Posts Tagged ‘Exmouth Chess Club’
Last Saturday saw a small bit of chess history unfold, as Plymouth returned to the Bremridge for the first time in a period best measured in decades, probably between 25 and 30 years. That they did so was on the condition that John Stephens, Exmouth born & bred and their top player in recent years, left the Exmouth team and signed on for Plymouth, his current active club membership. The splendid ambience of the Plymouth Bridge Club on Mutley Plain, more than did justice to the occasion.
However, on the day, both teams were missing members who were unavailable for whatever reason. Exmouth had 5 players out: Stephens (for reasons already explained), Shaw & Marshall playing in the World Seniors event in the Czech Republic; Wensley (wedding – not his!), Abbott (Exeter City FC home match), while Plymouth were 3 down. This resulted in the two teams being very closely matched as regards current grades, with only a few points between them.
Once play got under way, the first game to finish was on Bd. 5 where Scott managed to get a knight up front that forked the queen and both rooks – not so much a fork as a trident. Murray got a slight positional edge against Rob Wilby, but was unable to develop it into any lasting advantage and a draw was agreed.
The game on Bd. 2 was a strange one in that Pollock, early on, won the exchange with a knight forking queen and rook, but subsequently kept dropping pawns here and there, to a point where Steve Martin still had 7 pawns lined up against just 4, so the material advantage lay with him, especially as White’s rook just couldn’t find any meaningful activity. Eventually, the black pawns sprang to life and charged forward like a swarm of little black ants against which the rook was powerless.
Plymouth’s up-& coming Nick Hodge kept his cool under Gosling’s various ploys, and gradually got his pieces into advanced positions against the enemy king, to keep the match alive. He has a place booked at St. Andrews University for the next academic year, so will be another loss to the club as his strength will surely continue to grow.
In the top game, Stephens went wrong late in the game to a point where it was resignable, but he played on in view of the match position and the chance that there were possibilities of a swindle, as time was very short and the position still needed careful manoeuvring, but Underwood, under extreme time pressure, managed to avoid all such traps and queened a pawn.
The last game to finish featured a finely balanced endgame between Paul Hampton and the home captain, Sivrev, which finished with 2 blocked pawns each and a draw was agreed.
Most games available in PGN on chessdevon.org.
|DCCA Division 1 – Bremridge Cup 26.11.2016|
|1||John Stephens||192||0||1||Jonathan Underwood||183|
|2||Richard Pollock||181||0||1||Steve Martin||182|
|3||Pavel Sivrev||175||½||½||Paul Hampton||167|
|4||Nick Hodge||159||1||0||Brian Gosling||159|
|5||Mike Stinton-Brownbridge||145||0||1||Chris Scott||151|
|6||Rob Wilby||137||½||½||Steve Murray||151|
Exmouth Chess Club, currently Devon’s Division 1 Champions, have moved to new premises, at The Holly Tree Inn, Withycombe Village Road, EX8 3AN, where they now meet every Wednesday from 6 p.m.
To mark this occasion, a friendly 7 board match was arranged in their new club-room against their nearest neighbours, East Budleigh, led by team captain, Brian Gosling.
The result was a win for the home team, the score-line of which makes it look somewhat easier than it actually was.
The details were (Exmouth names first in each pairing):
1. Mark Abbott ½-½ Dr. Michael Marshall. 2. Meyrick Shaw 1-0 Brian Gosling. 3. Malcolm Belt 0-1 Ken Alexander. 4. Bob Jones 1-0 Mike Lee. 5. Simon Blake 1-0 Barbara Newcombe. 6. Ivor Grist 1-0 Max Lee. 7. Fred Hodge 1-0 Sam Lister. Total – 5½ – 1½.
Both Exmouth and East Budleigh welcome new members interested in competing face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball rather than just on-line.
East Budleigh meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month in the Hall of All Saints Church, Hayes Lane, the church tower of which can be seen for miles.
The new Grading List is just out and here is a simplified version of the Exmouth Club’s details. Mostly it shows a few minor shifts up and down, but the main point of interest is Jonathan Underwood achieving the magic 200 grade for his rapidplay track record.
The biggest change is a drop of 15 points by Meyrick Shaw, who can be consoled by the fact that he came 5th in the ECF’s Player of the Year poll. If he drops a few more points next year he might come 4th. The 12 yr old girl who came 1st had the advantage of every one of her fellow pupils voting for her, it is alleged.
|129415F||Gold||Abbott, Mark V||172||177||170||172|
|181711F||Bronze||Grist, Ivor G||87||91||80||86|
|140874E||Bronze||Hodge, Fred R||96||96||128|
|266234G||Bronze||Hurst, Kevin J||174||175||178||168|
|113895K||Silver||Jones, Robert H||123||118||134||133|
|248908K||Bronze||Scott, Chris J||151||150||151||152|
|242384E||Gold||Toms, David A||161||161|
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.|
|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|
The ECF’s new grades are out today, and those listed under the Exmouth heading are as follows.
Mostly the changes are little more than a point or two up or down, although worthy of mention are John Dye’s appearance on the list for the 1st time and Simon Blak’s 6 point increase (standard) and 8 point rise in rapidplay.
The new grades won’t affect a member’s eligibility for club teams in the DCCA as the July 2015 grades remain in force throught the subsequent season, but for individual entries into congress, these must be used, as the change may affect which section one can play in.
|129415F||Gold||Abbott, Mark V||177||A||178||A||172||D||166||D|
|181711F||Bronze||Grist, Ivor G||91||C||100||C||86||E||87||E|
|140874E||Bronze||Hodge, Fred R||96||C||92||C||128||F||135||E|
|266234G||Bronze||Hurst, Kevin J||175||C||183||E||168||D|
|113895K||Silver||Jones, Robert H||118||B||118||B||133||B||137||C|
|118154D||Silver||Rogers, David R||137||A||140||A|
|248908K||Bronze||Scott, Chris J||150||A||149||B||152||C||157||B|
|242384E||Gold||Toms, David A||161||B||162||B|
Exmouth may have been blitzed several times during WW2, but Exmouth Chess Club had its first taste of true Blitz Chess last night, when they managed to borrow 4 new digital programmable clocks, which were set at 3 minutes per player per game, with an added increment of just 2 seconds per move made. This meant games could last little longer that 8 minutes – if that, making it a true baptism of fire. Seven members turned up and played each other twice, with colours reversed, that’s if they could actually remember what colours they’d had in the first game, such was the mind-numbing qualities of the process, otherwise they tossed again.
After 12 games each, these were the results:- (current Rapidplay grades are indicated – not quite the same as blitz, but near enough).
This has been an annual pre-season jaunt for decades, designed to get the brainwaves back into operation after the summer break. The buzzer itself was constructed by Fred Hodge in his garden shed many moons ago, and works perfectly.
The organisation is simple. Set the buzzer going at opening time, in our case 6 p.m. and anyone can arrive at any reasonable time. (a) Write your name on the results chart. (b) Wait for a fellow member to be free. (c) Toss for colour. (d) White makes the 1st move on the next convenient “buzz”. However obvious the reply, Black must wait the 10 seconds till the next buzz before making his/her reply. And so on. (e) Fill in the result on the chart
At the start of each game, those 10 seconds seem like an eternity, but once in the middlegame that same time span is reduced to the blinking of an eye, as one searches desperately for the best continuation; is it better to attack or defend in this fiendishly complicated position?!
Here is the completed chart. The grades are their current rapidplay grades, or standard grade where they don’t have a rapidplay grade. Of course, the Buzzer tournament is technically not rapidplay (it’s much worse than that) but it does give a clue as to relative skills.
RapidPlay is proving to be a forte of Chris Scott, who certainly played above his grade on this occasion.
Exmouth hosted a Newton Abbot team, knowing that a win for either side would be enough to win the Mamhead Cup Devon’s Division 2, although Exmouth had the feint comfort that a 2-2 draw would give them the title. To this end, both captains had packed their teams with grading points up to the permitted maximum of 639. Both clubs had their top player on Bd. 1, but the difference then was that Newton Abbot had averaged their next 3 boards, while Exmouth had packed everything they had on to Bds. 2 & 3, and filling in an improving player on Bd. 4, in the hope that he might be able to extract something from his game. Team captain, Oliver Wensley, was unable to fit himself in the team, and was obliged to watch from the sidelines.
This particular hope was not borne out as Blake’s opponent, the rapidly improving Vignesh Ramesh, whose latest rapidplay grade is actually 160+, won and Exmouth went 0-1 down, which put increasing pressure on the other 3. For some time, there seemed little between the sides in each game. Eventually, Mark Abbott, using the greater freedom that his pieces had, managed to conjure up a sharp winning attack, thereby levelling the score.
Bds 1 and 3 both went down to the final seconds of normal time and final minutes of extra time. Stephens was gradually being positionally stifled, as Mackle got a pawn to the 7th and his opponent had to commit a knight to h8 to block it. Eventually he had to concede as Mackle could pick up pawns at will. Shaw had gone a piece up, but Brooks found a lot of counterplay as his pieces were better unified. Shaw had to reconfigure and reorganise his army, which he managed. With c. 2 minutes left for each player he won a central pawn with a knight fork that swapped off queens and immediately after a bishop fork won a rook, and with it the game.
A finish to the match that was as nerve-wracking for the spectators as the players. Thus Exmouth added the Mamhead Cup to the Bremridge Cup they had won a fortnight before.
The match details and resulting league table as follows:
|Mamhead Cup||Div. 2 25.04.15.|
|1||J. K. Stephens||194||0||1||D. Mackle||203|
|2||M. V. Abbott||173||1||0||M. Hui||150|
|3||M. Shaw||170||1||0||P. Brooks||154|
|4||S. Blake||102||0||1||V. Ramesh||132|
|Mamhead Div. 2||1||2||3||4||5||+||-||pts|
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|
|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|
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.
Exmouth’s final match in this competition is against Teignmouth, while Exeter are due to play Newton Abbot.
A very small piece of chess history was made when the small fledgling East Budleigh club played their first ever match against Exmouth, the current Devon champions.
In fact, the relative strengths of the clubs had little to do with it, as the competition involved was the local League’s new Handicap RapidPlay Competition. The rules state that the total team grade must not exceed 560 (140 average) and stronger players will be handicapped in the time they are allocated on the clock, as indicated below. Team captains can thus select their teams working in two dimensions. East Budleigh chose to play their two strongest players in the hope and expectation that they would be able to rattle off their moves quickly enough to offset their time handicaps. Exmouth chose to play 76 grading points short of the permitted maximum in the hope that their extra time on the clock would make up the difference. Doubtless a delicate balance to try and judge, and get right.
In the event the different factors seemed to balance themselves out and the match finished 4-all. The only player to finish on 100% was Simon Blake, who played on level terms timewise. Although these matches are meant to be a bit of fun, (results don’t go for grading) in fact it was an exhausting encounter for all concerned – the players were totally shattered at the end.
|Exmouth||Grd||mins||rd 1||rd 2||rd 1||rd 2||E. Budleigh||Grd||mins|
|1||O. Wensley||149||44||½||0||½||1||K. Hurst||191||16|
|2||R. Jones||129||38||0||½||1||½||B. Gosling||157||22|
|3||I. Grist||108||28||0||1||1||0||M. Lester||80||32|
|4||S. Blake||102||30||1||1||0||0||T. Miner||70||30|