Broadstairs     4                Margate   3

1 David Faldon (175) 1-0         Peter McGill  (157)
2 David Horton (167) 1-0         Harry Sharples (156)
3 Bob Page (145) 0-1         Colin Gregory (114)
4 Paul Carfrae (131) 0-1         John Thorley (e113)
5 John Couzens (118) 1-0         Leon Garfield (104)
6 Bob Cronin (112) 0-1         John Clarke (90)
7 Andy Flood (111) 1-0          Don Richards (57)

David Faldon writes:

This was a close win in a tough match where four of the seven games went right to the wire. The three early finishers were the bottom three boards. On Board 5 John crashed through with a discovered attack that won a queen for not very much, while on Board 6 Bob C just crashed: 1-1. The Board 7 game then put us back in the lead as Andy took a passed pawn in for a touchdown: 2-1. At this point (around 10pm) we looked comfortably placed. I had a couple of passed pawns myself on Board 1 while Paul seemed well placed to win a blocked-up position on Board 4. Yes, Bob P was in some trouble on Board 3 after getting a bit carried away sacrificing all of his king’s side pawns for a sniff of an attack but David H on Board 2 had two bishops against two knights and good chances. Maybe we’d win 4½-2½ or even 5-2? Then Paul miscalculated and turned a great position into a lost one. Suddenly we needed two wins on the top two boards. Fortunately for the team, David H found a neat mating attack and I forced one of my pawns home and we’d won 4-3. Many thanks to Margate for putting up such a good fight and for all the free tea and biscuits!

Broadstairs     4½                Ramsgate   2½

1 David Faldon (175) ½-½         Brian Westover (153)
2 Bob Page (145) 1-0         default
3 Paul Carfrae (131) 0-1         Steve Guy (138)
4 John Couzens (118) ½-½        Malcolm Snashall (122)
5 Bob Cronin (112) ½-½         Brian Williamson (96)
6 Andy Flood (111) 1-0         Bob Wallace (90)
7 Michael Doyle (89) 1-0          Joshua Vaughan (77)

David Faldon writes:

The match got off to a promising start with us 2-0 up after 32 minutes. Bob P’s opponent failed to show within the 30 minute default time and Mike’s opponent, Josh, mislaid his queen and resigned only a couple of minutes later. Most of the other games were very hard fought, with only one other decided (Bob C’s well-played draw on board 5) before everybody started to run out of time. As time ran down my attention was naturally fixed on my own game on board 1 as I was in danger of being mated but then I managed to swap queens to relieve the pressure. At this point my opponent, Brian, offered me a draw, so I went to assess the other games to see how the team stood. I mentally chalked Paul and Andy up as possible losses but John was clearly winning, so I went back and accepted Brian’s draw offer as I’d calculated that this should give us a 4-3 win. Mere seconds later the other three results came in, and I’d got two of them wrong. So much for my “board 1” calculation skills! To be fair, though, John really was winning at the end but he allowed his opponent a draw once Andy had pulled off his miracle turn-around, converting a tough rooks plus pawns endgame into a winning rook versus pawn one. Congratulations to us on a narrow but pleasing victory. Never give up, never surrender!

Broadstairs  3     Bridge   1

1. Paul Carfrae   (131) ½-½    Chris Stampe (139)
2. John Couzens (118) 1-0    Shahid Sahi (115)
3. Bob Cronin (112) ½-½    Ray Rennells (86)
4. Andy Flood   (111) 1-0     Graeme Boxall (85)

Andy Flood writes:

After last week’s great result at the unfamiliar Phoenix Club, Broadstairs were in the more familiar setting of their Hilderstone home and hoping to maintain their title challenge.

In what was a close match on all four boards, following last week’s quick win Paul was again the first to finish on Board 1 but this time to secure a draw and to share the points. Bob was an early pawn up in a match in which he had the edge from start until the drawn end, so with two games finished honours were even with the other two games also looking like draws. Thinking we needed a win from my Board 4 game, having got into a pickle from grabbing an early pawn, I managed to salvage a win from what should have been a draw, by aggressively attacking and advancing a pawn to queen.

Once again it was left for John ‘Gullbuster’ Couzens to be the last match to finish. It was apparent that I had misread his drawn game as he ‘busted’ through the centre with his pawns to promote to queen and attack his opponent’s very exposed king. In the end it was an inevitable resignation from the Bridge Board 2 player who resigned just one move away from mate.

So the Broadstairs team go into their final Hargreaves game in April knowing that a draw against Woodnesborough will secure them the Shield.

Broadstairs  3     Woodnesborough  1

1. Paul Carfrae   (131) 1-0    Robin Bellion (e138)
2. John Couzens (118) ½-½    Kit Blundell (127)
3. Bob Cronin (112) ½-½    John Thorley (e113)
4. Andy Flood   (111) 1-0     David Erwee  (108)

Andy Flood writes:

The Hargreaves team found themselves for the first time playing in the unlikely setting of the Phoenix Club, the new temporary venue of Woodnesborough chess club. Both teams were at full strength and unusually Boroadstairs were out-graded on three of the four boards.

It seemed that we had only just started and settled down to play this crucial match against a Woodnesborough team that had won all their matches when news of a Paul Carfrae win on Board 1 spread across the room – an absolute must for game of the week for the website. Without giving too much away, the game was very attacking, very decisive and very short as Paul destroyed his higher-graded opponent. Meanwhile, on Board 4 I was establishing a good solid position going initially one pawn up and then two pawns up before Broadstairs went 2–0 up as my opponent blundered under the pressure and swiftly resigned.

The other two games looked like certain Broadstairs losses. Bob Cronin was well and truly under the cosh with his king on the back rank and his pieces pinned by two rooks, a bishop and a queen. Bob had never really recovered from the opening.  Similarly the ‘Gullbuster’ was being ‘busted’ on Board 2 and was in danger of being mated, again losing the initiative very early on in his game.

But back to Board 3, a flurry of exchanges of all the pinned pieces resulted in Bob having material advantage and then astutely and sportingly offering his opponent a draw to secure the points and a Broadstairs win. We all then huddled around the remaining match to see a lesson to us all. John managed to survive the threatened mate and from being material down he mounted his own counter-play and threats to get into a position of being just one pawn down and being able to offer and have accepted a draw.

So the team went home happy with a 3–1 win, all players unbeaten and the team remaining unbeaten at the top of the league with just two more matches to go.

Broadstairs     0                Folkestone    7

1 David Faldon (175) 0-1         Andy Hammond  (189)
2 Paul Carfrae (131) 0-1         Leon Wooldrige (188)
3 Bob Cronin (112) 0-1         Martin Cutmore (164)
4 Andy Flood (111) 0-1         Matthew Cussens (138)
5 Michael Doyle (89) 0-1         Mahua Verma (89)
6 default 0-1
7 default 0-1

David Faldon writes:

Five players travelled to Folkestone on a freezing Friday in February in search of a miracle … and it didn’t happen. Still, we tried. With better clock handling and/or a bit of luck we could have made three draws but the overall result was never in doubt once one of the five (no names!) lost two pieces for two pawns inside the first ten moves. On the positive side our hosts provided free tea and coffee. Congratulations to Folkestone on a well-deserved victory.