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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club,
2 Cornwallis Terrace,
TN34 1EB, United Kingdom.