|1||L.E. Rutherford||197||0||1||Jonathan Rogers||223|
|2||Francis Rayner||205||0||1||Andrew P. Lewis||204|
|3||G.H. James||204||0.5||0.5||John H. Hodgson||197|
|4||D.B. Graham||202||1||0||Jon P. Manley||188|
|5||B.J. Denham||0.5||0.5||Lawie E. Marden||179|
|6||B. Cafferty||197||0||1||Jeff A. Goldberg||178|
|7||F.J. Kwiatkowsky||194||1||0||Paul L. Williamson||178|
|9||K.J. Norman||189||0.5||0.5||Ivor B.N. Smith||173|
|10||S.J. Newman||185||0.5||0.5||George McNally||172|
|11||J.A. Dodgson||184||0||1||Willaim J. Saunders||171|
|12||M.D. Costley||184||0.5||0.5||John C. Moore||170|
|13||P.G. Farr||181||0||1||David J. Millward||169|
|14||J.C. Mansson||181||1||0||Paul Barclay||165|
|15||R.J. Almond||172||0.5||0.5||Roy Heppinstall||162|
|16||S.O.N. Hawes||168||0||1||Lawrence Trent||151|
The Essex first team travelled to Horsham for their Southern Counties' Chess Union match against Sussex after the Captain and ECA President, Roy Watts, had suffered a trying week in which players were either not available or gave short notice of their intention to withdraw. For this reason many of the players on the lower boards were late replacements who are regulars in John Philpott's team in the under-175 Championship. This was evidently a piece of inspired captaincy by Roy, as the bottom half, so accustomed to notching up double figure scores against other counties' second teams, played so well that Essex made a side which was the higher graded by 10 points per board look second rate. Ivor Smith, an old hand not given to hyperbole, described it as one of the best team efforts he had ever seen.
The weather was appalling. With much of the country troubled by floods and the driving conditions on the M25 and M23 atrocious, it was heartening to see that almost all the team was present in plenty of time. It normally takes a while for decisive games to finish in first team chess, and indeed the first results declared were all draws as John Hodgson, George McNally, Roy Heppinstall and Lawrie Marden all brokered peace deals. Robert Parker had played a very enterprising game in which he had sacrificed the exchange but then won a pawn or two and lodged his knight deep into the heart of his opponent's position. The only danger to Robert's game was White's passed a-pawn, but once this had been rounded up White resigned. Boards 1 and 2 for Essex delivered fine wins, although Jonathan Rogers admitted afterwards that he probably stood slightly worse at move 15. Andrew Lewis played a temporary rook sacrifice but then won it back with interest.
Possibly the most stirring victories were the later ones. David Millward simply outplayed his opponent, winning material and keeping it. Bill Saunders' game was a joy to watch as he took a two-pawn advantage in an opposite coloured bishops ending and gave his opponent no chance to blockade the pawns on the light squares. Jeff Goldberg, playing black, won a pawn against the distinguished chess author Bernard Cafferty and White's pieces were also inconveniently placed. Jeff had the upper hand throughout this game, but was rather behind on the clock. Eventually, such was the Essex player's time trouble that Cafferty chose to play on rather than resign while a rook down, forcing Jeff to demonstrate the simple R & K v K checkmate, something that the Sussex player certainly would not have done had the Black had more than a minute or two. Essex's other win was also very welcome. Drafted in only the night before the match, 12-year-old Lawrence Trent demonstrated excellent endgame technique as he outplayed S.O.N. Hawes, a player of considerable skill and great experience.
The last game to finish, and one which had been an epic battle for well over 4 hours, was Ivor Smith's draw against Ken Norman. Ken had sacrificed a piece for a strong attack, but Ivor had repulsed the attack and kept his piece. If there had been more time available, Ivor would surely have won, but with white's flag hanging a draw was agreed, as it would not have been possible for Ivor to demonstrate the win of R, N and P v R & 2P in the few seconds that were remaining.
This win takes Essex on to two wins from two matches, which keeps them on target for one of the qualifying places for the National stages of the competition which begins in April.
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