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26/09/09 - 01/12/10




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 of the Newton Abbot club and secretary of the Torbay Chess League 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 John's articles in "Chess Devon"

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1st December 2010


The 44th Torbay Chess Congress was held over the weekend at the Riviera Centre, and, whilst numbers were slightly down on previous years, the event was again a huge success.


Despite the absence of the Congress Secretary, Ray Chubb, at home following an operation in Torbay Hospital, his place was admirably taken by the League President, Trefor Thynne ably assisted by the four arbiters, Ewart Smith, Victor Cross, Tony Tatam and John Ariss.


At the last moment on Friday evening local Grandmaster Keith Arkell decided to enter the competition and it was no surprise when he came out on top to win the open competition a half a point ahead of his nearest rivals.


A Bristol competitor, John Waterfield, won the Major tournament  with 4.5 points, but Bill Ingham of the Teignmouth finished in a very commendable third place.


Yet another Bristol competitor, Paul Saunders, won the Intermediate section, but Mike Cuggy (Brixham) had an excellent weekend to finish in third place.


Locally, grading prizes went to John Fraser (Newton Abbot) and Mike Haines and Tim Hay of the Teignmouth club. The Whitfield Cup for the best junior was won by Jeff Leung (Newton Abbot) who is fast becoming one of the most exciting players in the Torbay League.


There was a sensational result in the Torbay League knockout cup competition when the Boys Grammar School easily defeated a strong Newton Abbot team by 4.5-1.5. A strategy that involved playing higher graded players on the top three boards certainly paid off with the top three Newton Abbot team getting only half a point from these three matches. With only a win on board 6 as a consolation, the boys put up a marvellous display and thoroughly deserved to go into the final against either Teignmouth or Plymouth.


The leagues have also seen unexpected results. In Division 1 Teignmouth are the early leaders with two early wins, whilst Newton Abbot were held to an unexpected 2-2 draw at Torquay. The Grammar School boys have yet to get off the mark but it is early days and their performance in the knockout cup will give them confidence in the matches to come.


In Division 2, Newton Abbot have won their first two matches, losing only half a point on the way, but Brixham are just behind although they had a 4-0 disaster against the Newton Abbot club.


Teignmouth and Newton Abbot are sharing the lead in Division 3 with three points each, but Torquay, the Grammar School, Plymouth and South Hams are very close behind and one would imagine it will be well into the New Year before any clear leader is found.


The new Division 4 has seen Plymouth take an early lead with Newton Abbot and Teignmouth close behind.


Only three matches have so far been played in the Rapidplay competition where each player has only 30 minutes on his clock to finish the game. Newton Abbot had an excellent 6-2 win over Brixham and swamped Torquay by 7-1. In the other match, Torquay again came unstuck with a resounding 7.5-0.5 defeat at the hands of Plymouth.


The Devon County championships are also underway. In the intermediate section, Andrew Kinder (Newton Abbot) drew with Andy Dunn (Torquay), whilst Wilf Taylor (Newton Abbot) has completed two games losing to Keith Atkins but then getting a draw with Andy Dunn.


In the minor section, last year’s winner, Freddie Sugden, threw away a seemingly won position against Geoff Rosser (Torquay), and Bob Jones (Exmouth) held Tim Hay (Teignmouth) to a draw. This was a particularly good result for Hay who was very much out graded.


It is always good to see junior chess players, and they were certainly in abundance at the weekend chess congress. A Devon Junior Chess Championships for under-15s, under 11s and under 9 is being held on the 4th December at Teign School, Kingsteignton. Performances in the Under 11 and Under 9 sections, together with results from the Riviera Tournament will be used to help select Devon teams. Details of this and other junior events can be found on


A Christmas tournament is also being held on the 20th December at the Abbey School, St Marychurch aimed at years 3, 4, 5 and 6 and early registration is strongly recommended. Details can be obtained from Tim Onions on 01626 865309.


7th October 2010


With the chess season now well underway, Teignmouth began their Division 1 start with an excellent 3-1 win over Torquay. In Division 2 there was a resounding 4-0 win for Newton Abbot against Brixham, and in Division 3 South Hams started their campaign with a 3-1 win over the Grammar School boys, Newton Abbot had a hard struggle to get a 2.5-1.5 win over Teignmouth, and the latter team then went on to draw 2-2 with Plymouth.


The Rapidplay section saw Newton Abbot score a resounding 6-2 win over Brixham; and in the Knockout Cup competition Torquay and Brixham drew 3-3 but Torquay will go through to the next round on a board count basis.


The Devon County Annual Rapidplay event was held at Newton Abbot where ten teams of four players fought for the cup that is presented each year. In the end, the Newton Abbot Rooks, with a very highly graded team, won convincingly. Jack Rudd (Barnstaple), one of the most highly graded players in the South West of England, went through the afternoon undefeated to win a book prize, whilst the junior winner with 4.5 points from his six games was Alex Billings of the home club.


Junior players are certainly coming to the fore and this was clearly demonstrated when four Grammar School boys, Alex Billings, Oliver Demeger, Jeff Leung and Freddie Sugden, who all play their chess at the Newton Abbot club, were selected to play in the recent encounter between Devon and Dorset. It was a credit to them that they each won their game and helped Devon to a comfortable 11-5 victory. Other local players taking part were Charlie Howard (Newton Abbot) who drew his game, as did Mike Stinton-Brownridge (Plymouth), whilst John Gorodi and Peter Haldkin (Teignmouth) along with Tony Tatam (Plymouth) all secured wins.


Juniors also had their day at the recent Millfield School Tournament when the Torquay Boys Grammar School met strong opposition in the Championship section of the competition,


With four of their strongest players away on other school events, the Grammar School did extremely well to finish in fifth place behind top schools such as Winchester College, who won the event, Haberdashers Aske’s, Orpington and Guildford.


Individually, Freddie Sugden was the most successful player with 5.5/7 with Jeff Leung on 4.5 and Oliver Demeger, Robert Thompson and Dan Nie all on 4.


In the Reserve section Alex Gow-Smith had a 100% record with 4/4 and will probably be looking forward to a first team place next year.


The Devon County Chess Association competitions have now been issued and, in the prestigious Peter Rooke Cup, the holders, Newton Abbot, have been drawn against their near neighbours, Teignmouth.


In the top league for the Bremridge Cup, Newton Abbot will first entertain Exeter and Teignmouth will make the journey up the M5 to Tiverton.


Draws have also been made in the individual championships. Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) will play Tim Paulden (Exmouth) in the top flight Winter-Wood Cup.


The intermediate section has already seen Wilf Taylor (Newton Abbot) lose to Keith Atkins, but Taylor will meet his club colleague Alex Billings in the next round, whilst Andrew Kinder (Newton Abbot) will meet Andy Dunn (Torquay).


The minor section will see Devon’s two chess arbiters, Tony Tatam (Plymouth) and John Ariss (Teignmouth) fight it out, whilst Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot) will play Geoff Rosser (Torquay) and Bob Jones (Exmouth) will meet Tim Hay (Teignmouth).


There are two chess congresses to look forward to in November. From the 8th to 12 November there will be the 11th Royal Beacon Senior event held annually at Exmouth. This is for the over 60’s but there is a junior event for those over the age of 50!


The 44th Torbay Chess Congress being held at the Riviera Centre, Torquay follows this. This event attracts players from all over the country and is held from the 19th to 21st November. Details can be found on the chessdevon website.


Finally, our thoughts and best wishes go to the chessdevon Webmaster, Bill Frost, who has unfortunately had to spend some time in hospital. All friends in the chess world will wish Bill a quick recovery.


27th Aug 2010


With the new chess season just around the corner, and with most clubs holding their annual meetings most of the attention in the past month has been the British Championships. Held last year in Torquay, this year a long trek to Canterbury was involved.


The Devon champion, Dominic Mackle, was again entered into the main event and had a very successful fortnight against some extremely strong opposition. To finish with a 50% record of 5.5 points from a possible 11 was extremely satisfying and it was unfortunate he had a slow start to the competition and lost games he would have expected to win.


In the Under 180 graded championship, Torbay’s League President, Trefor Thynne had a disappointing week gaining 2 points from his five games. Losing one game in 17 moves was not only disastrous but also unheard of!


Two 16 year olds from the Newton Abbot Club, and pupils at the Torquay Grammar School, Alex Billings and Freddie Sugden could be very pleased with their week’s work. Against extremely strong opponents, Billings finished with 3.5 points from his seven games, whilst Sugden was only half a point behind with three points.


The winner of the Championship and the new British and English Champion is Michael Adams and he will be appearing at the Diamond Jubilee Congress being held at Oldway Mansion in Paignton from the 5th to 11th September.


As mentioned last month, this is one of the major chess events and attracts competitors from all over the country. Apart from the chess there will be a talk from one of the top chess arbiters, Peter Purland, and on Tuesday, 7th September there will be a 30 board simultaneous display against Michael Adams.


A Civic Reception, hosted by the President of the Devon County Chess Association, Stephen Thorpe-Tracey will be held on the Wednesday and there will be a Blitz Tournament on the Thursday evening.


Unfortunately, a proposed Junior International has had to be cancelled, but this does promise to be a week to remember, especially bearing in mind this is the 60th anniversary of an event that was originally intended to be a one-off event!


A book by Bob Jones, the Publicity Officer of the Devon Chess Association will be available during the week and will cover events of the past 60 years.


It is hoped to give a short resume of each day’s events in the Herald Express.


Another of the top county players, Alan Brusey, of the Teignmouth Club had an excellent week in the Civil Service Championships held at Leeds University finishing in a magnificent third place against extremely strong opposition from players from Yorkshire and London. It was unfortunate he had to play the eventual winner in the last round. This is the 18th time Brusey has reached the finals in a competition that has been going for 20 years.


The final stages of the Devon County Winter-Wood tournament have been reached which is a tournament for club champions. Trefor Thynne (Newton Abbot) beat David Twine (Plymouth), Andy Dunn (Torquay) beat Eric Smith (Brixham), Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) had a win over Ivor Annetts (Tiverton) and Mark Abbott of Exmouth won by default.


The semi-finals will now see Trefor Thynne play Andy Dunn and Alan Brusey against Mark Abbott.


Another of the Devon County tournaments to be held shortly will be the Rapidplay that will be hosted again by the Newton Abbot Club on the 3rd October. Clubs are invited to submit teams of four players to Trefor Thynne by the end of September.


Entries are also being taken for the Royal Beacon Seniors tournament held at Exmouth from the 8th to 12th November, and the Torbay League Chess Congress then follows this from the 19th to 21st.


Finally, our best wishes go to the chessdevon Webmaster, Bill Frost, who has had to spend some time in hospital. Now at home, all chess players will wish Bill a quick recovery.









23rd July 2010


The highlight for chess players this month has been the visit of a team of four players from Hellevoetsluis in Holland. Twinned with Torquay, Hellevoetsluis is noted for its association with William of Orange who, in 1688, landed at Brixham on his way to take the English throne. He also stayed at Forde House in Newton Abbot to rest before moving up country to London.


To commemorate the event, our present Queen Elizabeth, visited both Torquay and Hellevoetsluis in 1988 to mark this centenary event. The Mayor of Torquay at that time, Dennis Reid, also happened to be the chairman of Governors at the Torquay Boys Grammar School and in 1994 a team of 20 juniors, under the leadership of Trefor Thynne, along with Tim Hay, Bill Tindal and Ian Mason went to their twinned town and set up a chess association that has lasted to this day.


As a result the Hellevoetsluis team of Jan Straatman, Bonne Faber, Wian Noordemeir and Wim Heier landed at Exeter Airport for a weekend visit.


Visiting East Devon first, they encountered an extremely strong Exmouth side and it was no surprise they went down by a 4-0 margin. Moving to Newton Abbot, the visitors played a Rapidplay event that included teams from Bovey, Brixham, Newton Abbot, Plymouth and Torquay.


An excellent afternoon saw Plymouth come out as winners with a very creditable 13.5 points, followed by Newton Abbot with 12.5 and the visitors from Holland with 11.5.


The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of a magnificent cup to the winning captain, Robert Wilby, by the Dutch visitors. This was totally unexpected but very much appreciated.


Monday saw the visitors having a boat trip to Dartmouth before, appropriately, going to Forde House in Newton Abbot to play a team from Teignmouth that finished in a very fine 2-2 draw.


This was an extremely fine weekend and it is hoped that a team from the Torbay League will be able to visit Holland in the not too distant future to meet up with friends made from this visit.


The British Championships, held at Torquay last year, have moved on to Canterbury in Kent and many local players will be taking part. Dominic Mackle has again qualified as Devon Champion but it is known that Trefor Thynne, Freddie Sugden and Alex Billings will also be taking part. We wish them well in a very difficult competition.


One of the best congresses in the country will be taking place at Oldway Mansion in Paignton from the 5th to 11th September. However, this is a particularly important event as it is the Diamond Jubilee year.


The congress was first played in 1951 as purely a “one-off” event. The event attracted the World Champion, Doctor Max Euwe, and leading British players that included H.Golombek.


There was a sensation on the first day’s play when Golombek beat Euwe who was unable to overcome this defeat, and Golombek, against all expectations, won the tournament and the prize money of about £20.


Following this, it was decided to try again in 1952 and, again, the event was so successful it has carried on for 60 years, and always at Oldway Mansion.


From the 1970’s it was difficult to attract the top players but the congress is still greatly supported, although this year one of the top British players, Michael Adams, will be taking part and he will also play against 30 other players in a simultaneous display.


To commemorate the event the Publicity Officer for the Devon County Chess Association, Bob Jones of Exmouth, is producing a book highlighting all that has happened over the past 60 years. It promises to be a great read and will be available from the start of the congress.


It is still possible to enter the congress and an application form can be found on the chessdevon website. During the week there will also be a talk by one of the top chess arbiters, Peter Purland; a chess quiz with £60 in prize money. There will also be a civic reception hosted by the President of the Devon County Chess Association to celebrate the links with Torbay Council.


Finally, there will be a Blitz Tournament on the Thursday evening and during the week a Junior International event will be held in the Mayor’s Parlour.


This promises to be a week to remember.


28th June 2010


With most chess players taking a well-earned summer rest, most interest has revolved around local annual meetings. At Torquay there is a new secretary with Geoff Rosser taking over the reins from his long-term colleague, Norman Tidy.


At Newton Abbot a well-attended meeting paid a fond farewell to their President, Wyllie Hume, who is returning to his native Scotland and will hope to be playing chess on the Isle of Arran. A keen archer and football supporter, Wyllie was presented with a chess book by club secretary, Trefor Thynne who said that Kilmonark would be having an extra fan during the coming season. A teacher at Torquay Boys Grammar School, Mr Hume has been a tower of strength at the Newton Abbot club and will be sorely missed.


In his place, as club president, will be Andrew Kinder, an experienced player who has participated in many county matches


The annual meeting of the Torbay Chess League has also been held when trophies and individual presentations were made by the League President, Trefor Thynne.


It was noted that the Totnes club had been forced to close at the start of the season but their place this coming year will be the new club from Bovey Tracey who will entering one of the divisions.


In his annual address Mr Thynne thanked the various officers for their work during the season and, in particular, Bill Frost who had for many years been responsible for the chess Devon website. This site had gone from strength to strength and had recently had its 332,000 “hit”.


Both Torquay and Plymouth clubs had changed venues during the year and were now enjoying the facilities offered by their local bridge clubs.


Successful congresses had been held at Oldway Mansions in Paignton and at the Riviera Centre in Torquay. Plans were already well advanced for the Diamond Jubilee Congress in September and further details will be given in next month’s column.


A friendly summer chess match has also been pencilled in with Hellevoetsluis, from Holland, playing at Exmouth on the 17th July, at Newton Abbot on the 18th and Teignmouth on the 19th.

Hellevoetsluis is, of course, the twin town of Torbay and their visit should produce some highly competitive chess.


The League Secretary, John Doidge, said that the year had been successful with two Jamborees taking place together with a friendly fixture against the Exeter League. Whilst Torbay had not won any of these matches nevertheless they had played well in spite of an increase of grading limits that enabled their opponents to play much stronger players.


He paid tribute to Tony Tatam from the Plymouth club who, as competitions secretary, had produced excellent information throughout the season. It was interesting to note that 102 players had participated in the various competitions and there was a possibility the league would run a fourth division next season with a lower grading limit that would enable clubs to enter more teams.


The League Treasurer, Alan Brusey, said that the league had shown a small profit during the year of £40 and the finances were in a healthy state, although it was agreed to increase subscriptions by £1 per team to ensure the accounts stayed on the right side.


It was noted by the meeting that the junior members continued to flourish. A team of youngsters with an average age of 13/14 had won the Division 3 title, beating strong opposition from Plymouth, Torquay and the main Newton Abbot team in their travels. Based at Newton Abbot, it was pleasing to note these lads would be going up into the second division next season.


Robert Thompson from the Grammar School continued to thrive and was now the top graded youngster in Devon. Two other school colleagues, Freddie Sugden and Alex Billings had also made tremendous progress at several congresses and picking up some well-earned prize money along the way.


All the officers were re-elected with Andrew Kinder taking over Wyllie Hume as Junior Secretary.


Special thanks were made to the Herald Express who had kindly helped the league during the year by producing a chess column that was much appreciated by league members.


In the semi-final of the inter counties tournament Devon lost to Warwickshire on board count following an 8/8 draw. Local players, however, did well with wins from Alan Brusey, Trefor Thynne, Robert Thompson, Alan Kinder and Charlie Howard


26th May 2010

With the chess season now taking a well -earned rest, the final positions in the Torbay Chess League have now been completed.


In Division 1 Newton Abbot were decisive winners following a season where they only dropped one point, were undefeated, and were 5 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Teignmouth.


The second division saw a late spurt by Plymouth who overtook Newton Abbot to take the title by 2 points. Torquay, Teignmouth and the South Hams had a relatively good season but were no match for the top two teams.

Pride of place, however, must go to the Division 3 winners, the Newton Abbot Pawns. With a team of five youngsters, with an average age of 13, saw them defeat much stronger opposition and to finish two points ahead have their nearest rivals, the Plymouth Lions, was a great achievement.

Ably captained by Sam Head, the remaining players Charlie Rochford, Jeff Leung, Calum Whytock and Oliver Demeger will still be together at the start of the new season and they will obviously go from strength to strength.

To mark the occasion, the Newton Abbot Club will be making a special presentation to each boy at their annual meeting on the 10th June at The Courtenay Centre.

Torquay who finished well ahead of Newton Abbot with Brixham taking the third spot won the Rapidplay tournament.

The final of the Knock-out Cup has also taken place and this saw Torquay take a 4.4 – 1.5 victory over Teignmouth.

This has been an excellent season that saw only three games out of total of 78 being lost by default and credit must go to each club for their efforts in making sure teams were available.

One of the highlights of recent days has been the involvement of local players in the quarter final of the inter county matches. A long trip to Salisbury to play Surrey saw Devon draw the contest 16-16 but a board count came out in Devon’s favour and they now go on to play either Warwickshire or Lancashire in the semi-final. Local players taking part were Alan Brusey, John Gorodi and Bill Ingham of Teignmouth, whilst Trefor Thynne, Stephen Schofield, Andrew Kinder, John Allen and Robert Thompson were from the Newton Abbot club.

The annual meeting of the Torbay League will be held at the Torquay Boy’s Grammar School on Wednesday 16th June at 7pm and all members are requested to attend.

The Devon County games have also reached their final stage. Newton Abbot have won the prestigious Bremridge Cup with a 100% record, and they were only 2 points behind Exmouth and Tiverton in the second tier, Mamhead Cup with Teignmouth in fourth place.

Newton Abbot has also won the Schofield Cup whilst Teignmouth are the winner of the Moyle Cup. The junior league, the Bloodworth Cup, has been won by the Newton Abbot Juniors who were also unbeaten during the season.

In the individual competition, Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) has a two-point advantage, and a game in hand, over Alan Brusey (Teignmouth), and Torquay’s Andy Dunn is in a very creditable fourth place. There are still games to play but Mackle will be representing Devon again in the British Championships that are being held this year in Canterbury.

Peter Halmkin (Teignmouth) has won the intermediate trophy just ahead of his club colleague, Bill Ingham, whilst Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot), as reported last time, has won the Minor trophy

Plans are already well ahead for congresses this summer and autumn. The 2ns Bideford Congress will be held on 17th and 18th July; The Devon County Chess Association’s Diamond Congress will be held at The Oldway Mansions from 5th to 11th September, whilst the Torbay Congress will be held at The Riviera Centre from 19th to 21st November.

Details will be given nearer the dates but information in advance can be obtained from the excellent chessdevon website.


24th March 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


24th March 2010


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.


24th February 2010


Following the demise of the Totnes Chess Club last year it is pleasing to note that a new club is taking shape at Bovey Tracey. With an initial membership of about 15 players, the club is planning to meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the Bovey Tracey Methodist Church Hall at 7.30pm, with the next meeting on the 3rd March. All chess players, no matter what strength, will be welcomed and juniors will be able to have help in their play.


Already, the Newton Abbot Club has issued a friendly challenge and it is hoped a match can take place later in the season. Further details can be obtained from the organisers, John Northcott ( or on 01626 832288; or Julian Edwards on julian


We wish them well in their endeavours and hope to see them playing in the Torbay Chess League next season.


In the Torbay League there was a major shock in Division 1 when the leaders, Newton Abbot were held to a 2-2 draw with the Grammar School. Mention has been made in the past of how difficult it was to understand how the boys had not progressed. Perhaps this is the start of their climb up the table.


Teignmouth are the main obstacle to the Newton Club securing the title and their meeting in the middle of March will probably sort things out.


In Division 2, Newton Abbot has jumped to the top of the table following a 3.5-0.5 win over the Grammar School. Torquay and Plymouth remain very much in contention just one point behind with all three clubs having played the same number of matches. There are, however, still ten matches to be played before the end of the season and it is still possible for South Hams, Brixham and Teignmouth to creep up on the outside.


The third division saw the Newton Abbot Pawns drop their first point of the season when the Plymouth Tigers held them to a 2-2 draw. The boys, however, are still a comfortable four points ahead of the Plymouth Lions with the Teignmouth Knights and Plymouth Tigers all on five points.


In the Rapidplay competition Torquay’s lead has been cut to just two points after Newton Abbot had demolished South Hams 7.5-0.5. With these two clubs due to meet at Newton Abbot in March, it would seem the winner of this match would secure the title.


The final of the knockout cup has yet to be played and it will be between Torquay and the Boys’ Grammar School. Torquay, if they put out some of their higher graded players, should be favourites to win the cup but the boys, too, can play their higher graded players so it may not be the foregone conclusion other clubs may have in mind.


The Boys’ Grammar School are to be congratulated in winning the Western Division National School Championship with a magnificent win over Millfield School in Somerset. With some 160 schools setting out in the tournament, the Grammar School defeated Devonport High School and Bristol Grammar School on their way to their encounter with the Somerset school.


It is interesting that Millfield School have a full time chess grandmaster teaching them and it is no surprise they are one of the top teams in the country. For the Torquay School to overcome them was a great achievement and although Robert Thompson lost on Board 1 to Rhys Cumming and Alex Billings fell to one of the top female competitors in the country, Megan Owens, wins for George Darling, Freddie Sugden and Jeff Leung and a draw by Harry Mann saw a fine 3.5-2.5 win.


The Grammar School have not yet been notified of their next opponents but it will probably be either Winchester College, Reading School or Wellington College, all famous public schools. The Grammar School have had success in this competition in previous years finishing second in 1998 and fourth in 1999 so they go forward carrying the standard not only for Torbay, Devon and the whole of the West of England, but also for the state sector of education.


Two of the Grammar School boys, 15-year old Freddie Sugden and 16-year old Alex Billings took part in the Wiltshire and West of England Junior Open Championships held recently at Swindon and came equal second with five points out of a possible six. This was a magnificent achievement against very strong competition and they are certainly playing well beyond their published grades.


Turning to the Devon County Chess Association competitions, Newton Abbot have reached the final of the Peter Rooke Knock-out Cup with a magnificent, and nail biting, semi-final against Exeter.


There was a major surprise when club secretary, Trefor Thynne, lost early in the afternoon followed by another defeat on Board 3 by John Allen who had put up a good fight against a much higher graded player. At the lower end of the table, Freddie Sugden and Alex Billings again came up trumps with decisive wins, and with draws for Wilf Taylor, Roger Hocking and John Doidge it was left to Charlie Howard on Board 2 to get the much needed win for the home side.


With time very much against both players, a draw seemed to be on the cards, but some excellent endplay by Howard saw him snatch victory with only minutes left.


Newton Abbot now meet Tiverton in the final who also had a hard struggle in getting a 4.5-3.5 victory over Teignmouth.


In the Championship, Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) is still in the lead with Alan Brusey (Teignmouth), Brian Hewson (Exeter) and Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) not too far behind. Mackle has so far lost only one game and would appear to have the best chances in the run up to the final matches.


In the Intermediate Cup, Bill Ingham and Peter Halmkin (Teignmouth) are leading the field, whilst in the Minor event, Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot) needs only half a point to win the title.


In the Bremridge Cup, Newton Abbot need to beat Exmouth in their final match to win the title, whilst in the Mamhead Cup Tiverton are a point ahead of Newton Abbot and Exmouth but as they meet at the end of March, and Newton Abbot still have to play Barnstaple, who have yet to win a match, the odds should favour the Newton club for the title.


In the third tier competition, with only two matches played Teignmouth hold a slight advantage but they still have to play Newton Abbot and Tiverton. It is still early days as well in the Moyle Cup where Teignmouth have beaten Exeter whilst Exeter and Tiverton drew. There is still plenty of chess to be played in these competitions before the end of the season.


In the junior section, both the Grammar School Bishops and the Newton Abbot Juniors have won their opening two matches against Exeter and the Grammar School Rooks, but they play each other in the next round and this could decide the eventual winners.


The British Chess Championships, held very successfully in Torquay in 2009, will this be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury from the 25th July to 7th August and no doubt many local players will be making the journey to this venue. Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) has qualified again to take part and local players will wish him well.


A simultaneous exhibition by Grand Master Keith Arkell will be held at the Torquay Boys Grammar School on Wednesday, 24th March at 4.30pm. Aimed mainly at the school’s pupils, there could be room for other chess players. Trefor Thynne on 01626 337876 will be pleased to give details.


The 35th East Devon Congress is being held at the Corn Exchange, Exeter from the 26th to 28th February. This attracts a large attendance and early entry is recommended.


Looking further ahead, the West of England Chess Union’s 63rd Open Congress will be held from the 2nd to 5th April at the Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth; and the Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress will be held at the Trinity School, Teignmouth on the 17th April.


Full details and entry forms can be found on the chessdevon webs


28th January 2010 

Chess in the Torbay area has been given a major boost with the arrival of one of the country’s foremost Grandmasters, Keith Arkell.


Featuring prominently in many of the top congresses held each season, Keith is normally near the top with the David Howells and Nigel Shorts of the chess world. In March he will be entering the 11th European Individual Men and Women’s’ Chess Championships being held in Croatia from the 5th to 22nd March.


This Championship is being held at Rijeka on the Adriatic Coast under the auspices of the Croatian Chess Federation who are the main chess governing organisation in that part of the world.


The Federation currently boasts no less than 200 clubs and is involved in chess related activities all over the country.


Many of the top world players come from Croatia and it is a great privilege to be asked to play in these championships.


This event is so great that the top 22 players in this year’s championship will be invited to participate in the World Championships at a later date.


Unfortunately for Keith the English Chess Federation, like so many organisations, have run out of funds and players will have to find their own travel arrangements and accommodation in Croatia. He is working hard to find £800 to get him to these championships and it is hoped that some simultaneous events can be held shortly to try to raise some funds to help him.


In the meantime, perhaps there could be some sponsorship available in the Torbay area from either firms or individuals who would like to help Keith in his venture and, in return, their generosity would be rewarded by publicity at local, country and Croatian levels.


Keith can be contacted on 07757 342477 or at for further information. It would be wonderful to have a local player in the World Championships.


With the second part of the season now underway, the snow that fell earlier in the month hit some games. One of the matches that did survive was the one between Teignmouth and Newton Abbot in the first Division. This was expected to be a very tight match but, with the Newton players obviously not suffering from a post Christmas syndrome, they thrashed their old rivals 4-0 to keep up their 100% record. Teignmouth then had a 4-0 win by default over Torquay to keep them in second place.


Torquay have now dropped to third place in the division and the Grammar School are propping up the table with no points from their first three matches.


In Division 2, Plymouth hold a slender point lead over Torquay and Newton Abbot but the latter have a game in hand and their rearranged match against the leaders could prove crucial at the end of the season.


It is surprising to see Teignmouth on equal bottom place with the Grammar School boys, but their efforts to give everyone in the club a game will mean that on occasions they will not be putting out as strong a team as they might have liked.


In Division 3 the Newton Abbot Pawns are certainly excelling themselves. All the players are under the age of 16 and their 100% record is a great achievement bearing in mind the competition they are up against.


The Plymouth Lions, with a game in hand, are in second place with the Teignmouth Knights in third place. The other Teignmouth team, the Rooks, find themselves pointless at the bottom of the table along with the Grammar School but there is still plenty of time to start going up the table.


In the Rapidplay division, where each player has only 30 minutes in which to finish his game, Torquay have a 100% record with Newton Abbot four points behind, whilst Brixham and South Hams have yet to get off the mark.


There are many games to be played in February and March and no doubt the league tables will change many times.


In the Devon County Association events, in the top section, the Bremridge Cup, Newton Abbot have taken an early lead against strong opposition; whilst in the Mamhead Cup, Tiverton are leading the way with Newton Abbot a close second.


With Teignmouth not off the mark in either of these sections, it is good to see them leading the way in both the Moyle and Schofield cups, with Newton Abbot second in the latter competition.


In the Bloodworth Cup for junior players, the Newton Abbot Juniors are on level pegging with the Grammar School.


In the individual championship, Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) is the clear leader with 7 points from his first 4 games. Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) is in second place with 5 points but Grandmaster Jack Rudd (Barnstaple) with 3 points from his first two games is the player to watch. Andy Dunn (Torquay) and Robert Thompson (Newton Abbot) have yet to get off the mark but there are plenty of matches to play and they have chances to catch up on their opponents.


In the Intermediate section, Teignmouth players, Bill Ingham and Peter Halmkin, lead the way, and in the Minor Trophy Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot) leads the way with County chairman Stephen Thorpe-Tracey. John Ariss (Teignmouth) and Tony Tatem (Plymouth) are not yet off the mark but it is still early days.


The County Jamboree was held at Exeter during the month between Exeter, East and North Devon and Torbay. The North Devon side won the event and further details will be given next time.


The semi-final of the Peter Rooke Challenge Cup will be held at Newton Abbot early in February when Exeter will be the visitors. Played with eight in each team and with 40 moves to be made in 100 minutes, this can prove to be a very tiring event, and Exeter, with very strong players, must fancy their chances but the home team, who are the holders of the trophy, will not give up without a struggle.


February also sees the start of various congresses throughout the area. The 35th East Devon Congress is being held from the 26th to 28th February at the Corn Exchange in Exeter. This is one of best events in the chess calendar and attracts players of all strengths from many parts of the country.


The 63rd West of England Chess Union Open Congress will take place at the Beacon Hotel, Exmouth from the 2nd to 5th April, followed by the 29th Teignmouth Rapidplay Congress on the 17th April.


Entry forms and further details are available on the chessdevon website.


Negotiations are also underway to have simultaneous chess displays by Grandmaster Keith Arkell at Newton Abbot and the Grammar School. Details will be given when the events have been finalised.



1st December 2009 

With the chess season now well underway, Newton Abbot have taken an early lead in Division 1 having won both their opening matches. With only one game lost so far they could be difficult to catch and, with the strongest players in the league, other clubs are going to find it difficult to catch them.


The Torquay Boys’ Grammar school has a team in this division for the first time. With players such as Robert Thompson and Harry Mann in attendance it is surprising that they lost heavily to Torquay and Teignmouth. However, it is early days and the experience will stand them in good stead for their remaining matches.


In Division 2, Torquay have taken an early lead but are closely pressed by Plymouth and Brixham who both have games in hand. Brixham have drawn both their matches so far including one against a strong Plymouth team. Plymouth went on to beat Torquay. The Grammar School also have a team in this division and an early draw against Brixham must have held high hopes for the future but a resounding 3.5/0.5 against Torquay unfortunately brought them down to earth. Again, very early days and with Newton Abbot and South Hams not yet having a match, there will be many changes in leadership before the season ends in May.


The Newton Abbot Pawns have made a strong start in Division 3 by winning both their opening fixtures against their more senior players in the Newton Abbot club and also against the new Teignmouth Knights. The Pawns are made of youngsters all under the age of 16 years and it will be interesting to see if their early good start will be maintained.


Both Plymouth and Teignmouth have entered two teams in this division. Their counterparts, the Plymouth Tigers, held the Plymouth Lions to a draw whilst the new Teignmouth Knights thrashed their other team, the Rooks, 4-0 in their opening match.


The object of having two teams in the same division is to ensure that all players within the club, no matter what strength, will have an opportunity of representing the club in various matches.


Torquay secured a 3-1 win over the Grammar School, whilst the school have lost both their opening matches.



The Rapidplay fixtures, where the game has to finish in an hour, has seen Torquay get off to a tremendous start by beating South Hams 7-1, Brixham 4.5-3.5 and the same score against Newton Abbot.


The Knock-out Cup has already reached the semi final stage but each match has finished 3-3 and the result only worked out by a complicated board count system.


Brixham and Torquay drew 3-3 with Torquay going through and they now play the Grammar School, Plymouth also drew 3-3 with the Grammar School with the school going through, and Newton Abbot drew 3-3 with Teignmouth, with Teignmouth going through to the final sometime in the New Year against Torquay or the Grammar School.


The Devon County Chess Association individual and club competitions have also got underway. In the Championship, held by Dominic Mackle of Newton Abbot, he came up against International Master Jack Rudd of Barnstaple. The game ended in a draw but it was felt Dominic should have won having a better end game than his opponent. His next opponent will be the Grammar School’s Robert Thompson and this will not be an easy encounter as Robert’s chess has improved considerably.


Other local players in this section are Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) and Andy Dunn (Torquay). The Championship is open to club champions so the remaining players will be coming from Exeter, Exmouth, Tiverton and Sidmouth.


In the Intermediate section, Bill Ingham (Teignmouth) had a very commendable draw against Ivor Annetts of Tiverton. Also in this section is Teignmouth’s Peter Halmkin who faces Chris Southall of Exeter in the first round.


The Minor Tournament has the most local players. Freddie Sugden (Newton Abbot), John Ariss (Teignmouth), Tony Tatam (Plymouth) all fight it out with Stephen Thorpe-Tracey of Tiverton.


The Mamhead Cup has seen Tiverton take an early lead with 3-1 wins over Teignmouth and Barnstaple, whilst in the Moyle Cup Exeter and Tiverton drew 2-2 and in the Moyle Cup there was a further 2-2 draw for Tiverton. This time against Exeter.


The 10th Beacon Seniors Congress has been held in Exmouth that attracted players from as far away as Holland, Sussex and London. The over 60’s tournament was won by Ken Derrick of Sidmouth and the DCCA President, Stephen Thorpe-Tracey picked up the Under 100 graded prize.


Locally, Norman Tidy (Torquay) had a very satisfactory 2.5/5, John Gorodi (Teignmouth) 2/5, Ray Chubb (Teignmouth) 2/5 whilst Bill Frost (Teignmouth) was going very well with 1.5/3 when he was forced to withdraw owing to illness.


In the “junior” section, for those over 50 years of age, Stephen Schofield (Newton Abbot) scored 2/5 along with Peter Halmkin of Teignmouth.


This was an excellent congress well organised by Exmouth’s Bob Jones and now one of the most popular congresses on the chess circuit.


Following on from this most players moved on to Torquay’s Riviera Centre where the 43rd Torbay Chess Congress was held. Attracting over 175 players from many parts of the country this is the highlight of the local chess calendar. Superbly organised by secretary Ray Chubb of Teignmouth, the weekend went off without a hitch and some excellent chess was played.


One of the main features of the weekend was a cup presented by Mrs Gill Whitfield in memory of her husband John. She asked that it should go to the best young Devon player and the first proud winner was 15-year-old Freddie Sugden who plays his chess at the Newton Abbot Club and is a pupil at the Torquay Grammar School.


Mrs Whitfield’s husband, who was confined to a wheelchair, always entered the Torbay Chess Congress and it was fitting that a trophy has been presented in his memory. The Congress secretary thanked Mrs Whitfield for her continued interest in the tournament, and, whilst not a chess player herself, it gave much pleasure to ensure that husband John’s memory would be forever in peoples minds when they came to the Congress each year.


Local players did extremely well in this year’s tournament. Dominic Mackle (Newton Abbot) tied for first place in the open section with Tyson Mordue (Fishponds, Bristol), Michael Franklin (Richmond) and David Ledger (Bedford).


The Major Tournament was jointly won by Stephen Schofield (Newton Abbot) and Angelo Castauccio (Bristol); the Intermediate was won jointly by John Bashall (Shrewsbury) and Greig Sweetland (Bath) but two 15-year olds, Oliver Demeger and Alex Billings tied for the runner-up prize. Both play their chess at the Newton Abbot Club and attend the Torquay Boys’ Grammar School.


Finally the Minor tournament was shared by Freddie Sugden and James Wallman (Dorset).


This was an excellent and very enjoyable congress.


30th October 2009

The chess season has got off to a slow start without too many matches being played. In Division 1, the Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, playing in this division for the first time, were beaten by Torquay 3-1 but played with a great spirit that was encouraging for the rest of the season.


Whilst Torquay, who were runners up last year, got off to a flying start they quickly came down to earth when they were well beaten by Newton Abbot 4-0. One player not turning up did not help Torquay’s cause and they will hope for better things when they visit Teignmouth on their next travels.


In Division 3, Torquay again were the victors over the Grammar School by 3-1 and, in an all Newton Abbot affair, the young Pawns overcame a weakened Knights team by 3 games to 1.


In the Devon County Chess Association tournaments, Alan Brusey of the Teignmouth Club won the champion of champions contest. This competition is open to club champions throughout Devon and Brusey, who had previously beaten last year’s winner Dominic Mackle, played John Stephens, the Exmouth champion. A draw on their first encounter saw a rematch with Alan Brusey coming out on top. A presentation was made at a meeting of the Association in Exeter


The County Rapidplay Tournament was held during the month at Newton Abbot. With four players to each team, this attracted a large number of players, including Jack Rudd, an International chess master from Barnstaple, and Dominic Mackle from Newton Abbot.


With only 12 minutes each to complete each game this produces some very quick thinking and many mistakes. At the start of the final round Exmouth A and Barnstaple had both amassed 15.5 points but Barnstaple had to face a very strong Tiverton A team whilst Exmouth seemed to have an easier task against the Newton Abbot Juniors.


As it happened, Exmouth’s lower boards got to a 2-1 score with John Stephens and Robert Thompson fighting it out on top board. On the adjacent table, Barnstaple also led 2-1 with one game still to finish. With minutes to go Barnstaple lost that game to finish on 2-2 and with 2 minutes left on his clock, Stephens immediately offered a draw in a very complicated position. This was accepted giving Exmouth A the trophy by just half a point.


This was an excellent afternoon, well organised by Torbay President, Trefor Thynne, and one hopes it will now become an annual event on the chess calendar.


During the afternoon, the draw was made for the Peter Rooke Cup and this will mean Tiverton will be the hosts to Teignmouth whilst Newton Abbot will meet Exeter.


The first game in the Devon individual championships has been played between the defending champion, Dominic Mackle, and the International Master from Barnstaple, Jack Rudd. who is also the highest graded player in the competition. The game was drawn after 68 moves and Dominic Mackle seemed to have the advantage throughout the game and was, perhaps, unfortunate only to get the draw. This was an excellent result for the Newton Abbot champion and shows that even chess masters are not infallible.


Also taking part in this particular event are Andy Dunn from the Torquay Club, Robert Thompson (Newton Abbot) John Stephen (Exmouth) and Alan Brusey (Teignmouth).


The draws have also been made for the other County events. In the Bremridge Cup Teignmouth are at home to Exmouth whilst Newton Abbot has a trip to Exeter. Exmouth make up this division with everyone playing each other twice.


In the Mamhead Cup there are some long trips to be made. Teignmouth make a trip to Tiverton whilst Newton Abbot host the Exmouth club, but with Barnstaple and Exmouth also taking part there will be some long trips this winter.


There are also two other county tournaments and also one for the youngsters. This will see two Torquay Boys’ Grammar School teams along with Newton Abbot Juniors and Exeter Juniors.


Two years ago there was a 50th Anniversary match between the Torbay and Exeter Leagues. This was very successful and a return match was recently played in excellent conditions at the Isca Club in Exeter. Whilst it was not possible for either league to fulfil their 40 boards, nevertheless the afternoon produced some fine games and Exeter eventually ran out winners by 18.5 to 13.5. The afternoon was well supported and Robert Jones and Brian Aldwin of the Exeter League are to be congratulated on their superb arrangements. One can only hope this will become an annual event. Exeter had to be helped out by some Torbay players to ensure everyone got a game – whether Torbay will try to get the result overturned by the “help” given by their players remains to be seen!


The Grammar School was unable to play in the league match as their players were taking part in an annual event at Millfield School. Completely out graded, the boys did extremely well and finished in third place out of the eleven schools taking part. The tournament was won by St Olave School from Orpington in Kent whose players are the most highly graded in the country.


For the Grammar School, Jeff Leung had a wonderful tournament and became the best Board 7 player with 6points out of 7. Freddie Sugden also did well with five points and Sam Head with four.


One of the best performances came from young John Fraser who went along as a reserve player. He then entered the Reserve Tournament and won it with 5.5 points from his seven games. An excellent achievement.


The 10th Royal Beacon Senior Tournament is being held at the royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth from the 9th to 13th November. To qualify one must be over 60 years of age although there is “junior” event for the over 50’s.


The 43rd Torbay Chess Congress at the Riviera Centre, Torquay from the 20th to 22nd November follow this. This is one of the most prestigious events in the chess calendar and further details can be obtained from the chessdevon website.


Finally, the winner of the Paignton Congress held earlier in the year, Keith Arkell, one of the top players in the country and a Grand Master has taken up residence in Torbay and has joined the Torquay Club. This is great news for all local chess players and, with his interest in junior chess as well, everyone should benefit from his chess expertise. It is understood that Keith will be available to visit club and give simultaneous displays and further details can be obtained from the Torquay club secretary, Norman Tidy, on 01803 607519.


(Printed in Torbay Herald Express Friday, 30th October 2009)


26th September 2009


With the start of the new chess season, the major surprise within the Torbay Chess League has been the demise of the Totnes Club. Formed some forty or so years ago they have been excellent members of the league and last year were runners up in Division 3 and were winners of the Knock-out Cup. Unfortunately, they have lost members over the years and they have not been replaced and the time has now come when they are unable to get enough members to fulfil their own internal club fixtures.


They will be sorly missed but some of the remaining members have found a welcome in other neighbouring clubs. One can only hope they will be able to form another club within the town in the not too distant future.


Another very successful Paignton Congress has been held at the Oldway Mansions that attracted players from many parts of the country. Keith Arkell, one of the top players and certainly favourite for this event, duly obliged taking with him the top prize. Local players were not quite so prominent this year. Alan Brusey (Teignmouth) had a very creditable 4/7 and Peter Halmkin (Teignmouth) was successful with a grading prize.


A slow starters prize went to Freddie Sugden of Newton Abbot where an award is made if a player has not had a win in the first two rounds but then picks up points as the tournament goes on. In the American tournament, Bill Ingham (Teignmouth) had a very satisfactory week finishing third equal with 4 points from his six games.


The best performance locally came in the Minor Tournament where Alex Billings (Newton Abbot) won the event with an excellent overall performance. A 15-year-old Torquay Grammar School pupil he has proved to be a young player with a highly strategic skill and he has played some excellent chess throughout the year. It is not only his chess, however, that he has been noted for as he was awarded a special prize at the grammar School for his achievements..


The new fixtures have now been announced for the coming season and the early rounds have thrown up some surprising draws in the various leagues. Whilst mentioning that Totnes had unfortunately folded, it is good to note that both Teignmouth and Plymouth are entering two teams in the third division along with Newton Abbot, whilst the Grammar School have entered a team in Division 1 but with such highly graded players as Robert Thompson, Harry Mann, George Darling, Oliver Demeger, Jeff Leung and Alex Billings they could prove to be too strong for some of the teams in this division. It will be interesting to see their progress throughout the season.


The first matches in Division 1 will see Teignmouth play Torquay and Newton Abbot play the Grammar School. In the second division, Brixham will host Plymouth, Torquay will play Teignmouth and South Hams will play Newton Abbot.


It is the Division 3 first games that are the interesting as Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Plymouth all play their other team in the club. At least travelling will not be a problem! In the final game the Grammar School are hosts to Torquay.


The Rapidplay competition also gets under way with Torquay playing Brixham and Newton Abbot playing South Hams.


The draw for the Knockout Cup has also been made with Newton Abbot and Teignmouth receiving byes in the first round; whilst Brixham will play Torquay and Plymouth will be hosts to the Grammar School.


Following the success of a match between the Torbay and Exeter Leagues two years ago, the Exeter League have issued a challenge for a return fixture and this will be played over 40 boards on the 25th October. Unfortunately for the Torbay League this coincides with an important match at Millfield School that will see all the Grammar School chess players taking part. This is sure to weaken the Torbay team but team captain, Robert Wilby, will be looking to all the clubs to produce their best players for this occasion.


Before that, however, the Newton Abbot club is hosting the Devon County Chess Association Rapidplay event. With four players in each team this should provide an excellent afternoon of chess on the 11th October at the Courtenay Centre. Clubs from Exeter, Tiverton and Exmouth have already expressed their willingness to travel.


The annual West of England Chess Union Jamboree has been held at Taunton where Torbay, with Exeter, came equal second behind a very strong Somerset side. Very much out graded, the Torbay side put up a strong challenge and were unlucky to lose the trophy they had had for the past two years.


In the Open event, Wiltshire came out on top with 7 points with Devon in second place and Gloucester in third.


The start of the season also attracts congresses and one of the early favourites is the Royal Beacon Seniors Congress held at Exmouth from the 9th to 13th November. This is for players aged 60 or over, but there is a “junior” section for players aged between 50 and 60!


The following week will see the Torbay Chess Congress at the Riviera Centre in Torquay. This is one of the most popular events in the chess calendar and further details will be given next month.


Also starting shortly will be the individual competitions in the Devon County Chess Association. With four events, including a ladies tournament, this always proves to be another important part of the chess year and further details can be obtained from Stephen Schofield on 01626 334045.


Entry forms for all the individual events and the local congresses can be obtained on the excellent Chessdevon website.