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Posts Tagged ‘Exmouth Chess Club’

Unique Start to the 2014-2015 Season

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
    451 1 3   516

Barnstaple Win Mamhead Cup Div. 2 (12.04.2014.)

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.

  Exmouth Grd     Barnstaple  Grd
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
    622 2 2   635

 

General view of the match - Exmouth on the right.

Exmouth settle into the match - Shaw; Wensley; Gosling & Scott.

Rudd (nearest); Slade; Smith & Dow.

Exmouth Lose in Div. 2 …. again. (15.02.2014.)

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.  

General view of the Alice Cross Centre, Teignmouth.

Shaw vs Brusey nearest.

Ingham vs Abbott

Wensley vs Gorodi

Tidy vs Scott

  Mamhead Div. 2.       15.02.2014.  
  Teignmouth       Exmouth  
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
    623   638

Exmouth Retain Newman Cup (12.02.2014.)

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!” 

Round 1:

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.

Round 2:

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
                   
  Totals 569 3 2   1 2   580

Exmouth vs Newton Abbott (Mamhead Cup – Div 2)

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.

  Newton Abbot Grd     Exmouth Grd
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
    632   622

 

General view of the match - Taylor-Gosling nearest.

General view of ther match - Scott-Rahimili nearest.

Bd. 1 Shaw vs Fraser.

Bd. 2 - Brooks vs Wensley

 

Bd. 4 Taylor-Gosling

Exmouth’s 1st Bremridge Match 2013-14

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.

  Exmouth Grd     Tiverton Grd
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
    992 3 3   947

Exmouth Edge It – Again. 1st Newman Cup Win (05.12.2013.)

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.

  Newman Cup             05.12.2013.  
  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
    531 1   3   564
               

Exmouth’s Latest Grades – July 2013

The latest grading list is out this morning, and it shows Exmouth players as having drifted up or down to a greater or lesser extent.

Here is the table in full, and will remain in force until the next list is published in Jan. 2014.

Ref Name Standard Previous Rapidplay Previous
129415F Abbott, Mark V 156 X 172 A 159 E 164 E
247351D Archer-Lock, Adrian 188 C 192 A 180 D 180 C
242270A Badlan, Tom W 80 C 88 C 83 E    
173289E Belt, Malcolm 134 C 136 B        
286681L Blake, Simon 100 D 100 D        
214854H Derrick, Ken W 206 C 210 C        
111446D Gosling, Brian GE 151 A 154 A        
181711F Grist, Ivor G 103 C 104 C        
140874E Hodge, Fred R 101 C 108 C 121 E 123 D
266234G Hurst, Kevin J 184 A 174 D 150 E    
113895K Jones, Robert H 133 A 128 A 150 B 149 D
116002D Murray, J Stephen 148 C 144 B     133 E
118154D Rogers, David R 149 A 135 A        
248908K Scott, Chris 142 D 135 E 154 E    
290163J Shaw, Meyrick 172 X 168 A 167 A 164 E
155629A Stephens, John KF 190 X 191 A 187 B 186 D
242384E Toms, David A 150 B 161 B        
242283K Underwood, Jonathan 172 D            
285021H Wensley, Oliver E 157 B 173 A 146 D 144 D

Simplified a little and converted to standard grade order, it looks like this:

Ref Name Standard Rapidplay
214854H Derrick, Ken W 206 C    
155629A Stephens, John KF 190 X 187 B
247351D Archer-Lock, Adrian 188 C 180 D
266234G Hurst, Kevin J 184 A 150 E
290163J Shaw, Meyrick 172 X 167 A
242283K Underwood, Jonathan 172 D    
285021H Wensley, Oliver E 157 B 146 D
129415F Abbott, Mark V 156 X 159 E
111446D Gosling, Brian GE 151 A    
242384E Toms, David A 150 B    
118154D Rogers, David R 149 A    
116002D Murray, J Stephen 148 C    
248908K Scott, Chris 142 D 154 E
173289E Belt, Malcolm 134 C    
113895K Jones, Robert H 133 A 150 B
271080J Waley, Jonathan 126 D    
181711F Grist, Ivor G 103 C    
140874E Hodge, Fred R 101 C 121 E
286681L Blake, Simon 100 D    
242270A Badlan, Tom W 80 C 83 E

Exmouth Player Stars At Sunningdale

Last weekend, Exmouthian, Meyrick Shaw, shared 1st prize in the Major Section (U-175) of the prestigious e2-e4 chess congress at Northcote House, Sunningdale. He scored 4.5/5 points, as did the Nigerian Mustapha Othman, both sharing £450 in prizemoney. They drew in Rd. 4, having been in the sole lead, and went on to win their last round game. Meyrick’s tournament grade was 197 compared to his current standard grade of 168, which is surely bound to rise in the new list.

His games, together with all the others, are downloadable from the e2-e4 website.

The venue is Northcote House, an impressive neo-Georgian structure built in 1930, set in 65 acres of parkland.

Meyrick Shaw in the WECU Championship - Easter 2013

Northcote House, the Sunningdale venue.

Amaurosis Scachistica Outbreak In Exmouth (12.05.2013.)

The term Amaurosis scachistica is an ailment diagnosed in some detail by the physician, Tarrasch, the main symptom being the making of obvious but uncharateristic blunders, better known in English as Chess Blindness. Tarrasch claimed there was no sure preventative treatment and he had some evidence that it may actually be infectious, calling this amaurosis scachistica chronica communis.

After Exmouth’s final home match of the season yesterday, against Teignmouth in a Division 2 match, we have further evidence to support the infection theory. In a small room with just 8 players, it can be deadly, spreading like wildfire in a very short time, each blunder more profound than the one commited just minutes earlier.

It all started on Bd. 3, where White, tempted by a hot pawn on the other side of the board, took it with his queen, thereby abandoning her protection of a rook that was being eyed up by the Black queen.  There swiftly followed …QxR+ and the game was over. The stars on top board seemed to have some natural immunity to this craziness, and Stephens, having recently realised that his strength might lie in rook+pawn endgames, true to his instincts quickly reached such a position and ran his a-pawn to queen, forcing a win. Exmouth at this stage were 2 up with 2 to play, but the infection was spreading rapidly.

On Bd. 4, the Teignmouth player attacked the enemy queen with a bishop. White responded by advancing a pawn, discovering a check by the queen. What a blunder – but instead of taking the queen, Black simply moved his king aside. Both players obviously badly infected and the outcome clearly impossible to predict. Teignmouth reduced the arrears by winning this game, but at least the Bd. 2 game was safe, where the home player was never seriously troubled and the game seemed to be heading for at least the draw required to win the match. They had got down to rook + bishop vs rook + knight, where the former had the positional advantage. But you know what knights are like……  The knight checked on a square where it could be taken by the bishop, the perpetrator fully expecting an exchange of the minor pieces. White saw the check, but not the fact that it also forked his rook. As on Bd. 4 earlier, he moved his king away and was amazed to see his rook snaffled. End of game – end of match. Exmouth had snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.

Several players considered calling in to the local A & E Dept. on the way home, but it would have done no good. As Tarrasch correctly predicted, there is no known cure.

  Mamhead Cup       11.05.2013.  
  Exmouth Grd     Teignmouth Grd
1 J. K. F. Stephens 192 1 0 A. W. Brusey 174
2 M. Shaw 166 0 1 J. G. Gorodi 148
3 Dr. D. A.Toms 159 1 0 N. F. Tidy 119
4 I. G. Grist   96 0 1 J. Ariss 120
    613 2 2   561

 

An Exmouth team confident of victory.

The Teignmouth team.

View from the other end.

The first victim of amaurosis scachistica - but not the last.