Congratulations to the Mick Croft Cup team in winning Broadstairs’ second trophy of the season with their fine win on Monday. As John’s report makes clear, it was a tense occasion with two evenly matched teams.  At 1-0 down, the next result was crucial. If Woodnesborough won that game, Broadstairs would have to take at least two and a half points from the remaining three games to win the trophy. Paul Johnson’s game looked like being the next to finish and the rook and pawn ending was far from easy. As spectators gathered around the board, full credit to Paul for holding his nerve and winning this vital game that proved to be the turning point in the match.


Mick Croft Cup Final v Woodnesborough  

White:  Raj Sookhurry (e110)      Black:  Paul Johnson (116)

                                                 Broadstairs  3        Woodnesborough   2 

1 Shani Rezvany  (163) 1-0 Harry Sharples (144)
2 Richard Clement (129) 1-0 John Thorley (140)
3 Chris Stampe (124) 0-1 William Grummitt (133)
4 Paul Johnson (116) 1-0 Raj Sookhurry (e110)
5 Michael Doyle  (91) 0-1 Mark Towlson (94)

Grade totals:                          623/625                                            621/625


John Couzens reports:

So we made it to the final after a  spell of eight years in the Mick Croft Cup wilderness!

My first choice team were all available so I had high hopes of a good result (no cannon fodder needed this time)

Woodnesborough at home ….. Come on!

Harry’s boys showed up and my confidence took a bit of a knock when I saw John Thorley (140) was on board two, William Grummitt (133) on board three, Raj Sookhurry estimated at 110 on board four (we all know how estimated grades can differ from real grades!) and Mark ‘Thanet Congress king’ Towlson 94 on board five….

mmmmmm not going to be as easy as I’d anticipated

My expectations took another hit when after 20 moves Michael ‘reliable’ Doyle lost his queen for nothing!

Soon after he gave up his rook, resigned and went home. (We missed you in Cramptons, barmaids and all – come back soon!)

The other four boards all looked equal for ages, then Chris hit a central brick wall and lost the exchange

John Thorley offered Richard a draw (declined) and Paul’s game looked like drawing too

Looking good for the visitors

Then Paul dug deep and finished a tense endgame, forcing Raj to resign

Shany was pushing Harry hard, won a knight and eventually Harry had to resign

2-1 up

All we need now is a draw from Chris or Richard and the Cup would be ours (with a drawn match, the bottom board result is eliminated -Ed)

Then Richard ‘Cliff Thorburn’ Clement finally ground poor old John Thorley into submission

The cup was ours!

Small consolation for Woodnesborough as William finished off Chris in the final minutes

Final score 3-2

Well done, Broadstairs superstars!


The Tata Steel Chess Tournament which begins tomorrow (Jan 11) is one of the biggest events in the chess calendar. This year is the 81st tournament and although its name has changed in that time, it has always been held in the Dutch town of Wijk aan Zee. It regularly attracts the best players in the world – Magnus Carlsen will be playing for the fifteenth time – and six of the world’s top ten players will be competing this year. The second seed behind the world champion is the Azerbaijani, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, known throughout the chess world as Shakh. He is the current world number three and for those who think Carlsen is unassailable these days, it is worth noting that he and Shakh met nine times last year in all formats with Carlsen only winning once and that was in a blitz tournament. Here is Shakh’s neat victory over the champion at Biel in the summer where he finished clear first by one and a half points.

White:  Shakhriyar  Mamedyarov (2801)      Black:  Magnus Carlsen (2842)

 Biel International Chess Festival 2018 

The average ELO rating in the Masters Tournament is 2753 and there is also a Challengers Tournament where the average is 2580. Both sections have fourteen players. The website has all the information you need and a lot more. The archive is worth a look – it provides details of the most games played (of current players, Vishy Anand 221) and the highest win percentage. Of this year’s competitors it is not Carlsen but Ding Liren with 63.46% so perhaps he is worth a punt if you are a betting person. One curious feature of the Masters Tournament is that for the past six years it has gone ‘on tour’ with two of the rounds taking place in alternative venues to Wijk aan Zee. This year Round 5 will take place in Alkmaar (see below) and Round 10 in Leiden.
In addition to the two major tournaments, there are also several events for those mere mortals quaintly described on the official site as ‘amateurs’. These tournaments attract thousands of entries. Finally there is the Tata Steel Chess Festival on January 19-20 and if you can understand Dutch, there is more information here  (I couldn’t find a translate button). The Masters gets under way on Saturday and there will be updates on this site from our Dutch correspondent, Rook van Zugzwang.

Here is a heavyweight clash for Game of the Week: numbers two and three in the club championship. Imagine Man City v Spurs.  Thank you to Trefor for sending this in. He modestly claims in his email that he is ‘not sure it qualifies as Game of the Week but the finish was quite nice’.  As we are becoming accustomed to seeing with Trefor’s games, his notes are a welcome addition and explanation to the game.  Don’t hold back if you think you have a game that is worth sharing with a wider audience. I suspect players are too modest to send them in but please do so – they are often much better than you think.

White:  Trefor Owens (167)      Black:  Shany Rezvany (163)

 Goodall Cup (Broadstairs Club Championship) 

                                             Broadstairs   2½      Margate 1½                      

1 Bob Cronin (103) 0-1 Leon Garfield (102)
2 Reg Pidduck (101) ½-½ John Clarke (98)
3 Michael Doyle (91) 1-0 Roy McAloney (86)
4 Michael Jenkinson (78) 1-0 Cameron Plater (49)

Capt Mike Doyle writes:

To stay in the running for Walker Shield, we had to beat Margate who had won both their matches. Captain Mike was the first winner against a tricky opponent. He finished a pawn up and Roy resigned before the pawn changed to a queen. Our next winner was Michael Jenkinson, who on the 14th move took his opponent’s queen with a rook: 2-0. It was hunky-dory until then but then came a blow – Bob lost to a formidable opponent in a tight game: 2-1. It was then down to Reg who was last to finish. He was up against John Clarke, who had one or two tricks up his sleeve.  It all came down to a white rook and knight against a rook and bishop. In the end a draw was agreed and Broadstairs won 2½-1½. Well done, boys! We are second in the league now and that’s a winning start to the New Year. Next on our calendar is Bridge at home. Go for it!