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18th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress 2017

The 18th Royal Beacon Seniors Congress got under way on Monday 6th November at its original and on-going venue, the Royal Beacon Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the seascape of the whole of Torbay. There had been a record entry, particularly in the “Junior” Section (21), and even a clutch of late withdrawals for health reasons still left 67 players on board (no pun intended). Of these, no less than 25 won prizes, as follows:-

Prize List

Name Seniors Grd Pts Prize
1st Ian Myall Chelmsford 181 £100
2nd= Stephen Berry Wimbledon 202 4 £60
Mike Wiltshire Dartford 147 4 £60
Bill Ingham Teignmouth 163 4 £60
U-155 Brian Gosling E. Budleigh 154 £25
Arthur Hibbitt Banbury 152 £25
U-135 Dave Adams Exmouth 130 £10
Ray Hunt Seaton 123 £10
Ray Kearsley Wimbledon 132 £10
Stan Lovell Braille 129 £10
Geoff Naldrett Gerrards X 131 £10
Alan Sherriff Dartford 127 £10
Richard Smith Barnstaple 126 £10
U-120 Paul Errington Bournemouth 119 £25
Peter Lucas Sussex 108 £25
“Juniors”
1st Steve Dilleigh Horfield 188 4 £100
2nd= Alan Brown Northampton 173 £60
Mike Waddington Dorchester 191 £60
Jonathan Wells Norwich 188 £60
U-175 Steve Dean Seaton 161 3 £15
Tim Spanton Hastings 169 3 £15
U-160 Paul Jackson Bournemouth 139 3 £30
U-135 Ian Blencowe Wotton Hall 131 £10
Graham Hillman Wimborne 116 £10
Susan Selley Exmouth 120 £10

Rd. 3: Paul Jackson (Bournemouth) opens against the eventual winner of the Juniors Section, Steve Dilleigh (Horfield, Bristol).

Rd. 3: Last year's Seniors' winner, Bill Ingham (Teignmouth) in red plays Robert Hurn (Caerphilly), with Alan Crombleholme (Walsall Kipping) vs Bill Adaway (Dorchester).

Rd. 3: General view of the Seniors' Section. Top seed, Steve Berry, checks the pairing board.

Rd. 3: General view of the "Juniors" section - Wells vs Bolt nearest.

Rd. 3: Nigel Livesey (Marple) vs Ronnie Burton (Weymouth) & Alan Brown (Northampton) vs Susan Selley (Exmouth). Susan hadn't played since leaving school, so had a relatively modest estimated grade, but she was British U-18 Girls Champion in 19?? so knows how the pieces move. In Rd. 1 she beat Livesey (152) and Rd. 5 beat Stern (163), so her first official grade in January will be interesting.

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 Retain Bremridge Cup Div. 1 (04.04.2016)

Exmouth’s final match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition was against old rivals Teignmouth, at the Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the sea, with Teignmouth town feintly visible on the other side of the bay.

Looking at the team lists and grades, one might assume this could be an easy proposition for the cup holders, were it not for three things; (a) nothing is certain in chess (b) Exmouth were 3 X 170+ players light, for various reasons, including a family wedding and an Exeter City vs Plymouth Argyle match and (c) on the night of the recent Storm Katie, with the winds howling all around the town, the non-playing Captain, Bob Jones, heard a loud bang in the middle of the night. In the morning, fearing the worst and expecting some degree of structural damage to the house, as there had been in the previous storm only a couple of weeks earlier, he found the noise had been caused by the Bremridge Cup falling off its perch for no apparent reason. Could all this be an omen?

In the event, Teignmouth, too, were under-strength, with their top player, Alan Brusey, unwell. Yet the games went on and on – there were no quick wins anywhere. In fact, it was only when the endgames were reached that the differences in grade began to tell. All 6 games then finished within quite a short time of each other, and suddenly the match was over.

EXMOUTH Grd TEIGNMOUTH Grd
1 John Stephens 196 1 0 Bill Ingham 158
2 Dr. Jon Underwood 184 1 0 Nathan Mills 154
3 Steve Martin 183 1 0 Peter E. Halmkin 151
4 Brian Gosling 157 1 0 Rev. Charles Doidge 129
5 Chris Scott 150 1 0 John Ariss 121
6 Steve Murray 150 1 0 Norman F. Tidy 119
1,020 6 0 832

This left Exmouth with 3 won matches and one drawn. The match they came closest to losing was against Exeter, where Exeter were leading 3-2 and one unclear ending in progress. In the event, Brian Gosling found a clever pseudo-sacrificial move that won the game and saved the match.

Summaries of results and performances are as follows:

Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Rd. 3 Rd. 4
Bd vs Newton A vs Tiverton vs Exeter vs Teignmouth
1 Stephens 1 Stephens 1 Underwood 0 Stephens 1
2 Underwood ½ Martin 1 Martin ½ Underwood 1
3 Martin ½ Underwood 1 Abbott ½ Martin 1
4 Abbott ½ Abbott 1 Wensley ½ Gosling 1
5 Wensley ½ Wensley 1 Gosling 1 Scott 1
6 Scott ½ Scott 1 Scott ½ Murray 1
6 3 6
Name P W D L %
John Stephens 3 3 0 0 100
Jon Underwood 4 2 1 1 62.5
Steve Martin 4 2 2 0 75
Mark Abbott 3 1 2 0 66
Oliver Wensley 3 1 2 0 66
Brian Gosling 2 2 0 0 100
Chris Scott 4 2 2 0 75
Steve Murray 1 1 0 0 100
Bremridge Cup Div. 1       2015 – 16 season
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Tot. For Against
1 Exeter X 1 0 0
2 Exmouth 1 X 2 2 2 7 18½
3 Newton Abbot 2 0 X
4 Teignmouth 0 X
5 Tiverton 2 0 X

Exmouth Retain Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)

Exmouth’s final match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition was against old rivals Teignmouth, at the Manor Hotel on Exmouth’s Beacon, overlooking the sea, with Teignmouth town feintly visible on the other side of the bay.

Looking at the team lists and grades, one might assume this could be an easy proposition for the cup holders, were it not for three things; (a) nothing is certain in chess (b) Exmouth were 3 X 170+ players light, for various reasons, including a family wedding and an Exeter City vs Plymouth Argyle match and (c) on the night of the recent Storm Katie, with the winds howling all around the town, the non-playing Captain, Bob Jones, heard a loud bang in the middle of the night. In the morning, fearing the worst and expecting some degree of structural damage to the house, as there had been in the previous storm only a couple of weeks earlier, he found the noise had been caused by the Bremridge Cup falling off its perch for no apparent reason. Could all this be an omen?

In the event, Teignmouth, too, were under-strength, with their top player, Alan Brusey, unwell. Yet the games went on and on – there were no quick wins anywhere. In fact, it was only when the endgames were reached that the differences in grade began to tell. All 6 games then finished within quite a short time of each other, and suddenly the match was over.

Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)     02.04.2016.
EXMOUTH EXMOUTH EXMOUTH EXMOUTH
1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1 John Stephens 1
2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2 Dr. Jon Underwood 2
3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3 Steve Martin 3
4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4 Brian Gosling 4
5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5 Chris Scott 5
6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6 Steve Murray 6

This left Exmouth with 3 won matches and one drawn. The match they came closest to losing was against Exeter, where Exeter were leading 3-2 and one unclear ending in progress. In the event, Brian Gosling found a clever pseudo-sacrificial move that won the game and saved the match.

Bremridge Cup Div. 1       2015 – 16 season
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Tot. For Against
1 Exeter X 1 0 0
2 Exmouth 1 X 2 2 2 7 18½
3 Newton Abbot 2 0 X
4 Teignmouth 0 X
5 Tiverton 2 0 X

Exmouth’s Defence of Bremridge Cup Continues (09.01.2016.)

Exmouth’s defence of the DCCA Div. 1 tournament continued with a match against Tiverton. Originally scheduled as a home match for Exmouth, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. Finding 5 hrs parking in Exmouth on a Saturday afternoon is near impossible at the best of times, but add to this the £50 hire charge being asked by several places, and the Manor Hotel being closed for the week, led Exmouth to asking whether Tiverton could host the match. This was agreed and Exmouth were happy to  pay their £17.50 hire charge.

So far so good; but the weather conditions driving up the motorway towards Tiverton were atrocious to the point of being potentially dangerous, with torrential rain and spray all the way. John Stephens driving up from Plymouth found the main A38 blocked and he was redirected to minor roads and phoned in to say he would be late, and Steve Martin didn’t know where the venue was situated in the town. Thus the omens were not good, but at least all the Exmouth team were in place by 2.30. The Tiverton team was somewhat compromised by the unavailability for one reason or another of several of their top players; Rudd, Richardt, Duckham, Hunter et al. and they had drafted in 2 other Cornish players besides Simon Bartlett to make up a competitive team.

In spite of all this, play got under way at the appointed hour (14.30); quiet descended and a drama slowly unfolded.

The first games to finish were on Bds 5 &6.  On bottom board, Chris Scott was able to fork 2 rooks with his knight on move 24 and it was all over 3 moves later. On Bd. 5 Oliver Wensley reported on his game tus: “White abandoned his regular Kings’ pawn opening in light of a recent match against his opponent, albeit rapid play, where his Caro-Kann defence was extremely effective.

Whether or not this shocked Black, he seemed completely fine with his Dutch defence until move eleven where, with White as yet uncommitted to castling, he decided to go on the offensive with 11…. Qh5. This allowed White to win a key central Pawn as Blacks’ back rank defences had been abandoned. Having analysed the position, Black stood equal by developing his Queens’ Bishop to e6 instead. Here White probably would have played Ng5 attacking it.

White had earlier ceded the Bishop pair advantage to Black in order to prevent Ne4. The better way forward for Black would be to develop his Bishop to e6 and potentially allow white to equalise by allowing the exchange of his Bishop for Whites’ Knight.

After the text move, White realised the e5 space was in the offing for his Knight should a series of exchanges take place & this is what occurred. In the end, White took advantage of the open e-file & with Black’s queenside not developed, managed to get the advantage.” After playing 21.Ne5 getting his knight established in a forward position with threats, Black resigned.

White plays 22.Ne5 and Black resigns.

Scott played 22...Ne4 and White resigned 3 moves later.

 

And the games continued to finish in sequence – Bds. 4,  3,  2, and finally Bd. 1 which went to the last few seconds of extra time, and each one went to the visitors. Mark Abbott got the upper hand with just a rook and 2 minor pieces left.  Jon Underwood’s game revolved around control of the long dark-square diagonal towards his opponent’s king, which finished with a fatal skewer. This left the top two games which were very finely balanced throughout, until the clock eventually decided the outcome.  Bd. 2 featured a R+4 vs R+5 pawn ending. Martin had the extra pawn, but Retallick, with great concentration, managed to create his own threats. Looking at the clocks it appeared both players had the same amount of time left – a few minutes each, but in his concentration on the board, Retallick hadn’t fully appreciated that his few minutes left was of his 20 minutes extra time, while Martin’s few minutes left was of his original allocation of 100 minutes to reach move 40.  Suddenly his clock started flashing red to indicate all his time had elapsed. 5-0.  The Stephens-Hewson game looked completely blocked with pieces being shuffled around behind a barrier of pawns. When Stephens was down to 3 minutes left, compared to his opponent’s 7 minutes, he launched a pawn advance that opened the a-file and he won a piece. His own pieces now had some room to manoeuvre and Black had to use up his time advantage in trying to work out the better lines. Eventually, his time ran out with Stephens’ own clock well into  his final minute.

Such results at this level are rare, but not unique, as Brian Hewson recalled a Plymouth 6-0 Exeter result between 2 evenly matched teams; the following year the same two teams in the same competition recorded Plymouth 0-6 Exeter. 

  Bremridge Cup  Div. 1                         09.01.2016.    
Bd TIVERTON Grd     EXMOUTH Grd
1 B. W. R. Hewson 176 0 1 J. K. F. Stephens 196
2 L. Retallick 171 0 1 S. Martin 184
3 P. Hampton 175 0 1 Dr. J. Underwood 186
4 S, Bartlett 167 0 1 M. V. Abbott 178
5 I. S. Annetts 151 0 1 O. E. Wensley 170
6 G. Fotheringham 135 0 1 C. J. Scott 149
    975 0 6   1,063

 

Lloyd Retallick moves against Steve Martin.

Chris Scott (nearest/facing) & Oliver Wensley awaiting a move.

Shirtsleeved Mark Abbott & Jon Underwood with Martin in foreground.

General view of playing area.

Exmouth Club’s New Grades – 2015 – 16

The new Grading List came out recently, with the majority of members showing a healthy up-turn in the grades, arising out of what was a highly successful season, both in inter-club matches and congresses.

Well done to all concerned – but don’t forget…… what goes up must come down!

Name New from Rapid  from
Abbott, Mark V. 178   171   166   168  
Badlan, Tom W. 82     81     77     77  
Belt, Malcolm 133   128   112   122  
Blake, Simon 105   106   92   90  
Gosling, Brian G.E. 154   148          
Grist, Ivor G. 100     98     87     83  
Hodge, Fred R. 92     94   135   131  
Hurst, Kevin J. 183   183          
Jones, Robert H. 118   125   137   139  
Martin, Steven 184   178   166   166  
Murray, J Stephen 151   141   141   140  
Rogers, David R. 140   152          
Scott, Chris J. 149   154   157   159  
Shaw, Meyrick 177   173   171   164  
Stephens, John K.F. 196   196   182   181  
Thomson, David John 105   152          
Toms, David A. 162   159       144  
Underwood, Jonathan WR 186   182   202   196  
Wensley, Oliver E. 170   151   156   154  

Also, hearty congratulations are due to John Stephens, who has topped off a brilliantly successful season for the Club by becoming the Devon Individual Champion, after beating Dr. T. J. Paulden in a play-off after drawing their 1st game. 

Bob Jones

Winning Start for Exmouth in Div. 1 – the Bremridge Cup.

Exmouth’s first match in Devon’s premiership was at home against Newton Abbot. There had been problems about finding a venue, but the newly-refurbished Writing Room at the Manor Hotel proved ideal.

Steve Martin’s was the first game to finish. He has the habit of turning up, winning in little over an hour, before going back home immediately. No-one’s complaining, as this immediately puts pressure on the opposition. Then Jonathan Underwood got a draw against the dangerous junior, John Fraser, followed by another win, this time for Chris Scott who made no mistakes and took full advantage of a couple of slight misjudgments by his opponent. This was balanced by a loss by John Stephens who had Black, and failed to get satisfactory counter-play against Mackle’s opening.

This left Bds. 5 & 6 to decide the outcome. Gosling had had something of a harum-scarum game, losing a piece but winning 2 significant pawns by way of compensation. In the end he was able to force a perpetual check with his queen. 3 points in the bag. However, Oliver Wensley’s position looked pretty watertight, and was never in danger of losing, unless he blundered. He offered a draw, but knowing that to accept would mean losing the match Kinder declined. A few moves later he consulted with his captain before accepting the draw, possibly in order to avoid the prospect of a 4-2 loss or to get back home at a respectable hour.

The games scores will shortly be sent to the chessdevon website.

  Bremridge Cup       31.01.2015  
Bd. Exmouth Grd     Newton Abbot Grd
1 J. K. Stephens 194 0 1 D. Mackle 203
2 J. Underwood 179 ½ ½ J. Fraser 181
3 S. Martin 171 1 0 M. Hui 150
4 C. J. Scott 157 1 0 T. F. Thynne 161
5 B. G. Gosling 153 ½ ½ P. Brooks 154
6 O. E. Wensley 149 ½ ½ A. Kinder 149
  Totals 1,003   995

 

Bds 1 & 2: John Stephens and Jonathan Underwood.

Bds 3 & 4. The two home winners, Chris Scott and Steve Martin (facing left)

Last to finish and both draws. Oliver Wensley and Brian Gosling (facing left)

Exmouth C.C.’s Buzzer Tournament 2014.

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:

  Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 total Pos.
1 Bob Jones X ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 0  
2 Fred Hodge ½ X 0 0 1 1 0 0 ½ 3  
3 Chris Scott 1 1 X 1 1 0 1 0 1 6 2nd
4 Malcolm Belt 1 1 0 X 1 ½ 0 1 0 4½ 4th=
5 Tom Badlan 0 0 0 0 X 0 0 0 0 0  
6 Simon Blake ½ 0 1 ½ 1 X 0 0 ½ 3½  
7 Oliver Wensley 1 1 0 1 1 1 X 0 ½ 5½ 3rd
8 Meyrick Shaw ½ 1 1 0 1 1 1 X 1 6½ 1st
9 Steve Murray 1 ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ 0 X 4½ 4th=

Exmouth’s New Grades July 2014

1 129415F G Abbott, Mark V 173 +1   167 -9
2 242270A B Badlan, Tom W 82 +3   78 -2
3 173289E B Belt, Malcolm 128 -1   124  
4 286681L B Blake, Simon 102 -2   91 +1
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
15 290163J G Shaw, Meyrick 170 -6   167 -7
16 155629A S Stephens, John KF 194 +8   178 -2
17 242384E G Toms, David A 151 +9      
18 242283K B Underwood, Jon 179 +8      
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 Stagger Over the Line (23.03.2014.)

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.

  Exmouth Grd     Teignmouth Grd
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
  Totals 966   851

 

The Exmouth team (facing)