Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club

Both club teams are now certain to qualify for the next stage of the Kent League.

Our Division 1 team clinched it with an emphatic 5½-½ home win over a woefully under-strength Maidstone who turned up a player short. Wins for Francis Rayner, John Sugden, Mel Young and Jim Wheeler, a draw from Andrew Fleming. We now proceed straight to an all-or-nothing shot at the Kent title on 10 May, when we play either Lewisham or Beckenham.

Our bottom division team went down 3-1 at Medway: Harry Stephens won, Marc Bryant, Paul Buswell and Gregory Chandler all lost. But it was clear beforehand that we had already qualified and we now move to a semi-final meeting with either Beckenham or Petts Wood.

Only one Mid-Sussex League match to report: our seconds lost 3½-½ at home to Lewes firsts, with one game with the adjudicator. Andrew Fleming drew, Mel Young and Marc Bryant lost, Steve Blewitt’s game is unfinished and - unsatisfactory! - one of our players missed the match. We remain just above, and too close to, the relegation zone.

Next week’s match at the Club in Cornwallis Terrace: Thursday, March 19, 7.30pm, Mid-Sussex League division 1, firsts home v Horsham seconds.