Posts Tagged ‘Seaton Chess Club’
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.|
|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|
Devon’s RapidPlay tournament, the Newman Cup, has in recent years been the preserve of the same three clubs, Exmouth, Tiverton and Seaton, with Seaton being very much the underdogs. However, under the driving force of their captain, Steve Dean, they have never been downcast or tempted to give it all up, and in fact this season has seen a big change. The difference is the return to the fold of Jonathan Underwood after an absence of several years in the US. He has returned to the Devon scene, refreshed and re-invigorated, turning out regularly for the Devon county team, for Exmouth in Devon’s 1st Division and Seaton.
On Wednesday evening he turned out on top board for Seaton against his other club, Exmouth, in the Devon RapidPlay League. With a RapidPlay grade of 196 and surely about to break the 200 barrier in the next list, he was too much of a handful for the home captain, Mark Abbott, and made it 4 wins to nil in the home and away matches this season. Similarly, on Bd. 3, Oliver Wensley’s attacking skills proved too much for Alan Dowse in both games, with knights seeming to do most damage . On Bd. 2, Chris Scott, nearing the time limit, made an illegal move which lost the 1st game, but got his revenge in the next game when his king became very active in a N+Ps endgame and managed to force one through to queen. On Bd. 4, Simon Blake got a winning advantage in the first game, but lost his way in the 2nd, and Hazel Welch took full advantage, as she is wont to do.
4-all was probably a fair result on the night, but not enough to give Exmouth any hope of retaining the title.
|1||M. V. Abbott||167||0||0||1||1||J. Underwood||196|
|2||C. J. Scott||157||0||1||1||0||S. K. Dean||151|
|3||O. E. Wensley||151||1||1||0||0||A. Dowse||113|
|4||S. Blake||91||1||0||0||1||Mrs. H. Welch||111|
Last year, Seaton improved their chances by bringing in Steve Martin, and this year added Dr. Jonathan Underwood, which tipped the balance altogether. Seaton won both rounds 2.5 – 1.5 and finished 5-3 winners. Chris Scott maintained his continuing improvement by winning his individual encounter against Martin, while Jones managed to stem early aggression from Adams and may have had very slight advantages in both games but with time running out offered draws, which Adams was minded to accept. But Underwood was clearly fired up after winning 6 Blitz games eight days earlier and the combination of his endgame technique and speed of move proved too much for the Exmouth captain. Blake had a won position in Rd. 1 but ran very low on time and Dowse kindly offered a draw when he could have won on time.
Exmouth have started with a loss several times before in this competition, but managed to make up lost ground. In this case, this seems less likely than hitherto, and Seaton must be considered serious contenders for the title.
|Seaton||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Jon Underwood||179||1||1||0||0||Mark Abbott||167|
|2||Steve Martin||172||½||0||½||1||Chris Scott||157|
|3||Martyn Adams||133||½||½||½||½||Bob Jones||147|
|4||Alan Dowse||111||½||1||½||0||Simon Blake||91|
The Newman Cup is Devon’s RapidPlay Tournament, held by Exmouth numerous times in recent years. Their defence started with a reverse at the hands of Tiverton last month, making their away match to Seaton a crucial one.
It is a commonplace that away matches to Seaton are held in the depths of winter, when the trip there has to be made during the rush hour, with a great wind blowing and rain thrashing down. Last night was no exception. Progress was slow and the venue was reached with only minutes to spare before the scheduled start of 7 p.m. However, on arrival, the venue was locked and the key-holder unobtainable as a group of chess-players and others huddled in the doorway. Eventually, she arrived and play started just a few minutes late.
Rd. 1 started well with Simon Blake winning quickly and Oliver Wensley getting a draw, but Chris Scott was overwhelmed by the very steady Steve Dean, and Meyrick Shaw’s position, playing a Closed Sicilian, ran short of time and came unstuck against Steve Martin. So Rd. 1 was lost 2.5 – 1.5.
Fortunately, in this competition there’s always a second bite of the cherry, which is where Exmouth often hit back after an early loss. So in this case, when Blake won again. Scott played quickly, leaving Dean to get behind on the clock and he cracked under the pressure. Shaw invited the Alekhine’s Defence, but Martin opted not to play 2.e5 but preferred 2.d3 and soon found himself on the back foot with his King’s position in a mess and pieces undeveloped. Shaw managed to maintain th einitiative and eventually got a 2nd queen, forcing resignation. the 3-0 lead ensured a won match, and it mattered not that Wensley ran out of time in a winning position.
|Seaton||Grd||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 1||Rd 2||Exmouth||Grd|
|1||Steve Martin||162||1||0||0||1||Meyrick Shaw||164|
|2||Steve Dean||148||1||0||0||1||Chris Scott||154|
|3||Alan Dowse||113||½||1||½||0||Oliver Wensley||146|
|4||Nicolas Bacon||108||0||0||1||1||Simon Blake||100|
The Newman Cup is DCCA’s RapidPlay trophy. As in recent years, the only entries were Exmouth, Tiverton and Seaton, playing each other at home and away. Last Wednesday evening was Exmouth’s last match, entertaining Seaton at their Age Concern Day Centre in New Street. Having beaten and drawn against Tiverton, and beaten Seaton away, and knowing that Seaton had beaten Tiverton in their first encounter, the title was Exmouth’s to lose. Not that anything was to be taken for granted as Seaton were able to field a much stronger team for this 2nd match.
In fact, after losing the toss and having Black on Bds. 1 & 3 Seaton won the first round. With colours reversed the crucial moment came after Stephens and Wensley won on Bds 1 & 2. Jones was locked into a rook and pawn ending against the dangerous M. Adams (Martyn, not Mickey). With two minutes left each, the play was getting wild, and although Jones had what was probably a winning position – with best play - anything could go wrong, and knowing that a draw would ensure at least a drawn match, and with it, the title, offered a draw which was quickly accepted. Another factor in his offer, was that Blake was winning on Bd. 4. but in the last few seconds the win evaporated, and the match was, in fact, drawn.
Exmouth thus finished this tournament with a win and draw against both opponents.
|Exmouth||Grd||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Seaton||Grd|
|1||J. K. F. Stephens||184||1||1||0||0||S. K. Dean||152|
|2||O. E. Wensley||136||0||1||1||0||K. Alexander||129|
|3||R. H. Jones||148||½||½||½||½||M. Adams||127|
|4||S. Blake||96||0||0||1||1||A. Dowse||110|
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|
A minor piece of local chess history was made on Wednesday when a Seaton team came to Exmouth to play in a DCCA tournament, the Team Rapidplay (Newman Cup); neither Seaton nor Sidmouth had ever played in any DCCA competition before this season.
The maximum total grade for this match was 599, grades taken on the September 2011 grades (RapidPlay grade where appropriate), an average of just under 150 per board. Seaton’s team were all fairly close to this average, whereas Exmouth used Fred Hodge, relatively low-graded but vastly experienced and a safe pair of hands, on Bd. 4 to balance up the top 2 boards.
This policy proved successful as Fred held his own in both rounds against Alan Dowse who is c. 30 grading points higher, while Stephens and Wensley proved more than a handful at the top end. Only Jones failed to score, twice succumbing to Stone’s attacking skills.
Exmouth now have this win and a draw against Tiverton, with return matches yet to be played.
|Bd||Exmouth||Grd||Rd1 Rd2||Rd1 Rd2||Seaton||Grd|
|1||J. K. F Stephens||176||1 1||0 0||S. K. Dean||150|
|2||O. E. Wensley||164||1 ½||0 ½||M. W. Adams||136|
|3||R. H. Jones||147||0 0||1 1||S. Stone||147|
|4||F. R. Hodge||107||½ ½||½ ½||A. Dowse||135|
|Totals||594||2½ 2||1½ 2||568|