A relieved Carlsen at the press conference

You would have had to stay up late on Thursday evening to see Magnus Carlsen finally break his duck and level the score in the World Championship at 1-1 with two games to go. Who would bet against the Champion now, especially as he has the white pieces in Game 12? Many experts are predicting a tie break, however, which would be decided next Wednesday, Carlsen’s 26th birthday.  The theme in this match appears to be the consistency of the players’ inconsistency.  True to form, there were moves in this match that puzzled the commentators, none more so than Karjakin’s 20th move. After 20. Nd2 he had the chance to force a draw with 20…Nf2+! He claimed at the press conference that he had overlooked the resulting fork had Carlsen not repeated, winning the queen. Instead he played 20….d5 almost instantly, a move described by one commentator as “one of the most shocking moves of the entire World Championship”! Eventually, Carlsen’s pressure told and after yet another six-hour game it was the challenger’s turn to wilt.

After two wins in the last three matches, the excitement is spreading beyond the chess world. After Game 8 The Independent went so far as to say with apparent sincerity that “The most exciting sporting event on the planet right now is the World Chess Championship match in New York!” although the article’s sign-off line, “It’s exciting stuff, people,” was less than convincing.   To his credit, there was no sulking from Karjakin who, unlike his opponent the other day, fulfilled his contractual obligations by turning up to answer questions at the press conference. This time it was Carlsen who had the last word: “It’s a huge relief. I haven’t won in ten games and that’s basically something that hasn’t happened to me. It’s been a struggle, and it’s still going to be a struggle, but at least now we’re fighting on level terms.”          

White: Magnus Carlsen (2853)            Black: Sergey Karjakin (2772)

World Chess Championship Game 10  

Broadstairs  2         Herne Bay   2 

1 Reg Pidduck (107) 0-1     Paul Johnson  (113)
2 Bob Cronin (103) 1-0     Ronnie Melhuish  (96)
3 Michael Doyle (90) 0-1     Eddie Ridley (64)
4 Michael Jenkinson  (83) 1-0     John Heath (48 )

Reg Pidduck writes:

BOARD 4 – A NEW SUPERSUB.  Last minute sub Michael J. got us off to a flying start with a win against John Heath inside an hour and a half.

1-0 to us

BOARD 3 – CUT AND THRUST. Every time I glanced at Michael’s game,  first one then the other looked in control. Then Michael went an exchange up. I looked again and then Eddie was looking the more dangerous. In the end Eddie wore our Michael down.


BOARD 2 – A GREAT WIN.  I have always thought Ronnie a very difficult opponent and he always plays better than his 96 grade suggests so our Bob needed to play a solid game against him and Bob came up trumps gaining control with a pawn advantage that Ronnie could not stop.

2-1 to us

BOARD 1 – A CAPTAIN’S INNINGS? SADLY NOT. Early exchanges were even until Paul gained a centre pawn. I then had to withstand a constant attack to try and maintain a position but to no avail as Paul captured my king.

2-2 draw    Played 3  Won 0  Drawn 2  Lost 1


                  Karjakin reflects on his victory

After a series of draws, some more interesting than others, the World Championship finally came alive in Game 8 in sensationally unexpected fashion with a win for the challenger, Sergey Karjakin with the black pieces. Commentators agree that the World Champion has not been playing well and it seemed as if Carlsen was determined to win this game with the advantage of the white pieces. However, over-pressing in time trouble, he blundered with disastrous consequences.  His problems did not end there because in frustration he later stormed out of the press conference, a contractual obligation with a 10% deduction in prize money the consequence i.e. a minimum of $40,000. Needless to say, the official Russian chess website celebrated the unexpected win with understandable delight, imaginatively comparing Karjakin’s eighth round ‘knockout’ with Muhammad Ali’s defeat of George Foreman in the same round of the Rumble in the Jungle when Foreman, like Carlsen, was the overwhelming favourite. The difference here is that Carlsen has four more ’rounds’ to recover which Foreman did not. However, the hubris of his statement at the opening press conference (“I’ll punch him until he finally knocks over”), which the Russian blogger, Vladimir Barsky, took great pleasure in repeating,  may come back to bite him.   Game 9 takes place tomorrow (Wednesday).

White: Magnus Carlsen (2853)            Black: Sergey Karjakin (2772)

World Chess Championship Game 8  

Those players who refuse to resign in lost positions can take heart from this game. A rook and two pieces down with a passed pawn on the sixth rank? No problem! White may have had some better alternatives to the moves played but you can’t fault Black for the sheer pluck and doggedness of his counter attack.


White: Mark Towlson (101)            Black: Reg Pidduck (107)

Mick Croft Cup v Woodnesborough  

Broadstairs   2              Woodnesborough    3

1 Nick McBride (e160) ½-½ Harry Sharples (150)
2 Bob Page (141) ½-½ Emily Green (146)
3 John Couzens (125) 0-1 John Thorley (142)
4 Reg Pidduck (107) 1-0 Mark Towlson (101)
5 Michael Doyle (90) 0-1 Dennis Stokes-Carter (85)

Bob Page writes:

For the second successive year we were dispatched from the Mick Croft Cup by Woodnesborough and while any defeat is disappointing, I don’t think we can have any complaints. We had a strong team under the rules of the competition (max 625 for all players) but Woody’s aggregate was 624 so it was always going to be tough. However, we won only one game and that was an outrageous swindle that Mark Towlson, Reg’s opponent, will not want to see again – but you can as it features in our Swindle of the Week above this report.

The evening began with a winning toss giving us white on three of the five boards and within an hour we were 1-0 up thanks to Reg’s extraordinary win. Thereafter, things did not go quite so well. Michael had an even game but once his opponent created a passed pawn on his a-file, he was always under pressure and his resignation evened the scores. I should have won my game but Emily kept finding the only move to avoid mate, eventually creating a mating threat of her own which I managed to prevent with a curious perpetual check: I had to keep checking to avoid being mated while she had to repeat to avoid me winning a piece and the game.

At 1½-1½ we were still confident. One point from the last two games would give us victory as with the scores level the bottom board is eliminated. However, despite battling gamely against a stronger opponent, John was always struggling to maintain parity and eventually had to resign at about 11.00, and Nick’s promising position earlier in the game disappeared with a misjudgement that lost him a bishop for a pawn and a draw was the best he could achieve. Never mind – we all agreed that just like the old football cliché when a team is eliminated from a cup competition,  we would now concentrate on the league so we shall have to settle for the Millar Cup this year.  Well done, Woodnesborough, and good luck in the final.