Horsham Through to Final of Paul Watson Trophy!

Followers of the fortunes of teams I've captained in either this competition or the MSL Knock Out over the past several years should probably have been advised to sit down before reading that headline. However, the chess gods finally looked favourably on us last night as we hosted Woodpushers.

With 7 teams in the competition this season, Horsham had a bye in the first round and only entered at the semi-final stage. Matches are between teams of 4 with an average grade not exceeding 150.

Horsham 2's season so far

As the new captain of Horsham 2 I hadn't realised how to put a report on the website until recently so this is an update about how Horsham 2 have been getting on this season. Full results are available on the new League Management System: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/45436/tfixtures

Our first match of the season was against Horsham 1 and as expected we lost to our own first team. For a full report please see James' excellent report at the beginning of the season.

Horsham 2 hold Worthing 2 to a draw

Last Tuesday Horsham hosted Worthing 2. This was set to be a close match with both teams sitting mid-table and with similar ratings on all boards.

Late substitute saves Horsham 3 from whitewash

Horsham 3 suffered a heavy defeat in our away fixture at Crowborough, with only super sub Julie contributing the team's solitary point.

Ian's English on board one seemed fairly even to me but on next viewing the dynamics had changed with his opponent enjoying three minor pieces plus rook against two rooks and one minor piece. There appeared to be back row prospects when given the congested nature of the black position but accurate play by his opponent negated Ian's tactics and ultimately he lost the exchange and the game.

Horsham 1 beat Worthing 3 comfortably

Horsham 1 made its second trip down to Worthing this season, this time to play Worthing 3.

As expected,Horsham 1 won comfortably in the end. Mike Forster and Gavin Lock found themselves in tricky positions, but fortunately their opponents were in a peaceable mood. Dix Roberts won quickly on bottom board. James Mansson won the bishop pair then a pawn, and proceeded safely to convert his advantages to a win. Mark Broom had a longer, tougher game, in which he finally prevailed, to secure Horsham a 4-1 victory.

Harsh scoreline against Horsham 3 not entirely reflective of the match

Towards the end of the evening's proceedings a tied match or even a narrow win still seemed on the cards for Horsham 3 but in the event, Sussex University ran out deserved winners 4-1.

My own game didn't last all that long against a strong player. Whilst far from happy with my opening I seemed to have all bases covered and was reasonably comfortable, as later confirmed by computer. I then missed a tactic which was dropping a pawn, for which I found a 'brilliant' antidote that unfortunately lost me my queen!

Horsham win McArthur Cup battle

Horsham played Hastings in the MacArthur cup in a very strong match of 6 boards.

A quick draw for Mike Forster began proceedings with James also drawing shortly after. Gavin followed with an excellent win while Phil Stimpson lost on bottom board.

Mark Broom was unable to convert to a win with a couple of extra pawns in a Rook and Pawn endgame and it ended in a draw. This left Anthony still playing a pawn down with Bishop vs Knight and ultimately this was also drawn.

Horsham 3 captain finally makes a contribution

Having started the season with a 'long castle', I finally got on the scoresheet in helping Horsham 3 to a hard fought 3-2 win against Brighton 3.

Nick A's game was first to finish. Notwithstanding his black pieces he had already established a pleasant initiative shortly after the opening which he built upon and appeared to be heading for a comfortable and well constructed win when unfortunately he walked into a perpetual with a sharing of the spoils.

Horsham 1 held to draw by Hastings 2

Horsham 1 were held at home in mid-January by Hastings 2, in a match that unusually ended in five draws. Horsham's best chances of a win fell to Mark Broom and James Mansson on boards two and three respectively, but unfortunately they were unable to make best use of their chances. The match therefore ended in a 2.5-2.5 draw.

You can see the full match scorecard here.

Good start to the decade for Horsham 3

Despite the captain's ongoing misadventures, wins on the bottom three boards ensured a positive start to the new decade for Horsham 3 against Lewes 2.

I did not see much of Ian's game after his traditional English opening until towards the end which encompassed a neat and crushing denouement though not, I understand, without some adventures along the way.


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