It is a long time ago that I steered my computer into this page but hopefully this effort will now end the drought.

When first started, this Editorial was aimed at highlighting some shortcomings in the administration of chess in Devon and it served a good purpose in airing these opinions and bringing them to the attention of readers and chess players generally.  Hopefully the comments offered had some effect in getting matters more or less corrected.  

Now we will address a similar problem and look for a similar remedy.

It is most noticeably that the Teignmouth Club has fallen into lean times, so much so that it has become necessary for them to withdraw from some of the more highly rated chess leagues.  During the previous year, the Grim Reaper had claimed quite a few club members including John Gorodi, Mike Hays and Dennis Ayress and some lesser notables such as Mike Carter and Patrick Qwynne.  Other members, such as Alan Brusey, Norman Tidy and myself fell into long- term illnesses and were unable to turn out for matches and Wally Sapiecha retired from club chess.  No club can sustain such losses without some impact and the club began to suffer some devastating defeats in the higher leagues.  Unfortunately, nothing of significance was done to soften this calamity and events continued until the club lost a match in which their top board had a lower grade than the opponent’s bottom board!  This result came about not only because the club lost the ability to field highly rated players but the remaining highly rated players did not help to plug the holes.  The atmosphere of “esprit de corps” that had previously been apparent and had made the club successful, went missing. Now the club needs to be led and supported by dedicated members who can turn these events around.

This must serve as a warning to other clubs to spot any coming crisis and pre-empt the effects.

Because of Teignmouth’s misfortune, it is possible that there will be some reconstruction of clubs in the Torbay area.  The Torquay club has, for a long time, just stuttered along, the Paignton club has dissolved and the Brixham club has found it difficult to increase their membership.  In an attempt to address all these problems Jon Ariss has inaugurated a Paignton club which will weld together all the remaining clubs in the area and hopefully attract members who currently travel from Paignton and Torquay to other more distant clubs.  We wish him well in this venture.

Apart from these events, other clubs in Devon continue at about the same level.  The Exeter club has enlivened their programme with interesting new events and the Plymouth club have added a one day rapidplay event to their programme.  All these events have been well attended.

Over the last eighteen months, several Devon players have ventured off the islands to play in continental events.  Trefor Thynne has ventured as far as St Petersburg and now plans to enter the Dieppe Congress in August and be part of the English team to play in the World Senior Team Championship in Crete in late April.  Brian Hewson was successful in the 2016 Guernsey Open, finishing third behind some grandmasters and plans to go further afield during the next 12 months.  In some events Brian has been joined by Meyrick Shaw and Bill Ingham.  We wish them all successful and interesting travels.

Tony Tatam has continued to climb the ranks of arbiters and is a regular member of the staff administering the British Championships.  However, he has not forsaken more local duties and he will be seen in all events that are held in Devon.

Linda  and Alan Crickmore are nearing the end of their stewardship of the erst-while Paignton Congress having served loyally for a number of years and seen the Congress through the migration to the Livermead House Hotel.   A new director is being sought and despite their illnesses, Linda and Alan will continue these duties until such time as a new director is found.

A worthy replacement for Ray Chubb as president of the Torbay Congress is Ken Alexander who was given his bath of fire at the last congress and is injecting some new features into the event.

After such a long absence, it would be possible to continue this Editorial but then, what can I write about on the next occasion?


Bill Frost

January 2017