Shropshire Teams in Four Nations Chess League

For results and tables visit 4NCL Website
Captain's Reports
e-mail:-nathanaelpaul92 @gmail .com
4NCL 2017/18

Rounds 3 & 4, 13-14 January, Bolton, 4NCL Match Report:

Shropshire 1 again performed well, drawing with top seed Warwickshire Select 2 and beating Manchester Manticores 3. The first match went right down to the wire with Brian Whyte needing to win to secure a drawn match. He duly managed to do that which gave us a much deserved draw. I thought we were struggling in the match so to gain a point was a very good result. 
The match against Manchester 3 was equally difficult, but that was because unfortunately Charles Higgie was defaulted due to horrendous traffic. His opponent then claimed a default, which resulted in us losing that board but also being penalised an additional point. Both arbiters seemed to agree that was very harsh, but according to the rules, traffic is not an excuse when it comes to defaulting a match. Unfortunately that means we had no grounds to appeal even though the default was not Charles's fault at all. A special mention to both Nick Rutter & Brian who both sit on four wins out of four. Brian in particular looks like to be in crushing form in the 4NCL so far. If you look through his round 4 game you will know what I mean. All games so far this season can be found via this link: wnloads.htm .
Overall though, we're doing very well in outright 3rd place on 7 points. We're behind the overwhelming two favourites, Gonzaga & 3C's 2. There's a good chance we'll be made a top seed for the forthcoming February weekend due to our excellent start. I will keep everyone posted on that score.

Moving to the 2nd team, they were very much out graded in round 3 against Holmes Chapel. However, they gave them a good battle which resulted in two good draws for Chris Lewis & Windsor Peck and an excellent win for Dave Bennion on board 1. They then came up against Bradford Knights B in Round 4, who again were heavy favourites. This didn't seem to matter though as Shropshire 2 ended up winning comfortably. Windsor started the upset off with a crushing win against a player nearly 30 grading points above him. Steve Tarr on board 4 then followed with another excellent win, and then Gary Hinchcliffe on board 3 secured a very creditable draw. At this point Shropshire 2 were looking in great control of the match at 2.5-0.5 up, but needed to ensure of one more point to secure victory. As things went that was never in doubt as Stuart Ross secured a good draw in an opposite coloured bishop ending, which was followed by Chris Lewis dispatching his opponent on board 2. It looked a very exciting game, I would encourage anyone to look through it. As mentioned above, you can find all games via this link: wnloads.htm . Around an hour later Dave Bennion succumbed to his opponent on board 1, but not before he made his opponent work hard for his victory. That excellent 4-2 win leaves Shropshire 2 on two points and in joint 13th place. I would say that is an excellent performance so far, especially as they are currently equal with Manchester Manticores 2!
The next match weekend again takes place at Bolton on 10-11 February.
Nat 17/01/2018
4NCL 2016/17

End of Season Report

For our Shropshire 1 team, the final weekend was quite a chastening experience. There were many good games on show, but unfortunately we only came away with a draw from our final match against MK Phoenix 1. Apologies guys for that because I think I blew a drawn rook and pawn ending. Well done to Ian in that match as he secured an excellent win, and in fact was one of our players of the weekend with two wins out of three. So the first team finished in last place in our group, but at least it was in the promotion pool!

Moving onto Shropshire 2, they had a far more productive weekend with two match wins out of three. It looked like everyone played very well, especially Athar who finished on two wins out of three, Charles & Chris who secured two draws and one win each, and Windsor who did excellently to secure two wins and one draw from the weekend. Considering Shropshire 2 were out-graded in many matches, I think everyone in that team should be very happy with finishing in 9th place. Funnily enough that's exactly the same finish as the season before.

In terms of our players of the season, the top three (only includes players who have played 7+ games) are below and in reverse order:

3rd Place : Nick with 5/9 and in my opinion with the result of the season, a draw against GM Aaron Summerscale, although special mention has to go to Kevin who drew with IM Lawrence Cooper. Both of these games stand out, especially as they both drew in a very comfortable manner against two accomplished players

2nd Place : Ian with 5.5/7. Looking at all the games I saw it appeared that Ian was simply our most clinical player, which shows with his excellent five wins. Ian was in fact very close to be our player of the season mainly because he was one of our reserves and only reluctantly played due to a lack of player availability. For him to offer his services for seven games is something to be admired, thanks Ian!  

1st Place : Charles with 7.5/11. Now I know Ian has a higher percentage, but because Charles played all the games and also helped with giving lifts to other players, he's our player of the season. In those 11 games Charles only lost one game, and that was against a top player. He played on either boards 1 or 2 for the 2nd team (predominantly on board 1) throughout the season with his performance including many good wins. One such victory was the third best result of the season against a 190+ rated player

Additional mentions are to Athar, Simon & Stefan who stepped in for one weekend each, which was incredibly helpful as at times Chris & I were struggling for player availability. Stefan in particular deserves considerable credit as he came all the way from Germany. Fantastic commitment to our squad Stefan, thank you! Additionally, to all those other players who gave others lifts to Wokefield, and also to the pub in the evening, very much appreciated for all your efforts. Chris & I would also like to thank everyone that played and supported the squad throughout the season. It was quite a successful one, and I'm sure we'll do even better next year! And finally, a thank you to my fellow captain Chris for sorting all accommodation and collecting everyone's relevant fees, very much appreciated Chris!

Nat Paul, Shropshire 4NCL Co-Team Captain 25/05/2017

Rounds 5-6 Report - Nat Paul
Below is the 4NCL report for rounds 5&6 which took place on the weekend of 11-12 February:

On the recent 4NCL weekend the 1st team narrowly lost 3.5-2.5 to 2nd placed team Anglian Avengers, and then they drew with Iceni 1. We just missed out on a win there which was a shame, but the draw still puts us in a strong position to qualify for the promotion pool with the team currently in 3rd place.
Our round 7 match is a massive encounter with fourth placed Leeds University Old Boys. Regarding the permutations of securing a top four place, and in doing so a place in the promotion pool, any result could do. This is because if we lose to Leeds and Cambridge University 2 (are only other promotion pool rival) loses to Sussex Martlets 2 we will finish our group in fourth place. However, we obviously want to ensure we definitely qualify, and not have to rely on Sussex Martlets defeating Cambridge, so avoiding defeat against Leeds will secure our place. 
The good news is, if we do miss out on the promotion pool we will be guaranteed five points going into round 8 due to our two wins and one draw against the bottom three teams in our current group. If we beat Leeds we will enter the promotion pool with 2 points due to losing to both of the top two teams in our group. A draw with Leeds will give us one point as we also drew with Cambridge, and obviously if we qualify to the promotion pool after losing to Leeds we will have zero points going into that pool, but at least we would have avoided the relegation group. 
The second team lost 4.5-1.5 against an extremely strong Barnet Knights 1 team, and then achieved a good draw against MK Phoenix 2. Shropshire 2 are currently placed 8th in Div 2 and are only 2 points off fourth place so still have plenty to play for. In round 7 the second team have been drawn against Throw in the Tal 1. Another tough match, but definitely one that our second team can get a result against.

Rounds 3-4 Report -
Nat Paul 20/01/2017
Overall the last weekend was a successful one for both of our teams. Shropshire 1 secured two wins. These victories were absolutely vital in terms of securing one of the top four places for the promotion pool. We are currently fourth in the Division 3 South Group B table. Those couple of wins were also against two of the weaker teams in our group, so if we end up in the relegation pool at least it's likely we'll have some valuable points from our current group leading into that one. The results are below:
Rd 3 - Shropshire 1  3.5-2.5  Hackney
Rd 4 - Sussex Martlets 2  1.5-4.5  Shropshire 2
The second team also continued there good play with a close defeat to Midland Monarchs 2, and then another comfortable victory in round 4. The 2nd team are currently sixth in the table, so from now on they will be facing some very stern opposition. Definitely something to look forward to! The results are below:
Rd 3 - Shropshire 2  2.5-3.5  Wood Green MM 2
Rd 4 - Anglian Avengers 3  2-4  Shropshire 2

Rounds 1-2 Report
Below are the results from the first weekend:
Shropshire 1 3-3 Cambridge University 2
Shropshire 1 2-4 Fermented Sharks
The 1st team had a good match on the first day with lots of tough games, but just got outplayed on the second day. The 1st team lie 6th in the table with 1 point. The 1st team are still in a relatively healthy position though as we're only 2 points off third place. Shropshire 2 was a completely different story though. They were completely ruthless by winning 5-1 in both matches. They faced two young sides, with the first match in particular consisting of some strong junior players. The second team are currently third in the table, only half a game point behind first place.
Shropshire 2 5-1 Sandhurst Cadets Shropshire 2 5-1 Wood Green MM 3
The weekend as a whole went very well, apart from those staying at the venue having to wait a while to get into our rooms.
Nat Paul 16/12/2016

4NCL 2015/16

Captains Statement

Shropshire had another great season, with the home venue allowing us to field 3 teams and participate in more games than any prior season. Our teams this year included 30 Shropshire players from 8 different clubs! Our 1st and 2nd teams were hunting for promotion in their respective leagues but unfortunately both fell at the final hurdle, with our 3rd team also having a phenomenal season considering they were frequently out-graded on all boards.

We'd like to make special mention of some of the most noteworthy results of the season. In the 1st team Brian Whyte knocked over IM Lawrence Cooper, and in the 3rd team there were many significant upsets with Edison Xu drawing with a 163, and both Stuart Ross & Peter Kitchen succeeding in holding tough 172 opponents to a draw. And apart from Brian's achievement, the other most impressive victory goes to Richard Szwajkun who scored a superb win against a 169.

Finally, we would like to thank all thirty players that competed for Shropshire this year, especially those who turned out for a considerable number of the games. A special mention must go to Nigel Ferrington and Windsor Peck who both played ten games, as well as Richard Bryant and Dave Gostelow who competed in all eleven matches. These four players, as well as others who played in a significant number of games, are invaluable when it comes to supporting Shropshire Chess, and both captains, in addition to underlining a fantastic loyalty to the Shropshire 4NCL squad.

Congratulations to all teams, and hopefully we will see many of you next season in Wokefield & Telford.

Nathanael Paul & Christopher Lewis

4NCL Team Captains

Saturday 19th March Round 7:

Shropshire 1 3-3 Leeds University Old Boys
Shropshire 2 3-3 Full Ponty
Shropshire 3 2.5-3.5 Ashfield-Breadsall 2
All Round 7 results were pretty decent, especially the 2nd team's result as Full Ponty were, and are still, the second placed team in division 4. The 3rd team also did very well against a squad of players that out-graded them on every board, and they did well to get something from the match. The 1st team's draw was also quite decent, but the best thing about the result was ensuring that they qualified for the promotion pool.

Sunday 20th March Round 8:
Shropshire 1 3-3 Wessex
Shropshire 2 2.5-3.5 Sussex Martlets 2
Shropshire 3 3-3 Oxford 3
The first two teams were both facing very strong opposition, especially the 2nd team, as Sussex Martlets 2 are the top side in division 4. They were unlucky not get anything from the match, with the result now moving their opponents into a very strong position regarding winning the division and in turn gaining promotion to division 3. The 1st team also gave in a good performance, but unfortunately a win against a good Wessex side never seemed likely. Their drawn match now leaves them 4th on four points in the promotion pool, with a win in all three remaining rounds looking a must in order to try and gain promotion. Lastly, the 3rd team also had a good round 8, but unfortunately they too did not manage a victory. However, a draw against one of their fellow division 4 minnows should still be considered a decent point gained.

The last match weekend of this current season takes place over the first May bank holiday, 30 Apr-2 May, with rounds 9-11 all being played. Please can all players get back to me ASAP regarding their availability of these last three matches. Lets try and have a strong end to the season from all three teams!
Thank you to everyone that played this past weekend,
Nat Paul 20/03/2016

4NCL Rds 5 &6 Results - 13-14 February 2016
Well this has to go down as Shropshire's most successful ever 4NCL weekend. 5 match wins and 1 draw, very unfortunate that the 1st team couldn't claim a win today, but at least we didn't lose!
Firstly, a special congratulations to the 3rd team for getting their first and second wins of the season, a fantastic all round performance with a 4.5-1.5 win against Barnet Knights 2, and a 4-2 victory against Barnet Knights 3.
The second team have also put themselves into serious contention for promotion to division 3 as they're currently joint 3rd on 8 points behind The Full Ponty, and the class of Division 4 Sussex Martlets 2, who have won all 6 of their matches so far. Shropshire 2 gained two 4-2 victories against Midland Monarchs 2 and Ashfield-Breadsall 2.
Finally, the 1st team achieved a 4-2 win against Midland Monarchs 1, and a 3-3 draw against The Rookies. Special mention has to go to Brian Whyte who had the biggest win of the weekend for all Shropshire players, a victory against IM Lawrence Cooper, fantastic result!
Shropshire 1's results also place them joint 3rd on 7 points behind Midland Monarchs 1 and West is Best 1, with the latter so far brushing aside all opposition. 7 points puts the 1st team on the brink of being placed in the promotion pool come round 8, with their last remaining pool A match against minnows, Leeds University Old Boys. But of course, and this applies to all teams, nothing can be taken for granted.
Rounds 7&8 take place on 19-20 March. All players please inform me of their availability for this weekend as soon as possible.
Thank you to everyone that played, and congratulations again for such a successful weekend!
Nat 14/02/2016

4NCL Rds 3 &4 Results - 16-17 January 2016
Round 3:
Shropshire 1  5-1  Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg
Shropshire 2  4.5-1.5  Oxford 3
Round 4:
Shropshire 1  1.5-4.5  West is Best 1
Shropshire 2  2.5-3.5  Iceni 2
Shropshire 3  2-4  Throw in the Tal 2
Shropshire 3  2-4  Midland Monarchs 2
For those of you wondering why Shropshire 3's results were both on Sunday, well that's because technically both triangular matches were completed on Sunday due to playing half a team on Saturday and then obviously the 2nd half on Sunday. 
Well done to both the first two teams for winning their Saturday matches, especially as both won convincingly. Unfortunately both of those teams lost on Sunday. But for the 1st team, they played comfortably the top side in division 3 and did well to get three draws from the match. The 3rd team also did very admirably against some good opposition. A few of them were out-graded so for the 3rd team to come away with 2 points from each match, well I think that's a great effort.
Nat 21/01/2016
4NCL Rds 1&2 Results - 14-15 November 2015
Well firstly, thank you to everyone that played this weekend. It was a very enjoyable and challenging one, which included some very good results and some very near misses. For details of each of our matches please go on the 4NCL site. But below is an overview of our three team's match results:
Shropshire 1:
Shropshire 1 vs Anglian Avengers 2: 3-3 Shropshire 1 vs Oxford 2: 3-3
Both these matches could have definitely gone our way so the 1st team were pretty unlucky, especially regarding Saturday's match.
Shropshire 2: 
Shropshire 2 vs Throw in the Tal 2:  5.5-0.5 Shropshire 1 vs Throw in the Tal 1:  2.5-3.5
As you can see, the first match was emphatic, but the second round the 2nd team were incredibly unlucky as we definitely didn't deserve to be on the losing team. Fingers crossed this loss provides a silver lining though in the form of an easier 3rd round draw.
Shropshire 3: 
Shropshire 2 vs Hackney 2:  2.5-3.5 Shropshire 1 vs Sussex Martlets 2:  0.5-5.5
As I mentioned on Saturday evening, the 3rd team were very unfortunate not to come away with something against Hackney 2, with a victory at one point looking like a possibility. I had hoped this loss would have given them a harder draw, but unfortunately they were paired with one of the top seeds. The team was even more out-graded than in round 1, but all players definitely did themselves proud, especially Stuart with an excellent draw. Well done to Edison also, as he gave his match a real good go on Saturday. He may have lost but that result is still a great experience for him.
Rounds 3&4 take place on 16-17 January 2016- Nathanael Paul 16/11/2015
Prior Years :-
4NCL Rd 9, Saturday 3rd May 2015, Shropshire vs Oxford 2:
After wins in both rounds 7 and 8 team Shropshire knew that they would be up against a far tougher opposition, which was confirmed by drawing Oxford 2 in round 9. However, when we arrived it was confirmed that Oxford 2 was considerably weakened. Unfortunately, due to unfortunate circumstances our board one, Trevor Brotherton did not arrive gifting the opposition with a 2 point lead due to the win on board 1 as well as a full point penalty. This was a blow but we were still optimistic as we out graded them on the remaining five boards. This advantage was confirmed after an hour into the match when board 6 Steve Tarr ground his opponent down as well as Chris Lewis' opponent blundering a piece on board 5. And after Glyn Pugh on board 4 drew his game that held the match in the balance at 2.5 points all. The final result however seemed unclear as board 3, Nathanael Paul, seemed to have a good position until he overlooked a rook sacrifice that gave his opponent a clear advantage, and Dave Gostelow's game on board 2 seemed to be drifting to a draw after he also let an early advantage slip. Yet, the match suddenly swung in Shropshire's favour when Gostelow's opponent played a fatal move, which Gostelow gratefully accepted, 3.5-2.5. Although, the match was far from over as Paul's opponent desperately tried searching for the win. Thankfully though he could not achieve this, and after rejecting two previous draw offers, he reluctantly accepted the third.
Rd 10, Sunday 4th May, Shropshire vs BCM Rhinos (2):
When we arrived on Sunday we knew that we would be facing arguably our toughest proposition, and with a weakened side we knew that we would be up against it. This was confirmed when we saw the team sheet for BCM Rhinos second team. We were out grade on every board, but at the beginning of the match this did not seem evident. Yet, around an hour and a half in the match BCM Rhinos (2) were one nil up when Chris Paul, who made his debut, was edged out in a rook and bishop endgame on board 6. However, he did fight valiantly, particularly being thoroughly out graded, which made his debut even more impressive. However, this result led to the completion of Chris Lewis' game on board 3 and Steve Tarr's match on board 4. Unfortunately, both were outplayed, which gave the opposition a three nil advantage. Colin Roberts on board 2 though did restore some pride for team Shrophire when he achieved a draw after being comfortable throughout. Board 1, Nathanael Paul, followed suit with a creditable draw against 198 graded player, although he did miss a clear win, which meant that it was a definite missed opportunity. These two draws were a mere consolation however, with Graham Shepherd's valiant efforts on board 5 coming to end soon after Paul's match giving BCM Rhinos (2) a 5-1 victory. Although this was a clear thrashing for Shropshire, a first of the season, it is important to note that it was expected, so to gain one point was still a good outcome. 
Rd 11, Monday 5th May, Shropshire vs  (4)
After our thrashing the previous day, team Shropshire knew that we would have an easier game in the final round of the 2013/14 4NCL season. However, this did not mean, that like BCM Rhinos (2), we would thrash our opposition. In fact, the reverse occurred with a match including only 3 decisive results! Our opponents were 's fourth team. We out graded them on four of the six boards, so were confident, yet as mentioned the match was far closer. Early on, board 2 Dave Gostelow, agreed a quick draw, which was then followed by Colin Roberts on board 4 likewise achieving a draw. The match at this point was looking good for Shropshire as the remaining four boards were in their favour. The first of these games to finish was Gavyn Cooper's on board 1 who comprehensively beat his opponent. However,  (4) unfortunately equalised straight after due to board 6 Graham Shepherd missing a tactical trick that lost him a piece. This left Shropshire's joint captain's Nathanael Paul and Chris Lewis, like in round 8, to try and seal the match in their favour. Unfortunately on board 5, Lewis lost his early pressure and subsequently had to move onto the defence. He then decided to offer his opponent a draw after coming to the conclusion that Paul was going to win on board 3. Surprisingly, his opponent did not seem to look at the match situation and took Lewis' draw offer. Yet, Paul's match was definitely not a foregone conclusion. After sacking the exchange and manoeuvring his pieces toward his opponent's king it seemed that the win was inevitable. However, Paul's opponent managed to move his queen into his position to threaten to either win his queen or achieve checkmate. Thankfully, this threat did not actually exist as his opponent blundered resulting in either checkmate or winning significant material. Therefore resulting in resignation giving Shropshire a 3.5-2.5 victory. Interestingly though, if Paul's queen had been pinned by his opponent's rook, which was an unstoppable threat, he had a very useful two move combination that resulted in his bishop and knight either winning both his opponent's rooks or achieving a mate in two.
The victory against  (4) in round 11 finished Shropshire's season on a very respectable 12 points, which is joint 18th place out of the 63 teams that took part in division 3. Overall, the 2013-14 4NCL season was a very satisfactory debut season. Both Chirs Lewis and I will be running the Shropshire team next year so if anyone wants to play then contact us as soon as you know your availability as we are aiming to confirm the team by the end of the summer.
Nathanael Paul 06/05/2014

4NCL Rounds 7 and 8 - 22-23/02/2014

Rd 7 Shropshire vs West is Best 2:
At the start of the day the opposition team captain stated that they could only field 5 players, hence they had to default board 6 giving victory to Stuart Ross. This meant that before any moves were played we were ahead by one and half points due to gaining the board 6 match point and our opponents being given a half point penalty. And as we were favourites for this encounter the likelihood of this default hurting our opponents appeared a strong one. This was more or less clear an hour into the match as team debutant, Athar Mehmood, easily won his game on board 5 followed shortly by Dave Gostelow's draw on top board. This meant that we had built up a seemingly match winning advantage of 2.5 points, and with the remaining three boards looking in good shape it seemed that team Shropshire would earn their first Saturday points. However, Steve Tarr on board 3, who had an edge throughout his game, went for a fatal combination that won him a pawn but unfortunately allowed his opponent's queen into his position resulting in winning a piece as well as possible mate threats, 2.5-1. If there were any nerves within the team they were short lived as Nathanael Paul secured a comprehensive victory on board 2 giving Shropshire a much needed win with an unassailable score of 3.5-1. Still, the match was not over, but unfortunately Chris Lewis' good position on board 4 deteriorated until his opponent gained the upper hand resulting in a mere consolation for our opposition. Yet, even though team Shropshire were favourites, the entire team was very pleased as the final match score of 3.5-2 was a good result.

Rd 8 Shropshire vs The Rookies:
After victory the previous day, team Shropshire went into round 8 optimistic even though our opposition, on paper, could potentially be very strong. When we arrived however, our opposition did not include their two highest rated players, meaning that each team were instead very closely matched. This became apparent with draws for Colin Roberts and Graham Shepherd on boards 3 and 6 respectively, and with the other boards looking good we were hopeful with taking all the spoils. This hope gradually turned into reality when Dave Gostelow secured a very creditable and exciting victory on board 1 followed by another draw, this time Steve Tarr, on board 4. This put Shropshire ahead by 2.5-1.5 with the two remaining games, being played on boards 2 and 5 by joints captains Nathanael Paul and Chris Lewis, in favourable positions. However, although Paul (who had rejected a draw offer on move 11) seemingly had a clear advantage over his opponent his game eventually began to deteriorate while desperately searching for victory. This desperation for the win did not end favourably for team Shropshire as Paul lost a bishop endgame after missing drawing chances. Lewis, after being all over his opponent throughout the game, also seemed to be struggling to find the needed advantage to claim victory. Due to this, he considered offering his opponent a draw offer as he assumed Paul would secure a draw as well. Fortunately though, he realised that Paul had lost his match so knew that he must plough on to try and win the match, and win it he did! Securing a 3.5-2.5 victory over a very good side. 
This meant that team Shropshire's weekend work was deservedly rewarded with the four maximum points on offer giving the entire team great momentum leading into an inevitably tough final three rounds, which again takes place at Daventry's Court Hotel on the May bank holiday, 3-5 May.
Nathanael Paul 24/03/2014

4NCL Rounds 5 and 6 - 15/02/2014

Rd 5 Shropshire vs KJCA Knights
At the start of this match we were confident that we should achieve our first Saturday result of the season. However, when Trevor did not arrive because of severe traffic we were suddenly up against it as our opposition gained a point and we were penalised one (standard penalty if a player does not arrive as the opposition player is not able to their desired match) meaning the score was -1-1 in their favour. We were still confident though as we out graded our opponents on all boards. This showed when we were level following Steve Rooney and Stuart's wins on boards 5 and 6 respectively. The 3 remaining boards were not so straight forward. The junior opposition were more than holding their own against their much higher rated opponents showing that their grades are likely to be deflated in terms of their overall ability. With Gavyn and Dave in good positions on boards 2 and 3 it looked like the 2 points would be ours. On board 3 though I thought I had a reasonable position but unfortunately with good play from my opponent and an unsound plan from myself it resulted in a complete deterioration of my position. 2-1 to KJCA Knights. After I resigned it then became clear that we would do well to draw the match as Dave's position had equally deteriorated, which eventually resulted in his defeat. Shortly afterwards, Gavyn claimed victory but unfortunately it was a mere consolation, 3-2 to KJCA Knights.
Rd 6 Iceni 2 vs Shropshire
After Saturday's poor performance we needed a good result on Sunday, but unfortunately it was an even tougher match. However, to our surprise we out graded their team. This grade advantage began to show early in the match when Graham on board 6 had a good position with all the other games fairly close. Unfortunately this good match position did not last as Graham and board 4 Steve Tarr both miscalculated to put their opponents in charge. Steve's game was the first to finish with him lamenting a wrong move order leading to a potentially match winning sacrifice. Following this, both Glyn and Chris, boards 3 and 5 respectively, drew their tight games giving us a 2-1 deficit to try and cut down. This was achieved on board 2 when I managed to defeat my opponent's Sicilian Defence. But after Graham's inevitable loss we needed Dave to win on board 1 to share the points. This was easier said than done however as Dave's position was completely drawn. Yet their was hope, as Dave had an earlier draw offer already rejected, which perhaps showed that his opponent was desperate for the victory. This assessment was proved correct when rash play from his opponent resulted in Dave earning a two pawn advantage in a rook and pawn endgame, which he duly converted.
With an unfortunate loss and a lucky draw, this weekend is perhaps one to forget for team Shropshire. Nevertheless, I am confident that performances will improve for the upcoming rounds on 22-23 March.
Nathanael Paul 21/02/2014

4NCL Rounds 3 and 4 - 13/01/2014
For Saturday's 3rd round match we were again out graded by our opponents, this time by MK Phoenix 2. It started reasonably well with a creditable draw for Dave on board 1. This was unfortunately followed by Stuart's loss. However, the remaining boards were fighting hard and it looked like it may be our day when my opponent missing a win after he sacrificed a piece. He subsequently blundered a piece, which gave me the initiative, and I duly capitalised on his error to win his queen.
The remaining games also seemed promising, with Steve having a clear edge, Glyn seemingly with drawing chances and Chris having some decent play as well as holding a significant time advantage. Unfortunately, Glyn's position deteriorated into a lost endgame, which resulted with his resignation. So we were now 2.5-1.5 down, but with Chris looking like he had some good chances and with Steve's game seemingly looking like an inevitable victory the result rested on board fives outcome. However, Chris' king side attack was to know avail as his opponent had managed to activate his bishops with one skewering Chris' queen and rook. Some time afterwards Steve finally secured a victory but unfortunately was just mere consolation.
So with that defeat team Shropshire succumbed to another tight Saturday loss. 

Sunday's 4th round was fortunately a very different story. For the first time this season we out graded our opponents, Bucks Juniors, so there was some pressure to make sure that we secured our first win of the season to ensure our 4NCL campaign was put back on track. Yet, we were wary as Bucks Juniors had secured a good victory against Banbury Bulldogs on Saturday, which suggested that many of their players may be under graded.
However, this was not the full story as Bucks Juniors had signed former Shrewsbury player Phil Makepiece to play on board 1 meaning our task to win was made more difficult. Even so we still outgraded them and this throughout the match.
At first all six games appeared tight, but suddenly they started turning in our favour beginning with Stuart's win on board six. Dave's game on board 1 though looked dangerous as Makepiece had sacked a piece to try and secure either checkmate or a long term superior position. But with Adrian's (who was playing as a wildcard), Colin's and Chris' games looking like inevitable victories we were confident that even if we had a couple of negative results we would still secure our first victory of the season.
After Chris' victory the match was consequently decided as Adrian won his game as well as Dave! Dave's dogged defending combined with Makepiece's rash aggressive play resulted in Dave securing a two piece advantage, which secured the best win for any of team Shropshire's players as Makepiece is a very good player with a grade of 191. Shortly afterwards Colin's dominant performance secured a score of 5-0. Following this my opponent offered a draw, but as everyone else had won in addition to feeling like I had an edge I rejected it, to the slight dismay of Colin, Chris and Adrian who had a wait for another couple of hours until they could leave for home
. However, I began to rue my decision to reject the draw as it seemed my positive play had triggered good counter play chances. Fortunately though, with active play and my opponent missing drawing chances I secured victory, which in turn achieved the whitewash.
Overall then, one victory out of two was a satisfactory weekend's work, and with 3 points from a possible 8 we have good chances over the coming games to climb the leader board in an attempt to secure our quite ambitious preseason target of a high mid-table finish.
Rounds 5 & 6 commence again at Daventry on 15-16th February.
- Nat - 13/01/2014

4NCL Rounds 1 and 2
For rounds 1 & 2 in this season's 4NCL we managed 1 point out of 4, with a 3.5-2.5 loss to Ashfield-Breadsall and a 3-3 draw with Bristol University. Below are the details of each round including everyone's ECF or FIDE grades (numbers in brackets are each teams average rating for that respective match:
Round 1 Shropshire (1936) vs Ashfield-Breadsall (1993):
Trevor Brotherton 191 0.5-0.5 Glenn Halfpenny 184 Nathanael Paul 171 0.5-0.5 Peter Mercs 202 Glyn Pugh 159 0.5-0.5 Andrew Walker 166 Steve Tarr 152 0-1 Derek Jarvis 162 Chris Lewis 146 1-0 Robert Taylor 153 Graham Shepherd 146 0-1 Neil Graham 150
Round 2 Shropshire (1898) vs Bristol University (1996):
Nathanael Paul 171 1-0 Robert Thompson 186 Colin Roberts 162 0.5-0.5 Guillaume Delay 2048 (doesn't have an ECF grade) Glyn Pugh 159 0-1 Louis  Brijmohun 180 Steve Tarr 152 0.5-0.5 Michael Meadows 158 Chris Lewis 146 1-0 Daniel Young 159 Graham Shepherd 146 0-1 Matthew Jnr Wilson 152
As you can all see we were underdogs in both matches so did very well to nearly win both! I would like to thank everyone for playing and a particular well done to Chris for his 2 victories! 
Rounds 3 and 4 will be played on 11-12 January. And to remind everyone, all our matches are played at the Daventry Court Hotel. - Nat


Shropshire 4NCL Team - 19/10/2013
We have entered one team called 'Shropshire' for this season in 4NCL Div 3. Both Chris Lewis and I are joint captains. The list of players in our team are below:-
Trevor Brotherton, Gavyn Cooper, Dave Gostelow, Nathanael Paul, Colin Roberts, Steve Tarr, Chris Lewis, Stuart Ross, and Graham Shepherd will be used as a reserve, so we are both very happy with this team of nine. Nathanael Paul 19/10/2013

e-mail:-nathanaelpaul92 @gmail .com

Possible Shropshire 4NCL Team - 20/07/2013
Chris Lewis and I are planning on running a Shropshire team in the coming 4NCL season. We are looking for 8-9 players to make a team. If more players are interested then we are open to running 2 teams but we would need around 16 players to achieve that. Ideally four of these players can play all games and the others can be rotated. There are 11 rounds and 5 match weekends. The team fee is £125 for a team in division 3, which is very reasonable. All matches are taking place at Daventry, therefore players do not need to worry about travelling down south. For details of the 4NCL here is the site: .
We currently have 6 players interested, which includes Chris and myself. Therefore as club secretaries we would be very grateful if you can spread the word regarding the possibility of a 4NCL team. If you have players that are interested please can you tell them to contact myself or Chris. Both our details are on the Shropshire chess site. And if you can all put something on your respective club sites (if you have one) about this proposal we would both appreciate it.
The deadline for submitting a team is Monday 30th September, so we would ideally like to finalise the team/s August, early September being at the latest. Therefore if you can let all your members know ASAP that will be great. - Nathanael Paul 20/07/2013