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2006 Wrekin Congress Winners and Organisers
 
Shropshire’s best floored by Ufo
A ‘Ufo’ landed at the Wrekin Congress and carved a swathe of destruction through the leading ranks of Shropshire’s chess players. Bel Ufodike (standing far right) beat the likes of Nick Rutter, Nigel Ferrington, and David Everington on his way to victory in the Premier, the top section of the annual tournament, the biggest chess event in Shropshire’s calendar. A point clear, Ufodike’s win was already in the bag when he took on Simon Fowler, Shropshire’s strongest player, in the final round. Had 17-year-old Simon won, he would have had a share of the first prize. But Ufodike, who plays for Whoberley (in Coventry), was anything but wobbly.
“Away” players also won both the Major and the Minor sections, meaning a complete shutout from the top prizes for Shropshire players. There were 103 competitors in the event held at Madeley Court Centre on Saturday and Sunday. - TOBY NEAL 10/01/06
A Tribute to Bob Hinsley.
Newport Chess Club recently had some sad news that Bob Hinsley had collapsed and died. Bob was a much liked player with a witty personality and fair play whoever he played. The older players in the Shropshire League will remember Bob for his no fear play with the Kings Gambit and Lativan Gambit.
He moved to High Wycombe, but at about this time every year met up with his old mates from Newport for the Blackpool Chess Congress, which he was lucky enough to win in his section the one year. It will never feel the same without Bob. - Martin Patterson 03/03/06
County makes right moves By TOBY NEAL 06/12/05
Shropshire’s team for players graded under 100 surged into an early 3-0 lead against Midlands champions Staffordshire A to set up a victory which takes them within one match of the play-offs.
It was Shropshire’s second match in the West Midlands zone and the final result was 8-4 to the Salopians, with wins coming from Keith Grice, Andy Tunks, Ian Davies, Chris Lewis, Derrick Powell, Sellick Davies, and Alan Pickles, and draws coming from Roger Brown and Andy Jones.
“Our next match is against Staffordshire B in early January and the way the results have gone if we win that one we will definitely go through to the play-offs,” said captain Ian Davies.
“Staffordshire A were last season’s national runners up, and also the champions of the whole of the Midlands. It was a match we had to win to keep our chances alive..”
Obituary – Dr Hugh Gemmell
The death last Friday (06/01/06) of Dr Hugh Gemmell, at the age of 86, takes away one of the greatest post-war figures of Shropshire chess.
He arrived in 1946 to join his uncle’s medical practice at Westbury and quickly became one of the County’s leading team members alongside such personalities as Jack Baldwin, Otto Schalscha, Oscar Serck, Hans Lobbenberg, Sir Leonard Dyer and Sir Phillip Magnus-Allcroft – all well-known in fields other than chess but now an almost forgotten generation of players.
Hugh was county champion three times but almost always a contender for top place until the seventies. He captained the county team for many years and then served for a decade up to 1988 as SCA president – a difficult role which involved chairing sometimes turbulent AGMs – which he always managed with calm and good humour.
He was champion, captain and president of Shrewsbury chess club for long periods and remained an honorary life vice president and welcome guest after his gradual withdrawal from active play.
His chess career would have been even more illustrious but for the war. He was Scottish Junior Champion in 1939 and was offered a place in the Scottish team to play at the Olympiad (world team championship) at Buenos Aires. Acceptance would have risked his place at medical school but the decision was taken out of his hands when Scotland withdrew due to the imminence of war. In fact the war broke out before the event ended and the crucial Poland – Germany match had to be scrapped. - David Everington

Hugh’s style of play was conservative and positional which made him almost impossible to beat at times - he invariably used the English Opening and defended with the French Defence. However, he could turn on the tactics when it suited him as this crushing win against one of the best Shrewsbury players in a 1960s game from the club championship:
White: Hugh Gemmell Black: John Oliver King’s Indian Defence
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 e5 7.O-O c6 8.d4 Nbd7 9.d5 cd 10.cd a5 11.Be3 Ng4 12.Qd2 Ne3 13.Qe3 Nc5 14.f4 f5 15.Kh1 ef 16.Nf4 fe 17.Ne6!? Ne6 18.de Rf1+ 19.Rf1 d5 20.Bh3!! d4 21.Qf4 Qf8 22.Qc7 Qe1 23.Rf7 Bf8 24.Nd5 1 – 0

Thomas Pym Wins Ampleforth... Again
Thomas Pym has done it again. He has taken the winner’s laurels at the Ampleforth Junior Masters tournament, repeating his success of two years ago. I should point out that Tom tied for first place last year but lost out in the play-off to determine the winner.
I was not present at the event but was able to follow the proceedings as they unfolded via the excellent internet coverage provided by the ECF (yes, the English Chess Federation).
The tournament is held at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire. This is one of the most picturesque locations for playing chess. The college is set on the hillside overlooking a wide valley with an unspoilt view and the playing hall has beamed high-ceilinged and panelled walls with plenty of space for players and spectators. However, there is a down side, the nearest pub is 3 miles away.
The competition is 6-rounds played over 4 days with a time limit of 40 moves in 100 minutes plus 20 minutes to finish. Thomas was fourth seed and was accompanied by two other Shropshire players – Louis Graham and Ieuan Fenton.
After the 5 rounds Thomas was tied for the lead on 4.5 with two other players – Peter Poobalasingam (Perceptron Youth & Millfield) and Joseff Thomas (Monmouth). In the last round Thomas met Joseff. Peter won his game fairly quickly which meant that Thomas had to win his game to get into the play-off to determine the outright winner. This he did after 70+ moves and nearly 4 hours play. A play-off match was required!
The play-off was a blitz game of 7 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. This was over quite quickly as when Peter resigned after 14 moves having used most of his time allowance. So our congratulations go to Thomas as the Ampleforth Junior Master for the second time.
I should not forget to mention the performances of our other representatives. Louis finished 10= with a creditable 4 points and a grading prize and Ieuan was on 2.5. Both players had a performance rating of +16, so are deserving of our congratulations on their results.
Below is a photo of Thomas in his moment of triumph (copied from the web cam installed at the event). Details of the games can be found on the ECF website. Keith Fowler Dec 2005
Darwin Chess Festival
The third Darwin Chess festival began on Saturday 17th September 2005 in Shrewsbury's Darwin Centre. Highlight of the day was a lightening chess tournament organised by John Casewell and Alan Shaw. The six round Swiss event was won by Nigel Ferrington 6 / 6 ahead of Nick Rutter 5, and Francis Best.
Newport Win Cox Trophy
Newport B won the summer knockout cup with a convincing 4 - 1 win against Telepost A. Gavin Cooper, Ryan Palmer and Chris Lewis all won, whilst draws from Nick Rutter and captain Steve Cooper crowned an impressive performance against the current league champions.
Peter Mellor, of The Rock, Telford, was joint winner of the gigafinal in Manchester of a national competition for schoolchildren. Peter, who is 11, took the honours in the under-11 section, with a score of 5.5 out of six. He took home a half share of the £100 prize.
Telepost B 1.5 Coddon A 3.5 - R Simpson v W Bates 29/03/2005
A win for Bob Simpson in this game would have kept Telepost B in the top flight for another season. William Bates had other ideas however.......... notes by the winner.
French Advanced 1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 Rc8 7.0-0 .....(at this point I realise that this is exactly what was played when we met earlier in the season and finished a draw so instead of pxp like last time) 7.... Qb6 8.b3 pxp 9.pxp Nge7 10.Be3 Nf5 11.g4?! ....(brave unexpected and still not sure about it) 11.... NxB 12.pxN Be7 13.h4.... (pretty sure a3 was better) 13.... Nb4 14.Nbd2 0-0 (If .... Nc2, Rc1 Nxp,RxR+ BxR,Qc1 0-0 or Bd7 Nc4 pieces come off white loses a pawn but is ok, maybe Rc3 is stronger?)15.Kf2? f6 16.pxp Bxp 17.a3 Nc2 18.g5 Bxp! (whites in trouble now, if Nc4 now RxN pxR,Nxp Queen anywhere on back rank NxR+ KxN BxR QxB Black has the exchange and superior position)19.pxB Qxp+ 20.Kf3 Qf4+ (white resigns Kf2 Qh1 mate,Kg2 Ne3+ forking King and Queen Kh3 d5+ forces Kg2 Ne3+ if Kf1 mate follows swiftly Kh1 takes a bit longer but black can still mate or get huge material advantage after Qg3 Rb1,Qh3 + Nh2, Rf2 Ndf3,NxQ BxN, Rf8 whatever white does Rf8xNf3). William Bates
Telepost Win Minor Knockout
Reigning cupholders Ludlow could not hold onto the Minor Knockout Trophy for a second year. It was Telepost, for the first time in their history, who took the honours 3.5 - 1.5. Wins from Steve Kempsall and David Adderley proved decisive with the other games drawn.
Full Result:- Telepost C 3.5 Ludlow A 1.5
D.Bates 0.5 G.Link 0.5
S.Kempsall 1 D.Storey 0
J Westhead 0.5 J Whittaker 0.5
D Adderley 1 J Preece 0
V Crean 0.5 P Munday 0.5
Our webmaster Vinny Crean thus gets his hands on a trophy in his last game before his year in New Zealand.
Neil Allen Dies
The Shropshire chess community is mourning the loss of one of its most popular players. Neil Allen was only 33 years old when he so tragically died at his Shrewsbury home on Saturday 2nd July 2005.
Neil learned his chess at Shrewsbury's Priory School and represented Shropshire Schools in national competitions. He was still a pupil there when he joined Telepost Chess Club as a junior in 1987. He continued to improve and in 1990 was promoted to the Telepost A team. The team was largely unchanged throughout the 1990's as it came closer and closer to an elusive league championship title. Eventually in 1999-2000 season Neil, together with team-mates Nigel Ferrington, David Bryan, John Bashall, and Keith Tabner, lifted the Shropshire Chess League Trophy.
Following a brief spell as successful captain of the Telepost B team which won promotion to Division I, Neil returned to captain the A team to another league title and a cup final in 2005. Sadly he will not now appear in that cup final.
As well as playing for the Shropshire county team, Neil also appeared regularly in the Wrekin congress where he was again a prizewinner in 2005. Away from chess he was a keen badminton player and rarely missed a Shrewsbury Town home football match.
A dependable, well organised, likeable, and popular young man, both working within the postal service and socially, Neil Allen will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends and colleagues.
Keith Tabner
Telepost A Captain Neil Allen

Nick Rutter is 2005 County Champion.


With one round to go and 6 / 6 Nick Rutter has already secured his sixth title!

Top of the Table Clash
This battle on top board proved decisive in Telepost's 3 - 2 win over close Division 1 rivals Newport.
Nigel Ferrington, (175) -Nick Rutter, (183)
[B33] - Newport A v Telepost A - Board 1 - 02/12/2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Nb8 9.c4 Be7 10.Bd3 0–0 11.0–0 a6 12.Nc3 f5 13.f3 Nd7 14.Be3 Bg5 15.Bf2 b6 16.b4 Bb7 17.Qb3 Rc8 18.Na4 Kh8 19.c5! b5 20.c6 bxa4 21.Qxa4 Nb6? 22.Qa5 Nd7 23.cxb7 Rc3 24.Qxd8 Rxd8 25.Bxa6 e4 26.fxe4 fxe4 27.Bd4 Rc2 28.Rf7 Nb8 29.Bb5 Rg8 30.Raf1 Rd2 31.Ba7 Rxd5 32.Bc4 Rd2 33.Bxb8 h6 34.Ba7 d5 35.Rf8 1–0
The President of the Shropshire Chess Association, Iain Wilson, is deep in concentration as he considers his next move at the Wrekin Congress.
Shropshire Star 11/01/2005
Top of The Table Clash
The December Div 1match between Newport A and Telepost A proved to be a red letter day for the postmen. No one could have predicted defeats for both Newport stars Nick Rutter and Thomas Pym, yet that is what happened against Nigel Ferrington and Richard Bryant, the latter extending his unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitions. Although Tony Holdford pulled one back for the home team, it was too late. 2 - 3.
Other News
Richard Bryant (Telepost) finished 1st= in the Hull Congress Major 5-7/11/04 with 4 / 5 to add another £125 to his coffers.
Bob Simpson's surprise win over Thomas Pym in the county individual tournament showed just how tricky queen and pawn endings can be even for the strongest players. Thomas is one of the tournament favourites.
Beware of B Stings
Shifnal & Telford B are carrying on where they left off last season - surprising everyone with their results. They end October one of only two unbeaten teams in Div 1 despite having faced their own A team and Shrewsbury A , the reigning league champions. This promises to be an interesting and unpredictable season.
Chess Moves :- Welcome to our new Shropshire Chess website (opened 19/09/04). We are currently working hard to move and merge three existing sites into this - the official website for Shropshire Chess. There are bound to be a few teething troubles on the way - please be patient. (Can't see the menu bar? You must have Internet Explorer V5 or higher)- Webmaster
More Success For Thomas Pym
Shropshire junior Thomas Pym has qualified for the 2005 British Championships with another fine performance at the October Scarborough International Tournament. His score of 3.5 / 5 included wins against 150, 196, and 201 graded opponents and a draw with an IM.
He followed up with 3rd place at the Amplethorpe Junior Masters - which he won last year.
Shocks in the League
After the first month the league tables are taking shape. Amazingly Telepost A are the only 100% side in all three divisions - and this despite Jonathon Harvey failing to turn up for two of their matches so far.
Newport A are now the strongest team on grades with juniors Thomas Pym and Gavyn Cooper still improving.
Surprisingly there is no team in any division with zero points - while in Div 2 four teams have already taken turns at the top - which indicates some close contests that will be difficult to call
N A T I O N A L C H A M P I O N S
Shropshire Captain John Westhead proudly displays the national U125 championship trophy presented at the 2004 county AGM. Other members of the winning team in the picture are (l. to r.)Richard Thompson, Roger Brown, Steve Tarr, Eugene Raby, Graham Shepherd, Steve Jones, Martin Patterson, David Williams, and Derrick Powell.
2004 Shropshire Chess Grades
The publication of the new grading list is greeted with interest and either joy or dismay by most chess players. This year sees few changes at the highest level. Nick Rutter has been the county's strongest player for many years and he retains his top spot followed by Jamie Hopkins and Nigel Ferrington, whilst the top junior players Simon Fowler and Thomas Pym, both graded 170, are now pushing them hard. However it is another junior Gavin Cooper (pictured left) of Newport who has made the biggest improvement from 124 to 151. Jonathon Harvey of Telepost makes his first appearance on a grading list with an impressive 146, whilst R.Evans of Oswestry comes in at 152! These are clearly ones to watch.
The spectacular success of the County U125 team is reflected in the list with several of that team now too strong to play this year. Major climbers include Richard Thompson, Eugene Raby, Steve Tarr, Vincent Crean, and Ludlow's J.Hawkins. To view the full list click on the "miscellaneous" tab on the menu bar.

Olympic Bronze Medal
Tom Williamson of Church Stretton will probably play some inspired chess this season. He's still on a high following his daughter Alison's archery bronze medal at the Athens Olympic Games. He has every right to feel proud of her - but then we all do too.

Oswestry Chess Club Website
Click "Clubs" on the toolbar to check out Bill Evans' new site

British Championships
The Weather Was Foul But The Winner Was Fowler
On 1st August the British Championships began at Scarborough accompanied by wind and rain left over from Hurricane Alex. However this could not stop Simon Fowler who braved the elements to emerge as British U16 Champion. Well done Simon. Nick Rutter's reward for a solid 50% score in the strong world major tournament was to have his car vandalised. Scottish grandmaster Jonathon Rowson became British Champion, but both Thomas Pym 4.5 / 11 and Richard Bryant 2 / 11gained valuable experience against the field of Britain's finest.
   
   
   
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