Mid-Sussex League Knockout: Horsham 1 – Lewes 1

Horsham crashed out of the Mid-Sussex League knockout in disasterous style. According to the handicapping rule, we needed to win 4-1. We actually lost 1-4. Things went badly wrong in all games except Lucy’s on bottom board.

In my game, I was up against Barry Maufe, whom I had beaten twice before in convincing manner. In truth, I should have done the same this time, but passed over several opportunities before finally fouling things up in the endgame.

I give the game in full below.

Maufe, Barry – Mansson, James C, Mid-Sussex League Knockout Lewes 1 – Horsham 1 2017.12.05

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. Be3 Qa5 8. Qd2
Nc6 9. d5 Ne5 10. Ng3 a6 11. Be2 Bd7 12. O-O b5 13. b3?!

This runs into tactical problems.

13. Rfc1!? bxc4 (13… Nxc4 14. Bxc4 bxc4 15. Bh6=) 14. b3!? Bb5 unclear (14… cxb3 15. axb3 Qb4 unclear).

13… Rfb8

Black builds up pressure on the queenside. There does not seem to be an immediate tactical blow leading to a big advantage, but White has to be careful.

  • 13… Nh5!? 14. Rfc1 (14. Nxh5? Nxc4 15. bxc4 Bxc3 16. Qd1 Bxa1 17. Qxa1 gxh5 -/+) 14…
    Nxg3 15. hxg3 Rfb8 =/+ with pressure on the queenside.
  • 13… Neg4 14. Nd1 (14. fxg4? Nxg4 15. Bxg4 Bxc3 16. Qf2 Bxg4 17. Rab1 Rab8 -/+) 14… Qxd2 15.Bxd2 Nh5 16. Rc1 Bd4+ 17. Kh1 Nxg3+ 18. hxg3 Ne5 = is more comfortable for
    Black but perhaps doesn’t amount to anything much.

14. cxb5 axb5 15. h3?

This runs into immediate problems.

15. Rfc1 Ne8 16. Bh6 had to be tried.

15… Ne8

This is good, although Black had a spectacular alternative that was
even stronger.

15… Nh5!! 16. Nxh5 Nc4 17. bxc4 Bxc3 18. Qc2 Bxa1 19. Rxa1 gxh5 leaves Black the exchange up with strong queenside pressure.

16. Rac1

16. Rfc1 aims to keep a2 covered. 16…c4! 17. bxc4 b4! 18. Nb5 b3! is however strong. 19. Qxa5 Rxa5 20. axb3 Nxf3+ 21. Kf2 Bxa1 22. Kxf3 Be5 -/+

16… b4 17. Nd1 Bb5

Black continues to build methodically on the queenside. However, here he has a strong tactical solution.

17… Qxa2!! This does not seem possible, as White will have f4, trapping the knight on e5. However, Black has a strong exchange sacrifice in response. 18. Qxa2 Rxa2 19. f4 Rxe2
20. Nxe2 (20. fxe5 Ra2 21. exd6 exd6 -+ is just lost. White is a pawn down
and has too many other weaknesses.) 20… Nd3 followed by …Nf6 leaves
White under intolerable pressure. Black alread has a pawn for the exchange,
and will most likely win the d-pawn or e-pawn as well. 21. Rc2 Nf6 22. Ng3 h5
23. h4 Bb5 -+ White has held the e-pawn for the moment, but his position is
in a terrible tangle.

18. f4 Bxe2 19. Nxe2 Nd7 20. Rc2 Nc7 21. Nf2

This is a bit passive.

21. f5 was worth considering.

21… Nb5 22. Nd3?!

This allows the following sequence, which should place the White position under heavy pressure.

22. f5 should have been tried.

22… Nc3! 23. Nxc3 bxc3!

After the game, I felt this might have been wrong, but looking at it again, actually White is in big trouble.

24. Qe2 Nf6

This is good, but Black has an even better way to attack e4 and a2.

24… c4! 25. bxc4 Qa4 26. Bf2 (26. Nf2?! Rb2 -+) 26… Qxc4 -/+

25. Bf2 Re8?

Black misses a chance.

25… Qb5! 26. Be1 c4 27. bxc4 Qxc4 28. Bxc3 Qxe4 29. Qxe4 Nxe4 30. Bxg7 Kxg7 -/+ Black has a clear advantage.

26. Be1 Nd7

26… e6!? 27. Bxc3 Qa7 28.dxe6 (28. e5? exd5 -/+) 28… Rxe6 29. Bxf6 Bxf6 gives Black compensation for the pawn.

27. e5!? Qa7 28. Kh1

White chickens out.

  • 28. e6 Bd4+ 29. Kh1 Nf6 =
  • 28. Bxc3! c4+ 29. Nf2 cxb3 30. axb3 keeps the extra pawn, although Black has pressure on the queenside.

28… Nb6 29. Qf3 Qb7 30. Bxc3 Qxd5 31. Qe2 Rad8?!

This allows White a nice blow.

31… c4 32. Nb4 (32.bxc4 Nxc4 =) 32… Qc5 = should be fine for Black.

32. f5!

White’s chance are now preferable, although Black’s position is certainly defensible.

32…dxe5 33. Nxe5 gxf5 34. Rxf5 Qd1+ 35. Kh2 Qxe2 36. Rxe2 Nd5 37. Be1 e6 38. Rf3 f5 39. Nd3 Rc8 40. Rc2?

This is a mistake as it allows a strong reply by Black.


Black misses a chance.

40… e5!

Now 41. Rxf5 Ne3 -/+ is obviously bad for White

41. Rxc5 was why I didn’t play this, but I missed a strong response.

41… e4!


  • 42. Rxd5 exf3 -/+
  • 42. Rxf5 Ne7 -/+
  • 42. Rf1 Ne3 -+
  • 42. Rf2 exd3 43. Rxd5 Rxe1 -+

41. Bf2 Bxf2 42. Rfxf2 e5?

Black needlessly gives up a pawn.

42… Nb4 43. Nxb4 (43. Rxc5 ?? Nxd3 -+) 43… cxb4 looks fine for

43. Rxc5 Rxc5 44. Nxc5 f4 45. Rd2 Ne3 46. Kg1 Rc8 47. b4 Rb8 48. a3

48… Kf7 was a better try. This, as with Black’s following moves, only help the White pawns to advance on the queenside.

49. a4 Rb8 50. b5 Kf7

and White went on to win.

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