This is the crucial game from the drawn Steele Cup match with Margate where a win for Paul would have put Broadstairs 2-0 ahead with two games to play. However, a draw was agreed and the final position led to lengthy debate upstairs. Should White, who offered the draw, have continued? Was there a win? Was the draw a fair result? The consensus among the players of modest ability on show eventually was that there was a win. Disappointingly, Stockfish thinks otherwise and so the final position, tantalising though it may seem, may slightly favour Black! However, it’s an interesting game – not exactly error-free but who has not had what was thought a gem cruelly exposed as a fake by the all-seeing eye of a computer – and see what you make of the final position without the aid of any technological wizardry.
Broadstairs 2 Margate 2
||Manoj Natarajan (149)
||Colin Gregory (127)
||Paul Carfrae (131)
||Keith Findley (125)
||Andy Flood (115)
||Clive Le Baigue (121)
||Reg Pidduck (99)
||Leon Garfield (104)
Bob Page writes:
This was a tough match and in the end a fair result. A win would have kept Broadstairs in the hunt to win the Steele Cup at our first attempt but at the half-way stage in the competition, with only one win from four matches, we have it all to do. Apart from Manoj’s clear grading superiority on board 1, all the other three pairings were fairly evenly matched and this is how the games turned out. Board 1 was the first to finish when, in an innocuous position, Colin miscalculated and instead of winning a pawn he lost a bishop in the exchange and resigned soon afterwards. The next to finish was Paul’s game on board 2. After a rather messy opening with doubled pawns and his queen’s rook dragged out of position, Paul recovered and looked to be winning when a draw was agreed. Keith’s king was trapped in the corner and while he appeared to have sufficient defence to hold off an army of White attacking pieces, to the neutral eye a win seemed distinctly possible and with analysis after the game, the answer was found (No it wasn’t! Stockfish thinks otherwise. See Game of the Week – Ed.).
The draw on board 2 was with hindsight the decisive result. On board 4 Reg, having sacrificed a pawn, in the opening, did not appear to have gained anything for it and canny play from Leon later won a second pawn and Reg could not prevent Black’s queenside pawns from marching up the board. So, with the scores level, it was left to Andy and Clive to decide the outcome of the match. The game had been even all the way through and it was no surprise when the players agreed a draw which was how the match ended.
We don’t appear to have quite got the hang of this new competition yet. Perhaps having too many players available – the team’s total grades must not exceed 500 – is a disadvantage because ten different players have represented the club in four matches where a settled side might be more successful. Still, four wins from the remaining four matches could make for an interesting finale.
This latest Game of the Week is the crucial deciding game in Monday’s Walker Shield match between Broadstairs and the runaway leaders, Bridge. Having won all seven matches of their matches so far with only three to go, victory for the Bridge team here would have been a major step towards becoming Walker Shield champions for this season which, of course, may still happen. However, it was a must-win match for Broadstairs if we were to maintain our slim chance of becoming champions ourselves. With the scores level, everything rested on the result of the board 1 game between Andy Flood and Peter Blundell. Both players were in good form but it was fortunate for us that Andy came out on top on this occasion. Peter readily admitted afterwards that it ‘must have been my worst effort all season!’ and he deserves great credit for agreeing to let us feature the game. Full credit to Andy, though, for an excellent win and his fine form continues.
White: Andrew Flood (115) Black: Peter Blundell (115)