Broadstairs   3½      Margate ½                       

1 Andy Flood (115) 1-0 Leon Garfield (104)
2 John Couzens (108) ½-½ John Clarke (92)
3 Reg Pidduck (99) 1-0 Chris Wyer (19)
4 Mike Doyle  (87) 1-0 def.

Mike Doyle writes:

The Walker Shield comprises four players from each team but unfortunately Margate could only provide three and Broadstairs beat them soundly. It is the third time Margate defaulted on away games this season, the inevitable consequence of a shortage of players affecting some Thanet clubs, namely Birchington who have folded and Herne Bay and Woodnesborough who can’t raise a Walker team. However, Broadstairs is thriving and this season more than 20 players signed on. We fielded four players in the Walker Shield: stalwarts Andy, John, Reg and your captain Mike who got a point on board four for a default.

Reg on board three was the first to win against Chris Wyer who got in a tangle in the endgame two pawns down. Reg cleaned up turning a passed pawn into a queen and Chris resigned. On top board was Andy who had a right tussle with Leon Garfield in the middle game. Leon said after the  game he had won the tactical battle but he lost on time when Andy pointed to the clock to show that his flag was down. That left John on board two who was last to finish. It was a strategic battle with John Clarke. Both players ended up with a knight and a bishop. John Couzens was a pawn down and he managed to get his pawn back and the game ended in a draw.

It was a well-fought victory for Broadstairs but sadly a defeat for Margate who were a player short.

                                                     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.

                                      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.