Mid-Sussex League Division 1 2017-18: Horsham 1 – Worthing 2

Last week, Horsham 1 managed a narrow 3-2 away win against Worthing 2. My contribution was what proved to be the decisive win over Grant Bucher. After some tricky complications – and mutual inaccuracies – we ended up in a rook and pawn endgame where I managed to get the better of my opponent. He adjourned the game but subsequently resigned, as the position is clearly lost.

I give the game below with some notes.

Bucher, Grant W – Mansson, James C, Mid-Sussex League (Division 1) Worthing 1 – Horsham 1, Worthing 2018.03.19

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Bc4 Qh4+ 4. Kf1 d6 5. d4 Be6 6. Qd3 Nd7 7. Bxe6?!

This seems rather dubious. White should develop instead.

7…fxe6 8. Qb3 O-O-O

8… Qg4 was also interesting.

  • 9. Qxb7?? Qd1+ 10. Kf2 Rb8 wins
  • 9. Nf3 O-O-O 10. h3 Qg6 11. Bxf4 Qxe4 is clearly better for Black

9. Qxe6 Qf6?!

This is the safe move, but protecting the pawn on f4 is more challenging for White.

9… g5! and it is not clear how White can unravel his position.

10. Qxf6 Ngxf6

Although queens have been exchanged, White still has some problems because he
is behind in development and his e-pawn is weak.

11. Nc3 Nh5 12. Nh3

  • 12. Nge2 Be7 is slightly better for Black
  • 12. Nd5 g5 is slightly better for Black

12… Be7 13. Nd5 Bf6 14. Nhxf4 Nxf4 15. Nxf6 Nxf6?!

This is the most obvious move, but Black has a trick alternative that looks more promising.

15… Ne6! 16. Nxd7 Nxd4 17. c3 Nc6

  • 18. Nf6 gxf6 is slightly better for Black
  • 18. Ke2 Rxd7 is slightly better for Black

16. Bxf4 Nxe4?!

This is the most obvious more but White can now escape with accurate play.

16… Rde8! 17. e5! dxe5 18. dxe5 Nh5 19. Bd2 Rxe5 causes White more problems.

17. Ke2 Rde8 18. Be3 Nf6 19. Kd3?!

This gives Black some chances.

19. Rae1 allows White to meet Black’s threats and equalise.

19… Ng4 20. Bg1

20. Rae1 Rxe3+! 21. Rxe3 Nf2+ 22.Kd2 Nxh1 and White will have to lose time winning the knight on h1, which gives Black the chance to win a pawn. 23. Rf3 Re8 24. Rf1 Re4 25. Rxh1 Rxd4+ is clearly better for Black.

20… Rhf8 21. h3?!

This is obvious, but loses a pawn.

21. Rd1 brings the rook over to cover the second rank.

21… Nf2+ 22. Bxf2 Rxf2 23.Rae1

23. Rhg1

  • 23… Ree2 wins a pawn
  • 23… Rfe2 threatening 24…R8e3+ 25 Kc4 Rxc2+ is interesting

23… Rxe1 24. Rxe1 Rxg2 25. Re7

White has some compensation for the pawn because of his active rook, but Black remains very much in the driving seat.


Black starts by gradually improving his position. He pushes the b-pawn to give his king a route to the queenside.

26.h4 h5

Black looks to arrange the pawns on the kingside in an easily defensible fashion, while keeping open the option of taking the h-pawn at a suitable moment.

27. Rf7 g6 28. a4 Kb7 29. b3 a5 30. d5 Rg3+ 31. Ke4 g5?!

This exchange eases White’s defence.

31… Rc3! looks better, e.g. 32.Rf2 b5! 33. axb5 Rh3 34. Rf4 Kb6 35. Kd4 Kxb5 36. Re4 Kb4 37. Rf4 Ka3 38. Kc4 Kb2 39. Kb5 Kxc2 40. Kxa5 Rxb3 wins

32. hxg5 Rxg5 33. Rh7 Re5+ 34. Kd4 Re2 35.Rxh5 Rxc2 36. Rh3 Ka6 37. Rh8 Rc5 38. Rd8 Kb7 39. Rd7 b5

This is necessary to make progress.

40. axb5 Rxb5 41. Kc4 Kb6 42. Rd8 Rb4+

Time control – Black had not used up much time, so the players had not reached the end of the playing session yet. This forced White to play on till the next time control at least, rather than stop for adjudication here. White was therefore required to find the best defence over the board rather than at home.

43. Kc3 Kc5 44.Rc8?

White missed the following manouevre that allowed Black to win a second pawn.

44. Rd7 Rb7 45. Rh7 Kxd5 46. Rh5+ Ke6 47. Rxa5 would have restricted Black to a single pawn advantage.

44… Rb7 45. Ra8 Rb5 46. Rc8 Kxd5 47. Rh8

47. Rxc7 Rc5+ was the point, leading to a won king and pawn endgame after 48. Rxc5+ Kxc5.

47… Rc5+ 48. Kd3 Kc6 49. Rg8 Rh5

Time control

50. Rd8 Kc5 51. Ra8 Kb4 52. Rb8+ Rb5 53. Rc8 c5 0-1

Here the players finally reached the end of the playing session. No result was agreed on the night, but later analysis showed that Black is winning easily, so White resigned.

For instance, 53…c5 54. Kc2 d5 should win easily enough.

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