Broadstairs  3½        Folkestone   3½

1 David Faldon (178) ½-½  Jim Bayford (180)
2 Richard Clement (145) 1-0  David Shire (176)
3 Manoj Natarajan (e140) 0-1  Martin Cutmore (161)
4 Paul Johnson (138) 0-1  Kevin Smyth (161)
5 Bob Page (133) ½-½  John Atherton (157)
6 Paul Carfrae (131) 1-0  Andrew Haycock (106)
7 John Couzens (108) ½-½  David Erwee (95)

David Faldon writes:                    

Due to an unfortunate clash between this match and Shany Rezvany’s funeral in Canterbury, we were missing many of our top players for the visit of last year’s Millar Cup champions. Coming pretty much straight off the train from the funeral, I didn’t feel like playing either, but as captain I didn’t think I had much choice. Luckily, my opponent offered me a draw after 16 moves of random aggression on my part (which turned out to be mostly bluff) and I wasn’t in any mood to decline. My game wasn’t the first to finish, however. Paul C on board six played even more aggressively than I did (see game below – Ed) and this time it wasn’t a bluff – a rook sacrifice cleared space for a neat mate and we were 1-0 up. Next to finish was Richard on board two. His habitual quiet-looking build-up with White contains a lot of hidden threats and this game revealed one of them. Richard won material and thereafter played pretty much a perfect game, never allowing his higher-rated opponent to get back into it. Most impressive. Paul J on board four also looked to be doing well in the opening, but then he missed something and found himself two pawns down. Tough defence proved insufficient. John, a late substitute on board seven, contributed the longest and wildest game of the match. It was also the most entertaining as every time I went over to look, the likely outcome appeared different. After some 90 moves a perpetual check ended the game with honours even. Great fun! Anyway, that result left us 3-2 up with two games left to finish. Manoj on board three and Bob on board five were both a pawn down but fighting hard in interesting-looking endings. Manoj didn’t manage to draw his game but Bob did (congratulations!) and the match finished in a 3½–3½ tie. All in all, a terrifically exciting match and, in the circumstances, a fantastic result for us. Shany would have loved to be there.

White:   Paul Carfrae (131)    Black:  Andrew Haycock (106)

Millar Cup v Folkestone

This is the second game by Dominic Blundell this season to be featured as Game of the Week, a crucial win in our first match defending the Mick Croft Cup that we won last season. The competition is a graded handicap with five players per team where the combined total must not exceed 625. Having now played five graded games for the club, Dominic has an estimate of 126 although this is sure to be higher when he gets an official grade in January. His win here owes much to an early error by Black who should have played 10….Bxc3+ instead of 10….Rxf7?? which enabled White to win a piece. However, White’s play thereafter was impressive and worth a look. In the final position Black resigned, unable to stop the h-pawn without considerable damage.

White:   Dominic Blundell (e126)    Black:  Keith Findley (e123)

Mick Croft Cup

                                      Broadstairs   3½         Margate    1½

1 David Faldon  (178) 1-0 Peter McGill (145)
2 Bob Page (133) 1-0 Colin Gregory (127)
3 Dominic Blundell (e126) 1-0 Keith Findley (e123)
4 John Couzens (108) 0-1 Clive Le Baigue (121)
5 Fredy Reber  (75) ½-½ Leon Garfield (104)

Bob Page writes:

We began our defence of the Mick Croft Cup with this excellent win over Margate. Captain John won the toss and chose white on the odd boards. The teams were as evenly matched as the grades indicate and that was reflected in the play where in four of the five games there was nothing between the two sides for the first hour or so. On Board 3, however, it was Bonfire Night all over again with fireworks flying as Dominic took the game to Keith and soon won a piece. On Board 2 Colin paid for lack of development and was soon backpedalling as his queen came under attack. Eventually, with his king trapped, he lost a piece and resigned. 1-0 to Broadstairs. After the early excitement in Dominic’s game, things settled down but the advantage was there and as the pieces were gradually swapped off, Keith was left with a bad bishop against Dominic’s rook and pawns. 2-0 to Broadstairs. This was a terrific performance by Dominic in his first match for the club and this game will feature as the next Game of the Week. The match was won when David gradually outmanoeuvred Peter on Board 1 and once he won a crucial piece, Peter resigned. 3-0 to Broadstairs.

On Board 4 John held his own against Clive for a long time and almost swindled a win towards the end but Clive saw it and his queen and knight combination was enough to win. 3-1 to Broadstairs. Finally, all eyes were on Fredy’s game with Leon and what a performance by Fredy! It should be noted that although he is listed above as graded 75, that is because 75 is the minimum grade for the competition. His official grade is 59 so almost 50 points below Leon. Nevertheless, he played a solid game and although he was two pawns down at the end, Leon had less than two minutes left on the clock and a draw was agreed. 3½-1½ to Broadstairs. Owing to the shortage of teams in this competition, our first match is in fact a semi-final so Broadstairs will now play Bridge in the final on a date to be arranged. Well done, team, and thanks to Margate for their usual hospitality, especially the tea and biscuits.


                                                 Broadstairs   1      Bridge  3                       

1 Bob Page (133) 0-1 Richard Eales (192)
2 Paul Carfrae (131) 1-0 Peter Blundell (115)
3 Andy Flood (115) 0-1 Gary Hilleard (107)
4 John Couzens  (108) 0-1 Graeme Boxall (86)

Paul Carfrae writes:

On a cold Bonfire Night the Broadstairs Steele Cup team ventured to Bridge. Like Mr Fawkes, I was plotting a cunning plan to overthrow our esteemed hosts.I knew that Bridge put a very strong player on Board 1 so my plan was to outgun our opponents on the other three boards. As history has told us, most cunning plans and plots fail as did this one!

As the games got under way, I thought nothing would happen early on so did not take much notice and concentrated on my opening. How wrong I was – the fireworks had already started on Board 4! Within no time at all, John’s opponent, Graeme Boxall, had won a knight for nothing. As you know with John, he does not give up lightly and battled on. Unfortunately, by John’s own admission, a few too many wrong move choices cost him the game: 1-0 to Bridge.

I was the next to finish. Peter Blundell played a cagey opening so to force a breakthrough I gave up a pawn to open up the c-file that I could then control with my rooks.  With the pawn advantage, Peter decided to swap off as many pieces as possible to get to the endgame. He had  a bishop and six pawns to my knight and five. However, his miscalculation enabled me to swap my knight for his bishop and a pawn. With my king in the centre of the board protecting my pawn structure, I was able to force through a passed pawn. Peter duly resigned:1-1.

Next up was Bob on Board 1. Anything that Bob could get from this game would be a bonus as his opponent was Richard Eales, graded at 192. Bob fought a gallant battle but eventually succumbed to Richard’s pressure tactics and resigned: 2-1 to Bridge.

All hopes to rescue a draw fell on Andy who was playing ex-Broadstairs player, Gary Hilleard. Andy, playing his normal attacking game, had built up pressure on Black’s kingside and Gary was forced to weaken his pawn structure by doubling his pawns in front of the king. However, he managed to control the position and Andy could not capitalise on the weakness. Eventually, Gary got the upper hand and had numerous threats that Andy had to defend against. In the final position, Black’s rooks were too much for Andy and he had to resign: 3-1 to Bridge.

Well done, Bridge. Thanks for the hospitality and a big thank you to Andy for taking the Broadstairs contingent.


                                         Year 3 pupils from St George’s Primary with Bob and Reg

It was back to school for Reg and me this week – in Reg’s case, he really was going back although the new St George’s School in Broadstairs is a far cry from the one he attended a few (!) years ago.  As many people know, St George’s Secondary School has hosted the Thanet Congress for the past two years and following the opening of the new school building in 2010, a primary department was added in 2016. At our AGM in September a decision was made to strengthen our ties with St George’s and the local community while at the same time helping to promote the game we know and love. It was therefore decided to donate ten new chess sets to the school and the presentation took place on Tuesday. The primary department does not have a chess club at present but will use the new sets to start one up and the six Year 3 pupils you see here are going to be the ambassadors sent to spread the word. At the presentation we asked a few questions and then invited the children to ask us anything. “Why are there 64 squares?” asked one boy. “Ah…er…” Reg and I looked at each other. “Why are the pieces black and white?” asked one of the girls. “Another good question!” we replied unconvincingly. We knew what they were thinking – ‘Who are these imposters? They say they come from a chess club and have been playing all their lives but they can’t answer the most basic of questions!’ Time to beat a retreat, we thought.

We look forward to hearing about the new St George’s chess club which it is hoped will lead to matches against other schools in due course. Broadstairs Chess Club will follow the school’s progress keenly and we have offered any help and advice that is required. For any school wishing to start a chess club there is plenty of help available. In this county there is the Kent Schools Chess Association, and nationally there is the excellent Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) set up by Malcolm Pein in 2009 which provides coaches to teach chess in 300 state schools across the country and offers help to 500 more. Finally, there is the UK Chess Challenge, the world’s largest children’s chess competition which last year involved 40,000 children from over 1,200 schools. Perhaps St George’s will make that 1,201 in 2020.