Posts Tagged ‘Exmouth Chess Club’
Exmouth had their first home match of the season when they entertained old rivals Teignmouth to the town. It was not quite a home match as the Club’s new base, the Royal Beacon Hotel, had a Christmas party booked. But the Manor Hotel, just down the road, on the Beacon, came to the rescue and offered their small “Writing Room” as a suitable area. They also had a function booked, the annual meeting of the local Euchre League (don’t ask – it’s a strange American card game that has survived in Exmouth for generations). But both activities were ‘low maintenance’ and didn’t interfere with each other. It must be said that over the past 2 decades the managements of both hotels have been very good to the chess community, both local and national, and it is hoped will continue as it’s of mutual benefit.
After c. 90 minutes play, the match seemed to be going the visitors’ way, as Boards 1 and 4 were definitely looking bad for Exmouth, but two blunders in those games came to the rescue and turned what could have been a 3-1 defeat into a 3-1 victory.
|Mamhead Cup||Div 2||29.11.2014|
|1||John Stephens||194||1||0||Bill Ingham||176|
|2||Jon Underwood||179||½||½||Alan Brusey||176|
|3||Oliver Wensley||149||½||½||Kevin Hindom||145|
|4||Simon Blake||102||1||0||Norman Tidy||137|
Two turning points from the match:
Above: Black has just played …h5, possibly expecting the g-pawn to move, but f5! wins immediately as Black can’t prevent a passed pawn being created.
Below: White has been asking all the questions so far in the game, and has just played Rd7, threatening Black’s f-pawn and possibly with thoughts of doubling his rooks on the open file at some point. But …Bc8 wins a piece and Black’s bishop pair boss the game from then on.
Exmouth now have to face Tiverton (A) and Newton Abbot (H) in this league in the New Year.
Exmouth’s first match in the Devon Leagues involved the longest trip of the season, to Barnstaple, where they expected to be facing a team headed up by IM Jack Rudd or Theo Slade – or both. As it turned out, neither was available, for reasons that will become apparent. So the home team’s strength was somewhat below what was expected.
The Barnstaple captain, Steve Clarke, got into terrible trouble in the opening and faced with two ways of losing material, he prevented both with a move that allowed mate on move 13. That’s the problem with being a playing home captain - one’s head is full of potential problems e.g. is the premises going to be unlocked; is everyone going to turn up; are the refreshments organised etc. So much so that once play starts one’s head is elsewhere.
In the Scott-Oughton game, a lot of material came off the board early on, and with no discernable advantage to either side a draw was agreed. On Board 3, team captain Oliver Wensley secured Black’s d- and e-pawns and was able to force the issue down those central files with his extra pawn, backed by rooks, advancing with unanswerable threats. Malcolm Belt, usually a buccaneering cut & thrust merchant, found himself in a long attritional game in which, python-like, he gradually deprived his opponent of the oxygen of space, and kept him restricted to his back 2 ranks until the win was secured.
It may have been a relief not to be facing Rudd and/or Slade, but the reason for their absence was that, aparently, they were playing for Tiverton in the Bremridge Cup Div. 1, which is not such good news for Exmouth’s 1st team later in the season. Tiverton’s team list that day can only be wondered at.
|Mamhead Cup||Div 2||08.11.2014|
|1||Steve Clarke||133||0||1||Meyrick Shaw||170|
|2||Rob Oughton||131||½||½||Chris Scott||157|
|3||Jon Munsey||128||0||1||Oliver Wensley||149|
|4||Mike Dow||115||0||1||Malcolm Belt||128|
Last year, Seaton improved their chances by bringing in Steve Martin, and this year added Dr. Jonathan Underwood, which tipped the balance altogether. Seaton won both rounds 2.5 – 1.5 and finished 5-3 winners. Chris Scott maintained his continuing improvement by winning his individual encounter against Martin, while Jones managed to stem early aggression from Adams and may have had very slight advantages in both games but with time running out offered draws, which Adams was minded to accept. But Underwood was clearly fired up after winning 6 Blitz games eight days earlier and the combination of his endgame technique and speed of move proved too much for the Exmouth captain. Blake had a won position in Rd. 1 but ran very low on time and Dowse kindly offered a draw when he could have won on time.
Exmouth have started with a loss several times before in this competition, but managed to make up lost ground. In this case, this seems less likely than hitherto, and Seaton must be considered serious contenders for the title.
|Seaton||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Jon Underwood||179||1||1||0||0||Mark Abbott||167|
|2||Steve Martin||172||½||0||½||1||Chris Scott||157|
|3||Martyn Adams||133||½||½||½||½||Bob Jones||147|
|4||Alan Dowse||111||½||1||½||0||Simon Blake||91|
The start of Exmouth’s league season was a unique event in the history of the club. For the first time ever, they had entered two teams in the Exeter & District League Division 1, and the league rules rightly state that any club with 2 teams in the same division must make that their first match, to avoid any possible suspicion that, should they meet in a later round, one team might voluntarily lose in order for the other to win the cup. Not that they would, of course, but any team so edged out couldn’t help but wonder…..
Not that there would be any danger of that happening in this case, as, given the club’s relatively limited playing resources, both teams were likely to be well short of the maximum team grade total of 640, unless they acquire some strong new members from somewhere. But the club are treating it as a fun event with no high expectations of ultimate glory.
On the night, blunders abounded; one player tore his scoresheet up in disgust while another didn’t submit his scoresheet at all - all good fun. At the end of night it was the Elephants that got trampled while the Eagles soared above.
|Bd||Exmouth Elephants||Grd||Exmouth Eagles||Grd|
|1||S. J. Murray||138||½||½||C. J. Scott||157|
|2||D. Thomson||134||½||½||R. H. Jones||129|
|3||F. R. Hodge||97||0||1||M. Belt||128|
|4||T. Badlan||82||0||1||S. Blake||102|
Barnstaple made the long trip to Exmouth knowing that a drawn match would secure them the Div. 2 championship. With International Master Jack Rudd and England Junior International Theo Slade on board, this was always a distinct possibility. However, in any grade-limited tournament like this one (639 max) the price has to be paid on the lower boards where players of a more modest grade have to be played. On this occasion, Exmouth chose to play 4 middle-range grades in the hope that 2 points could be rescued on Bds. 3 & 4. And this is exactly how it played out, although all 4 games were tense and well-contested affairs by both players.
On Bd. 1 the position soon developed into a complex one with pieces of both colours all over the board, but with only 3 pawns each. Rudd, of course, is known to play only at express speed, and he made his 35 moves in 35 minutes, but such were the comlications that Shaw ran out of time and his flag fell 5 moves short.
On Bd. 2 Oliver Wensley orchestrated a kingside attack based on the rock of having a knight posted immovably on his 5th rank. However, his massed pieces left the other wing vulnerable, and Slade countered down the a-file with doubled rooks. This won material and with it the game.
Gosling’s position looked relatively even until Smith put his king into trouble and lost out to a Q+K fork, and resigned on move 28.
Scott won a piece in a series of exchanges around move 30, but still had the tricky job of finding the best lines to exploit this advantage to a winning one. A Q+R knight fork settled the outcome.
Thus the drawn match was what Barnstaple came for and they were duly delighted, whereas Exmouth had nothing to play for in this tournament except pride in a good perfomance on the day, and this they achieved.
The games may be found on the chessdevon website.
|1||Meyrick Shaw||172||0||1||Jack Rudd||219|
|2||Oliver E. Wensley||157||0||1||Theo Slade||162|
|3||Brian G. Gosling||151||1||0||Richard Smith||139|
|4||Chris J. Scott||142||1||0||Michael Dow||115|
Exmouth approached this match in bullish mood, on the backs of a win against Newton Abbot and a win and a draw against Tiverton, in 3 different competitions. However, there’s nothing like chess for bringing folk back down to earth again, and this was the case here.
In the first game to finish, Abbott gave up a piece in order to try and get a stranglehold on White’s back rank with mating threats. Ingham had to be careful, and he was, managing to repeat moves 3 times. At this point, although Shaw’s position looked unclear, Wensley and Scott seemed to have their games under control. But as Shaw started to run out of time, Wensley lost his outside passed pawns and was suddenly on the back foot, while Scott missed a winning move and had to settle for a draw as Tidy was able to repeat moves. Shaw’s position collapsed under time pressure, leaving Wensley forced to try for a win in order to save the match, but with only pawns and opposite-coloured bishops left there was nothing he could do except agree a draw. Full results below.
This loss rather undid the excellent win against Newton Abbot just two weeks earlier. We now await the visit of Barnstaple on 12th April, the final match in Division 2.
|Mamhead Div. 2.||15.02.2014.|
|1||Alan Brusey (B)||181||1||0||Meyrick Shaw||172|
|2||Bill Ingham (W)||160||½||½||Mark Abbott||165|
|3||John Gorodi||159||½||½||Oliver Wensley||159|
|4||Norman Tidy||123||½||½||Christopher Scott||142|
Exmouth’s last match in Devon’s Newman Cup (for RapidPlay teams of 4 totalling U-600 grade) was against Tiverton and was effectively a cup final, with the winner taking all. However, Tiverton had a built-in edge as a 4-4 draw would give them the Cup on the 1st level of tie-break (game points). Before clocks were started, their captain explained that even if we had been level on game points, Exmouth would still have lost out due to having lost to Tiverton in Rd. 1, which led his opponent to quip “I see – even if we win we lose!”
Tiverton won the toss and chose Black on Bd. 1. for the 1st round. Simon Blake played forcefully and at one point was looking at the opportunity of possibly being able to sacrifice his queen for a back rank mate, but his opponent was alert to the risk. The game finished with opposite coloured bishops and level pawns all on squares that could not be attack by the enemy piece, amd a draw was agreed.
Oliver Wensley was happy to push all his pawns forward whenever he could, which Annetts avoided taking, so the endgame featured two long strings of pawns across the board, like WWI trench lines, except that Oliver was able to probe for weaknesses and eventually had 2 pawns that could run for the line. Annetts could only stop one by letting the other queen.
On Bd. 2 Mark Abbott started with some advantages in piece development but was unable to convert this into any other more practical advantage and the game slid into a R+5 vs R+4 endgame, and Atkin’s extra pawn was central, advanced and shepherded by his king. However, Abbott’s rook cleverly pecked away at the other pawns, won one back and the danger was over. Draw agreed.
The game on Bd. 1 was more difficult to assess by the spectator. Hewson had an attack down the open g-file against the enemy king involving Q, R + N, which White was managing to hold, while creating a passed pawn on the a-file that could not be ignored. The pressure built up as time started to press and it was Hewson that broke first.
Exmouth had to score a minimum of 4½ points to win the cup and a 3-1 lead from Rd. 1 was a healthy start, but this competition is notorious for the way in which the luck changes from one round to the next. For any one player, the hardest thing to do is to win both games outright, so nothing could be taken for granted.
Sure enough, Blake’s position crumbled after overlooking a knight capture in the middle of the board and Exmouth started with a loss. This was evened up when Annetts overlooked a bishop skewering both rooks and getting out of that merely allowed a bishop to fork king and knight, and Wensley scored his 2nd win soon after.
Abbott’s endgame looked not unlike the first one in some respects, but this time Atkins did not let things slip and he evened up their personal scores.
In the top game, Shaw broke through against the enemy king using both bishops, a knight and his queen, which was enough to win, leaving the round a 2-2 draw, but 5-3 overall.
The competition overall has once again proved a close one, with all teams losing at least one match.
|Bd||Exmouth||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Tiverton||Grd|
|1||M. Shaw||164||1||1||0||0||B. W. Hewson||184|
|2||M. V. Abbott||159||½||0||½||1||K. P. Atkins||139|
|3||O. E. Wensley||146||1||1||0||0||I. S. Annetts||140|
|4||S. Blake||100||½||0||½||1||J. Knowles||117|
Having lost at home to Tiverton in Rd. 1, a trip to Newton Abbot for our 2nd match on Feb 1st 2014, was not a prospect to be relished. With a grading ceiling of 639 both teams had opted to keep as close as possible to the average of 160 per player, rather than playing a 190+ player on Bd. 1 in the hope of a sure win, while hoping the 120+ on Bd. 4 might be able to scrape a result.
The first game to finish by a considerable margin was that involving the Ajerbaizani ex-pat, Rahimili, who seems to share with Jack Rudd the inability to play at a speed less than that of an express train throughout any game. His game lasted a little less than half of the allocated 4 hours, most of which ws taken up by his opponent. Scott blundered a piece away entering the endgame, yet within a few moves, Rahimili had blundered not only a piece back but most of his pawns as well, with no counterplay.
Brian Gosling won the exchange and maintained a strong grip on the position, managing to win further material and the game. 2-0 up but the other two faced strong opposition. Shaw blundered a piece in the endgame but hung on to see how his neighbour would fare in a very tight N+P endgame. When Wensley offered and got a draw when 2 pawns up, Shaw resigned immediately, as the match was won.
|1||John Fraser||167||1||0||Meyrick Shaw||172|
|2||Paul Brooks||167||½||½||Oliver Wensley||157|
|3||Nijad Rahimili||162||0||1||Chris Scott||142|
|4||Wilf Taylor||136||0||1||Brian Gosling||151|
Having been the first of the 5 teams involved to have a bye, Exmouth’s first match in the Bremridge Cup (Div. 1) did not come till after Christmas, when they hosted Tiverton. The whole story was one of near disaster from beginning to end. The Tiverton team was already weakened when their Bd. 1 player, Dave Littlejohns, suddenly discovered there were no trains between Taunton and Exeter that day due to major works on the track and he wouldn’t be able to make alternative arrangements. Brian Hewson phoned back to offer a lift, but there was no reply from the land line and he had no mobile number. In the end he went to the house in the hope that Littlejohns would be there, which he was, and the pair arrived in Exmouth shortly before the 2.30 start, with jangling nerves.
Meanwhile, Bob Jones, ever-cautious, had arrived at the club room an hour early, only to find the usual playing room had been double-booked and a full scale lecture was going on. After going into panic mode for 5 minutes, he worked out that the match could be held in the day-room using arm chairs to sit in, with extra cushions if needed. It was a little cramped for space but was workable. Once play started it was utterly quiet and neither group impinged on the other.
As they were considerably under-full strength themselves Exmouth were surprised to find themselves the stronger on paper by 45 grading points. First game to finish was Underwood-Bartlett, when White miscalulated a long series of exchanges to find himself a piece down with no compensation or counter-play. On Bd. 4, Club President, Mark Abbott, found himself with the only queen and attacking opportunities, but failed to make the best of it and was forced to trade the queen back. He ended up with R vs R+B but with a pair of united central pawns keen to queen, and he managed to win when one of them could not be stopped. Score level at 1-1. Then Shaw sacrificed a pawn in the opening and offered a second, which was declined. Eventually his opponent’s gifted pawn proved the deciding factor in a tight endgame. 2-1 to the visitors. Chris Scott, playing his first game in the Bremridge, sneaked home in another tight ending. His bishop, the only piece on the board, managed to hold back a pawn storm, first blocking them, allowing the king to gobble them up. 2-2.
Brian Gosling had struggled on for some time a piece down, and was able to make threats with his active queen, but eventually had to concede the game to Keith Atkins. This left the Bd. 1 game to decide things. Reaching the late endgame with a blocked position, Littlejohns found his pieces hemmed in to one corner, and Stephens was able to get a rook to invade the position, get behind the white pawns and start picking them off. Stephens had only seconds left but played at lightning speed to move his king and pawns forward. His win brought the score to 3-3 with no drawn games.
|1||John Stephens||190||1||0||Dave Littlejohns||186|
|2||Jonathan Underwood||172||0||1||Simon Bartlett||174|
|3||Meyrick Shaw||172||0||1||Brian Hewson||165|
|4||Mark Abbott||165||1||0||Ivor Annetts||152|
|5||Brian Gosling||151||0||1||Keith Atkins||142|
|6||Chris Scott||142||1||0||John Knowles||128|
The Newman Cup is Devon’s RapidPlay Tournament, held by Exmouth numerous times in recent years. Their defence started with a reverse at the hands of Tiverton last month, making their away match to Seaton a crucial one.
It is a commonplace that away matches to Seaton are held in the depths of winter, when the trip there has to be made during the rush hour, with a great wind blowing and rain thrashing down. Last night was no exception. Progress was slow and the venue was reached with only minutes to spare before the scheduled start of 7 p.m. However, on arrival, the venue was locked and the key-holder unobtainable as a group of chess-players and others huddled in the doorway. Eventually, she arrived and play started just a few minutes late.
Rd. 1 started well with Simon Blake winning quickly and Oliver Wensley getting a draw, but Chris Scott was overwhelmed by the very steady Steve Dean, and Meyrick Shaw’s position, playing a Closed Sicilian, ran short of time and came unstuck against Steve Martin. So Rd. 1 was lost 2.5 – 1.5.
Fortunately, in this competition there’s always a second bite of the cherry, which is where Exmouth often hit back after an early loss. So in this case, when Blake won again. Scott played quickly, leaving Dean to get behind on the clock and he cracked under the pressure. Shaw invited the Alekhine’s Defence, but Martin opted not to play 2.e5 but preferred 2.d3 and soon found himself on the back foot with his King’s position in a mess and pieces undeveloped. Shaw managed to maintain th einitiative and eventually got a 2nd queen, forcing resignation. the 3-0 lead ensured a won match, and it mattered not that Wensley ran out of time in a winning position.
|Seaton||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Steve Martin||162||1||0||0||1||Meyrick Shaw||164|
|2||Steve Dean||148||1||0||0||1||Chris Scott||154|
|3||Alan Dowse||113||½||1||½||0||Oliver Wensley||146|
|4||Nicolas Bacon||108||0||0||1||1||Simon Blake||100|