White: Magnus Carlsen            Black: Vishy Anand

(World Chess Championship Round 6)

The World Chess Championship currently being played in Sochi has reached the halfway stage and Magnus Carlsen leads 3½-2½ after a fortunate win in Game 6.  If, like me, you are looking for the best site to follow the action, then I recommend Chess Base (en.chessbase.com). Not only does it have detailed analysis of each game, photographs, short video extracts of the games – look for the fascinating close up of Carlsen’s hesitation in scoring after his blunder on move 26 –  it also has an excellent post-match summary by Danny King and the opportunity for you to add comments like these:

” Worst WC match in the chess history? Anand seems to crack easily under pressure and Carlsen is far off his best play…”

“…and FIDE pays millions of dollars for these two for the patzer match.”

Judge for yourself by playing through the game above.

Bob Page writes:

The following statement was made recently by Brian Valentine, the ECF Manager of Grading.  Make of it what you will but it goes some way to address the anomaly of having grades published mid-season.

“The Grading Team has decided to address two issues.

  1. The harmful effect of incorrectly reported dates. These occur chiefly, but not exclusively, in club championships where very often a single arbitrary date is assigned to every game in the competition. This places undue weight on the precise dates of games played around the 30-game cut-off point. The order in which two games were played can make a difference of 3 points or more to the player’s grade two years later.
  2. The need to indicate the strength of players as early as possible noting that a grade for ungraded players is already visible by referring to the games listed in their opponent’s database record.

In consequence there will be three changes introduced in the January 2015 grading list.

  1. At present category A grades are calculated by averaging the grading points from the most recent 30 games. Starting in January the averaging will be over all games in the previous two grading periods. This change will mean that category X will become redundant.
  2. At present, grades in categories lower than A are calculated over the most recent 30 games, assuming that the player has played more than 30 games in the last three years. In January we will revert to the system used till January 2011. There will no longer be a cut-off point part way through a grading period. Instead, the system will take as many games from each prior period as it needs in order to make 30 games, but they will use grading points for the average per game for the earliest period used.
  3. There will be a new grade category F, requiring only 5 games in the last 36 months (including at least 1 in the most recent period). Category F grades will be published like any other grade, but they will not be used in future calculations.

A further benefit of (1) and (2) is that they are expected to reduce “stretch” in the system. Testing suggests that they are neither inflationary nor deflationary.

Change (3) will increase the number of players with published grades (currently less than 12,000) to an estimated 13,600 or more.”



Congratulations to the Kent U100 squad that won the 2014 County Championship Finals and especially to our own Bob Cronin (second from left in the photo below) who played his part in every round and whose report on the campaign follows.  Bob’s only regret is that with a new grade of 101 he will be unable to help defend the title this year.

Kent photo

Bob Cronin writes: 
The Kent U100 team became SCCU Champions in February 2014, having come top of the group ahead of Essex and Surrey.  I was the only Broadstairs player (graded 97) in the Kent squad and represented the county in three of the four group-stage matches, securing solid draws in all three games. Kent progressed to the draw for the knockout stages of the National County Finals for the first time in many years.

The National Quarter-Final draw paired Kent with Nottinghamshire. The match, over eleven instead of the usual twelve boards, was played on 17th May 2014 at the Open University Campus at Milton Keynes. Kent won comfortably 7-4. Playing black on board 4, I  beat Malcolm Hargreaves (98) who resigned after move 20.

In the National Semi-Final Kent were drawn against Lancashire. The match took place on the 14th June 2014 at Syston Social Club near Coventry. Kent won a very exciting match 8-4, much closer than the score suggests. With white I beat George Harman (85), a young ‘rising star’ of the Lancashire side, on board 4. A draw offer was turned down and I went on to mate my opponent in 41 moves.

In the National County Final, played at the Trident Centre in Warwick on the 12th July 2014, Kent took on the home team, Warwickshire, who had defeated Norfolk in their semi-final. Playing white, I beat Bram Garner (97) on board 4 with a devastating attack that gave Kent their first point of the day and Kent went on to win the match 8.5-3.5. The non-playing captain, Doug Smith, was naturally delighted and collected the trophy on behalf of the new champions. Members of the team all received a trophy to take home with them.  

Kent are now the ECF U100 National County Champions!

George Stiggers obit

This is one for those with long memories. It is twenty years since George Stiggers died and this obituary from the Thanet Gazette shows what a talented man he was.  His contribution to chess naturally cedes centre stage to his other achievements yet to say that he was ‘for many years the club’s secretary and treasurer’ is an understatement: George did both jobs for the best part of half a century. He also captained the Millar Cup side – only one competition in those days – and was general factotum of Broadstairs Chess Club during all that time. He was the first winner of the Goodall Cup in 1950 and won it for the last time in 1974. It was only ill health that persuaded him to relinquish his responsibilities at the age of 83. The club created a new trophy in his memory for the most improved player over the course of a season.

Reg, David and Bob at the AGM

Reg, David and Bob at the AGM

At the annual general meeting on September 1st it was announced that 2013/14 had been another successful year for the club.  Financially Broadstairs is on a sound footing and two new members joined the club with the prospect of more this season.  The Hargreaves Shield was won, the Millar Cup team performed creditably and could boast a genuine (and rare) victory over Folkestone, and there was individual success for Broadstairs members at the Thanet Chess Congress.

The President, David Horton, entering his fiftieth year as a Broadstairs player, was re-elected as were Bob Page as Secretary and Reg Pidduck as Treasurer.  David Faldon continues as the Millar Cup captain, Andy Flood takes over as captain of the Hargreaves Shield side and Reg Pidduck will captain the Walker Shield team. Among the awards presented on the night was the Thanet Shield, a new trophy instigated by Broadstairs to go to one of Broadstairs, Ramsgate or Margate clubs based on respective results between the three in the Thanet League. (Contrary to its title, only three of the seven teams in the league come from Thanet!) It was decided that if the other two clubs agree, the competition would be extended this season to include results in the Hargreaves Shield.