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East Devon Congress Winners (18.03.2017.)

The East Devon Congress was held in Exeter last weekend and attracted a higher than usual entry of 155, including half a dozen with a Masters title.

The prizewinners were as follows:

Open Section: 1st John Nunn 4½. 2nd= Keith Arkell (Paignton), Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) & Mike Waddington (Dorchester) all 4 pts.

Major: (U-155) 1st David Archer (S. Hams) 4½. 2nd= Arthur Hibbitt (Banbury), Lander Arrasate (Sedgemoor), Brendan O’Gorman (DHSS), Charles Keen (Sidmouth), and Darrell Watson (Bourne End), all with 4 pts.

Minor (U-125) 1st Grant Daly (Downend) 4½. 2nd= Ken Alexander (Tiverton), Ray Hunt (Sidmouth), Paul Errington (Bournemouth), Tim Crouch (King’s Head), Maurice Richards (Liskeard) and Tim Roberts (Exeter Uni.) all 4 pts.

This was the first time GM John Nunn had played in this event since 1979, and the result was exactly the same as then; clear 1st on 4½ points ahead of a number of top players of the day.

The event has its own website, eastdevonchesscongress.com, containing more details and keverelchess.com has pictures of the action.

One of the Master players was an Austrian called Walter Braun, who had moved to Exmouth days before. His Rd. 1 game was one of the shortest ever played in the event and illustrates the need for caution even in the first few moves.

White: Walter Braun (203). Black: John Bass (166).

Queen’s Pawn Game [D01]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 c5 4.Bxf6 gxf6 5.e4 dxe4 6.dxc5 Qxd1+ 7.Rxd1 Bf5 8.Nd5 1–0 resigned in view of 8…Na6 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Nxf6+ exf6 11.Rxd7 Nxc5 12.Rd5+ Ke7 13.Rxc5 leaving Black a piece down and his position wrecked.

Meanwhile, someone else was making the same mistake.

White: R. Hutchings. Black: K. Arkell.

Benoni Defence [A62]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Bg2 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Re8 10.Nd2 Nbd7 11.Nc4 Nb6 12.Qb3 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 a6 14.Qh4 Ng4 15.Bg5 sealing his own tomb. 15…f6 16.Bd2 Re5 Trapping White’s queen which cannot avoid 17…Rh5 0–1.

This weekend the 31st Wiltshire and WECU junior championships are being held at St. Joseph’s Catholic College, Swindon. SN3 3LR.

After that will be the Teignmouth RapidPlay Congress on 1st April at Trinity School, Teignmouth, TQ14 8LY.

This will be followed by the West of England Congress, starting on Good Friday, 14th April, at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth.  Entry forms for both events are downloadable for chessdevon.org.

In last week’s position, the only thing preventing Jonathan Underwood (W) constructing a mating net by Bf6 was the knight, so 1.QxN! removes that obstacle and mate is inevitable.

This week’s 2-mover was composed exactly 50 years ago by Godfrey Quack, late of Exmouth.

White to mate in 2 moves

East Devon Congress – Out For A Duck! (14.03.2017.)

In his Encyclopaedia of Chess Variants, David Pritchard records that one of the most creative inventors of chess variants was Vernon Rylands Parton (1897 – 1974) whose most lasting invention was Alice Chess, based on Alice in Wonderland.

Vernon’s father ran a small private school in Cannock, Staffordshire. Both father and son and the school itself, referred to in the town simply as “Parton’s”, are described by a former pupil, Arthur Hopcraft in his autobiography, “The Great Apple Raid” (Heinemann – 1970 – pp113-116). My father also attended the school and got his taste for chess directly from Vernon c. 1917, and passed it on to me in the early 1950s. Like many others, my father and I both found bog standard chess enough to be going on with, without complicating it further.

Not so with Congress Secretary, Dr. Tim Paulden, who is himself entering the crazy world of Parton, not only embracing existing variants but inventing his own. He used the occasion of this year’s congress to launch Duck Chess on an unsuspecting world. The game requires a standard chess set, plus a duck! Tim researched the market for suitable ducks, testing their dimensions and quackability. Having found one, he order a significant number in small plastic bags together with an explanatory card, which reads thus:

Duck Chess is an exciting and absorbing new chess variant invented in 2016 by Dr. Tim Paulden (Exeter Chess Club).

The basic principle of the game is simple: in addition to the usual pieces, the two players have joint control of a small rubber duck which acts as a “blocker (i.e. nothing can move onto or through it). A player’s turn always consists of two actions (a) making a standard chess move and (b) moving the duck to any empty square on the board. There is no concept of “check” or “checkmate” – you must capture the enemy king to win!

For full rules and examples of play, go to www.duckchess.com.

Tim (left) shows Jack Rudd how it all works.

Tim makes a telling move before moving the duck with a hiss and a quack.

Max French of Millfield School takes over and a small and curious crowd starts to build up.

E. Devon Congress 2017 – Final Day (12.03.2017.)

By the end of Rd. 4, the Open Section had developed into a mini tournament between the titled players just playing among themselves. Top seed, Arkell had had a dodgy game against his former pupil, Rudd and dropped a half point, but Nunn’s scorecard was unblemished, while, the Spanish IM, Simon, the Austrian FM, Braun, and Tournament Secretary,Tim Paulden himself, were never far away.

A few scenes from the end of Rd. 4: Brian Gosling (E. Budleigh & Exmouth) plays Stephen Homer (Newton Abbot), while next door, Dave Littlejohns (Taunton) plays Adam Woodruff, formerly of Exmouth.

Jamie Morgan (Exeter) in action against Meyrick Shaw (Exmouth)

At the top of the Minor Section, Paul Errington faces Joy, one of the Fursman sisters, in front of Martin Maber against Ken Alexander

The 5th & final round gets under way with a handshake between John Nunn (4/4) and Jack Rudd. The prospect of a bright and breezy game in the usual Rudd style pleased the neutrals, but the game ended with a quick & quiet draw in 10 moves. There might have been an element of disappointment in the hall, but then, if John Nunn offered you a draw, wouldn't you accept?! It guaranteed Nunn at least a share of 1st prize.

David Pardo Simon kicks off against Keith Arkell. Both knew from early on that a win would catch Nunn in 1st place, but they could only manage a draw, Arkell having to draw on all his endgame powers to achieve that.

Walter Braun kicks off against Tim Paulden, who, in spite of the heavy organisational load in this his first year in charge, had an excellent tournament. The game finished as a draw, with only a knight and less than a handful of pawns each. It was good to have a fresh face featuring among the regulars, and he hopes to be on the local scene for the foreseeable future.

East Devon Congress 2017 – Day 2

As you may have seen from the official event website, it will display, (a) the pairings for each round; (b) the results of every game played in all 3 sections and (c) images of both scoresheets for every game played. These will be posted very quickly after each round. That will leave this site able to concentrate on pictures and stories that may emerge from the event. Comedy and tragedy – all will be ruthlessly unearthed and displayed for all to see.

Anthony Higgs is keen to set the ball rolling in his Rd. 2 against Arkell, but still lost in the end.

"Dr. Nunn, I presume". Dr. & double GM, John Nunn, starts off against Congress Secretary, Dr. Tim Paulden, who, at this point, thought it best to play his regular, favourite defence. Bill Ingham, winner of the Exmouth Seniors' Congress in November, looks on.

North vs South: Plymouth-born Candidate Master, John Wheeler, gets started against Bideford-based IM Jack Rudd.

Graham Bolt (in blue) recently captained Exeter's winning team against Exmouth (the current holders) in Devon's top team tournament, the Bremridge Cup. However, Exmouth are biting back, as Graham lost his Rd. 1 game against Paul Hampton and was kept to a draw in this next game against Meyrick Shaw.

In the "middle tier" of the Open. Bill Adaway considers his options against Chris Lowe, a lecturer at Exeter University, but formerly, back in the day, a member of the team of precocious juniors called Paignton Palace, headed by Gary Lane. Committee member, Mark Abbott, looks on

In the Minor Section, two Tiverton club members were paired in Rd. 2: Brian Aldwin, President of the Exeter & District Chess League, plays Dr. Honeyball, (facing) formerly lecturer in Law at Exeter University.

Nunn vs Paulden - the final throes: the game finished minutes after this. Afterwards, Tim observed "I played my favourite defence, but he just kept making all the right moves". Well, Tim, that's what Grandmasters do. Watching the last rites is surprise entry, Austrian FM, Walter Braun, while Dominic Mackle keeps an eye on Arkell's game. As No. 5 seed, Mackle has had an indifferent start to the tournament, but his class will surely tell in the end.

Nunn’s Visitation (25.02.2017.)

The ECF’s Team Challenge, is now in its 4th year and a qualifying event attracting 14 teams was held recently at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School .

The competition, for secondary school teams of 4 players, involves 4 rounds with each player having 12 minutes per game. Five schools sent teams to this year’s event, but the hosts entered 6 teams to increase the competition. The competition was organised by Tim Onions and Trefor Thynne who are in charge of chess at the Grammar School.  Last year TBGS was awarded the title of Chess Leadership School by the ECF in recognition of its efforts to promote chess in other south-west schools.

1st Torquay Boys’ Grammar School “A”            14 points (out of 16). 2nd= Clyst Vale Community School & Stover School, Newton Abbot (both10½). 4th=  TBGS Yr. 9 & TBGS year 8  “A” (both 9½). 6th= TBGS “B” & TBGS Yr. 8 “B” (both 8½). 8th Teignmouth Community School  “B”                               (8). 9th=  Coombeshead School, Newton Abbot “A” & Teignmouth “A  (both 7½). 11th TBGS Yr. 7 (6½). 12th Stover “B” (5). 13th Fusion (a team comprising reserves) (4). 14th Coombeshead “B” (2).

The winners, who qualify for the national finals to be held in London on 29th March, and the two teams finishing 2nd= were presented with medals.

Bristol’s Spring Congress is taking place this weekend at Bristol Grammar School, while the E. Devon Congress will take place on 10th – 12th March in Exeter. Tim Paulden has taken over as Secretary of the event and has set up a new website for it, where one can both enter and pay on-line. His energy seems to be getting results as the top section is attracting some strong players. Local Grandmaster Keith Arkell has signed up, as has Austrian master player Walter Braun. More surprising, perhaps, is the entry of John Nunn, formerly in the world’s Top 10, and something of a legend in chess circles. He has a GM title for playing and another for problem solving, not to mention an academic doctorate – a true polymath. World Champion Magnus Carlsen once explained why he thought extreme intelligence could actually prove to be a hindrance to one’s chess career, and cited as an example Nunn’s never having won the World Championship. He said “He has so incredibly much in his head. Simply too much. His enormous powers of understanding and his constant thirst for knowledge distracted him from chess”.

This would not be Nunn’s first appearance in Exeter, however, – he played in 1979, when he came 1st, ahead of Rumens, Plaskett, Blackstock, Franklin & Sowray.

The British Problem Solving Championship took place last weekend at Eton College, where the winners are usually either Nunn or Jonathan Mestel. This year, however, they were pushed down to 2nd & 3rd by a relative newcomer, Ian Watson of Durham. David Hodge, formerly of Exminster and Torquay BGS, came 5th while Jon Lawrence of Torquay came 17th.

This was the 1st of their problems, a 2-mover with c. 6 minutes allowed for solving.

Dr. Jago’s 2-mover last week was solved by 1.Qxe3!

White to mate in 2 moves