Broadstairs  2         Margate   2 

1 Reg Pidduck (107) 0-1     Colin Gregory  (106)
2 Bob Cronin (103) 1-0     Leon Garfield (102)
3 Michael Doyle (90) 0-1     John Clarke (94 )
4 Michael Jenkinson  (83) 1-0     James Maskell (77)

Reg Pidduck writes:

BOARD 4. TALE OF TWO SACRIFICES  First James tried one and then Michael responded with one of his own. Michael’s came out best with a pawn advantage which won the game. 1-0 to us

BOARD 3. JOHN ON FORM. John Clarke always looks to me better than his grade suggests and he gradually got the better of our Michael and duly won. 1-1

BOARD 1. BOTH IN TIME TROUBLE. I replied with a French Defence against Colin’s e4, and soon we both had an impasse with both of us using up time to think of a way through. Then with both times running out for the first time control, Colin found a great move that I could not counter. 2-1 down

BOARD 2. BOB COMES UP TRUMPS. Last to finish, Bob found an almost impossible win from his position (bishop pinned from a rook and a knight pinned from a bishop) by checking wherever he could and finally Leon running out of squares to place his king safely. Well done, Bob! A fitting end to a great evening

We have now won 0 drawn 4 lost 1  in our fight to regain the Walker Shield.


Usually, when the computer says ‘White is winning’ in a game involving a grandmaster, it is a fair assumption that the game will indeed be won. I was going to say that  you could eat your hat if White did not win in such circumstances but I’m steering clear of such rash assertions these days. Without doubt, however, the story that will appear in your chess columns on Monday – or Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever they catch up with Round 7 at the Tata Steel Chess Masters – will be how Magnus Carlsen failed to win his game against Anish Giri. Admittedly, Giri is the draw bore of the modern game, having drawn all his games at the London Chess Classic and the first five in this tournament. Nonetheless, this was the situation after 55…Kg8:

At this point the computer not only had White winning but the rating was 53.12 i.e. as near a dead cert as you can get – and remember, this is the World Champion we are talking about. However, there was a catch. The rating was based on Carlsen playing the ‘best’ move 56. Rc8+ whereby Giri would have to concede Q+R for R+B to avoid mate in three and the game was lost. Of the two best alternatives offered by the computer, 56. Bf7+ was rated at only 2.77 while 56. Rg5+ scored -2.53 i.e. favouring Black.  Carlsen chose 56. Bf7+ and 67 moves later the game was drawn. Giri did not spot the mate either and there was an amusing look of incomprehension on his face when the press informed him after the match. However, he considered that Carlsen’s failure to win a mate in three was of greater significance. “This is really the most embarrassing moment of Magnus Carlsen’s chess career, because no-one cares about me, but the guy, you know, is kind of a legend.”  It will be interesting to hear Carlsen’s version of events.

Regular visitors to this site may wonder why we are not celebrating the fine tournament being enjoyed thus far by Wei Yi. It is, of course, only the half-way stage and much could go wrong, especially as he still has to play So and Karjakin. Nevertheless, two wins in successive matches puts him joint second after seven rounds. While it is tempting to show either his fine win against van Wely today or his victory against Rapport on Friday, revenge for his World U20 defeat last month, we featured his first win a few days ago so instead let’s indulge in a little schadenfreude and enjoy another great escape, this time by Wesley So against….yes, Richard Rapport in Round 3. For 24 moves this was an equal game at which point Rapport (Black) began to gain an advantage. By move 31 he was ‘much better’ and a move later ‘Black is winning’ (-3.82). Once again, however, the ‘wrong’ move was chosen and after 33…Qf7 and 34…Qg6, the computer now tells us that ‘White is winning’ (4.00). Sadly, for Black it was not just a half-point that was conceded and So, who presumably could not believe his luck, won in 48 moves and now leads the tournament while Rapport languishes in 13th place.

White:   Wesley So (2808)   Black:  Richard Rapport (2702)       

Tata Steel Chess Masters 2017

Today is a rest day at the Tata Steel Chess Masters Tournament. After four rounds the early leader, Pavel Eljanov, has maintained his position at the head of the field with three wins and a draw. The heavyweights are breathing down his neck, however, and he has so far avoided some of the bigger names. These are early days and there are still another nine rounds to go. So what do top grandmasters do on their day off? Answer: they play football. Magnus Carlsen and Loek van Wely captained the two teams in a friendly played at Telstar F.C. this afternoon. This appears to have become an annual event as a similar match was played last year with van Wely’s team winning 14-9 – not sure who was playing in defence but perhaps Pep Guardiola was the manager. And what of the match, you may ask? Well, over to our on the spot reporter, Rook van Zugzwang, who filed this report for the Tata Steel Chess Masters website:

“Carlsen picked his assistant Peter Heine Nielsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi and his assistant Alexander Motylev, Vladimir Dobrov and Lu Shanglei. Grandmasters Benjamin Bok, Jorden van Forreest, Aryan Tari and two of Loek’s chess friends, Ard van Beek and Rob Duijn were on team Van Wely. Both teams were supplemented by players from Telstar. Telstar player Calvin Valies opened the score for Team Carlsen. Benjamin Bok scored the next two goals, bringing the score to 1-2. Carlsen scored 2-2, followed by Telstar players Stefano Lilipaly and Liban Abulahi taking Carlsen’s team to 4-2. Chinese grandmaster Lu Shanglei increased the advantage to 5-2 and Carlsen himself scored a wonderful goal half a minute before the end of the match, making it a 6-2 victory for his team and taking revenge for last year’s match.”    

Meanwhile, back at the chess Wei Yi has made a solid start although he came a cropper with the black pieces against Carlsen in Round 4 after what appeared an equal game on move 29 suddenly became ‘White is much better’ next move to ‘White is winning’ and defeat by move 33. However, his current total of 2/4 keeps him in the middle of the pack and he can take credit with this win in Round 3.

White:   Wei Yi (2706)   Black:  Ian Nepomniachtchi (2767)       

Tata Steel Chess Masters 2017

Broadstairs  3         Bridge   1 

1 John Couzens (125) 1-0     Tim Spencer  (130)
2 Andy Flood (117) ½-½     Chris Stampe  (127)
3 Reg Pidduck (107) 1-0     Bill Tracey (e114)
4 Bob Cronin (103) ½-½     Graeme Boxall (83)

Andy Flood writes:

A confident and strong Bridge team travelled to the reigning Hargreaves champions Broadstairs, outgrading the home team on three of the four boards, with both teams keen to maintain their unbeaten record. Early success went to Broadstairs with an excellent win by the Gullbuster on Board 1 who after sacrificing a piece for three pawns manoeuvred a won endgame by mopping up his opponent’s pawns before his higher graded opponent resigned. Reg was next to finish, playing very solid chess to guarantee at least a point, with another won endgame against a higher graded opponent.

It ended up as being a great result for Broadstairs with all team members contributing to the final total with Bob Cronin and Andy Flood both securing half a point in their drawn games finishing simultaneously and very close to the 11.00 pm deadline.  With a final score of 3-1, Broadstairs remain unbeaten and on top of the league two points ahead of Bridge halfway through the season.

             Even the sandwiches have class

The Tata Steel Chess Masters tournament, held annually at Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands,  has traditionally been one of the strongest events in the chess calendar and this year’s competition which began today  is no exception. With five of the top ten players in the world taking part and an average grade of 2751, it is comfortably the strongest tournament ever held in…er…2017. Naturally we shall be following the fortunes of Broadstairs’ adopted son, Wei Yi, and he began with an unspectacular draw in round one – as did most of the players – so here is the only win so far which puts Ukraine’s world no.15 into an early tournament lead.


White:  Pavel Eljanov (2755)   Black:  Richard Rapport (2702)       

Tata Steel Chess Masters 2017