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.
|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|