Horsham 1 defeat Brighton 1 to secure Division 1 Title

Last Tuesday, Horsham 1 scored a memorable victory in an exciting match against a strong Brighton 1 team.

Since my last report, on the excellent away win against Worthing 1, Horsham 1 had accumulated enough points, given the results in other matches, that they needed a win by any margin to definitely take the league title.

Against Haywards Heath 1, they scored a somewhat nervy 2.5-1.5, as Feliks Kwiatkowski scored a win over Horsham 1 top board Gavin Lock, putting additional pressure on the lower board to score points; fortunately, both Mike Forster and James Mansson were able to win, while Mark Broom held a comfortable enough draw.

Hastings 1 away was always going to be a tough fixture; Anthony Higgs' win on bottom board was cancelled out by James Mansson's defeat at the hands of John Sugden on board three, resulting in a 2-2 draw.

Hasting 2 home was somewhat less formidible, as Horsham 1 took them down 4-0.

The away match against Lewes featured some drama. Phil Stimpson's early win was cancelled out by Anthony's Higgs loss; the match then when down to the result of the Peter Farr - James Mansson encounter. This looked to have turned in Peter's favour, but he let the win slip in a tough queen and pawn endgame, and the position was drawn - according to the tablebases - at the point the game was finally adjourned. The result was therefore another 2-2 draw.

This set up the match against Brighton 1 nicely.

On bottom board, Anthony Higgs looked to have some pressure on Geoff James' position; however, this petered out and he sensibly agreed a draw, as the other games seemed to be going in our favour.

On board two, Mike Forster looked to have whipped up a very dangerous attack against Luke Rutherford's king; when the game finished suddenly, the first assumption of the other players was that he had won. However, it soon transpired that he had slipped up in the complications, allowed Luke to simplify to a won endgame with a neat tactical blow. Subsequent analysis with the computer suggested he was winning at one point, but it was hard to find.

On board three, James Mansson managed to overcome Mikolaj Rogacewicz with the Black pieces. He describes the game as follows on his blog:

I was Black against Mikolaj Rogacewicz on board three. The game reached a standard position of the Meran from an unusual move order, where my opponent made a dubious pawn advance; in response, I sacrificed a pawn, gaining good play. Over the next few moves, both players’ choices were not the best, but following my opponent’s unwise decision to weaken his kingside on move 18, I was able to build up a strong attack. I managed to pursue this with reasonable accuracy until move 27, when, with both players running short of time, I made what subsequent analysis showed to be a serious error; fortunately, my opponent was unable to spot what was in truth a difficult continuation to work out in serious time pressure, and I was then able to wrap up the game efficiently.

This left the match level at 1.5-1.5, with everything down to Gavin Lock's game against Callum Brewer. Playing Black, he gained an advantage out of the opening and managed to convert it to a win in a long game. As is customary, he managed to get us all worried by running low on time, so that he was playing on not much more than the 30 second increment for the final stages of the rook endgame; fortunately, it was not too difficult to play for a player of his calibre. Gavin therefore secured the win that decided the match 2.5-1.5 in our favour.

I would like to thank all the players who have been involved with the team this year for their sterling efforts, which have brough the Division 1 title to Horsham once more!


Anthony Higgs's picture

A great result for the team & club and thank you to James for all his organisation throughout the season.

Ian Comley's picture

What a fantastic result and an exemplary success! Well done to all.

Horsham have won the league before but this is probably the strongest ever team!