Mid Sussex league

Sussex league 23/24 concludes

For the first time we entered four teams in The Sussex Chess League, which in its self is a fine achievement for our club. Only two clubs in the league entered more teams than us, five each, so this helps cement us as one of the biggest clubs in the County.

Next season, starting in October of this year it is very likely that we will enter five team which will be a great reflection on how the club continues to grow both in terms of numbers and in terms of playing strength.

Our 1st team had the daunting task of taking on the best that the County had to offer by being in Division 1. The season got off to a great start when we won, with an under strength team, away to Haywards Heath. However wins would prove difficult to come by after this match and towards the end of the season we found our selves in the middle of a very tight relegation struggle. In the end the season can down to either Eastbourne 2 or us joining Hastings 2 in going down to Division 2. We had to win our last match V Hastings 2 and hope that Eastbourne got no more than a draw from their last 2 matches. We did our part by winning very well in our last match 3.5 to .5, then we had to wait for three days to see how Eastbourne fared. As it turned out they lost two very close matches and thus we avoided the drop.

The scale of the challenge for the 1st team can be seen when of the 11 matches  we were out rated in 8 and of the other 3 we only had a significant advantage in 1. I would like to particularly congratulate two players on their performances over the season:

Andrew Fleming played 8 matches winning 2 drawing 5 and only losing once. Further more he played in our 3 cup  games and drew all 3 therefore only having 1 loss in the entire season.

Andy Nguyen at the tender age of 12 played in all but one of our League matches and finished with the fine record of 2 wins 6 draws and 2 losses. This record is particularly note worthy as Andy played all but 3 of his games on board 1 playing against the very best players in the County.

It is also worth noting that the 1st team’s games point difference was only .8 of a point showing how competitive they were over the course of the season.

Our 2nd team played in the 2nd Division and ended the season with a solid record of 3 wins 1 draw and 5 losses, placing them 7th of 11 teams. As with the 1st team they were very competitive in the vast majority of their matches ending the season with a negative game points margin of  only .4 In 6 of their matches we were out rated  including one particularly memorable evening when the rating difference was almost 600 points per player!

Our 3rd team following last years promotion were also in Division 2. The season was particularly challenging as there was a big drain on playing resources for the team as players often had to play up for both the 2nd and 1st teams. In fact Bill Luxton who was nominated for board 1 never actually played for the 3rd team! Despite this the team played really well and finished in 6th place with a record of 3 wins 1 draw and 5 losses and finished the season with a game points difference of only .2 

2 particularly fine matches were the wins of 3 to 1 against Sussex University who finished 3rd in the Division and also 3 to 1 against Horsham 3 who out rated us by 880 points. In fact the team was out rated in  8 out of 9 matches.

Our 4th team was placed in Division 3 and performed really well and despite being out rated in all matches  finally finished with a record of 3 wins 2 draws and 5 losses. It was very encouraging to see 6 players make their league debut for the club, and also to give some of our younger members the chance to represent the club. In the match V Haywards Heath 2 we fielded a team aged 11, 13, 14 and 18 who were out rated by almost 900 points and we won 2.5 to 1.5! This bodes really well for the clubs future. 

I would like to congratulate the following players for particularly fine wins during the season:

Steve merchant on board 1 v Collyers 6th  Form College when playing for the 3rd team he won against their teacher and coach who out rated him by over 230 points.

Luke Chapman when playing board 1 for the 4th team against Haywards Heath 2nd team beat an opponent rated 380 points higher.

Andy Nguyen in the first match of the season playing board 1 V Haywards Heath won against a player who has been several times County Champion and who out rated Andy by 388 points

Lawry Rhodes playing board 1 V East Grinstead 1 took on a IM who out rated Lawry by 738 points and won a famous victory.

I would like to thank Michael Hayward, Janis Petersons, Steve Merchant and Sharon Merchant for acting as team captains when I was on a five week holiday.

I would also like to thank all members of the club who played and represented the club so well.

Mark Rich, Andy Nguyen, Andrew Fleming, Janis Petersons Leo Woning, Steve Blewitt, Bill Luxton, James Lumsden, Steve Merchant, Michael Hayward, Alan Ticehurst, Jo Carthew, Ed Booth Ben Short, Sharon Merchant, Seb Merchant, Sam Merchant ,Luke Chapman, Mike Chapman, Oli Balp  and Lawry Rhodes .

It is worth noting that as this was the first season that we had played at St. Marks just how impressed all our visiting opponents were with our venue, with many commenting how nice it was to play club matches in such fine surroundings. They were also very impressed that we had such high quality boards and sets to play with.

We are already looking forward to next season and the very real possibility of fielding 5 teams. So please let me know if you would like to play next year. Michael Hayward has already volunteered to be a captain next season, if any one else is interested in also becoming a captain please let me know.

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