Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club

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THE focus on serious stuff of Leagues and Championships was diverted the other week to even more serious matters - putting Bexhill in their place. #The junior club down the road have won the last two friendly matches so this time we strengthened our team - but it still wasn’t enough!

Hastings lost the rapid-play contest by the tightest of margins, 24½-25½, losing the top pool 10½-14½ and winning the bottom pool by 14-11. The match was close from start to finish and all our players will know that every one of their games mattered.

Daniel Lowe and Steve Oakman were our stand-out players, and detailed scores out of 5 were - Pool A: Lowe 5, Jeremy Hudson 2, Derek Cosens 2, Adrian Cload ½, Ken Lucas 1; Pool B: Neil Ward 4, Oakman 5, Umberto Jozwiak 3, Siggi Warda 2, Lona Steuart 0.

Next time? We will have to wheel out the really big guns!

Turning to Sussex’s premier competition, the McArthur Cup, Hastings moved into the Final (against Brighton, who else?) with a comfortable 4½-1½ semi-final win at Haywards Heath, although our sources say it could well have ended much closer. Wins from Ollie Willson, Bob Elliston, Howard Tebbs and Paul Kelly; a draw from John Sugden; Chris Howell went down.

In the Mid-Sussex League division 1 our seconds made escape from relegation very likely with a good 2½-2½ draw against Worthing firsts. Laurence Butt won, Howard Tebbs, Steve Blewitt and Paul Kelly all drew, Ollie Willson lost.

But alas, our firsts shot themselves in the foot. A 2½-2½ home draw against mid-table Crowborough leaves them a mountain to climb in next week’s final match against table-toppers Brighton. Before Crowborough, a win in Brighton would have delivered the title; now, it looks as if our inferior game difference will scupper us even if we win. Ollie Willson and Jerry Anstead scored our wins v. Crowborough, Francis Rayner drew, but John Sugden and Alfredo Luaces lost.

Our hitherto 100 per cent fourths, with promotion assured, hit a brick wall at Horsham fifths, going down 4-1. Draws were salvaged by Jeremy Hudson and Paul Buswell, but Mason Woodhams, Con Power and Gregory Chandler all failed to trouble the scorers.

And a final little damp squib: our Kent League team had a walkover when Rainham were unable to muster a team to get down to Hastings.