Posts Tagged ‘Mamhead Cup’
Saturday was a beautiful cloudless day with the air like wine and the prospect of a trip across Devon, from the south to north coast for a chess match excited the sense of anticipation. All 8 people involved were experienced players and organisers, and although it was only a 2nd division match, it involved an International Master, 2 qualifiers for this year’s British Championship, 2 former and one current contender for British junior titles and a former World record holder – so what could possibly go wrong!?
Well, quite a lot actually. 30 minutes before I set off, the Home captain phoned to say he’d just realised he’d assembled a team whose total grade came to 640, when the rules clearly stated it should be Under 640. He wasn’t sure what to do about it at that late juncture, and I left him worrying about who, if anyone, he could call in and who should be left out at such short notice.
Minutes later, my two passengers arrived and we set off, heading north. Almost immediately one passenger was taken violently ill (nothing to do with my driving, I hasten to add) and we had to turn back and take him home, which, at best, left us having to play a strong team with only three players.
Once in Barnstaple, we parked and arrived at the venue with 10 minutes to spare, only to find that the home team were locked out of their room. A local friend of the club usually arrives with a key, opens up and provides the refreshments, but he was nowhere to be seen. Their Plan B is to have a player with a spare key. In this case, he arrived only to find he’d left his key at home, and had to drive all the way back to Bideford to get it.
At 3 p.m. after half an hour waiting, someone came down from upstairs and said he had a key and would let us in, which he did, but then no-one had the key to the equipment cupboard, so we were little better off. We could at least now have tea or coffee, but someone had forgotten the biscuits. To fill the time, the captains tossed for colours; Barnstaple won and naturally took the two whites on 1 and 3, with Bd. 4 already in the bag.
Eventually, the second keyholder arrived from Bideford and a silence descended as play started about 45minutes late. However, it was not long before a security van drew up outside and its uniformed driver came in wanting to know who had set off the alarm. No alarm had been heard, but the system was wired up to the firm’s offices and it went off silently, so as not to scare off any intruder. It took him a half hour to satisfy himself that nothing untoward had occurred, but on leaving, warned us all, loudly, to watch out for possible trouble.
It wasn’t long thereafter before John Stephens fell to ‘Jumping’ Jack Rudd. Stephens, playing an opening he knows well, played his 10th move too quickly, getting the move order mixed up. Jack pounced and it was soon over. He played 34 moves in 11 minutes’ thinking time, at a rate of 19 seconds per move, quite usual for him. Quite apart from whatever’s happening on the board, this inevitably puts time pressure on all his opponents, as a scheduled 4 hour game isn’t going to last much longer than half that time at most, with the opponent’s clock running most of that time.
So it was 2-0 and any hope of a miracle win flown out of the window. Fortunately Jones, playing against the English Opening (which he hates), had managed to turn round an early reverse, and was finding the greater freedom for his pieces, with probing threats on both sides of the board, and eventually, his opponent resigned.
Meanwhile, Meyrick Shaw was having to cope with the dangerous Theo Slade, currently in the England Junior squad. Slade played the French Defence, and White managed to set up a strong early kingside attack, Black having to sacrifice the exchange in order stay in the game. This allowed Shaw the luxury of being able to sacrifice material back in order to continue his winning attack. leaving the match drawn. The captains reflected afterwards that after all that had gone before, probably neither side deserved to win.
All of which proves the old saying – “If a thing can go wrong, it probably will”, and it certainly did for both sides on this particular Saturday afternoon.
|1||Jack Rudd||220||1||0||John Stephens||192|
|2||Theo Slade||145||0||1||Meyrick Shaw||166|
|3||Jon Munsey||135||0||1||Bob Jones||130|
|4||A. Rinvolucri||122||1||0||Fred Hodge (def)||115|
Exmouth’s win over Barnstaple on Saturday marked the end of that tournament for another year. The final table is as follows:
|Mamhead Div. 2||1||2||3||4||5||Pts||F||A|
Tiverton were undoubtedly deserved winners. Our fate was sealed by the topsy-turvy match against Teignmouth; a blundered rook by each side and a breathless blitz finish between Redman and Brusey that could have gone either way but finished in a draw, as did the match. The unlikeliest result was surely Newton Abbot’s last place.
Still, a good result for Exmouth, considering the unavailability of top players at times.
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|
In recent years, Devon’s 2nd Division, the Mamhead Cup, has often involved only 2 teams, Exmouth and Teignmouth, playing matches home and away, and very close they have always been.
This year there were 5 entries, yet still in the final round the league winner depended on the result of the Exmouth vs Teignmouth match – whoever won this match won the Cup. However, a drawn match would favour Exmouth as they had a lead of 1 point over their nearest rivals.
As the 4 games got under way, the tension was palpable, and ultimately time-trouble, the result of great caution, was a major factor in the outcome of three games. After an hour’s play, things looked very bleak for the home team, (Exmouth) as David Toms blundered on move 19 and lost horribly, while Jones was staring down the barrel of a gun as Halmkin had the option of forcing material win, with a very strong attack to follow. However, Halmkin missed the winning line and within 3 moves was on the back foot, from which he never recovered, running very short of time in the process. The same happened with Gosling on Bd. 3 who blundered the exchange after he had had a strong position throughout. Down to a bishop vs rook, he pressed on regardless in desperate time trouble, when his opponent, in turn, blundered away his rook for just a pawn, and they entered extra time. On Bd. 1, Hewson had set positional problems that his opponent needed much time to solve, and eventually he won on time. The 2 points gained thus guaranteed the league title for Exmouth, but to add a little extra icing on the party cake, Gosling and Gorodi agreed a draw, the two blunders having cancelled each other out. Gorodi had extra pawns but the Black’s king and bishop could cope with them.
The 2.5 points were secured within about 10 minutes of each other.
|MAMHEAD CUP||Date: 16.04.11|
|1||B. W. R. Hewson||176||1||0||A. W. Brusey||175|
|2||Dr. D. A. Toms||159||0||1||W. Ingham||164|
|3||B. G. E. Gosling||156||½||½||J. G. Gorodi||150|
|4||R. H. Jones||138||1||0||P. E. Halmkin||148|
|Div. 2 (639 max)||629||2½||1½||637|
The League positions with one match still to play.
Exmouth have found it difficult to win anything this season, but they managed to break their duck on Saturday, though they needed several strokes of luck to go their way in order to achieve it.
Firstly, both teams had two of their top players unavailable, but with Tiverton fielding another team at the same time they found it difficult to replace like with like. Exmouth fared slightly better when Jonathan Underwood was able to do some last minute juggling with his family commitments and was able to turn out for the sea-siders. This made all the difference to the outcome, though all four games were well-contested throughout – there’s no such thing as an easy game in the Devon leagues.
The Annetts – Underwood game raced to a draw after an exchange of several pieces in a Sicilian where the resulting pawn formation made it clear neither side would be able to force the issue.
Having won the toss (another stroke of good fortune) Hewson on Bd. 1 was able to play his favoured English Opening and after making 6 captures in 7 moves (21 – 27) winning 2 pawns in the process, forced Bartlett to resign.
On Bd. 4, Jones played a Sicilian, won a pawn in the opening and later the exchange, and thereafter managed to keep things simple, eventually reaching a won endgame of R vs B and a scattering of pawns on each wing.
On Bd. 3, Phil Kennedy was kept stretched for most of the game, until after a big exchange of material his Queen and bishop suddenly bore down on the Black King stuck in its fianchettoed corner and mate was inevitable.
|1||W||B. W. R. Hewson||176||1||0||S. Bartlett||162|
|2||B||Dr. J. Underwood||172||½||½||I. S. Annetts||155|
|3||W||P. J. Kennedy||151||1||0||J. Knowles||133|
|4||B||R. H. Jones||138||1||0||S. Thorpe-Tracey||114|