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Shock early result in the Newman Cup (rapidplay) 19.11.2015.

The Exmouth team made their annual pilgrimage to Seaton on a dark stormy midwinter night (nothing unusual there), with little hope of doing anything much against the new Champions. Sure enough, on arrival the home team were at maximum possible strength (599 rapidplay grading points) while the visitors were c. 50 points light. However, their low expectations proved unfounded as the match turned out to be what might possibly be one of the biggest upsets of the season in Devon chess.

Scott and Jones had no trouble in holding the fort in the middle order. In fact, in Game 2,  Scott, with plenty of time left, a rampant queen and in no immediate trouble,  let off his opponent with a draw when he had only seconds left on his clock. Blake had some careful defending to do at times in spite of his material advantage, but managed to avoid any potential pitfalls, while team captain, Mark Abbott was on top form and enjoyed 2 decisive wins against the most highly-graded rapidplay expert active in the DCCA leagues.

Everyone in Devon chess was pleased that earlier in the year Seaton had won their first DCCA trophy, the Newman Cup, very well-deserved after many years of trying, and indeed, they may yet retain it this year, in spite of this inauspicious start. But as in all sports, while winning a trophy is one thing – retaining it is quite another.  

  Newman Cup (rapid)             19.11.2015.  
  Seaton   Rd1 Rd2   Rd1 Rd2 Exmouth  
1 Jonathan Underwood 202 0 0   1 1 Mark Abbott 166
2 Steve Dean 150 ½ ½   ½ ½ Chris Scott 157
3 Martyn Adams 139 ½ ½   ½ ½ Bob Jones 137
4 Alan Dowse 108 0 0   1 1 Simon Blake   92
  Totals 599 1 1   3 3   552
  Grand total   2   6    


Ready for the Off - Scott v Dean (nearest) and Abbott v Underwood.

Bd. 2 gets under way, with the Newman Cup on display.

Simon Blake (W) vs Alan Dowse at the start of Rd. 2.

Club’s 1st Match of the Season.

Exmouth were the hosts in their first match of the new season when they entertained Tiverton on Wednesday evening. The visitors’ secret weapon was the unexpected appearance of Devon’s match captain, Brian Hewson, who usually does not like to play mid-week evening matches after a long day’s stressful work, but as he is now within weeks of retirement, he’s clearly easing up in that respect.

Exmouth’s newcomer was Obie Ebanks, whose first-ever match this was. Overall, the teams were very evenly matched and very close to the maximum permitted grade limit.

In the first of two rounds at 30 mins. per player, Hewson lost a pawn and Stephens successfully ensured he paid the price. The second game was drawn. On Bd. 2 Morrison showed how quickly and originally he can play, and won with two strong attacks. On Bd. 3  Jones blundered a pawn away in the opening and played much of the game on the back foot, trying to blockade pawns from advancing. With only rooks on, he managed to break open the centre to give his own rooks some counter-play and the game was drawn. In the 2nd, he played his favourite reply to a c3 Sicilian, almost got his queen trapped in the centre of the board early on, but its presence there eventually paid dividends as he won material to a point where his black queen finally got a twin sister.

Ebanks admitted to being a bit overawed in the 1st game, but rallied and won the second, thus levelling the  match score at 4-all.

  Newman Cup         RapidPlay (U-600)  
  Exmouth   Rd1.  Rd2   Rd.1  Rd.2 Tiverton  
1 J. K. Stephens 176  1       ½     0        ½ B. W. R. Hewson 178
2 O. E. Wensley 164  0       0     1        1 J. Morrison 165
3 R. H. Jones 147  ½      1     ½       0 I. S. Annetts 153
4 O. Ebanks 110e  0       1     1        0 E. A. Maynard 103
  Totals 597  1½   2½    2½     1½   599
           4          4    


John Stephens led his team to an honourable draw.