short-and-houRegular visitors to this site will know that we take a keen interest in upcoming Chinese grandmasters, especially Wei Yi and Hou Yifan. Well, the highlight of the 20th Hoogeveen Chess Tournament running from 15-22 October in Hoogeveen Town Hall in the Netherlands is a 6-game classical match between Hou Yifan and Nigel Short. Before the match Short confirmed that he had once stated that ‘men on average play better than women’ but clarified it by adding ‘Hou Yifan is not average’! The first game took place this afternoon (Sunday) and Short appeared to have the edge as the game entered its closing stages. Hou Yifan dug in, however, and held on for a draw. She will be hoping for the sort of form that seemed to elude her at the recent Isle of Man International except for this gem in round one.

White: Hou Yifan (2658)            Black: James Jackson (2311)

Isle of Man International 2016


Broadstairs  2½         Margate   1½ 

1 John Couzens (125) 0-1     Clive Le Baigue  (105)
2 Andy Flood (117) 1-0     Leon Garfield  (102)
3 Reg Pidduck (107) ½-½     John Clarke (94)
4 Bob Cronin (103) 1-0     James Maskell (77)

Andy Flood writes:

A tough, close match took place at Broadstairs on Monday as the defending Hargreaves Shield champions kicked off the 2016/17 season with a home match against neighbours Margate. The team saw the introduction of Reg ‘the President’ Pidduck replacing Paul (Houdini) Carfrae who had gone missing on a year’s sabbatical. With the Gullbuster playing on board 1 and Broadstairs Bob on board 4, the match was incredibly close. The late night commenced with an early win for Broadstairs Bob, who always seemed in control and on target to deliver what was a valuable point. The Gullbuster on the top board went about his busting business, dominating the early stages and going an exchange up before suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Clive. With the match all square 1–1, the remaining matches lasted until almost 11.00. Broadstairs finally secured a point on board 2 after going an early pawn up and finally converting the advantage against a resolute Leon Garfield, who eventually succumbed to a checkmate under time pressure. With only minutes to spare, the President agreed a draw with Margate’s John Clarke in a pawn ending in which Reg had the edge but was keen to leave nothing to chance, thus securing a drawn game but a won match for Broadstairs.


Spot the former world champion and a possible future one (Tal Memorial Blitz 2016)

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin begins exactly one month from today in New York. At a recent press conference in Russia the challenger stated that, “If Carlsen wants to beat me he needs to show the best play of his life”. Most commentators think he may have got it the wrong way round. Karjakin gave an interview recently which you can find on  This is handy because if you want to know more current Karjakin news, it is best to avoid the link which will take you straight to the Carlsen website, the domain having been bought by Team Carlsen according to the Karjakin camp. Carlsen is already in New York while Karjakin flies to his Miami training camp next week. Both players achieved similar scores at the recent Olympiad until the last round when Karjakin came a cropper.

White: Pentala Harikrishna (2763)            Black: Sergey Karjakin (2772)

Chess Olympiad 2016




Broadstairs  1½         Bridge B   5½ 

1 David Faldon (179) 0-1         Vishnu Singh  (192)
2 Nick McBride (e160) 0-1     Michael Green  (170)
3 Bob Page (141) ½-½         David Shire (158)
4 Andy Flood (117) 0-1         Robert Collopy (156)
5 Reg Pidduck (107) 0-1         Patrick Burns (146)
6 Bob Cronin (103) 0-1         Emily Green (146)
7 Michael Doyle (90) 1-0         Tim Spencer (130)

David Faldon writes:

The highlight of the match, and possibly of the whole season, was Mike Doyle’s splendid win on board 7. Stop reading this and go to Game of the Week to play it through! Not bad, eh? Anyway, Mike’s win put us 1-0 up and then Bob P accepted a draw to make it 1½-½. At this point it looked as though we might even get a result as Nick on board 2 had enough advantage to turn down a repetition and we weren’t doing badly on boards 1 and 5 either. Unfortunately looks proved deceptive and all of the remaining five games ended up as wins for Bridge. Still, all of the Broadstairs players put up a good fight against higher-graded opponents and nobody has any reason to be disheartened. Congratulations to Bridge on their well-deserved win and thanks, too, to all the Broadstairs players for playing and especially to the two Bobs for driving.

Broadstairs  4½         Herne Bay   2½ 

1 David Faldon (175) ½-½         Bernie Kooiman  (189)
2 Nick McBride (e160) 1-0     Mick Micklethwaite  (135)
3 Bob Page (141) 0-1         Paul Arnold (120)
4 John Couzens (125) 1-0         Alan Evans (119)
5 Andy Flood (117) 0-1         Paul Johnson (113)
6 Reg Pidduck (107) 1-0         John Heath (48)
7 Bob Cronin (103) 1-0         Eddie Ridley (64)

David Faldon writes:

The match got off to an unusual start. At 7.30 none of the Broadstairs players were present, and neither was the Herne Bay captain and board 2, Bob Pooley (due to a domestic emergency, we found out later). The first four Broadstairs players turned up about 7.40 and the match began, with Herne Bay shuffling their boards 3-7 up one and fitting in a replacement on bottom board. The Broadstairs stragglers turned up 10 minutes later. On board 7 the game set off at a furious pace, as if to make up for the late start, and by 8.25 Bob C had taken his “Harry the h-pawn” in for a touchdown to score the first point for Broadstairs. Reg on board 6 scored our second point about an hour later, cashing in a cleverly-built-up positional advantage to win a whole rook. At this point the match looked very promising, and it soon got even better as John on board 4 neatly won first one piece and then a second. 3-0 then became 3½-½ as David on board 1 defused a dangerous situation to secure a draw. All we needed now was another ½ point from the remaining three games to win the match, but we were made to wait as all three games went past the first time control (36 moves in 1½ hours). Finally Nick on board 2 seized a chance to run his “Harry the h-pawn” up the board. This Harry never actually made it home to queen but the distraction it caused left one of Nick’s other pawns free to advance on the other side of the board and that was enough to win the game. 4½-½ then became 4½-1½ as Andy on board 5 lost and then there was just the one game left. Bob P on board 3 had a good position, but he was low on time. In a brave attempt to win this Bob followed the other Bob’s example and ran an advanced pawn up the board, but this one sadly got a little bit too frisky for its own good and ended up surrounded in enemy territory and captured. Bob was unable to survive the material loss and the match ended at 4½-2½ to Broadstairs. A very welcome success (as Herne Bay usually beat us) and hopefully a good sign for the matches to come. Many thanks to everyone that played, and especially to Nick and John for doing the driving.