John Parker Memorial (Invitation) Rapid Chess Tournament

Café du Parc, Burton Gallery and Museum, Bideford

29 September 2008 at 11am

(Report by Dr Roger Neat, Past President of DCCA)

I organised and sponsored the above event in memory of a gentleman chess player who was a familiar face on the West Country Chess Circuit for many years. Bill Frosts excellent OBITUARY located on CHESS DEVON provides more details about John.

It was a great privilege for me to know John and experience his kindness. He was a dedicated prison visitor and correspondent; producing his own news letter and messages of hope and encouragement. His faith and commitment to his Saviour was the mainstay of his life. He and his work will be sorely missed by the community he served.

I also wanted to combine Jack Rudds magnificent achievement in qualifying for his International Master title which he richly deserved. A separate item will be featured on CHESS DEVON regarding Jack which I hope will be of interest.

Eight players were invited to participate including three Past Presidents of the DCCA (myself, Ivor Annetts and Bob Jones). Ivor, Bob and Brian Gosling were also joint winners of the recent Paignton Congress Morning Tournament. All of the players in this Bideford tournament are capable of playing well above their grades! The complete line-up was as follows:

Jack Rudd (IM) ECF Grade 215 (Bideford and Kings teams)

Roger Neat ECF Grade 114 (Bideford and Kings teams)

Ivor Annetts ECF Grade 142 (Exmouth and Gambit teams)

Wayne Batt ECF Grade 131 (Bideford and Gambit teams)

Brian Gosling ECF Grade 142 (Exmouth and Knight teams)

Bob Jones ECF Grade 121 (Exmouth and Knight teams)

Peter Sandon ECF Grade 118 (Bideford and Rooks teams)

Malcolm Belt ECF Grade 113 (Exmouth and Rooks teams)

Uniquely, the event was organised so that three competitions (with a total of eight prizes) could take place simultaneously comprising the usual individual winner and runner-up; four teams of two players (Kings, Gambit, Knights and Rooks) and also a four player needle match; Bideford v Exmouth! Each of the seven rounds of this All play All Tournament was scheduled to last forty minutes; players having twenty minutes on the clock. Play was to begin at 11am sharp in the pleasant surroundings of the Caf du Park where tables had been especially reserved for our use throughout the day. The venue was appreciated by everyone. Lunch had been booked for 12.30 after the first two rounds.

All of the participants were present before 11am which enabled me to welcome everyone and make a presentation to Jack Rudd of framed set of photographs recording some of his games and opponents. People enjoying refreshments in the caf/bistro listened and clapped too! This award initially formed part of a CHESS display as shown in the photographs below.

Jack as the highest graded player and an IM was given the handicap of playing all games with the black pieces and also having to record all of his games! Some games annotated by Jack will appear on CHESS DEVON.

At 11am Round 1 commenced; the clocks were pressed and as we made the first move we remembered John Parker! Jack was in great form and soon demolished Malcolm Belt who is an attacking player too. Other wins were secured by both Bob Jones and Brian Gosling of the Knights team whilst I and Ivor Annetts agreed a draw in respect of a king and pawn ending. Round 2 followed quickly and my game against Wayne Batt was the first to finish after I made a strategic error of allowing him to place a strong knight in the centre leading to a collapse of my Kingside. My loss with the black pieces was quickly followed by team mate Jack Rudd beating second seed Brian Gosling in a weird attacking game. A fine win was achieved by Peter Sandon over his team partner, Malcolm Belt. Bob Jones drew with Ivor Annetts. All games were finished by 12.20 which meant that we were able to sit down at our reserved luncheon tables and enjoy our freshly cooked pre-ordered meals and drinks which were excellent. The restaurant staff was very efficient and pleasant too.

At approximately 1.30pm we commenced Round 3. Wayne Batt did a little better against Jack but was finally overwhelmed by his ending technique. Other wins were achieved by me, Brian Gosling and Bob Jones who as the Knights were joint leaders with the Kings team. It was good that refreshments were available all afternoon too and in my case a glass or two of fortifying red wine which calmed my nerves!

Round 4 started on time. Bob Jones lost his only game of the tournament to Jack who was in blistering form. I had the black pieces against Brian Gosling and was tangled up by two dominating knights in the centre and was also substantially behind on time. As I did not relish a slow strangulation by Brian I came up with a counter attack but my time problem was serious and my flag fell as I hit the deck with all guns blazing. I had him worried for a minute! Wayne Batt demolished Peter Sandon. A fighting draw was agreed between Malcolm Belt (breaking his duck) and Ivor Annetts. At the half way stage Jack was in the lead with 4 wins followed by the second seed, Brian Gosling on 3. The Kings and Knights teams were joint leaders on 5.5 points. Bideford was leading Exmouth by 9 points to 7. There was still everything to play for at this stage. After discounting Jack the Exmouth team had the higher grades overall.

Round 5 commenced in earnest with Ivor Annetts falling to Jack. Other good wins materialised in favour of Wayne Batt and Brian Gosling; the latter remaining cool whilst chasing Jack who, as you would anticipate, was still in the lead. A return needle match was being played between Bob Jones and me. He lost to me last year at a similar event in Exmouth when he acquired the wooden spoon whilst I as the bottom graded player went on to win the rapid tournament. However, Bob was very much in form today and wanted to continue with his winning streak. I played the London System and we were soon locked into a solid middle game with Bob pushing for a win as I was down on the clock again. I too decided to go for it and came up with a good plan of attack which set Bob back on his heels. Sadly whilst in a won position I felt forced to offer him a draw as I was uncertain as to whether or not I could physically make the moves to give mate before my flag fell! He accepted the offer which was a relief to both parties but somewhat disappointing for me.

At approximately 3.3opm Round 6 began and I experienced a beautiful mating attack from Jack. He emasculated me! Ivor Annetts, Bob Jones and Brian Gosling enjoyed good wins. This meant that the Knights were a full point ahead of the Kings and Exmouth was leading by the same margin over Bideford. Jack said that it was crucial for me to win the final round if we, as Kings were to achieve joint first place and also to save the Bideford team from defeat! The pressure was on for me.

Just after 4pm Round 7 commenced and Jack took out his fellow Bideford team mate Peter Sandon in some style. Then Wayne Batt also fell to Ivor Annetts which then intensified the pressure on me to win. Brian Gosling and Bob Jones met in this round and guess what; they drew! This meant that Jack had won the tournament as expected and Bob Jones had played well above his grade; losing to Jack only. Malcolm Belt had only to secure a draw against me to create a win for the Exmouth team and also to help the Knights take first place in the pairs event.

Malcolm and I have played many times over the last few years so we are fully conversant with each others playing style. Despite feeling both physically tired and emotionally drained (I wanted everyone to enjoy this tournament and celebration) I did not want to let Jack (Kings team) and BIDEFORD down. Having the white pieces was helpful as I could play a QP opening against Malcolm. This I did and Malcolm embarked on his usual attack but my position was solid and I felt comfortable. Efficient TIME MANAGEMENT was essential on my part as I had already spoiled two games by falling behind on the clock! Fortunately I kept my head and my game grew stronger and Malcolm wrong footed himself. Everyone had finished before I mounted my final push for a win which I achieved with some joy!

The final results were as follows:

Tournament winner Jack Rudd (7pts); Prize, Chess set

Second place Brian Gosling (5.5pts); Book Prize

Kings and Knights teams shared first place on 10pts in the pairs event. Bob and Brian were presented with a bottle of quality Chilean wine each

The needle match between Bideford and Exmouth ended in a draw with 14 pts each. Four chess book prizes were awarded.

Malcolm Belt and Peter Sandon took the wooden spoon prizes comprising a box of chocolates and a travel games set in a case.

No one went home empty handed apart from the organiser who had the honour and joy of sponsoring this successful occasion. My thanks must also go to my wife who was involved in both the administration and transporting both me and the equipment and also my chess playing friend, Wayne Batt for his generous cash donation towards my expenses. Naturally we are grateful for being able to stage our tournament in a French bistro/caf (Caf du Parc) with atmosphere and fine cuisine and service. Joe and his staff are to be commended too!

Photographs as follows:  (please click for larger size.)

Chess display; Jacks framed photos flat on table. Others in upright frame of Anand and Adams, etc.

Malcolm Belt and Jack Rudd

Brian Gosling v Wayne Batt

Wayne Batt v Roger Neat

All players in action

Interior of café



Roger Neat (1 October 2008)