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!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Exmouth 2 Tiverton 2 (Exeter League Div 2)

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for sending me this report. The title of this post links to the Tiverton Club page.

A brief report on this match. Results are coming so thick and fast I can hardly keep up!

Exmouth entertained us on Wednesday 14th April. The time limit was fast at 30 moves in 1 hour with all remaining moves in 15 minutes.

On board 2 John Morrison (Tiverton) playing White employed the Tarrasch variation against Dave Rogers' French Defence. Dave exchanged in the centre and this led to John being able to build up incredibly strong pressure along the e file. Dave's king became trapped in the centre and eventually his position collapsed.

Ivor Annetts (Tiverton), on board 1, drew the short straw in having to face Mark Abbot, a strong County player. Mark, with White, played a kind of Colle system to which Ivor failed to find a satisfactory response. Mark developed a strong king side attack and after errors from Ivor, who became very short of time, Mark won with a pleasing forced mate.

On board 4, Stephen Thorpe-Tracey (Tiverton) lost material against Fred Hodge and was technically in a lost position at the close. But Fred had insufficient time to prove his superiority and a draw was agreed.

So the match depended on the result of the game between, on board 3, John Knowles (Tiverton) and Bob Jones. This was another Tarrasch French and at the end John had the advantage of two bishops and an extra pawn against a rook. But with both players short of time, and after Bob was forced to give up his rook for bishop and pawn, his king was able to capture the last Black pawn leaving John with the lone bishop. So the game ended in a draw.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Newton Abbot 2 Tiverton 2 (Schofield Cup)

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for sending me this. The title to this post links to the Tiverton Chess Club site, which has this report along with pictures from the match amongst other things.

After a most exciting match on Saturday 10th April at Newton Abbot, it was Stephen Schofield the home team captain who lifted the Schofield (Ken, deceased of Exmouth and no relation!) Cup.

This one went right to the wire. Tiverton needed to win the match to take the trophy and only just failed to do so.

Stephen Thorpe-Tracey on board four (Black, Tiverton) found himself facing a King's Gambit. His opponent played extremely well and won significant material in a complicated position. The win for the home team was then straight forward.

On board three Keith Atkins (Tiverton) did all of the pressing but his opponent defended extremely well. Keith won a pawn and this advantage persisted into a rook and pawn endgame - three against two on one side of the board. This was not a straight forward win but Keith persisted and eventually prevailed.

The result of the match depended on two very close games on boards one and two. On board one, Ivor Annetts (Tiverton), played a c3 Sicilian against Stephen Schofield who responded with the increasingly popular fianchetto of the king's bishop. Ivor managed to squeeze a Black pawn weakness out of the position but in a knight and pawn ending this proved insufficient to win

On board two John Morrison (Tiverton) played a Nimzo-Indian against Charlie Howard. But he played badly in the opening and lost a pawn, For some time Charlie had all the play and the pawn advantage persisted. But later with the two bishops and tactical threats, John regained the pawn and looked to have the advantage. Charlie was short of time and the game developed into rook and black squared bishop against rook and white squared bishop with equal pawns. With less than two minutes left on his clock, Charlie invoked the 'two minute rule'. [For a draw to be declared the defending player, short on time, has to demonstrate that his opponent can not make progress by normal means.] After some head scratching, this was accepted by both sides and the game was duly declared drawn.

Three teams, - Tiverton, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot - contested this division of the DCCA League and the result was a three-way tie. Newton Abbot took the trophy on 'goal difference'. Tiverton came really close!!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Cornwall Chess Championships 2010

Somewhat missed this at the time, but the Cornwall Chess Championships took place over the weekend of March 5th-7th. The title to this post is a link to the Cornwall Chess site, which in turn has links for crosstables of the 2 sections at the Championships.

In the Emigrant Cup congratulations to David Saqui, who secured first outright with 4/5. David's best result was a round 3 win with black against Jeremy Menadue. Having reached 3/3 David finished with draws against Simon Bartlett and Gary Trudeau. 2nd= were Jeremy Menadue and Simon Bartlett, both of whom finished on 3.5/5. I don't know this for fact, but I assume that the tournament win makes David Saqui the Cornwall Champion for this year.

The winner of the Falmouth Cup was Cornwall county match captain Anton Barkhuysen, who scored 4.5/5. The crunch match was in round 4. Chris Reeves had started with 3/3, and at that point lead the field outright. Anton defeated Chris in round 4 to take the lead, and held onto it with a last round win against Colin Webb. Chris came back with a last round win to secure 2nd outright.

Somerset League results

A quick note for people in Somerset. Clicking on the title to this post takes you to a set of pages very helpfully set up by Gerry Jepps (I believe), which includes all of the individual results for each of the matches in the Somerset Leagues this season. It's worth checking that all of your results are correctly recorded, and there are no mistakes of any kind.

South Bristol A 1.5- 4.5 Thornbury

Thanks to Robert Radford for letting me post a copy of the match reports for South Bristol Chess Club. The title to this post links to the South Bristol Club website, which has as one of its links match reports for most, if not all, of the South Bristol Club's results for this season. I've included the latest one here:


South Bristol A Thornbury
1. Russell Barlow 0.5-0.5 Martin S Davies
2. George Crockart 0-1 David Dugdale
3. David Frydman 0.5-0.5 Michael G Boyce
4. Robert P Radford 0.5-0.5 Andrew Borkowski
5. David C Neagle 0-1 David O Vaughan
6. David R Jones 0-1 Lynda Roberts

The defeat at Horfield left us without any cushion points against rival championship contenders Thornbury. We still needed at least a draw to win the title outright, but they came to Whitchurch with their strongest side and looking determined, whilst we were missing Richard Garrett.

Dave and Mike ended with a lacklustre draw, which was soon followed by Dave Neagle losing to David Vaughan, rated 171 playing down on board 5!! (hmmn) Bob could only manage a draw against Andrew, who played solidly throughout, and does not appear to be rusty after his 18 month lay off. Then disaster struck as Dave lost to Lynda Roberts, in what should have been a drawn King + bishop ending.

We now needed two wins on the top boards. Martin made Russell an offer he just could not refuse without probably losing. So a draw was agreed.

George, who had turned down an offer of a draw from Dave earlier, stubbornly decided it was all or nothing and finished with exactly nothing! So Thornbury walked off with the points deservedly and probably the Championship, as it seems highly unlikely they will slip up against Hanham, or Clevedon.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Horfield results, 6th April

Thanks to John Richards and Alex Dunn for the following 2 reports from Horfield Chess Club, in the Bristol League. The title of this post links to the Horfield Club website. If any other captains have match reports they'd like featured, do let me know, either through here or by emailing me at . I'm happy to credit the author, and include a link to the club's home page in return.


Division 1

Horfield A Downend B
1 b Steve Dilleigh 0.5-0.5 Ian Ponter
2 w Derek Pugh 1-0 Geoff Taylor
3 b Chris Jones 0.5-0.5 Megan Owens
4 w John Richards 0.5-0.5 James Hennefeld
5 b Mike Levene 0-1 Paul Spiller
6 w Phil Nendick 0.5-0.5 Dave Tipper

Derek got us off to a good start, but I missed a win in my Maroczy Bind and no one else seemed to have very much. Mike was last to finish, and had a lost position on the board but a fighting chance on the clock. It wasn't to be.

Our season has gone completely off the boil, and we have now dropped to fourth place, but at least we got a point from this one. (JR)

Division 2

Horfield C Clevedon B
1 b Mike Gladstone 0-1 Stuart Iles
2 w Jim Boyce 1-0 Chris Strong
3 b Harvey Atkinson 0-1 Steve Roberts
4 w Howard Millibank 1-0 Andy Bellingham
5 b Alex Dunn 1-0 Doug May
6 w Graham Strickland 1-0 Harry Quigley

After three results Horfield were trailing 2-1 (Graham) but Howard, then Jim, and finally Alex, brought home the bacon. Alex was repeatedly offered draws by his opponent but did not have the common sense to find out what the match score was and nobody was reporting their results to him!! But he came through in the end.

Safe for another season. But a decline after last year's title win. (AD)

I should also thank John for pointing out how promotion/ relegation works in the Bristol Leagues, as I was previously unsure:

"By the way, it is two up, two down in the Bristol League promotions and relegations. However, that can, and often is, modified by the League Management Committee in June/July, who may decide to just relegate one team if they want to increase the number of teams in a division the following year, or if new teams are coming in."

Tiverton 2-2 Seaton

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for the following report:

On Wednesday 7th April, Tiverton played host to the Seaton Club in an Exeter & District League Division 3 match.

The teams were evenly matched apart from board one where Tiverton's Derek Allen (grade 111) was outgraded by Alan Dowse by a significant 19 points.

First to finish was Alan Brinkley, White, (gd. 96) on board three up against William Burls (gd.98). Unfortunately Alan lost a pawn in the opening and this advantage lasted through until all the pieces had been eliminated leaving William with a standard king and pawn win.

On board 4 Brian Connor, Black, (gd. 85) played Les Porter (gd. 88). Brian played an enterprising attacking game but unfortunately dropped a piece in the process. Les then developed an overwhelming attack. So two down with two to play!

On board one, Derek Allen played a most skilful game against his opponent. Alan Dowse's position became very cramped and Derek kept the pressure on. This led to a position where Alan, very short of time, was virtually in zugzwang - unable to move without making the situation worse. The resulting victory for Derek was rightly acclaimed by spectators from already completed games.

On board two, Stephen Thorpe-Tracey's (gd.103) victory against Lloyd Baal (gd.100) secured the drawn match for the home side. Stephen won a pawn in the opening, went on to win a piece and developed the almost inevitable overwhelming attack.

For photos from the match click on the title to this post, which takes you to the Tiverton Chess Club website.

Chess Coaching

There does seem to be very few chess coaches in the south- west. I guess if the market were there, more people would take up coaching. Anyhow, one of the few chess coaches in the south- west is Chris Beaumont. I've never personally received coaching from him, but I've spoken to people who have, and they highly recommend him.

This is the short piece on the Clifton site about it:

"International Master Chris Beaumont, who plays top board for our A team, is an experienced chess coach.

He is available for coaching beginners, juniors and club players."

If you are interested in receiving coaching, or would like more information, click on the title to this post.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

29th Teignmouth Rapidplay

Next Saturday (17th), is the Teignmouth Rapidplay. It's held over 6 rounds, and has an open section and a graded (under- 145) section. There's also a seperate junior tournament, for anyone under 12 on 1st Sept. 2009. The first round for the Open and Graded sections starts at 9.45. Entries on the day will be accepted with a £1 late fee, although obviously entering before the day makes things a little easier for the organisers.

Having played in this tournament several times myself, I can highly recommend it. The venue is excellent, refreshments and hot meals are available at the venue, and it's very well organised.

The title to this post links to the Chess Devon website. On the right- hand side of the page, about half way down, are links to details about the tournament, and an entry form.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Coulsdon 'Easter' International, final results.

In the IM norm section, Dominic Gibbs finished on 1.5/9, drawing with WFM Meri Grigoryan, and beating 1446- rated Irishman, Vince Brady.

In the Challengers section, Graham Bolt finished on 4/10. After starting with 0/4 against William and Victor Jones, he staged a decent comeback, scoring 1/2 against 2265- rated Spaniard Carlos Mate Adan, and 1.5/2 against 1980- rated Eoin Campbell, and 1851- rated Dave Cork respectively.

All of the games from both sections can now be played through by clicking on the title to this post, which takes you to the tournament home page. A link to play through the games is about half-way down the page.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Taunton- Sedgemoor match report

Thanks to Nick Wilson for writing this report, and Mike Richardt for forwarding it to me. You can reach the Taunton Chess Club website by clicking on the title to this post.

Last night was the re-arranged Div 1 match v Sedgemoor.

Prior to this we had potentially 3 remaining games left in Div1 - this one and 2 v Frome. We are one win behind Frome in the table, so winning this will bring us level with them at the top of the table. Mathematically the result isn't vital as we could still be Div1 champs if be beat Frome twice, but by winning tonight, it'd mean we'd only need a win and draw v Frome to be overall champs, or two draws to be joint champs (no idea how/if a tie-break works). So a win isn't vital, but it helps.

As usual I was angling for our best team, but I knew MikeRed was about 458% likely not to play due to being miles away north or south. Mark was also doubtful due to his dual work/life commitments in Cornwall/Somerset. And then a few days before the match Martin pointed out he had previously re-arranged a Div2 game on the same night (i.e. the same night I told Sedgemoor was free for our re-arranged Div1 match)...

What..?? I had checked my dusty, tattered and torn schedule printout, and there was no Div2 match then.. Apparently I'd been told and emailed about it by at least two people... and they expected me to know, register and remember this!? Pah! Anyway, on realising I was in the wrong here I did the right thing and forced Martin to re-arrange his match again(!), which he did. (although to next Monday which I tried to get him to re-arrange yet again as it clashed with a date I wanted as an option for one of our Frome matches... - and he REFUSED to do this... some people are so unreasonable...)

Anyway, Martin and Stan filled in for Mike and Mark. The team was to be this - MikeRich, Nick, Dave, Jorge, Stan, Martin. But Mike had told me he couldn't finish work until 7.30 and he'd be a bit late. Hmm, no problem I thought.. I'll turn up around 7.30, chew the fat a bit, and the start will be delayed unnoticeably and Mike will be fine..

Shortly before I turned up, Martin helpfully texted me to say the school might be shut due to Easter holidays and maybe I should turn up early to help find the caretaker... Hmm, maybe I should have read the text before 7.25...

On turning up, the room was open (I think Stan and Alex helped find the caretaker - thank you). And Mike was already there...but Jorge wasn't. I waited a bit for him, but it was nearly 7.45 so I scribbled Jerry on the matchsheet. We all sat down to play, and then Jorge walked in.. d'oh..! Sorry Jorge...

There have in the past been whispers accusing me of fiddling with the board order so that I end up with White. Well, tonight there'd be none of that. I'm doing everything by the book. Straight grade order it is. So lets see.. I'm on 2 behind Mike, and were are the home team... white on evens... Hey, I have white! How about that!

The matches finished something like this -

Board 6 Jerry Kirby 1 v S Hill 0
Jerry won a piece in the early middle game but black had some compensation with advanced central pawns. Annoyingly, his opponent didn't crumple immediately on losing the piece but fought back a bit - very bad form if you ask me! But Jerry played active and won after a few minor worries.

Board 4 Stan Wojack 1 v Steve Green 0
Steve can be an awkward player to beat but Stan was on the attack from the start and by the middle game had a strong kingside attack. Once Stan had ensured black had no counterplay on the queenside, he sacced on the kingside to break through, forcing either mate or the winning of black's queen. A lovely win!

Board 1 Mike Richardt 1/2 v Ben Edgell 1/2
These two have a long boring history of short boring draws. Hmm.. wonder if tonight will be any different. After the opening it was looking boring. Oh dear, here we go again I thought. But then Mike started advancing his k-side pawns in-front of his king. Wow! An element of risk, the start of an opportunity to break the turgidity. Yes, at last! Mike got up from the board and I wandered over to tell him how his game could potentially be exciting and active.. But before I could open my mouth he said "I've just offered him a draw." Oh crap... and a draw it was, albeit after a bit of woodpushing later.

Board 2 Nick Wilson 1 v Neville Senior 0
I started this match coming off the worst losing/drawing streak (I.e. a streak with no wins in it) I've had in ages. And the last time I played Neville I got trashed from about move 4 onwards due to some really bad opening play by me, and good play by him. So I wasn't feeling at all confident. Must play slow, safe and steady. Maybe get a draw.. steady the ship, stop the rot, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, by about move 10 I found I'd sacced a pawn in the opening and was having to play active for compensation... when will I learn...

But Neville was perhaps a move or two too slow in castling and this allowed me to swap a rook for the bishop pair. And this proved enough for the win - Neville resigned once lines were eventually opened for my bishops and there were a few ways of winning an exchange which would have left me a bishop up in an otherwise equal ending.

Board 3 Dave Littlejohns 1 v Chris McKinley 0
Person X: "Draw?"
Person Y: "No."
a bit later...
Person X: "Draw?"
Person Y: "No."
shortly afterwards...
Person X: "Draw?"
Person Y: "No."

(Now, if you were a betting person, you'd assume given Dave's drawish reputation, you'd put money on PersonX being Dave, right?)
But then PersonY strated to *grind* out a minor advantage in a Q+some-pawns v Q + some-ever-so-slightly-worse-pawns ending....
(Ahh.. you say. The 'G' word did it. There can only be one explanation - Dave is PersonY!)

Yes, Dave won after a ground-out ending and after refusing multiple draw offers. For Dave, refusing those draws, must be like a recovering alcoholic being tempted by a bottle of Vodka... and staying sober.

Board 5 Martin Worrall 1/2 v Ian Chacon 1/2
Martin is our in-form player, coming off a major winning streak and a projected grade probably now inflated well above my projected deflated grade! So surely a win was on the cards tonight too. I kept checking his game, waiting for the magic to start. But it did look very uneventful each time I saw. "No problem" I thought, our rising star knows what he's doing.. only a matter of time. But I was wrong and the game was drawn.

So final score was a 5 -1 crushing win for Taunton!
Man of the match is Stan for his lovely attacking win - well played!

Surrey Congress

A fair number of tournaments use the easter holidays to run slightly longer events then usual. As well as the WECU Congress, which I've mentioned previously, there was also a congress held in Surrey which featured entrants from the west country. The Surrey congress featured a variety of differently schedulded sections. Most were run over 6 rounds- 2 on Friday, 2 on Saturday, and 2 on Sunday. There was then a rapidplay tournament held on the Monday.

James Jackson, a student at Bath University, entered the open section, and scored 3/6. James drew with Jasper Tambini, grade 176, in round 1, and had another draw with Ian Henderson, grade 170, in round 2. In round 3 James drew with Christopher Gibson, grade 163, and followed it up with a fourth draw, this time against James Holland, grade 171. In round 5 James defeated William Foo, grade 148, before slipping to a loss against Felix Jose Ynojosa, grade 217, in the last round.

Peter Saunders, of Clifton chess club played in the Challengers tournament. This section had a grading limit of u-130, and was played over 5 rounds, with 3 rounds on Friday, 2 on Saturday. Peter started with a loss against James Wadsworth, grade 116, before bouncing back with wins against Yang- Jian Zhou, grade 85, and John Parr, with an estimated grade of 92. In round 4 Peter drew with Tharshan Kuhendiran, who had an estimed grade of 117, before losing in the last round against Michael Banh, grade 101, to finish on 2.5/5.

To see the crosstables for the 2 sections, click on the title to this post, which should take you to the home page for the Surrey Congress. The links to the respective sections are on the left hand side of the page.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Bristol League

Thought I'd write an update on the standings in the Bristol Leagues.

In Division 1, Clifton 'A' have 2 matches left, and are 5 points ahead of Bath, who have 3 matches left. Clifton 'A's remaining fixtures are against Downend 'A' and Bath 'A', and unless they lose both matches will almost certainly win the league.

I'm not sure how many teams get relegated/ promoted, but at the other end of the table University 'A' are definetly going to finish bottom, whilst barring some big surprises Horfield 'B' and Downend 'B' will finish in the 2 places above them.

In Division 2 South Bristol 'A' are going to finish first. Clifton 'C' are in second place with 21 points, and 1 game left to play, just ahead of Thornbury who have 20 points, but 3 games left to play.

At the wrong end of the table, Keynsham 'A' have played all of their matches and will finish in the bottom 3. Clevedon 'B' and Hanham 'A' have 9 and 8 points respectively, and 2 matches left to play. Just above them Grendel have 11 points, and 3 games left to play.

In Division 3, Bath University have a near- perfect record- 16 wins from the 16 matches, and just 16.5 games points dropped en route. This is no small part down to the exceptionally strong students they have at the moment. Chris Dorrington and Peter Poobalasingam are both 200+ strength players, whilst Oliver Jackson is 190+. Bath University should fly through the leagues with this sort of strength. Elsewhere, Yate 'A' are going to finish 2nd, and Hanham 'B' are waiting on the last 2 Downend 'C' results to come in to find out if they'll finish 3rd or 4th.

At the bottom, Kenysham 'B' require a very strong finish if they are to drag themselves clear of relegation. Currently they have 7 points from their 13 matches played. Above them South Bristol 'B have 8 points from 14 matches, Patchway have 10 points from 15 matches, Harambee 'A' have 11 points from 15, and Clifton 'D' have 11 points from 13. So even at this stage of the season it's very much up in the air as to who will finish in the relegation places.

Finally, Division 4. In Div.4 each team consists of only 4 players, rather then 6 for the other leagues. This is the biggest league, with 11 teams, so I presume it also means more matches for each team. Currently leading the pack are Yate 'B', who boast a record of 28 points from 16 matches. Just behind them are Horfield 'B', who have 26 points from 17 matches, whilst Nailsea have 23 points from 14 matches.

At the foot of the table we find UWE with 1 point from the 10 matches played so far. Like Bath University, UWE's strength depends entirely on which students they have on any given year. Above them Hanham 'C' have 3 points from 16 matches, and Harambee 'B' have 6 points from 12 matches.

Coulsdon Easter tournament, results update

After 3 rounds in the IM norm section, Dominic Gibbs (is he formerly or currently Somerset- based?) is on 0.5/3. Dominic has come up short against IM's Feygin and Tozer, but drawn with WFM Meri Grigoryan. Interestingly, a 6/6 finish would be enough to secure him an IM norm.

In the rated section, Graham Bolt has started with 0/4, although he has had a very hard draw. Graham was paired to play both of his matches against the 2 junior players in the first 4 rounds.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Tiverton results at the WECU Congress

Thanks to Ivor Annetts for the following piece:

Jon Duckham & Ken Alexander, both members of the Tiverton Club, were amongst the prize-winners in the West of England Chess Union's Annual Championships held at the Beacon Hotel, Exmouth over the Easter week-end.

In the Major Tournament, Jon Duckham, in his comeback year, achieved joint second place with a score of 5/7 (no losses!) in a field of 34.

In the Minor Tournament, Ken, who has not been able to play a great deal of chess this season, managed to keep his concentration throughout, and also emerged with a score of 5/7 (from a field of 40) to take a share of the third place prize money.

Three other players from the Tiverton Club also took part. Simon Bartlett in the Open - 24th seed in a field of 26 - scored a creditable three points. Ivor Annetts in the Major scored 4/7 - winning a share of the U-157 grading prize - and Keith Atkins also in the Major scored 3/7.

For photos of the Tiverton players at the congress, click on the title to this post.

Monday, 5 April 2010

WECU Congress, Results

Thanks to Bill Frost for publishing the results of the WECU Congress very quickly after the event on the Chess Devon website. I've copied the main results onto here, but for the crosstable from the open, as well as many of the games played, visit the Chess Devon website by clicking on the title to this post.

1st. Stephen Berry, Wimbledon 5.5/7
2nd= Alan Smith, Bourne End 5/7
Paul Helbig, Keynsham
4th= Jim Sherwin, Bath 4.5/7
Steve Dilleigh, Horfield
Patryk Krzyzanowski, Yeovil

GP U-186 Andrew Footner, Yeovil 4.5/7
Alan Pleasants, Weymouth
Steve Piper, Salisbury

U-176 Robert Thompson, Newton Abbot 3.5/7
Geoff Taylor, Gloucester

Major (U-175)
1st. Martyn Harris, Newcastle- Upon- Lyme 5.5/7
2nd. Jon Duckham, Tiverton 5/7
Peter Jaszkiwsky, Kettering

GP U-157 Ivor Annetts, Tiverton 4/7
John Nyman, Kings Head
Stan Lovell, Braille
Dave Rogers, Exmouth
Tim Chapman, Basingstoke

GP U-147 Julian Taylor, Rose Foregrove 4/7

Minor (U-140)
1st Barry Sandercock, Bucks 6/7
2nd Alex Billings, Newton Abbot 5.5/7
3rd= Ken Alexander, Tiverton 5/7
Alan Fraser, Beckenham
Mark Huba, Kings Head

GP U-127 1st= Gareth Andrew, Railways 4/7
Keith Spooner, Wimborne

GP U-115 1st= Freddy Sugden, Newton Abbot 3.5/7
John Carr, Portsmouth

A last round win against Jim Sherwin allowed Paul Helbig to overtake him and win both the West of England championship and the British Championship qualifying place. Patryk Krzyzanowski finished with 3 wins in a row to move from 1.5/4 to 4th= and a share of the prizes. On the other side of the coin, last round losses for Jim Sherwin and Alan Pleasants saw them slip from 1st= to 4th=.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Coulsdon Easter International tournament

Starting tomorrow is the Coulsdon Easter International tournament, which features an all play all section designed to give people opportunities to get IM norms, and also a Challengers section. Unless I'm very much mistaken, there's no-one south-west based in the IM norm section, but in the 6 person double round (each person plays each other person twice) Challengers event is Devon based Graham Bolt. It looks like a tough tournament with 2265- rated Spaniard Carlos Mate Adan, and juniors William and Victor Jones, but if Graham can win he gains free entry into the IM norm section in a future tournament.

Clicking on the title to this post takes you to the home page for this event which will probably be updated throughout the tournament with results and games to play through.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

WECU Congress, round 4 standings

Just back from a day at the WECU Congress in Exmouth. Here are the leaders after round 4:

Open (26 entrants):
J. Bass, Richmond 3/4
S. Berry, Wimbledon 3/4
S. Dilleigh, Horfield 3/4
A. Pleasants, Weymouth 3/4
J. Sherwin, Bath 3/4
A. Smith, Bourne End 3/4

Major (34 entrants):
M. Harris, Newcastle Upon- Lyne 4/4
H. Van Eeuwjk, Holland 3/4
J. Duckham, Tiverton 3/4
J. Nyman, Kings Head 3/4

Minor (40 entrants):
B. Sandercock 4/4
A. Billings, Newton Abbot 3.5/4
G. Body, Exeter 3.5/4
K. Alexander, Tiverton 3/4
C. Long, Truro 3/4
M. Huba, Kings Head 3/4

The games from the open are being uploaded daily onto the Chess Devon site (which you can reach by clicking on the title to this post.) There are 2 more games tomorrow, and 1 on Monday still to come.

It certainly looks like the most open open I've seen at the WECU Congress in quite a few years, with no clear favourite. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a tie for first come the end.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Somerset League, Division 3 Central.

Congratulations to Glastonbury on winning the Somerset League, Division 3 Central.

Here's a report by Glastonbury player Roger Fenton on their final match against Yeovil:

Last season Stuart Marsh took over the captaincy of Glastonbury’s Division 3 Central team and just failed to end his debut year with the league title.

Last week came the opportunity to finally achieve this goal. Only a single point was needed from the final match against Yeovil to secure the trophy the Thorns had last won in 2004.

Things began well when Paul Moody returned to winning form, easily outplaying his top-board opponent. This early lead was doubled when Martin Willis found a brilliant checkmate to put an end to the threats from county player Simon Grey.

But, fittingly, it was Stuart himself who secured the draw that saw the contest won by Glastonbury and a clear margin of victory in the final league table.

A final success for Roger Fenton ensured a crushing match scoreline in favour of the Thorns and their 2009-10 unbeaten record maintained.

Match Result: Yeovil 0.5 Glastonbury 3.5

P W D L Points
Glastonbury 6 3 3 0 9
Gillingham 6 1 5 0 7
Frome 6 2 2 2 6
Yeovil 6 0 2 4 2

WECU Jamboree

Some news to report on this traditional pre-season event. After many years of excellent work, Bob Jones has stepped down as organiser of the WECU Jamboree, and I've stepped up in his place.

This is the email I sent out to county captains a few days ago:

Dear all,

As of a few days ago I was confirmed as organiser for the WECU Jamboree for September. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Bob Jones for the great efforts he's put in to organising the Jamboree over the years, and for offering to help me with any initial problems I may have (which hopefully will be few.)

I'll send out exact details shortly, but for now I want to gauge opinions on the Jamboree. There are a few points I'd like to specifically focus on, although feel free to comment on other aspects.

Firstly, the grading limited section. Last season was a bit of a transitional season, with the adjustments to reflect the grading inflation. The rules were as follows: "...a team's total grade must not exceed 1700. Ungraded players deemed to be 140. Grades u100 deemed to be 100." Were people happy with this, or would they like to see any adjustments made?

Secondly, Bob brought along a lot of the sets needed personally, and I have nowhere near enough to replace him in that respect. Would teams be happy to bring along 6 boards, sets etc per team?

Thirdly, would people like to see this as an inter-county event, or a jamboree open to all teams? Over the last couple of years the Torbay League and Exeter & District League have entered teams in the graded section. I have no problem in the slightest with this, but if it is run as a jamboree open to all, then I'll try to encourage clubs or leagues (I'm thinking maybe the Bristol League here) to enter teams. In that case it may also be worth removing the Inter-County part from the name to avoid any confusion, and referring to it as Open and Graded sections.

WECU Congress

Today sees the start of the WECU Congress, held at Exmouth, with the first round starting at 10.00, and the second at 15.30. I've invited the organiser of this congress to send me reports on the congress to post on here, but I'll be going tommorow to watch and post a report on it anyhow. My suspicion is that entry numbers are slightly down on previous years, when the congress has reached its maximum capacity of 100 entrants, and had to turn people away.

Taunton Club Championships

Thanks to Mike Richardt for this report on the recent Taunton Club Championships:

Last Tuesday the Taunton Chess Championships finished. There are still two outstanding games but the tournament is decided.

Before the tournament there were a handful of players for winning this tournament: Mike Redman (185), myself (175), Nick Wilson (168) and Chris Price ungraded but clearly a good player.

Unfortunately for Mike Redman and Chris Price both had to withdraw from the tournament due to work commitments or personal reasons. So it was clear that title would be decided between me and Nick Wilson.

In Nick’s case that was clearly true. Nick won his first 4 games with no problem at all. I, on the other hand, lost unexpectedly in the second round to Jorge Pineda-Langford. In a winning position I blundered horribly and had to resign on the spot. Gone was the dream of winning the Club Championships.

In round 4 Nick won against Jorge and I won my game as well. Nick was on 4/4 and three players, Jorge Pineda-Langford, myself and John Wilkinson all on 3/4 chasing him in the last round.

It was clear that Nick had to play me as he had already played Jorge and John in the previous rounds.

So last week me and Nick played our game. Nick needed only a draw to win the Club Championship and I had to win to finish equal first.

I opened the game with 1.d4 and Nick played Albin’s countergambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5). Fortunately for me it is quite difficult to get me out of book in the first 10-12 moves unless my opponent plays something very strange. After 11 moves I had a little advantage and then Nick made a small blunder and the game went down hill from there. I could have won earlier but I wrapped the game up just after the time control.

Due to Jorge's win against John Wilkinson three players finish on 4/5. So all three players decided that there had to be a play-off to decide who will be Champion. It was decided that we would play two 10 minute games against each other, one with white and one with black. Surely that should decide who will be the new Club Champion.

First game was myself against Nick and Nick again played the Albin’s Countergambit. Unfortunately for Nick I was better prepared this time and Nick lost a piece without compensation. Nick resigned straight away.

Next game: Jorge against me: Jorge should have won this game. A nice piece sacrifice on h7 exposed my king and Jorge was clearly in the driving seat. But with time running out Jorge couldn’t always find the best moves. I gave the piece back and won on time in a game which I never should have won.

Jorge – Nick: Nick had some advantage after the opening and first won two pawns and then after a discovered check a whole piece. Jorge was clearly out of the contention for first place now.

Myself – Jorge: A strange opening (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 Qa5 5.Bd2 Qb4 6.Nd5 (6.Nf3 is much better)) where white gained some advantage and in a complicated middle game black lost a piece. Jorge resigned.

Nick – Jorge: Nick needed to win this game and win the next game against me to have a chance of the title. A very strong opening from Nick but to find the best plan he ran short of time and in time trouble he couldn’t find the best moves. Jorge, 3 minutes ahead on time, (compare to Nick’s 45 sec.) kept a cool head and started an attack himself. In a tricky position Jorge offered a draw and Nick accepted it with 20 sec. left on the clock.

I won the Club Championships. A little bit of luck in the rapid games, but that is what you need to win tournaments.