After last season's solitary two draws from six matches last season, it was encouraging to record a win from the first match of our 2015/16 season in the East Anglian Chess Union County Championships.
Our morning match was against Suffolk, and a close match was in prospect as the two teams were closely matched in grading. Twelve of our side played against Suffolk in February, but with several players absent, we were able to welcome William Young, Tim Acton, Richard Pearson and Peter Seeley for their first matches for Herts U160. We made an excellent start with early wins for Simon Morris, Richard Pearson and Peter Seeley putting us three up. Suffolk started to fight back, and although wins for Wali and William Young kept us ahead, they finally drew level with one board remaining. Neither player had a great deal of time remaining, but with the Fischer increment of 15 seconds per move making a difference, Brian Judkins was able to make one final push with queen and rook that left his opponent pondering just too long, and his flag fell. It was agreed the final position should have been drawn, but it was a stroke of fortune for Herts to come away with an 8.5 - 7.5 win.
In the afternoon we faced Cambridgeshire. They were able to muster a side including nine players graded 150 or above, compared with just two on the Herts side. We never quite seemed to be in the hunt, but wins for Patrick Fitzgerald, Brian Judkins and Simon Charles kept the score in check, and the match finished with a win for James Aldred to make the final score 7 - 9.