With yesterday being the twelfth day of Christmas, this seems like a good time to look forward to 2019 and see what is in store. The Thanet League has reached the mid-point stage of the season so it is worth a look to see how the Broadstairs teams stand. Tomorrow (January 7th) the Walker Shield team resume their campaign with a crucial home match against Margate. A glance at the table below shows how important this is. Our team is quite strong but one reason for its modest start is that seldom has the club been able to field its best team. Couple that with a four-player format where one error can prove decisive and a 2-2 draw can easily become a 2½-1½ defeat. However, there is still some way to go and a victory tomorrow would make a huge difference. Here is the current position:

Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Ramsgate 4 3 0 1 10 6 6 0 0 0
Margate 2 2 0 0 4 0 0 0
Broadstairs 4 1 1 2 9 7 3 0 0 0
Folkestone 3 0 2 1 2 0 0 0
Bridge 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0
Sheldwich 3 0 1 2 1 0 0 0

Compared with the busy season enjoyed by the Walker Shield team, the Hargreaves Shield players have had few opportunities to display their talents. What began as a four-team competition was soon reduced to three when Woodnesborough withdrew almost before the season had started. Nevertheless, with two wins from two matches, the Broadstairs team are in a strong position to retain the trophy won last year. The two remaining matches are Bridge (away) on January 29th and Folkestone (home) on March 4th. Here is the current table:

The situation with the Millar Cup is perhaps the most intriguing. For many years in this competition Broadstairs have been not so much the bridesmaids but more like the  pageboys (appropriately) bringing up the rear and holding up the bride’s lengthy train.  However, the fortuitous and indeed fortunate arrival of several new members this season has suddenly galvanised the team and a narrow defeat to Folkestone was followed by the first win over Bridge in living memory. A second win against Margate leaves Broadstairs in silver medal position at the half-way stage. The return fixtures against Folkestone (January 21st) and Bridge (April 29th) will be crucial as the latest table shows:

The Mick Croft Cup, named in honour of the man who did so much for Thanet chess over many years, reaches its conclusion next week (January 14th) when Broadstairs play Woodnesborough in the final at home. Five players make up a team where the total grade must not exceed 625 so an average of 125 per board is the maximum allowed. Broadstairs has won the competition before but not for a while. John Couzens is in charge of the team and he will be scratching his head and polishing his selection over the next few days.

Mick Croft was one of the prime movers behind the instigation of the Thanet Chess Congress in 1970. The event of the year for local players will therefore be the 50th Thanet Chess Congress in August. Plans are already underway to include a few special prizes and we are hoping for a suitably large turnout. It is also hoped that some of those who played in the first congress will be able to play again. Watch this space for further information. The congress will take place from Friday August 16th – Sunday August 18th and the official website will be up and running in March.

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