This week’s offering comes from the Walker Shield match with Folkestone and features a cracking recovery from Bob Cronin after a what he admitted was a poor start. His position rapidly deteriorated until on move 22 he was a rook and a pawn down. This was a crucial point in the game and in the match. Although Broadstairs were 1-0 ahead, Reg was already losing and if Bob were to lose then 2-2 was the best we could hope for and even then we had to rely on Andy winning what was then a drawish position. If the fat lady was not already singing then she was definitely warming up. With nothing to lose, Bob threw everything at his opponent, pushing his kingside pawns and bringing all his remaining pieces into the action. While some of Black’s moves could be questioned, there is no denying Bob’s never-say-die approach that could be crucial at the end of the season. How appropriate that this game should be played on the 75th aniversary of the real Great Escape. Well played, sir!

White:   Bob Cronin (103)     Black:  Andrew Haycock (96)

Walker Shield v Folkestone 

                                             Broadstairs   3      Folkestone  1                     

1 Andy Flood (110) 1-0 David Erwee (100)
2 Bob Cronin (103) 1-0 Andrew Haycock (96)
3 Reg Pidduck (101) 0-1 Robert Twigg (77)
4 Michael Doyle (91) 1-0  Mike White (62)

Capt Mike Doyle writes:

Before the match Folkestone gave us the run around as they were short of players, giving us Plan ‘B’, which meant Bob C standing down to follow the football at home. On arriving, Folkestone had found a fourth player and I had to call Bob and tell him that the game was on and to watch the football later. We got off to a good start as the captain was the first to chalk up a win beating Mike White’s Sicilian Defence with a g4 pawn assault on his king followed by the queen and a bishop mating: 1-0.  Next was Bob C’s topsy-turvy game with him being a rook down at the beginning and finishing with a rook and a pawn mating. Well done, Bob: 2-0. On Board 3 was the Chairman of Broadstairs Chess Club, Reg Pidduck, against tricky and stable Robert Twigg. On move 17 Reg lost a knight and it was downhill from there: 2-1. It was all down to Andy on Board 1 against their captain, David Erwee, who had a passed pawn until Andy captured it with a bishop check and winning the game: 3-1 to Broadstairs. Hard luck to Folkestone driving all that way: a good match overall.
Editor’s note: Bob’s win will be featured in the next Game of the Week.

Draws seldom feature in Game of the Week which is hardly surprising. Great games usually feature one player’s brilliance overcoming a plucky opponent. It is less common to see a game where both players appear to swap winning chances almost with alternate moves before running out of steam and finally agreeing a draw with nothing left. This week’s game comes from the European Individual Championships which began on Monday in Skopje. England’s sole representative is James Jackson, who finished runner-up to Marcus Harvey in last month’s Kidlington Chess Congress which was featured here. As is pointed out on P.48 of the current (March) edition of Chess magazine, the final outcome of that congress might have been different had Jackson spotted his winning chance in the drawn game he played against Harvey in Round 3. There is  £100,000 prize pot in the European Championships with £20,000 going to the winner. The first 22 players will qualify for the next World Cup. However, there are 361 competitors. Jackson (seeded 228) currently stands on 1½/3 and in the first round he was paired against the Croatian GM Zdenko Kozul (seeded 49) who won this event in 2006. Fasten your seat belts and hold on tight.

White:  Zdenko Kozul (2619)   Black:  James Jackson (2377)

World Team Championship 2019 


England’s achievement in finishing second in the World Team Championship is even more impressive when one considers that most members of the team suffered from various degrees of illness during the tournament. In the match against Iran the first reserve, Jonathan Speelman, played on board 4 instead of Gawain Jones who was too ill to play. What is less well known is that Speelman himself was also unwell but he played because he was less unwell than Jones. The fact that the veteran Speelman was playing at all is a reflection on the difficulty the England captain Malcolm Pein had in raising a team at such short notice as he explained in his interview. Michael Adams’ disappointing tournament is partly attributable to his not feeling 100% but he did manage to win a crucial game in the Iran match after Speelman’s early defeat. His opponent was Parham Maghsoodloo, winner of the World Junior Championship last year and featured on this site (click here). From 1-0 down, England fought back to win 3-1 which provided the springboard for their late surge to silver. Malcolm Pein described this as ‘a great win’. See what you think.

White:   Parham Maghsoodloo (2673)     Black:  Michael Adams (2708)

World Team Championship 2019 

                                       Broadstairs  6        Margate   1

1 David Faldon (175) ½-½  Peter McGill (149)
2 Shany Rezvany (163) 1-0  Harry Sharples (144)
3 Bob Page (142) ½-½  Colin Gregory (118)
4 Paul Carfrae (141) 1-0  Leon Garfield (142)
5 Richard Clement (129) 1-0  John Clarke (98)
6 Chris Stampe (124) 1-0  Michael Davies (89)
7 Michael Doyle (91) 1-0  Roy McAloney (86)

David Faldon writes:

For once, a match went our way from the start. Michael won a piece right in the opening, Richard won some pawns and Paul got an early kingside attack despite playing with the black pieces. Yes, the other games were close, but for a change being team captain added no stress to my main job, winning my own game. That I failed to do, though, thanks to excellent play from my opponent. I messed up in the opening (as usual) but then steadily improved my position until I felt confident I had good chances to win. My opponent, Peter, defended splendidly, however, until I was forced to take the draw despite still being a pawn to the good. By then we were already 5-0 up from the other games. Michael, a late substitute on board 7, kept the pressure on after his early win of a piece and was first to finish. Richard on board 5 seemed in control throughout and was second to score. Paul on board 4 chalked up our third win after successfully countering some late tricks from his opponent. Our other two winners, Shany on board 2 and Chris on board 6, both won what looked to me to be smooth positional games with the black pieces. Just what a team captain wants: his player pushing to win all the way with almost zero chance of a loss. Nice. The last game to finish wasn’t quite so smooth, but Bob on board 3 eventually made a hard-fought draw after dropping a rook for a knight in a complicated middle-game. Overall a very good result for us: five wins and two draws. Many thanks to Margate for being such cheerful hosts and for providing all the tea and biscuits.