Regular visitors to this site may have noticed we have been unusually quiet about the FIDE World Cup currently taking place in Tbilisi and which is finally approaching its denouement. It’s not for a lack of interest, more a lack of time. So what have we missed? Well, there was ‘shortsgate’ right at the start – if you are still in the dark, try Googling ‘shorts’ and ‘chess world cup’ and it should lead you somewhere – then there was the swift elimination of most of the top English players, Carlsen (who, had he won, may have had to play against himself to challenge for the world title), Caruana and, much to the chagrin of this correspondent, Wei Yi. With a total prize fund of $1.6m with $120,000 for the winner and 128 of the best players in the world taking part, there were still enough of the big guns left, however, to maintain interest and so far as this site is concerned, we are championing another of our Chinese friends, Ding Liren, especially as he was the underdog in the semi-finals where he played Wesley So while Maxim Vachier Lagrave played Lev Aronian in the other game.
The format for the competition was two classical games and if the scores were then level, the players then played two 25-minute + 10-second increment rapid games, then two 10+10 games, then two 5+3 and, finally, Armageddon, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4 but a draw qualifies Black for the next round. The semi-finals were hard-fought and the Liren-So match went to the second 10-minute game although the first of those was the decisive one.
White: Wesley So (2792) Black: Ding Liren (2771)
FIDE World Cup 2017
And so Ding Liren is in the final! The other semi-final went to the wire. After two classical games, two 25-minute games, two 10-minute games and two 5-minute games MVL and Aronian could not be separated and so we were faced with the chess equivalent of a penalty shoot-out: Armageddon! MVL apparently won the toss and chose Black which meant he only had to draw. Aronian had the extra minute but had to win.
White: Lev Aronian (2802) Black: Maxim Vachier Lagrave (2804)
FIDE World Cup 2017 semi-final
MVL had his chances and the computer had him ahead at one point but it is Lev Aronian who will play Ding Liren in the final and who would bet against an Aronian win? Is he the best player in the world now? Time will tell.
Many thanks to Michael Doyle for contributing this exciting counter-attacking game from the club championship for our latest Game of the Week. Purists will say that it was a game lost by White but congratulations to Michael for a storming finish as Viktor’s king is besieged by the Black pieces moving in for the kill.
White: Viktor Selyukov (71) Black: Michael Doyle (81)
Broadstairs Club Championship 2017
Our first Game of the Week for the new season features a fine win by Nick McBride who wins the John Couzens Vase for the first time with this exquisite finish. It is rare for David Faldon to be reduced to such helplessness as Nick’s marauding pieces bore down on his king. Bad luck, David, but congratulations to Nick: a game worthy of the final.
White: David Faldon (174) Black: Nick McBride (173)
John Couzens Vase Final 2017
Congratulations to David Faldon who won the Goodall Cup, awarded to the winner of the club championship, for the seventh time. He has a few more years to go before he can claim to have won it more times than anyone else but who can stop him? At the AGM we heard how it was a close run thing, however, with Nick McBride taking him to the final game of the season. Other trophies awarded at the meeting were the Zielinski Shield for the best performance by a player in the bottom half of the draw, which went to Michael Doyle, the George Stiggers Trophy, awarded to Joshua Vaughan for the most improved player, and the John Cutting Cup for the player with the best grading performance in the Summer Swiss (Paul Carfrae). The John Couzens Vase, the knockout trophy, has still to be decided with the final between David Faldon and Nick McBride. Finally, the Oyster Shield for the best score by a senior Thanet player at the congress was awarded to Reg Pidduck for the fifth time! There were also two team trophies to award: the Micklethwaite Shield for the Team Buzzer tournament was presented to Nick McBride who was unbeaten in a team that included David Faldon, Paul Carfrae and Bob Page; and the Julius Day Trophy was awarded to David Faldon who captained a six-man team that were joint winners of the Jamboree: alongside David were Nick McBride, Bob Page, Paul Carfrae, Andy Flood and Michael Doyle.
The members were told that it had been another successful year for the club: numbers were constant, finances were a little down on last year but this was easily explained by Reg Pidduck, the Treasurer: new DGT 2010 clocks accounted for most of the loss and there would be no major expenditure this coming year. Most important, the club is in a healthy financial position with more than sufficient funds. Bob Page said that the website continued to be a great success with 28,000 hits in the last year and over 3000 in one month alone. The same can be said for the new Thanet Congress site that he set up. On that note, Andy Flood said that the congress had been successful with a £500 profit replacing a £500 loss last year. He thanked all those who helped and especially the three main sponsors, John Couzens Roofing, Chandlers Building Supplies and Cramptons Broadstairs.
When the Thanet Congress began in 1970 there were three sections: Open, Major and Minor, still a common arrangement in many congresses today. Not that many years ago a fourth section was added: the Intermediate. This year it was decided to add a fifth: the Challengers, an ambitious and, indeed, challenging decision. It paid off because we had 19 entrants including a junior who is the fourth best for his age group in the country. Once again, it was a local player, John Atherton from Folkestone Chess Club, who carried off the trophy. Here is his winning game from Round 5 and thanks to John for his comments.
White: John Atherton (163) Black: Paul Jackson (162)
Thanet Congress (Challengers) 2017
After a draw in Round 1 against Steve Appleby, I managed three wins and was a half-point clear going into the final round. My opponent was Paul Jackson (162). Paul had won the tournament before and is a dangerous attacking player who plays the Dutch Stonewall Variation which he used to overpower Bob Pooley in an earlier round. The main elements are a rigid centre, place a knight on e4 throw the g pawn forward and mate. I devised a scheme to blunt this …….
1.d4 e6 (Paul also plays the French but I rarely play e4) 2. g3 f5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nh3!? The idea here is twofold: first to support Bf4 if Black plays Bd6 and second, e5 is the weak black square and the knight on f4 can go to d3 whist the other knight can also control e5 via d2 and f3. 4.…d5!? persisting with the Stonewall set-up. Another plan is the d6 set-up hoping for a later e5 to neutralise the h3 knight. White switches to an e4 break. 5. O-O Bd6 6. Bf4 Be7 (Paul retains his good bishop and plans to harass the white bishop) 7. Nd2 O-O 8. c4 c6 9. Qc2 (a little positional trick – if Nd7 then cxd5 forces cxd5 else White wins the f-pawn and has easy play down the c-file)…Nh5 10. Nf3 Nxf4 12. Nxf4 Bd6 13. e3 (he won’t take the knight as his e-pawn is backward and pawn attacks on the kingside are held back.) 13…Qe7. Time for a plan: e4 breaks are tricky so let’s open up the queenside and trust in the solid white position with the great g2 bishop protecting the king. 14. b4 Nd7 15. a4 e5 (Black tries the recommended response to a wing attack with central play but it does free d4) 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Nd4 Kh8 18. c5 Bc7 19. b5 g5 20. Nd3 Nxd3 21. Qxd3 Bd7 (the c pawn is poisoned as if Qxc5 Rc1 plus bxc6 kills Black’s position) 22. Rac1 Rae8 23. bxc6 bxc6 24. Qa6 (time to go pawn grabbing and see if my trust in the position is justified) … Rf6. I offered a draw here as the only players who could catch me had drawn so a draw gave me the title. Paul of course declined. 25. Qxa7 Be5 26 Nf3 Bb8. 27. Qa5 (eyeing up e1 so that f4 exf4 followed by mass exchanges on the e-file so Paul switches to a plan to mate me down the h-file…. Rh6 28. Qc3+ Kg8 29. Rfe1 g4 (here he comes) 30. Nd4 Qg5 31. Rb1 Qh5 32. Rb7 Qxh2+ 33. Kf1 Bc8 (Sneaky: if Rxb8 then Ba6+ is overwhelming. However, this was my chance for a brilliancy with Ne6 which mates shortly.) 34. Reb1 Be5 (stops Ne6) 35. a5 (tally ho) Bxb7 36. Rxb7 Ra8 37. Qd2 (I am still winning: look at how out of play Black’s queen and rook are.) Rc8 38. Nxc6 (attacking the bishop and if Rxc6 then Bxd5+ wins) Re8 39. Qxd5+ Kh8 40. Nxe5 1-0. That’s all folks.
Peter Dirmauskas was the joint winner of the Intermediate section of the tournament with Paul Arnold whom he defeated in the final round. When featuring one of Paul’s games on this site, I had promised (threatened?) to publish his defeat by Peter in a later posting. However, Peter sent this game instead because in his words “I played a gambit which was fun, it was a nice checkmate and a quick game which was what I really needed as the extra time I had after the game to relax and recharge I think helped me in my final game against Paul Arnold.”
White: Peter Dirmauskas (118) Black: Jeff Fleischer (127)
Thanet Congress (Intermediate) 2017
And, as John Atherton rightly said, that’s all folks. I hope you have enjoyed looking through these games and thank you to all those who sent them in, especially to Kevin Thurlow who sent me all the Open games. See you all next year.