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.

Broadstairs  1         Woodnesborough  3 

(Board positions based on July grades)

1 John Couzens (125) 0-1     Dennis Stokes-Carter                                 (118)
2 Andy Flood (117) 1-0     David Erwee (108)
3 Reg Pidduck (107) 0-1     Mark Towlson (101)
4 Bob Cronin (103) 0-1     Bryan Rodwell  (90)

Andy Flood writes:

A confident, unbeaten, top of the league Broadstairs team out-graded their opponents on all four boards. Requiring two wins from their remaining two matches to secure the championship, there could surely only be one result! First to finish was John on Board 1, and Woodnesborough were leading 1 – 0. The remaining matches were relatively even, Reg slightly ahead with a predicted win on Board 3 and likely draws on the other two boards. As the evening drew on, Bob Cronin’s position deteriorated to what looked like a loss but with clever pawn play at one stage it looked like he might scramble a draw. However, his opponent overcame the resistance and Broadstairs were 2 – 0 down.

Reg, with his two-pawn advantage, would surely secure the first point of the evening. However, an awful bishop proved to be of less value than a pawn and Broadstairs were 3–0 down and the match was lost. Thinking from the earlier positions that a win was needed on Board 2, Black had abandoned the strategy of locking up the pieces to one of opening up the game. With White attacking on the king side and Black on the queen side, Black broke through and a pawn became a certain queen. White resigned, the game was won but the match was lost 3 – 1.

With one match to go to secure the Championship, Broadstairs need to beat Woodnesborough and hope close friends Margate do the neighbourly thing and secure a win against rivals Bridge. Congratulations to Woodnesborough for winning the match and coming a close second in the competition for the most difficult-to-find venue in the league for which Bridge are worthy champions with ‘The Pavilion’.



Broadstairs  3½         Bridge  ½ 

1 Reg Pidduck (107) ½ -½     Graeme Boxall (83)
2 Bob Cronin (103) 1-0    Ray Rennells (81)
3 Michael Doyle (90) 1-0     Ian Redmond (70) def
4 Michael Jenkinson  (83) 1-0     Stuart Honey (68)

Reg Pidduck writes:

BOARD 3:  A WALKOVER.  Michael waited for the allotted half-hour but Ian could not make the match. 1-0 up

BOARD 2: ANOTHER WIN FOR BOB.  Our Broadstairs Bob soon looked in control with a piece up early, but Ray was having none of it and kept Bob at bay for a game fight. Finally Bob sacked his Queen to then gain a pin on Ray’s queen and Ray resigned with Bob in control with Rook and pawns against pawns. 2-0 up

BOARD 3:   CLOSE GAME. Graeme came at my Dutch Defence with a lot of aggression and soon had me backed up and going nowhere. I then got the chance to swap off his most dangerous piece (a black squared Bishop) which allowed me freedom to breathe a sigh of relief and offer a draw, which was accepted. 2½-½ up

BOARD 4: WELL DONE,  MICHAEL J.  Last to finish, Michael pushed to the very end to complete our first win in the Walker this season .

3½-½ win.   We now have Played 6  Won 1   Drawn 4  Lost 1  (Margate with 5 wins from 7 games now look untouchable to win the Walker this year.)

Tan Zhongyi of China has won the FIDE Women’s World Championship after a tense final, eventually winning on the second rapidplay game. Tan, a mere WGM and only the ninth seed in the competition, beat Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine in the final, a result that must have surprised many people. Anna was second seed behind the favourite Ju Wenjung and when the latter was knocked out (by Tan) in the quarter-finals, Anna must have fancied her chances. Furthermore, she had a clear run to the final, winning all her classical games whereas Tan had already played 28 games of various lengths including two victories in an armageddon finish. The second of these occurred in the semi-final against Harika Dronavalli of India. The sixth game of this match as reported in the last posting (click here) lasted an incredible 162 moves with Harika winning a bishop + knight ending. Tan bounced back to win the match in the final ninth (armageddon) game lasting 99 moves with a maximum five minutes for Black, remember – one move every three seconds on average. Altogether, there were 661 moves in the match! In the final Tan took the lead in Game 2 after the first game was drawn before Anna levelled in Game 3 with a wonderful attacking game against Tan’s French Defence that I wish I had employed against Michael Green in our recent Millar Cup defeat at Bridge.

White:   Anna Muzychuk (2558)   Black:  Tan Zhongyi (2502)       

Women’s World Championship 2017

So with one game to go of the classical format – four games in the final as opposed to two in earlier rounds – the internet ‘experts’ still favoured Anna. The momentum was with her, everyone thought, except that Tan was White in Game 4 which was drawn and Anna must have felt that with Tan’s experience and record in the tournament at rapidplay games, perhaps her chance had gone. And so it proved: after Game 5 was drawn, Tan had the white pieces in Game 6 and time trouble was author of Anna’s downfall.

White:  Tan Zhongyi (2502)     Black:   Anna Muzychuk (2558)       

Women’s World Championship 2017

Whatever one’s views on the knockout system and rapidplay finishes for deciding something as important as a world championship, there is no doubt that there was considerably more interest and excitement in Tehran than in the snoozathon at Sharjah which did not even merit a final report on this site. Perhaps an analogy can be drawn between the two formats similar to that of T20 v Test cricket. Is the Tehran tournament the future of chess? Discuss.



Broadstairs  ½         Bridge A   6½ 

1 David Faldon (179) 0-1         Richard Eales  (198)
2 Nick McBride (171) 0-1           Vishnu Singh (192)
3 Bob Page (141) 0-1         Michael Green (170)
4 Reg Pidduck (107) 0-1         David Shire (158)
5 Bob Cronin (103) 0-1         Robert Collopy (156)
6 Michael Doyle (90) 0-1         Emily Green (146)
7 Joshua Vaughan (86) ½-½         Bill Tracey  (124)

David Faldon writes:

A steamroller performance from Bridge A takes them to seven wins out of seven this season. None of our players played badly, the opposition were (mostly) just too good. The one exception was on board seven where Josh scraped a draw by perpetual check with just seconds (or was it one second?) on his clock at the end. Well played Josh! Many thanks to everyone for turning out on a cold February evening, and especially to Bob Page and Bob Cronin for driving.