The Native Americans

The annual Broadstairs Blitz took place on Monday and this year’s theme was the Wild West. No cowboys and indians in this 21st century politically correct chess club – oh no, it was Cowpersons versus Native Americans. The format is tried and tested:  the sixteen players were divided into two teams of eight of roughly equal grading strength. There are eight rounds and everyone plays the eight on the opposite team. In order to add a little spice – and not a little confusion at times – each player this year was given the name of a character. For example, the Cowpersons numbered amongst their team Arnie Oakley, Buffalo Bob and Jesse Hames while the Native Americans could call upon Crazy Horse, Clothes Horse and Passing Water. When reading out the names at the start of the evening, it did seem as someone noted that perhaps the organiser had a little too much time on his hands but it was all good fun.

What of the chess? It’s always hard to predict these tournaments. The teams may be equal in grades but few of our players have rapid play grades and two players with similar standard grades could be very different players at blitz. It is always hoped that the competition will be close, that one team does not win every round and fortunately it was the case this year. The Native Americans got off to a strong start, winning the first two rounds. However, a convincing 6-2 win for the Cowpersons in round 4 meant that the scores were level 16-16 at the half-way stage. A narrow win for the Native Americans in round 5 restored  their lead but the Cowpersons came back to win round 6 and the scores were level again with two rounds to go.   Marshall Gambit then rallied his troops and just like in all the old Hollywood films, the Native Americans were soon in retreat. The Cowpersons won the last two rounds to finish winners 35-29.

Congratulations to Arnaud Wisman (Arnie Oakley) who finished with the highest individual score of 7½/8. In the crucial last round he beat Shany Rezvany (Crazy Horse) and in a rematch of the Battle of Little Big Horn Paul Johnson (Sitting Paul) defeated Chris Stampe (General Custard) once again, providing another example of history repeating itself. In blitz games, of course, things don’t always go to plan and the player who lost with only five seconds gone on his clock had best remain anonymous!

                                          The Cowpersons

Photos  of the two teams reveal only fifteen players so apologies to Michael Doyle (Marshall Gambit) who had jumped on his horse and ridden off into the sunset when the Cowpersons photo was taken. He played his part in their victory, scoring 3/8 on board 7 with wins against Andy Flood (Running Water), Reg Pidduck (Passing Wind) and Fredy Reber (Geronimo). Yee ha!

Cowpersons: Arnaud Wisman, Ian Hames, Bob Page, Chris Stampe, Gary Hilleard, Bob Cronin, Michael Doyle, Michael Jenkinson.

Native Americans: Shany Rezvany, Richard Clement, Paul Carfrae, Paul Johnson, Andy Flood, John Couzens, Reg Pidduck, Fredy Reber.

David Faldon reports:

Jamboree tournament? Let’s define the general by the specific: six teams of six players, one round of games. The Broadstairs board one with black against the Folkestone board one, the Broadstairs board two with white against the Bridge board two, the Broadstairs board three with black against the Sheldwich board three and so on. The evening got off to a great start for us when our board two, Trefor, crashed through to win with a huge kingside attack before I’d had a chance to see what was going on outside my own game. I then checked the other games: our board three had a good position and our boards four, five and six were already winning. Maybe this would be our night? And so it proved. Paul on board four, Chris on board five and Mike on board six all won quickly in rather one-sided fashion. Richard on board three came up against much tougher opposition from young Oli Garrett (ten years old?) but prevailed in the end with an extra pawn or two in a long rook ending. That meant Broadstairs could guarantee winning the tournament with a draw on board one, so when my opponent offered me one I could not refuse. Congratulations to all. Many thanks to Graeme Boxall of Bridge for running the event, to Margate for hosting the event (with free tea, coffee and biscuits) and to Andy Flood (playing as a guest for Folkestone) for giving me a lift home.

Team results

1. Broadstairs 5½ points
2. Woodnesborough (Harry Sharples etc) 4 points
3. Folkestone (Jim Bayford etc) 3 points (including one default)
3. Bridge (Richard Eales etc) 3 points (including one default)
5. Margate (Colin Gregory etc) 1½ points
6. Sheldwich (Patrick Burns and five youngsters) 0 points

Broadstairs results

1. David Faldon ½ Jim Bayford (181, Folkestone) ½
2. Trefor Owens 1 Jeff Green (154, Bridge) 0
3. Richard Clement 1 Oli Garrett (76, Sheldwich) 0
4. Paul Johnson 1 Roy McAloney (96, Margate) 0
5. Chris Stampe 1 DanielAllen (64, Woodnesborough) 0
6. Mike Doyle 1 Chris Wyer (17, Margate) 0

Editor’s note: In addition to Andy Flood, Michael Jenkinson and Michael Doyle were also reserves, drafted in to play for Bridge and Broadstairs respectively so thanks and congratulations to all involved. Sadly, there was no official photographer on hand to record the winning team so instead here is a photo of the Editor with former Broadstairs Chess Club member Michael Page watching England thrash West Indies at Southampton on Friday.




                                     Trefor and Carol Owens

Congratulations to two of our members, Gary Hilleard and Trefor Owens, who both got married recently. Trefor married Carol early last month with the reception held at the Walpole Bay Hotel in Margate. It was also Trefor’s 60th birthday and a splendid chess-themed cake was  the centrepiece for a joint wedding/birthday celebration.

                                Gary and Monique Hilleard

Gary and Monique were married in Las Vegas last week and they are now on their honeymoon while Trefor and Carol have booked theirs for November. Once again, many congratulations to both couples from everyone at Broadstairs Chess Club.

It is no secret that chess is played by considerably more men than women. The reasons for this are many but the question is how can women be encouraged to play (or return to) chess and is the situation the same worldwide? Hammersmith Chess Club is doing its bit by holding a chess month during May in which there will be various events to promote the game with women in mind.  These include a series of lectures by Women’s FIDE Master Maria Manelidou, a women’s rapidplay tournament with £250 in prize money and special offers on membership for women players who wish to join the club during May. The initiative is supported by the ECF (see here) and Chris Fegan, ECF Director of Women’s Chess wrote: “It is (at least to my knowledge) the first ever such month-long series of activities specifically designed for women that an English chess club has ever put on.” Full details can be found on the Hammersmith Chess Club website.

As regards female participation in chess worldwide, there was a very interesting blog posted recently that is recommended reading for anyone interested in the topic. The article is entitled ‘The Best (and Worst) Countries to be a Female Chess Player” and is prefaced by this summary: ‘Female participation rates are higher in countries that are traditionally patriarchal. Various theories are discussed. Federations seeking to boost female participation should concentrate on teaching chess to girls in or before primary school, as well as encouraging young adult women to stay in the chess world.’

The article is too detailed to comment on further here but you might be surprised by the research and conclusions that the author, David Smerdon, provides. As a taster, try this question for starters: guess which of these countries have the highest percentage of female chess players: Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam.

Intrigued? Then read the article here.


Trefor receives the Micklethwaite Shield

Congratulations to the Broadstairs A team who won the Team Buzzer tournament for the third year in a row. Sadly, as has become routine in recent league events, only three teams competed and two of those were from Broadstairs so we should be grateful to Margate for at least making it a competition.  Had they been at full strength it would have been closer than it was but the absence of one or two of their stronger players together with (or perhaps because of) the fact that buzzer events – you have to move every ten seconds on the buzzer – are not everyone’s cup of tea meant that the real competition was for second place.  Here Paul Johnson justified his selection on Board 1 for the B team by drawing with Trefor Owens – the only individual game that the A team did not win – and twice beating Peter McGill, the Margate number one.

It is to Broadstairs’ great credit that not only could the club count on eight players to take part but that two others offered to stand by if needed as reserves. Indeed one of those, Paul Carfrae, stepped in at the last minute. This is the club’s fourth trophy this season after the Team Quickplay, the Mick Croft Cup and the Hargreaves Shield. With second place in the Millar Cup and the possibility of second in the Walker Shield which concludes on Monday, it has been an excellent season. Many thanks to all those who took part and to Margate for their hospitality.

A team: Trefor Owens, Shany Rezvany, David Faldon, Ian Hames

B team: Paul Johnson, Bob Page, Paul Carfrae, Michael Doyle

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Game Pts Match Pts
Broadstairs A 4 4 0 0 15½ 8
Broadstairs B 4 2 0 2 4
Margate 4 0 0 4 2 0

Full details of individual results can be found on the ECF LMS site.