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.


                                                     Broadstairs   2      Sheldwich     2                       

1 Andy Flood (115) 1-0 Felix Coker (111)
2 Mike Doyle  (87) 1-0 Sean Duffy (71)
3 Michael Jenkinson (83) 0-1 Zeno Burns (60)
4 Fredy Reber (59) 0-1 Josh Hayhoe (37)

Mike Doyle writes:

Sheldwich Primary School is a much improved chess team as Broadstairs found out in this match. Making his first appearance for us this season was Michael Jenkinson, who travelled from Reading at the last minute. The journey was a little hectic as was his game against Zeno Burns, an improving chess player. Michael was as fast in the opening as he was in travelling across the country to be on time. He lost a rook at the beginning and it was all downhill from there with only a queen and a bishop left as opposed to a queen, rook and a knight. He resigned after a few more moves. Hard luck, Michael. You’d be better off next time if your journey was a little shorter.

On the bottom board was Fredy, who had earlier said in the car: ‘We are playing children!’ Lo and behold, he lost to a nine-year-old chess prodigy, Josh Hayhoe. In fairness to Fredy, he had a winning game until he lost his queen in front of his king to a rook. Better luck next time. Your captain had a tricky game against one of the top-rated players in the school, Sean Duffy, who had a unusual opening against the Sicilian Defence. In the middle game Sean lost a bishop and a few moves later he resigned. On the top board Andy had a thrilling game with Felix Coker, who beat him last season. To avenge his defeat, Andy, with a queen and two rooks lined up with a bishop, had Felix on the back foot. He mated with a queen and bishop. The final result was a draw so thanks to Sheldwich for a nail-biting match. We will see you for the return match in Broadstairs with a fired-up team in the spring.


                                                  Broadstairs   1      Folkestone    3                       

1 Andy Flood (115) 1-0 Andrew Haycock (106)
2 John Couzens (108) 0-1 David Erwee (95)
3 Nikos K-Whittaker (e104) 0-1 Ben Kiss (95)
4 Michael Doyle  (87) 0-1 Robert Twigg (80)

Michael Doyle writes:

The Broadstairs team was looking forward to this Walker Shield match against Folkestone in the New Year, outgrading them on all four boards. It was a disaster! Only Andy on the top board won as we lost 3 – 1. First to go was Nikos when he failed to castle and was in check with a rook and bishop. He resigned after his opponent threaten to take off his queen. Next to go was John on Board 2 with Black forcing him to resign with doubled up rooks on the h-file and the queen threatening mate. Better luck next time, John. With two boards fighting it out for a draw getting on for 11pm, Andy won two pawns up in the end game and your captain fought to the end with an English opening. It was down to the endgame but with a rook down, I resigned. Well done, Folkestone, for coming all that way – you deserved to win.

Welcome back to Game of the Week. It is only the third offering we have had this season which means one of two things: either players are too modest to send in their spectacular efforts or that few games have been played worthy of sharing with a wider public. In the case of your correspondent it is certainly the latter. Not so for Dominic Blundell who has the rare distinction of appearing in all three Games of the Week. However, after his excellent victories in the first two, he was brought down to earth in the folllowing game although he gave as good as he got which made it all the more entertaining. Trefor Owens, who watched this slugfest from the adjacent board when he should have been concentrating on his own game, kindly added the comments.

Congratulations to Michael Jenkinson on a tremendous win. “We both had less than optimal openings,” he said, “I was definitely playing safe and refusing to sacrifice pieces or letting his rooks into play that later Stockfish analysis showed could have worked, but guaranteed mates in 8 or 13 are well beyond my neuron compliment. Happily, Dominic gave me the pawn fork I was wanting and let me castle out of potential hell. That pawn wall threat of Dominic’s was really scary and I was wondering for much of game if I had to lose a piece to destroy it.” For Dominic it was a more sobering experience. “I don’t think I made a good move after move 3,” he said.

White:   Michael Jenkinson (83)    Black: Dominic Blundell  (e126)

Goodall Cup


As was mentioned in an earlier post, Alan Atkinson has been appointed Manager of Arbiters by the ECF. We were able to meet the new boss who, contrary to what The Who might have said, is not the same as the old boss, to learn a bit more about his new role and what it is like being an arbiter at some high-profile events.


Congratulations on your appointment, Alan. First question and an obvious one, what does the role of Manager of Arbiters entail and is it a new appointment? No, it’s not a new post; I took over from Tom Thorpe just before Christmas. The Manager of Arbiters’ main task is to arrange courses for, and keep records of, the progress of Arbiters as they move through the various grades up to International Arbiter level.


When did you first become an arbiter and what attracted you to the job? I had helped at events decades ago, and when, more recently, I was told that all leagues would need an arbiter if the games were to get graded (it will happen soon), and we were also having problems finding arbiters for the Thanet Congress, I resolved to get my paperwork in order to become a qualified arbiter. Strangely, since, I’ve done almost no arbiting within Kent, and certainly none in Thanet since then! It is just about making things happen; if I did not offer to help, some events would probably not happen. And then with the grander events, there is the fact that I now get to be there with some great players. Say like a World Cup football referee, or an F1 pit steward, etc.


Which is the most high-profile tournament in which you have been involved? This last year or so I was an anti-cheating referee at the Georgia Olympiad in Batumi so probably that or the FIDE Grand Swiss on the Isle of Man. I was also at the British Championships in Torquay, and Hull the previous year, and I played in the Mick Croft Cup. (Ha ha! Arbiters clearly do not lack a sense of humour – the Mick Croft Cup is a minor Thanet League competition as far removed from the Olympiad as you can imagine. – Ed)


An arbiter can sometimes have to deal with controversial situations. Are there any that you can talk about without naming names?! The best events are when nothing unusual happens! But I was one of the two arbiters at the British Championships when a player left the hall in possession of his phone; sadly, his game was still in progress, so we had to default him. That made the newspapers which was a pity, I thought. Some players were moved at the Isle of Man 2019 which raised a few questions. But usually, “things” do not happen: most players are fairly sensible, and the British arbiters are fairly good and reasonable, and the players understand that. So when an arbiter decides something, it is accepted with good grace.



What is the most amusing or unusual incident you can recall? At the British Championships in Torquay, after the end of the day, when all the work was done, and the next day’s pairings had been published, the arbiters went for their dinner. We then had a phone call about a senior member of the English chess establishment’s game from earlier that day. I had recorded the game result incorrectly, I was told. I had put down a win for Player A, when it had been a loss for him. We had already done the draw for the next day, so I was utterly embarrassed, in front of the whole arbiter team.

Player B was contacted; yes, he had won, the result I had put into the system was certainly incorrect. But he conceded that he might have written down the result the wrong way around on his own score-sheet.  Well, from Player A’s point of view, that was still not good enough, I should have checked both score sheets against each other of course. And Player A knew that, for he is an International Arbiter too! So I had my dinner spoiled, in my embarrassment. And breakfast the next morning too.

Later that next day, when we could get to check the previous day’s actual score sheets, it transpired that both players had recorded the result of their game incorrectly. Both players had shown a win for Player A when Player B had in fact won. I did swear. But just in the Arbiter Office; no apology from the players though. So after that, I could start the next round of the Masters by asking that the players hand in the same result to the arbiters, and, ideally, hand in the correct same result.


Do you still play much chess or have you had to cut back in recent years? I hardly play at all now. And when I do, I am out of the habit, and yet still have to play in grade order, so it seems that my grade is falling out of the sky.


Which of your own games has given you the most satisfaction? Well, since becoming an arbiter… see above! Hardly any games to choose from, and they are error strewn. But at the IoM the organiser arranged for Hou Yifan to play local players and the arbiters in a simul: I am happy that I managed a draw against her; it’s probably good for the players to know that the arbiters can play a bit sometimes!


White:   Hou Yifan     Black:  Alan Atkinson

Isle of Man 2017 simul

Is there any game that you witnessed as an arbiter that stands out? There are a few: the first time I realised that I was officiating with “the big names” was the game Shirov-Nakamura IoM 2017.I saw much of their game when I was in the playing area, and then I was sent for the early dinner. (We have to be there until ten or eleven at night, so we have split dinner shifts at the IoM). Shirov came in, having drawn, and sat with we two Arbiters, (place was empty otherwise, and he knew the arbiter I was with). “Hello, I’m Alexei”, so I discussed his game with him, and afterwards, when I was returning to the hall, I thought “Wow, I’ve just sat chatting to Shirov about his game; (and he’s not called me an idiot)”. People younger than me might not know of Shirov, but he was a super player. This year at the IoM he was one of the four players involved, when two games, played on adjacent boards, were identical for an unusually large number of moves. (See earlier comment about players being moved IoM 2019 -Ed)


White:   Alexei Shirov     Black:  Hikaru Nakamura

Isle of Man 2017 



If you could do one thing to improve chess in this country, what would it be? Ah, an easy question at last! Compulsory hour a week of chess in all schools for all pupils.


Finally, what advice would you offer to anyone with aspirations to be an arbiter?
Don’t expect to be treated well.
No-one tells you how to do anything.
Most people will assume that you are getting paid a fortune, which you won’t be.
You won’t get any of the glamorous events to do.
The players will always manage to do the wrong thing.
And it will be your fault.
But it might be a good laugh anyway!
Start by helping out at a few events, then do the ECF Arbiter exam, then do some more events.
And remember that the players have paid good money to get there and play and so they don’t want some power-crazed arbiter spoiling their weekend!