Sussex Chess League Starts With Inter-club Double Header

The new Sussex Chess League season began on October 13th, with two Eastbourne vs Eastbourne matches being played simultaneously at the club.

League rules stipulate that teams from the same club in the same division must play each other first, so we saw Eastbourne 1 vs Eastbourne 2 in Division 1, whilst our 4th team took on our 5th in Division 3.

For the first time in many years, the club started a season with two teams in the top flight, after last year saw Eastbourne 2 promoted after a superb effort from the team. Meanwhile, Eastbourne 1 were looking to continue their excellent work of last season, when they topped the Division 1 table at Christmas, eventually finishing a credible 5th. 

On board 1, Maks Rozman of the first team won with the white pieces against Jim O’Dell, striking at the heart of black’s position before he could complete his development. Rasa Norinkeviciute also notched a point for the first team with the white pieces on board 3, exerting enduring pressure on Matt Pannett’s classical set-up that led to the win of a piece.

On board 4, Adrian Pickersgill found a way to exert unpleasant pressure with the black pieces on Anthony Giles out of the opening. Anthony fought back and took the initiative, but eventually dropped a pawn. Stout defence meant that the game petered out to a draw.

Adrien Pickersgill plays the Czech Pirc for Eastbourne 1 vs Anthony Giles

With the match win assured for the first team, the last game to finish went the full distance in a tense encounter on board 2 between Oli Froom, playing black for the first team, and Laurence Butt. The game appeared to be drifting towards a draw; however, it took a dramatic turn of events after growing pressure from black resulted in the gain of a pawn. White responded with a bold king march through the centre, creating a dangerous passed pawn. An exciting promotion race ensued, which ended with black touching down first and delivering the decisive queen check, sealing the result 3.5 – 0.5 in the first team’s favour.

In the other match, board 1 saw a typical draw between Colin Clark and Peter Holdstock. Neither player made any large blunders, and each player had their chances. The game ended with a perpetual check by Peter.

On board 2, Ian Goodyer managed to win a knight for a pawn from Robert Smart and despite a spirited defence and counterattack managed to convert that advantage into a win as the pieces came off the board.  The game finished with a nice mate with two rooks and a knight.

Board 3 saw Zebadiah Taylor, with the white pieces, outplay John Wright. He won with the Italian Opening against the Anti-Fried Liver Defence.

Finally, Mike Elgin ended up having a knight versus three pawns on board 4. After a solid defence from Bob Hopkins, a draw was agreed, meaning the match was also drawn 2:2

Overall, it was an exciting night of chess and a great start to the new season.

The 4th team’s Mike Elgin takes on the 5th’s Bob Hopkins

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