Unlike many chess clubs that shut down after Easter once league matches have dried up, Broadstairs prides itself in remaining open for 49 weeks of the year. The Summer Swiss is a long-standing competition that the club instigated to provide plenty of chess during the supposedly quiet months from May to August. It consists of five rounds and is notable for the fact that the prize does not go to the winner but to the player with the best grading performance over the five rounds. It is therefore difficult for the highest-graded player to win even if he defeats all five opponents which we think is both laudable and egalitarian. For many years the prize was free entry to the Thanet Congress but there were two problems with this idea: firstly, the Congress had already taken place by the time of the AGM when the prize was presented and secondly, sometimes the winner did not take part in the Congress anyway. After John Cutting’s death in 2010, it was decided to present a trophy in his name and the John Cutting Cup is now awarded each year. After three rounds of this year’s competition David Faldon leads the way with 3/3, followed by Bob Page and John Couzens, both on 2½/3.
Here is picture that will bring back a few memories for some but will mean nothing to others. Apologies for the quality but clearly seated at the table is John Couzens and to his right is Hugh Hosking, who moved to Croydon within a year or two of this photo. On the far left is Ron Reed, and from the right we have Paul Havens, Bob Page, Bill Gray, who died a year or two later, and Reg Pidduck. The more you look at the photo, however, the more puzzling it appears. The occasion appears to be an AGM but what year? Who can remember the name of the young man behind Reg’s right shoulder? Most intriguingly, in what room was the photo taken? Any suggestions would be welcome.
Post script: Many thanks to all those who offered suggestions. A big clue to the year was that Paul Havens is clearly holding the Goodall Cup. John Couzens joined the club in 1990 so it puts the photo at somewhere in the mid-90s. Paul won the Goodall Cup in 1995 and 1996 but only in the latter year did all those in the photo appear at the AGM. A glance at the 1996 minutes suggests that David Wheatley – to his surprise – took the photo. The young chap to Reg’s left is Chris Newberry and the room is our current Room 10 at the far end. The confusion was caused by the cupboards and fireplace on the right since removed. The less said about David Wheatley’s suggestion that the chap second from the right (your correspondent) was ‘a young-looking Steve Guy’, the better. John will be flattered by Michael Doyle’s guess that he was in his late 20s when the photo was taken but then I did say it was poor quality….
Regular visitors to this site may be wondering what has happened to Wei Yi since our last bulletin. For the uninitiated, Wei Yi is a formidable talent in the chess world. In January he won the Tata Steel Challengers at Wijk an See with some sparkling chess (see Game of the Week 9) at which point he was ranked 49 in the world. Since then his star has continued to rise: in April China won the World Chess Team Championships (Wei Yi +5 =4 -0) and in May he won the Chinese Chess Championships. He is now ranked 30 in the world yet only last week did he celebrate his sixteenth birthday. Both Michael Adams and Malcolm Pein featured his Round 4 win against Ding Liren (ELO 2749) in their newspaper articles – probably because Ding had a higher grade and was the runner-up – but your correspondent, a lesser judge, preferred this one from Round 6, even though his lower-graded opponent could only finish twelfth.
White: Wei Yi (2718) Black: Liu Qingnan (2521)
(Chinese Chess Championships 2015)
This splendid chess set has been donated to the Club by Mrs Rowena Smith. It has been in her family for many years and, as no-one played the game any more, she was looking for a willing home for it. The pieces were bought by her father, who made the board and box, and gave it to her as a present for her sixteenth birthday. The board can be lifted out of the box and there are two drawers underneath for the pieces which resemble Chinese figures and are made of resin. It has been suggested that we award the set as an annual prize and a provisional name for it is the Richard Pilcher Prize after Mrs Smith’s father. Suggestions are welcome and, in the meantime, Reg is looking after the set. We would like to thank Mrs Smith for this generous gift and we fully intend to find a suitable purpose for it.
At the recent St Albans Congress two faces familiar to Broadstairs players were participating in their respective sections. Toby Stock (left) was a member from 2009-2011 before moving to Mexico to be with his girlfriend. Now married and a father, he is back in the UK living near Cambridge, and has started playing chess again. He was in contention for a possible prize in the Challengers (U180) before losing his last game to finish on 2½/5. Older players may remember Toby’s father, William, who played for Birchington for many years. After twenty years he has emerged from a self-imposed chess exile and is playing for Rainham where he now lives. At St Albans he scored 3/5 in the Minor section (U120).
On the right is Oliver Finnegan, who won the Goodall Cup (the club championship) in 2001 and played for Broadstairs for a few seasons at the start of the millennium. He now plays for Loughton in Essex and scored 2½/5 in the Major section (U160). He was disappointed and with a January grade of 158, that’s understandable. He asked after current members and said he saw David Wheatley and Clive Le Baigue recently. We may see him at the Thanet Congress in the summer.
Photographs by Brendan O’Gorman