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.

                                             Broadstairs   3      Ramsgate    1                       

1 Andy Flood (115) 1-0 Bob Wallace (100)
2 John Couzens (108) ½-½ Malcolm Snashall (98)
3 Reg Pidduck (99) ½-½ Don Richards (92)
4 Bob Cronin (90) 1-0 Kenneth Keeler (91)

Reg Pidduck writes:

As usual Ramsgate made us very welcome at their cosy new venue.

BOARD 2. John and Malcolm were first to finish. Just when John was on top with his passed pawns, he blundered and ever steady Malcolm was able to salvage a draw.    ½-½ – a good start for both teams.

BOARD 4. Bob got us in the lead with a fine game, his two passed pawns pressing for home. Did not see the finish only Ken resigning. 1½-½ to Broadstairs.

BOARD 1. Andy’s game against Bob Wallace looked tight for a while but Andy found a way through for a checkmate. 2½-½ to us.

BOARD 3.  I could now breath a sigh of relief as I had been under pressure for the last hour from my formidable opponent, Don Richards. He had seen off all of my schemes and tricks and we were now left with a knight each with Don’s five pawns to my three. After reducing  his pawns to two, I sacrificed my knight for one of them then got my king in the corner to force a draw. Phew! Unlucky Don not to get the win and I look forward to playing you again.  Final score: 3-1 to Broadstairs.


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)

Goodall Cup