It’s always reassuring to see grandmasters making the sort of mistakes that plague the average woodpusher week in week out – what do you mean, ‘speak for yourself….’? – and this Blunder of the Week falls into that very category. In the recently completed Isle of Man International Tournament David Howell was seeded 24/150 before the start and had enjoyed a successful tournament in ten of the eleven rounds, including a win over GM Alexander Grischuk in Round 10. Victory in his final game could have given him a share of first place depending on the result of the Nakamura-Caruana game on Board 1. In his way stood China’s Wang Hao (playing with the white pieces) who was also on 7/10 with similar ambitions. Here is the position after White’s 18th move. A glance at the board suggests that a win for either player is unlikely but likewise neither is defeat. White has just played 18. Qa4 so the bishop on a2 clearly has to move. Who knows what Howell was thinking but 18….Be6 looks a good bet. However….
The joke about Howell making a howler has been made before – not least here – and this does look a shocker. It probably did not take White too long to reply 19. Rd1 and although the game continued for another nineteen moves, after 19….Bxb7 (what else?) 20. Rxd8 the damage was done. Howell still finished in eleventh place with a performance rating of 2743 but as a result of his victory, Wang Hao won both the tournament on a tie break and also a place in the 2020 Candidates Tournament.
Broadstairs 1 Folkestone 3
|1 ||Ian Hames (148) ||0-1 ||Jim Bayford (180) |
|2 ||Paul Johnson (138) ||0-1 ||Andrew Haycock (106) |
|3 ||Andy Flood (115) ||1-0 ||David Erwee (95) |
|4 ||Reg Pidduck (99) ||0-1 ||Benjamin Kiss (93) |
Paul Carfrae writes:
This was the first ever outing for Broadstairs in the Steele Cup, a league competition for teams of four with a combined grading total not exceeding 500. Folkestone were our opponents on a rainy, miserable night. The match got off to a good start with Andy on Board 3 smelling blood from the off, attacking his opponent with all manner of devious pins and threats. Before not too long White resigned with no answer to an impending mate threat: 1-0 Broadstairs. Reg on Board 4 was next to finish, his opponent trying to swap pieces off to get to pawn and king endgame. Unfortunately for Reg, a backward king move was his downfall and could not get across to stop a black pawn queening so Reg duly resigned: 1-1. It was left to our top two boards to see us through so no pressure! Paul J on Board 2, playing Andy Haycock whose grade at 106 does him an injustice, was quietly going about his game until a calculation error in his opponent’s favour lost a pawn. Andy apitalised from this moment on and had Paul on the back foot, eventually mating him on the back rank: 1-2 Folkestone. This left our Board 1 Ian to get a win to draw the match – no mean feat when your opponent is Jim Bayford who is 32 points higher than you. Ian managed to tie up the position and looked to get a draw from the game at least. Unfortunately, Jim had other ideas and managed to find a way through Ian’s defence and claim the win: 1-3 Folkestone. Well played, Folkestone. We look forward to the rematch.
Our first Game of the Week for this new season features one of our new members with one of our most experienced. Dominic Blundell has just joined the club and has yet to gain an ECF grade. This will come in January when the new list comes out as he will then have played enough games in the club championship to qualify. In the meantime, he has shown enough in the few games he has played to suggest that he has a good chance of playing for one of the club’s league teams in due course. Paul Carfrae has been a Broadstairs player for over 25 years so this promised to be an interesting encounter. The computer was uncertain as to who was winning until Black’s 20th and 21st moves swung the balance decisively in White’s favour.
White: Dominic Blundell (UG) Black: Paul Carfrae (131)
Broadstairs 5½ Margate 1½
|1 ||David Faldon (178) ||½-½ || Mick Micklethwaite (145) |
|2 ||Arnaud Wisman (168) ||1-0 || Peter McGill (145) |
|3 ||Trefor Owens (164) ||1-0 || Colin Gregory (127) |
|4 ||Richard Clement (145) ||0-1 || Keith Findley (e125) |
|5 ||Chris Stampe (141) ||1-0 || Clive Le Baigue (121) |
|6 ||Manoj Natarajan (e140) ||1-0 || Leon Garfield (104) |
|7 ||Paul Johnson (138) ||1-0 || John Clarke (92) |
Robert Page writes:
Broadstairs continued their excellent start to the Millar Cup campaign with this seemingly comfortable but hard-fought win against Margate. Outgrading their opponents by over 30 points, Broadstairs fielded one of their strongest-ever teams, including both the Kent Individual Challengers and Intermediate Champions (but not the Major Champion – Ed). However, anyone expecting a comfortable ride was in for a shock despite early wins for Paul Johnson and Chris Stampe which promised an extended celebration in the pub. Paul quickly gained a piece or two and overwhelmed John Clarke within an hour while Chris cleverly exchanged rooks to enable his queen to charge down the board, threatening mate and causing irreparable damage to Clive’s uncastled kingside.
At this point, things began to slow down. David was unable to make much headway on Board 1 and agreed a draw with ex-Herne Bay stalwart and Thanet Congress original, Mick Micklethwaite, while Richard lost a tricky rook and pawn endgame with Keith Findley, formerly of the now defunct Birchington Chess Club, who resurfaced after a break of a few years to play at this year’s congress. Suddenly, 2½-1½ didn’t look quite so comfortable. Trefor and Manoj were in promising positions but Arnaud was involved in a tough battle with Peter McGill, both players behind on time. Having laid siege to Colin’s king for an age, Trefor eventually managed to break through and win his queen and victory soon followed: 3½-1½. The match was won when Manoj, on his Millar Cup debut, outmanoeuvred Leon in the neatest ending of the night: 4½-1½. Meanwhile, on Board 2, things were speeding up as the time control loomed and many moves still to play. With both players having pieces en prise, Arnaud cleverly outwitted Peter to win a piece and the game ended just as Peter’s flag was about to fall.
Congratulations to all the Broadstairs players on another fine win and many thanks to Margate for making it an excellent match. There were some impressive performances from the home players such as this one from Manoj against Leon on Board 6.
White: Manoj Natarajan (e140) Black: Leon Garfield (104)
Millar Cup v Margate (h)
Broadstairs 1 Bridge 3
|1 ||Andy Flood (115) ||0-1 ||Peter Blundell (115) |
|2 ||Reg Pidduck (99) ||0-1 ||Gary Hilleard (107) |
|3 ||Bob Cronin (90) ||0-1 ||Graeme Boxall (86) |
|4 ||Michael Doyle (87) ||1-0 ||Ray Rennells (80) |
Capt Mike Doyle writes:
Broadstairs suffered their first defeat in this season’s Walker Shield against Bridge last night. On all the top three boards players resigned. It was a disaster! Our only consolation was a win by the captain on Board 4, my opponent having lost his queen en prise on the 19th move and resigning shortly after. The first to lose was Bob on Board 3. He was up against a much improved Graeme Boxall and he resigned after a long defence. Next to go was Reg up against Gary Hilleard, who last season was playing for Broadstairs. Down to the end game, Gary was two pawns up and Reg resigned. Players stood around Board 1 in the final game to watch Andy Flood battle it out against Peter Blundell. If Andy won the game the match would have been a draw, but he lost a bishop in the endgame. Well done, Bridge, on a rainy night. It was a downpour – just like Broadstairs!