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.


Grand Prix 6

Thank you to everyone who came down and played in another wonderful instalment of our Grand Prix series last night.

It was a great evening of chess and as we approach the end of the season, it’s getting very exciting! Congratulations to last nights tied winners: Mark Rich and Andrew Fleming.

The cross tables for last night can be found below and the updated standings for the season can now be found on the Grand Prix page. There is still everything to play for with two more events to go!

The next event will be on May 31st!


Bexhill 1 final fight!

Match report from our captain Bill Tracey:

Here is the match report for the final match of the season for the 1st team.

Tuesday 30th April saw our 1st team travel to Hastings to take on their 2nd team in the final match of their season.

This was an absolute must win match as even a draw would see us relegated.

The team of Andy, Andrew, Janis and Leo responded magnificently and secured a fine win by 3.5 to .5.

Leo was first to finish. He went into the end game with a slight edge and played very accurately to force a resignation.

Andrew was next to finish and after defending his position with great skill gained a draw.

Janis on board 3 was under a bit of time pressure but remained calm and slowly but surely gained an overwhelming position to win his game and secure victory for the team.

On board 1 Andy found a fine move which put him 2 pawns up and, with checkmate imminent,
his opponent resigned.

This win means that Eastbourne 2 who have two matches to play need to win one to relegate us.
In one they should be big under dogs in the other they do a have a chance. So we will know in the next 3 days what are fate is.

Thanks to all the following club members who have played for the 1st team this season.

Mark, Andy, Andrew, Janis, Leo, Bill L, James, Michael, Steve B, Steve M, Lawry and Bill T.


League results:

Match reports from our captain Bill Tracey:

On Friday 26th April, two of our teams played at home in the Sussex leagues.

Our 1st team played Worthing 1 and our 2nd team played Sussex University.

The evening saw two high quality and closely fought matches. Unfortunately for Bexhill we lost both matches by 2.5 to 1.5.

For the 1st team Mark, Andrew and Janis all drew.
Andy on board 2 played a fine game against a very highly rated player and the game looked set for a draw but unfortunately Andy made a very uncharacteristic error and although he fought on really well he eventually had to concede defeat.

Our board order for the 2nd team was Steve B, Bill L, Michael and myself.

Steve and I unfortunately both lost, Michael played very well for a draw and Bill L had a fine game and recorded a well deserved win.

This was the last match match of the season for the 2nd team and I would like to thank all of the following club members for playing for the team:

Janis, Leo, Steve B, Steve M, Alan, T, Bill L, Michael, Bill T, Lawry, James and Ben.


Bexhill Junior becomes England player!

Massive congratulations to Bexhill Junior Samuel Merchant who is now officially an England player!
Samuel was invited up to the England trials in Liverpool last weekend after achieving two half norms (strong performances) in national events this year.
The competition was incredibly tough, with most of the top ten players having ECF ratings of between 1700 – 1950! Samuel managed 3 wins and a draw, finishing on 3.5 from 6, just putting him in the top 10 and resulting in him being selected for the England squad.
Samuel was 6 years old when he told his parents that his long term goal was to play chess for England! It has taken him 5 years and a lot of hard work, but he has finally made it!
Massive thank you to everyone who has helped Samuel on his journey.
Well done, Samuel!


Another set of great exam results for Bexhill Juniors

Another great set of results from the latest IOC exams. We had two kids taking level 1 and five children taking level 2. All the kids passed with distinction and four achieved a mark of 100%! Well done everyone!


Chess tables have arrived!

I am very pleased to let everyone know that the new permanent chess tables have now been installed!
You can find them on Bexhill seafront opposite the Sackville Bistro. Thank you to the council and everyone involved in making this happen. Look forward to many games with a sea view this summer!


Bexhill Juniors help Sussex under 14s to victory

Four of our Bexhill juniors headed off to Sevenoaks last weekend to play with the Sussex junior chess under 14 team in the SCCU league.
The four players were Rose, Sam, Harry and Luke.
Luke had a great day and scored 2 out of 2. Harry and Rose both managed a win and a draw.
The team won the match comfortably 15.5 to 8.5.
This means they finish top of the league for this season.


The giant slaying!

Rhodes, Lawrence (1552) v IM Baker, Chris (2290)

East Grinstead 1 v Bexhill 3 in the Sussex League.

Monday 8th April 2024.

Above is the fantastic game played by Lawry last week for Bexhill 3. It is a beautiful game. Despite his opponent’s mistake allowing him to go a piece up, it was still a formidable challenge against the two passed pawns. But Lawry dealt with it splendidly and finished it off with a beautiful bishop sacrifice to take the win!

Amazing! Well done, Lawry! Beautiful chess!


Merchants in Maidenhead

Congratulations to the Merchant brothers who travelled to Maidenhead this weekend to compete in the Maidenhead Junior chess congress. Samuel, despite being an under 11, decided to play up in the under 18 section with his brother Sebastian. Both boys had a great day. It was a gruelling seven round tournament with very little of a break between rounds. Sebastian lost to the top seed and to the overall winner and lost one other game in a time scramble. Other than that he scored three wins and a draw to finish on a respectable 3.5 points.
Samuel had an incredible day, drawing with the top seed rated just under 1700, but other than that, winning all his games! He scored 6.5 from 7 and won the first place trophy! Including this beautiful perpetual trophy!
Well done boys!