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It was some considerable time ago that the Torbay Herald Express carried a regular chess column, probably because no local correspondent was available.  Now, however, John Doidge, a member of the Teignmouth Club and Competitions Secretary of the DCCA has picked up the baton and his articles appear in the Herald Express on a regular basis.


We have to thank the Torbay Herald Express for their permission to reproduce the articles in "Chess Devon"


All the articles published up to and including 26th October 2011 were written by John Doidge, but latterly this has been taken on by Ben Wilkinson.

26th March 2012

With summer fast approaching, the competitive chess season begins to draw to a close, and this month sees the conclusion of the first of The Torbay Chess Leagues five divisions.  The division two title has been taken by The Torbay Boys' Grammar School, who have achieved an enviable consistency throughout the season.  The core members of the team were - Alex Billings, Daniel Nie, Sam Bealing, George Darling and John Fraser.


In division 1, it goes down to the final round of matches, with three teams having a chance to win the league.  On paper, the honours should go to Newton Abbot, who can potentially field the strongest team in the league, however the Torbay Boys' Grammar School , or Torquay Chess Club may still have a say in the matter.


The third division title is virtually in Plymouth Chess Club’s hands, barring the usual end of season mathematical permutations, thanks to another excellent 3.5 – 0.5 win over Newton Abbot Chess Club.


Division 4 is a two horse race between Teignmouth and Plymouth, with the two clubs meeting on 11th April for the deciding match.


In the leagues Rapidplay division things look very open, with Newton Abbot, Torquay and Plymouth all vying for the top spot – my money is on Plymouth, but if you check the league tables out on, you can make up your own mind!


 I continue to have the conversation with people who have played chess in the past, enjoy the game, but think they are not good enough to venture into a chess club.  I would like to say that there are seven clubs in South Devon who would welcome any new players with open arms, happily play, encourage and even offer them a few pointers.  Ours is a game that imposes no limitations to age, sex or physical ability, and offers a completely level playing field.  So if you have ever been tempted to take the game up, “Google” chess and your town, and you are sure to find your local club and a warm welcome.


The puzzle above shouldn’t tax the grey matter too much, black to play, and checkmate in two – answers next month, or if you’re really stuck, or have any other chess related queries, feel free to email me on -

21st Februsry 2012

Harold Wilson famously said, “A week is a long time in politics.” well the same can certainly be said for The Torbay Chess League.  Results from all divisions have been flying in of late, and the league tables are continuing to make interesting reading.


Division 1 has become a three horse race between Torquay, Newton Abbot and Torquay Boys' Grammar School (TBGS).  Torquay lead the division by a point, but have to play their two closest rivals in the closing stages of the league next month. 


In division 2, the boys from The Grammar School are tied with Teignmouth at the top of the table, but have a game in hand.  If they can win their match against Teignmouth on March 1st, they will have virtually guaranteed themselves the title.


Whilst it is still mathematically possible for an upset in division 3, it does seem most unlikely!  Plymouth have now achieved a remarkable record this year of being unbeaten in their five matches, and only dropping three game points out of twenty.  On paper results should have been much closer, however the reality has lead to an ongoing stampede.


Things are far quieter in division 4, with Teignmouth maintaining a slight one-point advantage over Plymouth.  The next match in the division sees Plymouth entertain their rivals in what could be the deciding match.


The final teams in leagues six board knock out competition have been decided after a convincing 5.5 – 0.5 victory for Plymouth over Newton Abbot last week.


On paper, the teams were very well matched, however Plymouth’s play on the night contributed to an unlikely result.  Piamen Sivrev (Plymouth) drew with Paul Brooks on top board, Mick Stinton-Brownbridge secured the point against Charlie Howard, whilst Rob Wilby had an excellent win against the upcoming 17 year old, Freddie Sugden.  John Dean won his match against Roger Hocking, and Megan O’Brien continues her excellent match form with a win over Vitali Chornenkyy.  Bottom board saw Arthur Hatch secure the final victory over Paul Darlow, and assured a convincing win for the Plymouth side.


The 2nd – 4th of March sees the return of the annual East Devon Chess Congress, held at The Corn Exchange, Exeter.  This has always proved to be an excellent event, well organized and supported by chess players of all standards from the South West, and nationally.  Any enquiries can be made to Alan Maynard, email, or by phone on 01363 773313.


For further news, results and all things relating to local and countywide chess, Bill Frost’s chessdevon website is invaluable


14th Februsry 2012

The Torbay Chess Season continues apace after the Christmas break, with 16 inter-club matches taking place within the league this month. 


Currently tied at the top of division 1 this year is Torbay Boys Grammar School (TBGS) and Torquay Chess Club.  The second division sees TBGS at the top of the league, 4 points clear of Newton Abbot.  In division 3, Plymouth are dominant, winning all their matches this season, with TBGS following closely in second place.  Whilst only a third of the way through the matches, division 4 is headed by Teignmouth Chess Club, with Plymouth only one point behind


If you wish to follow the successes of your local club, the league has an excellently managed website, with all up to date news, as well as contact information for local clubs.  Every club in the league will be delighted to welcome any potential new members, of all strengths and ages so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


At the weekend teams from South and West Devon met at Plymouth Chess Club for the inter-area Jamboree.  Teams were captained by Rob Wilby (South)  [pictured right]) and Tony Tatam (West [pictured left]).  The match, as ever was closely fought, with the South team being out-graded on ten of the twelve boards.  The West team notched up wins on the top four boards, from David Twine, Michael Stinton-Brownbridge, Moskwa lucasz and Richard Pollock.


The South fought back with wins from Norman Tidy and Stephen Greeno (Torquay), and Bill Frost (Teignmouth).


Stephen Jones took a further point for the West, and from then on, draws were more than enough for the home side.  Dennis Russell (South Hams) drew with Brian Medhurst, Roy Greenhalgh (South Hams) halved the game against John Dean, and the deciding game in the match was between Martin Quinn and Charles Doidge (Teignmouth).  The draw in this game left the West team with an unassailable 6˝ - 4˝ lead.  Megan O’Brien sealed the match with another timely win for the West team.


It was regrettable that teams were not available to represent the North and East of the county as is usually the case. 


The afternoon was enjoyed by all who took part, and thanks must be offered to Tony Tatam, secretary of the host club, whose organization of the event was, as always, superb, and also to his wife who provided excellent refreshments throughout the afternoon.


26th October 2011

The commencement of the new chess season has seen the Boys Grammar School get off to a flying start. In Division 2 they overcame a strong Brixham side by 2.5-1.5, whilst in Division 3 they fought a hard match to draw with South Hams.

Newton Abbot were the hosts of the Devon County Blitz Tournament where nearly 50 players congregated to fight it out for the Thomas Trophy. With each side having four players, the object of the game was to finish with 12 minutes each on the clock. This resulted in some strange mistakes and some very obscure illegal moves!


At the end of the day, Tiverton Buzzards were well ahead with 19.5 points followed by Exeter with 16.5 and Newton Abbot Rooks with 16. Torquay had a good afternoon to finish in 5th place with the Grammar School close behind.


The first result has also come through in the Devon County games. In the Minor Tournament Ken Alexander, of Tiverton, overcame 12 year old Theo Slade of Barnstaple. The young man is certainly making a name for himself on the chess circuit and has recently been prominent in international under 12 matches. A young man to look for in the coming years.


One of the most prestigious tournaments is being held at The Riviera Centre, Torquay from the 18th to 20th November. This event attracts players from all over the country as the winner is guaranteed a place in the 2012 British Championships. Entries can still be made via the chessdevon website.

26th September 2011

The highlight of the month was the 61st Paignton Congress held at the Oldway Mansion that saw a large entry including players from Germany and Sweden, and others from this country as far afield as Bradford and Hull.


As expected, the main Open event was won by Paignton’s Grandmaster, Keith Arkell with 6 points. Going into the final round Dominic Mackle, from the Newton Abbot Club, had an opportunity of getting into the prize money. Unforunately, he was drawn to play Arkell and at one stage a draw seemed to be on the cards. Arkell then demonstrated the reason he is a grandmaster by some astute play that saw him change a seemingly drawn game into a win.


The Challengers Tournament saw Newton Abbot’s Robert Thompson give a great display during the week, and despite losing his final game he came out on top to win the first prize.


In the Minor Division, it was good to see 17-year old Nathan Mills from Brixham secure a prize. He has been with the Brixham club for several seasons and his play has greatly improved.


This was another fine congress, well supported and excellently run and is a credit to all those involved. Having been in the same room for the past 61 years it is difficult to envisage what will happen if the Council does decide to dispose of this building.


Many Torbay players took the opportunity of a pre-season game when the West of England Jamboree was held at Taunton.  Torbay, who had won this event on several occasions, found themselves in fourth place behind Dorset, East Devon and Somerset C. From Torbay, only Roy Greenhalgh of the Plymouth Club won his game, whilst Andrew Kinder, Freddie Sugden and John Doidge (Newton Abbot) all drew along with another Plymouth player, Tony Tatam.


At the same time these games were being played, there was an inter-counties match that saw Devon scrape home first with 7 points, Somerset with 6.5 and Gloucestershire with 4.5. Trefor Thynne and Jeff Leung from Newton Abbot club flew the flag with fine wins.


A word about Jeff Leung, a 16-year old who has played his chess at the Newton Abbot Club and the Boys Grammar School, his game has improved so much that the County captain has recognised his talents and is now including him in his first team matches.


Two other 17-year olds, Freddie Sugden and Alex Billings are also playing some excellent chess and have now been invited to feature in the Devon second team. Billings has been successful in winning the Devon Winter-Wood Trophy with a fine win over Alan Brusey.


Newton Abbot has been chosen to host the Devon County Rapidplay Tournament on the 9th October when teams of four will fight it out for the Thomas Trophy. In this event, each player will only have 12 minutes to finish the game. This should prove to be a fine afternoon and entry forms can be found on the chessdevon website.

26th August 2011

With the new chess season starting in September, most club members will be back refreshed from their long break and ready for action. The 61st Devon County Chess Association’s annual tournament is being held at the Oldway Mansions in Paignton starting on the 4th September.


A seven day tournament, this event attracts players from all over the country and is one of the most prestigious chess attractions from the lowest to the highest graded. The tournament was originally intended to be a one-off affair in 1950 but its success has been so great it is still going, and played in the same room, 61 years later!

The World Championships in Sheffield were completed with Grandmaster Mickey Adams coming out on top, with another top England player, Grandmaster Nigel Short, in second place.


Locally, Torbay League President, Trefor Thynne, did not have a great week by his high standards, but two wins a draw and two losses were not a bad return for some hard fought chess, although it should be said he was not expected to incur losses against lower graded players.


Trefor Thynne held his annual invitation summer tournament during the month and after some fine chess it was not unexpected that one of Devon’s highest graded player, Dominic Mackle, proved to have the beating of all of his opponents. 17-year-old Alex Billings had a fine afternoon and finished in second place with Andrew Kinder close behind.

The semi-final stage of Devon’s summer tournament for club champions has been reached after Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) defeated Ivor Annetts (Tiverton) and Mark Abbot (Exmouth), after a draw, finally beat Robert Thompson (Newton Abbot). In the semi-finals Brusey will play Abbott and the other game will be between Alex Billings (TBGS) and Eric Smith (Brixham). It is hoped to complete the tournament by the end of September.


The Devon County Rapidplay Tournament is also coming to Newton Abbot on the 9th October when teams of four will battle for a prestigious cup. Entry forms can be found on the chessdevon website.


Also on this website are applications to take part in the county individual and team tournaments and clubs and members are asked to get their forms in early to the competitions secretary.


The West of England Chess Union’s annual inter county and graded jamboree will be held at Taunton on the 18th September. This, too, is one of the most prestigious events on the chess calendar and usually attracts players not only from Devon but from Somerset and Dorset as well.


Finally, the English Chess Federation has issued new grades for the coming season. Every chess player is given a grade based on their performances over the past two years. The higher the grade usually indicates a much better player. There have been some spectacular grading moves this year with youngsters John Fraser, Freddie Sugden, Alex Billings and Jeff Leung all climbing to new heights.

6th August 2011

Whilst local clubs are taking a well- earned summer break, attention turns to the British Championships. Held very successfully at Torquay two years ago, the event moves around the country and this year it is the turn of Sheffield to host this most prestigious congress.


Making the long trip north will be two local players. The president of the Torbay Chess League, Trefor Thynne, along with his Newton Abbot colleague, Dominic Mackle, will be taking part and we wish them well. The event lasts for two weeks and is attracting chess players from all over the world. With large pay-outs to be collected on the final day, the competition is certain to be hard going and the eventual winners will certainly have had to concentrate hard and long to achieve success.


The final of the counties Under 180 grade competition has been played at Leicester where Devon were unfortunate to lose by 7.5 – 8.5 in their match against Nottinghamshire.


In the 16 board match, Devon had twelve draws and a win by Trefor Thynne seemed to have put them in the driving seat. A win by 17 year old Alex Billings would have sealed the victory, and, despite being heavily out graded, he had a seemingly won game but his opponent put up a tremendous fight and secured a draw with only seconds to spare.

An 8-8 drawn match would have given Devon the victory on a better board count but it was not to be and they are to be congratulated on their successes in getting to the final stage of the competition.


Locally, apart from Thynne’s win, there were draws by Bill Ingham and Alan Brusey (Teignmouth), Dennis Cowley (Torquay), and Charlie Howard, and Paul Brooks (Newton Abbot).


It is interesting that a new film has been produced giving the life and times of a former world champion, Bobby Fischer. It has attracted some excellent reviews and will be of interest to all chess players especially those who remember Fischer in his hey days. The film can be seen at The Picture House, Fore Street, Exeter on the 2nd August


Early in August will see the publication by the English Chess Federation of a new grading list. Every game a player has during the year is sent off for analysis and eventually a grading is produced that would normally hold for the following 12 months. There is, however, a change being made this year in that two grading lists will be produced with a second one coming out early in 2012. What difference this will make remains to be seen.


The Devon County Chess Association’s Champion of Champions competition is  being held during the summer months when champion players of each affiliated club is entitled to take part.


In the latest game, Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) had a fine win over Ivor Annetts of Tiverton and now waits for other games to be completed before knowing his next opponent in a game to be played during August.


Newton Abbot has again been chosen as the venue for the DCCA Rapidplay tournament on the 9th October and clubs are invited to have teams of four players to take part. This is a six round competition with each player having only 12 minutes in which to complete the game. This can be great fun and very exhausting!


On the 18th September the annual chess Jamboree will be taking place at Taunton, but before then from the 4th to 10th September the DCCA Annual Congress will be held at Oldway Mansion in Paignton.


This is one of the most prestigious congresses in the country and attracts highly graded players from all parts. Entry forms for this event and others being held later in the year can be found on the chessdevon website.


Also on this site can be found entry forms for the DCCA team and individual games that will be played over the winter months. Secretaries are reminded that entries should be with the competition secretary by the 31st August.


Finally, best wishes go to the new President of the Devon County Association, Dr David Toms, who unfortunately has been hospitalised following a severe heart problem. His many friends will wish him a speedy return to good health. In the meantime his position is being taken by Bob Jones of the Exmouth Club until David is fit to resume.

30th June 2011

With the chess season very much at a standstill whilst players take a well earned rest, attention has turned to the annual meetings of the various clubs and organisations.


There was a very well attended meeting of the Torbay Chess League where President, Trefor Thynne, spoke of the successes gained throughout the year. He paid special attention to the part young players were making  in the world of chess and said that many were representing the county team.


The competitions secretary, Tony Tatam, said that 102 players had participated during the year. Newton Abbot had won the prestigious Division 1 league as well as the new 4th division. Plymouth had won the Division 3 title and the Rapidplay competition, whilst Torquay had won the Knock-out cup. He said that special mention should be made of the Grammar School boys who had not only won the Division 2 title but were also runners-up in Division 3.


A few years ago they were the whipping boys of the various leagues but now they were a force to contend with especially

as they would mostly be together again next season.


Individual trophies for best performances throughout the year were awarded to Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot), Daniel Nie (TBGS), Robert Wilby (Plymouth) and Roger Hocking (Newton Abbot). A special new trophy was presented to Tony Tatam for his work during the year.


Thanks were expressed to Bill Frost of the Chessdevon website for his continued help in publicising the game. The site had now had over 400,000 hits since its inception and was a source of vital  importance to chess players.

Thanks were also expressed to the Herald Express for their continued support in allowing a chess column to be included within their sport pages each month.


The Treasurer, Alan Brusey reported a small increase in the League’s bank balance, but, with the English Chess Federation in dire straits following the removal of government grants, a small increase in subscriptions for clubs was essential if the league was to survive. The Devon County Chess Association annual meeting has also been held with two major alterations taking place. Following the retirement of President Stephen Thorpe-Tracey, his place has been taken by Dr.David Toms of Sidmouth. A county player of some standing, Dr Toms said he was anxious to get younger players interested in the game and hoped that clubs and schools would do all they could to foster this interest.


The other appointment was that of competitions secretary and this role was taken over by the Torbay League Secretary, John Doidge. One of his first tasks will be to organise the prestigious Winter-Wood competition for club champions. Played during the summer months, this is open to club champions or runners-up and will probably be on a knock-out basis. Clubs are asked to get in touch with the new secretary as soon as possible if their club champion is to take part.


The President’s Cup was awarded to Bob Jones (Exmouth) for his wonderful work in not only acting as the DCCA Publicity Officer but also for the excellent book he produced to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Paignton Congress.

The Captain’s Best Board Trophy was awarded to Bill Ingham (Teignmouth) for his contribution to the county team.

In the semi-final of the under 180 graded cup, Devon had a wonderful 7-5 win over a strong Yorkshire side. Locally, there were wins for Charlie Howard (Newton Abbot) and Bill Ingham. Draws were obtained by Trefor Thynne, Andrew Kinder, and Alex Billings (Newton Abbot) and Alan Brusey (Teignmouth).


Devon now go on to play either Nottinghamshire or Lancashire in the final.


Devon, for the first time, is also sending a team of twelve under 18 year-olds to Eton College later this month to take part in a Junior Counties Championship. We wish them well.


The dates of the Paignton Congress have been announced and will take place at Oldway Mansion on 4th to 10th September. This is followed by the Beacon Senior Congress at Exmouth from the 7th to 11th November. Designed for the over 60s, there is, however, a junior event for the over 50s!


31st May 2011


With the chess season now completed it was left to the last game of the season to determine the winner of Division 2 of the Torbay Chess League. Newton Abbot, having already won the first and fourth divisions, thought they would be favourite to win this last section but they were outplayed by the Boys Grammar School who won an exciting match by 2.5 – 1.5.

The Grammar School have done exceptionally well this year and, with most of the youngsters still being available, they should prove to be formidable opponents next year.


Preparations are well advanced for the annual meeting that will take place on the 15th June at the Grammar School and it is hoped that as many chess players as possible will attend this very important meeting.


The League President, Trefor Thynne, is expected to touch on the part played by the school’s youngsters and in particular Robert Thompson who will be leaving to go to university in September.


From small beginnings, Robert has progressed to be one of the finest chess players in the county. At the Paignton Congress he was the only player to beat Grandmaster Michael Adams, and he was the outright winner of the Challengers’ Tournament at the Easter Congress held in Exmouth.


Robert will be sorely missed at local and county level and best wishes go with him to his new surroundings.


At the same Easter Congress Dominic Mackle, The Devon Champion and a member of the Newton Abbot Club, came joint second in the open section and won an excellent game against Grandmaster Matthew Turner.


Both Mackle and Thompson were winners in the recent Devon v Warwickshire match that saw Devon win by 8.5-7.5. This was an elimination match that will see Devon play either Yorkshire or Cambridgeshire in the semi-final of this competition.


The Devon County Chess Association’s annual meeting will be held in Exeter on the 10th June. This, too, is a very important meeting especially this year as the County President, Stephen Thorpe-Tracey has decided to step down. It is hoped that Dr.David Toms from Exmouth will be able to take over this very important position.


 Stephen Thorpe-Tracey has been an excellent president and has ensured that chess has been kept well to the fore within the county. Playing his chess at the Tiverton club, Thorpe-Tracey has tried hard throughout his tenure to get youngsters interested in the game, and his knowledge and help to all the clubs in Devon has been much appreciated. He will be sorely missed as president but his successor, David Toms, will bring his own ideas to ensure that chess is kept very much to the fore especially within the schools environment.


Another important post to be filled is that of competitions secretary. Stephen Schofield, who played his chess originally at Newton Abbot and then latterly at Teignmouth, has moved with his family to Cumbria. Stephen played a major role in organising chess within the county and he will be a hard act to follow.


Newton Abbot’s old president, Wyllie Hume, who left his Grammar School work to live on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland, is still playing chess on a regular basis. He writes that he played in a large congress in Edinburgh where he secured a 50% record, and recently in a congress at Prestwick where he again did very well despite coming up against some highly graded players. We all wish him well.


Finally, all chess players will send their best wishes to Robert Wilby of the Plymouth club and the Torbay League Captain on his forthcoming marriage.


29th April 2011


With the chess season coming rapidly to a close, there are still issues to be solved within the Torbay Chess League. Newton Abbot has won the main event, Division 1, with Teignmouth just one point behind.


Division 3 has been won by Plymouth but only by a better “goal” difference from the Boys Grammar School, with Newton Abbot only one point behind in third place. It is in Division 2 that will see the most exciting finish. Newton Abbot, the Grammar School and Brixham are all on nine points each. Brixham have completed their fixtures so will not be able to win, but, as so often happens, the school and Newton Abbot have to face each other to decide this league’s championship. A win for either side will ensure that team will be crowned as champions, but a drawn match will give Newton Abbot the title with a better average over the season.


With one match to play, Plymouth have won the Rapidplay League even if they lose their last match at Brixham. Newton Abbot, who have had a fine season, will finish as runners-up.


Torquay, unfortunately, have had a poor season compared with other years, but they came into their own in the final of the Knock-out Cup by beating Teignmouth by 3.5 matches to 2.5.


Torquay’s secretary, Geoff Rosser, has also had a good season and finished it in fine style by winning the Devon County Chess Association’s Minor Championship. Without losing a game in the competition, Rosser was way ahead of Tony Tatam (Plymouth) in second place and Bob Jones (Exmouth) who came third.


The final of the prestigious Peter Rooke Cup has been played and it was Newton Abbot who had an off day losing to Exeter 5-3. Veteran John Allen and 13-year-old John Fraser played well for their wins for the Newton side and draws by Andrew Kinder and Freddie Sugden gave the visitors a little hope, but defeats on the other boards meant the trophy would be staying in Exeter.


Newton Abbot have, however, won the County’s main competition, the Bremridge Cup. Needing a win in their final match against Tiverton they ran out worthy winners by 4 matches to 2. In the Mamhead Cup despite a fine 3.5-0.5 win over Barnstaple, Newton Abbot had to settle for second place behind the winners Exmouth, with Teignmouth in third place.


Teignmouth have triumphed in the Schofield Cup winning the competition two points of their nearest rivals, Newton Abbot, and Tiverton and Exmouth way behind.


Teignmouth, however, were not so successful in the Moyle Cup finishing in third place behind Tiverton and Exeter.

The junior event, the Bloodworth Cup, was won by the the Grammar School boys who had a 100% record and finished six points ahead of the Newton Abbot and Exeter Juniors.


The Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress continued with yet another successful tournament.  Well organised by club secretary, Ray Chubb, the event attracted 74 players to the adult events, and another 35 youngsters played in a separate junior tournament.

Anyone of six players could have won the Major Tournament going into the final round including Dominic Mackle and Trefor Thynne of the Newton Abbot club, but it was Patryk Krzyzanowski of Yeovil who came out on top with 5.5/6 points.


Local players taking grading prizes were Robert Thompson (Newton Abbot), and a club colleague, Jeff Leung, was the best under 16-year-old in the tournament.


The Major Tournament was won by Dan MacArthur from Keynsham but Geoff Rosser (Torquay), who has had a very good season, took second place only half a point behind.


Young local players Nathan Mills (Brixham) and John Fraser (Newton Abbot) both won prizes as the best under 16-year-olds.

Overall, Exeter won the team event with Newton Abbot in second place and in the junior section Broadclyst Primary School, rapidly making a name for themselves in the chess world, took all the major prizes.


An official arbiter, John Ariss (Torquay) kept the event under a tight control and the Teignmouth club are to be congratulated on another very successful tournament.


During the afternoon it was good to see the chessdevon Webmaster, Bill Frost, looking in on proceedings. Following a long illness it is hoped that Bill will be well enough to take part across the board again later in the year.



30th March 2011


With only a few weeks left to complete another chess season two of the Torbay Chess Leagues have already been decided.


In Division 1, a draw with the Boys Grammar School was enough for Newton Abbot to clinch the main title. Teignmouth were in second place but the boys could be proud of their season, only losing two matches to finish in third place.


The Division 4 title has also been won by Newton Abbot who went through the season undefeated, and whilst there is still one match to be played they cannot be overtaken and Plymouth will finish in second place.


There is still much interest in the second and third divisions. In Division 2 the Grammar School currently hold top spot but Newton Abbot, with a game in hand can overhaul them. One of these games is against the school and the other at Teignmouth who, if the other results go their way, could theoretically come out on top.


In Division 3, with each club having just one game to play, only three points separate the top team, Plymouth, and the team sitting next to bottom, South Hams. This has proved again to be the most competitive of all the leagues and it looks as if the winners will turn out to be the Grammar School, Plymouth or Newton Abbot. Plymouth appears to have the easiest run in with a match against Torquay who have had a disappointing season. The school will entertain Teignmouth whilst Newton Abbot makes the long journey to South Hams.


In the Rapidplay division at one time it looked as if Newton Abbot would be romping away with the title, but despite taking a fairly strong team to Plymouth they were completely outplayed and were slaughtered by 7-1. Their only consolation coming from 15-year-old Jeff Leung who had two very creditable draws to gain Newton’s solitary point.


With Newton Abbot home to Torquay and Plymouth away to Brixham there is going to be a very interesting end to this division.


Whilst Torquay have had one of their poorest seasons for many years, they have reached the final of the Knock-out Cup competition and will play Teignmouth in the next week or so.


The Exeter Congress was held during the month and International Master, Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) tied with Mike Taylor of Crowthorne for first prize. Only half a point behind, Newton Abbot’s Dominic Mackle, finished in third place whilst Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) was successful in winning a grading prize.


In the Major event 85-year-old John Gorodi (Teignmouth) should be commended for his dedication to the game. On the first evening he fell on some steps that saw him hospitalised with suspected concussion, but at 10am the next morning he reported to the arena to take his place in the remaining games and finished in an excellent third place. Also having a good tournament and also equal in third place was Terrence Greenaway of the Torquay club.


Grading prizes in this division also went to Robert Wilby of Plymouth.


The Grammar School have continued in their inter schools matches and were unfortunate to lose to Millfield School on a board count after drawing the event 3-3.


The Devon County’s prestigious Peter Rooke Cup final will take place on the 12th April between Newton Abbot and Exeter. This is one of the major events in the county calendar and the Newton club will be hoping to hold on to the trophy they won for the first time last year.


The Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress is being held at the Trinity School on the 9th April. There is still time to enter and forms can be found on the chessdevon website.


Also, those looking to play chess over Easter will be attracted to the 64th Open Congress held at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth from the 22nd to 25th April. This is restricted to 100 players but there are still places available and, again, entry forms can be found on the chessdevon website.


Chess players throughout the country, and in particular Devon, will be saddened by the news that Ken Bloodworth has passed away at the age of 96. In his younger days he served with the Royal and Polish navies but settled in Plymouth in 1949 working in various junior schools throughout the city and was deputy headmaster of Honicknowle School when he retired in 1974.


He joined the Plymouth Chess Club after the war and ran clubs in various schools. In 1953 he started the Devon Junior Championships that were held at the Plymouth College each Christmas holiday for 27 years, and at its height attracted some 200 players.


In 1963 he was asked to be the chess columnist for the Western Morning News and he held this post, and produced a weekly column for 37 years until he retired in 1999.


In 1983 the British Chess Federation inaugurated an annual award, the President’s award for services to chess to recognise outstanding voluntary service and Ken was nominated in only the third year of its foundation.


Ken played chess and bridge regularly and drove himself to chess events until he was 94. His wife predeceased him but two sons, Peter and Richard, who live in Australia, survive him.


Ken Bloodworth was a man who had much time and energy to give the game he so much enjoyed and he will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to be associated with him.




25th February 2011


With the second half of the chess season now well under way, Newton Abbot still continue to dominate the first division of the Torbay League. A fine 3-1 win over Torquay has left them in a very strong position and the hopes of retaining their title.


The Boys’ Grammar School continue to do well in Division 2 with excellent wins over Brixham and Torquay, whilst, in Division 3, the title is wide open with Teignmouth, Torquay, the South Hams and Plymouth all doing well. Only one match has been played since Christmas in the new Division 4 with Newton Abbot getting a close 2.5-1.5 win over Teignmouth.


Newton Abbot and Plymouth are fighting out the Rapidplay competition with Brixham going down 6.5-1.5 against a very strong Newton team at the Courtenay Centre. A return match between Plymouth and Newton Abbot will probably sort out the eventual winners of the league.


The Knock-out Cup competition has been sorted out with a final match to be played between Teignmouth and Torquay. Torquay, who have been having a wretched season, defeated the Grammar School, who were firm favourites to reach the final, after a board count and a 3-3 finish.


How does a team win a match and then find they have lost the competition? This was the disappointing anguish to the Grammar School in the Zonal Final of the English Chess Federation’s Schools’ Cup.


Travelling to Cardiff to play Llandaff Cathedral School, Torquay won the match by 4.5-1.5 but to their horror found that because of the age differences between the two schools, the Torquay boys had to score 5 points to win.


All looked to be going well when Jeff Leung, Freddie Sugden, Oliver Demeger and Robert Thompson  won their games and it looked as if they were home and dry, however, Alex Billings on board 3 was unable to make much headway in his king-side attack and accepted a draw with the lime limit looming. In the remaining game, George Darling, so often a rock in the team especially in cup matches, went wrong in time trouble in an equal ending and lost.


This was most disappointing but, despite this defeat, Torquay still go through to the National Stages of the Plate Competition which involves Zonal runners-ups and gives them a chance to reach the prestigious finals to be held during the summer term.


In the Devon County competitions, after a resounding semi final win over neighbours Teignmouth, Newton Abbot will now play Exeter in the final of the Peter Rooke Cup, who defeated last year’s finalists, Tiverton, by 6-2.


In the other competitions, Newton Abbot and Teignmouth had a 3-3 draw in the Bremridge Cup; whilst in the Mamhead Cup there was a 2-2 draw between the same teams that sent Teignmouth top of the league.


Teignmouth continue to do well in these competitions as they are also equal top in the Schofield Cup, although Newton Abbot are not too far behind after a 2.5-1.5 win over Exmouth.


In the junior section, the Bloodworth Cup, the Boys Grammar School have an excellent start with wins from their first three matches.


In the individual games, Andrew Kinder (Newton Abbot) leads the way with two wins and two draws from his first four games, but Andy Dunn (Torquay) is close behind with one win and two draws.


Geoff Rosser (Torquay) has got off to a flying start in the Minor Cup with three early wins with Tony Tatam (Plymouth) close behind with two wins and one loss.


The 36th East Devon Congress is attracting players from all over the country for their event in Exeter from the 4th to 6th March and there is still time to make an entry.


The 30th Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress will be held at Trinity School on the 9th April. This, too, is well worth taking part in and entry forms can be found on the chessdevon website.


For those looking to place chess over Easter, the West of England Chess Union is holding its annual congress at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth from the 22nd to 25th April. This event incorporates the West of England Championship and is also a British Championship qualifier.


Chess players throughout the county were devastated to learn of the death of Tim Hay.  Born in 1946 in Retford, Nottinghamshire, Tim was educated at Durham and in Sussex. In the 1970’s Tim and his wife, Ros, bought a hotel in Bishopsteignton and later founded and ran the Pasty Mine bakery in the village. Tim had a great passion for chess and for many years was the chief organiser for junior chess within Devon. His organising skills and his ability to help all the youngsters in his charge made him much appreciated within the county.


Tim, after a break from chess, returned to the game a few years ago and played for a time at the Newton Abbot club and then latterly at Teignmouth. Unfortunately, he had the misfortune to slip on ice on a path just before Christmas and never recovered from his injuries despite the care of doctors at Derriford and Torbay hospitals.


His funeral at the Torbay Crematorium was well attended by chess players from all over Devon and the President of the Torbay League, Trefor Thynne, paid tribute to a well liked man who had given so much time and energy to chess within the county. He will be sorely missed by all his friends and colleagues in the world of ches.


25th January 2011


Following the Christmas break the Torbay chess clubs have restarted their internal competitions and those in the Torbay League. Newton Abbot would appear at this stage to be the club to beat. In Division 1 they are three points ahead of Teignmouth with the Grammar School and Torquay trailing behind. The two top clubs will meet in March and this will surely clinch the title for one of these clubs.


In Division 2, Newton Abbot have equal points with the Grammar School boys but have a game in hand, but both Brixham and Teignmouth could cause an upset before the end of the season.


The Torquay club, unfortunately, are having a wretched time as not only are they at the bottom of Divisions 1 and 2 but are way behind in Division 3 as well. With only one win in the 13 matches played they would appear to need some urgent new blood to get them out of the doldrums.


The Grammar School boys are the surprise leaders of the third division with seven points but Plymouth, on the same number of points, have a game in hand. Teignmouth and Newton Abbot are close behind but, again, the Newton club have a game in hand and should be near the top of the table at the season’s close.


There has been no movement in the new Division 4 but Newton Abbot will play a postponed match against Teignmouth early in February, with a return fixture in the following two weeks, whilst Plymouth, the current leaders will visit Newton Abbot and then complete their fixtures with a crucial home match against Teignmouth.


Newton Abbot have also gone ahead in the Rapidplay tournament with a 100% record and have six points from there three matches. Plymouth are close behind with 4 points with Torquay and Brixham struggling at the bottom of the table.


The Knock-out Cup competition has reached an interesting stage with Teignmouth overcoming Plymouth in a tight semi final. The match finished 3-3 but Teignmouth go to the final on a board count. In the final they will meet either Torquay or the Boys’ Grammar School and the odds must favour the boys who overcame a strong Newton Abbot side to get to this stage of the competition.


In the Devon County Chess Association fixtures, Newton Abbot has reached the final of the prestigious Peter Rooke Cup competition after a magnificent 6.5-1.5 victory over Teignmouth. Hoping, perhaps, for a couple of draws on the lower boards, Newton captain, Trefor Thynne, found his bottom three boards, Freddie Sugden, John Doidge and 13-year old John Fraser all producing great wins and with no-one else losing Newton completely overwhelmed their visitors and will now go on to the a final match against either Exeter or Tiverton.


The area annual Jamboree was held at Exeter during the month that saw the West of Devon, represented by a mainly Plymouth club, win the tournament with 7.5 points, with the East (Tiverton/Exeter) on 6, the South (Torbay) on 5.5 and the North (Barnstaple) 5. This was an excellent afternoon with some excellent chess being played and most games can be seen on the chesssdevon website.


Also on this website can be found some forthcoming events. It is surprising how many one-off congresses continue for a great number of years. The 36th East Devon Congress is being held at the Corn Exchange, Exeter from the 4th to 6th March. This is always a popular weekend and players should get their applications in early.


The 30th Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress will be held at the Trinity School on the 9th April, and the 60th West of England chess Union Easter Congress will be held at Exmouth from the 22nd to 25th April. Application forms can be downloaded from the website.



28th December 2010


With a mid-winter break over the Christmas period, there is time to review the various results within the Torbay Chess League.


In Division 1, Newton Abbot have taken top spot following two good wins over the Grammar School and Teignmouth but were surprisingly held to a draw by Torquay. The Teignmouth club are only a point behind and their encounter with the Newton club in March could decide the championship.


Newton Abbot is also leading the second division, again without losing a match so far. Brixham are proving to be one of the most improved clubs and are in joint second place with the Grammar School boys. It is unusual to see Torquay propping up all three leagues, but they are in a transitional period and one would hope to see them improve in the New Year.


Plymouth are unbeaten in Division 3 and have a one point lead over the Grammar School, Teignmouth and South Hams, but Newton Abbot and Torquay both have games in hand and the position will probably change in the months to come.


The new Division 4 has only seen four matches played so far with Plymouth beating Teignmouth and drawing with Newton Abbot. Bad weather forced the cancellation of the game between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth and this has been rearranged for late February.


Plymouth and Newton Abbot are also joint leaders of the Rapidplay competition but with another eight matches still to be played this situation could change very quickly.


The knockout cup competition has reached the semi-final stage and the finalists should be known by the end of January. In the first encounter, Teignmouth will meet Plymouth whilst, in the other match, Torquay have home advantage over the Grammar School boys.


The Devon County’s Peter Rooke competition starts on the 15th January when Newton Abbot will be hosts to Teignmouth at the Courtenay Centre. On the following day, there is a West of England Chess Union jamboree at the Isca Centre in Exeter when teams from Plymouth, Torbay, North Devon and Exeter will compete.


There have not been many matches played in the County tournaments, but in the Intermediate Championship Newton Abbot’s Andrew Kinder leads the table with two excellent wins and a draw from his three games, whilst Andy Dunn, of the Torquay club, is close behind with a win and two draws.


Looking ahead, there is an open Rapidplay competition at Millfield School on the 30th January, and entries are already being taken for the 34th East Devon Congress being held at the Corn Exchange, Exeter from the 4th to 6th March. Entry forms can be downloaded on the chessdevon website.