Summer visitors to Broadstairs will be familiar with the weekly firework displays over Viking Bay (see below although it might be Singapore) and it seems appropriate that the first one this year will be tomorrow (July 18) which we would like to think is to celebrate www.broadstairschessclub.co.uk being awarded the title of Website of the Year by the ECF. The committee’s report described the website as ‘ordinary’ – praise indeed! Just in case anyone thinks this means we don’t deserve it, bear in mind that there were no fewer than six other candidates which were presumably even less ordinary – or possibly more….
If that is not exciting enough, the awards committee named the Thanet Chess Congress as Congress of the Year 2018, a remarkable achievement as the congress has not yet taken place. No ‘ordinary’ congress this one, though – the citation was described as ‘outstanding’ although this accolade ought to go to Andy Flood for taking on the running of the congress last year and doing such a fine job. Read the full list of awards here and don’t forget to enter the Congress of the Year 2018 which can be found here.
The end of the season is nigh which means it must be time for the annual Blitz competition at the club. Although there are still six more weeks left in the season, it always seems a good idea to hold the Blitz relatively early in the summer before people start thinking about holidays. The added complication this year was that there was the possibility that England might be playing their World Cup second round match on the same day. Fortunately, defeat to Belgium in the final group game meant that they were to play Colombia the next day. It was therefore pleasing that we were able to persuade fourteen members to turn up on Monday. And the theme for the evening? Well, it had to be England v Colombia. In past years when we have used the Blitz to decide something, we have usually got it wrong. In 2013 the royal baby was due on the evening of the Blitz and although the Pink Princesses beat the Royal Blues, it was a prince (George) who was born, scuppering our prediction. A victory for Colombia this year might therefore be a good omen.
|1 ||David Faldon (174) || ||Trefor Owens (175) |
|2 ||Paul Carfrae (140) || ||Bob Page (138) |
|3 ||Gary Hilleard (e117) || ||Richard Clement (e123) |
|4 ||Andy Flood (110) || ||Reg Pidduck (102) |
|5 ||Bob Cronin (102) || ||Joshua Vaughan (97) |
|6 ||Fredy Reber (53) || ||Michael Doyle (86) |
|7 ||David Clifford (41) || ||Rupert Smallbone (e20) |
There were eight rounds altogether and everyone played one game against all other members of the opposing team. Players had six minutes each on their clock for each game and the advantage of having seven players in each team was that everyone had a bye at some stage in the evening. The event provided a debut for Trefor Owens, our most recent member, and he proved a real asset for the Colombian team, winning six of his seven matches. The match was the closest we have had for many years with six of the rounds ending in 3-3 draws. The only exception before the final round was a 4-2 win for Colombia in round 4 and so going into the last set of matches Colombia held a narrow 22-20 lead. If England hoped to turn it around, they were mistaken, losing the final round 2½-4½ to give Colombia a 26½-22½ victory. As we know, this meant that England would win the football which, of course, they did.
Credit for Colombia’s victory must go to the top three boards, Trefor Owens (6), Bob Page (6) and Richard Clement (5½). Star of the evening, however, was David Faldon, playing for England, who scored a 100% 7/7 in a losing team. Thanks to everyone who played and it is impressive that at a time when many clubs have been closed for months, Broadstairs can still persuade fourteen members to turn up and play chess on a hot summer’s evening.
The last posting mentioned a game played by your correspondent that ended with a horrible blunder losing a queen and the game. Well, folks, the game has been traced and it was worse than I originally thought. Resignation was not required as it was not my queen that I lost but my king….and after only eight moves. The game was played at the Thanet Congress in 1989. It was in round 2 against Jeremy Lynn who plays for Crystal Palace – the chess club not the football team – so if you are out there Mr Lynn, I hope this brings back happier memories for you than it does for me.
White: Robert Page (125) Black: Jeremy Lynn (136)
Thanet Major 1989
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. b3 Bb4 6. Nd2 Qe7 7. a3 Ngxe5
Have a look at the position. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking at it now it seems inexplicable that not only was I facing mate in one and did not notice but that I was given a fairly unsubtle hint that something was coming by being offered a free bishop. Furthermore, I remember thinking for a few minutes about my next move. Was I looking a gift horse (or, in this case, bishop) in the mouth? I could see no danger, possibly because the knight on e5 obscured the real threat, the queen on e7. So I took the bishop…..
My opponent did not need to think as long as I did for his next move.
How we laughed – both of us but for different reasons. I could not believe how stupid I had been and he could not believe his luck. As mentioned in the last report, one of the players on my neighbouring board had not arrived to start his game and I had lost in about five minutes. Notwithstanding this result, this was quite a good tournament for me. I scored 50% in a group where I was one of the lowest graded players, emerging with a tournament performance of 136 – and we’re talking old money here. But of all the games I played in that congress, this is the one I remember. It provides a neat bookend to my other serious congress blunder (see Blunder of the Week April 1st 2015). That was far more calamitous in that this was at the beginning of the game while the 2015 one – and no, it was not an April Fool, it really happened – came right at the end when I had mate in one and lost! My opponent went on to win the section, thereby confirming what I have always thought, that in order to win a tournament you need a little luck.
Yes, folks, it’s back – Blunder of the Week! Everyone’s done it and everyone loves it apart from the poor sucker who’s made to look a wally all over the world wide web. This week it’s Reg who was guilty of a mental blank and the beauty of this one is that it took place after only five moves….The beneficiary was Michael Doyle who points out that he has a grade 26 points below his opponent’s so Reg’s generosity was even more appreciated.
White: Reg Pidduck (107) Black: Michael Doyle (81)
1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. Be3 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6
Have a look at this position. White’s queen is threatened so clearly it has to move so what could be safer than 5. Qc3?? Well, quite a lot actually and I suspect it did not take Michael long to realise that this was his lucky day. The game continued:
5…….Bb4! 6. Bd4 Bxc3 7. Bxc3 and White resigned after 24 moves.
So Black won a queen for a bishop but if it is any consolation to Reg – and I don’t think it is – Michael could have won it for nothing. Presumably, White played 6.Bd4? in the hope that Black would play 6….. Nxd4 to which he would reply 7. Qxb4 and he escapes …….except that he doesn’t.
Ouch! Losing your queen for nothing after seven moves might constitute Blunder of the Year. Your correspondent can certainly remember losing his at the Thanet Congress once after a similar number of moves – I recall the player next to me had not even arrived to start his game and I had already lost. I’m not proud, I’ll dig it out. Watch this space.
Bad luck, Reg, but thank you for allowing us to enjoy some welcome schadenfreude.
After a quiet start to the Altibox Norway Chess tournament, there has been no little drama in the last few days including a cook-off between the players – definitely worth checking out – a withdrawal as a result of an injury and a defeat for Magnus Carlsen. The premature exit was by Ding Liren who injured himself while cycling during the first rest day. Initially, he thought it was not serious but later it was decided that he would need surgery on his hip and so he withdrew from the tournament. Before quitting, however, he chose to go through with the players’ cook-off competition which had been arranged for the rest day. The players drew lots to be paired off in five groups of two and were then given recipes to cook. Their culinery experience appeared to be limited in most cases so it must have been a surprise when Ding and Vishy Anand – who claims only to have once cooked an omelette – were declared the winners. This clip, courtesy of Chess.com, is worth a look:
Carlsen had made a confident start to the tournament and amid a cluster of draws, he was the only one to have achieved two wins in the first five rounds to sit on top of the table with 3½/5. However, he was beaten in Round 6 today by Wesley So who in doing so registered his first win. The leader board now looks much more interesting as the players head for the second rest day.
White: Wesley So (2778) Black: Magnus Carlsen (2843)
Altibox Norway 2018 Round 6