Posts Tagged ‘Tiverton Club’
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.
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.|
|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|
Exmouth’s 2nd match in Devon’s premier inter-club competition, the Bremridge Cup, was against Tiverton (A). Their loss of Somerset players, Edgell and Littlejohns has been offset by the acquisition IM Jack Rudd and Theo Slade, which meant that they were probably even a little stronger than before. However, both teams turned out to be missing key players. Tiverton were missing Slade and Duckham, while Exmouth were without Mark Abbott and Steve Martin, which probably cancelled each other out. Another cancelling out was on Bds. 1 & 6 where Exmouth were outgraded by 28 points on Bd. 1, while Tiverton were similarly situated on Bd. 6. Overall, the total difference was just 4 points, so anything could be expected – even the unexpected. Tiverton won the toss and chose white on odd-numbered boards.
The first game to finish was Rudd-Stephens, both regular quick starters. After just 15 minutes’ play they had reached move 15 (i.e. 30 seconds per move). Stephens went in for the Sicilian Defence with White playing 6. Bb5. Black played 7…Qb3 attacking White’s b-pawn newly abandoned by the bishop. White ignored the threat, leaving Black with the thought “shall I take it and risk the inevitable counter-threats to the advanced queen – or play safe?” Known as the Poisoned Pawn variation, for obvious reasons, top players with either colour wouldn’t go in for it if they didn’t know the risks. Rudd not only sacrificed the pawn but a knight as well, in order to achieve active play, but he chose the wrong follow-up line and after a number of equal exchanges Black finished up with the only piece on the board which was more than enough to deal with the remaining scattering pawns. 1-0 to Exmouth in under 2 hours. On Bd. 6 the game ended rather suddenly when Black resigned, even though there still seemed to be some play in it, although he had been under attack for some time. 2-0 to Exmouth. Meanwhile, Oliver Wensley had been successful in cramping his opponent’s position, while gradually building up his own kingside attack with all his pieces bearing down on the enemy king to a point where mate was unavoidable. 3-0.
The one game spectators had mentally written off in favour of the home side was on Bd. 4 where Scott looked to be dead in the water. A pawn down, his queen and 2 rooks were cramped in a corner around his king, trying to stave off further material loss, while Black had the freedom of the board. Somehow, and nobody, least of all the losing player himself, could explain how and when it all started to go wrong, but Scott gradually extricated his queen and rook, got counter-play and finished with a sharp mating combination. 4-0.
With the match result now decided, and there being little advantage to either side in the two remaining games, they quickly agreed draws, and everyone was left scratching their heads about what they had just witnessed.
This left Tiverton on 50% after 3 matches, while Exmouth have 2 wins out of 2, with another tight-fought match against Exeter next up.
|1||Jack Rudd||224||0||1||John Stephens||196|
|2||Brian Hewson||174||½||½||Jon Underwood||180|
|3||Simon Bartlett||169||½||½||Meyrick Shaw||173|
|4||Ivor Annetts||162||0||1||Chris Scott||154|
|5||Keith Atkins||157||0||1||Oliver Wensley||151|
|6||Kelvin Hunter||120||0||1||Brian Gosling||148|
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|
Tiverton vs Exmouth – Mamhead Cup Div. 2 – 16.03.2012.
Saturday Afternoon At The Tomato doesn’t have quite the same ring about it as the mid-70s classic jazz-fused song “Midnight At The Oasis”, but there was at least a tiny bit of Tiverton chess history involved as it was their first match at this experimental venue. “Tomato” is the striking title of a tapas bar, near the town centre in Tiverton, with a spacious room upstairs, which the owner lets free of charge, provided all the refreshments are purchased at the bar downstairs.
This was Exmouth’s 7th match of the season, and were so far undefeated, but any temptation to say they wanted to squash their opponents was firmly resisted. Just as well, too, because any squashing was done by the home team.
It all started so well, too, as John Stephens ended with a pretty finish in a pawn ending. At the other end, Simon Blake was the exchange up going into the endgame – a rook + 2 minor pieces vs 3 minor pieces. However, these included two knights, and these can become very slippery if given half a chance, and a knight check won a bishop, and it was downhill from thereon in. But at least the other two games looked solid enough, giving reasonable expectations of yet another drawn match. Gosling agreed a draw, which left Shaw wondering whether to also settle for a draw or try and for a win in order to win the match. But it was one of those positions in which whoever tries to push for win, usually ends up losing, and this is what happened, giving Tiverton the match.
|1||B. W. R. Hewson||174||0||1||J. K. F. Stephens||192|
|2||S. Bartlett||164||1||0||M. Shaw||166|
|3||I. S. Annetts||152||½||½||B. G. E. Gosling||164|
|4||J. Knowles||128||1||0||S. Blake||96|
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|
Exmouth completed its programme of matches in the Newman Cup, the rapidplay league, making it 4 matches in 8 days.
Tuesday saw Exmouth’s first visit to Exeter’s new premises at the Heavitree Social Club. It’s a little away from the city centre, but is in a quiet area with good parking and a roomy building with a bar where one can get liquid refreshment.
Exmouth’s hopes were not high in either match, as they were well short of the maximum permitted strength, an opinion confirmed by the results.
|Bd.||RapidPlay League||22. 03. 2011.|
|1||S. Pope||166||0 0||1 1||M. V. Abbott||178|
|2||S. Waters||153||1 1||0 0||R. H. Jones||157|
|3||G. Body||140||½ 1||½ 0||J. Dzenis||130e|
|4||J. Waley||133||1 1||0 0||F. R. Hodge||111|
|Bd.||RapidPlay League||23. 03. 2011.|
|1||R. H. Jones||157||0 ½||1 ½||I. S. Annetts||151|
|2||J. S. Murray||143||0 0||1 1||J. Morrison||147|
|3||O. E. Wensley||130e||1 1||0 0||J. A. Knowles||135|
|4||J. Dzenis||130e||0 ½||1 ½||K. Atkins||134|