Welcome to Batumi! Where? I hear you ask. Well, as the official logo on the left makes clear, Batumi is in Georgia, the country’s second city after the capital Tbilisi. It is on the Black Sea north of Turkey and is the venue for the 43rd Chess Olympiad which began on Monday and runs until October 5th as an 11-round Swiss tournament with just one rest day. Forget the football world cup and the complaints over 32 teams, this is the big one with 183 countries taking part featuring 185 teams (Georgia is fielding three teams). And that’s just the men’s tournament….Running simultaneously is the women’s competition featuring 151 teams from 149 countries. 749 female players are taking part and 919 men including almost all the top players in the world (although not Magnus Carlsen who is preparing for his forthcoming world championship match).
The England team, seeded 8 and consisting of Michael Adams, Luke McShane, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Nick Pert, made a reasonable start but came a cropper in Round 4 against a strong Azerbaijan team (seeded 4) who outgraded the England team on all four boards. For those of you familiar with Georgia but less so with England, here is a brief summary from the official Olympiad website: ‘England, birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles, is a country in the British Isles bordering Scotland and Wales. The capital, London, on the River Thames, is home of Parliament, Big Ben and the 11th-century Tower of London.’ So now you know.
The USA are favourites to win the men’s competition and who can be surprised with Caruana, Nakamura, So and Sam Shankland, the current US Champion in their team. China are seeded 3 and we shall catch up with our honorary overseas Broadstairs member, Wei Yi, in a future post. Russia are the traditional favourites for the Olympiad but they have not made a strong start and lost to Poland (seeded 13) in Round 4. The crucial game was this loss by Vladimir Kramnik to the Polish no.4, Jacek Tomczak. In a fairly wild game, the position suggested a slight advantage to White until 26….Rd5? when the computer’s analysis went from “White is slightly better’ to ‘White is winning’ in one move.
White: Jacek Tomczak (2614) Black: Vladimir Kramnik (2779)
43rd Chess Olympiad (Batumi) Round 4
While we mere mortals concern ourselves with how to win games in our club championship, in Turkey the World Junior Chess Championships have just concluded with victory in the boys section for the 18-year old Iranian GM, Parham Maghsoodloo. What do you mean, you’ve never heard of him? You soon will because his ELO grade is now after this tournament 2691. To put it into context, only two players in England – Michael Adams and Matthew Sadler – have higher rankings and then only just. Furthermore, he won with a round to spare, lost his last game and still finished a point ahead of the field. Here is his round 10 victory over the Russian IM Maksim Vavulin and if you would like to hear Parham talking about the game and his chess in general, click here.
White: Parham Maghsoodloo (2649) Black: Maksim Vavulin (2559)
World Junior Chess Championships 2018
The girls competition was much closer with only half a point separating the top seven players in the end. Victory went to Aleksandra Maltsevskaya of Russia who won her final match while the board one game ended in stalemate, giving the untitled Maltsevskaya, who began the tournament as the 19th seed, the title on a tie break. Here is that final round match against her fellow Russian, WFM Margarita Potapova.
White: Aleksandra Maltsevskaya (2234) Black: Margarita Potapova (2277)
World Junior Chess Championships 2018
And so after the excitement of the Thanet Chess Congress it’s back to the bread and butter of club chess. As usual, it is the Annual General Meeting that heralds in the new season at Broadstairs. This always takes place on the first Monday in September, a convenient two weeks after the congress to give us all a chance to breathe again and for this writer to produce reports and games from the congress which I hope you have all enjoyed.
No-one can ever be certain how many players will turn up for the AGM but eighteen was a good number this year and we welcomed two new members: Paul Johnson from Herne Bay and Arnaud Wisman from Bridge. They will add welcome strength to our league teams and it will make the club championship for the Goodall Cup one of the strongest ever. Perhaps David Faldon’s monopoly of recent years is under threat…..he needs one more victory to break the record for the number of wins in the competition.
The highlight of any AGM is the presentation of prizes and as last season was another successful one for Broadstairs, there were many trophies to award. Let’s start with Reg (see left), here showing off the Oyster Shield he won at the congress together with the Thanet Shield, awarded to Broadstairs as the most successful club in Thanet. With Ramsgate’s non-participation in two of the three qualifying competitions, this has become a two-horse race between Broadstairs and Margate but it’s a good excuse for a celebration. You will notice that this picture appears to be taken in a pub and you would be correct. This is Cramptons, sponsors of the Thanet Congress and the traditional watering hole for Broadstairs members after club nights. You may also have noticed Richard, Arnaud, David and Trefor playing chess in the background, seemingly unimpressed by Reg’s achievements.
Michael Doyle had a successful season. He was narrowly beaten by Reg for the Oyster Shield but he shared the John Cutting Cup for the best grading performance in the Summer Swiss (with Bob Page) and he won the Zielinski Shield, awarded to the player with the highest score in the bottom half of the club championship. This is not the first time he has won the latter although he may find this season’s competition more of a challenge: last year the top grade in the bottom half was 93 while this year it will be 110. Here is Michael on the right holding the John Cutting Cup and the Zielinski Shield. Note the chaps in the background still taking no notice. Chess players….
One of the highlights of last season for Broadstairs was the winning of the Hargreaves Shield for those players with grades of 140 or below. Under the captaincy of Andy Flood, Broadstairs won the competition with an unbeaten record (P6 W4 D2 L0) and some of the team were on hand to have their photo taken with the shield which Broadstairs has now won three times in the last five years (see below). Notice that Richard Clement has been prised away from the chess to appear in the photo along with (from the left) Andy Flood, John Couzens, Bob Page, Michael Doyle and Reg Pidduck. Paul Carfrae could not be in the photo but he played an important part in the club’s success.
Another club success in 2017/18 was victory in the Team Buzzer tournament for the Micklethwaite Shield. Broadstairs also won this in 2017 so it was pleasing to retain the title. Other trophies awarded at the AGM were the John Couzens Vase (David Faldon) for the knockout handicap competition and the Richard Pilcher Prize (Bob Page) for the best individual score by a player in a league competition (6/6 in the Hargreaves Shield). The George Stiggers Trophy for the best grading improvement over the last twelve months could not be awarded yet as there are some errors on the ECF grading list for July that have yet to be corrected.
Aside from the awarding of prizes, the AGM is an opportunity to look back on the last year and reflect on the general success or otherwise of the club. Financially, it has been a good year. After two seasons of losses, largely as a result of expenditure on equipment, the Treasurer (Reg) reported a small profit so it was agreed that subscriptions would remain at the same level as last year. The Secretary (Bob) reported that the number of members remained steady and that the website goes from strength to strength: only twice did the number of hits fall below 3,000 per month and once almost reached 6,000. In June we were informed that the Broadstairs site had been awarded the title of Website of the Year 2018 by the ECF.
Andy, in his position of Chairman of the Thanet and East Kent Chess League, reported on the success of the congress: 104 entries including 21 juniors, over £100 raised for the RNLI through the charity bookstall and many compliments for the new venue. Already attention is focussed on next year’s 50th congress but Andy deserves a decent rest before preparations begin in the New Year.
In addition to the more mundane items on the agenda, there was time to fix a date for the Christmas Dinner (Monday December 17), discuss another coaching session with the new demonstration board, and to look forward to the new league season which for Broadstairs begins on Friday September 21 with the Millar Cup match against Folkestone away. As usual, the Broadstairs fixture list is available elsewhere on the website and full results and match reports will appear in due course. Results and reports for the last four years can be found under ‘previous seasons’.