Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Westcountry player draws with British Champion

GM Michael Adams did a simul at the Paignton Congress recently, and Will Taylor was one of the players who managed to draw with him, as detailed here. Here's the game:

Saturday, 4 September 2010

World University Championship

Some news about the World University Championship, which starts tomorrow. England have a team of four players in this, three of them at Westcountry universities: Peter Poobalasingam is at Bath, Sarah Hegarty at Bristol and Hannah Dale at Exeter. Good luck to them.

Monday, 2 August 2010

British Championships

Apologies for the long delay from my last postings. I've been a little busy trying to organise the Jonathan Latham Memorial Congress. Now that that's up and running I can get back to the important busy of reporting on south- west chess.

There are several people from the south- west competing at the British Championships currently taking place in Canterbury. Please note that it doesn't show any players' clubs as best I can see on the site, so if I miss anyone let me know and I'll update this.

Firstly, the week 1 rapidplay.

Cornwall- born, but now Scotland- resident, IM Andrew Greet was favourite on paper to win this, with a very impressive rapidplay grade of 221. Unfortunately a loss in round 5 against eventual winner Chris Briscoe put paid to his chances, and he finished on 4.5/6.

Millfield pupil Rhys Cummings was jointly- leading the field after 4 rounds, with a perfect score. Sadly losses in the last 2 rounds saw him finish in a tie for 8th place. Nevertheless, he managed 198 grading- performance, well above his rapidplay grade of 185.

Newton Abbot's Trefor Thynne started with 2.5/3 before 2 losses and a win saw him finish on 3.5/6.

Also from Newton Abbot, youngster Freddie Sugden had a rollercoaster of a tournament, starting and ending with 2 losses, and with 2 wins sandwiched in the middle. 2/6 saw him perform slightly above his published grade.

In the Atkins (Open) Weekender, the results only show up to the pairings for round 4. Angelo Castruccio of Clifton was on 2/4, with a half- point bye in round 4. In rd.1 Angelo beat Stephen Pride (grade 155), before losing in rd. 2 against G James Danneberg (187), and then drawing in rd. 3 with Peter Ackley (180).

In the Yates (u125/ 1450) Weekender, Freddie Sugden was on 1.5/3 going into Sunday morning's fourth round. So far he has defeated Phillip Green (81 grade), had a half- point bye in round 2, and lost against Alexander Harwick (131). His opponent in round 4 was David Everitt (123).

In the Major Open, Hannah Dale, who I believe is a student in Exeter, is currently on 2.5/6. She has scored several notable results, including beating someone 237 points higher rated then herself, and drawing with 3 other much higher rated opponents.

In the British u16 Championship, Millfield student and Downend club member Megan Owens became the British u15 Girls' Champion, scoring 3.5/7. Also in the u16 Championship was Freddie Sugden of Newton Abbott. Freddie scored 2.5/7, scoring wins against 2 opponents who were both nearly 300 points higher- rated then him, and drawing with someone 200 points higher- rated.

In the British u140/ 1600 Championship, Tom Thorpe of Pete's Potential club scored an undefeated 3/5, with 1 win and 4 draws. I should also mention that Tom passed his arbiters exam whilst at the British, and so there may very well be a newly- qualified Arbiter in Bristol in the near future.

In the British u180/ 2000 Championship, Jerry Humphreys of Downend scored 2/5, losing once and drawing the other 4 games. Also playing in this tournament was Trefor Thynne from Newton Abbott, who also scored 2/5, wining once, drawing twice, and losing twice.

In the British Senior Championship, David Collier from Clifton is currently on 1.5/2, and faces Aiden Corish (estimated rating 1890) today.

In the British Championship there are many entrants from the south- west this year. England no.1, and Taunton- resident Mickey Adams is currently leading the field by a clear point, with 5.5/6. Today he faces GM Stephen Gordon with black.

On board 5, Swindon- based GM Peter Wells is on 4/6, and today faces IM Paul Littlewood.

Next up is Bath University student Chris Dorrington, also on 4/6. He has a tough game today against IM- elect Jonathan Hawkins on board 8.

On board 10 is Paignton- based GM Keith Arkell. Keith hasn't had the best of tournaments so far, and is lagging somewhat behind on 3.5/6. It's certainly not for want of trying, however. In round 5 he made George Salimbeni play an ending on until move 160 before finally acquiescing to a draw. Today he faces 2233- rated FM Dave Ledger.

On board 11 IM Andrew Greet, who drew an epic 100-move+ game in the last round, faces 2208- rated John Anderson today, with both on 3.5/6.

Millfield student Rhys Cummings is next, on board 20. He's performing well above his 1986 rating thus far, and today faces 2244- rated David Spence, with both on 3/6.

Next board to them is an all south- west match, with fellow blogger IM Jack Rudd facing Bath University student James Jackson. Jack had a tremendous start, defeating 2 GMs and an IM, but has slipped back since then. Nevertheless, it's impressive that this will be the first game at this years Championships where Jack's opponent won't be a titled player. For James' part, he'll be looking to bounce back today after a loss against fellow Bath University student Chris Dorrington yesterday.

Devon- based Dominic Mackle is currently on 2.5/6, and today faces 2173- rated Peter Shaw. Dominic has twice beaten higher- rated opponents, and also drew with an opponent rated 200+ points higher then him, and is having a good tournament so far.

On board 32, WECU Congress qualifer Paul Helbig is currently on 2/6. He hasn't had the best of tournaments thus far, performing a bit below his rating, and will be looking for a decent latter few rounds.

On board 37, Frome Congress qualifier Alan Pleasants is currently on 1.5/6. Alan is performing around about his own rating, having been outrated in every game thus far.

Finally on board 38 is Yeovil Congress qualifer Patryk Krzyzanowski, currently on 1.5/6. Patryk scored his first win in the last round, and will be looking to build on that today against similarly- rated Chris Fegan (2051).

The Jonathan Latham Memorial Congress

The Jonathan Latham Memorial Congress takes place from Fri. 22nd- Sun. 24th October, at Gordano Community School, St. Mary's Road, Portishead, Bristol. BS20 7QR.

Any profits from this event will be donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The title to this post links to a page where the entry form can be downloaded.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

South Wales International results

The South-West players who played in the South Wales International had varying results. The full crosstable is here; I shall mention below the region's players who ended up in the prize list:

2nd Keith Arkell (Devon) 7
3rd= Peter Wells (Wiltshire) 6½
Best= untitled player and best= Welsh u-2300 player Allan Pleasants (Dorset) 5½
Best= untitled player and best= English u-2300 player Jeremy Menadue (Cornwall) 5½
Best= English junior Robert Thompson (Devon) 4

I myself had a frustrating tournament, passing up a golden opportunity to beat the eventual winner in round 2; I only had one game I was really satisfied with. On seeing the final table, some might argue that this game ended up being irrelevant.

But it's not irrelevant, it's a hippopotamus.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

South Wales International

The South Wales International starts on Saturday. As always, there are a number of Westcountry-based players in action:

GM Peter Wells Wiltshire 2488
GM Keith Arkell Devon 2465
IM Jack Rudd Somerset 2236
Jeremy Menadue Cornwall 2155
Allan Pleasants Dorset 2032
John Waterfield Gloucestershire 2020
Brian Gosling Devon 1978
E. Michael White Gloucestershire 1940
Robert Thompson Devon 1905

I will be in there in my usual combined player/game-inputter category. Check the site for games from the event.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Yeovil Congress, pictures

These are pictures taken by Bob Jones at the Yeovil Congress.

Brendan O'Gorman, who finished 2nd= on 3.5/5 in the Major.

Frank Pittman (I believe), winner of the Major with 4/5


Patryk Krzyzanowski and David Buckley. Congratulations to Patryk on qualifying for the British Championships.

Yeovil Congress results

FIDE-rated Open:
1st Felix Jose Ynojosa (ENG) 4
2nd= Sarah Hegarty (ENG), Patryk Krzyzanowski (POL) 3½
Grading Prize Amy Hoare (ENG) 3
Partial FIDE Ratings achieved by: Chris Purry (ENG), Justin Hadi (ENG) and Julian May (ENG).

FIDE-rated Major:
1st Frank Pittman (ENG) 4
2nd= Shane McCabe (IRL), Brendan O`Gorman (ENG), Robert Kane (ENG), C Lucjan Karpinski (ENG) 3½
Grading Prize Geoff Bishop (ENG), Andrew Farthing (ENG) 2½
Partial FIDE Ratings achieved by Frank Pittman (ENG), Sydney Jacob (ENG), Graham Steer (ENG), Sean Pope (ENG), Chris McKinley (ENG), Chris Leeson (ENG), Deio Parri (WLS), Paul Brackner (ENG) and Tom Fuller (ENG).

1st Phil Foley 4½
2nd= E Barry Sandercock, Peter Manning 4
Grading Prize Mike Kaye 3½

Team Prize shared by Weymouth and Keynsham with 10½/20.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Warwicks 8-8 Devon, u180 semi-final.

Thanks to Brian Hewson for sending me this.

In a very exciting match the result was 8-8 but unfortunately this time we lost on board count. We were slightly outgrade with Warwicks averaging 169 v our 166 per board. We had 3 170's and 3 160's unavailable so not far off full strength.

There were no early results then Ian Jamieson (playing left handed due to broken finger and accompanied by an abacas to count his moves!) and Bill Ingham agreed draws. Robert Thompson then won well but Mike Stinton-Brownbridge lost. After much battling with a fine draw from new man Jon Duckham from Tiverton and good wins from Trefor Thynne, Andrew Kinder, Charlie Howard and Alan Brusey, despite a loss by Brian Gosling, Devon were 3 up with 6 to go. But Steve Homer missed his opponents winning bishop sacrifice, Dennis Cowley (having been well placed earlier) and Paul Brooks were lost but fought to the bitter end, Ivor agreed the inevitable draw, Mark Abbott was unlucky that his opponent escaped with perpetual check and John Gorodi clung on as last man to finish.

Trefor pointed out that 6 points were scored by the 7 Newton Abbot members playing.

Warwicks Devon

Martin D Smyth 174 1-0 Stephen J. Homer 178
Alan D Lloyd 173 1-0 Dennis R. Crowley 176
David J Ireland 178 0-1 Alan W. Brucey 175
Richard W Smith 177 0.5-0.5 Ian M. Jamieson 175
Joseph J Stewart 168 0.5-0.5 Mark V. Abbott 174
Rob Hearne 173 0-1 Trefor T. Thynne 173
Alan Agnew 170 0-1 Robert Thompson 170
Robert J Wallman 172 0.5-0.5 William H. Ingham 166
Richard C Reynolds 171 0.5-0.5 Jon Duckham 169e
Mark A Cundy 169 1-0 Paul Brooks 162
Thomas D Robinson 168 1-0 Brian G. E. Gosling 159
Michael J Doran 167 1-0 Mike Stinton- Brownbridge 159
Simon A Williams 166 0-1 Andrew S. Kinder 158
Simon C A Smith 160 0.5-0.5 Ivor S Annetts 156
Gary Hope 161 0-1 Charlie V Howard 154
Ed H Goodwin 156 0.5-0.5 John Gorodi 155


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

2nd Bristol Rapidplay

Thanks to Graham Mill-Wilson for sending me this report. The title to this post links to the Bristol Chess website.

This was a small but cosmopolitan tournament, which took place on Saturday 5th June. In the Open section (14 players), there was an American, a Venezuelan, a Dutchman and a Welshman! The American (IM James Sherwin of Bath chess club) didn’t even bother to turn up for the first round (actually, he got the times wrong), but he won it anyway, with 5 wins from the five he did play. The half point bye he was given for the first round turned out to be irrelevant! Second equal on 4 points were Arturo Wong (the Venezuelan, who plays for Chard and Ilminster) and Paul Helbig from Bath. The grading prize (under 175) was shared by James Jackson (Bath Univ.), Peter Jaszkiwskyj (Kettering) and Steve Piper (no club).

In the Major section (Under 165 - 10 players), the outright winner on 5/6 was Hui Zhu of Bristol University, with John Knee from Malvern in second place on 4½. The grading prize (under 138) was shared by Hugh Price of Cardiff and Chris Lamming of Bath University. Look at all those university players! (Thinks…the exams must be over).

The Minor section was not quite an all-play-all, but it was a most-play-most, with 8players. Simon Griffin from Cheltenham, the only player in the section who didn’t get a bye, won with 5/6. Second place and the grading prize (under 110) were shared by James Barnett (Salisbury), Peter Saunders (the league’s treasurer!), Matthew Trigg (Solihull) and Tom Thorpe, a junior who plays for Pete’s Potentials, the Pete in question being the aforementioned treasurer. They all scored 4 points.

Pete’s potentials is a team of juniors coached by Mr Saunders at the junior club he runs in Bristol, who put up a decent show in their first league season. Tom is their star player. His grade of 85 is rubbish, as I know to my cost!

We don’t usually send our rapidplay results for grading, but following comments on the ECF forum, I called for a show of hands, the result of which was inconclusive. However, I decided to send them in for grading anyway. The treasurer was not pleased, but then he rarely is.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

British Championships qualifiers

I've just received news that Arturo Wong is unable to play at the British Championships, after qualifying through the Frome Congress, and Alan Pleasants will be playing instead.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Upcoming tournaments/ events

Quite a few tournaments/ events etc coming up in the near future:

Saturday 5th June: 2nd Bristol League Rapidplay

Held at the Filton Sports & Leisure Centre, Elm Park, Filton, Bristol. BS34 7PS.

is the link to the entry form.

Saturday 5th June: WECU meeting.

This is a closed meeting, but if you have any opinions/ thoughts on anything WECU- related, email me or leave a comment here, and I'll raise it at the meeting.

Sunday 6th June, 2pm: Sunday Chess in Bath.

This is an open- air chess event designed to help attract attention to chess from tourists and people local to Bath. It takes place just outside the Abbey, in the centre of Bath. I believe the intention this Sunday is to run a 5- minute blitz tournament, so if you are interested in that contact Chris Lamming on, or visit for more information.

Friday 11th June: DCCA AGM.

I'm not sure on any specific details bar the date for this one, I'm afraid. If anyone can provide me with more information, I'll happily update this.

Weds. 16th June: Torbay League AGM

Held at Torquay Boys' Grammar School, Torquay, starting at 7pm.

Friday 18th- Sunday 20th June: Yeovil Congress

Held at Westfield Community School, Stiby Road, Yeovil. BA21 3EP. This congress has both the open and major sections Fide-rated. The entry form can be printed from and for any other information contact Jack Rudd on

If I've missed anything from that list, or if there are any inaccuracies, let me know and I'll update it.

Sunningdale Congress- results

The final results for the west country entrants for the Sunningdale Congress last weekend are as follows:


GM Keith Arkell: 6/7 1st

A tremendous result for Keith, who started with 5/5 and then drew with IM Graeme Buckley and Felix Ynojosa to finish 1st outright. Keith's tournament performance was 2539, 83 points higher then his actual rating.

Angelo Castruccio: 3/7

Angelo's points came from wins against Gareth Harley- Yeo (2046) and Thomas Brown (2087), and draws against David Coates (2084) and Kevin Winter (1898). His tournament performance of 2092 was an impressive 130 points above his estimated rating.


Robert Thompson: 4/7

At one point Robert was challenging for the lead with 4/5, but losses in the last 2 rounds against opponents that finished the tournament 3rd and 4th respectively, saw him slip back. Nevertheless, his tournament performance of 1980 was 99 points higher then his current rating, and should see him picking up a fair few rating points from this event.

Neil Dunlop: 3.5/7

A decent finish of 2.5 points from the final 4 rounds saw Neil recover from a poor start to reach 50%. Neil's tournament performance of 1752 was slightly lower then his converted rating, but given the start a reasonable result all the same.


John Symons: 2.5/5

I believe John withdrew after the 5th round. John's tournament performance was slightly below his grade up to that point.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunningdale Congress

Also currently taking place is the Sunningdale Congress. This one has 7 rounds over 4 days (1 round Friday, 2 each of the other days). Representing the south west in the open are GM Keith Arkell and Angelo Castruccio from Clifton, who is looking to gain a full rating from this event, I believe. Robert Thompson (Newton Abbott) and Neil Dunlop (Bath) are representing the south west in the major section, with John Symons (Salisbury) in the minor.

After 3 rounds Keith Arkell is on a perfect score, having defeated Paul Dupre (2055), Thomas Brown (2087), and Svetoslav Mihajlov (2117). Round 4 will bring Keith's first big test, as he has white against the Russian FM Alexei Slavin.

Angelo Castruccio is currently on 1.5/3. In the first round he lost against Alan Merry (unrated, but 2074 converted from his grade). He then bounced back with a win against Gareth Harley- Yeo (2046), before drawing with David Coates (2084). Next up for Angelo is Adrian Ociepka (2178). Given that Angelo's only loss so far was against an unrated player, his performance so far stands at a very impressive 2258.

Robert Thompson is doing very well so far in the major, with 2.5/3. He took a half point bye in the first round, and has beaten Anna Wang (1706 converted) and Alireza Manuchehri (1793) in rounds 2 and 3. Next up is Paul Jackson (1863).

Neil Dunlop currently stands on 1/3, although he has had a very unfortunate draw. In the first round he lost against 2nd seed, Vincent Saques (1977), before beating Dominic Pozzo (1558). In the third round Neil had to face the 9th seed, Christopher Kreuzer (1907), and lost. Neil's 4th round opponent is Anna Wang (1706 converted).

John Symons is on 1.5/3 so far. John took a bye in round 1, and then drew with Charlie Nettleton (121 grade) and Ed Magee (108). John's next opponent will be John Torrance (138).

43rd Cotswolds Congress

Should really have mentioned this one earlier in the week to give people a chance to enter late (apologies). Anyhow, the Cotswolds Congress is currently taking place in Cheltenham, and uses the bank holiday tomorrow to make it a 6 round tournament (2 rounds each day.) It's taking place at St. Edwards School, Cirencester Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham. GL53 8EY.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Other county national results

Thanks to the SCCU website for this. I've decided to group the other results together as they only have the bare match score, so I can't provide any details.

Minor: Gloucs 5.5- 10.5 Leics, Middlesex w/o Hants
U140: Hants 8.5-7.5 Kent

National County U-180, Devon 8-8 Surrey

Thanks to Bob Jones for this. For a full match report click on the title to this post, which links to the Keveral Chess site.

National U-180 25/5/10

Surrey Devon
1. S. McCullough 177 0-1 S. Homer 178
2. N. Cooper 178 0.5-0.5 D. Cowley 176
3. P. Stimpson 179 0.5-0.5 A. Brucey 175
4. J. Shepley 178 0.5-0.5 I. Jamieson 175
5. A. Punnett 173 0.5-0.5 T. Thynne 173
6. A. French 173 0-1 R. Thompson 170
7. D. Sedgwick 174 0.5-0.5 D. Regis 165
8. P. Archer 169 0-1 W. Ingham 166
9. N. Grey 157 0.5-0.5 J. Underwood 165
10. P. Barasi 162 1-0 S. Schofield 162
11. G. Marchant 164 0.5-0.5 P. Brooks 162
12. T. Jones 156 0.5-0.5 B. Gosling 159
13. I. Deswarte 161 1-0 A. Kidner 158
14. A. MacLeod 156 1-0 J. Gorodi 155
15. S. Wrigley 158 0.5-0.5 J. Allen 143
16. A. Waldock 150 0.5-0.5 R. Jones 140

8-8 (Devon won on board count)

A fine result for Devon, who now go on to play the winner of Warwickshire v Lancs.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Jonathan Latham

Jonathan Latham passed away at home on Tuesday 18th May 2010.

Jonathan was a very active player in the west country playing for Clevedon in the Bristol League, Weston in the Somerset League and regularly playing for his County, Somerset. In fact he played earlier this month at the Frome Congress and scored a recent win for Somerset against Hampshire. Many players in the Bristol League and beyond would have got to know Jonathan over the years including myself. He always found the time to stop for a chat and was very considerate and helpful to others and will undoubtedly be a great loss to his family and friends.

Funeral to be held at Church of St John the Baptist, Axbridge, Somerset - Wednesday 2nd June 12 PM - ( Wake at Weston Golf Club )

The above was copied across from the site.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Entrants to other tournaments at the British Championships

There are plenty of other tournaments besides the Championships themselves, and here is a list of the people south-west based who have entered one or more of them. Again, if I've missed anyone let me know.

British Senior Championship:
Ivor Annetts
Gillian Moore

British U180 Championship:
Trefor Thynne

British U120 Championship:
Alfred Bullock

British U16 Championship:
Freddie Sugden

5 Day Open AM Week 2:
Trefor Thynne

Weekender Yates- U125:
Freddie Sugden

1st Rapidplay Sunday 25th July:
Trefor Thynne
Freddie Sugden

1nd Rapidplay Sunday 1st August:
Dominic Mackle

South-west British Championship qualifiers

I'm not sure if the list on the official site is entirely up- to- date, so let me know if I miss anyone. Here are the people south-west based or born who have qualified for the 2010 British Championships so far, along with how they got there:

Michael Adams (Rated over 2350)
Keith Arkell (Rated over 2350)
James Cobb (Rated over 2350)
Rhys Cumming (Major Open 2009)
Andrew Greet (Rated over 2350)
Gary Lane (Rated over 2350)
Dominic Mackle (Torbay Congress)
Peter Poobalasingam (Uxbridge International Rating over 2350)
Jack Rudd (British Championship 2009)
Matthew Turner (Rated over 2350)
Peter Wells (Rated over 2350)
Paul Helbig (WECU Congress)
Arturo Wong (Frome Congress)

Olympiad teams.

A quick note to congratulate Bristol University student Sarah Hegarty on being selected for the 2010 women's Olympiad team. The Olympiad takes place between 19th September and 4th October, in Khanty- Mansiysk, Russia. For anyone who, like me, thought "where the heck is Khanty- Mansiysk?", I've included a link to its Wikipedia page in the title to this post.

Sunday Chess in Bath

I've copied the following from an email I received from Christopher Lamming, who runs this event. The title to this post links to photos from last year's sessions.

This year, the sessions will run from 2-430ish, fortnightly starting last Sunday (9th May), and until the end of September. The idea is to give people the chance to play in a different environment to that which they may associate with chess. My thoughts are that there are a lot of players out there who are put off by the usual style of chess club (school room, quiet, serious etc) and that given the right opportunity, will really enjoy a game in the right surroundings. Last year, this proved fairly correct, as we had no shortage of locals and tourists, men and women, young and old, stopping to play or just to watch.

Maybe see you there sometime for a game!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay results

Thanks to Joey Stewart for posting the results up on the ECForum, which I've copied across to here.

1st= Jim Sherwin (Bath) 5/6
1st= Joey Stewart (Gloucester) 5/6

Grading Prize for best under 170:
John Jenkins (Stroud) 3/6
Dr Ian Bourne (No Club) 3/6

Under 150:
1st= B.Hunt (Cardiff) 5/6
1st= Duncan MacArthur (Keynsham) 5/6

Grading Prize:
Tom Thorpe (Downend) 4/6

Junior Prize:

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Bristol League, Cup, final standings

Continuing my round- up of league and cup final standings from around the south west, today I'm going to report on the Bristol Leagues.

There are 4 divisions in the Bristol Leagues. Div's 1, 2 have 9 teams each, Div. 3 has 10 teams, and Div. 4, 11. with each team playing each other twice over the course of the season. There are 2 teams promoted and 2 teams relegated from each league.

In Division 1 Clifton A continued their recent domination, with 31 match points meaning they dropped just one draw en route to winning the league. Trailing 5 points back in second place were Bath. In a close group from 4th- 6th were Horfield A (18 points), Downend A (17), Clifton B (15), and Clevedon A (14). Downend B were next, 11 points being enough to fairly comfortably see them clear of relegation. The 2 teams that were relegated were Horfield B (7), and University A (3).

In Division 2 it was a very close run race for first place, with Thornbury (26), edging out South Bristol by a single point. Nevertheless, both clubs will be playing in Division 1 next season. 3 points back were Clifton C, followed by Horfield C (16), Bath B (14), and Grendel (13). It was incredibly tight between the 3 teams battling to avoid the 2 relegation places, and in the end 1 point was the difference between the 3. Hanham A just avoided relegation with 10 points, ahead of Keynsham A (9), and Clevedon B (9).

Division 3 featured a runaway winner, with Bath University scoring the maximum 34 points from the 17 matches played so far. Certainly a team boasting Chris Dorrington (grade 217), Peter Poobalasingam (197), and James Jackson (194) is going to be a tough test for any team in the Bristol League. Taking the 2nd promotion spot were Yate A, who took 24 points from their 18 matches. In third place were Downend C (20 points), and then followed Clifton D, Hanham B, and Cabot (all on 17). At the bottom of the table South Bristol B (12) have definitely avoided relegation, whilst Harambee A (11 from 15 matches), just need a single match point from their remaining 3 matches to guarantee another season in Div. 3. Which leaves Patchway (10) confirmed as relegated, whilst Keynsham B (9 from 17 matches) need to win their final match and hope other results go their way to have any chance of avoiding relegation.

Division 4 is slightly different from the other 3 in that teams comprise of only 4 players rather then 6. This means that it's quite possible for teams to decline the offer of promotion, finding it easier/ preferable to have a team of 4 players rather then 6.

With most teams still having some games left to play, the exact final places are still to be determined. Definitely finishing first are Yate B, who with one match left to play are 6 points clear of 2nd place, on 34 points. Currently 2nd and 3rd respectively are Horfield D (28 points from 19 matches), and University B (24 points from 19 matches). They could both be caught, however, by the team currently in 4th place. Nailsea are currently on 23 points from 16 matches, and a good end of season run could see them in promotion contention. Downend D are definitely 5th, with 21 points from all of their matches. Below that the positions are still very much undecided. Downend E have 18 points from 20 matches, Downend F 17 from 19, Pete's Potential 14 from 17, Harambee 8 from 14. So potentially any of those teams could still finish 5th. Occuping the bottom 2 places at the moment are Hanham C with 3 points from 17 matches, and UWE with 1 point from 12 matches.

The Bristol League Knockout Cup, which is played over 8 boards, was won for the second year in a row by Bath. Playing as a combined Bath and Bath University team, they defeated Clifton in the final 4.5-3.5.

In the Minor Knockout Cup, which is played over 6 boards, South Bristol drew 3-3 with Grendel in the final, with the board count tie break being favourable to South Brisol.

Frome Congress, games from the open.

A quick note- the games from the open at the Frome Congress, along with some photographs, can be viewed on the Bristol Chess website. Clicking on the title to this post takes you straight there.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Frome Congress, results

Thanks to Gerry Jepps for sending me this. The title to this page links to the Frome Congress home page, which has full results from each section.

2010 Results

On May 7th to 9th the Twenty First Frome Chess Congress was held at Selwood Middle School. 155 players entered and winners were:

Open :-

First: (4/5) James Sherwin (Bath) Arturo Wong (Chard & Ilminster)
Third (3.5/5) Allan Pleasants (Weymouth)

British Championship Qualifying Place Arturo Wong (Reserve Allan Pleasants)

Major (U170):-

First (4.5/5) John Footner (Telford)
Second (4/5) Roger Greatorex (Llangollen)
Third (3.5/5) Thomas Anderson (Southampton) Steve Dean (Sidmouth)
Raymond Gamble (Spondon) Alan Papier (Bristol & Clifton)
Stephen Williams (Colchester)
U146 Grading Christopher Leeson (Weymouth)
Prize (3/5)

Intermediate (U140):-

First (4.5/5) David Woodruff (Keynsham)
Second (4/5) Paul Errington (Bournemouth) Stanislaw Guziewicz (Poland)
E. Barry Sandercock (Buckinghamshire)
U126 Grading Peter Bending (Cheltenham)
Prize (3.5/5)

Minor (U115):-

First (5/5) Alan Evans (Sportsman Club, Kent)
Second (4.5/5) Brian Aldwin (Exeter)
Third (4/5) John Leon (Bath) Norman Mackie (Wimborne)
U91 Grading Thomas Thorpe (Pete’s Potentials) Alec Shute (Bath)
Prize (3.5/5) Chris Cheeseman (Sportsman, Kent)

Somerset Trophies

Denys Bonner (Highest placed Somerset player in the Open): James Sherwin (Bath)
Leon York Memorial (Highest placed Somerset player in the Major): Stephen Williams (Colchester)
Roy Hossell (Highest placed Somerset player in the Intermediate): David Woodruff (Keynsham)
Cyril Chapman (Highest placed Somerset player in the Minor): John Leon (Bath)
Jean Mackereth (Highest placed ungraded Somerset player in the Minor) Peter Horne (Norton Radstock)
Cuprinol Trophy (Highest scoring West of England Junior in any section): Thomas Thorpe (Pete’s Potentials) 3.5/5 in the Minor (on tie break with Alec Shute of Bath)

Team Competition

Sportsman Club (Kent)

League/ County Association AGMs

In the near future most, if not all, leagues and county chess asociations will be having AGMs. Here are the ones I'm currently aware of. If I make inaccuracies, or miss any off of this list let me know and I'll update it.

WECU Council Meeting:
This is a private meeting, but I’m mentioning it here to encourage anyone who wishes an issue to be raised at said meeting to contact their WECU Delegates before the 5th June.

Both the North Gloucs. (League) AGM, and the Gloucs. AGM are not confirmed at this stage, but provisionally here are the details:

The North Gloucs. (League) AGM is scheduled for 10th Sept. and to be held at British Energy, Barnwood, Gloucester.

The Gloucs AGM is scheduled for July (specific date not fixed), and to be held at the Stagecoach Inn, Newport, Gloucs.

Wiltshire County Chess Association AGM:
Afraid I missed the boat on informing people about this one- it took place on May 11th.

Bristol League AGM:
Thursday 27th May, Filton Sports & Leisure Centre.
Note: All motions need to be with the League Secretary by May 13th. He can be reached on

Somerset County Chess Association AGM:
Mon. 7th June, The Tor Leisure Centre, Glastonbury, starting at 7.30pm. I'm afraid if you're looking to submit a motion you've left it too late now, they needed to have been submitted by 30th April.

Devon County Chess Association AGM:
Friday 11th June. I couldn’t find any more information, but I’ve emailed several people within the DCCA, so hopefully I can come back to this with full details in the near future

Torbay League AGM:
Weds. 16th June, held at Torquay Boys' Grammar School, Torquay, starting at 7pm.

Dorset County Chess Association AGM:
Weds. 2nd June, held at Poole ex- Servicemen’s Club, Southbourne, starting at 7.30pm

Cornwall County Chess Association AGM:
I couldn’t find any information on this, but I’ve emailed several people within the CCCA, so hopefully I can come back to this with full details in the near future.

Monday, 10 May 2010

29th Cotswolds Chess Congress

The 29th Cotswold Chess Congress takes place on the bank holiday weekend of 29th- 31st of May. It's played over 6 rounds, and is held at St. Edward's School, in Cheltenham. For more information click on the title to this post, which links to an entry form.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Torbay Herald Express Chess Column, April

Thanks to John Doidge for writing this article, and both himself and the Torbay Herald Express for giving me permission to publish it here. The title to this post links to the Torbay Herald Express home page.

With the chess season drawing to a close, the Torbay final leagues are beginning to take shape.

In Division 1 Newton Abbot cannot be overtaken and have won the main trophy with a five-point margin over Teignmouth and Torquay. The Boys’ Grammar School, for the first time, entered a team in the top division and, whilst their season ended with only one draw to show for their labours, at times they played some excellent chess and if the team can be kept together should do well next year.

Plymouth are the new champions of Division 2 and a final emphatic win over the Grammar School ensured the cup would be travelling to the city. Newton Abbot also had a fine season and finished in a very creditable second place with Teignmouth, South Hams and Torquay not too far behind.

With one match to go it looks as if the Newton Abbot Pawns will get the Division 3 title. The Plymouth Tigers, having got a 2-2 draw at Newton Abbot, are equal with the Pawns on 10 points each but the Pawns still have a game to play against Torquay and just a draw will ensure they will finish as winners.

Torquay with Newton Abbot in second place has won the Rapidplay tournament after a late winning run.

The final of the Knockout Cup will between Teignmouth and Torquay and will take place on 4th May.

An extremely fine day was held at Teignmouth for their annual Rapidplay Tournament. Attracting competitors from many parts of the south of England, the event was superbly organised by Ray Chubb and his colleagues at the Teignmouth Club. The overall winner was one of the top players, Ben Edgell of Sedgemoor, but Peter Halmkin of the local club was successful with a grading prize.

Charles Keen of the Exeter Club won the Major tournament, but John James (Plymouth) and Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot) were successful with grading prizes.

A junior tournament also took place at the same time that attracted many schools from as far away as Bude and the best local player to achieve a grading prize was John Fraser (Torquay Boys’ Grammar School) in the Under 11 tournament.

As reported last month, the Grammar School had played well to beat Millfield School in the Schools Championship. They were then drawn to play one of the top teams in the country, Wellington School, but were beaten by 4.5 to 1.5. To get this far in the competition was a feather in the Grammar School’s hat and they can be proud of their efforts.

One of the players missing from the Teignmouth event was one of their top players Alan Brusey. He was playing for HM Revenue and Customs in a very big tournament at Nottingham. The opposition was one of the best in the country but Alan did extremely well to finish with 8 points from his 11 games.

The final of the Devon County Chess Association major tournament, the Peter Rooke Trophy, was held at Tiverton and resulted in Newton Abbot retaining the cup they had won for the first time in 2009. The match finished in a 4-4 draw but a board count brought the cup to the visitors.

In other County events, Newton Abbot has won the prestigious Bremridge Cup with Teignmouth in second place. Exmouth has won the Mamhead Cup but Newton Abbot did well to finish in third place just behind Tiverton.

Newton Abbot has also won the Schofield Cup although Tiverton and Teignmouth finished with the same number of points. Again, numbers of games won throughout the season brought the cup to Newton Abbot.

Teignmouth have had another fine season both in the Torbay and County matches, and their win in the Moyle Cup brought a well-earned trophy to the club.

Newton Abbot won the Bloodworth Cup with the Grammar School Bishops just two points behind.

The individual championship has reached an interesting stage with Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) in top position with 7 points, with Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) just 2 points behind but having played a game more. There are a lot of games to be played and the winner will probably not be known until mid-summer.

In the Intermediate competition, the two Teignmouth players, Peter Halmkin and Bill Ingham, have dominated this. Halmkin, however, has a game in hand and a win over Ivor Annenetts of Tiverton will give him the trophy.

Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot) has won the Minor competition with a better game score than Stephen Thorpe-Tracey (Tiverton). Remembering that Sugden is still playing in under 16 year old tournaments, his success in this tournament is to be applauded especially when one realises he was also playing against strong opposition from the Plymouth player, Tony Tatam and Teignmouth’s John Arriss.

The British Championships are being held in Canterbury this year and known competitors taking part in August are the Newton Abbot team of Dominic Mackle, Trefor Thynne, Alex Billings and Freddie Sugden. We wish them well.

The Diamond Jubilee Congress will be held at Paignton from 5th to 11th September. Further details will be given next month.

Somerset Leagues, Cup, final standings.

Continuing my round up of the final standings of the many leagues and cup competitions from around the south-west, today I'm focussing on the Somerset Leagues.

In the Somerset Cup, the winners were Glastonbury, who defeated Taunton 4.5-3.5 in the final. contains the Taunton report on the final, and also a link to the Glastonbury report.

In Division 1, Taunton were the runaway winners with 13 points from 8 matches (6 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss). The last 2 matches to be played were both Frome- Taunton (with one being postponed from earlier in the season). At the time Frome were on 8 points, with Taunton 1 ahead on 9. Taunton convincingly won both matches 5-1 to win the league. Frome finished 2nd with 8 points, ahead of Yeovil on 7, Glastonbury 6, and Sedgemoor 4.

Division 2 has a rule that allows teams to only play 1 person graded over 165 in each match.

Division 2 East featured only 4 teams, and was won by Trowbridge. Their only points dropped all season was a default loss against Norton Radstock. Trowbridge finished on 10 points from 6 matches. Behind them were Frome and Norton Radstock, both of whom scored 6 points, and Bath on 2.

Division 2 West had 6 teams entering this year, and was won by Sedgemoor on 16 points (7 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss). They were closely followed by Yeovil on 13 points and Taunton on 12. Quite a way back were Wellington (7), Glastonbury (6), and Chard & Illminster (6).

Division 3 is split into 3 areas (East, Central, & West). There are only 4 players in each team in these leagues. The grading rules for this league are no-one graded over 145 may play, and the team must average no more then 125 per board.

In Division 3 East there were 4 teams, and the winning team here were Bath. They finished on 9 points (4 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss.) Close behind were Norton Radstock with 7. Trowbridge finished on 5 points, and Frome 3.

In Division 3 Central there were 4 teams, and Glastonbury emerged as winners. They scored 9 points (3 wins, 3 draws) to leave them 2 points clear of Gillingham in 2nd,and 3 clear of Frome. Yeovil C brought up the rear with 2 points.

In Division 3 West there were 7 teams, and Glastonbury once again triumphed here. They finished with a very impressive record of 7 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss (18 points), to finish 2 points clear of Weston B in 2nd. Further down the table Wellington finished on 14, Weston A 13, Chard/Illminster 11, Taunton 6, Sedgemoor 6

Sunday Chess in Bath

This Sunday sees the start of Sunday Chess in Bath, which I believe (from the pictures) involves a giant chess set and several smaller chess sets set up just outside Bath Abbey, which are open to be used by the public. It all starts at 2pm, and for more information contact Chris Lamming,

Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay

Sunday 15th May is the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay, held at Stanshawe Court Hotel, Stanshawe Court Drive, Yate, Bristol. BS37 4EA. There are 3 sections: Open, u165, and u130. The first round begins at 11.00, the last at 17.00. The entry fee is £15, which includes a light buffet lunch, and the prizes are £40 for 1st, and £20 for 2nd in each section.

For an entry form just click on the title to this post, which links directly to it.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Bristol League Cup final

Bath eventually emerged victorious in last night's Bristol League Cup final, 4.5-3.5. This page links to the Bristol Chess website, where full results, the games from the match, photos, and a match report all feature.

Clifton Bath
1. w James Cobb 0.5-0.5 Chris Dorrington
2. Andy Pickering 0-1 James Sherwin
3. Gareth Morris 1-0 David Buckley
4. Dominic Bennett 0.5-0.5 James Jackson
5. David Collier 0.5-0.5 Ben Edgell
6. John Curtis 0.5-0.5 Oliver Schofield
7. Angelo Castruccio 0.5-0.5 Andrew Gregory
8. John Waterfield 0-1 Adam Stirling

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Coaching in Devon

In a previous post I commented about the lack of coaches in the south-west. I'm pleased to mention that Grandmaster and former English Champion, Keith Arkell, is currently resident in Paignton, and happy to provide coaching for anyone interested.

is Keith's email ,and he's also on Facebook, for any enquiries.

Bristol League Cup final

This evening sees Clifton play host to Bath in the Bristol League Cup final, held at The Polish Club, St Paul's Rd, Clifton. Last year's final featured the same 2 teams and went right down to the wire, with Bath winning by a single point. I'll post the result of this match up either tommorow or Friday.

4ncl final standings, Div.3

The full Div.3 results for 4ncl are now up on the website (which the title to this post links to). Here's how the south-west teams fared:

Wessex 2:

Rd.9: Beat Sussex Smart Controls 4-2
Rd.10: Drew with 2 3-3
Rd.11: Beat Warwickshire Select 2 3.5-2.5

A tremendous last weekend effort, which sadly wasn't quite rewarded. Wessex 2 finished on 15 match points, with 7 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses. This saw them finish 4th= (the final promotion spot.) with Cambridge University 2. Unfortunately the tie- break (number of game points), favoured Cambridge, and so Wessex finished 1 place outside of promotion.

Gloucestershire Gambits:

Rd.9: Drew with Iceni 3-3
Rd.10: Lost against The Full Ponty 2.5-3.5
Rd.11: Lost against Nottinghamshire 2 2-4

A poor last weekend for Gloucs. saw them slip quite a way down the table to finish 19th of 32 teams, with a record of 4 wins, 2 draws, 5 losses, 10 match points.

Bristol 2:

Rd.9: Beat Beauty and the Beasts 4.5-0.5 (B & B lost 1 game point for a default)
Rd.10: Beat Guersney Mates 4-2
Rd.11: Lost against Sussex Smart Controls 2.5-3.5

A decent last weekend for Bristol 2, which sees them finish 20th with a record of 4 wins, 2 draws, 5 losses, 10 match points.

Bristol 3:

Rd.9: Beat Oxford 3 4.5-1.5
Rd.10: Drew with Beauty and the Beasts 2.5-2.5 (B&B lost 1 game point for a default)
Rd.11: Lost against the Braille Chess Association 1-5

An impressive last weekend for Bristol 3 that caps an excellent season. Despite having the lowest average rating of any team in div.3 this weekend, they've come away with 50% for the 3 matches, and finish in 23rd place. Their record for the season is 3 wins, 2 draws, 6 losses.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tiverton 3 Exeter 1 (Exeter & DL Div. 3)

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for sending me the following match report. The title to this post links to the Tiverton Club website, which, amongst other things, has photos to accompany this match report.

Although Tiverton beat Exeter 3-1 in the last match of the season on Wednesday 28 April, had the visitors been aware of the 'two minute rule' the match would have been drawn 2-2. Two Exeter players failed to claim draws when they were able to do so. (The two minute rule enables a player with less than two minutes on his clock to claim a draw if his opponent is either unable, or is making no effort, to win by normal means.)

On paper the visitors were the stronger team, outgrading the home team by 10 points on board one and by 16 points on board four.

On board four Youesef Ehtesham (Exeter, White) gained an overwhelming advantage over Tiverton's Richard Watkins but his flag fell before he was able to mate his opponent.

On board three, Alan Brinkley (Tiverton) reached a level rook and pawn endgame against Brian Aldwin. But Brian chased the enemy king round the board and eventually forced a mate.

John Knowles (Tiverton) played a very good game against Ray Shepherd. He won the exchange, converted it to a piece and the game culminated in a king-hunt with John nicely executing the final moves.

Derek Allen (Tiverton) on board two reached a middle game position a piece up but with his opponent, Richard Scholes, having three extra pawns. Derek looked to have things under control but with less than 10 minutes on his clock - 8 more than his opponent! - he dropped a piece and his opponent was then in a winning position. Fortunately for Derek, and Tiverton, Richard's flag fell before he was able to capitalise on his advantage.

4ncl final standings, Div.2

At the time of writing this the final Div.3 tables weren't up on the 4ncl website, so I can only inform you of how the south- west teams in Div.2 did at the final 4ncl weekend. The title to this post links to the 4ncl website, which has the full results for all of the teams in the top 2 divisions, and will shortly have the Div.3 results posted as well.

Bristol 1:

Rd. 9: lost against Anglian Avengers 4.5-3.5
Rd. 10: beat White Rose 2 5-3
Rd. 11: lost against Brown Jack 4.5-3.5

So Bristol finished on 9 points in the relegation pool. They finished equal third, but also equal on points with White Rose 2, who finished in the final relegation place. My understanding is that they've avoided relegation on tie- break, although that's still to be confirmed.

Wessex 1:

Rd. 9: beat Celtic Tigers 1 4.5-3.5
Rd. 10: beat FCA 1 5-3
Rd. 11: beat Guildford A&DC 3 6-2

An excellent final weekend performance from Wessex. 3 wins from the 3 final matches saw them finish on 10 points in the relegation pool, and they'll be playing chess in Div. 2 again next season.

Brown Jack:

Rd. 9: beat FCA 1 6-2
Rd. 10: lost against Celtic Tigers 1 5.5-2.5
Rd. 11: beat Bristol 1 4.5-3.5

Unfortunately for Brown Jack 2 wins from the final 3 matches wasn't enough to save them from relegation to Div.3. They finished on 7 points, one off bottom.

Friday, 30 April 2010


This coming weekend sees the final 3 rounds of the 4ncl taking place at Sunningdale for Div's 1 & 2, and Wokefield Park for Div 3. Both are just outside Reading for anyone not sure where Sunningdale & Wokefield Park are (I can't say I knew before I first played there).

The title to this post links to a summary I did just after the previous 4ncl weekend of how the south- west based teams are doing, and how they could potentially be doing after the final 3 rounds are concluded.

The fixtures for the south- west teams are as follows:

Bristol 1:
Rd. 9 v Anglian Avengers
Rd. 10 v White Rose 2
Rd. 11 v Brown Jack

Wessex 1:
Rd. 9 v Celtic Tigers 1
Rd. 10 v FCA Solutions 1
Rd. 11 v Guildford A&DC 3

Brown Jack:
Rd. 9 v FCA Solutions 1
Rd. 10 v Celtic Tigers 1
Rd. 11 v Bristol 1

Division 3 is run as a big swiss section, so only the pairings for rd's 9 & 10 are decided before the weekend. The pairings for rd.11 are done after the rd.9 & 10 results are known.

Rd. 9 v Sussex Smart Ctls.
Rd. 10 v 2

Glos. Gambits:
Rd. 9 v Iceni
Rd. 10 v The Full Ponty

Bristol 2:
Rd. 9 v Beauty & the Beasts
Rd. 10 v Guernsey Mates

Bristol 3:
Rd. 9 v Oxford 3
Rd. 10 v Beauty & the Beasts

Torbay Herald Express Chess Column, March.

Thanks to John Doidge for writing this article, and both himself and the Torbay Herald Express for giving me permission to publish it here. The title to this post links to the Torbay Herald Express home page.

Although they were only reformed in 2005, Newton Abbot has certainly exceeded all their expectations this year. In the Torbay Chess League, with a 3.5-0.5 win over Teignmouth they have won the Division 1 title. Torquay, who are Newton Abbot’s next opponents, are in second place but cannot catch the leaders. In the second division it looks as if Plymouth will win the title but Newton Abbot, with a match in hand, could still catch the leaders. Plymouth, however, have the Torquay Grammar School as their last opponents and as the school have yet to win a match in this division the odds must be on the city club getting the title.

In Division 3, the Newton Abbot Pawns still lead the way having dropped only one point throughout the season. The Plymouth Lions, however, along with the Teignmouth Knights and the Plymouth Tigers are only 2 points behind, and the Pawns have to play the Lions later in the season. It could be an extremely interesting finale.

In the Rapidplay competition Torquay have secured the title after a very close 5-3 win over Newton Abbot. Oliver Demeger, for the home club was the only one to win his two games and Torquay, with a very strong team, were good value for their win.

The Knockout Cup has reached the final stages. Torquay, with a win over the Grammar School by the narrowest of margins will meet Teignmouth later in April.

In the Devon County Chess Association competitions, Newton Abbot has won the major prize – the Bremridge Cup. Needing a drawn match at Exmouth to secure the title, the Newton Abbot Club won very convincingly against strong opponents. The Newton Abbot secretary, Trefor Thynne, has played in this competition since 1964 and this is the first time he has had the pleasure of winning the trophy that will be presented at the annual meeting later in the year.

In the second tier of matches, the Mamhead Cup, Tiverton lead the way with a 100% record but Newton Abbot along with Exmouth are equal second, and Teignmouth are in fourth place.

In the Schofield Cup, Teignmouth lead the way and stand a good chance of winning the trophy, whilst in the junior section for the Bloodworth Cup the Newton Abbot Juniors and the Grammar School both have 100% records with games still to be played.

In the individual championships, Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) has dropped only ½. point and leads the way with 7/8. Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) has also done well scoring 5/8. In the Intermediate Cup, Peter Halmkin and Bill Ingham, both members of the Teignmouth club, are in contention for the title.

The pride of place, however, must go to Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot) who has won the Minor Trophy with a game to spare. A pupil at the Grammar School, Freddie takes his chess very seriously and is to be congratulated on a very fine season after earlier success in the Torbay Chess Congress.

Freddie also excelled at the East Devon Congress held in Exeter when he won the Minor tournament, with his Grammar School colleague, Alex Billings coming in a very close equal second.

This congress was again extremely successful. Robert Thompson (TBGS) had a very respectable 3.5/5 and won one of the grading prizes and there was further good performances from Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) and Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) with 3/5 and Andy Dunn and Petre Jasyinskyj of the Torquay Club with 2.5/5. Robert Wilby of the Plymouth club was also successful in winning a grading prize in the major section of the congress.

The competition for the best club in the tournament and a prize of a new chess clock went to the Newton Abbot Club.

The final of the prestigious Peter Rooke Cup, played for by all the major clubs in Devon, will be between Tiverton and Newton Abbot. The match will be played in the middle of April and Newton Abbot will hope to successfully retain the cup that they won for the first time last year.

Looking ahead, the 63rd West of England Chess Union Congress is being held at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth from 2nd to 5th April. Those hoping to take part should get their entries in very quickly.

The 29th Teignmouth Rapidplay Tournament will be held at the Trinity School, Teignmouth on Saturday 17th April. With six matches to be played throughout the day, this has proved to be one of the most successful tournaments in the area. Entry forms can be found on the chessdevon website.

Taunton 5-1 Frome, Somerset League, Division 1.

Thanks to Nick Wilson for writing this, and Mike Richardt for forwarding it to me. The title to this post links to the Taunton Club website.

Ok, last night we travelled (yet again) to Glastonbury. Eager readers will know that last week I unluckily lost to Dave in a close game, but this time I'd be more aggressive and kick his ass on the pool table. Oh yes, and there is the small matter of the second leg of the two-match title-decider tie against Frome. You'll remember we won the first leg by 5-1, so things are heavily in our favour - a win, a draw or even scoring more than one point would secure us the hallowed and coveted Div 1 title.

Our team was the same as last week, except for Mike Redman, who sadly couldn't make it. We shifted our team up one board and Martin came in on board six - the full team list is Mark, Mike, Dave, Nick, Stan and Martin.

After last week's issues with lights I planned to arrive early (yes, a first for the whole season), firstly to see which bit of the sprawling Tor Club we'd be in, and secondly to try and ensure there was enough light to spot the dark pieces when placed on dark squares...

I wandered in - would we be in the main stage area? Poked my head round the door and... oh crap... not only was it being used, but a live band was busy tuning up!? I think someone like Fischer would probably have complained, but not us! Undeterred, I went to check the nursery bit (where we were last week)... Arrgh... lots of very talkative women in there having some sort of womens group. I don't think it was a slimming group - they didn't look fat enough for that (or maybe it was a successful slimming group). Anyway, that room was out, so it leaves, er... the toilets, um... main bar area... oh yes, and the skittle alley! Amazingly, the skittle alley was perfect - lots of space and bright lights above each table. The only issue, if I were a nit-picker, was the sliding doors - a winning combination of heavy, jarring and not particularly slideable mixed with a sound when moved that was comparable to a metal claw being dragged slowly down a blackboard - eye-watering and goose-bump inducing at the same time.

Again we had to bring 3 of our own boards. Dave was too ashamed to bring his tablecloth board again, but did bring his pieces. I proudly unveiled my DGT board only to be trumped by Martin with his luxurious triple-weighted rosewood Staunton set. Very nice. Ok, so you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk? I struggled yet again with my electric clock, trying to setup the 75/35 +15 setting, but gave up more quickly this time and settled with a boring old clock.
Frome turned up with just one change - the superfast-playing board 4 player was gone, and replaced with a new chap on the same board.

Taunton, being the 'home' team were white on evens. As we all moved up a board due to MikeRed not being there, it meant we all had the same colours again - what a stroke of luck - I have white. Do you know, I don't think it's averaged out over the season - I may have had white more than 50% of the time...

Ok, on to the games, which finished in this order

Board 6 M Worral 1 v G Udell 0
Martin's setup here was pure poetry in motion - his pieces are beautiful in already-mentioned triple-weighted rosewood, his clock was a shiny ebony with white dials and luxurious gold trim, and to cap it all, he had a pint of Guinness sat next to the board - it's white head and black body combined with a golden shamrock on the glass to complement the clock's colour scheme and just complete a picture of playing heaven. The game matched this beauty and poetry with a stunning rook sac on f7, leading to a short king-hunt, followed by a forced mate! A great game, topping a great season for Martin.
Ok, so Taunton are now 1-0 up. But I think if we'd lost the remaining 5 games and the combined two-match score was therefore level, we'd have lost due to the board count rule (remove board 6 and count again...). So we still needed half a point.

Step forward I'll-get-the-draw-for-the-match-Stan!

Board 5 S Wojick 0.5 v G Berryman 0.5
Stan had been under some pressure during this game. Nothing he couldn't handle of course, but if did mean he was spending time dealing with the pressure rather than dishing out the pressure. I noticed Dave giving this game a lot of attention - had he spotted some combination we'd all missed? Or was he simply assessing the game for our team's overall chances? Then it dawned on me! He was keeping a close eye on his pieces.. they were playing using his set...pawns can go missing so easily.. Anyway, in the game, Stan dealt with the pressure, offered a draw and it was accepted! Thank you Stan - that was the draw we needed to secure the title!

Now with the title safe, we wanted to win the match to win properly, rather than by a tie-break rule.

Board 4 N Wilson 1 v K Paine 0
I really need to buy a book on openings. On move 4 in a Gucio Piano / Two knights defence, I played the commanding d3. Good God, I was doing this aged 5 when I first learnt to play... have I learnt nothing in the intervening years? Anyway, after developing, I gradually moved over for my predictable k-side attack. Normally, when I do this, I either win quickly when an opponent makes a mistake, or I lose due to all the weakness I accept in the centre and Q-side. But today was different. My opponent crammed his k-side with pawns and pieces. How am I supposed to have a quick, flashy win when he does that? What a spoilsport.. Luckily I had a knight sac that opened him up and he resigned a few moves later. I had thought it'd be enough to win the 'man of the match' award, but not only did Martin better me with his board and board/drink combination (I only had a meagre shandy...) but his sac was of a higher value too (rook v knight)... However, somewhat unfairly, I am the sole man of the match judge, and I am extremely biased. I'll reveal the winner at the end of this report...

Board 1 M Hassal 1 v C Purry 0
Mark was very pleased with this win, and rightly so. He turned an advantage in the opening into a middle game combination that picked of first pawns and then netted a whole piece and with a strong looking attack. Very impressive, but I couldn't help but notice there weren't any rook or knight sacrifices here...tut tut..

Board 3 D Littlejohns 1 v M Leonard 0
Dave played his solid Caro-caan, but white was constantly pushing for initiative, which cost him a pawn or two. Dave simplified to what seemed a won ending, but white had a strong rook and active knight. Dave managed to dodge a few nasty looking tricks and eventually won due to his extra pawns and white's horrible time-trouble.

Board 2 M Richardt 0.5 v G Jepps 0.5
Mike had an extremely long day's travel back from Germany to make this match (big thank-you for all the effort!), and he was looking very tired. This tiredness lead to a mistake in the opening and he dropped a central pawn. Gerry pressed into the ending, still a pawn up. But Mike had a good knight v Gerry's bishop, and with correct play, this was a draw.

So, final score - Taunton win 5-1 (again!) and are undisputed Division One Champions! Hoorah!!!

Annoyingly, I didn't get a chance for a pool rematch with Dave...

Huge thank-yous to everyone tonight and those who have played in previous Div 1 matches to make this happen - its been a long time since Taunton won, and it feels great!!!

Man of the match - I award it to every player tonight(!). Early on, all the games had looked double-edged and I feared a 0.5 v 5.5 drubbing like we'd had against Glastonbury, but we all fought hard, turned it round and came out completely on top - we are deserved champions!!

Tiverton 2 Sidmouth 2 (Exeter & DL Div 3)

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for sending me the following piece. The title to this post links to the Tiverton Club website.

On Wednesday 14th April, Tiverton was home to Sidmouth in an Exeter & District League Division 3 match. Although the visitors arrived one man short, giving Tiverton's board 4, Alan Brinkley, a walkover victory, the home team could only manage a draw.

Sidmouth's top two boards heavily outgraded the Tiverton players, meaning that it was likely that for a drawn match, John Wheadon would have to win on board 3.

On board 1, John Knowles (Tiverton, Black (see photo 3)) played the French against the 186 graded Ken Derrick. John played extremely well and held his opponent throughout the game, although Ken managed to win a pawn early on. This advantage lasted into the endgame when pieces were exchanged and a standard king and pawn ending resulted in a Sidmouth win.

Derek Allen on board 2 (see photograph 2) - outgraded by 30 points by his opponent S Stone - faced a Sicilian dragon. Mr Stone won the exchange and this proved to be decisive.

On board 3, John Wheadon (see photograph 1) played 2 Bc4 against R Cubbon's Sicilian. Mr Cubbon won a pawn early on but later John won the exchange and this proved sufficient for victory.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Change of secretary of Gillingham & Shaftesbury Chess Club‏

There are a few changes taking place at Gillingham & Shaftesbury Club. Trevor Stacey has moved home and the new secretary of the club is Richard Quin. Richard's email address is g&scc[at]quinrw[dot]clara[dot]co[dot]uk. The title to this post links to a page containing the contact details for all of the Somerset League clubs, including Gillingham. At the time of me writing this it wasn't updated to show the changes at Gillingham, but the webmaster is aware and it should be done shortly.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Bristol League, Horfield results.

Thanks to Andrew Russell, Howard Millbank, and John Richards, for the following match reports. The title to this post links to the Horfield Club site.

19/4/2010 Division 4

Nailsea Horfield D
1 b Terry Stone 0-1 Andrew Russell
2 w Bert Higgins 0.5-0.5 Dan German
3 w Mike Orr 1-0 Terje Sjostrom
4 b M. Grigg 0-1 Stephen Xiong

With both Stephen and Terje in at the last minute we were worried about facing Nailsea. Terry missed some tricks and instead of going the exchange down allowed the mate. In a closed game that I would have been proud of, Dan offered an early draw. Stephen was well up in his game and the feeling was Terje was in a strong position in his, the draw was accepted. Stephen finished his opponent off and Terje unfortunately lost his rook and resigned shortly after. A good win for the team. (AR)

20/4/2010 Division 2

Horfield C Grendel
1 b Jim Boyce 0-1 Alistair Gilbert
2 w Harvey Atkinson 0.5-0.5 Roger Hardy
3 b Howard Millbank 1-0 Pat Flexman
4 w Alex Dunn 1-0 default
5 b Graham Strickland 0.5-0.5 Jennings
6 w Terje Sjostrom 1-0 E. Flexman

An unfortunate final League result for Grendel. Jim lamented his performance against Alistair, who gave him no second chances ; but our other lads acquitted themselves well. Patrick outplayed me for two and a half hours, but failed to take a knock-out sacrificial opportunity and paid the ultimate, cruel price in the last game to finish. That, plus the default, made all the difference. (HKM)

21/4/2010 Division 1

Bath A Horfield A
1 b Jim Sherwin 0.5-0.5 Steve Dilleigh
2 w D Andreown 1-0 Derek Pugh
3 b David Buckley 0-1 Chris Jones
4 w Andrew Gregory 0.5-0.5 John Richards
5 b Adam Stirling 0.5-0.5 Phil Nendick
6 w Ron Gregory 1-0 Harvey Atkinson

Chris got us off to a very good start - David Buckley does not lose many games. I was a bit foolhardy, deciding I could take a (very) poisoned pawn, but managed to scramble for a draw. Steve and Jim's game petered out, leaving us 2-1 up.

But, Bath were not giving up. Boards 2 and 6 looked bad for Horfield, and Phil's position wasn't looking too healthy either. But Phil did get the draw, while the others lost. Now five matches without a win - I can't remember a run like it! A good job the season's nearly done. (JR)

Somerset League, Division 3 West

Thanks to Roger Fenton for the following reports on matches in the Somerset League, Division 3 West. The title to this post links to the Glastonbury Club website, which features these and many other match reports.

In the pursuit of their fourth successive Division 3 (West) league title Glastonbury had seen off all of their challengers except Weston-super-Mare (B). So, when their remaining rival visited Tor Leisure last week the match could not have been more crucial.

But, despite the bonus of a default win for team captain Ralph Carver and hard-fought draws from Paul Moody and Nigel Dicker, the Thorns failed to deliver the knock-out blow. The shared points meant that the season would be decided by the two sides final contests, though Glastonbury had a valuable one-point advantage.

Match Result: Glastonbury 2 Weston-super-Mare (B) 2

Three days later the Thorns travelled to Chard & Ilminster needing only a draw for the title. But in a disastrous evening, where almost everything went wrong, Glastonbury were trounced by the home side, with only Martin Willis’s draw preventing a total whitewash.

Match Result: Chard & Ilminster 3.5 Glastonbury 0.5

It seemed almost certain that the team’s worst performance for over five years would result in a final league position of second. So it was with a mixture of amazement and delight that Glastonbury discovered Weston (B) had also lost their final match (at home, to the bottom club.)

The winner’s laurels that the Thorns had almost thrown away were handed back to them. Champions in 2004 and 2006-2010, a remarkable achievement for all concerned, but particularly a tribute to the astute captaincy of Ralph Carver.

Tiverton 4 Newton Abbot 4 (Peter Rooke Cup Final)

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for sending me this match report. The title to this post links to the Tiverton Club site, which features photos from this match, as well as this and other match reports.

On Sunday 18th April, Tiverton entertained a Newton Abbot team in the eight board final of the Peter Rooke Cup. The teams were evenly matched with Newton's aggregate grade of 1094 being superior to that of Tiverton by a mere seven points.

Although at the end, games won were equal between the two sides, Newton won the the trophy on board count. (This is a tie splitting procedure in which greater weight is given to the results of the higher graded players.)

First to finish was John Knowles on board six who was White against fourteen year old schoolboy Jeff Leung. John opened with his usual English 1 c4 but soon found himself facing a ferocious attack. John's king was a little draughty and was soon overwhelmed by Jeff's queen and two knights.

Meanwhile on board 8, Alan Maynard played the Scotch against John Doidge and managed to create a passed d-pawn. After massive exchanges, and with only one rook each, Alan's pawn reached d7. John's king was on g8 and after playing 23 Rd8, Alan's 24 Rc8 won immediately.

Stephen Thorpe-Tracey, Black on board 7 against Roger Hocking, won a kingside pawn and then a second one. With both kings exposed the extra pressure with the two extra pawns proved decisive.

On board 3, John Morrison was having a torrid time against Charlie Howard's Morra Gambit. John played the opening badly, found many of his pieces remaining on the back rank when his opponent was well developed. At one stage it looked as though he was fighting back, but Chartlie's superior development proved to be too strong.

Keith Atkins on board four found himself facing the Rubinstein variation of the French Defence orchestrated by John Allen. Keith won Black's e-pawn and created pressure down that open file which was ultimately sufficient to win the game.

On board one, Simon Bartlett faced a Tropowski from 16 year old Robert Thompson. Robert took the f6 knight and the game was played with Black having doubled f-pawns. Later Robert obtained a two - one queenside pawn majority and after the pieces were exchanged, Robert managed to infiltrate his king into the queenside position and this proved decisive.

With games at 3-3, things looked good for Tiverton because both boards two and five looked like imminent victories for Tiverton.

On board two, Ivor Annetts (White) kept things tight and controlled from his c3 Sicilian opening. But with the match appparently lost for Newton, the instruction to his opponent, Andrew Kinder, from non playing captain Trefor Thynne was, "Go for the win!". This led to a knight sacrifice and strong pressure on the queenside and then a direct attack against the White king. Ivor found that he was left with less than four minutes to make eight moves. Simple and calm thought afterwards showed that there was a winning backward bishop move for Ivor, but false analysis under time pressure led him to make a king move which gave his opponent checkmate in 1! Oh dear....

The last ganme to finish was the board 5 tussle between Jon Duckham - who has had an excellent comeback season - and schoolboy Alex Billings. From a Queen's Gambit, Jon won the exchange and at the end sacrificed that for a won king and pawn ending.

So 4-4 it was. Murmers of ,"We wus robbed" were heard eminating from the direction of board two. But all credit to Newton Abbot for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Dorset Leagues

Today I'm focussing on the Dorset Leagues. The title to this post links to the Dorset Leagues' home page, which in turn has links to the league tables, and full match results.

In division 1 there are 4 teams, with each team playing each other twice. This league has now concluded, and congratulations are due to Southbourne A, who finished first by a single point. Southbourne A finished with 8 points (4 wins, 2 losses), just ahead of Dorchester A on 7 points (3 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.) Third were Wimborne A with 5 points (2 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses), and last but not least Wimborne A with 4 points (1 win, 2 draws, 3 losses).

In division 2 there are also 4 teams playing each other twice, and like division 1, all of the matches have been played. In this league each team must have a total grade of 600, which means an average of no more then 150 per board. The winners were Dorchester B, who finished unbeaten on 10 points (4 wins, 2 draws). Just behind them were Wimborne B on 8 points (3 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss), and Weymouth B on 6 points (2 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses). Bringing up the rear were Bridport who failed to score a point.

In division 3 there are 8 teams, each playing each other twice, so 14 matches in total. In this league the teams must have a total grade of no more then 540, or 135 per board. There are still a few matches to be played in this division, and it's gone right down to the wire. Southbourne B currently lead with 17 points from 13 matches (8 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses). They are closely followed by Purbeck on 16 points from 13 matches (7 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses.), and Dorchester C on 15 from 12 (7 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses).

The final fixture for Southbourne B is against Wimborne D, who are currently in the bottom half of the table, whilst Purbeck and Dorchester C have still to play each other. This coupled with Southbourne B's greater game point total means that they are undoubtedly the favourites to win this league, although it's still possible for any of the 3 teams to finish first.

Just below these three teams, Weymouth C (13 points from 12 matches), Dorchester D (13 from 13), and Wimborne D (12 from 11) are all closely matched, whilst Poole (7 points from 12 matches) and Wimborne C (5 from 12) are both a long way back.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Cornwall Premier, Minor Leagues

As we're getting towards the end of the season, I thought it was time to provide an update on the standings in the various leagues in the south west. I'm starting today with the Cornish leagues. The title to this post links to the Cornwall Chess website. About half way down are links to the league tables and full results for both of the leagues.

In the Premier League there are 5 teams, with each team facing each other 3 times. Currently top of the league are Truro, who have 18 points from 10 matches (8 wins, 2 draws). They are closely followed by Camborne, who have 16 points from 9 matches (7 wins, 2 draws). Newquay and Falmouth both have 7 points, with Newquay having played 2 matches less. Godolphin are yet to get off the mark, and look like they've had some trouble raising a team this year, with a few matches being lost 5-0 by default. It looks like the crunch match in this league will be the last fixture, when Truro play host to Camborne on the 17th May.

I'm not entirely sure on the format for the Minor League, but I believe it's as follows (do correct me if I'm wrong): there are 8 teams, and each team faces each other twice, meaning 14 matches for each team in total. As things stand Falmouth B are in the lead with 18 points from 10 matches (8 wins, 2 draws). Just behind them are Liskeard A with 16 points from 11 matches (8 wins, 3 losses), and Liskeard B with 13 points from 11 matches (6 wins, 1 draw, 4 lossses). Camborne 'B', St Austell B, Truro B, and Falmouth C are all closely matched, with just 2 points seperating them, and Godolphin B are bringing up the rear, 2 points further back.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Teignmouth Rapidplay

Thanks to Ray Chubb for providing this report on the Teignmouth Rapidplay tournament.

The Teignmouth Chess Club meets on Tuesdays each week throughout the year, at the Alice Cross Centre, Teignmouth. Further information can be obtained from Ray Chubb, Secretary, e-m: or the Chess Devon web site (linked to in the title to this post.)


1st Ben Edgell (Grade 206) Sedgemoor 5 / 6 Winner of the Walker Cup & £50

Joint 2nd= Graham Bolt (203) Exeter 4.5 / 6 Winning £15 each
Stephen Homer (183) Exeter
Allan Pleasant (170e) Wessex/Weymouth

Grading Prizes:
Under 170 Michael Richardt (162) Taunton 4 / 6 Winning £10

Under 155 Steve Dean (147) Sidmouth 3.5 / 6 Winning £4 each
Peter Halmkin (152) Teignmouth
Peter Jaszkiwskyj (154) Honary members Club, London
Major: (U-145)

Joint 1st= Three scoring 5 / 6. Each winning £20. Major Cup awarded by tie-break.
Charles Keen (141) Exeter Winner of the Major Cup
John Maloney (121) Exeter
Allan Papier (131) Bristol and Clifton

Grading Prizes:
Under 130 Chris McKinley (127) Sedgemore 4 / 6 Winning £10
Under 105 John James ( 77) Plymouth 3.5 / 6 Winning £10

Junior Prizes:
Under 16 years. Freddie Sugden (131) Newton Abbot 3.5 / 6 Winning £10

Team Prize:
There were 13, 3 player teams. Two teams drew on 13 / 18 points.
Newton Abbot; Exeter (Lions), (Tigers) and (Bears); Teignmouth (A), (B) and (C); Tiverton; Taunton; Brixham Boys; Weymouth; Wimborne; WW.

Joint Winners. Sharing £15.
Exeter Lions, comprising of Graham Bolt, Tim Paulden and Charles Keen.
Taunton, comprising of Ben Edgell, Mike Redman and Mike Richardt.

Junior Event:

Under 12 years Winners of the Ian Mason Memorial Cup and 1st. place Trophies.

Jointly 1st Place Joseph Gabriel. Broadclyst School 5 / 6 Tomas Trott Broadclyst School
3rd. Place Thomas Koyla Broadclyst School

Best Under 11 years Scoring 4 / 6 and Winning Medals.
Reece Whittington Broadclyst School
Adam Batten Broadclyst School
Theo Slade Bude, Cornwall Junior
John Fraser Torquay Grammer School

Best Girl: Jointly. Nandeje Narayanan Churston
Sophia Robinson Broadclyst School

Team Prize:
Broadclyst School Team A won the team prize, winning £9. Comprising Joseph Gabriel, Simon Priddle and Tom Koyla.

General Notes.

The Congress was again fortunate to be on a day of fine weather allowing competitors to relax between game rounds in the gardens and on the patio of Trinity School.
The Congress was opened by Teignmouth Councillor Mayor Vince Fusco and Graham Hesse’ President of the Teignmouth Chess Club. This was the 29th Congress held at Trinity School, held by kind permission of Tim Waters, Headmaster, Trinity School. Teignmouth Chess Club organises and runs this very successful and popular event in the West Country chess calendar.


The defending Champion Ben Edgell did extremely well to retain his title again against such a strong entry to the Open Section. After round 5 there were only two players in contention (Graham Bolt dropped from contention after three drawn games), Ben Edgell (on 4.5, grade 206) and Allan Pleasants (on 4, grade 170). Their game was drawn and Ben Edgell emerged out right winner, to win the Open Section for the fourth time and retain the Walker Cup.


After round 5, Allan Papier (on 4), Clive Pemberton (on 4), Charles Keen (on 4) and John Maloney (on 5) were all in contention. Pemberton (131) lost to Papier (131) and Keen (141) beat Maloney (121), resulting in the three-way tie for first place. Charles Keen had beat John Maloney and John Maloney had beat Allan Papier so the Major Cup was awarded to Charles Keen of Exeter.

Congress Organisation.

The Congress is an annual event run by the Teignmouth Chess Club.
Ray Chubb organises the event on behalf of the Club.
John Ariss from Torquay and a member of the Teignmouth Chess Club, is a fully qualified English Chess Federation Congress controller and ran both the Open and the Major events for the Congress.
The Junior section was run by Mrs Joe Frost from Bantham, north Devon.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Twenty- First Frome Chess Congress

7th- 9th of May is the 21st Frome Congress, held at Selwood Middle School, in Frome. Last year there were 177 entrants, and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a similar number again this year. The congress comprises of an open, a major (u170 grade), an intermediate (u140), and a minor (u115). This congress also incorporates the Somerset Championships, and for one person a spot at the British Championships is up for grabs.

The title to this post links to the Frome Congress home page, where one can get more details on the congress, as well as an entry form. As a slight side- note this year the Congress will be graced by ECF President CJ De Mooi on the Sunday.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Somerset League Division 1, Taunton 5-1 Frome

Thanks to Nick Wilson for this report, and Mike Richardt for forwarding it to me. The title to this post links to the Taunton Club website.

Last night was the much-delayed Taunton v Frome match in Div1. This was a home match for Frome, played, as usual, at Glastonbury. Thank you Glastonbury for allowing us to play at your venue for this match.

For those unaware, Taunton and Frome are currently joint leaders of Div1, with only the Taunton v Frome home and away ties being the sole matches remaining - the whole Div1 championship now boils down to the result of these matches. Exciting stuff!
For the first time in ages, we managed to put out a full team, and I was in the envious position of having to turn players away who would have been strong performers - e.g. Jorge, Martin, Alex. So the team was MikeRed, Mark, MikeRich, Dave, Nick and Stan. Special thanks to Mike Redman for travelling from work in Exmouth to make this game.

Being held on third party territory, each team had to bring three boards and clocks - a fact I only remembered on the day of the match... d'oh! A few frantic texts sorted it with MikeRich, Dave and myself bringing our own clocks, pieces, boards and tablecloths...

However on arriving at Glastonbury we found all the tables all nicely set out with boards. Looks like we won't need ours after all. I turned to tell Mike'n'Dave, but when I turned back, all the boards had been whipped away.. I tried turning away and back again, but to no avail - the boards were still gone. So we used ours.

I've had a poor season this year, so in this important match it only seemed fair to let Dave play above me, promoting him to board 4, with me on 5. Ok, so Frome are the home team... they'd have black on evens... so I'm on board 5.. I've got white - excellent!

On to the games, which finished in this order -

Board 4. Greg Sweetland 0 v Dave Littlejohns 1
This game was played at breakneck speed, with both players bashing out moves with seemingly little thought. They met the 35 move time control whilst other players were still in the opening. The game itself was pretty simple. Dave gradually simplified everything whilst gaining small advantages - first better pawn structures and then a pawn win. They were quickly in the endgame where Dave queened a pawn and wrapped things up.

(by now it was getting dark outside and the lights above board 1 weren't working, so board one was moved to the vacated, and brighter, board 4 spot)

Board 5 Nick Wilson 1 v G Berryman 0
My opponent got into a tangle in the opening with way too many knight moves - e.g. by move 12, four of his moves has involved moving a knight from b8 to g8! Needless to say, this allowed me time to develop and then pick off a pawn. By move 20, black's king was still un-castled, a knight sac on e6 opened things up. Black resigned 2 moves later.

(it was even darker now, so board two (which also suffered from having no lights above it) was moved to the now-vacated board five)

The next game to finish was a very close and double-edged tussle...

Pool Table (next door) Nick Wilson 0 v Dave Littlejohns 1
Dave broke off, but I got in amongst the balls and raced ahead. However, after a few rusty missed pots, Dave fought back and suddenly the game was all on the black. Dave should have won right there, having an easyish pot, but he missed, leaving me a complete sitter. To make things fun (and get our moneys worth from the 50p, we decided to have a opponent-nominated pocket for the black. This involved lots of crazy doubles and triples in attempts to pot into hopelessly inaccessible pockets. After a while we got bored and wanted to see how the match was coming on, so Dave let me try a simple cross table double. Easy! Yes, the black sailed in - only to be followed by the white! Arrgh! Dave wins.

We wandered back in to the playing area - apparently some idiots had been playing pool and making a lot of noise, distracting the players... oops.. Just as I was starting to feel slightly guilty about it I heard "Oh you f**king c**t!" shouted from the bar next door.. This was loudly repeated a few times with subtle variations, but all involving the same two key words. I think someone was having trouble with the in-pub skybox. It can be frustrating, but just turn it on and off - usually works... However, on the bright-side, all the pool noise was now forgotten!
Next game to finish was -

Board 1 Mike Redman 1 v C Purry 0
After a boring Petrov, both sides castled long. Mike forced black to damage his q-side pawns with a pin on the c6 knight. Form that moment on, black was on the back-foot, forever having to defend something looking increasingly indefensible. Mike sacced a pawn, and suddenly black was lost. A nice win.

So Taunton lead 3-0. from looking at the remaining games, both Mike and Mark had double-edged positions whereas Stan's was looking quite solid. I told Stan to consider a draw to secure the match.
So -

Board 6 G Udell 1/2 v Stan Wojick 1/2
Stan had the better of this game no doubt, and in post match analysis, we found a way to a clear win in the late opening - things are so easy to spot then! But in the heat of battle, Stan made no mistakes and was a pawn up. But the position was marred by long pawn chains and white's light bishop was much better than black's dark one. So in recognition of this, and the match position, Stan offered a draw to secure the match victory!

Taunton win - but the remaining matches are important as should Frome win next week, the aggregate score is used as a tie-break. So a heavy win tonight would dramatically increase Taunton's chances.

Board 2 G Jepps 1/2 v Mark Hassal 1/2
Gerry likes to sac'n'attack and this was no exception. By early middle game, he'd sacced a pawn to gain development and black's king was tied in the centre. Mark tried to kick away a bishop but Gerry initiated a series of exchanges with left him Q + B v 2R + N. But his Q+B were active and Mark's king was drafty. However both players were down to the last seconds on the clock an a draw was agreed.

Board 3 Mike Richardt 1 v Mark Leonard 0
This was a tricky game. I like things simple - one player attacks in one place and the other defends. But this game had stuff going on all over the board. Way too complicated for me! Anyway, things began to simplify and a nice zwischenzug from Mike at a key time gave him the advantage into a Q v 2R ending. A neat combination gave Mike the game, forcing either mate or the winning of a rook.

Final score - Taunton win 5 -1! A great result. But we haven't won overall yet - we need to continue next week to cement the victory.

Man of the match goes to Mike Richardt - an inspirational player in so many ways! But congrats to everyone - this was a great victory and we each played a big part!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Teignmouth Rapidplay

Thanks to Alex Conway for this report. The title to this post links to the Taunton Club website.

It is Saturday the 17th of April and we have just returned from a full days Chess in Teignmouth. I had arranged to get there in Mike Richardt’s Car (skippy, aww) which lead to us somehow arriving at the venue before anybody else! This of course leaves Taunton players in a position to clinch a large percentage as so far myself David Littlejohns, Mike Richardt and an in form Martin Worrall were the only people at a school in Teignmouth. I’m not entirely sure of the name of said school, but it was on the whole a nice playing environment with good lighting, enough space for a tournament of ample size to be held and even a school canteen that was able to cater for around 100 people. The canteen was today filled with sugary snacks, tea, coffee, energy drinks... Unfortunately our eager Taunton players were not yet allowed in to get their necessary caffeine fix as there was no way of us getting in! After relaxing ourselves into some seats within range of what we believed to be the playing area more people steadily trickled in that some of our players recognised to be here for some kind of chess event!

This lead to us eventually getting in to the playing hall itself and after some rushed entries from myself and Dave we were ready to play some chess. Since then we had also been joined by Roger Waters, Mike Ward and the formidable appearance of Mike Redman whose likelihood of turning up had been surrounded in smoke and mirrors!?!? Was he coming from Scotland, Exmouth, not at all? Clearly he was always going to be playing today and was in his usual kind of tournament mood; “100% or nothing”.

Shaping up to be an interesting contest, even if it would be just between those fine players of Taunton. The format was to be a 6 round Swiss tournament, where each player would have just 30 minutes for all of their moves with no increments per move and no additions to this 30 minutes for any endgames. Excellent, rapidplay as it should be done! It also emerged that Martin, Myself, Roger and Mike ward would be playing in the major section which was for those with a rapidplay grade under 145 along with about 40 other players of a similar calibre. Mike Richardt, Mike Redman and David Littlejohns would all be in the open section, which does what it say on the tin in the sense that it is open to anyone. In that case our big guns flexed their guns and waited eagerly to see just who was on the open pairing board. Personally I knew very few of the players that were participating, but recognised a few names, including Graham Bolt and Ben Edgell, who both have Rapid grades of around 200 ECF.

So on to the games themselves; this was between about 10am and 6pm. All 6 games were very closely packed together thanks to excellent timing from the Arbiters. As a result of this it means that what I can pass on from the tournament as it developed will be somewhat fragmented but here goes anyway!

Round 1 was underway promptly after the mayor of Teignmouth opened the event with a speech that showed his respect and appreciation for the tournament itself and also a sincere regret that he himself didn’t understand Chess to the degree that he would have liked. While I was still digesting this my game was underway without me realising and I’d subconsciously played some relatively solid looking stuff. This held out and I went on to win with relative ease.

After looking around afterwards I think I remember Mike Richardt getting a draw after a bit of bad luck in a blitzed K+P vs. K ending, Mike Redman got his win quite quickly but I think Martin lost his in a game that I saw none of. The legendary Dave Littlejohns secured a thrilling point by his standards; a slightly confused bye point! At this point I realised that talk of Taunton putting in some teams had come to fruition, we had entered 2 teams; Taunton A and Taunton B, not sure which way round it was but one of the teams was composed of Mike Redman, Mike Richardt and Ben Edgell. [Some explanation to the arbiter over how Ben Edgell could be classed as a Taunton player was required but all was merely a formality as our fearsome team lined up ready to do battle for their Bus Fare Home!]. The other Taunton team was made up of Alex, Dave Littlejohns and Martin Worral which [in view of this tournament being rapidplay] seemed to leave Taunton in good stead to compete for a team prize with either team! Mike Ward and Roger Waters were happy to go it alone and threatened to take down all who stood in their way!

The rest of the day developed alarmingly quickly; round 2 seemed to be immediately upon us. I netted a quick draw where my opponent tried a cheeky trick with the opening 1.e4 d5 2.ed Nf6 3.d4 Nxd5 4.c4 Nb4!? 5.a3! a3 saves the potentially awkward threats on c2. A tedious exchanging situation ensued and I offered a draw which my opponent gratefully took. I then took off to the canteen for a quick analysis of my game so not sure about the rest of the games from this round. I can’t remember any real upsets this round so I guess all results must have been reasonable. Many people in the canteen were too busy enjoying the light hearted clash of the titans of Ben Edgell v Matthew Haines and anyone else passing!

Round 3 was then upon us and I secured a win after some mistakes by my opponent. At this point it struck me that 2.5 out of 3 was a good score even if my section had 45 players in it so I began to eye the possibility of finishing near the top. Martin was also gathering pace, however, and was on 1.5 at this point, I think. Please correct me if I’m wrong Martin! Mike Redman seemed despondent after a draw at this point, @Mike, this was character building and was always meant to happen! Mike Richardt was still reasonably happy with his result but happier still with his form!

At this point a Lunch break was welcomed by all, and a bit of chat about the state of affairs of things at the time. The general feel was such that everyone felt the break was necessary but short-lived and before we knew it we seemed to be playing chess again! Not round 4 yet just a quick blitz that developed into an analysis of the play after an interesting sacrifice in a friendly in the canteen! It really was a packed day of Chess for all concerned, which was interesting given the circumstances of the tournament itself, and our friends and Taunton Players who were in positions to challenge for the lead late on.

This lead to me getting a little bit too caught up in the moment and playing for something more than just what seemed like a fair result, under the advice of a determined Mike Redman that I was to get 5.5 out of 6 by the end of the day. This lead to me getting aggressive very early in a quiet looking game between myself and one of the other front runners of the major section. It was a line of the Scotch opening that I knew well but chose to expand on the queenside with rapid pawn pushes. Unfortunately I miscalculated and quickly my worth adversary’s Kings bishop was causing problems on its fianchetto. This lead to me losing the initiative which in turn seemed to provoke me into more and more aggresive moves. Predictably I blundered the exchange and the endgame was too strong so I resigned. This one really crushed my spirit as it seemed that a top spot was out of the question, in hindsight I see that I mentally gave up and just tried to enjoy things. Mike Richardt brought home the bacon with a good win in this round. Really not sure about the position of anyone else in the overall tournament standings at this point, just that I was out of the running for the win as like Mike Redman on that day I was “either first or nowhere”. This gave me the chance to sit back and watch the next 2 rounds as Mike Richardt, Mike Redman and Martin all still felt as though they were in contention.

Round 5 came as the flow of Chess never seemed to end. This flow was fast being recognized as something that was welcomed for some and a nuisance for others. I lost to a shocking blunder that really killed my tournament but I considered my opponent to be fair and only doing what any chess player would do in that situation. After the results were in on this round it became apparent that on paper reigning champion Ben Edgell required only a draw in the final game to secure a win as he was on 4.5 out of 5. Martin looked set to finish well as he gained momentum after a disappointing start to the tournament. Alex will learn from your performance in this tournament Martin! Mike Redman realised that he was unable to win the prestigious trophy, which we were reminded was new for this year. This lead to his later actions of drowning his sorrows in a greasy burger. Dave Littlejohns seemed to have had an unpredictable game that lead to him being on 3 out of 5!? The question marks are not just to signify my confusion over just how many points Dave had at this stage of the tournament but really whether Dave’s game was unpredictable!

The final round was upon us and many games at this point were merely a formality *cough cough Alex*. I tried a flashy attack that gained me material but didn’t really give me a mating attack, I was keen to see the struggles on other boards so rushed things and ended up blundering again... From 2.5/3 at the end of round 3 to 2.5/6 at the end of the day, I really need more tournament experience but time is not on my side... As I went to see the struggles at the top of the open I realised that there were none- Ben Edgell had managed to draw in about 5 minutes clearly and a last round game between Mike Rich and Mike Red ended similarly quickly with 1.h4 a5 2.g4 b5 or something along those lines, a lot was lost in translation after the game! A struggle worth watching was Martin’s last round game, the position looked dynamic and he managed to judge some tactical exchanges to his advantage and sealed the win.

Once all was done I tried to see the good sides of the day itself and the good sides of my chess. It seems now that I have learnt a lot about tournament play and about chess as a whole. My apologies go out to my opponents, who thought that I may have spoiled a good game with my attitude at the time, but as said by many on the day in such situations; “that’s Rapidplay Chess!” The tournament finished with what seemed to me like a great amount of people left to digest the results and to applaud their fellow players who had performed admirably. Personally I was impressed by Martin Worrall, the man in form according to some of those at Taunton! His performance now strikes me as such that he was on a bad start and calmly played each game on the board as he saw things at the time. This lead to him getting good results and rising through from near the back of the pack in the u145 section to a final position in the league tables of 2nd but with 3 players in front of him on 5/6, so technically leaving him 4th in the overall standings out of 45 players. This really sticks in memory due to how much it relates to my experiences in the tournament. None of this was specifically said to me by Martin [apart from the facts of his position in the major section], however I see the parallels between what could of been going through his mind at certain points of the day and what were going through mine a lot. The difference was I mentally gave up after my loss in round 4, he didn’t give up after his loss in round 1. My lesson learned will be to try and play the board alone in the future. Not the man, not always the grade but always to look closely at the circumstances in which I am playing. Here I do not mean the event itself, I mean the points that are still possible and the points that are not if I really want to do my potential chess ability any justice.

My congratulations go to Ben Edgell who completed the impressive feat of winning the Teignmouth rapidplay for the third year running. Mike Richardt also is well worth my sincerest congratulations; he ended with a grading prize on 4/6 and was happy with the way he played! Mike Redman who appeared to be a perfectionist once more and was unhappy with 4/6. To you I can say that your character is being built more and more with this kind of thing, just do whatever you can to help yourself. Losing does hurt when the stakes are high but we can all learn something by it. Personally I intend to keep my emotions more reigned in where Chess is concerned and to think!
The Taunton team of Mike Richardt, Ben Edgell, and Mike Redman scooped a quick cash prize. Not sure what happened to it though, possibly spent by Mike Redman in an unnamed fast food place on the way to his next port of call. All I can say about that is that if that was indeed the case I will be very surprised if he got change out of the winnings! Personally I got nothing shiny for my days Chess or anything expendable at fast food restaurants. I did get a highly useful collection of experiences that I will also make sure helps my game and when anyone says “remember teignmouth rapid?” I will! Not just for the tournament itself but my experiences after it!