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West of England Chess Championship 016 – Rd. 1

88 players foregathered at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth on Good Friday for the annual WECU Congress. A new development this year was in extending the FIDE rating rules to the Major as well as the Open, and using the latest digital clocks for both sections, which added a 30 second increment each time a move was made.

Many of the faces were returnees, familiar with the town, the venue and the congress routine. However, it’s always good to have a few new people around, if only to add interest to the mix. One such in the Open was Thomas Broek from the Wisver Turen club in the Netherlands, while at the other end of the scale, John Stone from Horley, with an estimated grade of 100, entered the Minor.

Both gave a statement of intent from the off, when Broek beat a local player, Oliver Wensley, in just 12 moves, Wensley having been joint winner of the East Devon Open just a couple of years before. Stone not only won his Rd. 1 game but went on to carve up the field with 7 straight wins, making him the only one to score a maximum, and casting some doubt on the accuracy of his grade estimate.

Everything went according to form, as the day finished with the 5 top seeds in the Open, being the only ones on 2/2 – Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd, Richard McMichael, Thomas Broek and Russell James.


White Black
1 Bolt, Graham 2028 0 1 Arkell, Keith 2451
2 Rudd, Jack 2263 1 0 Menadue, Jeremy 2021
3 Gamble, Raymond 1996 0 1 McMichael, Richard 2189
4 Broek, Thomas 2180 1 0 Wensley, Oliver 1983
5 Woodward, Tim 1975 0 1 James, Russell 2168
6 Smith, Andrew 2127 1 0 Burton, Ronnie 1952
7 Hickman, John 1920 0 1 De Coverley, Roger 2075
8 Jamroz, Krzysztof 2073 ½ ½ French, Max 1857
9 Benson, Sean 1779 0 1 Dilleigh, Steve 2072
10 Bass, John 2035 1 0 Wilson, Matthew 1754
11 Snook-Lumb, Chris 1741 1 0 Shaw, Meyrick 2031
12 Fallowfield, Jeremy 2112 1 0 Bye
13 Littlejohns, Dave 1998 ½ - Bye
14 Bartlett, Simon 1953 ½ - Bye

General view of the playing hall from the stage.

General view from the other end.

Gamble vs McMichael (nearest) and Broek (W) about to record a quick win against Wensley.

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