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Posts Tagged ‘Exeter Chess Club’

Team Selection – A Captain’s Dilemma (04.02.2017.)

The semi-final of Devon’s team knock-out tournament, the Rooke Cup, took place on Saturday between Newton Abbot and Exeter. It’s for teams of 8 players whose combined grades must add up to less than 1,120 – an average of 140 per person. This presents captains with a team selection dilemma; should they field a low-graded player on bottom board to enable them to incorporate several stronger players higher up the order (Plan A)? Alternatively, they could put a very strong player on top board, almost certain to win, in the hope that the others can at least hold their own (Plan B). In this case, Newton Abbot chose the former course, while Exeter went for the latter. So how did that work out?

The outcome was a win for Newton Abbot by 4½-3½, the details being as follows: (Exeter names 1st in each pairing).

1.Tim Paulden (187) 1-0 Alan Brusey (166). 2. Chris Lowe (175) ½-½ Trefor Thynne (170 ). 3. Sean Pope (144) ½-½ Vignesh Ramesh (154). 4. Alan Dean (141)1- 0 1 Charles Howard (150). 5. Eddy Palmer (129) ½-½ John Allen (141). 6. William Marjoram (127) 1-0 Joshua Blackmore (138 ). 7.Edmund Kelly (137) 0-1 Wilf Taylor 137. 8. Brian Aldwin (97) 0-1 Prabhu Kashap (55e).

Newton Abbot’s sacrificial lamb was new member Kashap, a 50-something Anglo-Indian and not very experienced at this kind of thing. He was fully expected to lose, and when after 45 minutes he had lost a piece, yet still continued to exchange off material, this seemed a certainty. But his opponent made a crucial slip in the ending and allowed Prabhu to queen a pawn and win not only his game but the match as well. Chess can be a funny old game.

White: P. Kashap. Black: B. Aldwin.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Be6 5.Bxe6 fxe6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.d4 c6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.dxe5 dxe5 Black’s doubled pawns in the centre should present him with difficulties in coordinating his pieces, but White helps out. 10.Nxe5?? 10…Nxe5 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8 If and when a piece down, one should try and keep as many of your pieces as possible i.e. avoid exchanges unless it confers some other advantage – not a tactic White employs. 12.Rad1 0–0 13.Bf4 Bd6 14.Bxe5 Bxe5 15.Rxd8 Rxd8 16.f4 Bd4+ 17.Kh1 Kf7 18.Rd1 Bb6 19.Rxd8 Bxd8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 exd5 Now White’s lost all his pieces and has a queenside pawn deficit. But all is not yet lost. Perhaps something will come along. Meanwhile, Black could perhaps be forgiven for thinking the game will just play itself out to the inevitable win. 22.g4 Ke6 23.Kg2 d4 24.Kf3 g6? Black should challenge White’s potentially passed pawn with 24…g5 25.Ke4 The tide is turning 25…c5 26.f5+ gxf5+ 27.gxf5+ Kf7 28.Kd5 Bb6 28…Bc7 29.a4. 29.Kd6 c4 30.e6+ Ke8 31.f6 d3 32.f7+ Kf8 33.cxd3 cxd3 34.e7+ Kxf7 35.Kd7 d2 36.e8=Q+ Kf6 37.Qe2 1-0.

This position arose in a recent game between two former World Champions, the Bulgarian Veselin Topolov (W) and Indian Vishy Anand, who saw a knock-out blow; can you?

Black to play

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.

Seaton’s Rapid Rise (20.03.2015.)

Devon’s RapidPlay tournament, the Newman Cup, has in recent years been the preserve of the same three clubs, Exmouth, Tiverton and Seaton, with Seaton being very much the underdogs. However, under the driving force of their captain, Steve Dean, they have never been downcast or tempted to give it all up, and in fact this season has seen a big change. The difference is the return to the fold of Jonathan Underwood after an absence of several years in the US. He has returned to the Devon scene, refreshed and re-invigorated, turning out regularly for the Devon county team, for Exmouth in Devon’s 1st Division and Seaton.

On Wednesday evening he turned out on top board for Seaton against his other club, Exmouth, in the Devon RapidPlay League. With a RapidPlay grade of 196 and surely about to break the 200 barrier in the next list, he was too much of a handful for the home captain, Mark Abbott, and made it 4 wins to nil in the home and away matches this season. Similarly, on Bd. 3, Oliver Wensley’s attacking skills proved too much for Alan Dowse in both games, with knights seeming to do most damage . On Bd. 2, Chris Scott, nearing the time limit, made an illegal move which lost the 1st game, but got his revenge in the next game when his king became very active in a N+Ps endgame and managed to force one through to queen. On Bd. 4, Simon Blake got a winning advantage in the first game, but lost his way in the 2nd, and Hazel Welch took full advantage, as she is wont to do.

4-all was probably a fair result on the night, but not enough to give Exmouth any hope of retaining the title.

  Newman Cup           18.03.2015.  
  Exmouth Grd         Seaton Grd
1 M. V. Abbott 167 0 0 1 1 J. Underwood 196
2 C. J. Scott 157 0 1 1 0 S. K. Dean 151
3 O. E. Wensley 151 1 1 0 0 A. Dowse 113
4 S. Blake   91 1 0 0 1 Mrs. H. Welch 111
      2 2 2 2    
      4 4    

 

Nervous banter before the start of play.

 

.... then things get serious.

 

Simon Blake vs Hazel Welch.

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

E. Devon League Div.1 Exmouth vs Exeter

The League rules state that 1st division teams must not exceed a total grade of 640 (as distinct from Under-640, as in DCCA’s Div. 2). For this match, on Wednesday 13th February 2013,  both captains were quietly pleased to have assembled a team of maximum strength, only revealed when team lists were exchanged. No pressure, then.

Exmouth won the toss and took white on Bd. 1.  Shaw on Bd. 3 built up his position slowly at first, but opened it up with a couple of pawn captures and mated on move 24. This inevitably put pressure on the other Exeter players, but no clear advantages were perceptable for some time on the other boards. The Amos-Hodge game proceeded to a roughly equal B vs N endgame, but Hodge’s knight was eventually pushed to the back rank, while the king invaded his pawns and he had to resign – all square.

The Paulden-Abbott game proceeded to an endgame, without a clear advantage to either side, and as White’s time ran to the last minute of extra time, a draw was agreed.

In the top game, Black allowed his pieces to become constricted on the queenside, which allowed White to probe for openings on the undefended king’s wing. There was just enough time for the h-pawn to run through for a 2nd queen, forcing Black to give up a rook for it.

Bd Exmouth Grd     Exeter Rooks Grd
1 John Stephens 192 1 0 Dr. Dave Regis 179
2 Mark Abbott 167 ½ ½ Dr. Tim Paulden 177
3 Meyrick Shaw 166 1 0 Dr. Charlie Keen 155
4 Fred Hodge 115 0 1 Jeremy Amos 129
    640   640

 

Stephens & Abbott (nearest) in action.

Meyrick Shaw (W) heading for a quick (-ish) win.

Amos vs Hodge amid the daffodils.

 

A release of tension amid post-match analysis.

Devon Chess Pioneer – G. W. Cutler (1845-1927).

George W. Cutler. (1845 – 1927) 

 

George W. Cutler

 

 

Photograph by T. Arthur Goard, son-in-law, fellow member of Exeter Chess Club and Vice-President of Exeter Camera Club. 

George Cutler was a tireless worker for the Devon County Chess Association for almost a quarter of a century from the time of its formation in 1901. 

George William Cutler was born in Christchurch, Hampshire in August 1844. He first learned the game about 1868 and for about 10 years was his main recreation. Then his career in banking took over and he didn’t play for about 20 years. He retired as a Bankers’ Accountant and moved to Exeter in 1896 and finding himself with more leisure time returned to the game, joining the Exeter Club and playing most days. 

The 1901 census records that he was a widower and lived with his daughter Matilda Ellen and her husband, Thomas Arthur Goard, a 35 year old dentist living at 7, Elm Grove Road, Exeter, with their 3 year old son Arthur. Goard was also a member of Exeter Chess Club and a keen photographer (see above) 

When the Devon County Association was founded in 1901, although the Rev. Henry Bremridge was the hard-working figurehead, he had Cutler’s full and active support. At the Association’s 1905 A.G.M. Bremridge had determined to give up the posts of both Secretary and Treasurer. In the end, a compromise was reached when Cutler took over as Treasurer on condition that Bremridge remained as Secretary. 

The BCM of January 1908 contained a very affectionate portrait of Henry Bremridge, written by Cutler, in which he stated that he was a regular visitor to Bremridge’s  Winkleigh Vicarage. The Editor added the footnote,  “The kindly sentiments expressed here show how close is the bond of friendship is between the two leading officials of the Association”. 

Eventually, in 1909 Bremridge did resign as Secretary, and it wasn’t long before Cutler held both key posts himself. He held these posts as late as 1924, when he was still living at his son-in-law’s house in Elm Grove Road. According to the Exeter club minute books, Cutler attended their A.G.M.s but played no active role in the club’s administration, reserving his energies for the Devon Association. 

He was a strong correspondence player, having played 9 games for Devon by 1906, winning 7 and drawing 1. In Rhoda Bowles’ postal tournaments in Womanhood, he played 25 games of which he won 17 and drew 5. He won 2nd prize in Section B of the 4th Tournament and was awarded the Brilliancy Bronze medal.

In 1927, Goard died aged 61 (“one of the club’s oldest members”) and Cutler, then 82, left Exeter and moved to 3, Kingsdown Road, Epsom. He died there in November 1927 aged 83. There is no mention of his death in the Exeter Club’s minutes nor any obituary in other contemporary chess literature. He seems to have died a forgotten man, but someone who devoted himself to the first quarter century of the D.C.C.A. must be remembered as a true Pioneer. 

© R. H. Jones   2010   All rights reserved. 

Bibliography: 

BCMs 1906 & 1908

Exeter club minute books.

1901 & 1911 census online.

Devon & Exeter Institution Rendezvous.

Rendezvoused with Brian Hewson at the Devon & Exeter Institution in order to hand over the refreshment equipment I used at Salisbury in the Inter-County Quarter-Final, and needed by him for the Semi-Final against Warwickshire on Saturday. Also settled up financially.

The Institution is a wonderful haven of peace and tranquility in a busy world – to walk through a Cathedral Close packed with shoppers, tourists and assorted crusties, and enter their library is like stepping back 200 years, leaving all that mayhem behind.

In the 1960s and early 70s it used to be the venue for the Exeter Chess Club, when they had a small, cramped upper room for clubnights, but for weekend matches they could use the large tables in the Inner Library, where the furniture and shelves of ancient leather-bound tomes helped give the encounter an ambience of the 19th century.

His first match game was against A. R. B. Thomas, and I recall playing a former Exeter Champion (1956), the eccentric Pole Eddy Czerniawski, who appropriately enough played the Polish Opening.

Devon’s team for Saturday looks very competitive – it could go down to the wire again.

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