Regular visitors to this site might be wondering what is happening at the grass roots level of the ordinary chess club. It’s all right posting news about Wei Yi, Wesley So and Hou Yifan but what about the Thanet Chess League? How is Broadstairs doing? What about the club championship? Who is winning? Is the club about to pack up at Easter as many seem to do these days (Answer: no, we keep going until August).   Broadstairs enters three teams in the Thanet Chess League so let’s start this round-up with the one most likely to win something this season: the Hargreaves Shield team.      

Broadstairs 5 2 2 1 10.5 5.5 6
Bridge 4 2 1 1 8.5 7.5 5
W’borough 5 2 0 3 10 10 4
Margate 4 1 1 2 7 9 3

Until last week, we were confident of retaining the Hargreaves Shield (U140) but the defeat by Woodnesborough has thrown the competition wide open. Even victory in our final match against Woodnesborough at home may not be enough – we need Margate to get at least a point from one of their matches against Bridge.

The Walker Shield (U115) has been our strength in recent years, winning the competition in both 2015 and 2016.

Margate 7 5 2 0 20 8 12
Bridge 6 3 1 2 13.5 10.5 7
Broadstairs 6 1 4 1 12.5 11.5 6
Herne Bay 6 1 2 3 8 16 4
W’borough 5 0 1 4 6 14 1

Sadly, the hat-trick is already out of reach as the table shows. With two points for a win and one for a draw, even victories in our last two matches will not be enough to prevent Margate winning this particular competition.  Nevertheless, hope springs eternal for 2018 which is more than can be said for our chances in the Blue Riband of Thanet Chess, the Millar Cup (no grading limit). Only a long search in dusty archives can reveal the last time Broadstairs won the Millar Cup. Your correspondent has been a member for over thirty years and it has not occurred in that time. In recent years competition for the Millar Cup has been a private battle between Bridge and Folkestone with other clubs merely making up the numbers.  It must be rather similar for teams in La Liga facing Barcelona and Real Madrid in which case Broadstairs historically are the Osasuna of the Thanet Chess League.  Actually, that’s a little unfair as Osasuna are currently bottom of La Liga and Broadstairs are currently in …er… mid-table.

Bridge A 7 7 0 0 35.5 13.5 14
Folkestone 8 5 1 2 40.5 15.5 11
Bridge B 7 5 1 1 30.5 18.5 11
Broadstairs 7 2 0 5 16.5 32.5 4
Herne Bay 6 1 0 5 10.5 31.5 2
Margate 7 0 0 7 13.5 35.5 0

Meanwhile, what is happening at the club? As everyone knows, the heart of any club is what goes on within: the club championship, domestic competitions and drinking in the pub afterwards. At Broadstairs the main club competition is the Goodall Cup, named after W.F.Goodall, the last Club Secretary but one who died in 1950…yes, you read it right: 1950. David Faldon is defending his title and with ten wins out of ten so far, he is in pole position once again although he still has to play the three highest-graded members after himself. Who else could win? Well, Ian Hames is also unbeaten but has dropped half a point while Nick McBride‘s surprise defeat recently means he will probably have to beat Ian and David to stand any chance.

The knockout competition, a time handicap for the John Couzens Vase is in its early stages but not too early for your correspondent who has already been knocked out (again) by Viktor Selyukov.  Entries are being taken for the Summer Swiss which begins at the end of April and the annual Blitz tournament has been pencilled in for July 3. The club will remain open until August 14, the last Monday before the Thanet Chess Congress of which more anon.

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