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 – fletcherinsussex@btinternet.com