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EXMOUTH CHESS CLUB SUMMER-TIME HANDICAP 2018

NB: A = Grades are current standard-play rounded to nearest 5.

B = No. of minutes on clock for each player

A B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 total
1 Braun 200 10 .…X ……… ……… ……… ……… ……… ……… .1.…… ..1.…… ……… ……… ……… ……… 2
2 Abbott, 185 10 X
3 Wensley 175 15 X
4 Shaw 175 15 X
5 Murray 145 30 X
6 Dean 140 35 X
7 Adams 130 40 X
8 Selley 130 40 0 X 0 0 0
9 Jones 130 40 0 1 X 00 1 2
10 Belt 115 45 1 11 X 0 3
11 Blake 100 55 X
12 Newcombe 95 55 X
13 Grist 85 60 0 1 X 1

Revd. Bremridge’s Wooden Spoon Avoided (28.04.2018.)

Exeter having already won the Bremridge Cup by beating home & away the other two teams, Exmouth and Newton Abbot, these were left “playing for peanuts” as the Tournament Secretary put it. However, this proved more difficult than usual. On the first occasion, Newton Abbot couldn’t raise a team for their away leg and the match was postponed until 28th April. For their home leg, it was Exmouth that couldn’t raise a team, but it was too late in the season for a postponement, so that was declared “unplayed”.

In an effort to infuse a small element of significance to the match it was felt the teams could be fighting to avoid the wooden spoon. And so the games were played slowly and seriously. The first point went to the visitors in the shape of Vignesh Ramesh who overcame a 22 point deficit to beat his experienced opponent. Then nothing happened for some time, when four games seemed to finish in a flurry. John Stephens exploited his extra pawn in a R&P ending, got it to the 7th rank and Black could do nothing about it.

Underwood’s and Hampton’s games also finished at this time with wins for the home team. Meanwhile, Walter Braun was struggling to defend his position a piece down, Steve Homer, who, being the player he is, was never going to let up.

With the score at 3-2 it was left to Brian Gosling and Josh Blackmore to finish things off. They were down to a black-square bishop each and a sprinkling of pawns. The game went on for some time long after the other players had gone. Blackmore was making all his moves in the last 5 seconds of each incremental 30 seconds, but Gosling managed to retain a very slight edge, and chipped away at the pawns. There was a moment when Blackmore might have been able to sacrifice his bishop for his opponent’s last pawn to leave a draw, but the chance passed, and Gosling was able to mop up pawns on his was to a win, leaving the final score 4-2 and the Wooden Spoon was avoided.

Bremridge Cup (Div. 1)   28.04.2018.
EXMOUTH Grd NEWTON ABBOT Grd
1 Dr. W. Braun 203 0 1 S. J. Homer 181
2 Dr. J. Underwood 192 1 0 P. Brooks 170
3 J. K. F. Stephens 189 1 0 T. F. Thynne 170
4 S. Martin 186 0 1 V. Ramesh 164
5 P. G. Hampton 172 1 0 C. V. Howard 154
6 B. G. E. Gosling 160 1 0 J. Blackmore 147
1,102 4 2 986

Walter Braun vs Steve Homer (Bd.1)

Bd. 2: Paul Brooks vs Jonathan Underwood

Charlie Howard makes a move against Paul Hampton on Bd. 5

Josh Blackmore vs Brian Gosling on Bd. 6 last to finish after a tight endgame.

left: John Stephens vs Trefor Thynne with Steve Martin in view on right.

Devon’s Div. 1 (Bremridge Cup) Retained (13.02.2018.)

Saturday was the defining day for this year’s destination of the Bremridge Cup, when Exeter were due to travel to neigbours Exmouth for their return match. Exmouth needed a win to retain any hope of wresting the cup from Exeter’s grasp, while a draw would be enough for Exeter to retain the trophy.

With this in mind, Exeter drafted in Exeter University student Lorenz Hartmann to beef up their team list, while Exmouth were able to field former local hero John Stephens. Unfortunately, this was offset by having three “unavailables”, but even so, the home team were slightly stronger on paper.

Things started badly for Exmouth, when Dave Regis was able to take full and immediate advantage of his opponent’s opening plan which left his king marooned in the centre and unable to move left or right to avoid the on-coming storm. 0-1

Boards 3, 4, & 5 were more cautious affairs all players keen not to miss any lurking dangers, and draws were agreed.

This left the top two games to settle matters. There was a distinctly continental flavour about Bd. 2 in which Hartmann, over from Germany doing in doctorate in Maths (in Game Theory, wouldn’t you know it!) was playing Viennese FIDE Master Walter Braun, currently enjoying his second period of residence in Exmouth. However, a slight slip in his early mid-game calculations enabled Hartmann to get a central pawn storm going, which proved impossible to resist. This was the win that clinched the title.

Which meant that Exeter team captain, Graham Bolt, didn’t need to worry too much about the way his own game was going. After Stephens had established 2 connected queenside pawns, he swapped off material whenever possible, increasing those pawns’ significance all the time until they were impossible to resist. It was consolation for Exmouth, but not quite enough.

Full details:-

D.C.C.A. Bremridge Cup                 Played Sat. 17.02.2018.
EXMOUTH Grd EXETER Grd
1 John Stephens 189 1 0 Graham Bolt 188
2 Walter Braun 197 0 1 Lorenz Hartmann 183
3 Dr. Jon Underwood 191 ½ ½ Dr. Tim Paulden 189
4 Steve Martin 184 ½ ½ Paul O’Neill 187
5 Oliver Wensley 175 ½ ½ Chris Lowe 179
6 Brian Gosling 160 0 1 Dr. Dave Regis 165
1,096 1,089

Nearest: Bd 2 Hartmann (W) vs Braun & Bd. 1 Stephens (W) vs Bolt

Two Doctors heading for a draw: Underwood (W) vs Paulden.

Regis (W) vs Gosling

O'Neill (W) vs Martin

Exmouth’s January 2018 Grades

The January ECF Grading List was released earlier today.

Most folk are a few points up or down.

Dave Adams’s old Scottish grade has not yet been integrated with his new ECF one. Also, Susan Selley’s first grade is 89 RapidPlay, and will doubtless need a few more games before it rises to its rightful level.

Name Standard Previous Rapidplay Previous
Abbott, Mark V 186 A 183 A 172 177
Adams, David J 136 F
Adams, David John 132 E
Belt, Malcolm 116 C 119 B 122 118
Blake, Simon 102 E 106 E 107
Braun, Walter 197 D 203 D
Dean, Alan J 140 C 140 D 141 139
Grist, Ivor G 86 C 84 C 74 75
Jones, Robert H 128 C 128 B 139 138
Murray, J Stephen 146 C 147 A 145 144
Newcombe, Barbara 96 D 92 D 82 83
Rogers, David R 131 A 130 A
Scott, Chris J 163 C 160 B 141 150
Selley, Susan A 89
Shaw, Meyrick 176 A 169 A 186 186
Stephens, John KF 189 D 189 C 179
Wensley, Oliver E 175 A 172 A 169 164
Associates
Dean, Steve K 158 A 161 A 165 163
Hampton, Paul DJ 175 C 172 B 194 193
Martin, Steven 184 A 186 A 156 159
Underwood, Jonathan 191 C 192 C 177 180
Gosling, Brian GE 160 A 154 A 150 148

Exmouth’s 1st Match of the Season (21.10.2017.)

A tiny bit of chess history was made in Exeter on Saturday 21st October 2017 when Exmouth took on their near neighbours, Exeter, at Oxygen House, Grenadier Rd., Exeter. This was the first inter-club match under the aegis of the Devon County Chess Association to be played using digital clocks. The rate of moves, dictated by the clocks was 90 minutes for all moves, with 30 seconds added each time a move was made. Given, for example, a 60 move game this would provide an additional 30 minutes to the hour and a half, making a total of 2 hours thinking time per player, close to that allowed hitherto by analogue clocks. Several differences arose out of this change: (a) players had to write down all moves, right to the end of the game, as there would always be at least 30 seconds in which to do this. (b) Also, there would no need for the furious, frantic “time-scramble”, so often a feature of the previous system.

The match was preceded by the presentation of the Devon individual championship cup for the 2016-17 season. The previous champion, Steve Martin, in the visitors’ team, had brought the cup with him and was able to hand it over to his successor, Graham Bolt, captain of the home team – photo below.

Both teams were under-strength for a variety of reasons, but were still closely matched. Exeter had had to draft in a reserve at a few hours notice when Leif Halfsted phoned in sick. His replacement, Jeremy Amos, was the first to lose, but Exmouth’s lead lasted about 2 minutes when Oliver Wensley missed a trick, lost a piece and fell to Chris Lowe. Then it was Exeter’s turn to take the lead, after John Morrison, always dangerous when allowed the freedom to attack, pulled off a short, sharp combination that would have led to mate, had not Gosling resigned.

Seeing light at the end of the tunnel encouraged Exeter’s Bolt and Regis to agree to draws, making the score 3-2. This left Braun and Paulden to determine the final outcome. In a tight endgame they got down to a N & B each with a scattering of pawns. Paulden was down to his 30 secs per move, while Braun had plenty of time left, but seemed to move even more quickly than his opponent. He had extra pawns and felt there were no possible tactics and his play should be routine. Unfortunately, in this he was wrong, and lost his bishop. It was still very difficult for Paulden to make progress, but it was probably the effect of always having 30 seconds thinking time, as opposed to having to make instantaneous moves, that helped him keep finding the best moves, pressurising the position, to a point where his opponent had to throw in the towel. Result 4 – 2 to Exeter.

Exeter Grd Exmouth Grd
1 Tim Paulden B 183 1 0 Walter Braun 203
2 Graham Bolt W 196 ½ ½ Steve Martin 186
3 Chris Lowe B 176 1 0 Oliver Wensley 172
4 Dave Regis W 166 ½ ½ Steve Dean 161
5 Jeremy Amos B 147 0 1 Chris Scott 160
6 John Morrison W 144 1 0 Brian Gosling 154
Totals 1012 4 2 1036

Devon's individual champion 2016, Steve Martin, hands the cup to his successor, Graham Bolt (l).

Some nervous banter between players just before the kick-off

Exeter team captain, Graham Bolt, makes his move.

Chris Lowe, formerly of the old Paignton Palace club, makes his move against Oliver Wensley, Devon's Player of the Year, last season.

FIDE Master, Walter Braun (r), awaits Tim Paulden's reply to his Nimzo-Larsen opening.

Steve Dean (r) played his first match for Exmouth and earned a well-deserved draw after his usual steady play.

The first game to finish proved to be Exmouth's only win, as Chris Scott (l) overcame the late replacement, Jeremy Amos.

John Morrison (r) is always a dangerous attacking player, and as the opening transposed into a Vienna, it suited his style of play and he didn't miss out.

Exmouth’s Buzzing Start (13.09.2017.)

Exmouth Chess Club got their new season off to their traditional start of the dreaded  Buzzer Tournament. Key to the whole event is the battery-powered, home-made device that emits an unmistakable, unmissable warbling buzz every 10 seconds. Whoever’s move it is must move immediately the buzzer sounds, after which the opponent has 10 seconds thinking time.

It never fails to amaze and amuse, the extent to which those 10 seconds seem to vary, from the time one is playing the 1st 6 moves of one’s favourite opening to the final 6 moves or so, when fending off an attack that seems to come from all directions. They’re not the same thing at all.

In spite of the dreaded prospect of a whole evening of this mode of torture, 11 members were keen to get stuck in. In spite of the disparity in grades, the six lowest-graded players all beat someone of a higher grade, and all the top players lost a game, with the exception of FIDE Master Walter Braun, and even he dropped a half point before he got up a head of steam.

The final chart looked like this:

Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total
1 Bob Jones 138 X 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 0 ½ ½
2 Malcolm Belt 118 1 X 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Ivor Grist 75 0 0 X 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
4 Barbara Newcombe 83 0 ½ 0 X 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0
5 Chris Scott 150 0 1 1 X 1 1 0 ½ 0 0
6 Alan Dean 139 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 X 0 ½ 0 0 1
7 Mark Abbott 177 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 X 1 0 0 ½ 6
8 Simon Blake 102 0 1 1 0 1 ½ 0 X 0 0 0
9 Meyrick Shaw 186 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 X 0 ½
10 Walter Braun 190e ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 X 1
11 Oliver Wensley 164 ½ 1 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 0 0 X 6

Walter Braun (nearest) & Malcom Belt deep in thought. In the backgound Barbara Newcombe plays Club President Mark Abbott and Oliver Wensley faces Simon Blake.

Scott vs Braun & Grist vs Belt, while Alan Dean watches developments.

Wensley vs Blake alongside Newcombe vs Abbott

Exmouth’s New Grades 2017- 18

The new grading list has just been released, and these are the Exmouth Club’s full and associate members’ details.

The majority have risen; the falls are relatively small.

Name Standard Prev. Rapid Prev.
Abbott, Mark V 183 A 176 A 177 C 177 C
Belt, Malcolm 119 B 126 A 118 C 113 D
Blake, Simon 106 E 106 C 102 C
Braun, Walter 203 D
Dean, Alan J 140 D 139 D 139 A 140 D
Gosling, Brian GE 154 A 159 A 148 D 147 E
Grist, Ivor G 84 C 83 C 75 D 77 E
Hampton, Paul DJ 172 B 166 E 193 C 195 D
Hurst, Kevin J 173 D 173 C
Jones, Robert H 128 B 126 A 138 B 135 C
Martin, Steven 186 A 185 A 159 C 157 D
Murray, J Stephen 147 A 148 B 144 D 141 D
Newcombe, Barbara 92 D 85 E 83 D
Rogers, David R 130 A 128 A
Scott, Chris J 160 B 152 B 150 C 151 B
Shaw, Meyrick 169 A 159 A 186 B 177 B
Thomson, David 99 E 124 F
Underwood, Jon WR 192 C 187 C 180 B 186 B
Wensley, Oliver E 172 A 168 A 164 B 160 C

Exmouth’s Exciting End-of-Term Experiences.

If there has been a more concentrated and closely contested climax to a season, I don’t recall it.

Four matches, four victories and two trophies in 12 days represents as rich a reward as anyone at the club could reasonably expect.

Let’s start on Saturday 22nd April in the Mamhead Cup, Devon’s Division 2. With one match to play, Exmouth and Newton Abbot were joint leaders on match points, but Exmouth having scored a half point more in games. So Exmouth simply did not have to score less points against the final opponents, Teignmouth, than Newton Abbot did against Barnstaple. As Newton Abbot did win their match 3.5 – o.5, Exmouth had to beat Teignmouth by at least the same score …. or more – a big ask. But they equalled Newton Abbot’s winning margin, so winning the Mamhead Cup by half a game point.

Exmouth Teignmouth
1 O. E. Wensley 168 ½ ½ W. H. Ingham 162
2 M. Shaw 163 1 0 Rev. C. Doidge 124
3 C. J. Scott 151 1 0 N. F. Tidy 122
4 M. Belt 127 1 0 A. Webster 82
609 ½ 490

Three days later, on Tuesday 25th April, there was an away match against Exeter in the E. Devon RapidPlay League. This turned out to be not quite as close a match as the previous one, thus winning that league, and a second trophy in 4 days. (Photos below)

Exeter & Dist. League   –   RapidPlay League  Div. 1     25.04.2017.
Exeter Rd 1 Rd 2 Exmouth Rd 1 Rd 2
1 S. Pope 149 ½ ½ C. J. Scott 151 ½ ½
2 R. Whittington 136 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
3 R. Player 114 0 0 Dr. M. Marshall 140 1 1
4 Dr. J. Maloney 96 0 0 R. H. Jones 135 1 1
3 5

The following Saturday, Exmouth entertained Newton Abbot in the final round of the Bremridge Cup, Devon’s Division 1. There was no trophy at stake this time as Exeter had already secured overall victory by virtue of their narrow win over Exmouth earlier in the year, but nevertheless rivalry is always keen. Both teams were without 2 top players, but the six pairings looked to favour the home side.

However, at the halfway point, Exmouth went 1-0 down, and had no discernable advantage in the other 5 games, so it was backs-to-the-wall time for sure. Oliver Wensley went right down to K+P vs K but his king was in front of his pawn and the opposing king was not inclined to allow him the freedom to move aside, so game drawn. Then rather suddenly, the other four games, in spite of their closeness throughout, all went Exmouth’s way, leaving the final score 4.5 – 1.5, certainly a scoreline that belies the actual play.

DCCA    –   Div. 1   Bremridge Cup        29.04.2017.
Exmouth grd Newton Abbot grd
1 W. Braun 195 1 0 P. Brooks 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 A. W. Brusey 169
3 P. D. Hampton 166 1 0 V. Ramesh 139
4 M. V. Abbott 176 1 0 A. Kinder 125
5 O. E. Wensley 168 ½ ½ C. V. Howard 143
6 C. J. Scott 152 1 0 J. E. Allen 145
1043 4½ 1½ 910

Exmouth vs Newton Abbot: A study in collective concentration.

Bd. 1: Paul Brooks vs Walter Braun.

Bds 3 & 4: Ramesh vs Hampton & Abbott vs Kinder.

Bds 5 & 6: Howard vs Wensley & Scott vs Allen.

This was closely followed by another home match on Wednesday night, against Exeter in the E. Devon League Div. 1. This time the odds seemed to favour the visitors, with Barbara Newcombe, a newcomer this season to OTB chess,  playing her first 1st team match for the Club. Her draw against the experienced Will Marjoram, in the face of a 40 point difference in their grades, seemed to inspire the others, the home side running out 3.5 – 0.5 winners.

So the situation is that, with only 3 teams involved, Exmouth have lost to Seaton but beaten Exeter, who play Seaton next week. If Exeter win that match it could be 3-way tie situation – unless complicated tie-breaks come into play. Who knows, a third trophy might come our way, but no-one here’s holding their breath on that one.

Exeter & Dist. League   –   League  Div. 1     03.05.2017
Exmouth grd Exeter grd
1 M. V. Abbott 176 1 0 Dr. T. Paulden 185
2 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 Dr. D. Regis 169
3 Dr. M. O. Marshall 162 1 0 R. Whittington 139
4 B. Newcombe 85 ½ ½ W. Marjoram 125
591 ½ 618

Exmouth's winning RapidPlay team: Seated (l) Chris Scott & Alan Dean (capt.). Standing (l) Bob Jones & Michael Marshall.

Exeter's home team: Seated (l) Sean Pope & Reece Whittington. Standing (l) Richard Player & John Maloney.

Rd. 1 gets under way.

Exeter & Dist. League   –   RapidPlay League  Div. 1     25.04.2017.
Exeter Rd 1 Rd 2 Exmouth Rd 1 Rd 2
1 S. Pope 149 ½ ½ C. J. Scott 151 ½ ½
2 R. Whittington 136 1 1 A. Dean 141 0 0
3 R. Player 114 0 0 Dr. M. Marshall 140 1 1
4 Dr. J. Maloney 96 0 0 R. H. Jones 135 1 1
3 5

Clash of the Titans (11.02.2017.)

The current Devon Champions, Exmouth, hosted local rivals, Exeter, in a match on Saturday that would not only confer local bragging rights but probably determine who would win this year’s Devon club championship.

The omens were not good for the hosts, as Exeter were able to field their strongest team, probably one of the strongest sides seen for many a decade, while Exmouth were under par, conceding c. 16 points per board over Bds 3 – 6 – a big ask. However, the match proved to be a truly titanic struggle as each game came to an end.

First of all, Exeter’s captain, Graham Bolt, won the toss yet chose to give their opponents White on top board. That was the first to finish, when O’Neill came unstuck and resigned, and put Exmouth 1-0 up. Was Bolt’s tactic a wise one? Next, Chris Scott got a valuable draw against Jamie Morgan, playing his first game for Exeter. Then, Oliver Wensley generated enough pressure to cause his opponent to run out of time.

Thus Exmouth had 2.5 point after 3 games, and it seemed highly possible they would be able to get something from the other 3 games to squeeze at least a draw.  Then Dave Regis, who had 2 minor pieces for a rook, forced a win, while Bolt found himself in an ending with 2 bishops against 2 knights with a sprinkling of pawns on either side. The bishops found good long diagonals enabling his king to advance, keeping the black knights and king on their back rank, and a win was inevitable. 2.5 all, with former Scottish International, Paul Hampton, locking horns with Paulden, in what for the most part had been a blocked position. However, in seeking active play for his queen, he allowed Regis’ queen in to the centre. With just 2 minutes of extra time left on both clocks, there was a titanic struggle with both queens grabbing any pawn they could get hold of, preferably with check, and Paulden succeeded in this race.

So, with just seconds to go, Exeter took the lead for the first time in the match, and with it the match.

The details were:-

Bremridge Cup    Div. 1        11.02.2017
EXMOUTH Grd EXETER Grd
1 J. Underwood 187 1 0 P. A. O’Neill 185
2 S. Martin 185 0 1 G. Bolt 190
3 P. Hampton 166 0 1 T. J. Paulden 187
4 O. E. Wensley 168 1 0 C. Lowe 175
5 B. G. Gosling 159 0 1 D. Regis 175
6 C. J. Scott 152 ½ ½ J. Morgan 170
1,017 1,082

Badlan & Adams (08.02.2017.)

Former club member, Tom Badlan, passed away earlier this week.

He was born in Tenbury Wells, on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, and in his youth played in goal for the local football team. He entered the retail business which took him to East Anglia for a spell, before becoming General Manager of Beatties in Wolverhampton, one of the biggest department stores in the West Midlands.

Retirement took him to Newton Poppleford, where he joined the Sidmouth Chess Club, later moving to Exmouth. Although dementia took its toll and he was unable to cope with club life, he maintained contact through near neighburs Fred Hodge and Malcolm Belt, who played chess with him at his home. He had a chess computer on the go in every room of his house. He was a steady player right to the end, with a strong defence that could be difficult to break down.

Having lost one member, we get another in his place. Dave Adams has returned to Exmouth after a spell in Dunbar, on the coast near Edinburgh. Having just moved in to a house in Halsdon Road, he will shortly be treading the relatively short walk to the Club. Short for him, who has walked the Andes from South to North, plus many other paths around the world, playing chess with any other aficianado he might meet on the way. His current grade being, as it ever was, in the mid-130s, he will be a welcome asset to team captains, as the club is short of players of that strength.

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