Category Archives: Match Reports and Tables

Monkey business against Haywards Heath(2)

Monday 20
Mid-Sussex League Division 3

Hastings(3) 2.5 – 1.5 Haywards Heath(2)

In league division three, Hastings thirds in second took on Haywards Heath’s seconds in third.  A top-of-the-table clash.

Jim Wheeler on top board played an unsual opening, an Orangutan with the black pieces. His brief before the match was, as your opponent is significantly lower graded than you just wait for the mistake and capitalise on it. Well blow me his opponent David Curtis didn’t make a mistake and played a very solid game opening with the Colle-Zuckertort which is characterised by developing the dark-squared bishop on b2. The typical plan is: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Nc6 6.0-0 Bd6 7.Bb2 0-0, where White, despite their apparently innocuous development, will eventually play for a kingside attack. A locking up of the pawns occurred and neither player could break through, eventually it ended with N+2R v B+2R and David managed to exchange off his knight for Jim’s Bishop doubling his pawns and with an even rook ending achieved a draw was agreed. This monkey opening might get put aside as our big game hunter looks for better beasts to hunt next time.

Board 2 saw Chris Hann with the white pieces face off against a reversed London System. A promising start from the visitor but instead of going full steam on the queenside against Chris’ KiA he was probing the kingside with not much success. Another game where all the pawns got locked up and this one resembling a draughts board at one point, a few huffs later and Chris found the winning moves. 1.5 – 0.5

Derek on board 4 had an exciting game with white against a Najdorf. In the hands of Bobby Fischer the Najdorf was an awesome weapon full of sharp lines and tactical goodness. In the hands of the 1400 player the Najdorf poses so many problems for the non booked student of chess. Derek on the other hand comfortable with the themes, rammed his d pawn all the way to d6 then plonked a juicy Knight on c7 for the majority of game. His opponent failed to deal with forward outpost and monster knight and Derek manoeuvred the rest of his forces around it going a pawn up then a pawn and piece up and eventually crushing and closing out the game. 2.5 – 0.5

Adrian on board 3 continued the theme of night of blocked positions (excluding Derek) and was made to work for a few paltry crumbs. Gradually making progress against his opponent James Falvey who was 100 grading points lower he eventually went an exchange up less a pawn, and so with a +1 advantage was looking good although it was unclear how to progress. Then in less time it took me to go upstairs grab a delicious Sainsbury’s mince pie and come back down again, Adrian had gifted his opponent an early Christmas present of a piece and an awful position in a 4v3 RvR ending which only lasted a few more moves. 2.5-1.5

A close result for the Thirds but enough to go back to the top of the table after Eastbourne(4) had deposed us a few days early. Monday 4th December will see the crunch match between Hastings(3) and Eastbourne(4), 1st & 2nd in the league respectively which could be a deciding factor in who might be favourites for the title.

Come on you Thirds!

Click for Full match card

Thirds Mediterranean night

Mid-Sussex League Division 3
Eastbourne(5) 0.5 – 3.5 Hastings(3)

Friday night had a Mediterranean feel to proceedings with two Italian games, a Sicilian and a Catalan, keeping us warm on a dark autumnal night.

Newly promoted to the top board, Marc opened with the first of the Italians and within a few moves treated his opponent to a tactic on

e5 & f7 exchanging two of his pieces for two pawns, a rook, and a lousy king position. It was pretty much game over but Marc being Marc cooked up some spaghetti moves in the middle game and bolognesed his position. Fortunately, his stronger end-game skills made mincemeat of his opponent to bring home the first point of the night.

Adrian on board two faced the Italian from the black side. With neither side castling in the early game and his opponent even starting a king-side pawn advance! Our in-form turbo Ferrari Adrian parked his prancing horse on an amazing outpost on g3 which was never going to be dislodged. Queen-side castling by both resulted in navigating usual Mediterranean waters for both before Adrian’s skill triumphed. Just before the end his opponent was even heard to say “That was good!” when Adrian hit him with a tactic to win a piece. You know it’s over when your opponent is muttering such utterances. 2-0

On board 4, Woodhams continued the Mediterranean theme with a Silician against Robert Smart, which evolved into an Alapin and thus a quiet game was had on those southern Italian shores. Equality achieved early doors and even -0.5 for most of the game until I missed a clean win. A pawn up in the end game with opposite B’s and two rooks each it was heading for a draw but then “Mama Mia!” a swindle out of nowhere and the game was lost for Robert. 3-0

Chris Hann on board 3 was up against Eastbourne junior Zeb Taylor and what game it was. Game of the night. Opening with a Catalan (well it was a KiA but saying Catalan to keep the Mediterranean theme), the game quickly settled into opposite side castling with all the fireworks on the board that that entailed. Chris managed to get the bishop pair in an open position but the resilience of the junior was amazing. The endgame resulted in KBR v KR+3 pawns which the youngster duly marched up the board, however, Chris managed to pick a couple of them off until we reached this final position, at which point we had to stop for the night and adjourn much to the disappointment to the 10 people watching the game. In this position black only has one move to save himself, everything else is losing. Can you find it?

Black to move and save game

The thirds win again on the road but now face the biggest test of the season with visits from Haywards Heath (2) and Eastbourne (4) in the next two matches. The two other top teams in the division.

Come on you Thirds!

MSL Div 3 Eastbourne(5) v Hastings(3) match card

First round draw McArthur CUP and Paul Watson Trophy

Hastings have drawn local rivals, Bexhill at home for the first round of the McArthur Cup and Uckfield away in the Paul Watson Trophy. Matches to be played by Feb 10th and January 13th respectively.


Full details:

McArthur Cup:

1st Round:
West: Sussex University v Horsham
Bye – East Grinstead
East: Hastings v Bexhill
Bye – Lewes
For the semi-finals, the home team will be determined by whether the winners of the 1st round match were home or away in the 1st round (i.e. if the winner was away in the 1st round they will be at home in the semi-final).
1st round matches to be played by February 10th
Semi-Finals to be played by April 20th
Final to be played by May 31st
Paul Watson Trophy:
1st Round:
West: Shoreham v Sussex University
East: Uckfield v Hastings
West: Bognor v Horsham
Shoreham or Sussex U v East Grinstead (Home team dependent on winner of 1st round)
East: Lewes v Crowborough
Uckfield or Hastings v Bexhill (Home team dependent on winner of 1st round)
1st round matches to be played by January 13th
Quarter-Finals to be played by March 2nd
Semi-Finals to be played by April 27th
Final to be played by May 31st

Good start to the 23-24 season for MSL teams

With the first two games of the season complete in the Mid Sussex League our first team and third team are looking good with maximum match points each. The annual fight for divisional survival for the second team is underway in a strong league.  Follow our Mid Sussex league exploits on the ECF League Management System.

2023/2024 League Tables
2023/2024 Fixtures

A tale of two Jobavas

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of White, it was the season of Black, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going to blunder, we were all going to create a brilliancy, in short, it was Hastings & St Leonards 3 against Bexhill 4.

A tale of two cities it was. Adrian v A London Jobava & Mason v A London Jobava. Adrian took the semi-slav route whilst I took the Kings Indian Defence approach both proved successful in the end, with the KiD making harder work of it. Adrian made space for his queen’s bishop on f5 with h6 only to find it hunted down with Bd3 & Nh4 from white, this left white’s London Bishop & Knight exposed to a quick pawn fork with g5 but it took quite a number of moves to get it in due to blacks poor King safety. But in the end, it came and with material up Adrian closed out the game. Hunting down the London Bishop in the other game with Nh5 and an exchange on g3 gave white the semi-open H file to play along, but control of the centre gave black -0.4 for the rest of the game, although tense and long white applied lots of pressure down that H file until time eventually run out. In summary, the semi-slav may be best against a London Jobava but the KiD certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

On top board, stalwart, Chris Hann opened with a delicious Kings indian attack which I gather his opponent struggled with as at one point was 20mins down on his clock against Chris. eventually, it got so bad he was effectively playing on the increment but was constantly finding the best moves much to Chris’ annoyance and regrettably got the better of him.

Board three involving Marc was a typical Marc game and when I looked over after 20 mins it looked like someone had just emptied a box of pieces on the board such was the mess and randomness of the placement of pieces, but from utter chaos (and two pawns down) emerged order with a brilliant rook sac, followed up with the queen infiltration into the castled king position and two moves later, checkmate. Well done Marc!

Another win from the Thirds keeps us top of the table.

Friday 13th October
Mid-Sussex League Division3
Bexhill 4 (1-3) Hastings & St Leonards 3

Come on you Thirds!

Third team vrs East Grinstead Bookshop 2

Ón a torrential rainy night last Friday the newly formed Mid-Sussex league Third team took to the roads to take on East Grinstead Bookshop 2. A first outing to this venue for all concerned and what a lovely venue it was which was only bettered by the hospitality of our hosts. Set quite literally in a two story bookshop with nooks & snugs everywhere it really was the best place for a chess match. With wine, filtered coffee & belgium biscuits we were well and truly spoilt.

Not to be distracted by the finery; the boys from the Thirds set about the dismantling of the East Grinstead Bookshop team. On top board for us was Jim Wheeler who ironically in the car there was discussing the rise of the Hippopotamus at our club only to face one himself at East Grinstead. Knowing how to tame this beast, Jim made swift work of it and not a blunderbus in sight. On board two was the in form Adrian Cload against a strong John Pye (1777) but after a lot of huffing and puffing by his opponent (you know your opponent is in trouble when they start making noises), Adrian eventually put him out of his misery. Derek on board three faced a French Tarrasch and never looked in much trouble with plenty of Kingside space and going up a piece closed out the game nicely. With job done on the top three boards is was just down to me finish and offering my opponent a draw in a K+R+B endgame after a relatively uneventful GrandPrix attack by them, but my opponent refused. Well trying to play on in a drawn position is always a recipe for disaster and it could have been had I found the right move to punish him and win the match 4-0 but after a long drive in bad weather conditions I couldn’t find the moves, which were 8 moves deep, can you?

White just played h5 threatening hxg6,fxg6,Qxg6,Qxg6,Rxg6 winning a pawn but black can win this in 8 moves reducing the game to K v K+Q can you find the moves?

So 3.5-0.5 to the Thirds which propels us to the top of the table where we hope to stay for the rest of the season.

Come on you Thirds!

Kent and Mid Sussex match tables this year

Hastings and St Leonards chess club are in the semi final of the Tom Fuller Cup in the Kent league this year. The Stevenson team have not done so well currently 3rd out of 4 teams.
In the Mid Sussex games Hastings 1 are 2nd out of 10 and Hastings 2 are 10th out of 10, both teams are in division 1 for some reason!
You can see the results here

Hastings v Hammersmith 18 June 2022

Friendly match – Hastings v Hammersmith

18 June 2022

It is enjoyable to travel around the country playing chess in different cities. But last weekend it was our chance to stay at home and let the challengers come to us. Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club were hosting a friendly match against one of the top London clubs, Hammersmith Chess Club. The visitors arrived at midday with a team of 10 players, and a number of supporters, and the competition was soon underway.

The home team were marginally stronger, and based on the grading tables would have expected to win 6 games and lose 4. However, the home advantage kicked in and Hastings were ready to shine.

The first game to finish was the bottom board where Hastings Junior Alex Lebedev was facing the youngest competitor, 7 year old Oliver Valle. Alex played good solid chess and steadily dominated the board, giving Hastings their first win.

This was followed by board 9, where Martin Fletcher was playing against Brian Joyce. Martin found some tactical ideas in the middle game and forced a victory before reaching the end game. A pattern was starting to develop, and these two wins were followed on Board 8, where Keith Hossack beat Frank Valle; Board 6, where Brendan Ruane beat Robin Sarfas; Board 5, where Mark Brougham beat Adam Cranston; and Board 2, where John Sugden beat Gaston Franco.

Hammersmith were able to avoid a clean sweep with Ian Calvert on Board 3 and Paul Kelly on Board 4 being held to a draw by Michael Saunders and Edoardo de Angelis.

After several hours of play there were just two games still continuing. On Board 1 Daniel Lowe was in an evently matched end game against Marios Kouis. With both players graded at 2170 this was always going to be a difficult result to call and as it reached its climax the game could still go either way. However Daniel’s faultless end game skills proved decisive and Hastings had one more win. The final game was Caelan Rooney against Charlie Sturt. This was also a very closely fought end game, with the clock also impacting on the play with

just minutes remaining. Like Daniel, Caelan showed that he was solid in the end game, and this proved too much for Charlie as the final chance of a win for Hammermith disappeared. This gave a final result of 8 wins and two draws to Hastings with a score of 9:1.

While the long play games were the main course for the day, these were followed by a dessert of rapid play with a five round blitz tournament. Twelve players took part in this and the winner (with 4 points) was Hammersmith player Gaston Franco. Jim Wheeler was joint second with visitor Michael Sunders, both achieving 3.5 points.

The day was a great success. Not only did both teams enjoy some great chess, but it was also a friendly atmosphere, and Hastings are definitely hoping that this will become a regular fixture – perhaps with a trip to London next time. After the match the Hastings team were quick to say that the cammeraderie was more inportant than the winning. However that is much easier to say when you have won 9:1, than when you have lost.

Martin Fletcher

Last Mid Sussex match and table

The last mid Sussex match played on Saturday was the first team at home losing to Brighton 1-3, the final table shows the first team 3rd and the second team fifth out of 8 teams.

Division 1

Team Play Won Draw Lost For Against Points SP MP IM
Brighton & Hove 7 6 1 0 22 6 13 0 0 0
Horsham 1 7 5 0 2 19 9 10 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 1 7 5 0 2 16 12 10 0 0 0
Lewes 7 3 0 4 11½ 16½ 6 0 0 0
Hastings & St Leonards 2 7 2 1 4 12 16 5 0 0 0
Worthing 7 2 1 4 11 17 5 0 0 0
Horsham 2 7 1 2 4 11½ 16½ 4 0 0 0
Eastbourne 1 7 1 1 5 9 19 3 0 0 0