I was a non-playing spectator at this match and was asked by our president David
Jenkins to be a sort of roving reporter taking stock of the games as they were in progress and preparing a report for afterwards so, as Robin Kneebone would say 'yer tiz!'
Devon won the toss and were white on the odd boards. I will start at the
bottom boards and work my way upwards.
On Board 16 George Black playing his first game for our fair county had
a hard baptism of fire and eventually lost. His opponent played the pure form of the Benoni
His compatriot on board 15, Mark Reid, who, in fairness, doesn't appear to have an official grading yet, playing against the 127 rated Richard Smith eventually likewise went under but it was no doubt useful experience for him.
On board 14 Christine Constable played a Colle system and had a complex position after 23 moves. Robert Jones blundered a piece away on move 30 and Christine went on to win.
Calstock's David Jenkins was unlucky on board 13 playing black against a significantly higher rated player and went for speculative complications which didn't come off.
Cornwall had a nice win on board 12 where 114 rated Martin Jones outplayed 139 rated Robert Wilby.
John Constable on board 11 played 1 ...g6 against 1e4, got positionally outplayed and was unable to hold an endgame where he was a pawn down against James Schofield.
Board 10. Stephen Saville playing white was doing well and had a promising position but overlooked a tactic and lost.
Board 9 Keith Brewer was black in a French and eventually found himself in an end game where, although his opponent's bishop was a better piece than Keith's knight, he managed to hold on for a draw.
Board 8 Nicholas Bacon against Mick Hill was an unremarkable draw, and Julian Bacon on board 7 likewise drew with Jeff Nicholas.
On board 6 Colin Sellwood played the Steinitz variation of the French as white against Brian Gosling.The encyclopaedia of Chess Openings once described the French Defence as "appealing to rock-ribbed temperaments, French Defence players are willing to endure cramp and suffer all kinds of indignities in order to arrive eventually at an endgame where the pawn structure definitely favours black." This was such a game where black really did have to endure indignities before eventually coming out on top!
Board 5. Nick J. Butland had white against Adam Hussain. This game started out as a Queens Indian,morphed into a Dutch Defence and Adam was able to use his very substantial time advantage to cash in in an endgame where he was a pawn up. Well played Adam.
Board 4. Toby Willis had the hapless task of trying to show some initiative against Lasker's famous freeing manoeuvre ...Ne4 in the Orthodox Defence to the Queen's Gambit Declined; this was yet another game that finished as a draw.
Board 3. David Grant drew with Peter Halmkin. As did Jamie Morgan playing white against Dave Regis on board 2.
Top board. Richard Smith won playing aggressive stuff against the higher rated Matthew Wilson. Well done, Richard! This was a Latvian Gambit and from move 12 onwards Richard's play was bold and forthright. He had me worried later in the game when it looked for a while as though his opponent was going to level material and play himself right back into it but eventually in an endgame where he would have to give up a whole rook for Richard's newly promoted pawn he resigned.
Although Cornwall lost this match, it wasn't a thrashing and we did well on the top 8 boards - actually achieving a plus-score against mighty Devon! Not a bad result and it augurs well for the future between these two teams if our lower boards can succeed in raising their form.
Matthew Wilson v Richard Smith (Board 1)