Horsham 2 possibly in the drop zone?

Following our final two matches of the year (against Hastings 2 and Hastings 1), Horsham 2 finished the division 1 season in second to last place. A bit disappointing but with all other teams in the top division except one being first teams, perhaps it is more a case of what might have been when just one half match point more would have left us mid table. It remains to be seen what format will apply next year or how that leaves the team.

Our penultimate match of the year involved the long trek to face Hastings 2 but no journey was longer than Roger Waddingham's who heroically stepped in at the last minute after travelling back from Sicily that morning. I am told he secured a modest advantage in the opening before fatigue set in!

Alex's Pirc on board 3 resulted in a locked centre with opposite side castling and a fighting game on the wings where Alex's attack was faster but robust defence by his opponent left the result in the balance. A late flurry of exchanges however left him with a winning king and pawn endgame.

Not being at the match I will quote from Phil on his board 1 game as white… "I gained a slight edge out of the opening, gaining the bishop pair. The game went on evenly and sedately until my opponent attacked a Rook with a knight on the edge of the board, allowing the Rook to the 7th rank. This was followed immediately by a disastrous move, opposing the Rook with his own (wrong) Rook. An intermezzo Knight check followed forcing him to sacrifice his Queen."

This left Dix seeking the half point to ensure victory but after going the exchange up, he found himself in serious time trouble in a complicated position and this proved his downfall. Hence a 2-2 match result.

Our final match was against Hastings 1 where we were substantially out-graded on the top three boards.

First to finish on board three was Ian who reacted aggressively to his opponents trademark b3 opening but in a very sharp position, white unsurprisingly displayed greater knowledge of the set up with his minor pieces dominating the centre after the queens came off.

On board 1 Phil countered the English with copycat chess for the first few moves and a strategic struggle then ensued before a truce was declared with all the heavy artillery still on the board but neither side with any weaknesses.

On board 4, Rob employed the English and embarked upon kingside expansion before both sides chose to castle on the other wing. A tactical surrender of the exchange to further that expansion unfortunately rebounded with a resultant passed pawn for black being of far greater import than any material imbalance.

On board 2 Alex played the open variation against the Sicilian, castling queenside and developing a strong attack before his opponent finally followed suit in where to put his king. Alex appeared to have a modest plus throughout but perhaps missed the correct plan and the position liquidated into an ending with little prospects of further progress. With the match already decided a draw was agreed to leave a 1-3 scoreline.

Finally, my thanks to all who have played for Horsham 2 this year.