Broadstairs  2     Ramsgate  2

1. Paul Carfrae   (131) 1-0    Steve Guy (138)
2. John Couzens (118) 0-1    Malcolm Snashall (122)
3. Andy Flood   (111) 1-0    Brian Williamson (96)
4. Michael Doyle (89) 0-1     Josh Vaughan  (77)

Andy Flood writes:

It was always going to be a tight match between the 2015 Hargreaves Shield champions, Ramsgate, and the runners-up, Broadstairs. First to finish was the captain and part-time reporter with a solid game. I was a knight up early on as a result of a simple queen take with Black unable to recapture owing to a discovered check. John on board 2 soon found himself in the bar for an early drink having gone a piece down early in the game. He battled through to an endgame against a typically solid Malcolm Snashall, who swapped off to convert an advancing pawn, forcing John to resign before the inevitable.

As the night was drawing to an end, Mike Doyle on board 4 was battling against our Josh who was struggling under time pressure. As the clock’s flag raised, we waited for it to fall. Somehow, Josh withstood the pressure to get what was an unpredicted but well-deserved point for Ramsgate with seconds to spare as he advanced a pawn to convert to a queen leading to Mike’s resignation.

So the result would be determined by the top board and what at one stage appeared to be an inevitable win for Paul as he went a queen up early in the game.  Somehow, though, Steve got back into the game and captured a rook as Paul sought to mate, thus setting up the game for an exciting finale. It took some exceptional play from Paul to shrug off the lost piece as his queen battled against knight, rook and bishop to advance three queenside pawns to guarantee another queen and win on the top board.

A good night for chess and the white pieces with Broadstairs maintaining their unbeaten record with a 2 – 2 draw.

Broadstairs     3                Herne Bay   4

1 David Faldon (175) 0-1         Bernie Kooiman (185)
2 Bob Page (145) 0-1         Gordon Botley (182)
3 Paul Carfrae (131) 0-1         Bob Pooley (155)
4 John Couzens (118) 0-1         Mick Micklethwaite  (131)
5 Reg Pidduck (106) 1-0         Paul Arnold (116)
6 Michael Doyle (89) 1-0         Ronnie Melhuish (103)
7 Michael Jenkinson (86) 1-0         Jamie Dawson (73)

David Faldon writes:

Truly a match of two halves. Our bottom three boards all played splendidly and scored three wins in very different styles. Mike D was impressively quick and ruthless, crashing through with a vicious king-side attack. Mike J took a bit longer, outlasting his opponent and winning a neat pawn and knight ending. Reg’s game was the most double-edged, as he lost a rook for a knight early on, but his opponent played a few waiting moves too many and Reg pounced with his ‘bad’ Dutch bishop (the one on the same coloured squares as all his pawns) playing the star role. Our top boards didn’t fare so well. Bob, Paul and John all defended difficult positions hard against higher-rated opponents but without success. Strong players sometimes play well. These results left the match tied at 3-3 and for a change the top board game decided the match. Despite playing black, I had an advantage early on but a slip allowed Bernie the chance to sacrifice a knight. Taking the knight would lead to a draw but I refused it and tried for the win (mainly because I’ve never yet beaten Bernie in a dozen or so attempts). Unfortunately my ‘winning plan’ had a big hole in it which Bernie spotted: 3-4. Congratulations to Herne Bay on yet another hard-fought victory.

Broadstairs  2½     Ramsgate  1½

1. Paul Carfrae   (131) 0-1    Steve Guy (138)
2. John Couzens (118) ½-½    Malcolm Snashall (122)
3. Bob Cronin (112) 1-0      Josh Vaughan  (77)
4. Andy Flood   (111) 1-0      Terry Green (56)

Andy Flood writes:

In this match Broadstairs entertained local rivals Ramsgate, the 2015 runaway champions of the Hargreaves Shield. First game to finish was on Board 2 where John shared the points and agreed a draw with the tenacious Malcolm Snashall who played one of his typical mistake-free games. On Board 1 Ramsgate were beginning to establish an advantage, whilst on the bottom board the home captain was mating his opponent to establish a promising lead.

Broadstairs Bob on Board 3 was giving our Josh, playing for Ramsgate, a lot to think about and Josh eventually lost on time. This ensured victory for Broadstairs before Paul resigned from a losing position in the dead rubber. Well done, team – two wins out of two matches.

Broadstairs  2½       Herne Bay  1½

1. Bob Cronin   (112) 1-0    Ronnie Melhuish (103)
2. Andy Flood   (111) 0-1     Brian Humble (98)
3. Reg Pidduck  (106) ½-½      Jamie Dawson (76)
4. Michael Doyle (89) 1-0      John Heath (e78)

Reg Pidduck writes:

BOARD 4: QUICK WIN. Michael’s attacking nature soon paid off as he pressed John Heath from the start. Having gone a piece up he never let up and duly won inside an hour. 1-0 up to us.

BOARD 1: MATCH OF THE NIGHT. Bob got a deserved win against a cunning Ronnie after pushing two pawns forward into enemy territory and finally getting a touchdown which finished Ronnie off. 2-0 to us.

BOARD 3: YOUNG JAMIE A FORCE.   I was able to play my favourite Dutch defence against Jamie who once again (last September) played extremely well for his 76 grade.  After I turned down a draw offer from Jamie and playing with rook and pawns each, we came to a slight impasse. But Bob’s win on board 1 made my decision to take the draw easy. 2½-½ to us

BOARD 2: TABLES TURNED.  It’s normally Andy that slowly turns the screw on his opponents. But this time it was Brian after winning a piece and gaining a very good win against our board two star. A 2½-1½ win for Broadstairs.

That’s played 3 won 3 in our quest to keep the Walker Shield.  Well done team!

Broadstairs     2½                Bridge A   4½ 

1 David Faldon (175) 1-0         Michael Green (179)
2 Bob Page (145) 1-0         Arnaud Wisman (173)
3 Paul Carfrae (131) 0-1         Alan Atkinson (173)
4 John Couzens (118) 0-1         David Shire (161)
5 Bob Cronin (112) 0-1         James Essinger (154)
6 Andy Flood (111) 0-1         Chris Stampe (139)
7 Reg Pidduck (106) ½-½         Shahid Sahi (115)

David Faldon writes:

This was a very close-fought match despite the fact that we were outgraded all the way down, and heavily so on boards 2 to 6. After an hour and a half it would have been hard for an outsider to guess the higher-graded team, which is a big compliment to all of our guys on the middle boards. Eventually, though, things began to turn against us as the pieces got swapped off and the clocks ran down. The first game to finish was on board 5, where James got his king in amongst Bob C’s pawns and there was no defence. Reg on board 7 was close to equalizing the match but Shahid managed to find a neat perpetual check to force a draw. The next to finish was board 4. John pressed long and hard with the white pieces but a huge tactical scrummage swapped down to an ending with just kings and pawns. Unfortunately David S emerged from the scrum with one extra pawn which got home for a touchdown. This left the score Broadstairs ½ Bridge 2½ but all was not lost. Two wins and two draws would have levelled the match. For a time this looked quite possible but it wasn’t to be, despite Bob P crashing through for a great win on board 2 against a tremendously strong opponent. In the end Paul on board 3 and then Andy on board 6 both had to concede defeat after more than three hours of heroic defence and the match was lost. The final win for us on board 1 was a case of too little, too late, but it was great fun to play as both players sacrificed and counter-sacrificed while their clocks ran down to zero.