Posts Tagged ‘Exmouth Club’
Exmouth Chess Club’s traditional season-starter has, for several decades been its “Buzzer” Tournament. This comprises a small battery-powered device that emits an audible buzz every 10 seconds. This was cobbled together c. 30 years ago by Fred Hodge, and is kept in a small cigar box. Each player has to move on the sound, if it is their move. It’s an all-play-all event involving anyone and everyone who turns up on the night.
It involves a peculiar manifestation of the relativity of time. At the start of each game, the 10 seconds thinking time seems like an eternity, but within 10 moves that same time seems like one second and towards the end it’s like a nano-second as one’s brain struggles to sort the almighty mess one has got into.
Last year’s winner, Meyrick Shaw, started badly with a loss to Malcolm Belt, but thereafter conceded only a single draw.
The results were as follows:
|1||129415F||G||Abbott, Mark V||173||+1||167||-9|
|2||242270A||B||Badlan, Tom W||82||+3||78||-2|
|5||214854H||B||Derrick, Ken W||197||-7|
|6||111446D||G||Gosling, Brian GE||153||+1|
|7||181711F||B||Grist, Ivor G||108||+3||88||-2|
|8||140874E||B||Hodge, Fred R||97||+1|
|9||266234G||S||Hurst, Kevin J||191||+9||157||0|
|10||181711F||B||Grist, Ivor G||108||+3||88||-2|
|11||113895K||S||Jones, Robert H||129||-3||147||-1|
|12||116002D||B||Murray, J Stephen||138||-3||140||0|
|13||118154D||S||Rogers, David R||158||+12|
|14||248908K||B||Scott, Chris J||157||+12||157||+6|
|16||155629A||S||Stephens, John KF||194||+8||178||-2|
|17||242384E||G||Toms, David A||151||+9|
|19||285021H||S||Wensley, Oliver E||149||-8||151||+3|
After the false start a little while ago, having confused a June re-adjustment with the new list, here is the new, definitive grading list as it applies to anyone who has played in or for the Exmouth teams during the past season.
Top improvers are Chris Scott, who did extremely well in both internal and external tournaments throughout the season, and Dave Rogers who did equally well in congresses, winning a number of prizes en route. Not far behind are Kevin Hurst, John Stephens, and Drs. Toms & Underwood, all of whom went up significantly.
Jones has slipped 3 points to 129, his consolation being that he will now be automatic top grade in any U-130 tournaments, like the new Thynne section of the 5 Rd. Morning tournament at Paignton, coming up in just over 4 weeks time. 1st prize £300 – no pressure there, then.
Exmouth’s penultimate game in Devon’s senior club championship was at home against Teignmouth. Although missing a number of their top players, Exmouth still outgraded the visitors by 115 points, and on paper it looked a relatively easy challenge, except that at this level nothing can be taken for granted. Pre-match chat before the kick-off revealed, for example, that Graham Bramley (109) had already beaten and drawn with Alan Brusey (181) in club games, and Stormin’ Norman Tidy was sweeping all before him in 2014, including having won his section in the recent E. Devon Congress. And that was only on the bottom boards, while the top 3 consisted of the regular triumvirate of Brusey, Ingham and the British U-150 champion, John Gorodi, all capable of beating anyone at any time. So this was clearly not going to an easy task.
And sure enough, Tidy swept away Oliver Wensley, (who won the E. Devon Premier 2 years ago) in short order, after a quick draw on Bd. 2, leaving Teignmouth needing only 1½ points from the last 4 games to spoil the party for the home team. However, John Ariss had left himself very weak on the white squares around his king, and Gosling was not slow to extract full advantage. Playing a Closed Sicilian, Steve Martin managed to open lines to Gorodi’s king, especially down the h-file, and again extracted maximum advantage with a quick, sharp attack. Chris Scott played steadily, gradually putting a positional squeeze on his opponent, eventually getting adjacent central pawns on the 6th rank that couldn’t be stopped. This win secured the 3½ points required. But the Bd. 1 game went the full distance, with Shaw winning a piece and having a positional advantage, but shortage of time meant he lost his way, losing a piece back, and with it the game. Fortunately, in the circumstances it didn’t matter as the match was already won.
The games are all accessible on the chessdevon website.
The win puts Exmouth in top spot, a point clear of the holders, Newton Abbot, the teams to meet in what will now be the deciding match in April. Unlike last year, game points won’t be a factor as it’s impossible for teams to tie at the top on the same number of match points.
|1||M. Shaw||176||0||1||A. W. Brusey||181|
|2||Dr. J. Underwood||171||½||½||W. H. Ingham||160|
|3||S. Martin||165||1||0||J. G. Gorodi||159|
|4||O. E. Wensley||157||0||1||N. F. Tidy||123|
|5||B. G. Gosling||152||1||0||J. A. Ariss||119|
|6||C. J. Scott||145||1||0||G. Bramley||109|
Devon’s premier team tournament, the Bremridge Cup was inaugurated in 1902, with a cup donated by the newly-created DCCA’s then secretary, the Rev. Henry Bremridge, and has been competed for ever since.
For many decades the tournament was a battle between Plymouth and Exeter. This was not surprising as Plymouth had by far the largest population base from which to draw players (c. ¼ million) and the club was led from the front by the charismatic Ron Bruce. This was off-set by Exeter having the University and a number of establishments of higher education, all providing a shifting population of young talents passing through.
From time to time, other clubs were allowed their moment in the sun, as, for example, when a young Gary Lane emerged in Paignton, a star collecting around him a small constellation of aspirants. The University were immensely strong in the ‘60s and ‘70s, while Barnstaple once had enough talents to form a strong team of 6, winning in 1991 and 1992.
But by the 1990s things were waning. Ron and Rowena Bruce and their generation had passed away or moved on, and the Plymouth Club had no appetite at all for weekend chess. Exeter, too, failed to identify a strong leader who could forge the city’s talents into a regularly competitive team. The University club folded altogether as students were left more and more to their own devices. Gary Lane grew up, moved on, and the Paignton Club folded. Teignmouth, an ever-present club in the tournament seized their chance, claiming their only win in 2001.
While everyone was delighted at this well-deserved success, the DCCA could see that the tournament was on the slide. In the centenary 2001-02 season, only two clubs had entered the Bremridge Cup and there were no clubs at all in the Mamhead Cup (Div. 2). In order to try and address this alarming decline, the Association agreed that clubs could become more pro-active in their search for strong players willing to commit their Saturday afternoons.
In this recruitment drive Exmouth were first off the mark. Ken Derrick, a 200 grade player formerly from Bristol, was discovered living quietly in an East Devon village, hitherto unknown to mainstream Devon chess. Likewise with Mike Cox, who lived nearby. Trefor Thynne, a former Exmouth Champion who had been inactive in recent years was also invited to join the party. This surge attracted Ivor Annetts and Brian Hewson from the Tiverton area where there was no top level chess at that time.
In no time at all, Exmouth, who had only very rarely entered the Bremridge in its 100 years, became Devon champions 6 times in the 8 years from 2002, seemingly before other clubs had twigged what the secret was. This was only the short-term effect; Trefor Thynne’s interest was thereby re-awakened, and he went on to form the Newton Abbot Club, while Annetts and Hewson started doing the same for Tiverton as Exmouth had done. The result being 3 strong teams where none had existed before.
This renaissance came to head this season with 5 teams entering the 1st division. Exeter had entered early, but when the familiar problem arose of needing a captain to organise things, and it looked as if they would have to withdraw, the day was saved by Dave Regis who stepped in after Christmas.
So, with at least 4 teams at full strength, it was clear that every team was capable of beating the other 4. And so it proved.
When the day of the final match arrived (Tiverton vs Exmouth), there were still three possible outcomes. (a) If Tiverton won 6-0 they would win the cup; (b) If Exmouth won or only drew 3-3, they would win the cup and if Tiverton won by 3½-2½ or slightly better, Newton Abbot would win. Trefor Thynne, as Newton Abbot captain and a (very) interested party came along to witness fair play and to present the Cup to either club.
Things had not gone well for the Exmouth Club, whose absentees were strong and plentiful enough to form a Bremridge team on their own, whereas Brian Hewson drove for 4 hours from Kent to arrive minutes before kick-off time, mentally and physically exhausted but determined not to miss the occasion. Also, the sounds of music and merriment, wafting upstairs from the bar below throughout, seemed to affect the visitors more than their opponents, and when Tiverton got to 3½-1½ with a game to go, it was clear neither was going to win the cup, and Trefor Thynne took it back with him, to hold for a 4th successive year. After he left, Underwood scored a fine endgame win to make the final score a tantalising half point short of Exmouth’s required draw.
|1||B. Edgell||199||1||0||J. K. F. Stephens||192|
|2||D. Littlejohns||180||½||½||A. Archer-Lock||192|
|3||M. Richardt||177||0||1||Dr. J. W. R. Underwood||171|
|4||B. W. R. Hewson||174||0||1||M. Shaw||166|
|5||S. Bartlett||164||1||0||B. G. E. Gosling||164|
|6||I. S. Annetts||152||1||0||R. H. Jones||130|
This was the key match in this year’s Newman Cup, Devon’s RapidPlay League. As last year, it was a 3-way tie between Tiverton, Exmouth and Seaton, with home and away matches. Earlier in the season, Exmouth, the current holders, drew 2-2 away to Tiverton, and needed a result in this home leg, to stand any chance of retaining the cup.
The visitors were a little shy of the maximum permitted team grade total of 599, Exmouth gambling on playing a low-graded player on Bd. 4 in order to fit in their best 3 players. In this respect, Grist’s two losses were the key to the eventual win.
Stephens, playing Black in Rd. 1. got his last pieces trapped behind his own pawns, and lost, but he hit back in the next game, forcing a mate in the corner. Shaw always seemed to have a solid position in both games, tempering the creation of threats with a solid defence. Wensley, also, was never seriously threatened by Aldwin, but was always behind on the clock and needed to be careful to keep time in hand.
The 5-3 win gives Exmouth a good chance of retaining the trophy, though they still have to play Seaton twice.
|1||J. K. F. Stephens||184||0||1||1||0||B. W. R. Hewson||174|
|2||M. Shaw||164||1||1||0||0||I. S. Annetts||151|
|3||O. E. Wensley||136||1||1||0||0||B. Aldwin||122|
|4||I. G. Grist||96||0||0||1||1||J. Knowles||113|
Alison is not interested in the match but is reading a chess book.
A look at the team lists before the match started would suggest that Exmouth could anticipate being in for a relatively easy afternoon. A look at the completed result chart would suggest that that is exactly how it turned out, especially after John Stephens on Bd. 1 had a quick, 18 move win, to put the visitors 1-0 up.
How wrong can one be. The remaining 5 games were all tense affairs right up to the fourth hour of play, and at one stage it looked as if Exmouth could lose the match. The Gorodi-Hurst match was unclear for most of the time until Hurst finally broke through, while Wensley never had any advantage against Peter Halmkin and went on to lose his last piece and with it the game. Norman Tidy had much freedon in the centre of the board to deploy his queen and rooks, and Shaw had to defend very carefully. Eventually Shaw broke through to record a hard-earned point.
Ariss played in his usual aggressive way, and Gosling countered well, but used much time to find the right moves which put the pressure on. With a minute or two left on White’s clock a draw was agreed, securing the necessary 3.5 points for an Exmouth win.
Meanwhile, Abbott had entered a long endgame with Q+N vs Q+R, but found a clever resource to win the exchange back. But Black’s queen had many checks available and drove his opponent’s king to the opposite side of the board. With seconds of extra time left, Abbott managed to force the queens off, leaving him with c. 25 seconds to queen his 2 pawns and mate his opponent. He managed it with 5 seconds left.
It was all very hard work, especially watching it from the sidelines.
|1||A. W. Brusey||174||0||1||J. K. Stephens||192|
|2||H. W. Ingham||158||0||1||M. V. Abbott||167|
|3||J. G. Gorodi||148||0||1||K. J. Hurst||176|
|4||P. E. Halmkin||140||1||0||O. E. Wensley||172|
|5||N. F. Tidy||119||0||1||M. Shaw||166|
|6||J. A. Ariss||120||½||½||B. G. Gosling||164|
All 6 games here ▼
The Exmouth team travelled to Seaton knowing they had already secured the Newman Cup for the RapidPlay League with this match to spare; the only question was whether this would lull them into a sense of anti-climax leading to a meaningless loss – or inspire them to a final flourish, winning like true champions.
With the first round almost over, it certainly looked like the former case, as Exmouth trailed 3-0 and Belt left with a double-edged game to complete. He managed to force the win, leaving Seaton, during the break, contemplating gaining their first-ever win in a DCCA tournament.
However, in Rd. 2, Stone blundered again in the opening; instead of 2 pawns as in game 1, it was a whole piece, and Jones was determined not to blunder the game back a second time and ran out a winner. Shaw also made amends, winning a piece in the endgame, leaving him with R+N vs R plus pawns each. Against Wensley, Steve Dean ran short of time and blundered his last piece, leaving him a rook down. Belt and Dowse were again involved in a double-edged game in which Belt sacrificed a piece in order to break open the enemy king’s position, eventually getting a pawn to the 7th rank, which won the game. A 4-0 win in Rd. 2 gave them the match 3-5. Seaton were understandably disappointed to lose the match after such a promising start, but it was only Belt’s double win that was the difference and both of those games were very finely-balanced. Exmouth had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, but it was a close-run thing.
|Bd||Seaton||Grd||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Steve Dean||157||1 – 0||0 – 1||Oliver Wensley||164|
|2||Martyn Adams||153||1 – 0||0 – 1||Meyrick Shaw||150e|
|3||Seb Stone||147||1 – 0||0 – 1||Robert Jones||147|
|4||Alan Dowse||135||0 – 1||0 – 1||Malcolm Belt||120|
|592||3 – 1||0 – 4||581|
Exmouth travelled to Teignmouth for their 2nd match in the Mamhead Cup (Devon’s division 2), fielding their secret weapon, Mike Redman, in what may be his only match for the club this season.
The first game ended when Jones coolly and quickly placed a rook en prise, with no compensation whatsoever. However, Teignmouth are nothing if not even-handed, and Bill Ingham marooned his last rook, leaving Murray to pick it up at leisure, levelling the scores. Gosling got short of time in what might have been a slightly better position, and he accepted the offer of a draw. This left everyone to gather around the top board game, as fortunes swung to and fro.
In the middlegame, Redman seemed to have a positional bind and merely needed to open the centre and exploit his advantage. However, he inadvertantly placed a piece on a bad square and Brusey could counter-attack. He went 2 pawns up and seemed sure to win himself. Material came off and with minutes to go, they were in a knight+pawns endgame. Redman’s knight perfomed minor miracles, winning 3 pawns and threatening to queen. From nursing a loss, to looking drawn, he was suddenly sniffing a win again. With the last seconds running out on the digital clocks, both sides queened and after a flurry of checks a draw was agreed. Nerves frayed all round, but honours even.
|1||A. W. Brusey||174||½||½||M. Redman||194|
|2||W. H. Ingham||166||0||1||J. S. Murray||151|
|3||P. E. Halmkin||150||½||½||B. G. E. Gosling||150|
|4||J. G. Gorodi||149||1||0||R. H. Jones||130|
The first time the ECF have introduced a new grading list half-way through the season has produced this result.
Most grades are slightly up and Obie Ebanks has his first-ever OTB grade. Kevin Hurst, who has recently re-joined the Club is unchanged at 186.
|129415F||Abbott, Mark V||A||170||170||167||167|
|242270A||Badlan, Tom W||D||104||110|
|111446D||Gosling, Brian GE||B||159||150|
|140874E||Hodge, Fred R||D||122||118||107||107|
|113895K||Jones, Robert H||A||131||130||150||147|
|164040K||Kennedy, Philip J||B||153||147|
|116002D||Murray, J Stephen||C||145||151|
|269814G||Redman, Mike D||E||194|
|118154D||Rogers, David R||A||136||138|
|155629A||Stephens, John KF||C||175||173||180||176|
|242384E||Toms, David A||C||155||153|
|285021H||Wensley, Oliver E||B||165||164|
Exmouth’s first Devon League match of the season was in Division 2 (Mamhead Cup) when they entertained Tiverton in what promised to be a close match. Tiverton’s team total grade was at the maximum permitted, while Exmouth was not far behind.
Approaching the 1st time control, Duckham and Gosling agreed a draw after a tense game. Minutes later, Jones had to concede defeat to give the visitors a clear edge. Jones had played conventionally against a Sicilian Defence and was always mindful that he should try and prevent Black getting in d5, which is always Black’s aim. However, in spite of White having set up a sort of Maroczy Bind position with pawns on c4 & e4 in order to deter this very eventuality, Atkins succeeded and brought pressure to bear through the open centre. His killing move came right on the time control at move 40.
The other two games both went to the last minute of extra time, Murray defending an endgame with R vs R+2. This he managed to do with great skill for many moves until time almost ran out. It was felt afterwards that the ending of K+R vs K+ R + f & g pawns could be a theoretical draw with best defensive play, but actually finding those moves when the clock’s ticking is another matter. The Board 1 game ran to the final seconds, and Hurst was unable to exploit several very small advantages that he felt he had earlier in the game, and Hewson played out the final minute very coolly.
|Mamhead Cup||Div. 2|
|1||Kevin J. Hurst||186||½||½||Brian W. R.Hewson||178|
|2||J. Steve Murray||151||½||½||Simon Bartlett||162|
|3||Brian G. E. Gosling||150||½||½||Jon Duckham||153|
|4||Robert H. Jones||130||0||1||Keith P. Atkins||146|