Horsham KO'd by Haywards Heath

Last night saw Horsham's Mid-Sussex Knockout team go out in the first round against Haywards Heath by the narrowest possible margin.

When we arrive at the opposition's new venue Julie had totted up the grading handicap with the result that a drawn match was good enough for Horsham to go through, Haywards Heath would have to win 3-2 to proceed, and they did just that. Horsham had white on odds (agreed with the opposition captain although the rules need clarifying for KO fixtures).

On board 5 Alex von der Becke held on to Julie's gambit pawn and was doing well in any case before Julie left a rook en prise and resigned immediately. Next to finish was Mick on board 3 who looked to be doing well against Roland Rattray who had a terrible buried bishop, but he managed to create enough threats against Mick's weakened pawn structure to hold the balance and a draw was agreed. On top board I improved on a Nimzo-Indian game played last year against Feliks Kwiatkowski, and a fairly steady game resulted with few chances for either player. Feliks offered a draw which I accepted, seeing no way to make progress in a largely symmetrical structure.

Richard looked to be heading for a draw against Graham Ewens but apparently he tried too hard to win and Richard converted in a rook and pawn endgame. This left us needing a draw from Peter on board 2. He had looked dead lost at around move 12 when Jeff Boardman won his queen for rook and bishop, and then proceeded to wipe out Peter's queenside. But amazingly Peter kept himself in the game, sacrificing pieces to get his h-pawn down the board. A swindle was looking on the cards when Peter still looked in it despite only having bishop and pawn for queen. Unfortunately for us Jeff found the right continuation and got rid of the passed pawn, sending Haywards Heath through to round 2.

F.J. Kwiatkowski 1/2-1/2 A.R.J. Higgs
J. Boardman 1-0 P. Harbott
R. Rattray 1/2-1/2 M.C. Harris
G. Ewens 0-1 R. Moorhouse
A. von der Becke 1-0 J. Denning

3-2 to Haywards Heath