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Mid Sussex League AGM Report

An informal report on  the Mid Sussex League AGM attended by an H&StLCC Director on 07/09/21

After lengthy discussion, it was decided to adjourn the meeting until 07/12/21 with a view to starting the leagues in January 2022 with a shortened season.
This was because:
(1) Many clubs have only just started up again, and were unsure as to how many teams could be raised.
All clubs reported a reduction in numbers of players.
(2) There was no agreement on what Covid policy to adopt.
Sussex University had proposed that masks be worn by all players during matches, and that all players were either double vaccinated or had a recent Covid test.
This was felt to be unworkable.
In the meantime, clubs were free to organise friendly matches between themselves as they saw fit.

Watch this space for updates as we receive them.



Dear Club Member                                                                                                    26th August 2021

 Set out below are the initial measures that should be adhered to in order for the Club remain open, yet be as safe as possible.  A copy of this guidance will be placed on the noticeboard in the Richard Almond Room.

This guidance cannot be exhaustive, and it will rely on members using good common sense to ensure all members are kept as safe as possible throughout this difficult time.  It is not a policy that can or will be “policed” at all times, but it will be assumed that members wishing to enjoy a game of chess at the club will be trying to follow this guidance.  The club has a number of members who have been shielding for the past 12 weeks, and we need to create an environment where they will feel safe and welcome should they too wish to attend.

This guidance will be under continuous review, and members should as a matter of course check the notice board for any changes.   Any changes of major significance will be communicated electronically as soon as practicable.

The intention is to make the club available for playing recreational chess, and to enable members to complete games in the internal winter tournaments, during normal opening hours.

Marc Bryant will be available from time to time to help members should it be necessary.  If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please let him know.

The Committee of Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club


1.1             Whilst on club premises, all members should use a face mask, unless it is not practicable for medical reasons.  Masks may be moved or removed temporarily eg to take a drink.  Players are advised to bring their own, though disposable masks will be available for members to use.

1.2             Disposable face masks, hand sanitising gel, disposable gloves and anti-bacterial wipes will be available for members to use throughout their playing session in each playing room.  Bins will be provided for disposing of these safely in each room.

1.3             It should not be necessary to use gloves during general game play (but see 9.5), provided members wash their hands regularly and follow the guidance below on cleaning equipment.  Gloves are provided for extra peace of mind, for example when a member wishes to touch something which they do not know is clean and virus free, such as a book.

1.4             Whilst members are welcome to turn up and play a game, members are advised they may want to book a table with Marc (especially a formal Championship match) to avoid disappointment.

1.5             Members wishing to watch games in play are asked to observe social distancing guidance at all times.  Under no circumstances should members crowd “shoulder to shoulder”, however interesting or exciting a game may be.  Each playing table will have 4 chairs, and provided the players are not disturbed, members may wash their hands before using a chair which is not in use.

1.6             Members who feel unwell, have at least one of the Covid 19 symptoms (high temperature, loss of taste, persistent cough etc), are awaiting the results of a test for Covid 19, or have been advised to self-isolate by a competent person, must NOT attend the club under any circumstances, until it is safe for them to do so.


2.1         Adequate hand gel/sanitiser will be placed in both playing rooms and the entrance hall for members to use.  Hands should be cleaned frequently, and in any event, when a “change” occurs (eg a trip to the toilet, changing opponents, before cleaning other equipment)

2.2         All members SHOULD clean their hands on entering the Club premises.  If there is no hand gel in the entrance hall (eg because it has run out), all members SHOULD make their way to one of the playing rooms and use the gel there BEFORE THEY DO ANYTHING ELSE.

2.3         All members should clean their hands regularly throughout their playing session.


3.1         Members are asked to refrain from bringing into the club any items that are not absolutely necessary.   Any item brought in increases the risk of contamination to other members and should be avoided.

3.2         The house keeper should be informed where it has been necessary to bring items into the premises eg shopping, so that they can be stored safely away until you leave.

3.2         Coats, hats etc that need to be brought into the club should be stored on the hooks provided in the downstairs hall way and the kitchen landing.  Please leave a gap between coats to avoid cross contamination.  Coats should not be stored on the back of a chair.


4.1         The premises is an old building with some narrow walkways and stair cases.  All members need to be mindful of each other when moving through the club-house.

4.2         Members should specifically avoid passing each other on staircases and the entrance hall.  Members should wait until their way is clear before progressing.

4.3         Members should use the landing outside the male toilets to wait until their way up or down the stairs is clear.  Members should avoid starting to use the stairs if it is obvious the landing is not free.

4.4         Members should avoid loitering on the landings and walkways, including the entrance vestibule and outside the playing rooms.


5.1         The kitchen is currently available for members use.

5.2         Should members wish , they can bring their own refreshments, but they must take any rubbish home with them.  Bins should only be used as per para 1.2.

5.3         Should members wish to bring a reusable drinking vessel, it will be permissible to refill it from the cold water tap in the kitchen.  Anyone using the kitchen for any reason should use disposable gloves.


6.1         Both rest rooms will be open for members to use.

6.2         After going to the toilet, members are asked to wipe down all surfaces they have come into contact with using the wipes provided.  After cleaning the surfaces, members should wash their hands.


7.1         At the start of each day, the playing tables will each be laid out with: boards, clocks and chairs.  Playing rooms will also contain gloves, hand sanitising gel, wipes and face masks for members to use.  The bins provided should be used to dispose of used wipes and face masks.

7.2         A fresh set of pieces can be obtained from the kitchen on top of the filing cabinet.   When you have finished your game(s) and the pieces are no longer required, members should put the pieces on the stairs going to the up stairs flat .

7.3         Where pieces have been stored without being used or touched for at least 72 hours, they can be considered quarantined and safe to use.  Ask Marc who will be keeping control of the sets.  If there is any doubt, each piece should be cleaned with a wipe prior to being used.

7.4         Wipes should be used to clean the board before play starts and the clock before it is set.  It is advised that only one player cleans and sets the clock.

7.5         A stock of score cards should be available in each room.  Players should bring their own pens to use if at all possible.  If a pen is needed to record a game and you do not have one, please speak to the house keeper.

7.6         The following paragraphs lay out suggestions for playing OTB chess in modified conditions.  It is essential to bear in mind they are all designed to minimise or remove all contact between members.  Used in conjunction with regular hand washing, they will make the club as Covid safe as it can be.


8.1         Exceptionally and where players agree, it is possible for two opponents to be part of the same “support bubble” and play chess in the normal way without any further modifications.  Further guidance on this can be obtained from HMGov website.  Where this is the case, players should still ensure equipment is clean before play begins.


9.1         In order to avoid the further cleaning of pieces, for informal games only, each players could use one colour from their own designated set exclusively during each playing session at the club.  They should use the pieces from their set, Black or White, depending on the colour being played.

9.2         In order to avoid touching an opponent’s pieces, players should remove from the board their own pieces which have been taken.  Players may need to indicate verbally which move is being made (eg “Queen takes d5”) in order to facilitate this.

9.3         The player making the move should press his clock after he has placed his own piece on the destination square, even if the piece is in the process of being removed from the board.  If the opponent is not at the table when the move is to be made, the player with the move may pause the clock until the opponent returns, but must make the move immediately the game resumes.

9.4         Once the game(s) with that opponent are completed, a player should take his pieces with him to the fresh board.

9.5         As an alternative to 9.1 – 9.4, players could wear gloves.  However, these should be changed regularly (eg when going to the toilet, when changing opponents).  It is preferable to follow the guidance in 9.6 or 10.2 – 10.8.

9.6         As a further alternative, where 2 members are playing a string of informal games against each other, players could play using the same set throughout, but when changing colour, simply swap the King and Queen over and play reverse.  Combined with 9.2, this would be an effective way significantly reducing contact between players.


10.1       The suggestions in 9.1 – 9.4 and 9.6 are not within the laws of chess, and should not be used for games which are to be submitted for grading.  If the provisions of 8.1 also do not apply, players should follow the guidance in 10.2 – 10.8 in preference to 9.5.

10.2       A full set of pieces should be set up on both boards on the table.  Both players should face the same direction, with the clock placed between the boards.  Players can have their colour towards them in the usual way.

10.3       When one player makes a move and before he presses the clock, he calls the move in a manner prescribed within the laws of chess (eg “e4” or “pawn to e4”).  If both agree before play resumes to use the old notation (eg “pawn to King 4”), this would be acceptable, though the modern notation should be the default.  When the move has been made on his board and clearly called, he may press the clock.

10.4       On hearing the move, the opponent will duplicate the move on his own board, and the game continues.

10.5       If applicable, games should still be recorded on scoresheets.

10.6       Players are reminded to be clear in their intentions when calling the moves.  The following are example phrases that could be used: “pawn takes pawn” where there is only one legal move that satisfies the description; “pawn takes e5” where more than one pawn take is possible; “pawn on d takes e5” where more than one pawn can take d5; “Knight takes Bishop”; “Knight on c takes Bishop” where more than one Knight can make the capture; “pawn to e8: Queen”.

10.7       Players are permitted to glance over to their opponent’s board to check they have both have the correct position.  Where there is any dispute, the clock should be paused until the situation is resolved.

10.8       When speaking, voices should be audible but low so as not to disturb any other players in the room.


11.1       Members should use disposable gloves when read books and magazines in the Almond Room.  Gloves should be disposed in the bin immediately afterwards, and hands should be washed.

11.2       Should a member wish to use the library in the Pountney Room, they should arrange via the house keeper in the first instance.  At all times, members should use disposable gloves when using the library, and ensure hands are cleaned immediately afterwards.

11.2       Until the situation in the general population improves, members are advised not to bring guests to the club.  Anyone coming to drop off or collect members are advised to wait outside.  Should exceptionally a member wish to bring a guest to the club in order to play, they should only do so with the advance permission of the Chairman, and guests should be made aware of this guidance before they arrive.

Intro: Medway 0 – 4 Hastings

Hastings juniors beat Kent Intro Cup defending champions 4-0 last weekend to move 2nd in the table and potentially 3 matches away from lifting the title themselves. This was Medway’s biggest defeat in three seasons and provided compensation for the newly formed junior squad who were on receiving end of the same scoreline last season. The juniors are playing in an adult league and this was their third 4-0 in a row sending shockwaves through the division. William Cobb on board 2 was first to finish after just 20 mins of a 3 hour match when his opponent blundered his queen having been under pressure positionally from the start. Alex Lebedev showed again his excellent endgame skills by having two passers that the enemy king could only stop one from queening forcing his opponent to resign. Cool as cucumber Christy Parry on board 4 served up a dish of revenge against the gentleman who beat him last year after not really being troubled during the game. Magnanimous in victory as they were gracious in defeat last year the juniors are a real credit to the chess club and town. The junior’s next match is at home to Maidstone on Sat 14th March.

MID Intro Cup Sat 15th Feb 2020

Board Home Medway 4 Hastings & St Leonards 5 Away
1 (W) 129D (129D)

Shevlane, Paul

0 – 1

Woodhams, Mason

132A (130A)
2 (B) 090B (88C)

Langford, David K

0 – 1

Cobb, William

084D (82D)
3 (W) 064D (60D)

Evans, Alan V

0 – 1

Lebedev, Alexander

045* (38D)
4 (B) 045* (23E)

Hanman, John

0 – 1

Parry, Christy

045* ()
Average 82 0 – 4 Average 77


Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Maidstone 10 4 4 0 0 13½ 8 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 5 5 3 0 2 14 6 6 0 0 0
Maidstone 8 4 2 1 1 10 6 5 0 0 0
Snodland 3 4 2 0 2 8 8 4 0 0 0
Maidstone 9 5 2 0 3 7 13 4 0 0 0
Medway 4 3 1 0 2 2 0 0 0
Medway 3 5 0 1 4 4 16 1 0 0 0


Our junior squad picked up their first win on the road with triumphant 4-0 victory over Medway 3 this weekend. A quick victory by Chris Parry on board 4 set the scene for the juniors biggest ever victory. Chris nicely combined all his forces into an unstoppable overwhelming attack which his opponent couldn’t see a way to defend and resigned under the pressure 1-0. Next up was Alex Lebedev who saw his chance against a very weak King, applied the pressure, picked-up the opposition queen on route and finished the game off nicely 2-0. William Cobb on board 2 had the toughest game, but after going an exchange up early doors managed to grind out the win, and what a grind it was, a 7 pawn each blocked endgame with R+R+N vrs R+B+N. It wasn’t clear how Will would breakthrough and his opponent was applying the pressure advancing his pawns high up the board but find the breakthrough he did, queened a pawn and mated the King behind enemy lines 3-0. Last to finish was last-minute substitute Mason who outgraded his opponent 50 points, missed an easy tactic early on to win a rook (don’t tell the juniors!), and eventually scraped a win in a Rook & pawn endgame, 4-0. Our juniors were very magnanimous in victory and a real credit to the club.

MID Intro Cup Sat 25th Jan 2020

Board Home Medway 3 Hastings & St Leonards 5 Away
1 (W) 081F (81F)

Hickey, Paschal

0 – 1

Woodhams, Mason

132A (132A)
2 (B) 045 ()

New Player

0 – 1

Cobb, William

084D (84D)
3 (W) 045L (0)

Swiatkowski, Dominik

0 – 1

Lebedev, Alexander

045* (37E)
4 (B) 045L ()

Steadman, Ian

0 – 1

Parry, Christy

045* ()
Average 54 0 – 4 Average 77


Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Maidstone 10 4 4 0 0 13½ 8 0 0 0
Snodland 3 3 2 0 1 4 0 0 0
Maidstone 8 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0
Medway 4 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 5 3 1 0 2 6 6 2 0 0 0
Maidstone 9 3 1 0 2 4 8 2 0 0 0
Medway 3 4 0 0 4 2 14 0 0 0 0

Junior club price increase

From 1st January 2020 junior club subscriptions will rise from £2 to £3 per session.

For many years now the junior club has been subsidised by donations and legacies but now all that funding has expired, meaning regrettably subscriptions will have to rise. The main club itself will continue to subsidise the juniors as best it can, keeping the increase to as low as possible.

We believe learning chess has so many benefits on young minds that even transcend the game itself and that can have a positive effect on other areas of life. This is something that we want to encourage and should be available to all.




Frankenstein-Dracula Gambit

This Friday night at the club will be a themed competition involving the Frankenstein-Dracula Gambit. If you’re unfamiliar with this Gambit it originates out of the Vienna Game / Bishops game, a scary opening with many complications but with accurate play viable for both sides.

Come join us this Friday 6:45-9:00PM or get it in the neck!



Juniors re-enact Battle of Hastings

So children from the Hastings and St Leonards Junior Chess Club, this week re-enacted the Battle of Hastings to commemorate that fateful day for the last Saxon king.

Chess arrived in England with the Normans, so what better way to visualise the Battle with the greatest wargame ever made.

“Standing behind his shield wall, Harold stands atop Senlac Hill looking out over the amassed armies of the Norman invaders. Archers (bishops) stand ready on both sides to launch a barrage arrows at each other but can the shield wall stand firm and hold for reinforcements (which appear on the board on move 30).”

It’s black to move and conquer England, can you do it? or will history change and Harold reign supreme?

On the whole children preserved history with William victorious the odd one or two managing to upset the odds and keep England in Saxon hands, one even getting checkmate in two moves!

The strategies employed during the real battle were described to the children and some employed the same ideas by attacking the flanks others tried striking down the central pawn duo/quad both either way a lot of fun was had.

Did the real Duke of Normandy use chess to plan his battle strategy? One for historians we think.

Mason Woodhams
Junior Organiser & ECF Accredited chess coach