Broadstairs  5        Bridge   2

1 David Faldon (178) ½-½  Patrick Burns (161)
2 Arnaud Wisman (168) ½-½  James Essinger (e160)
3 Trefor Owens (164) ½-½  Peter Blundell (115)
4 Richard Clement (145) 1-0 Gary Hilleard (107)
5 Chris Stampe (141) 1-0  Tim Spencer (98)
6 Paul Johnson (138) 1-0  James Smith (93)
7 Bob Page (133) ½-½  Graeme Boxall (86)

David Faldon writes:

Our first Millar Cup match of the season, and our first victory. We took a strong team to Bridge, missing only Shany Rezvany who is currently in a London hospital. We wish him well. On the other hand, Bridge were short of several of their regulars so we had every reason to hope for an easy match. It was anything but! The top three boards all drew fairly quickly, leaving the match result in the hands of the lower boards. All four of the remaining games were hard-fought and could have gone either way. Paul on board six was the first to finish. Both sides were attacking at the same time and something had to go missing – luckily for us it was one of the white rooks and Paul had won. Advantage Broadstairs, but we were an exchange down (bishop or knight for a rook) on boards five and seven, and we were under pressure on board four. Could we survive? Bob on board seven provided the first answer when his well-timed draw offer was accepted. Bob had tactical chances but he was still an exchange down. All in all a good result for us, as it left us 3-2 up. Chris on board five then scored a win to secure the match. This was a tremendous game, with the attacks going back and forth like a tennis match until the Bridge player dropped a rook for not a lot and Chris made no mistake in pressing home his advantage. That took the pressure off the board four game, but by then Richard had the upper hand anyway, and he finished the game with a neat mating attack. This was the game of the match from what I could see and it provides us with this season’s first Game of the Week.  Many thanks to all the Broadstairs players, and especially to Bob for giving me and Trefor a lift. And many thanks to Bridge. As usual, they made us feel very welcome and even provided tea, coffee and biscuits.

Editor’s note: It was good to see Gary again, even if he was playing for the opposition but then we had two in our team who used to play for Bridge. This game features notes by Richard together with contributions from David.

White:   Gary Hilleard (107)    Black:  Richard Clement (145)

Millar Cup v Bridge (a)



                                             Broadstairs   2½      Margate  1½                       

1 Andy Flood (115) 1-0 Leon Garfield (104)
2 Reg Pidduck (99) 0-1 John Clarke (92)
3 Bob Cronin (90) ½-½ Roy McAloney (83)
4 Michael Doyle (87) 1-0 Chris Wyer (19)

Capt Mike Doyle writes:

Broadstairs started off the season with a win against Margate. It was a narrow margin as John Couzens went down with flu at the eleventh hour and I stood in for him. All the players were ready to start their games but my opponent did not appear until fifteen minutes later. The first result was a draw between Bob Cronin and Roy McAloney. Bob’s attacks were stifled by Roy’s stonewall approach and they shook hands on a draw.  President of Broadstairs Chess Club, Reg Pidduck, was up against an improved player in John Clarke who managed to get two pawns ahead with a rook and a king in the end game. Hard luck, Reg, and we were suddenly a point down and about to lose as we did last season against Margate. However, on Board 1 Andy put in a fine performance and levelled the match against a solid Leon Garfield with a Reti opening which bamboozled his opponent. It was down to the captain as the players crowded round the last game. I had a queen and a rook against two rooks and a bishop and my opponent (playing well above his grade) got me in an mating attack with two rooks doubled up on the ‘h’ file but I defended well with a Capablanca-style finish and mated him with my queen on the seventh rank and passed pawn for a second queen to mate. Here’s a victory that will be well remembered: not only was it a win in the opening match of this year’s Walker Shield campaign but we avenged our defeat against Margate last year. Well done, lads! Thanks to all our players who took part and we wish John a speedy recovery and hope to see him back soon at the most prestigious club in Thanet. (That’s what the website says!)


The new season is under way and with it a few surprising features agreed at the AGM. The main surprise was the decision to change the time control for the club championship from the traditional 36 moves in 90 minutes and then all remaining moves in a fifteen-minute quickplay finish to the more forward-looking and increasingly popular Fischer time. This is used at most top level tournaments now and weekend congresses are beginning to adopt it including the Thanet Congress which has done so for the past few years. For the uninitiated, Fischer time stipulates that all moves are to be completed in a set time but with the addition of an fixed increment per move. In the Thanet Congress the time control is all moves in 90 minutes with a 30 second increment per move. It was used for one season at the club a few years ago but was then scrapped because all league competitions kept to quickplay finishes and the majority of members preferred to have one system for consistency. It was not a unanimous decision to reinstate it but so far it seems to be working well. The one bone of contention is that it was decided to play all moves in 60 rather than 90 minutes with a 30 second increment. The reason for this was a worry that games might go on beyond our allotted time in the club although this was not a problem last time.  However, time will tell.

The other innovation which, to be fair, is hardly an innovation at all but it is for Broadstairs, was the decision to timetable the club championship games. This is probably something that most clubs have always done but Broadstairs, while leading the way in Thanet for new ideas and progressive thinking, is also quite laid back in many ways and its approach to the the club championship reflected this. Games were always arranged between individuals, some of whom were more pro-active than others in doing this with the result that in recent years, especially as numbers have increased, several games were not completed by the end of the season.

Last year there were 20 players in the Goodall Cup – this year there are 22. It was agreed that adding specific dates to the club fixture list – in effect, creating 21 rounds for the competition – everyone would know when they had a Goodall game to play, the pairings would be pre-set in a round-robin format that you can download easily, and no-one need worry about arranging fixtures as they are already done. Two rounds have been played so far and while there have been a few postponements, players have been quick to re-arrange games at the earliest opportunity. Keen observers can keep up to date with the results and indeed all the Thanet chess news by going to the excellent ECF LMS site here.

It has been suggested that there should be a Game of the Round but we already have Game of the Week which might well come from the club championship. Instead, I prefer to call this ‘A Game of the Round’ which implies it is not claiming to be a masterpiece but it’s one that at least one of the players thinks is worth a second look. In this case it is David Faldon who suggested putting this game, the first in his defence of the title, on the site. His opponent, your correspondent, thought otherwise but then I would because I lost.

White:  Robert Page (133)   Black:  David Faldon (178)  

Goodall Cup

Congratulations to John Couzens who was asked to contribute to the 2019 edition of the Parliamentary Review which is an independent publication that aims to share best practice among policy makers and business leaders.  As a result of this, John was invited to their annual gala in London where he rubbed shoulders with the good, the bad and the…er…others. Here he is with the ex-Gangnam practioner, ex-Norwich City chairman and ex-Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. The photo is crying out for a caption competition so I’ll start the Balls rolling…


“If you mention Boris Johnson once more, John, I’ll break the rest of your fingers.”   




            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.