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Club still open every day

The club is now operating normally every day, including on Wednesday evenings as currently the junior club is closed.
We are currently running a 6 player handicap on Saturday afternoons and will be starting one on Tuesday afternoons from next week. These are unrated so open to anyone so if interested please let us know. More can be added if they prove successful.
The regular Friday evening handicap (The John Driver handicap) has been running now for the last month and is proving to be very popular again.
We are hoping to run the wonderful Paul Buswell rapid play again at Easter which is an event we all look forward to.
We are playing in the Sussex league only this year with 4 players per team with updates regularly appearing in the Hastings Observer which has encouraged new members to come along, I met one this afternoon who called in on the off chance so lucky I was there.
The club winter competitions are running well but coming to a close ready for the summer competitions so games need to be completed soon
We also have regular updates on Twitter and Facebook


We look forward to seeing you all again at Hastings chess club

Mid-Sussex League chess match Hastings second team against Eastbourne 1

17 February 2022

After their recent 4:0 defeat against Brighton and Hove, the Hastings and St Leonards 2nd team was keen to improve their performance in their home match against Eastbourne 1. However, when they saw their opponents they realised that his was going to be a tough ask, with higher graded opponents on every board. On board 4 Alex Lebedev was making his first appearance this season, and he was facing Colin Clark, who was 500 grading points above him. Alex was the first to finish and Eastbourne were 1:0 ahead.

Next to finish was Adrian Cload, who was facing Laurence Butt. Like Alex, Adrian was facing a higher graded player, but this did not daunt him. Indeed, while a later analysis of the game on his computer showed that Adrian made plenty of errors, it also showed that he had a winning position for most of the game. On the day, Adrian was not able to capitalise on his advantage and in the end a draw was agreed.

The third game to finish was Board 1, where Paul Kelly was also facing a strong opponent – Oliver Froom. Paul played an excellent game, giving Hastings a win and levelling the match, with one board left to finish.

The final game was Board 3, where Martin Fletcher played a long game against Matthew Pannett. The game was even throughout the opening and middle game, and they entered the endgame with Martin just 1 pawn down, but with a passed pawn and a bishop against a knight. However, Matthews greater experience proved too much and Eastbourne were able to gain the victory, 2½ points to 1½. This was a close result and the team now move on to their next match with renewed confidence.

Contact – Martin Fletcher –

Postal Address: Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club, Pelton House, 2 Cornwallis Terrace, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1EB, United Kingdom.



Mid-Sussex League chess match Hastings second team against Horsham 1. March 1st 2022.

The Hastings and St Leonards second team had a road trip this week, with a visit to Horsham to face Horsham Chess Club’s first team. Horsham is a strong club and this was always going to be a difficult match. The previous week they had been paired against the Hastings first team, who beat them 3:1. We therefore expected them to field a strong team in reply to ensure that they did not lose again. However, we did not realise just how strong it was going to be. The Hastings team had four players with EFC grades ranging from 1974 on board 1, to 1410 on board 4. Their opponents on the night ranged from 2189 on board 1 to 2111 on board 4.

This difference in rankings showed most prominently on board 4 where team captain Martin Fletcher lasted just 18 moves against Mike Forster. Martin faced the Evans Gambit, an opening which he was not familiar with, and he never recovered from an early mistake. In the post match analysis on the long drive home, Paul Kelly pointed out that one of the club’s members – former president Bernard Cafferty – had written one of the leading books on this opening, Play The Evans Gambit. Martin made a mental note to make use of this book as part of his studies.

Boards 1 and 3 were not nearly so swift, and both Adrian Cload (on board 3) and Paul Kelly (on board 1) played well, with games that could have gone either way. However, in each case their solid resistance did not prevail and Hastings now had three losses.

This left Ian Calvert fighting against Mark Broom, in a game that lasted nearly three hours. Ian was determined to ensure that Hastings did not face a four nil defeat, and in the endgame he found himself with a rook and a knight against a rook and five pawns. It did seem that the five pawns would prove too strong but Ian played with precision and Mark was hampered by time pressures. The pair agreed on a draw and the Hastings team were very satisfied with this. On paper a 4:0 defeat would have been expected, and one draw was so much better than that.

The team now have a few weeks to regroup before their next match; home against Lewes on 7 April.

Contact – Martin Fletcher –

Postal Address: Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club, Pelton House, 2 Cornwallis Terrace, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1EB, United Kingdom.



Mid-Sussex League chess match Hastings second team against Brighton and Hove 3 February 2022

After their recent success against Worthing the Hastings and St Leonards second team travelled to Hove full of excitement. They were fielding a fairly strong team with Henry Cove on first board; Paul Kelly on second board; Ian Calvert on third board; and Martin Fletcher (captain) on fourth board. This team had an average grade of 1835 and many years of experience at competitive chess between them.

However, the games did not go as they hoped. The first game to finish was Ian’s, and he was defeated by Brighton and Hove player, Geoffrey James.

The second game to finish was between the two team captains, with Martin against Paul Batchelor. As in the well-known television series Martin found himself facing the Queen’s Gambit opening, and he responded with a Semi-Slave defence. However Martin found that he was not able to channel Beth Harmon’s brilliance and after 35 moves he accepted the inevitable and resigned.

It was not long before Paul Kelly suffered the same fate against Calum Salmons.

On Board 1 Henry was facing Luke Rutherford, and as Luke is graded 200 points higher than Henry this was never going to be an easy match. But recognising that he had a strong position, and also not wanting his team to leave with no points, he offered Luke a draw. However, Luke declined the offer and the match continued. Indeed, it continued for another hour. But in the end Henry was unable to maintain his edge, and the Hastings team had a fourth loss for the evening.

It was a more subdued journey home, but the team are upbeat again as the contemplate their next match – at home against Horsham 1, on Tuesday 15 February. This looks like it will be another tough challenge, as Horsham are currently unbeaten in the League.

Contact – Martin Fletcher –

Mid-Sussex League chess match Hastings second team against Worthing

From Martin Fletcher – second team captain; Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club

Mid-Sussex League chess match Hastings second team against Worthing

27 January 2022


Hastings 2nd team were at home against Worthing in the second match of the season. The visiting team had a slight advantage, with an average score of 1930 per player, as compared to 1852 for Hastings.  These averages reflected a wide range of abilities, with the highest grading player being Russell Granat from Worthing (2262) and lowest being the home team captain, Martin Fletcher (1408).

Martin’s game was the first to finish, but at 63 moves it was by no means a short game.  Martin was facing Tim Hedger, one of the two Hedger brothers from Worthing.  Martin was white, and his standard opening of e4 was met by the unexpected d5 – the Centre Counter (Scandinavian) Defence.  This meant that Martin was in unfamiliar territory right from the second move against a player who was clearly in his comfort zone.  The game was finely balanced throughout the middle game, and with a passed pawn Martin entered the endgame in a strong position.  Tim played a solid defence and was able to exchange the passed pawn for two of his own, and with precise end game play the best Martin could deliver was a draw.

The next game to end was Henry Cove against the elder Hedger brother, Alec.  Henry was able to play reliably and delivered a win for Hastings.  Paul Kelly was facing the Worthing team captain, Peter Larwood.  Paul played his moves quickly, but found that he could not beat the more reflective Paul, and the game ended in a draw.

On Board 1 Bernard Cafferty was facing Russell Granat, and a win by Russell would tie the match.  The game was not without incident as Bernard noticed after playing for 20 minutes that the Hastings team had three players with white pieces, rather than two with black and two with white, as required by the rules.  It was established that the problem was on Bernard and Russell’s board and their game had to restart, with Bernard now having the black pieces.  Despite this initial confusion, Bernard was able to deliver his usual confident standard and gave the team a second game win.  With two wins and two draws, Hastings won the match 3 points to 1.  This was the team’s first win of the season, and put them at the top of the league table.

Hastings 2nd team have their first away match on 3 February against Brighton & Hove.


Contact – Martin Fletcher –

Postal Address:
Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club,
Pelton House,
2 Cornwallis Terrace,
East Sussex,
TN34 1EB, United Kingdom.



Announcement – COVID Guidelines

Government COVID Guidelines Update


The government has announced that the measures put in place under Plan B in England will be lifted.

This means from 27 January, there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering.

The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.



It is important to follow all the other government advice to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have recent onset of any of the most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

you must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.


It is advised to continue to follow government guidance on ventilation


Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer

When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, talks or breathes, they release droplets and aerosols which can be breathed in by another person. Meeting outdoors vastly reduces the risk of airborne transmission, but this may not always be possible. If you’re indoors, you should let fresh air in to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

The more fresh air you let into your home or other enclosed spaces, the less likely a person is to inhale infectious particles.

You can let in fresh air by uncovering vents and opening doors and windows. Opening your windows for just 10 minutes, or a small amount of time continuously where you can, makes a significant difference. This is particularly important before, during, and after meeting people you do not live with indoors.

Do not prop fire doors open. If you have an extractor fan at home, for example in your bathroom or kitchen, think about leaving it running for longer than usual with the door closed after someone has used the room. If you are concerned about the costs of heating, opening windows for shorter periods of time can still help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Wearing extra layers can help you to keep warm. You may be able to change the layout of your room so that you do not sit close to cold draughts from open windows or doors.

There is guidance for the public on how to ventilate indoor spaces to stop the spread of COVID-19, including if someone is self isolating. This includes advice on how to claim financial and practical help on heating your home.

Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread – GOV.UK (



Best Wishes

Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club Directors


Mid-Sussex Chess League Games

From Martin Fletcher – second team captain; Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club
Mid-Sussex League chess match Hastings first team against Hastings second team
18 January 2022

After a long period of suspension, over the board chess returned to Sussex on 18 January with the first game in the Mid-Sussex Chess League. Hastings & St Leonards Chess club had entered two teams and they were faced against each other in the first match of the season.
With teams of four players the fourth board for each team was played by the team captain. Jim Wheeler (first team captain) was facing Martin Fletcher (second team captain). The game lasted just 30 moves and was the first to finish, with Jim gaining one point for a win.
After the game Jim said that before lockdown his favourite opening was the Richter Veresov. During lockdown he revisited his openings and had been playing on line with many new variations. However, for this match he returned to his tried and trusted favourite, and his expertise in the Richter Veresov paid off.
The next two games to finish were Francis Rayner against Bernard Cafferty and Andrew McGettigan against Paul Kelly, and these both ended in a draw.
This put the pressure on John Sugden who was playing for the first team against Henry Cove. He needed a draw or better to secure the match. Although the games were limited to 65 minutes for each player there was an additional 30 seconds allowed after each move. Theoretically the game could go on all night. However, in this league there is a further time limit and all games must stop after 3 hours 10 minutes. As that deadline drew nearer the players were locked in a rook and knight endgame with John having a small pawn advantage. With less than five minutes to go John forced a rook exchange making his pawn advantage more important; but against Henry’s faultless defence he was unable to press his advantage. When the time limit fell the team members analysed the position to see if there was a clear winner. However, following much discussion it was agreed that the game was drawn.
Winning this game, the first team achieved 2 ½ points and a position at the top of the league table. The second team were happy to gain 1 ½ points against their strong opponents and went home with their heads held high.
Hastings second team are at home to Worthing on 27 January; and the first team play away against Eastbourne 1 on 4 February.

Contact – Martin Fletcher –
Postal Address:
Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club,
Pelton House,
2 Cornwallis Terrace,
East Sussex,
TN34 1EB, United Kingdom.


Current Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines

Notice to all attendees of the club premises

To pursue the aim of applying cautious best practice, and duly as a ‘members club’ who fall under the updated government rules at:

Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own – GOV.UK (

Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club Ltd are observing the current Government Coronavirus (COVID‑19) Guidelines and are currently requiring that the wearing of face masks be mandatory whilst on H&StLCC premises, unless a legitimate exemption applies.

We are also encouraging that all individuals attending the Club premises to have done a lateral flow test which gives a negative for COVID result, although we are not currently requesting evidence of this at this stage.

We ask that all attendees please also make sure that there is continuous ventilation to the room(s) you use at Club premises by opening the windows.

These current rules will of course also apply for events held on Club premises, thereby superseding  any guidelines formerly given by the organisers.