Hatherleigh hosted the Alternative International Chess Congress on June 16th 2007 //-->
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Page updated: June 8, 2012

Hatherleigh hosts the Alternative Outdoor International Chess Congress

'Twas a dark and showery afternoon as more than 18 Chess enthusiasts gathered in The Square to compete for major prizes in this prestigious international event. Not since Carnival last year has so much excitement been seen in this hallowed square of paviours.

Teams from all over Devon joined the fray and the tension was palpable as this exciting and demanding afternoon's sport kept the spectator on the edge of his seat throughout. Everyone played three games. The rain threatened several times but hardly interrupted until the very end as the three rounds moved towards their climax at around 5pm. Most players moved into Old Schools, though two diehards stuck to their table despite getting a good dowsing, giving us some bonus pictures.

Cream Teas were served and the Tally did a good trade in refreshments. To add to the riveting atmosphere, local star turn Rob and Dave played in the rain, quietly!

The sole female player took the star prize, with Torridge (we think) taking the team prize. More when we get some further details. Meanwhile here's what happened, in pictures. Be sure to take some Prozac before looking ...

The event was sponsored by DEVON DIRECT Insurance Services Ltd (01803 698 456) in conjunction with AUSTIN SIGNS (01837 55712) and profits went to a hospice. If you can stand the excitement.

Well, we like it!

The action begins

 

How come those pieces don't slide off the board? For that matter, how come Rob and Dave don't fall off their chairs?

The scene in The Square

Why oh why did I BxQ4?

The tension builds!

Rob ...

... and Dave

er, Rob and Dave!

The real rain begins

Oh b*****, why did I do that?

Get outa that then!

The participants

Team winners

Overall winner

Mad Dogs and Englishmen ....

The Alternative International Chess Congress comes to Hatherleigh


The idea started in 1992 with a challenge match between two local Pubs, based on the conflict with France in Napoleonic times. The match was between The Red Lion, Exbourne (who represented the French as the 'La Lion Rouge'), led by a Mr Norman Parrish, aka 'Le Count', and The Devonshire Inn, Sticklepath (who represented the English in the guise of 'St George', led by a chap called Coronal Polhill.

The winning team was presented with a Cup by the Governor of Dartmoor Prison, hence the Napoleonic theme. This was to drum up some publicity for the two pubs.

The 'alternative international chess congress' started life in 1993 and was organised as a bit of fun as a local chess event at the same time as Gary Kasparov was playing a world title game with, I think, Nigel Short, and was a progression of the original idea.

Over time some other local Pubs who had people who liked a pint and a game of Chess got to hear about us and we became a local 'Pub Chess league'. Currently, 4 -5 pub's field a team of 4 players, each playing once per two weeks during the winter.

When available, the International Master - William Harston - also known for his BBC Radio 4 slot and as 'Beachcomber' of the Daily Express, together with wife and boys, pop in to adjudicate. Another notable is a chap called 'Binky Brathwait', aka the 'Gutfather'. (He was responsible for rediscovering the ancient sport of 'Gut Barging' and took the sport to Japan - i.e. Sumo, but it didn't take off!)

All comers were welcome at the 2007 Congress - £1 entry per person. Teams of 4 entered at 1.30 pm in The Market Square Hatherleigh.

Games lasted from approx 2.00 - 5.00 pm and each player got 3 games. Cream Teas were provided by Sue & Jennet for hospice care.

Sponsored by DEVON DIRECT Insurance Services Ltd (01803 698 456) in conjunction with AUSTIN SIGNS (01837 55712)

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