Ian, Reg, John and Andy

And so 2019 draws to an end with the traditional club Christmas Dinner. No-one seems to be certain when it was first decided to hold a dinner but it is generally thought to be around 1994. It can’t be any earlier because John Couzens and Paul Carfrae are the only ones to have attended every dinner – a feat in itself – and Paul joined the club in 1994.

Tradition features regularly when it comes to the dinner. It is almost always held at the Tartar Frigate although there were two occasions when we ventured elsewhere which was a question in yet another tradition, the Christmas quiz. The routine is also a time-honoured tradition: we meet in the Charles Dickens from 7.00 then wander down to the Frigate at about 7.45 to sit down at 8.00. Michael Jenkinson normally produces a fiendishly difficult quiz – this year was no exception – and he usually produces a bottle of wine for the winner which is very generous of him. Your correspondent supplied a chess-themed quiz based on Broadstairs Chess Club, its members and achievements in 2019. Unsurprisingly, some of the answers to the questions were players at the dinner, many failing to recognise their own achievements. Not content with two quizzes, Manoj Natarajan thought up further chess quiz during the dinner and produced another bottle of wine for the winner so many thanks to both him and Michael.

Arnaud, Michael J and Bob C

The dinner is also a time to reflect on the successes of the past year of which there have been many and a chance to remember friends no longer with us whose contributions and good company we don’t forget. Shany Rezvany was celebrating with us last year and he made his mark in his short time at the club which we hope to acknowledge formally with a new trophy in 2020. There was an opportunity during the evening to remember all absent friends in addition to Shany, some fairly recently departed (Peter Timlett and John Cutting) and also others from further back such as Alek Zielinski and George Stiggers.

The club’s success in recent years has meant that it has been able to subsidise the dinner which is a way of giving something back to those who have themselves contributed to the club’s fortunes. 2019 has been another good year for Broadstairs Chess Club and here’s to 2020. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!


Broadstairs have won the 2019/20 Thanet & East Kent League team rapidplay tournament held at Margate on Tuesday December 10th. We won all of our four matches, beating Bridge by scores of 3½ – ½ and 3½ – ½ and beating Margate by scores of 3½ – ½ and 4 – 0. Trefor Owens on top board beat Peter McGill (Margate) twice and fought two interesting draws with Alan Atkinson (Bridge). David Faldon (board 2), Manoj Natarajan (board 3) and Paul Carfrae (board 4) scored eleven wins and one draw between them. The only blot on the landscape came when Colin Gregory of Margate gave me a real pasting in one of their games, finishing the game with king, queen and five pawns against bare king. Unfortunately Colin’s 15 minutes ran out at that point, which meant the game was a draw. Bridge beat Margate twice in the other matches, so they finished second. Many thanks to Margate for providing the venue, and for all the tea and biscuits.

David Faldon

(Full details can be found on the LMS under ‘Latest Results’. Click here. – Ed)



Here’s a rarity – yes, folks, you heard it here first – a blunder by Magnus Carlsen. It was played in the Grand Tour Chess Finals in London this afternoon (Sunday) in the 3rd/4th play-off between Carlsen and Lev Aronian.  Admittedly, it was a rapidplay game but Carlsen had five minutes left on his clock when this position arose after he (Black) had played 33…Nc4.

At this point Stockfish had the game as equal (-0.45). White then decided to exchange his rook for Black’s knight and Stockfish immediately gave Black as winning (-4.82). The game continued like this:

34. Rxc4     Qxc4

35. Qa8+    Kf7

36. Qf8+     Kg6

37. Rc1?!

Is this the blunder, you are thinking? But no, it was played by Aronian. So, what’s the blunder? Did Carlsen not take it? Yes, he did – this is how the game continued:

37…………….. Qxc1

38. Qe8+      Kh6

39. Qe6+

At this point we reach the following position:

This is like one of Danny King’s ‘How Good is Your Chess?’ questions. What would you play in this position? Incredibly, Stockfish gives three very contrasting scores depending on your choice. The best move for Black is 39…..Kh5 (-14.46) whereas after 39….Kg5 (0.00) White can force a draw with 40. Be7+ Kh5  41. Qf7+ Kh6  42. Qe6+. If Carlsen was wary of this, it doesn’t explain why he didn’t play 39…Kh5 because instead of either of these he chose to play 39….g6??  Hands up if you would have done the same?! But after 40. Bf8+ Kh5 41. Qe7 Black resigned. And so, in one move Black has gone from a winning position of -14.46 to facing mate in 12! After the game the commentators said that Aronian was walking around grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He knew he had swindled Carlsen and he must have played 37. Rc1 as a last throw of the dice (he had less than two and a half minutes left at this point) in the hope that Carlsen would make the fatal move.

The advantage of being an average woodpusher is that that as a result of personal experience, you know a blunder when you see one. And this, my friends, whether you are a world champion or not, was a blunder.


                                                 Broadstairs   2½      Bridge  1½                       

1 Manoj Natarajan (e140) 1-0 Peter Blundell (115)
2 Paul Johnson (138) ½-½ Gary Hilleard (107)
3 Bob Page (133) 1-0 Tim Spencer (98)
4 Paul Carfrae (131) 0-1 James Smith (93)

Paul Johnson writes:

To have your strongest side out for your first match as captain is very encouraging indeed and as such we set out to take on Bridge. The match result was in our favour by the barest minimum and how this occurred I will explain. On board 4 was Paul Carfrae and he reminded me that he had beaten a player I lost to in our last match vs Folkestone. He then, very kindly, returned the favour by losing to a player I had beaten last time out at Bridge! Paul knows that if I adhere to the John Couzens school of team selection, then he will be in danger of being dropped from the return leg! Board 3 had Bob Page in a closed position looking for a breakthrough and by patient manoeuvring creating an opportunity to place rooks on open lines and with a cross cutting bishop, he forced his opponent to blunder and resign. I was on board 2 against former Broadstairs member Gary Hilleard and I had most of the pressure but no clear way I could see to win so we agreed a draw. Manoj Natarajan’s game was so strange I hardly know where to begin! By the end however, he had a bishop cleaning up pawns and won clearly. Afterwards he suggested I could have won my game but since I’m captain I’m unlikely to be dropped! Well done to my team and thanks to Bridge against whom we have some excellent matches!

Shany (left) at last year’s Christmas Dinner

It is always a shock when someone you know dies and although Shany had been seriously ill for some time, this was certainly the case when we heard the sad news on October 27th. He was buried on November 18th in Canterbury Cemetery after a service attended by members of his family and friends from both Broadstairs and Bridge Chess Clubs. Shany was a strong player and a key member of Broadstairs’  Millar Cup team. His cheerful and outspoken presence will be much missed. As a small memorial, here is his last game at the club. It’s well worth playing through.

White:   David Faldon (178)    Black:  Shany Rezvany (160)

John Couzens Vase 2019  

David Faldon writes:

This was a semi-final of the John Couzens Vase – the club handicap knock-out tournament where the higher rated player has less time. By winning the game, Shany therefore qualified for the final which, sadly, was never played and so he was declared joint champion for 2019 with the winner of the other semi-final, Trefor Owens. In this game, Shany played his favourite defence and the position was pretty level right up to 21…h5. This h-pawn advance is not the start of a crude attack but rather a subtle defensive idea to keep white pieces out of the g4 square. It also sets a trap, which White (short of time) fell into with 22.Bg5? and 23.Qe3?, swapping off his good bishop. After that White had to be careful not to become much worse but he failed, allowing the terrific move 29…Ra3! So what, you might think, both sides have the same number of pieces and pawns, and White even has a bishop for a knight … but none of the white pieces have any good moves and to me Black is just winning. Rather than waiting around to be finished off, White immediately counter-attacked. The counter-attack is actually quite dangerous and Shany had to find some very good moves to preserve his advantage, for example 38…Na6!, 40…Rg3! And 41…Kf7! Any slight slip from Black would have seen White turn the tables, but Shany was on top form and made no mistake. A really great game – one I’m quite proud to have lost.