“Sometimes I lie awake at night …

and I ask, “Where did I go wrong?” Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.”

Last Tuesday saw Horsham 5 put a tentative toe into the shark-infested waters of MSL Division 3 to play our first game of the season against the early leaders Uckfield 1.

Our squad, although relatively small this season (in number not height), looks potent as we have been joined by the “2 Johns” (Marshall and Cannon) and our grade spread is not particularly wide so we have strength in depth …well in theory we do!

So, we entered into the combat arena in fine fettle, high spirits and with chocolate hobnobs.

The usual “Brian Howard quick play” on Board 2 saw the first result of the night (from memory around 8:45pm) – unfortunately a loss to us. Your correspondent was not in a position to see the swings and arrows of outrageous fortune but rumour has it (please note subtle side reference to Adele) it was brutal hand to hand combat which led to Brian sadly having his buckle swashed. Score 0-1.

Next up your correspondent. Eagle-eyed readers of last year’s reports will be aware of my often mis-placed trust in the KID. Had I learnt anything in the close season? Of course not. So, on Board 4 it was a KID again for me - this time as White. Having not played for about 6 months I quickly messed up my pawn structure and then was the minor exchange down. As is often the case in my games this prompted me into action when I went for a sacrificial attack on Black’s king. It obviously unsettled my opponent as I regained a piece in the late middle game and (probably!?) the game was drawish– but very dynamic and unclear. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this and quickly succumbed to a queenside attack. Score 0-2.

Board 1 now hoved into view. John Marshall against Toby Harris. A very close affair – locked pawn chains but where John had the knight and Toby had the bad bishop. John played the late middle game calmly and carefully obtained a passed pawn which couldn’t be stopped unless Toby gave up the bishop. Score 1-2.

Next up Board 5 and Richard Barrowclough. Again a close game where Richard had some chances in an open middle game but his slight material deficit proved too much in the end. Score 1-3.

This left the dead-rubber of Board 3 where Lucy was her usual formidable self and ground out a very impressive win in a tight middle game. Her opponent said, at the end, Lucy was one of the toughest opponents he had faced. Many now share this view!

Next victim … away to Crowborough 2 on 4 December