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.

Mid Sussex league

A vital draw for Bexhill 3

On Friday 16th February our 3rd team had a home match V East Grinstead 2.

Our team, in board order was Luke, Bill T, Jo and Ben.

Luke lead the way with a fine win, in which he applied pressure from early onхand eventually forced a resignation.

I had a long match on board 2 with time running short missed a chance for a draw and lost my game.

Jo on 3 looked as though he had chances but eventually his opponent was able to make use of a passed pawn and Jo had to resign.

Ben’s game on 4 came down to a complex end game which looked drawish but his opponent made a very uncharacteristic error which cost him a rook and the game.

The final score of 2 each keeps our hopes up of avoiding relegation.

Mid Sussex league

Away to Crowborough

On Friday 16th our 1st team travelled to Crowborough
for a 1st Division match.

Our team, in board order was Andy, Andrew, Janis and Leo.

Andy on board 1 continued his remarkable season and gained another draw, this time against an opponent who out rated him by 200 points.

Andrew on 2 played an advanced French Wade variation and eventually forced some dubious moves from his opponent to go a piece up in the endgame and claim a fine win.

Janis and Leo both fought well but unfortunately both lost their games.

Final score Crowborough 2.5 Bexhill 1.5

Mid Sussex league

Away to Brighton

On Monday 19th our 2nd team had the daunting task of taking on Brighton 2.

I say daunting as Brighton 2 are top of the division and very strong contenders to win promotion. Also, as it turns out, they were able to field their strongest team.

Our team of Leo, Bill L, Michael H and Lawry all battled hard but in the end Brighton emerged worthy winners 4 to 0.

Mid Sussex league

First team away to Eastbourne

On Friday the 19th January, our 1st team made the short journey to Eastbourne to take on their 1st team.
Our team was Mark, Janis, Leo and Steve Blewitt.

On board 1 Mark faced a strong player who played a very unorthodox opening as black. e4 a6, d4 b5 even with Mark’s vast experience he was now out of book!
A tight game followed and on move 26 with the game very close a draw was agreed.

On board 2 Janis played very well and pushed hard for the win but settled for a draw against an opponent who out rated him by 120 points.

On board 3 Leo, playing his first match of the season, really rose to the challenge and won against an opponent who out rated him by 130 points.

On board 4 Steve Blewitt stepped in at short notice when Andy who would have played on board 2 was forced to withdraw due to illness. This was always going to be tough for Steve as he had been working all day and unfortunately his opponent got the better of him.

Final score Eastbourne 2 Bexhill 2

This draw does give us a glimmer of hope in the battle to avoid relegation, particularly as we are still to play the two teams that are currently the bottom 2 teams in the league.

Mid Sussex league

Match report

Friday 20th October

Our team in board order  was  Michael Hayward, Sam, Seb and Sharon.

Michael faced an opponent rated 180 points higher than himself and for much of the game was under a great deal of pressure. However, despite time pressure Michael continued to find the right defensive moves and eventually turns the tables on his opponent and emerged victorious.

Sam and Seb put up strong resistance but eventually the experience of their opponents proved decisive and each had to resign.

Sharon on 4 played a tremendous game  finding many excellent moves  whilst under massive time pressure. Eventually in what looked like a very drawable position Sharon’s time ran out..

Hastings are now 4 from 4 in the league and already looking as strong favourite for the title, so although this match was lost 3 to 1 the team can feel proud of their efforts.

Mid Sussex league

Match report

Friday 17th November

One of the reasons for us entering 4 teams in the Sussex Leagues was to give inexperienced players the chance to play competitive Chess against strong and experienced players.

This match provided exactly that scenario, as we had two members playing for the first time one playing his second game and one his third.

Luke had the challenge of playing board one and gave a very good account of himself against a very tough opponent. Although he lost he can be very proud of his effort.

The same can be said of Jo, Ed and Mike on 2, 3 and 4 who were all playing vastly more experienced opponents. Each played well but in the end the final score was:

Eastbourne 4   4    Bexhill 4    0

Mid Sussex league

Match report

We travelled to the University knowing that we had a big challenge on our hands and what followed was one of the best performances by any Bexhill team since we entered the Leagues 4 years ago.

First to finish was Alan on board 3. Taking on an opponent outrating him by 180 points, he played a very solid game which ended in a draw.

I was on board  and, my opponent out rated me by 220 points.

We played a very evenly balanced game and, after 35 moves I offered a draw. He thought for several minutes and, rather reluctantly, he agreed. Analysis showed the final position to be level.

Steve Merchant on board 1  was next to finish.

Steve played exceptionally well to really outplay an opponent rated 167 points higher.

Eventually with Steve very well on top his opponent resigned.

On 4 Jo continued his recent fine form and recorded a fine win.

Sussex University 1     1        Bexhill 3      3

Mid Sussex league

Match report

This match was a fine effort by our third team against the 2nd team of one of the leading clubs in the County.

On board 1  Steve Merchant came very close to winning his game against an opponent rated 160 points higher, but eventually he was forced to resign.

On board 2 I played an opponent out rating me by 220 points. Our game was a long tight game and eventually a draw was agreed.

On board 3 Lawry giving away 180 points competed well but the game got away from him and he eventually resigned.

On board 4 our very promising junior Luke  played a fine game and looked to have an edge but his opponent managed to engineer a 3 fold repetition for a draw.

Bexhill 3     1    Brighton  2     3

Mid Sussex league

Match report

On Tuesday 31st October we made the long journey to Horsham to take on Collyers 6th Form College.

Janis on board 1 played a fine game against a higher rated opponent to win his game.

On board 2 Bill fought hard and gained a good draw against a promising young player.

On board 3 Michael Hayward did his part with a solid draw.

Unfortunately on board 4 I played one of my worst ever openings and was down a Bishop after 7 moves!  My young opponent went on to play very well and eventually I had to resign.

Collyers 6th Form College 1      2     Bexhill 2      2