Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club

OUR fourth team, in Mid-Sussex League Division 4, were last week’s stars as they made it six on the trot to maintain their 100 per cent record, but it was hard going away to Haywards Heath thirds.

What had been an expected doddle against a team who had lost every match ended 4-1 to us, but the score flattered and there were some wobbles - it was only in the third hour that their resistance crumbled. Mason Woodhams, Gary Willson and George Jelliss were our winners, with draws from Paul Buswell and Gregory Chandler.

The only other team in action last week were our seconds, who continued their battle against relegation from Division 1. On paper a 2½-2½ away draw at fellow strugglers Lewes firsts is OK, but they will be conscious they missed chances to get a better result. Subject to any adjudication complications there were wins for Bernard Cafferty and Mel Young, a draw from Howard Tebbs, but Ollie Willson and Andrew Fleming succumbed.

The Club Championship has turned into a two-horse race. Francis Rayner, the concert pianist and former Welsh international, has overcome his early setback to a mid-table player and now leads the doyen of the Club, veteran chess writer Bernard Cafferty, who is unbeaten but conceding drawn games. The luck of the fixture list means that these two meet in the last game which may well be the title decider.

Turning to the champions of the future, a few spaces remain for juniors who wish to learn how to play chess and earn a certificate and badge from the English Chess Federation.

This course runs every Saturday until April 5 and is free for Hastings residents. For more information and to enrol please visit www.HastingsJuniorChess.org.uk.