Broadstairs   2              Woodnesborough    3

1 Nick McBride (e160) ½-½ Harry Sharples (150)
2 Bob Page (141) ½-½ Emily Green (146)
3 John Couzens (125) 0-1 John Thorley (142)
4 Reg Pidduck (107) 1-0 Mark Towlson (101)
5 Michael Doyle (90) 0-1 Dennis Stokes-Carter (85)

Bob Page writes:

For the second successive year we were dispatched from the Mick Croft Cup by Woodnesborough and while any defeat is disappointing, I don’t think we can have any complaints. We had a strong team under the rules of the competition (max 625 for all players) but Woody’s aggregate was 624 so it was always going to be tough. However, we won only one game and that was an outrageous swindle that Mark Towlson, Reg’s opponent, will not want to see again – but you can as it features in our Swindle of the Week above this report.

The evening began with a winning toss giving us white on three of the five boards and within an hour we were 1-0 up thanks to Reg’s extraordinary win. Thereafter, things did not go quite so well. Michael had an even game but once his opponent created a passed pawn on his a-file, he was always under pressure and his resignation evened the scores. I should have won my game but Emily kept finding the only move to avoid mate, eventually creating a mating threat of her own which I managed to prevent with a curious perpetual check: I had to keep checking to avoid being mated while she had to repeat to avoid me winning a piece and the game.

At 1½-1½ we were still confident. One point from the last two games would give us victory as with the scores level the bottom board is eliminated. However, despite battling gamely against a stronger opponent, John was always struggling to maintain parity and eventually had to resign at about 11.00, and Nick’s promising position earlier in the game disappeared with a misjudgement that lost him a bishop for a pawn and a draw was the best he could achieve. Never mind – we all agreed that just like the old football cliché when a team is eliminated from a cup competition,  we would now concentrate on the league so we shall have to settle for the Millar Cup this year.  Well done, Woodnesborough, and good luck in the final.


                           “You lookin’ at me?”

The much-anticipated World Chess Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin has finally started in New York. Fortunately, the dispute between the official organisers and the various chess websites around the world, the former threatening to sue the latter for any unauthorised coverage of the match, has been resolved and fans can now follow the games in a variety of ways.  The official site offers, for a reasonable sum, ‘live 360 degree coverage’ of the games for which, apparently, special glasses are required.                  

With such anticipation, it was almost inevitable that the first couple of games would be something of an anti-climax and so it proved. This was not what spectators expected, Carlsen having announced at the press conference that, “I’ll punch him until he finally knocks over.” If this was a new tactical variation on the popular sport of chess boxing it was not demonstrated in either of the first two games. Nigel Short tweeted that, “It is at moments like this when watching a game that I am grateful that I have plenty of wine in the house”. Still, as Garry Kasparov pointed out, “Often one of the best indicators that a chess game is interesting is that amateurs think it isn’t!” Nevertheless, it may be that the build up was, indeed, more interesting than the chess.

Let’s start with the venue. The Fulton Market Building has attracted some criticism and, while it was packed for the press conference, the main reason was that not only had those with tickets turned up but so also had those with complimentary tickets for Game One. Consequently, there were not enough seats and it was very much standing room only. The press conference was entertaining on a number of levels.  FIDE Vice President Israel Gelfer – taking charge in place of the President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who was refused a visa to travel to the US (!), commented that this was the youngest World Chess Championship in history. He contrasted Botvinnik’s defence of his title to Tal when the former was fifty years old with the current match where both players’ ages combined only came to 52, each player 26 years old. (Carlsen then interrupted to say that he would not be 26 until November 30!). After initially mis-hearing one journalist’s question as to who he thought was the best chess player in the world (“I’m sorry, what was the question?”), Carlsen replied both tactfully and honestly, “I think that’s going to be decided in the next couple of weeks… Right now, if I may be so bold, I would say myself.” 

After the main press conference there was a second for the Russian press which, presumably, Carlsen did not attend. When asked then about his chances, Karjakin replied: “I dream of returning the crown to Russia.”  The President of the Russian Chess Federation, Andrey Filatov, said that during the recent Olympiad many ‘chess experts’ had told him that Karjakin’s chances were about the same as Donald Trump becoming U.S. President…..However, before Karjakin’s supporters break out in a chorus of ‘We shall overcomb’ (sic), it is worth noting that while this may be a term lost in translation – the official website for the Russian Chess Federation in its report on the press conference, twice referred to Karjakin as the ‘runner up’ when, presumably, they meant ‘challenger’. We shall see.

This might be the first time one of Nick McBride’s games has been selected for Game of the Week but it is unlikely to be the last. The featured game comes from our recent Millar Cup match with Bridge A and is a positional masterpiece in the view of this far less talented commentator. As David Faldon says in his report on the match, see if you can work out where Nick’s a1 rook is heading…

White: Nick McBride (e160)            Black: Shany Rezvany (170)

Millar Cup v Bridge A 


Broadstairs  2½         Bridge A   4½ 

1 David Faldon (179) 1-0         Michael Green  (170)
2 Nick McBride (e160) 1-0         Shany Rezvany  (170)
3 Bob Page (141) 0-1         David Shire (158)
4 John Couzens (125) 0-1         Robert Collopy (156)
5 Andy Flood (117) 0-1         Emily Green (146)
6 Reg Pidduck (107) ½-½         Chris Stampe (127)
7 Bob Cronin (103) 0-1         Bill Tracey (e110)

David Faldon writes:

Bridge brought a team designed to steamroller us on the lower five boards, and the plan worked, just. Our boards 3, 4 and 5 were all under heavy pressure early on and unfortunately none of them survived much past 9.30. We still had chances to get something from the match at this point, but then something went wrong for us on board 7 and Bob C lost from what had looked to be a good position. That was no disgrace, though, as Bridge’s new player, Bill Tracey, seems quite strong – he beat Reg in a Walker Cup match between the same teams last week. Reg did much better this week, drawing in solid style against an experienced and tricky opponent. The top two board games were both very complicated. My win on board 1 was decided by one bad move from my opponent as his time ran down. You can play through Nick’s splendid win on board 2 as it’s our game of the week. As you do, try to guess how Nick is going to get his a1 rook into the action.

Broadstairs  1         Bridge   3 

1 Reg Pidduck (107) 0-1     Bill Tracey  (e110)
2 Bob Cronin (103) 0-1     Graeme Boxall  (83)
3 Michael Doyle (90) 1-0     Ray Rennells (81)
4 Jordan Leach (46) 0-1     Ian Redmond (70 )

Reg Pidduck writes:

BOARD 4:   JORDAN DEBUT.  Ian Redmond’s experience told as he got the better over our Jordan playing his first game in a Thanet League competition. 1-0 down

BOARD 3:  IN-FORM MICHAEL. The turning point came when Michael’s discovered check won a rook and cleared the the danger of Ray’s advanced pawn. 1-1

BOARD 1: LETHAL KNIGHT. Bill Tracey looks quite a find for Bridge at this level as I had trouble containing his knight which caused havoc deep inside my defence. I finally had to sac my own knight to avoid a mate but to no avail and had to resign. 2-1 down

BOARD 2: STEADY GRAEME. Bob could do nothing about Graeme always finding the right moves once he got the positional advantage. With a final swap off of rooks and queens, Graeme was left with a passed pawn out off Bob’s reach. 3-1 down

With only half a point now from two away matches, our home games will be vital to get back parity. Thanks to Bob for driving duty.