Paul Arnold is a past winner of the Minor section at the Thanet Congress and last weekend finished joint first in the Intermediate. When asked if he could submit one of his games for inclusion on this site, he whimsically replied that his computer ‘isn’t particularly impressed with any of them’! Nevertheless, he submitted all five of his games, sportingly including his last-round defeat to Peter Dirmauskas, fellow joint winner. It would be rather mean to feature that one now – although it will appear later! – so here is Paul’s third- round victory, a brief but entertaining encounter.

White: Paul Arnold  (121)     Black: William Stock (119)

Thanet Congress (Intermediate) 2017

The Thanet Chess Congress has been and gone for another year and we shall be devoting a few pages to it over the next couple of weeks while Broadstairs enjoys its brief summer break. We hope to feature some of the winners’ games and perhaps one or two disasters if players are brave enough to send them in. Let’s begin with one of our own. Nick McBride and David Faldon were always going to find it tough in the Open with five of the thirteen players graded 200 or above and three over 230. However, there were also five players including Nick and David in the 170s so there was healthy competition for the U180 grading prize. In the end, both players scored 2/5, only half a point behind Kevin Bowmer, the eventual grading prize winner. In the first round Nick found himself paired against Freddie Hand who may only be 14 but already has a grade of 205.   This is the position after White’s 28th move.

White: Nick McBride  (173)     Black: Freddie Hand (205)

Thanet Chess Congress 2017

Nick takes up the story:
I’m white against Freddie Hand (205J). For a while now I had been working towards: Rbg1, Rxh6+, gxh6, g7+!, Bxg7 and mate next move. But Freddie ignored this. He now played 28… Nd2! I continued with what I thought was nearly a forced mate 29 Rbg1. Then Freddie played 29… Be6!! and I’m dead. The rook on c7 now stops my g7+! He’s pretty good.” 


And so the Broadstairs members can finally have a breather – all three weeks of it – at the end of the 2016/17 season before we reconvene for the new season with the AGM in September. Yesterday (14th) saw the final club night of the club year and, appropriately, it was left to the final session to decide the club champion. The Goodall Cup has been awarded every year since 1950 to the winner of the club championship and in recent years David Faldon has made it almost a private possession, having won outright or shared the trophy for each of the past six seasons. David Horton’s move to Cheltenham last year should have left the door wide open but wait….who is this upstart appearing from the wings attempting to challenge David’s domination? Why, it’s Nick McBride, only one point below David in the latest ECF grading list and half a point behind him in the Goodall after twelve games. If Nick could beat David in their final game, he would win the Goodall Cup for the first time and it would be David’s first defeat.

White: Nick McBride  (173)     Black: David Faldon (174)

Broadstairs Club Championship 2017

David then offered a draw – all he needed – which  Nick reluctantly accepted and David won his seventh Goodall Cup.  It was an interesting game but perhaps David’s unusual and not especially successful opening gave Nick the initiative that very nearly came off.

A few weeks ago we mentioned David’s start in the Over 50 section of the British Championship at Llandudno. His final score of +1 =4 -2 was respectable in a section easily won by GM John Nunn. Reference was made to an early draw that David achieved against IM Paul Littlewood and, not surprisingly, this is the game with which David was most pleased so here it is.

White: David Faldon  (174)     Black: Paul Littlewood (221)

British Championship 2017 (Over 50 section) 

As the season draws to a close, I can hear the landlord ringing last orders for the Thanet Chess Congress.  I am never sure if our congress heralds the start of a new season or the end of the old. I suspect for us it is the latter but for those who have played little chess since Easter, probably the former. If you have not entered yet, there is still time as I write:



While most chess clubs are enjoying a break from chess having closed down at Easter to re-start in September, there has been no respite for the hard-working and loyal Broadstairs members. This week’s attendance of fourteen (out of a club of twenty members, two of whom are Russian nationals in Moscow for the summer) was commendable. But then there are still three competitions to play for with only two weeks left in the season. Actually, make that two competitions because ten of the fourteen present on Monday were playing their last match in Round 5 of the Summer Swiss and here is the result:


Nick McBride 4½/5
Paul Carfrae    4/5
Bob Page   3½/5
Andy Flood 3/5
Reg Pidduck 2/5
John Couzens 2/5
Fredy Reber 2/5
Michael Jenkinson 2/5
Michael Doyle 1/5
Jordan Leach 1/5
Well done, Nick, I hear you say but not so….The prize for this competition (the John Cutting Cup) goes not to the player with the highest score but to the one with the best grade improvement over the five rounds. This will be revealed at the AGM in September. The two competitions left to be decided are the the club championship (Goodall Cup) and the knockout competition, a time handicap for the John Couzens Vase.   Fittingly, the two strongest players in the club, David Faldon (174) and Nick McBride (173) will be contesting both matches over the next two Mondays: an excellent climax to another successful season at the club. The Thanet Chess Congress – still places left but be quick as it’s filling up: go to for more details – concludes the season and the club takes a short break before re-starting with the AGM the first Monday in September.


The quiet summer months mean that there has been no Game of the Week for some time so what about this alternative: Tactical Brilliancy of the Week? It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as easily, does it? Some of you might even prefer Blunder of the Week but have a look at the following and you may change your mind. Last month we featured one of our old – or not so old – friends, Wei Yi. What about our other favourite Chinese star, Hou Yifan, I hear you ask? Well, she has just completed a stunning win at the Biel International Chess Festival, becoming the first woman to win in the history of the tournament with a 2809 performance. She won her last three games and possibly her finest performance was in the penultimate round against the veteran, Rafael Vaganian. Have a look at the position below and see if you can guess Yifan’s next move (Black to play).

Hands up if you spotted 20…Bxg2!!  Now be honest…you didn’t, did you? The game continued 21.Kxg2 Qxd4!! and now 22.exd4 would have allowed Yifan to play 22…Nf4+!, winning back the queen. Vaganian tried to wriggle out with 22.Qxg6 but the there was no escape: 22…Qd5+ 23.e4 fxe4 24.Qxe4 Qg5+ 25. Kh1 Qxd2 and Yifan won after 33 moves.


Here is Martin Taylor, regular supporter (and sometime winner) of the Thanet Chess Congress, photographed by Brendan O’ Gorman at last year’s event in which he came second. He has entered once again this year and will face stiff competition if he is to win the Open this time. Already two International Masters, last year’s winner Alan Merry and now Richard Bates, defending his SCCU Champion title won only two weeks ago at the Weald Congress, have signed up. With two and a half weeks to go, it looks like being a competitive Open Tournament and numbers throughout all five sections are encouraging. If you have not yet booked your accommodation, you are advised to do so as Broadstairs is very busy in the summer. For more information, entry forms and online entry, visit the congress website

While waiting for the Thanet Congress, our attention turns to the 2017 British Championship which has just begun in Llandudno. Among the various stars taking part is Broadstairs’ own David Faldon, who is in the Over 50 section. Whether he thought this was merely for players with grades over 50 is not certain but we hope he was not too surprised to be drawn against IM Paul Littlewood in round 2 against whom he achieved a draw which, together with his draws in rounds 1 and 3 represents a solid start. Unfortunately, none of David’s games is available so let’s turn our attention to the top seed (so far) at the Thanet Congress, IM Alan Merry. As I write, he has just won his round four game at the British and is currently on 3/4. Here is his win in round 1. For the latest news, go to

White: Alan Merry  (2427)     Black: Ashley Stewart (2111)

British Championships 2017

Back to the Thanet Congress and never mind the chess, I hear you say, what about the food? Well, take a look at the kitchen below which is a bit smarter than your average chess congress canteen. The analysis room is attached (see below) so there is plenty of room to have your lunch and go through your games.  Rook van Zugzwang, our culinary correspondent, reports:  “The food is good, well priced and the kitchen staff can cater for specific dietary requests – just ask. Here is a sample menu:

All hot lunches £4.50

Pasty, chips & baked beans

Pasta & meatballs with garlic bread & salad garnish

BBQ chicken drumsticks with chips and salad garnish

(V) Cauliflower and broccoli cheese bake with garlic bread

(V) Vegetable pasta bake with garlic bread

Burger & fries

                          Analysis room







Filled Jacket potatoes served with salad garnish

With one filling £2.30

With two fillings £2.90

Additional fillings 60p


Grated cheddar cheese

Tuna Mayonnaise


Baked beans


Puddings £1.70

Selection of cold desserts


You can also have breakfast:

Build your own Breakfast –  choose from the selection below 60p per item

Free range egg (fried or scrambled)

Pork sausage

Vegetarian sausage

Back bacon rasher

Baked beans

Grilled or Plum Tomato


Hash brown

Sauté potatoes

Fried Slice


If you were hoping for black pudding, bad luck but egg, beans, sausage, mushrooms and bacon for £3.00?! Who needs chess? If you’re staying elsewhere, give their breakfast a miss and eat here, I say.  If you haven’t booked accommodation anywhere, there is still room at the university. Go to the Congress website listed above for details of accommodation available.”