Broadstairs  4½        Margate   2½

1 David Faldon (178) 1-0  Harry Sharples (149)
2 Arnaud Wisman (168) ½-½  Peter McGill (145)
3 Trefor Owens (165) 1-0  Colin Gregory (127)
4 Manoj Natarajan (149) 0-1  Keith Findley (125)
5 Richard Clement (145) 0-1  Clive Le Baigue (121)
6 Chris Stampe (141) 1-0  John Clarke (92)
7 Paul Carfrae (131) 1-0  Chris Wyer (19)

David Faldon writes:   

Normally our Millar Cup matches are pretty stress-free. We enjoy the match, file the result and move on to the next. This one was different. Bridge beat Folkestone earlier in the week and consequently we had the chance to win the Millar Cup ourselves ahead of both Bridge and Folkestone if only we could defeat Margate. Broadstairs have not won the Millar Cup since 1976 and I personally have never even seen the trophy. Does it exist? On paper, beating Margate looked reasonably easy because we outgraded them on all seven boards, but the match itself was anything but. The fun started, unusually, on board one. I saw the chance to sacrifice my queen for a whole bunch of smaller bits, but there was a good alternative – swap queens and win a nice safe pawn. I spent maybe half an hour on the calculations. The sacrifice looked great, but what if I got something wrong? A loss could be disastrous. In the end I chickened out and took the pawn. Meanwhile, all was calm. Chris and Paul were doing well and the other games looked level. Arnaud was first to finish. Lots of pieces were exchanged and a draw agreed. No problem.

Soon, however, the situation changed, and not for the better. Manoj and Richard were both in trouble and Trefor was down to a rook and a few pawns each. He had a big choice: either agree a draw or sacrifice a pawn to get his king into the action. He chose the sacrifice. It soon proved to be the correct decision. As Trefor was wrapping up his win, Paul finished his game off too and we were two points up. Great. Then Richard lost. Not so great. Then Manoj lost too – unluckily. He fought back well in a difficult ending and achieved a position that should normally be drawn, but in the process used up all his time. With no increment in the Millar Cup there was no escape. A shame, but now the match was level at two wins each. My opponent and I were both short of time too, so I couldn’t keep up with how Chris was doing. Things were becoming too interesting for comfort. In the end I managed to use my precious extra pawn as a decoy to set up a mate on the other side of the board and we were one up with one to play. Could Chris avoid a loss and seal our victory? With fingers crossed, I rushed over, just in time to see that Chris was a queen up and about to win. Panic over. We had won the match by four wins to two. Comfortable? Not! Anyway, now we will finally get to find out if the famous Millar Cup actually exists. Many thanks to the whole of the Broadstairs Millar Cup team (not just those who played in this match) for getting us to where we are, and many thanks to Margate for being such cheerful hosts and for providing tea and biscuits.

Editor’s note: As David said, the Millar Cup was last won by Broadstairs in 1976 and even then it was shared with Herne Bay. This year is only the fifth time the club has won the trophy outright, the others being 1956, 1965, 1966 and 1969. The other teams competing in 1969 were Birchington, Chatham House, Dane Court, Margate, Pfizer, Ramsgate and St Lawrence College. Thanks to Ian Hames for this information.

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