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Posts Tagged ‘Exeter Chess’

Exmouth’s 1st Match of the Season (21.10.2017.)

A tiny bit of chess history was made in Exeter on Saturday 21st October 2017 when Exmouth took on their near neighbours, Exeter, at Oxygen House, Grenadier Rd., Exeter. This was the first inter-club match under the aegis of the Devon County Chess Association to be played using digital clocks. The rate of moves, dictated by the clocks was 90 minutes for all moves, with 30 seconds added each time a move was made. Given, for example, a 60 move game this would provide an additional 30 minutes to the hour and a half, making a total of 2 hours thinking time per player, close to that allowed hitherto by analogue clocks. Several differences arose out of this change: (a) players had to write down all moves, right to the end of the game, as there would always be at least 30 seconds in which to do this. (b) Also, there would no need for the furious, frantic “time-scramble”, so often a feature of the previous system.

The match was preceded by the presentation of the Devon individual championship cup for the 2016-17 season. The previous champion, Steve Martin, in the visitors’ team, had brought the cup with him and was able to hand it over to his successor, Graham Bolt, captain of the home team – photo below.

Both teams were under-strength for a variety of reasons, but were still closely matched. Exeter had had to draft in a reserve at a few hours notice when Leif Halfsted phoned in sick. His replacement, Jeremy Amos, was the first to lose, but Exmouth’s lead lasted about 2 minutes when Oliver Wensley missed a trick, lost a piece and fell to Chris Lowe. Then it was Exeter’s turn to take the lead, after John Morrison, always dangerous when allowed the freedom to attack, pulled off a short, sharp combination that would have led to mate, had not Gosling resigned.

Seeing light at the end of the tunnel encouraged Exeter’s Bolt and Regis to agree to draws, making the score 3-2. This left Braun and Paulden to determine the final outcome. In a tight endgame they got down to a N & B each with a scattering of pawns. Paulden was down to his 30 secs per move, while Braun had plenty of time left, but seemed to move even more quickly than his opponent. He had extra pawns and felt there were no possible tactics and his play should be routine. Unfortunately, in this he was wrong, and lost his bishop. It was still very difficult for Paulden to make progress, but it was probably the effect of always having 30 seconds thinking time, as opposed to having to make instantaneous moves, that helped him keep finding the best moves, pressurising the position, to a point where his opponent had to throw in the towel. Result 4 – 2 to Exeter.

Exeter Grd Exmouth Grd
1 Tim Paulden B 183 1 0 Walter Braun 203
2 Graham Bolt W 196 ½ ½ Steve Martin 186
3 Chris Lowe B 176 1 0 Oliver Wensley 172
4 Dave Regis W 166 ½ ½ Steve Dean 161
5 Jeremy Amos B 147 0 1 Chris Scott 160
6 John Morrison W 144 1 0 Brian Gosling 154
Totals 1012 4 2 1036

Devon's individual champion 2016, Steve Martin, hands the cup to his successor, Graham Bolt (l).

Some nervous banter between players just before the kick-off

Exeter team captain, Graham Bolt, makes his move.

Chris Lowe, formerly of the old Paignton Palace club, makes his move against Oliver Wensley, Devon's Player of the Year, last season.

FIDE Master, Walter Braun (r), awaits Tim Paulden's reply to his Nimzo-Larsen opening.

Steve Dean (r) played his first match for Exmouth and earned a well-deserved draw after his usual steady play.

The first game to finish proved to be Exmouth's only win, as Chris Scott (l) overcame the late replacement, Jeremy Amos.

John Morrison (r) is always a dangerous attacking player, and as the opening transposed into a Vienna, it suited his style of play and he didn't miss out.

Clash of the Titans (11.02.2017.)

The current Devon Champions, Exmouth, hosted local rivals, Exeter, in a match on Saturday that would not only confer local bragging rights but probably determine who would win this year’s Devon club championship.

The omens were not good for the hosts, as Exeter were able to field their strongest team, probably one of the strongest sides seen for many a decade, while Exmouth were under par, conceding c. 16 points per board over Bds 3 – 6 – a big ask. However, the match proved to be a truly titanic struggle as each game came to an end.

First of all, Exeter’s captain, Graham Bolt, won the toss yet chose to give their opponents White on top board. That was the first to finish, when O’Neill came unstuck and resigned, and put Exmouth 1-0 up. Was Bolt’s tactic a wise one? Next, Chris Scott got a valuable draw against Jamie Morgan, playing his first game for Exeter. Then, Oliver Wensley generated enough pressure to cause his opponent to run out of time.

Thus Exmouth had 2.5 point after 3 games, and it seemed highly possible they would be able to get something from the other 3 games to squeeze at least a draw.  Then Dave Regis, who had 2 minor pieces for a rook, forced a win, while Bolt found himself in an ending with 2 bishops against 2 knights with a sprinkling of pawns on either side. The bishops found good long diagonals enabling his king to advance, keeping the black knights and king on their back rank, and a win was inevitable. 2.5 all, with former Scottish International, Paul Hampton, locking horns with Paulden, in what for the most part had been a blocked position. However, in seeking active play for his queen, he allowed Regis’ queen in to the centre. With just 2 minutes of extra time left on both clocks, there was a titanic struggle with both queens grabbing any pawn they could get hold of, preferably with check, and Paulden succeeded in this race.

So, with just seconds to go, Exeter took the lead for the first time in the match, and with it the match.

The details were:-

Bremridge Cup    Div. 1        11.02.2017
EXMOUTH Grd EXETER Grd
1 J. Underwood 187 1 0 P. A. O’Neill 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 G. Bolt 190
3 P. Hampton 166 0 1 T. J. Paulden 187
4 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 C. Lowe 175
5 B. G. Gosling 159 0 1 D. Regis 175
6 C. J. Scott 152 ½ ½ J. Morgan 170
1,017 1,082

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.