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Plymouth’s Return To The Bremridge Cup (26.11.2016.)

Last Saturday saw a small bit of chess history unfold, as Plymouth returned to the Bremridge for the first time in a period best measured in decades, probably between 25 and 30 years. That they did so was on the condition that John Stephens, Exmouth born & bred and their top player in recent years, left the Exmouth team and signed on for Plymouth, his current active club membership. The splendid ambience of the Plymouth Bridge Club on Mutley Plain, more than did justice to the occasion.

However, on the day, both teams were missing members who were unavailable for whatever reason. Exmouth had 5 players out: Stephens (for reasons already explained), Shaw & Marshall playing in the World Seniors event in the Czech Republic; Wensley (wedding – not his!), Abbott (Exeter City FC home match), while Plymouth were 3 down. This resulted in the two teams being very closely matched as regards current grades, with only a few points between them.

Once play got under way, the first game to finish was on Bd. 5 where Scott managed to get a knight up front that forked the queen and both rooks – not so much a fork as a trident. Murray got a slight positional edge against Rob Wilby, but was unable to develop it into any lasting advantage and a draw was agreed.

The game on Bd. 2 was a strange one in that Pollock, early on, won the exchange with a knight forking queen and rook, but subsequently kept dropping pawns here and there, to a point where Steve Martin still had 7 pawns lined up against just 4, so the material advantage lay with him, especially as White’s rook just couldn’t find any meaningful activity. Eventually, the black pawns sprang to life and charged forward like a swarm of little black ants against which the rook was powerless.

Plymouth’s up-& coming Nick Hodge kept his cool under Gosling’s various ploys, and gradually got his pieces into advanced positions against the enemy king, to keep the match alive. He has a place booked at St. Andrews University for the next academic year, so will be another loss to the club as his strength will surely continue to grow.

In the top game, Stephens went wrong late in the game to a point where it was resignable, but he played on in view of the match position and the chance that there were possibilities of a swindle, as time was very short and the position still needed careful manoeuvring, but Underwood, under extreme time pressure, managed to avoid all such traps and queened a pawn.

The last game to finish featured a finely balanced endgame between Paul Hampton and the home captain, Sivrev, which finished with 2 blocked pawns each and a draw was agreed.

Most games available in PGN  on chessdevon.org.

DCCA  Division 1 – Bremridge Cup  26.11.2016
Plymouth Grd Exmouth Grd
1 John Stephens 192 0 1 Jonathan Underwood 183
2 Richard Pollock 181 0 1 Steve Martin 182
3 Pavel Sivrev 175 ½ ½ Paul Hampton 167
4 Nick Hodge 159 1 0 Brian Gosling 159
5 Mike Stinton-Brownbridge 145 0 1 Chris Scott 151
6 Rob Wilby 137 ½ ½ Steve Murray 151
989 2 4 993

General view of the playing room.

P. Hampton vs P. Sivrev

Pollock vs Martin

Scott vs Stinton-Brownbridge (nearest) & Wilby vs Murray.