Broadstairs   2      Margate   2                       

1 Manoj Natarajan (149) 1-0 Colin Gregory (127)
2 Paul Carfrae (131) ½-½ Keith Findley (125)
3 Andy Flood (115) ½-½ Clive Le Baigue (121)
4 Reg Pidduck (99) 0-1 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.


When 22 players enter an all-play-all club championship, some imagination is required to ensure that all the games are played, especially when league matches, the club knockout competition, the five-round Summer Swiss and the annual Blitz tournament are also taken into account.  It helps that our season runs until August and we weren’t to know that two players would drop out for different reasons. The solution was hardly revolutionary, but it was not something we had done before: timetable each round. The problem in the past that was (a) not all players were pro-active when it came to arranging games and (b) some players would not turn up on the off chance on a club night if they had no game. Consequently, games were sometimes left unplayed and if we were to play 21 games in a season alongside everything else, the solution was to timetable games, so everyone knew when they were playing.

With 13 of the likely 19 rounds played, we are two-thirds of the way through the competition and it seems to be working.  Club nights are busy and although there have been some postponements and a few players are behind the run-rate as it were, several games have been brought forward so we have a strange situation where one or two players are still in single figures in games played while others have notched up over thirteen games and Michael Jenkinson has played 16. The reason it works, of course, is that the onus for arranging games has been taken from the players and assumed by one all-powerful dictator but it’s a benevolent dictatorship.

But who is winning, you may ask? A glance at the excellent ECF LMS which now has 52 leagues and 35 clubs under its umbrella – it is a mystery to this writer why all the chess leagues in the country are not using the same system – shows that the defending champion, David Faldon, has a 100% record but he still has to play his two closest rivals, Trefor Owens and Arnaud Wisman. Full details can be found here.

It seems appropriate to feature a game from the club championship, but those submitted for Game of the Week have already appeared which only leaves my games, most of which are x-rated. However, take a look at this ending which demonstrates two things: (a) the sort of mistakes I have been making and (b) how well Fredy has been playing.  What follows from Black could qualify as Blunder of the Week but that would not be fair to Fredy who played well throughout the game which had been level for some time. We join it after Black has just played 36….Qd5.

White:  Fredy Reber (63)    Black:  Robert Page (133)

Goodall Cup

White now played 37. Qg5 offering an exchange of queens. This was a mistake and I could sense a clear win. The game continued:


  1. hxg5    f6
  2. f4        fxg5
  3. fxg5    Kf7
  4. Kf2      Ke6
  5. Ke3     Kf5
  6. Kd3     Kxg5?!

This was careless. According to Stockfish, Black can still mate in 20 but 43…..Kg4 was better.

  1. Kc4      Kg4??

A blunder that loses the half-point. Not only does Black waste a crucial tempo but it puts the king on the square that will allow White to queen with check so although Black will come out of these exchanges a pawn up, it will count for nothing because he has lost two tempi and his newly crowned queen will become a hopeless spectator. The correct move was, of course, 44…..h4. Black’s winning chances have gone from mate in 20 to -1.33 at best. White was not going to waste his chance.

  1. Kxc5     Kxg3
  2. b4         h4
  3. b5         h3
  4. b6         h2
  5. b7         h1 (Q)
  6. b8 (Q) +   Kg4
  7. Qc8

And a draw was agreed soon afterwards.


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)

Walker Shield v Bridge

                                                 Broadstairs   2½      Bridge 1½                       

1 Andy Flood (115) 1-0 Peter Blundell (115)
2 Reg Pidduck (99) 0-1 Gary Hilleard (107)
3 Bob Cronin (90) ½-½ John Dickie (e90)
4 Mike Doyle  (87) 1-0 Ian Redmond (81)

Mike Doyle writes:

Going into this match, Bridge were flying high with seven wins out of seven but suffered a defeat against a well-drilled Broadstairs team. Bridge were going all out for the Walker Shield until Andy, President of the Thanet Chess League, and our captain Mike clinched wins to secure a 2½-1½ victory.

We arrived ten minutes late because our driver Andy took a re-directed route due to flooding and road maintenance. Our opponents did not press the clocks on time, thank goodness, and the match started out with a draw for Bob. He was frustrated after the game because he had a win against newcomer John with two pawns ahead but squandered his pawns in the end game. On the other hand, Reg, President of the Broadstairs Chess Club, had a tricky opponent in Gary Hilleard, who lost to him last season. Gary, playing White, amassed a pawn structure in the middle of the board and ground down Reg’s Dutch Defence.

At this stage Bridge were a point up, well on the way to winning the shield, but our captain, Mike, got the match squared up with a win against Ian Redmond, a neurologist consultant, who was all at sea with his pieces. He threw away his bishop and I capitalized with a queen and rook invading his king and he resigned. It was all up to Andy on the top board, who lost to Peter Blundell last season with both grades tied. Playing White, Andy was full throttle at the outset with his opponent’s king playing walkabout. He resigned after Andy checked with a rook on the seventh rank about to lose his bishop.

Reg said that after the match if Bridge and Folkestone lost one of their matches, Broadstairs had a chance of winning the Walker Shield with a match behind. Before the match I predicted ‘tables will turn’. Unlucky to Bridge for a well-fought match and here’s hoping that Broadstairs will win the remaining matches and bring home the Walker Shield.

                                      Broadstairs   2½      Woodnesborough    1½                       

1 Trefor Owens (164) ½-½ Harry Sharples (149)
2 Bob Page (133) ½-½ John Thorley (120)
3 John Couzens (108) 1-0 Mark Towlson (101)
4 Bob Cronin (90) ½-½ Michael Davies (93)

Paul Carfrae writes:

We welcomed Woodnesborough to Broadstairs for our latest Steele Cup match, looking for our first win in the competition. Harry always brings a competitive team even though we outgraded Woodnesborough on three of the four boards.

Bob C on board four was slightly outgraded by his opponent and had a tight, tatical game. With neither player wanting to give an inch, they agreed a draw. Next to finish was John on board three. He was playing Mark Towlson, who is renowned for his rapid rate of play. By the time I got to see the board, both players had a queen, rook, knight but John had a pawn advantage 7 to 6. After the queens and rooks were swapped off, John cleverly managed to get a passed pawn promoted and won the game.

Trefor on board one was also involved in a close game with Woodnesborough’s captain Harry Sharples. All seemed to be even so after John’s win, Trefor offered a draw that Harry gladly accepted. This meant we would get our first points whatever the result of Bob P’s game. Bob on board two was up against John Thorley whose grade of 120 belies his quality and experience. It was another close game, John possibly having an advantage in the opening but Bob with a clear advantage later on. Time was ticking on and although there was a lot of play left in the game, a draw was agreed, thereby confirming Broadstairs’ first win.

Well done, everyone, and thanks to Harry and his team for a well-fought match.