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Devon’s First Div. 1 Match of the Season (29.10.2017,) 957

Devon’s 1st league match of the season took place on Saturday between old rivals Exmouth and Exeter, in the 1st Division, the Bremridge Cup. It was also a small piece of chess history as it was the first time DCCA had decreed that digital clocks should be used in their league matches, in this case giving each player 90 minutes thinking time, and an extra 30 seconds being automatically added by the clock each time a move was made. It resulted in a 4-2 win for Exeter, but there will be a return match later in the year. Here are 2 games from the match – a win for each team.

White: Chris Scott (160). Black: Jeremy Amos (144).

Sicilian Defence – [B32]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 It is generally reckoned that if Black, playing the Sicilian Defence, can get in …d5 without incurring any setback, he is well on the way to securing the initiative, so White, if he gets the chance, will try to protect against it by playing c4, called the Maroczy Bind, 6…a6 7.N5a3 f5 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nc2 0–0 12.Bd3 f4 13.Be2 g5 Black is really throwing caution to the winds. 14.Bg4 Nd4 15.Be2 g4 16.Nxd4 exd4 17.Nd5 d3 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Qxd3 Qxb2 20.0–0 f3 21.gxf3 gxf3 22.Bxf3 Bh3 23.Bg2 Bxg2 24.Kxg2 Rxf2+ 25.Rxf2 Qxa1 This skirmish leaves the position materially level, but Black’s pieces could not be further apart, while White’s have the freedom of the board to unite against an undefended king. 26.Qxd6 Qg7+ 27.Kh3 Threatening Rg2 winning the queen. 27…Qc3+ 28.Kh4 Qe1?? Losing his queen by force. 29.Qg3+ Kh8 30.Rf8+ Rxf8 31.Qxe1 Kg7 32.Kg5 Rf7 33.Qc3+ Kf8 34.Qe5 Rg7+ 35.Kh6 Re7 36.Qh8+ Kf7 37.Qxh7+ 1–0

White: John Morrison (144). Black: Brian  Gosling (148).

Vienna Game  [C27]

1.e4 d6 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.f4 Signature move of the Vienna Opening with the idea that if 4…exf4 5.d4 wins back the pawn while setting up a strong pawn centre. 4…Bg4 5.Be2 Bxe2 6.Qxe2 c6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.d4 Qa5 9.Bd2 Qc7 losing a tempo. 10.0–0 exd4 11.Nxd4 0–0–0 12.Nb3 h5 13.a4 Ng4 14.a5 Be7 15.h3 Ngf6 16.Qc4 White keeps probing at weak spots. 16…Rhf8 17.Be3 Nc5 18.Nxc5 dxc5 19.Qe2 White could have opened up the position with 19.Bxc5 Bxc5+ 20.Qxc5 which would have won a pawn, but he declined that option. 19…Kb8 20.e5 Nd5 21.Nxd5 cxd5 22.Qxh5 d4 23.Bd2 c4 24.Qf3 Bc5 25.b4 cxb3 26.Qxb3 Opening the b-file to Black’s king. 26…d3+ 27.Kh1 Bd4 28.Rac1 dxc2 29.Rxc2 Qd7 From its unprepossessing square, White’s bishop suddenly strikes out and delivers a fatal blow. 30.Bb4! Rfe8 31.Bd6+ Ka8 32.Rc7 1–0

In last week’s position, Philidor decided he could take the knight, allowing Black to continue 1…d2, on the verge of queening, but the rest of his moves are forced. 1. Rc7+ Kg8. 2.f6 gxf6 3.exf6 Rd4+ 4.Ke5 Rd5+. 5.Kf4 Rd4+. 6.Kg3 Rxg6. 7.hxg6.

This week it’s White to play & mate in 2

White to play & mate in 2

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.

Exmouth’s Buzzing Start (13.09.2017.)

Exmouth Chess Club got their new season off to their traditional start of the dreaded  Buzzer Tournament. Key to the whole event is the battery-powered, home-made device that emits an unmistakable, unmissable warbling buzz every 10 seconds. Whoever’s move it is must move immediately the buzzer sounds, after which the opponent has 10 seconds thinking time.

It never fails to amaze and amuse, the extent to which those 10 seconds seem to vary, from the time one is playing the 1st 6 moves of one’s favourite opening to the final 6 moves or so, when fending off an attack that seems to come from all directions. They’re not the same thing at all.

In spite of the dreaded prospect of a whole evening of this mode of torture, 11 members were keen to get stuck in. In spite of the disparity in grades, the six lowest-graded players all beat someone of a higher grade, and all the top players lost a game, with the exception of FIDE Master Walter Braun, and even he dropped a half point before he got up a head of steam.

The final chart looked like this:

Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total
1 Bob Jones 138 X 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 0 ½ ½
2 Malcolm Belt 118 1 X 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Ivor Grist 75 0 0 X 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
4 Barbara Newcombe 83 0 ½ 0 X 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0
5 Chris Scott 150 0 1 1 X 1 1 0 ½ 0 0
6 Alan Dean 139 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 X 0 ½ 0 0 1
7 Mark Abbott 177 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 X 1 0 0 ½ 6
8 Simon Blake 102 0 1 1 0 1 ½ 0 X 0 0 0
9 Meyrick Shaw 186 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 X 0 ½
10 Walter Braun 190e ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 X 1
11 Oliver Wensley 164 ½ 1 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 0 0 X 6

Walter Braun (nearest) & Malcom Belt deep in thought. In the backgound Barbara Newcombe plays Club President Mark Abbott and Oliver Wensley faces Simon Blake.

Scott vs Braun & Grist vs Belt, while Alan Dean watches developments.

Wensley vs Blake alongside Newcombe vs Abbott

Exmouth’s New Grades 2017- 18

The new grading list has just been released, and these are the Exmouth Club’s full and associate members’ details.

The majority have risen; the falls are relatively small.

Name Standard Prev. Rapid Prev.
Abbott, Mark V 183 A 176 A 177 C 177 C
Belt, Malcolm 119 B 126 A 118 C 113 D
Blake, Simon 106 E 106 C 102 C
Braun, Walter 203 D
Dean, Alan J 140 D 139 D 139 A 140 D
Gosling, Brian GE 154 A 159 A 148 D 147 E
Grist, Ivor G 84 C 83 C 75 D 77 E
Hampton, Paul DJ 172 B 166 E 193 C 195 D
Hurst, Kevin J 173 D 173 C
Jones, Robert H 128 B 126 A 138 B 135 C
Martin, Steven 186 A 185 A 159 C 157 D
Murray, J Stephen 147 A 148 B 144 D 141 D
Newcombe, Barbara 92 D 85 E 83 D
Rogers, David R 130 A 128 A
Scott, Chris J 160 B 152 B 150 C 151 B
Shaw, Meyrick 169 A 159 A 186 B 177 B
Thomson, David 99 E 124 F
Underwood, Jon WR 192 C 187 C 180 B 186 B
Wensley, Oliver E 172 A 168 A 164 B 160 C

Exmouth’s Exciting End-of-Term Experiences.

If there has been a more concentrated and closely contested climax to a season, I don’t recall it.

Four matches, four victories and two trophies in 12 days represents as rich a reward as anyone at the club could reasonably expect.

Let’s start on Saturday 22nd April in the Mamhead Cup, Devon’s Division 2. With one match to play, Exmouth and Newton Abbot were joint leaders on match points, but Exmouth having scored a half point more in games. So Exmouth simply did not have to score less points against the final opponents, Teignmouth, than Newton Abbot did against Barnstaple. As Newton Abbot did win their match 3.5 – o.5, Exmouth had to beat Teignmouth by at least the same score …. or more – a big ask. But they equalled Newton Abbot’s winning margin, so winning the Mamhead Cup by half a game point.

Exmouth Teignmouth
1 O. E. Wensley 168 ½ ½ W. H. Ingham 162
2 M. Shaw 163 1 0 Rev. C. Doidge 124
3 C. J. Scott 151 1 0 N. F. Tidy 122
4 M. Belt 127 1 0 A. Webster 82
609 ½ 490

Three days later, on Tuesday 25th April, there was an away match against Exeter in the E. Devon RapidPlay League. This turned out to be not quite as close a match as the previous one, thus winning that league, and a second trophy in 4 days. (Photos below)

Exeter & Dist. League   –   RapidPlay League  Div. 1     25.04.2017.
Exeter Rd 1 Rd 2 Exmouth Rd 1 Rd 2
1 S. Pope 149 ½ ½ C. J. Scott 151 ½ ½
2 R. Whittington 136 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
3 R. Player 114 0 0 Dr. M. Marshall 140 1 1
4 Dr. J. Maloney 96 0 0 R. H. Jones 135 1 1
3 5

The following Saturday, Exmouth entertained Newton Abbot in the final round of the Bremridge Cup, Devon’s Division 1. There was no trophy at stake this time as Exeter had already secured overall victory by virtue of their narrow win over Exmouth earlier in the year, but nevertheless rivalry is always keen. Both teams were without 2 top players, but the six pairings looked to favour the home side.

However, at the halfway point, Exmouth went 1-0 down, and had no discernable advantage in the other 5 games, so it was backs-to-the-wall time for sure. Oliver Wensley went right down to K+P vs K but his king was in front of his pawn and the opposing king was not inclined to allow him the freedom to move aside, so game drawn. Then rather suddenly, the other four games, in spite of their closeness throughout, all went Exmouth’s way, leaving the final score 4.5 – 1.5, certainly a scoreline that belies the actual play.

DCCA    –   Div. 1   Bremridge Cup        29.04.2017.
Exmouth grd Newton Abbot grd
1 W. Braun 195 1 0 P. Brooks 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 A. W. Brusey 169
3 P. D. Hampton 166 1 0 V. Ramesh 139
4 M. V. Abbott 176 1 0 A. Kinder 125
5 O. E. Wensley 168 ½ ½ C. V. Howard 143
6 C. J. Scott 152 1 0 J. E. Allen 145
1043 4½ 1½ 910

Exmouth vs Newton Abbot: A study in collective concentration.

Bd. 1: Paul Brooks vs Walter Braun.

Bds 3 & 4: Ramesh vs Hampton & Abbott vs Kinder.

Bds 5 & 6: Howard vs Wensley & Scott vs Allen.

This was closely followed by another home match on Wednesday night, against Exeter in the E. Devon League Div. 1. This time the odds seemed to favour the visitors, with Barbara Newcombe, a newcomer this season to OTB chess,  playing her first 1st team match for the Club. Her draw against the experienced Will Marjoram, in the face of a 40 point difference in their grades, seemed to inspire the others, the home side running out 3.5 – 0.5 winners.

So the situation is that, with only 3 teams involved, Exmouth have lost to Seaton but beaten Exeter, who play Seaton next week. If Exeter win that match it could be 3-way tie situation – unless complicated tie-breaks come into play. Who knows, a third trophy might come our way, but no-one here’s holding their breath on that one.

Exeter & Dist. League   –   League  Div. 1     03.05.2017
Exmouth grd Exeter grd
1 M. V. Abbott 176 1 0 Dr. T. Paulden 185
2 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 Dr. D. Regis 169
3 Dr. M. O. Marshall 162 1 0 R. Whittington 139
4 B. Newcombe 85 ½ ½ W. Marjoram 125
591 ½ 618

Exmouth's winning RapidPlay team: Seated (l) Chris Scott & Alan Dean (capt.). Standing (l) Bob Jones & Michael Marshall.

Exeter's home team: Seated (l) Sean Pope & Reece Whittington. Standing (l) Richard Player & John Maloney.

Rd. 1 gets under way.

Exeter & Dist. League   –   RapidPlay League  Div. 1     25.04.2017.
Exeter Rd 1 Rd 2 Exmouth Rd 1 Rd 2
1 S. Pope 149 ½ ½ C. J. Scott 151 ½ ½
2 R. Whittington 136 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
3 R. Player 114 0 0 Dr. M. Marshall 140 1 1
4 Dr. J. Maloney 96 0 0 R. H. Jones 135 1 1
3 5

Badlan & Adams (08.02.2017.)

Former club member, Tom Badlan, passed away earlier this week.

He was born in Tenbury Wells, on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, and in his youth played in goal for the local football team. He entered the retail business which took him to East Anglia for a spell, before becoming General Manager of Beatties in Wolverhampton, one of the biggest department stores in the West Midlands.

Retirement took him to Newton Poppleford, where he joined the Sidmouth Chess Club, later moving to Exmouth. Although dementia took its toll and he was unable to cope with club life, he maintained contact through near neighburs Fred Hodge and Malcolm Belt, who played chess with him at his home. He had a chess computer on the go in every room of his house. He was a steady player right to the end, with a strong defence that could be difficult to break down.

Having lost one member, we get another in his place. Dave Adams has returned to Exmouth after a spell in Dunbar, on the coast near Edinburgh. Having just moved in to a house in Halsdon Road, he will shortly be treading the relatively short walk to the Club. Short for him, who has walked the Andes from South to North, plus many other paths around the world, playing chess with any other aficianado he might meet on the way. His current grade being, as it ever was, in the mid-130s, he will be a welcome asset to team captains, as the club is short of players of that strength.

Mamhead Match: Exmouth vs Newton Abbot (04.02.2017.)

Exmouth hosted a team from Newton Abbot for their match in Devon’s 2nd Division, the Mamhead Cup. Losses by Chris Scott and Malcolm Belt were off-set by a well-judged win by team captain, Oliver Wensley, against the highly-experienced Alan Brusey. Alan’s chess has suffered in recent years during a period of ill-health, but he is now back to something like his best. Both players aimed to keep things simple by sweeping almost everything off the board and getting down to a rooks & pawn ending by move 13. However, there is nothing simple about rook & pawn endings; even GMs are prone to errors at this stage of the game, but Oliver judged all the nuances very well and came out the winner.

This left the onus on Meyrick Shaw to try for a win in order the rescue a draw. This involved a 63 move game against an opponent who has, in past matches against Exmouth, proved a cool and resourceful player. However, Meyrick kept the pressure and and eventually ran out the winner.

DCCA  Mamhead Cup  Div. 2
EXMOUTH NEWTON ABB0T
1 Oliver WENSLEY 168 1 0 Alan BRUSEY 166
2 Meyrick SHAW 163 1 0 Paul BROOKS 161
3 Chris SCOTT 151 0 1 Vignesh RAMESH 154
4 Malcolm BELT 127 0 1 Charlie HOWARD 143
609 624
2 2

Wensley vs Brusey and Shaw vs Brooks (nearest)

Howard vs Belt (nearest)

Plymouth’s Return To The Bremridge Cup (26.11.2016.)

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
Plymouth Grd Exmouth Grd
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
989 2 4 993

General view of the playing room.

P. Hampton vs P. Sivrev

Pollock vs Martin

Scott vs Stinton-Brownbridge (nearest) & Wilby vs Murray.

Exmouth’s New Club-Room (26.08.2016.)

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 match gets under way (East Budleigh facing)

Top 3 boards: Abbott vs Marshall. Shaw vs Gosling & Belt vs Alexander

Exmouth’s New Grades 2016/17

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.

Ref Member Name 16/17 15/16 Rapid 15/16
129415F Gold Abbott, Mark V 172 177 170 172
173289E Bronze Belt, Malcolm 127 133 114 115
286681L Bronze Blake, Simon 105 111 102 100
304385L Bronze Dye, J 67 57 77
111446D Gold Gosling, Brian 159 157
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
270931E Silver Martin, Steven 182 183 156 157
116002D Bronze Murray,  Steve 151 150 138 140
118154D Gold Rogers, David 134 137
248908K Bronze Scott, Chris J 151 150 151 152
290163J Gold Shaw, Meyrick 163 178 175 178
155629A Gold Stephens, John 192 196 176 182
273557L Bronze Thomson, David 99 104
242384E Gold Toms, David A 161 161
242283K Gold Underwood, Jon 183 184 200 192
285021H Gold Wensley, Oliver 168 171 157 154