half point short of Exmouth’s required draw.

  Bremridge Cup       15.06.2013.  
Bd Tiverton Grd     Exmouth Grd
1 B. Edgell 199 1 0 J. K. F. Stephens 192
2 D. Littlejohns 180 ½ ½ A. Archer-Lock 192
3 M. Richardt 177 0 1 Dr. J. W. R. Underwood 171
4 B. W. R. Hewson 174 0 1 M. Shaw 166
5 S. Bartlett 164 1 0 B. G. E. Gosling 164
6 I. S. Annetts 152 1 0 R. H. Jones 130
    1,046   1,015
             

 

  Club P W D L F A Pts
1st= Newton Abbot 4 2 1 1 15 9 5
1st= Exmouth 4 2 1 1 14 10 5
1st= Tiverton 4 2 1 1 13 11 5
1st= Exeter 4 2 1 1 13 11 5
5th Teignmouth 4 0 0 4 5 19 0

 

Tiverton (l-r) seated: Dave Littlejohns; Brian Hewson; Ivor Annetts; 2nd row: Ben Edgell; Mike Richardt; Simon Bartlett.

Exmouth (l-r) seated: Meyrick Shaw; John Stephens; Bob Jones; standing: Jonathan Underwood; Brian Gosling; Adrian Archer-Lock.

Littlejohns v Archer-Lock wait for the "off".

Ready to lock horns! To get into the spirit of things, Bd. 2 played the Spanish Opening.

Shaw looks like he fancies his chances as his opponent's so tired.

Devon’s Div. 1 (Bremridge Cup) Exmouth vs Exeter.

The 5 teams in Devon’s 1st Division, play each other once, giving a total of 4 matches. Both Exeter and Exmouth have been a little slow off the mark this season, for one reason or another, and this was the third match for each, with Exeter having won their 1st two matches, while Exmouth had won one and drawn one. So there was everything to play for.

Luck played a part in the team selection for both sides. Exmouth were lucky in that former player, Ken Derrick, had decided to play a more active part in Devon chess, playing both for the county and his old club of Exmouth. This, combined with Dr. Underwood’s recent return from a two year stint in Connecticut, enabled the home team to be at full strength. On the other hand, one Exeter player found himself in another country and had to be substituted at short notice. 

The first game to finish was on Bd. 4 where Kevin Hurst gained the upper hand against Simon Waters in a Petroff Defence, and it was all over in 21 moves. This was balanced by a win for Dr. Paulden who broke through Dr. Underwood’s king’s position, utilising long open lines for his pieces, queen, rook and bishops. Then Exeter took the lead as Andy Boyne got a knight established on the 6th rank, and kept all his other pieces working harmoniously. At this point, 2-1 down, and two players a pawn down, for little obvious compensation, even a drawn match looked optimistic. 

It was, in fact, like a match of two halves, with the first 3 games finishing in 21, 28 and 32 moves respectively, while the other three all went right down to the wire; in 59, 63 & 64 moves. The 6 free players and non-playing captain all looked on nervously as the games went into extra time and fortunes gradually swung around. 

Mark Abbott had looked the only one with a superior position, but this was gradually whittled away until an ending was reached where he only had 3 pawns against a rook. Fortunately, his king was able to protect them as they shuffled forward, like a shepherd coralling his last 3 sheep. The rook alone could do little as his king was trying to catch up with the action. Abbott finished prettily, underpromoting a pawn to a knight with check, allowing a 2nd pawn to queen.

Now 2-all, and the other two games, in which both Exmouth players had been a pawn down, were gradually turning around. The Stephens/Regis game had been positionally congested with 13 pawns still on the board late on, but Stephens was able to grab an open file for his rook, before invading Black’s position to winning effect.  The Pope/Shaw game came down to a N + B each with a scattering of pawns, when Shaw opted to swap his bad bishop for Pope’s good knight, after which he was able to grab a few pawns and ran his h-pawn forward to queen, which Pope was unable to prevent.

So it finished 4 – 2, which sounds a healthy margin, but the result was in doubt to the very end. It was unusual at this level to have all six games ending decisively, with no draws, indicative of how all 12 players were committed to the cause.

  Bremridge Cup       04.05.2013  
Bd. Exmouth Grd     Exeter  Grd
1 K. W. Derrick 207 0 1 A. Boyne 195
2 J. K. F. Stephens 192 1 0 D. Regis 179
3 J. Underwood 177 0 1 T. Paulden 177
4 K. J. Hurst 176 1 0 S. R. Waters 168
5 M. Shaw 166 1 0 S. Pope 158
6 M. V. Abbott 167 1 0 P. Dobber 142
  Totals 1,085 4 2   1,019

 

General view - Bd. 1 nearest.

Bds. 1 - 3 in early action.

Bds 4 - 6 in action.

Exmouth vs Tiverton Bremridge Match.

After a disappointing 5-1 loss to Newton Abbot in their previous Div. 1 match, Exmouth were hoping for better luck against an equally strong Tiverton side. They had their 4 regulars on the top boards, fresh from triumphs at the East Devon Congress the previous weekend, and were joined by 2 “newcomers” on Bds. 5 & 6, namely Tony Hart and Meyrick Shaw, both of whose absence from active play for can be measured in decades.

After 2 hours play there were some very worried faces on the Tiverton side, as the home side looked to be comfortable-to-better on 5 boards. However, converting any advantage to a full point proved impossible.

Tony Hart was running Ivor Annetts ragged for most of the game, but misjudged his defences, allowing his opponent back into the game and he succumbed to a strong kingside attack. Shaw fell for a sucker punch in the opening, allowing Bxf7+ to an uncastled king with a knight hovering to follow it up. The “gift” was declined and he got back to a pawn up going into a bishops of opposite colour endgame, which couldn’t be forced. Gosling overlooked what appeared to be a forced mate in 2 and allowed his opponent to get in a long series of checks and a draw was agreed, making 3 results that got away. Wensley was always comfortable against Hewson and it ended up with K+equal pawns with no advantage to either side. Stephens’ position was equal up to the point where he inadvertantly lost his bishop. His only compensation was for his queen to have total domination of the white squares and a long series of checks that again ended in a draw. At the outset, Hurst was determined to play quickly in the opening in order to avoid the risk of blundering pieces away in time trouble at the end – a plan that didn’t quite work the way he intended. Never the less, Edgell knew he was in danger at several points and had to be at his best.  All in all, it was a case of ’so near and yet so far’ from a fabulous result.

Bd. Exmouth Grd     Tiverton Grd
1 Kevin J. Hurst 186 0 1 Ben Edgell 194
2 John Stephens 173 ½ ½ Mike Richardt 180
3 Oliver Wensley 164 ½ ½ Brian Hewson 184
4 Brian Gosling 150 ½ ½ Simon Bartlett 165
5 Tony Hart 145e 0 1 Ivor Annetts 150
6 Meyrick Shaw 150e ½ ½ Keith Atkins 145
  Totals 968 2 4    

 

Exmouth facing Tiverton.

 

Shaw (l) vs Atkins.

 

Exmouth's top boards.

 

Nervous Tiverton faces at the match end, as they were throughout.