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.

The Women’s World Championship in Tehran is nearing its climax with one finalist already known – GM Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine. Her sister, Mariya, who chose not to enter as a result of  the hijab controversy, said that she respected her sister’s decision to take part as it had always been her dream to be world champion. In football terms she is now only one game away from achieving this but in this tournament that one game might in reality be nine….If she has any advantage over her opponent in the final, it will be in the number of games played. In none of her matches hitherto has Anna been stretched beyond the classical format including a 2-0 victory in the semi-final. On the other hand, one of her possible opponents, WGM Tan Zhongyi of China, has already played twenty-one games of various lengths including victory in an armageddon finish in Round 2 and a 1.5-0.5 win over the favourite Ju Wenjun in the quarter-final. Her semi-final match with GM Harika Dronavalli of India is tied at 1-1 after the two classical games. Harika herself has had no easier time, having played twenty games so far with the prospect of another possible seven before either player reaches the final. On that basis you have to fancy Anna’s chances although you can’t question Harika’s resilience. Having lost the first game in the semi-final and knowing a draw in the second would not be enough, she was faced with having to win a knight and bishop ending.  If you want to see how to achieve this but don’t fancy playing through 162 moves, you might want to start the following game at White’s move 116 when Black gives up her last piece and the fun begins.

White:   Harika Dronavalli (2539)   Black:  Tan Zhongyi (2502)       

Women’s World Championship 2017

Rather like London buses, you wait for a decent tournament and then two come along at once. As Round 3 in the Women’s World Chess Championship is almost complete, the first leg of the FIDE Grand Prix has begun in Sharjah.  This competition is divided into four separate tournaments, the other three to be held in Moscow, Geneva and Majorca later in the year. The finer details lack clarity in the eyes of this correspondent who would welcome any available explanation.  Twenty-four players have been selected and each will play in three of the four tournaments. The two players with the most points at the end qualify for the Candidates Tournament next year to select a challenger for the next World Championship. Eighteen are playing at Sharjah and as 4 x 18 = 72, all twenty-four players will have played in three tournaments at the end of the cycle.  So far, so good. However, the official website lists only twenty-two players and does not include Hou Yifan who is currently playing at Sharjah. (Wei Yi is included but is not playing at Sharjah.) Are the two extra places left for ‘wild cards’? Not all the players regard the nine-round Swiss format as a ‘new, exciting format’ as described by FIDE on their site as with such a high-quality field there are no easy games from the start which might explain the high percentage of draws in Round 1.

Meanwhile, for those who like complicated tournaments, the Women’s World Championship should suit you. There are three preliminary rounds followed by four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and the final. The first two rounds whittled the players down from 64 to 32 and then 16 in Round 3.  Tomorrow (Sunday) Round 3 will conclude and the last eight will begin their quarter-finals on Monday. Each match consists of two classic chess games followed, if necessary, by two 25 min + 10-sec increment rapid games, then if needed two additional 10+10 games, two 5+3 blitz games and finally a single Armageddon game, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4, but a draw counts as a win for Black. Not everyone is happy with the format and there have been many adverse comments posted online but this is why nine days have been set aside for the quarter-finals. While some of the early games posed few problems for the stronger players, Round 3 has proved tougher and four of the eight matches go to tie-breaks on Sunday. Watch this space. In Round 2 two games went to an Armageddon finish with one ending in a draw which meant that Black wins. The unluckiest player was probably WGM Natalyia Buksa of Ukraine who only needed a draw against IM Sopiko Guramishvili of Georgia in the second 10-minute rapidplay game to go through to Round 3. With K + R v K + R + N, she must have felt confident as the seconds ticked away. However, with only 1m 38 secs left on her clock, Black played the following move: 125….Rg2+

White, understandably, thought that was it and made the meaningless move 126.Kxe3?? before resigning after 126…Rxa2. What she missed, though, was that 126.Ke1! still draws, since 126…Rxa2 is stalemate! The first of the blitz games was drawn but Sopiko went on to win the second and go through to Round 3 and she is still there going into Sunday’s tie-breaks.