Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category
WECU CONGRESS 2017 ENTRIES
As at Fri. 24th March
(20 days to go)
|1||2408||240||K. C. Arkell||Cheddleton|
|3||2098||186||P. Helbig||S. Bristol|
|8||2030||166||J. W. Bass||Richmond|
|11||1979||184||R. de Coverley||Bourne End|
|12||1975||165||T. F. Thynne||N. Abbot|
|16||1840||159||S. K. Dean||Seaton|
|3||1884||142||I. S. Annetts||Tiverton|
|4||1860||165||W. H. Ingham||Teignmouth|
|6||1821||159||B. G. Gosling||E. Budleigh|
|10||1777||167||J. Nyman||Kings Head|
|16||1653||133||D. Lawrence||Kings Head|
|17||1647||132||J. Robertson||E. Kilbride|
|18||1644||137||M. Roberts||Holmes Chapel|
|19||1614||133||L. Hafsted||Exeter Juniors|
|20||1519||133||D. J. Adams||Exmouth|
|23||137||D. R. Rogers||Exmouth|
|2||128||J. Barber-Lafon||N. Abbott|
|13||92||A. Davies||S. Hams|
|15||81||R. E. Cox||Southampton|
|16||71||B. Lockett||N. Abbot|
In his Encyclopaedia of Chess Variants, David Pritchard records that one of the most creative inventors of chess variants was Vernon Rylands Parton (1897 – 1974) whose most lasting invention was Alice Chess, based on Alice in Wonderland.
Vernon’s father ran a small private school in Cannock, Staffordshire. Both father and son and the school itself, referred to in the town simply as “Parton’s”, are described by a former pupil, Arthur Hopcraft in his autobiography, “The Great Apple Raid” (Heinemann – 1970 – pp113-116). My father also attended the school and got his taste for chess directly from Vernon c. 1917, and passed it on to me in the early 1950s. Like many others, my father and I both found bog standard chess enough to be going on with, without complicating it further.
Not so with Congress Secretary, Dr. Tim Paulden, who is himself entering the crazy world of Parton, not only embracing existing variants but inventing his own. He used the occasion of this year’s congress to launch Duck Chess on an unsuspecting world. The game requires a standard chess set, plus a duck! Tim researched the market for suitable ducks, testing their dimensions and quackability. Having found one, he order a significant number in small plastic bags together with an explanatory card, which reads thus:
Duck Chess is an exciting and absorbing new chess variant invented in 2016 by Dr. Tim Paulden (Exeter Chess Club).
The basic principle of the game is simple: in addition to the usual pieces, the two players have joint control of a small rubber duck which acts as a “blocker (i.e. nothing can move onto or through it). A player’s turn always consists of two actions (a) making a standard chess move and (b) moving the duck to any empty square on the board. There is no concept of “check” or “checkmate” – you must capture the enemy king to win!
For full rules and examples of play, go to www.duckchess.com.
By the end of Rd. 4, the Open Section had developed into a mini tournament between the titled players just playing among themselves. Top seed, Arkell had had a dodgy game against his former pupil, Rudd and dropped a half point, but Nunn’s scorecard was unblemished, while, the Spanish IM, Simon, the Austrian FM, Braun, and Tournament Secretary,Tim Paulden himself, were never far away.
As you may have seen from the official event website, it will display, (a) the pairings for each round; (b) the results of every game played in all 3 sections and (c) images of both scoresheets for every game played. These will be posted very quickly after each round. That will leave this site able to concentrate on pictures and stories that may emerge from the event. Comedy and tragedy – all will be ruthlessly unearthed and displayed for all to see.
This event started back in 1976 in a relatively small way, but 3 years later, with the benefit of local sponsorship, the entries shot up to 219. That year it was won by John Nunn ahead of a chasing pack that included Dave Rumens, Plaskett, Blackstock, Franklin and Peter Sowray – quite an array of up-and coming players of the time.
Since those heady days, the numbers have slipped, especially in recent years, but this year, for no obvious reason, the entry went right back up to the 150s, with a late influx of titled players. Devon residents Keith Arkell and Jack Rudd, were present, as one might expect, of course, but there were new names like IM David Pardo Simon, a Spanish student at the University, and an Austrian FM, Walter Braun, who had turned up to live in Exmouth only a few days earlier. Oh, and someone called John Nunn, making his first appearance here since 1979. His appearance could be a factor in the increased interest this year, but also there was an unparalelled entry of 12 from the University.
This year’s 42nd East Devon Congress got under way this evening in Exeter’s commodious Corn Hall, with words of welcome from Congress Secretary, Dr. Tim Paulden, whose energy in creating a new website for the event, with facilities for easy on-line entry, could be a 3rd factor.
The pictures set the scene and tell the story:-
David Anthony Toms 1937 – 2017
Dr. David Anthony Toms, a member of Sidmouth and Exmouth Chess Clubs, passed away on 15th February 2017, aged 80. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday 14th March at St. Leonard’s Church, Exeter, starting at 13.30 hrs. Any donations will go towards St. Leonard’s Church and the Kairos Prison Ministry, a world-wide organisation dedicated to supporting prisoners and their families.
David’s father and grandfather before him, both called Arthur, ran a meat pie and live & jellied eel shop at 84, Chatsworth Road, Lower Clapton, Hackney. The road was originally constructed on virgin land in c. 1869, and was built especially straight and wide so as to allow for shops and a weekly market with stalls on either side of the road. Economic activity was stimulated in that area with the opening of Clapton station in 1872 and the arrival of the tram system. It is quite possible that the Toms family had lived in that road from the start, and this photograph of the Toms shop front suggests the Victorian era. 1
Below: Typical scene of Chatsworth Road, Clapham, at about the time of David’s birth. 2
Today one is more likely to find kebab shops and pizza parlours than jellied eel emporia, but the area is currently undergoing a Notting Hill-like process of gentrification, and a lively cross-cultural ethos is much in evidence around Chatsworth Road.
David attended the local primary school and might have succeeded to the eel empire, but he proved very bright and academic, and won a scholarship to Bancrofts School, a direct grant grammar school in leafy Woodford Green. Bancroft’s was very supportive of chess as a valuable extra-curricular activity. Not only David but several of his contemporaries were also successful as promising juniors, including R. Jessop.
1954 was his annus mirabilis on the chessboard. In January he won the London Boys’ Championship ahead of Michael Macdonald-Ross, thus joining the ranks of former winners like Harry Golombek (1929 – son of Polish-Jewish refugees) and Leonard Barden (1946 – son of a dustman), who both went on to become legends in the chess world.
In August he went on to play in the British Boys’ Championship, beginning a long association with Nottingham. He came 10th= scoring 6/11 points, a creditable total but not quite headline-making. However, on the strength of these two results he was invited to join a team of English U-18 juniors to tour Holland in which they played 4 teams of Dutch juniors, beating them all. David scored 2½/4 points.
In September, he played in the 3rd Paignton Congress, coming 2nd in the Premier Reserves C Section behind Peter C. Gibbs of Bradford. He didn’t play at Paignton again until 2009, when he took part in one of the last of the series before it was forced to move out of the famous Oldway Mansion.
Suddenly school days were over and he went to medical school, specialising in mental health and graduated with an MB. He followed a career in psychiatry, becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians and later elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He was a Director of a group of psychiatrists based in Regent Street, Nottingham. His impressive title by this time was Dr. Consulting Psychiatrist David A. Toms MB; MRCP; FRCPsych.
With this demanding career and a growing family of four children (2 sons & 2 daughters), there was no time for chess tournaments or weekend congresses, so he took to correspondence chess, carrying a small cardboard folding chessboard in his jacket pocket, for any opportune moment to analyse his current games.
Eventually he retired to the small village of Tipton St. John and joined the nearby Sidmouth Chess Club. At that time, the majority of members were happy to play only within their club, but several of the more able players joined the nearby Exmouth Chess Club in order to get games at the weekends in Devon’s 1st division, the Bremridge Cup, and David followed this path, contributing to them winning the title 9 times between 2002 – 2016. He was meticulous in recording in his scorebook not just his own game but the names of all players involved in the match and their individual scores and the team totals.
He was elected President of the Devon County Chess Association in 2012.
When illness started to take its toll, he was not averse to telling friends what was wrong and how he was advising his own GP the best course of treatment.
Whenever his health allowed, he continued to play until very near the end.
Both his career and life generally were underpinned by his strong Christian faith.
R. H. Jones.
- This silk screen print, adapted from an old photograph, was made by Hackney artist Richard Roberts, and is available from his website Roberts Print.
- 2.The street views may be found, along with many others of historical interest, on the Yeah! Hackney website.
- Photo by R. H. Jones.
Simon Bartlett’s funeral was held yesterday (08.02.2017.) and his great friend, Ivor Annetts, has compiled these facts and memories of Simon, and invited anyone to make use of them.
He writes as follows:
Simon was born, brought up and educated, in Paignton. He attended a boys’ school and did extremely well, gaining admittance to Bristol University to read law. After a time he decided that this was not for him, and he took a year off in Morocco. He then returned to Bristol University to read chemistry and was awarded a degree in that subject. Apart from a brief period with another company, the whole of his working life was spent with a chemical company in Cornwall called Key Organics. At its peak, Simon led a team of seven researchers. Their task was to produce organic chemical compounds with particular properties as requested by the company’s customers. During the 90s, China began to be able to do this much more cheaply and this led to Simon eventually being the sole researcher for Key Organics. He told me on more than one occasion that he still got a kick out of doing his job. Simon eventually retired at the age of 58 and gave every indication that he was thoroughly enjoying his new life.
I first met Simon around 28 years ago at Tor Abbey. It was a unique chess occasion, as the West of England Championship was held at that prestigious venue. Brian Boomsma was also a competitor and he and Simon were already friends. Years later Simon was to become the godfather of Brian’s new son. At Tor Abbey, Brian introduced me to this 35 years old confident upstart, then graded at something like 125, and over the next few years the three of us, all very different from each other, became close friends.
During the chess year we would enter anything up to half a dozen or more congresses across the west country. It became traditional for the three of us, frequently joined by Brian’s partner Lynda, to meet up for an Indian meal on the Saturday night. Fueled by too many bottles of house red, the conversation would flow, arguments would sometimes be intense, and occasionally when Brian and I took opposing views, Simon would remain the calm, objective and rational one. And now I realize that throughout all of the intervening years, I have never seen Simon angry or, apart from his final few months, emotionally disturbed in any way.
He was tremendously well-read, retained facts, and had a lively enquiring mind. He was particularly knowledgeable on economics, his partner, Margaret having a degree in that subject. I well remember his scary, penetrating analysis at the time of the financial crisis in 2008.
Ten years or so ago we discovered that we both had had experiences with the game of bridge, with Simon’s being rather more than an experience as he played regularly in a Camelford club. We arranged to partner each other once per week as members of an online bridge club. I vaguely remembered elements of the Acol and Blackwood bidding systems; Simon knew them inside out and tempted me towards something called a Precision Club(?) system. He was also, to my eyes, extremely skilled at playing the cards. After a time, this, with chess, was too much for me and so I pulled the plug on our bridge soirees. Simon, true to his character, showed no concern at my decision. It is extremely possible that he was secretly relieved at not having to continue to carry the burden of teaching a novice. If so, he showed no sign of it.
I am also indebted to him for sharing his chess opening expertise with me. Following explanations from Simon, I did at various times experiment with the Sveshnikov Sicilian – Simon insisting on calling it the Pelikan – the Grunfeld and the French Wing Gambit. It soon became clear that Simon’s occasionally risky, tactical play was not consistent with my attempted cautious positional style. I well remember him saying,
“The point about chess is that you are trying to have fun!”
Another Simon quote I remember is,
“People are passionate about all kinds of things throughout their lives. With me it’s chess.”
Such was his passion for the game that some years ago he joined Tiverton Chess Club in order to strengthen the club’s team in Devon County team competitions. At week-ends he would regularly play for Tiverton in the Bremridge (Div 1), Mamhead (Div 2) and the Rooke Cup. On occasion he accepted my invitation to play in midweek Exeter & District League matches. Every single game he played for Tiverton involved him in a 150 mile round trip from his home in Camelford. For DCCA week-end home matches he would lunch with me and my partner, Yvonne, in Tiverton. There were never any quiet moments during those lunches. I came to believe that Simon possessed a restless mind; always thinking, always enquiring; always ready to discuss. Yvonne tells me of how he was always able to answer her scientific queries and how he always replied to her enquiring emails accurately and concisely.
Shortly after the diagnosis of his condition, I stayed with him and Margaret overnight in Camelford and experienced the overwhelming attention of his Great Dane, Boris, and his Irish Wolf Hound, Maeve. The contentment of Simon and Margaret, with their dogs and Margaret’s horses was clear. He had often spoken to me of his joy in walking the dogs in the surrounding countryside. Quite recently a fashion magazine had been shooting in the Camelford area and the photographer decided that he needed an Irish Wolf Hound to stand next to one of his wiry female models. Enquiries led to Simon and Margaret’s door and I well remember the pleasure shown by Simon next time I saw him. It wasn’t just the handsome fee that Maeve had earned for him. He showed me the magazine, and the pride at having Maeve gracing the pages of an upmarket fashion mag. was clear to see.
On an earlier occasion he had found his dogs useful in a different way. Noisy neighbours had moved in next door and repeated requests for the music to be turned down had had no effect. A visit to the offenders with Boris and Maeve did the trick!
I have received many tributes to Simon from chess players across the West Country and beyond. I end with one of them from Brendan O’Gorman, photographer for the ECF:
“Dreadful news but thanks for letting me know. I liked Simon. He had a sense of humour and, beyond the chess board, was smarter than your average chess player.
Ivor Annetts has announced details of the funeral of Simon Bartlett, who passed away a few days ago.
Dear Chess Friends,
Margaret Wallace, Simon Bartlett’s partner, telephoned this evening with the details of Simon’s funeral:
Wednesday 15th February, 2.30 pm, at Glyn Valley Crematorium, Turfdown Road, Fletchers Bridge, Bodmin, PL30 4AP and afterwards at The Mason’s Arms, Market Place, Camelford, PL32 9PB
Please note that the Crematorium is on the Bodmin – Liskeard Road and not in Bodmin itself.
‘No flowers’ by request but donations may be made to Brain Tumour Research via https://www.justgiving.com/braint
Simon Bartlett, one of the most regular figures on the schess scene in Devon & Cornwall, passed away on Wednesday evening, after a short but brave fight against an aggressive form of cancer.
His great friend over the years, Ivor Annetts, broke the news yesterday morning, as follows:-
It saddens me greatly to have to inform you that my dear friend, Simon Bartlett, passed away last evening. His partner, Margaret, telephoned me with the news this morning.
As you probably know, in August last year he was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and was given between three and sixth months to live; he managed four and a bit.
Simon was a self-confessed chess obsessive. You will have come to know him because of that. He would have been 63 in just over two weeks time.
I will inform you of the funeral arrangements as soon as they are made known to me. In due course I will attempt an obituary for Chess Devon and Keverel Chess.
The words of Brian Hewson come to mind as I write. Brian’s reaction to the news of Simon’s diagnosis was: “This is terrible news. He is such a great bloke!.”
Simon was noted for his exotic shirts, which brightened up many a photograph that I took at various events. Here are a couple that jump off the page.