Arrived at the venue early in foul weather, and could only find parking some way from the hotel.
At the start of play I announced the forthcoming fixtures. (a) the 60th Paignton Congress for which every player had a brochure and entry form at their board. Also, I had booked the hotel for (b) next year’s WECU Easter Congress, starting on Good Friday 22nd April 2011. (c) The next Seniors Congress was fixed for a start on Monday 8th November 2010.
It was noticeable that after yesterday’s 2 rounds there was only one player on maximum points in both the Open and the Major.
Also spotted a tiny 9 year old playing in the Minor with an interested-looking man sitting nearby, whom I correctly guessed was his father. The boy was Theo Slade of Bude in Cornwall, near its northern border with Devon, who is starting to attract attention for his ability and mature attitude to the game. In the absence of a structure for junior chess chess in Cornwall, he has been drawn into Devon’s junior system, and already plays on Bd. 4 for their U-11s. He played in the British Championships at Torquay last August and was Runner-Up in the British Under-8 Championship. He receives weekly coaching from Exeter’s Dave Regis via the internet and Skype.
It is the boy’s keenness and ability that is driving the situation while his parents struggle to keep pace with him. For example, he broke up from school on Thursday and before he goes back he will have played, not only here in Exmouth but three other events – involving 30 games in all.
It is silly, of course, to even begin to think of the possibility of another Michael Adams, or even Andrew Greet, emerging from the Duchy, but he is certainly one whose progress will be worth watching. He clearly has the ability, the self-motivation and is keen to utilise all the opportunities open to him. Who knows how far he might go?
The Congress Secretary, Andrew Footner, had not anticipated playing, but when the group of 6 Dutchmen who had entered unexpectedly turned out to be 7, thus creating an odd number, he readily jumped in. At the end of Day 1 he was in 2nd= position.
Congress Secretary, Andrew Footner, obliged to play to even up numbers in the Open, found himself 2nd= after a Rd. 2 draw with Sherwin.