President Reg presents David Faldon with the Goodall Cup

The AGM is traditionally the start of the season, an occasion for club members to meet up after the summer break, especially those who did not take part in the Congress. And what a year it has been. A glance at the number of trophies below suggests that the club must have won almost everything on offer and it certainly seemed that way. For the  record, five league trophies were won: the Micklethwaite Shield for the Team Buzzer (for the third year in a row), the Team Quickplay Shield, the Julius Day Shield for the Jamboree, the Hargreaves Shield and the Mick Croft Cup. In addition, there were the four trophies won by Broadstairs players at the Thanet Congress and that does not include all the trophies awarded for club competitions.

        Trophies galore – notice  the ‘Johnnies’ hiding at the back

If there is one club trophy that deserves celebrating more than any other, it is David Faldon’s record-breaking ninth success in the winning the Goodall Cup for the club championship. David has won or shared the trophy every year since he arrived at the club and this year faced probably his toughest competition yet. Nevertheless he prevailed again and here he is proudly receiving the cup again from the President, Reg Pidduck. The other prizewinners were as follows: Paul Johnson (Zielinski Shield and George Stiggers Trophy), Michael Doyle (John Cutting Cup) and  Chris Stampe (Richard Pilcher Prize). Congratulations one and all.

The usual AGM business followed – the election of club officers, reports from the team captains, Treasurer and Secretary – and there is usually a surprise or two with this year being no exception. The change to the club championship was not exactly a surprise as it was tentatively agreed in the summer but needed to be ratified at the AGM. In short,  we have struggled to complete all our Goodall games in recent years, the season continuing to August notwithstanding. We decided, therefore, to do what many clubs do and include specific rounds into our fixture list. Previously players arranged games with anyone at any time but now there will be fixed dates. If you want to know how a club championship with 22 players playing 21 matches works – or doesn’t! – watch this space. The genuine surprise at this year’s AGM was the decision to adopt Fischer time once again for the club championship. This is more widespread at top level chess and becoming more popular in congresses. The Thanet Congress has used it for some time and Broadstairs introduced it for one season a few years ago but it was voted out the next year because the Thanet League maintained a quickplay finish and it was felt we should do the same. However, as usual, Broadstairs leads the way forward.

         Reg presents Chris Stampe with the Richard Pilcher Prize.

The decision to enter a team in the newest Thanet League competition, the Steele Cup, had already been made and Paul Carfrae was confirmed as captain while Paul Johnson was elected captain of the Hargreaves Shield team. All other posts remained the same. We were sorry to lose Gary Hilleard at the end of last season. He has moved house and is joining Bridge Chess Club but we welcomed two new members to the club, Dominic Blundell and Niko Kouthouri-Whittaker. Both have joined the club championship so while they are ungraded at present, they are certain to be given a grade in the New Year. Finally, the Christmas Dinner was fixed for Monday December 16th at the Tartar Frigate and it could be a record turnout this year, especially as the club agreed to subsidise it once again.

The meeting closed at 10.02 p.m. after which many of us drifted along to Cramptons where Gareth, the landlord, was presented with his own ‘Johnnie’ as one of the three main sponsors of the 50th Thanet Chess Congress. Thanks to Ian Hames for taking the photographs.


               Alan Merry receives his ‘Johnny’ from Johnny

Nineteen players competed for the Open this year and while previous winners Alan Merry and Martin Taylor were the favourites before the start, there was competition from some strong juniors including Mikey Watson, last year’s Kent Open Champion, and Edward Gray, who won the 2018 Challengers. Various players caught the eye. Partha Mulay, graded 182 scored 4/5 for a performance rating of 216. His only loss was to Taylor and he was fortunate to avoid Merry.  Gordon Botley, the only one of all the 1970 originals to play in the Open, scored a highly respectable 2½ points as did our own David Faldon, who had the misfortune to be drawn against Taylor in Round 1 for the second year running. Congratulations to Folkestone’s Jim Bayford, who won the U185 grading prize with 3/5. On the top boards Merry had made his task of winning more difficult by taking a bye in Round 1. While he won his first three games to sit on 3½/4 going into the final round, Taylor had won all his games and led on 4/4. The gloves were off, the chips were down and it was pistols at dawn…or, at least, 2.30 in the afternoon (that’s enough clichés, thank you – Ed). Here is the crucial deciding game with thanks again to Trefor Owens for his comments.

White:   IM Alan Merry (238)    Black:  FM Martin Taylor (220)

50th Thanet Congress (Open) Round 5

Martin Taylor, replying to Trefor’s comments, added:

As far as the annotations go, you’ve pretty much summed it up, but a couple of points:

  • Alan has a very wide repertoire and this was in fact the first time he has tried 1.e4 against me!
  • 7… 0-0? is already a serious inaccuracy and 8.c5! is the correct punishment of it;
  • 10…dxc5 11.dxc5 b6 is an improvement;
  • I saw 21…a6! 22.g4 Nb5 but underestimated its strength; after not playing it, I am toast.”


It was not all doom and gloom for Taylor, however, who received the Kent Open Champion Trophy and shared the SCCU Individual Trophy with the impressive Partha Mulay (see photo).  Meanwhile, spare a thought for John  Anderson. Having won his first two games, he lost to Taylor in Round 3 only to be paired with Merry in Round 4. Thanks to David Faldon for his ‘How Good is Your Chess’ comments in the following game.

White:  John Anderson (200)   Black:  IM Alan Merry (238)  

50th Thanet Congress (Open) Round 4


That wraps up all the winning games at this year’s congress. It was, of course, the 50th Thanet Congress and there was more going on than mere chess. There is a report on the special presentations on the congress website.

Manoj with the Kent Intermediate Trophy

Twenty-four players entered the Intermediate Section of the congress (U131) and the winner at his first attempt was Manoj Natarajan with 4½/5. Manoj joined Broadstairs Chess Club in April and his victory meant that four of the five sections were won by Broadstairs players which if it is not unique is certainly unusual. Having beaten the top seed in Round 1, a player who hailed from Bude in Cornwall, Manoj was then drawn against another man from the West Country in Terence Greenaway from Torquay in Round 2. There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Manoj has had to cancel his holiday in Newquay for next year. Here is his Round 2 win and thanks again to Trefor Owens for his comments.

White:   Manoj Natarajan (114)    Black:  Terence Greenaway (125)

50th Thanet Congress (Intermediate) Round 2


    An elated John Couzens with Gordon Lloyd

Minor sections in chess congresses are traditionally and unsurprisingly the largest and this was no exception. 28 players of all ages took part in the Thanet Minor (U111), the usual mixture of wily veterans who had seen it all before and ambitious young whippersnappers who hadn’t and didn’t care. John Couzens, the Gullbuster, may not yet qualify as a veteran – he is a few years off competing for the Oyster Shield for the best score by a Thanet player aged 60 or over in the Minor or Intermediate sections – although it might be stretching a point to describe him as a young whippersnapper. Experience is a great asset, however, and it was a surprise to see John in the Minor, his grade dropping below the threshold for the first time in ten years. This made him one of the favourites and after four straight wins he must have been confident of success.

Wait a minute…..who is this young upstart John’s been drawn against in the final round? Why, it’s young Charlie Ball from Hertfordshire Juniors who is also on 4/4. Charlie’s current grade is 101 but in January it was 88 and last July 64! Surely, this is just the sort of banana skin the Gullbuster was dreading. As John chatted with Charlie and his parents before the game, the younger player betrayed no sign of nerves but who knows what John was thinking. Within minutes of the start we soon found out – draw agreed! They share first place. Charlie, as a Hertfordshire player does not qualify as Kent Minor Champion so that title goes to John. But what about the ‘Johnny’, the special trophy that John had himself made for the winners of each of the sections? Had he won the game, it would have been his but what if he had drawn or – dread the thought – lost? Here John had a joker up his sleeve… addition to the five trophies for each of the winners, five more were made: one for Gordon Lloyd, the first controller, one spare and three for the sponsors. So John, as a major sponsor, already had one. A draw would almost certainly allow Charlie to win a trophy for himself and so it proved. Was John’s early draw offer a gesture typical of the legendary charm of the Gullbuster or merely a sign of nerves against a rising star? Romantics will want to believe the former but either way, as in the best fairy stories, they all lived happily ever after.

In the absence of a meaningful game in John’s final round, here is his Round 4 win with comments by Trefor Owens.

White:   Andrew Gillard (109)    Black:  John Couzens (108)

50th Thanet Congress (Minor) Round 4


Trefor receiving the Kent Challengers Trophy 

The Challengers (U171) was the smallest entry in the Congress with seventeen players but the least predictable at the start with over half of the players graded within six points of each other and no-one over 165. Consequently, it was hardly surprising that first place was shared although few could have foreseen a five-way tie. As I write, it appears that Trefor Owens and Mike Taylor, who share the same grade, also seem to have the same result when the sum of progressive scores is calculated although Trefor is listed as first in the official published results. While there may be some dispute about who wins the ‘Johnny’ – John Couzens’ special 50th Thanet Congress prize – there is no question as to which of the two is the Kent Challengers Champion: Trefor plays for Broadstairs while Mike comes from Stockport! Here is Trefor’s second round win with his own comments against another local player, Patrick Burns from Bridge.

White:   Trefor Owens (165)    Black:  Patrick Burns (161)

50th Thanet Congress (Challengers) Round 2