It was tempting to label the game reproduced here as Game of the Week but that would be a gross understatement alongside our more modest examples from Broadstairs Chess Club. The FIDE Candidates Tournament is currently taking place in Berlin to decide who will play Magnus Carlsen later this year in London for the World Chess Championship. There has been some terrific chess played in the opening rounds and the following Round 3 game between Lev Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik has attracted most of the attention. Already christened the Berlin Immortal – it was a Berlin Defence played in Berlin – Kramnik claimed afterwards that he had been waiting to play this for two years but did not think he would get an opportunity in a Candidates Tournament, especially against Aronian who last opened with 1. e4 over a year ago in the Sharjah Grand Prix. The background to this surprise is that the opening move was made – as often happens in big tournaments – by a guest, the pianist Francesco Tristano who, without any apparent consultation with Aronian, played 1. e4   The players do not have to accept this as a legitimate move and Kramnik said later that he expected Aronian to move the pawn back to e2 and play 1. d4 but he didn’t. While it might be absurd as some amateur commentators have done online to suggest that 1. e4 was Aronian’s losing move, 7….Rg8 was certainly a surprise. Nigel Short went a little further, tweeting: “I love Kramnik’s 7…Rg8! It is like the sort of crap I play in blitz.”  The result was a spectacular win for Kramnik and it would be interesting to know when was the last time Aronian was beaten in 27 moves playing White.

White:  Levon Aronian (2794)   Black:  Vladimir Kramnik  (2800)  

FIDE Candidates Tournament 2018

After the game leading players were unstinting in their praise for Kramnik. Alexander Grischuk, one of his fellow competitors in the tournament, described it as “one of the best games I have ever seen,” while Short, having recovered from the shock of 7….Rg8, said “Simply brilliant chess by Vlad Kramnik! I take my hat off to him. Outstanding. Love it!”   Soon after the game finished both players appeared at the press conference which is well worth a look.

Aronian was gracious in defeat but said little while Kramnik was modest: “Frankly the game was flashy, but it was not extremely difficult.” See if you agree!     

                                                      Broadstairs  3½     Bridge ½ 

1 Reg Pidduck (107) 1-0    Graeme Boxall (99)
2 Bob Cronin (104) ½-½    Ian Redmond (75)
3 Gary Hilleard (e100) 1-0   Ray Rennells (75)
4 Michael Doyle (81) 1-0    def.

Reg Pidduck writes:

The Bridge players were not only one player short but had the misfortune of being held up due to a house fire on Haine Road.

BOARD 4. NO BRIDGE PLAYER.  Captain Michael had the walkover: 1-0 up

BOARD 2. A GOOD DRAW FOR IAN . Our Bob and Ian Redmond’s match at first glance looked close. On further study I could see Bob had all the space for his queen to rule the board. But Ian seized the opportunity of a perpetual check to draw the game: 1½-½ to us

BOARD 1. MY FAVE DUTCH.  After our opening salvos, my Dutch Defence was on top but Graeme was able to castle queenside to hold me off. We then played cat and mouse till my move 23 put me a Bishop up. By move 36 Graeme’s cause was lost and he resigned: 2½-½  to us

BOARD 3. A GREAT DEBUT. Broadstairs’ newest member Gary was three pawns up within an hour’s play. But Ray Rennells was not easy to shake off, and fought tooth and nail to come back. Finally in an endgame  the pawn advantage was too much and Ray conceded.

Match won 3½-½. Thanks to Bridge for their patience getting to us.

Latest Walker Shield table

Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Ramsgate 7 6 0 1 22 6 12 0 0 0
Broadstairs 6 4 0 2 14 10 8 0 0 0
Margate 5 3 1 1 13½ 7 0 0 0
Bridge 6 3 0 3 10 14 6 0 0 0
Woodnesborough A 7 1 2 4 9 18 4 0 0 0
Woodnesborough B 7 0 1 6 20½ 1 0 0 0

                                             Broadstairs  3½         Folkestone 3½ 

1 Nick McBride  (173) ½-½    Jim Bayford (178)
2 Bob Page (135) 0-1    Martin Cutmore (173)
3 Paul Carfrae (133) 0-1    David Shire (168)
4 Richard Clement (e130) 0-1    Kevin Smythe (163)
5 John Couzens (116) 1-0    John Atherton (163)
6 Reg Pidduck (107) 1-0    David Erwee (96)
7 Andy Flood (106) 1-0    Robert Twigg (76)

David Faldon writes:

What a fantastic match! It had everything: controversy, brilliant play, blunders and a last minute equaliser. What more could you ask of an evening’s entertainment? The controversy came at the beginning when the Broadstairs captain substituted himself out on board one when Nick became available, but what else could he do when he’d already asked six others to play? Anyway, the board one substitute proved well up to the task, sacrificing his queen right in the opening for two knights and a bishop. Nick wasn’t the first to finish, though. Andy took that honour, winning with black in just eleven moves on board 7 when his opponent mislaid his queen for just the one knight. Despite this early 1-0 lead for Broadstairs, Folkestone were well on top after an hour and I decided that anything other than a 1-6 defeat would be positive. The next three games to finish went as predicted, leaving Folkestone 3-1 up. Bob, Paul and Richard on boards 2, 3 and 4 all went down to much higher-rated opponents, though not without a struggle, especially so in Paul’s case when he fought back strongly after dropping a rook for not a lot. The board one game was next to finish when the players agreed a draw, presumably exhausted by the complications. Hopefully, this game will appear on the website soon, so you can all enjoy it. That result left Broadstairs needing to win the last two games. The battle of the two Johns on board 5 was a story of long heroic defence from John C for Broadstairs, suddenly turned to triumph with a surprising knight sacrifice. Well played! One to go. The board 6 game was tremendous and strange, with both players mixing brilliant ideas with missed opportunities but both certainly played well above their rather modest grades. In truth it was a bit of a shame that one player had to lose, but Reg’s win was most welcome for Broadstairs, equalising the score at 3½ to 3½. Exhausting to watch but great fun!

The problem with many club championships is that few players have a chance of winning anything. At Broadstairs we have a trophy for the player in the lower half of the league who achieves the highest score at the end of the season. This is the Zielinski Shield, named after Alek Zielinski, a long-standing club member no longer with us.  The current holder of the shield is Michael Doyle and he is on course to win it again, especially if he plays many more games like this one. In his own words: “Vying for the Zielinski Shield, Mike Doyle goes all out to destroy John Couzens’ Sicilian Defence with a knight sacrifice on move thirteen and has already scored seven points in the bottom half of the club championship.”

White:   Michael Doyle  (81)    Black:  John Couzens (116)

Goodall Cup

This week’s game comes from the recent Millar Cup victory over Bridge B. A win against a player 30+ points stronger is always worth celebrating and while White’s play is hardly faultless, ultimately it is the player who makes the most mistakes who generally loses and that is the case here.

White:   Robert Page  (135)    Black:  Alan Atkinson (173)

Millar Cup v Bridge B