Read Peter Kitchen's Column in the weekly Shrewsbury Chronicle for the latest local Chess news.
Also occasional articles in the South Shropshire Journal including Church Stretton and Ludlow
Here are some cuttings.
Telepost B get off the mark - 20/11/2014
In division one of the rapidplay league, Shrewsbury A recovered from a poor start to the campaign to move top of the fledgling able with two wins out of three in the latest round of matches played at Priorslee Lions. All six teams are on four points after two rounds of fixtures, although Shrewsbury and Church Stretton A have played three games more than their rivals.
Shropshire to host 4NCL - 13/11/2014
In an email to team captains, Mike Truran, the 4NCL's finance director, said: "I thought you might like early warning of the likely 2015/2016 arrangements – ‘likely' because although they have been the matter of extensive negotiation over the last six months or so, contracts are still to be signed with the hotels. I expect these to be signed by the end of November at the latest.”
Meanwhile, in the Shropshire chess League both Telepost A and Shrewsbury A lead the chasing pack in division one after victories on the road in their latest matches.
Shrewsbury A won 3.5-1.5 away to Telford A thanks to wins for avid Everington and Dan Lockett. Everington clinched his third win in four matches by beating Stefan Tennant on board three, and Lockett secured his first win of the season on board two with victory over Stuart Ross.
In division three, Church Stretton B are two points clear at the top of the table after a 3-1 win at Priorslee Lions C. Graham Shepherd and Joihn Casewell secured the victories to maintain the visitors' four game unbeaten run.
Church Stretton are tops - 06/11/2014
Shrewsbury B are second and also unbeaten after three matches following a 2.5-2.5 draw away to Telford B. The visitors enjoyed success on the bottom boards, with captain ian Davies beating Windsor Peck on board four and Tony Purser defeating Roger Brown on bottom board. But the home side fought back in the middle order – Norman O'Connor lost to Stuart Ross on board two and Ivor Salter was beaten by Richard Thompson on board three. Mark Smith drew with Steve Tarr on top board.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury A got off to the worst possible start in the opening round of fixtures in division one of the rapidplay league.
Church Stretton lost 2.5-1.5 to Newport A, with defeats for Brotherton against Gavyn Cooper and Hodge versus Nathanael Paul proving decisive despite Bukojemski's win over Chris KLewis on bottom board.
Telepost A and newly-promoted Priorslee Lions A will play their first matches in the second round of fixtures at Priorslee on Monday (NOV 10), while the first division two fixtures were taking place this week.
Derby win for Telepost - 30/10/2014
In division three, Church Stretton B maintained their unbeaten start and stayed top of the pile after drawing their clash away to fellow fast starters Newport B 2-2. David Hodge beat Athar Mehmood on top board and Eric Elwell won against Chris Paul on bottom board, but the hosts won the two games on the middle boards – Graham Shepherd was beaten by Stuart Ross on board two and John Westhead was beaten by Danny Griffiths on board three.
Shrewsbury B win town derby - 09/10/2014
Church Stretton A top the table with two wins from two after a 5-0 win away to Telford C. Trevor Brotherton, Steve Rooney, Karl Wakefield, David Hodge and Eric Elwell all won their games.
Star player makes his move - 25/09/2014
Meanwhile, the new season in division two got off to a dramatic start when Shrewsbury B pinched a point at the death away to Priorslee.
Church Stretton A started life back in the second tier with a 3.5-1.5 win away to Telepost B. New signing Davoid Hodge gave the visitors the lead with a win over Kate Walker on board four, and after John Westhead and Karl Wakefield drew on board three Francis Rooney increased the advantage with victory over Vincent Crean on bottom board.
In division three, Telepost C got off to a winning start by beating Newport Juniors 3-1. Charles Micallef, Nick Holmes and Shane Sweeney all won their games, but Quentin Mills lost to Lewis Clarke on top board.
New season kicks off - 18/09/2014
Shrewsbury A will also face a difficult start to their division one campaign. They travel to Priorslee Lions A, who were in contention for the title until the final weeks of last season, on Monday before hosting Newport and travelling to Telepost. The return town derby at Shrewsbury will take place on February 6.
The first round of fixtures in division two were being played this week. Telepost B were hosting Church Stretton A in a match between two teams fancied to challenge for promotion, while Shrewsbury B were travelling to Priorslee Lions B.
|Rapidplay prize looms - 25/04/2014
Telepost A will look to complete the second leg of a potentially historic treble when they go gunning for the inaugural Shropshire Chess Rapidplay League title tomorrow night (Fri). Richard Bryant’s side go into the final three fixtures at Shrewsbury Chess Club’s Redwoods Centre home neck and neck with a Newport side which they pipped to the Shropshire Chess League title earlier this month.
Newport moved ahead of the Abbey Foregate side after winning their three games in hand at the latest round of fixtures while Telepost were inactive.
Shrewsbury A consolidated third place in the division despite losing to Newport thanks to 3-1 wins of Condover & Church Stretton A and relegated Telford A, while Condover & Church Stretton picked up a sole win by beating Telford 3.5-0.5. If Telepost can triumph in the rapidplay league, the final piece of silverware they will be seeking will be the Cox Trophy – where they have been drawn against town rivals Shrewsbury A. The county town’s top two teams against each other in the last eight of the summer knockout competition for top flight clubs, and Telepost will be at home for the fixture on May 12.
Relegated Condover & Church Stretton face a tough assignment against a Wellington A side which only missed out on the title in the final moments of the regular season.
Steve Rooney’s side could come up against their former player Tiago Faustino who is expected to be in the visitors’ ranks. But the villagers will be hoping to make a final impression against top flight opposition before they take their place in division two next season.
In the Minor Knockout for clubs in the lower divisions, division three Shrewsbury C face second tier side Telepost B in a town derby, and division two Shrewsbury B travel to lower league opposition in the form of Telford D. Telepost C have defaulted their match against one of the tournament favourites Ludlow A.
In the Shropshire Chess League, Telepost B secured their safety and given themselves an outside chance of a top half finish in division two after beating struggling Newport B 3-2. The damage was done on the top two boards, where John Bashall beat Athar Mehmood and Peter Crean defeated Steve Ross. John Westhead beat Chris Paul on board four, meaning defeats for Vinnie Crean against Danny Griffiths on board three and for Alasdair Benjamin versus Lewis Clarke on bottom board mattered not. The result leaves Newport in big trouble in the final relegation spot, needing a win against fellow struggler Wellington B in their final match to survive.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury B have finished a creditable third in division two of the rapidplay league. They sat out the final round of fixtures at Priorslee Lions, but finished above Telford B on points difference.
Telepost B were unable to raise a side and defaulted all three matches, finishing bottom of the table in the process.
|We will bounce back vows Rooney - 18/04/2014
Crestfallen Condover & Church Stretton A captain Steve Rooney has vowed his side will bounce back next season after the heartbreak of relegation from division one of the Shropshire Chess League.
The villagers dropped out of the top flight on the final day of the season after Telford A won 3-2 at Shrewsbury A. It was particularly hard for Condover to take, as they had reached the 10-point mark generally regarded as the safety mark. Ultimately six defeats in their final eight games proved costly, but Rooney said he was determined to see his side gain promotion at the first attempt.
“It just slipped away,” said Rooney. “Results did not go out way, but you have to make your own luck and we did not get the points we needed.
“Telford found some form towards the end of the season and did what they needed to. We had seen it coming and mentally prepared ourselves, but it is a shame.
“I was in Ireland while the Shrewsbury v Telford match was going on and started following the live online feed just as Telford secured the match. I also got a text from Shrewsbury captain Francis Best and a message from our B team captain John Casewell.
“There’s always next season – and we will bounce back. We are all in it to try and get back up, but the second division was very competitive this season and you never know how things will go.”
Rooney and some of his Condover & Church Stretton teammates were able to set aside their league disappointment by putting in strong showings at the Staffordshire Congress in Bloxwich. Rooney’s son Francis shared first place in the Minor section with 4/5, while Rooney Senior came third equal in the Major with 3.5/5. Trevor Brotherton shared fourth place in the Open section with 3.5/5
In division two of the Shropshire Chess League, relegated Telepost C ended the season on a welcome high note by finally picking up their first point – in their final fixture. It was a hugely creditable point for the Abbey Foregate side, as they held promoted Oswestry A to a 2.5-2.5 draw.
Francis Rooney beat Graham Ives on board two and Casewell won against Steve Tulett on bottom board. Charles Micallef lost to Richard Bryant – who captains Telepost’s A team in division one – on top board, and Shane Sweeney was beaten by Keith Grice on board four, while Kate Walker drew with John Davies on board three.
Shrewsbury B have almost certainly secured a top half finish after completing their league programme with a 2.5-2.5 draw at home to title-chasing Ludlow A. Dan Lockett extended his astonishing unbeaten run to 19 league games by agreeing a draw with Joe Watson on board two, before Robert Woodley gave the visitors the lead by beating Ivor Salter on bottom board. Shrewsbury captain Matt Best levelled the scores with an excellent win over Richard Croot on top board. Norman O’Connor drew with Graham Shepherd on board three and Mark Smith shared the spoils with John Whittaker on board four.
|Nailbiting finish as Telepost take the title - 11/04/2014
Telepost A came from behind to clinch the Shropshire Chess League division one title in one of the most nailbiting finishes to the season for several years.
Trailing Wellington A 2-1 in the title decider with just two matches to play and needing a win to reclaim the title they last won in 2012, the Abbey Foregate side looked set for defeat as Matthew Clark appeared on course to lose against Stefan Tennant on bottom board. But Tennant lost on time in a won position – and Telepost captain Richard Bryant then beat Colin Roberts in a tense game with less than 30 seconds of thinking time left on board two to turn the match on its head.
Telepost’s 3-2 win gave them the title by a point from Newport A while Wellington finished third a further point back. A draw between Wellington and Telepost would have enabled Newport to retain the title.
Several players from around the county were able to follow the proceeding s at Wrekin Housing Trust’s headquarters in Telford on Shrewsbury Chess Club’s website – the first time a league matched had been beamed live online.
Bryant said: “We’re delighted – although it didn’t look like we were going to do it for much of the night.
“You have to give credit to Wellington. They have been promoted into our division, done really well and they came so close to winning the league – they were very worthy opponents and it was certainly a fraught evening for us. “Throughout the season I thought Newport would win the league, but when they lost to Priorslee Lions A it really opened things up. I have never known it be so close with three teams having a chance of winning the league right up until the end like that. “It has been a great team effort this year – we were short of players at the start of the season but managed to get results. Everyone has done really well and we managed to get key results when it mattered.”
But while there was elation for Telepost, there was despair for Condover & Church Stretton A who were relegated to division two after rivals Telford A won 3-2 at Shrewsbury A. It was particularly galling for Condover, who had reached the supposed 10-point safety mark several weeks ago. But Telford – who had just three points at Christmas – overhauled the village side to finish a point clear of the drop zone.
In the Shrewsbury-Telford match – which was also played out live online – the hosts missed a chance to lead when David Everington was unable to press home an advantage on board three against John Footner and settled for a draw.
The match quickly got away from Shrewsbury – captain Francis Best lost to Dave Gostelow on top board and Mark Smith overpressed in a level position against Windsor Peck and lost on bottom board to secure Telford the point they needed to survive.
The visitors made sure of victory when Shrewsbury’s Ed Goodwin agreed a truce with Nazif Nazif on board two. Peter Kitchen achieved his first league win since the opening day of the season by beating Richard Thompson on board four despite running perilously short of time, but it was no more than a consolation for the hosts.
In division three, Shrewsbury C pipped local rivals Condover & Church Stretton B to the final promotion spot after winning their derby 3-1.
Andrew Lewis gave Shrewsbury the lead by beating Tom Williamson on board two, and Ian Davies and Charles Micallef agreed a draw shortly afterwards. Tony Purser secured the crucial win, recovering from a losing position to win against Shane Sweeney on board three despite having almost no time left. Fred Harris drew with John Casewell on bottom board. It marks a fine season for Davies’s side, who lost just once during their 14 league matches.
|Historic night at Shrewsbury Chess Club - 04/04/2014
Promotion and relegation issues in divisions one and three of the Shropshire Chess League will be decided on a historic night at Shrewsbury Chess Club tomorrow (FRI).
Shrewsbury A will compete in a match broadcast live on the internet for the first time when they face a Telford A side in need of a draw in their final fixture to avoid relegation from the top flight. If Telford avoid defeat, Condover & Church Stretton A will be relegated to division two.
But the match will not be the first in the county to be watched online – Telepost A were due to receive that honour in their division one title decider against Wellington A last night (WED). The match was switched from Wellington’s home venue to the Wrekin Housing Trust headquarters in Telford to allow the necessary equipment to be set up for the internet broadcast.
Meanwhile, a local derby between Shrewsbury C and Condover & Church Stretton B will decide the final promotion spot in division three.
The visiting Condover side will go into tomorrow’s clash at the Redwoods Centre knowing a draw will be enough to take them up with champions Telford C, as they lie a point clear of Shrewsbury.
In division two, Telepost B are still not yet safe after a 3.5-1.5 loss at top flight-bound Oswestry A. Peter Crean beat Graham Ives on board two, but John Bashall, Vinnie Crean and Alasdair Benjamin all lost. John Westhead drew with Keith Grice on board four.
It leaves Telepost two points clear of the drop zone and in need of a result against fellow strugglers Newport B in their final fixture to ensure their safety.
Shrewsbury B remain third after losing 3-2 against a Wellington B side beefed up by the appearance of division one players Nazif Nazif and Tiago Faustino on the top two boards. Captain Matt Best lost to Nazif, but Dan Lockett continued his amazing season by holding Faustino to a draw. Norman O’Connor lost to Richard Gillespie on board three, meaning Ivor Salter’s win over Derrick Powell on bottom board was not enough. Mark Smith drew with John Lenton on board four.
|Winner-takes-all showdown - 28/03/2014
Telepost A face a winner-takes-all showdown with Wellington A in one of the most exciting finishes to the Shropshire Chess League season in many years.
The Abbey Foregate side are one of three teams with a chance of winning the division one title going into the final round of fixtures – and start in pole position as the lead Wellington on points difference and defending champions Newport by a point.
Telepost stayed top after a 2.5-2.5 draw with Newport, while Wellington leapfrogged Newport with an impressive 3.5-1.5 win at Shrewsbury A.
Telepost travel to Wellington on Wednesday (APR 2) and the winner will be crowned champions. If the two sides draw, Newport will be champions if they beat relegated Priorslee Lions B by 3.5-1.5 or a greater margin.
Nigel Ferrington’s win over Gavyn Cooper in the deciding game on top board secured a crucial draw for Telepost against Newport.
The home side had earlier taken the lead through Phil Zabrocki’s quick won over Nathanael Paul on board three. But Newport had turned the match around through wins for Nick Rutter over Richard Bryant on board two and for Chris Lewis against Keith Tabner on bottom board before Ferrington levelled the scores.
Matthew Clark drew with Simon Maydew on board four.
But at the other end of the table Condover & Church Stretton’s fate is now out of their hands as they bid to stave off relegation.
Steve Rooney’s side moved out of the drop zone with a 3-2 win at Priorslee Lions B, thanks to wins for Steve Rooney and Michael Bukojemski and a default on board three.
But when they returned to The Lion on Monday (MAR 24) they missed the chance to secure their safety when they lost 3-2 to Priorslee Lions A. Trevor Brotherton beat William Bates on top board, but Michael Bukojemski lost to Steve Tarr on board four – despite his opponent being almost an hour late.
Steve Rooney lost to Glyn Pugh on board two only for Francis Rooney to level the score by beating George Viszokai on bottom board. But Graham Shepherd lost the deciding game on board three against Jim O’Neil.
Condover & Church Stretton have now finished their fixtures and must hope Shrewsbury A beat Telford A on April 4 to maintain their top flight status. A draw for Telford will send Condover & Church Stretton down on points difference.
Shrewsbury A have finally secured their safety with a match to spare.
They lost their fifth match in a row against Wellington. Mark Smith was on top against Stefan Tennant on bottom board only for his opponent to turn the tables and win, and Peter Kitchen could make no headway against James Kuczynski on board four and agreed a draw.
The returning Ed Goodwin drew with Colin Roberts on board two and Francis Best shared the spoils with Toby Neal on top board, but David Everington lost to Tiago Faustino on board three.
But they bounced back with a 4-1 win at Priorslee Lions B. Everington beat Marvin Carbin on board two, but Best let an advantage slip to draw with Gary White on top board and Kitchen had to battle back from a losing position out of the opening to escape with a draw against Stephen O’Dell on board three. The visitors made sure of the win on the lower boards. Norman O’Connor beat Michael Reynolds on board four and Ian Davies defeated Alan Brennan on bottom board.
In division three, the promotion race will be decided on the final day when third-placed Shrewsbury C host second placed Condover & Church Stretton B. Condover are a point clear of their rivals and will go up with a draw, despite losing top spot to Telford C after being beaten 2.5-1.5 at home to Oswestry B. Shrewsbury C could not take full advantage as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Priorslee Lions C.
|Important wins for the town's B teams - 21/03/2014
Telepost B and Shrewsbury B have both taken huge steps towards securing their places in division two of the Shropshire Chess League for another season after both securing key victories.
Telepost defeated relegation-threatened Telford B 4-1 to move four points clear of the drop zone. And Shrewsbury B won 3-2 away to Telepost C to stay third in the table, all but guaranteeing their safety.
While Shrewsbury could still mathematically get promoted, they would require a number of favours to make up the three-point gap to Ludlow A and Oswestry A over the final two games of the season.
A win for John Bashall on his first appearance of the season was among the highlights for Telepost B during their triumph at Telford B. Peter Crean defeated Stefan Tennant on board two and Quentin Mills beat Tim Skidmore on bottom board, while Vinnie Crean and John Westhead drew their games with Windsor Peck and Roger Brown on boards three and four.
Shrewsbury B were given a fright by their lowly hosts Telepost C before claiming the points. The home side took the lead when Shane Sweeney beat Ivor Salter on board four, but Norman O’Connor equalised by beating Kate Walker on board three.
Francis Rooney and Shrewsbury captain Matt Best shared the spoils on board two, before Dan Lockett gave the visitors the lead with a win over Charles Micallef on top board. Andrew Lewis the secured the draw required to seal the match against John Casewell on bottom board.
In division three, Shrewsbury C kept up the pressure on the top two with a 3-1 win at Newport Juniors. Despite a surprise loss for Ian Davies on top board, Lewis, Tony Purser and Fred Harris all won their games.
In the rapidplay league, Shrewsbury B completed their fixtures with a win, a draw and a loss, while Telepost B lost all three of their games to stay bottom of the table.
Shrewsbury lost 3-1 to Priorslee Lions A – who have sealed the title – with Ian Davies picking up a win, while Telepost lost 3-1 against Wellington A, with Quentin Mills picking up their only point by beating Derrick Powell.
In the following round, Shrewsbury beat Telepost 3.5-0.5 thanks to wins for Daniel Lockett, Norman O’Connor and Davies, while Mills’ draw with Purser averted the whitewash.
In the final round of the night, Shrewsbury drew 2-2 with Wellington thanks to wins for locket and Purser, while Telepost lost 2.5-1.5 to Priorslee Lions, Mills winning again and Walker picking up a notable draw with Adrian Zdanowski on top board.
|Derby double for Telepost - 28/02/2014
Telepost A dramatically came from behind to complete a derby double over Shrewsbury A – and went top of the table to take charge of the Shropshire Chess League title race. Top boards Nigel Ferrington and Richard Bryant won to turn the match on its head after the visitors had trailed 2-1 late in the match.
It was tough on Shrewsbury, who suffered their third straight defeat of 2014 to slide further off the pace. But Telepost overtook Newport A at the top of division one after their rivals surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to Priorlsee Lions A.
After draws on the bottom two boards, Shrewsbury took the lead through David Everington’s win over Phil Zabrocki on board three. But Ed Goodwin slipped to defeat against Bryant on board two and Francis Best was unable to hang on against Ferrington on top board.
Condover & Church Stretton A are now looking nervously over their shoulders after suffering a third defeat in a row, this time 4-1 away to Wellington A. Graham Shepherd drew with James Kuczynski on board three and Francis Rooney shared the spoils with Colin Mace on bottom board, but Trevor Brotherton, Steve Rooney and Eric Elwell all lost.
The villagers are now just two points clear of Telford A, who occupy the final relegation spot.
In division three, Condover & Church Stretton B remain top after a 3-1 win at Priorslee Lions C. Shrewsbury C are two points adrift in third after a 2.5-1.5 victory at home to Telepost D.
|Condover & Church Stretton B go top - 21/02/2014
Condover & Church Stretton B have stolen a march in the Shropshire Chess League division three promotion race, moving to the top of the table with a convincing 4-0 win over Newport Juniors. Charles Micallef, Francis Rooney, Shane Sweeney and Tom Williamson all won their games to help the villagers leapfrog Telford C at the top of the division. And with four games to go they have a real chance of gaining promotion to division two at the first attempt.
But Telepost D were unable to follow up their first win of the season as they had hoped, going down 2.5-1.5 away to mid-table Priorslee Lions C. A default on board two proved costly for the visitors, who lost despite Alan Cliff’s win over Alan Shaw on top board. Nick Holmes drew with Stephen O’Dell on board three and Ian Durrant lost on bottom board.
In division two, both Telepost B and Shrewsbury C lost vital ground with costly defeats. Telepost, who have been challenging at the top of the table all season, slipped in the bottom half of the table after suffering their fifth defeat of the season – a 3.5-1.5 home reverse against leaders Ludlow. Peter Crean and Vinnie Crean lost to Ludlow’s top two boards Robin Croot and Joe Watson, while John Westhead was beaten by Graham Shepherd on board three. The hosts replied through Alasdair Benjamin’s win over John Whittaker on board four, while Quentin Mills drew with Paul Munday on bottom board.
Shrewsbury B were left rueing missed opportunities after they lost their crucial clash with fellow promotion challengers Oswestry A 3-2. After Andrew Lewis and Ron Thomson drew on board five and Norman O’Connor and Graham Ives shared the spoils on board three, captain Matt Best suffered a heartbreaking defeat against the vastly higher rated Richard Bryant. Despite being better for much of the game, Best lost in the endgame to see his side fall behind.
The visitors didn’t recover, as Ivor Salter lost to John Davies on board four to seal the match in Oswestry’s favour. Dan Lockett’s win over David Bennion on board two proved to be a mere consolation.
In division one, the second county town derby of the season between Shrewsbury A and Telepost A will take place tomorrow (FRI). Shrewsbury will be looking to bounce back from a poor start to 2014 and avenge a 3.5-1.5 loss to their rivals earlier in the season, while the visitors will hope to maintain the pressure on leaders and defending champions Newport A.
| At last - Victory for Telepost D - 13/02/2014
It has been a long time coming – but division three outfit Telepost D have clinched their first Shropshire Chess League victory in more than a year.
Victories for Nick Holmes and Quentin Mills on the bottom two boards helped make it a night to remember for the Abbey Foregate side as they beat Oswestry B 2.5-1.5. Kate Walker drew with Steve Tulett on top board and Alan Cliff lost on board two.
It was their first win since a 2.5-1.5 win at Shifnal & Telford D on January 16 last year – their only win of last season. Since then they ended last season with six straight losses and had drawn one and lost six of their first seven matches in this campaign. But having ended their 13-match winless run, they now have a three point cushion over a Newport Juniors side which has lost all eight fixtures. It means they are likely to avoid the wooden spoon.
Elsewhere in the division, Shrewsbury remain in the thick of the title race after drawing 2-2 at home to league leaders Telford C
It was their second successive draw against rivals at the top end of the table, and the Shelton side remain third in the table a point off top spot.
Fred Harris beat Brian Malone on bottom board, but Tony Purser lost to Roger Brown on board three. Captain Ian Davies drew with Richard Szwajkun on top board, but the hosts were indebted to Andrew Lewis maintaining his unbeaten record for the season by rescuing a draw in a difficult position against Andy Jones on board two.
In division one, Telepost A’s perfect start to 2014 continued with a vital 3.5-1.5 win over fellow title chasers Priorslee Lions A.
Richard Bryant’s side made it three wins from three outings since the turn of their year, and their latest triumph was a fourth victory in a row in the league. Bryant led the way with a win over William Bates on board two, while top board Nigel Ferrington defeated Adrian Zdanowski and Phil Zabrocki beat Jim O’Neil on board three. The visitors got on the scoresheet on the lower boards. Matthew Clark drew with Glyn Pugh on board four and Keith Tabner lost to George Viszokai on bottom board.
Telepost remain a point behind defending champions and league leaders Newport A, who won convincingly 4.5-0.5 at Condover & Church Stretton A. But Bryant’s side have pulled further clear of both Priorslee Lions A and Wellington A, who were held to a 2.5-2.5 draw at lowly Telford A.
Bryant said: “It was a wonderful result for us. My game went really well for me, but the others were all pretty tight so it was great to get the win.”
Condover & Church Stretton remain sixth in the table after a second successive heavy defeat against a title-chasing team. But they still have a healthy cushion above the relegation zone, despite Telford’s draw cutting the gap to four points. Michael Bukojemski’s draw with Chris Lewis on board four averted the whitewash against a strong visiting side.
Shrewsbury A’s trip to bottom of the table Priorslee Lions B was postponed and is expected to be played in March. The Shelton-based side are fifth in the table but are now five points adrift of leaders Newport A despite having started the year in pole position.
|Shock defeat for Telepost B - 06/02/2014
Telepost B lost vital ground in the race for the Shropshire Chess League top flight after slumping to a shock 3-2 home defeat against division two strugglers Wellington B. The Abbey Foregate side lost against a visiting side boosted by the appearance of Telford A regular Nazif Nazif, who duly picked up a win on top board against Peter Crean. Wins for Kate Walker and Quentin Mills on the bottom two boards proved to be in vain after Vinnie Crean and John Westhead lost their games.
It was a missed opportunity for Telepost to move into the top two after Oswestry A lost their top of the table clash at Ludlow A 3.5-1.5. They remain a point behind Oswestry in the final promotion spot – but just two points off seventh and the relegation zone in an incredibly tight division.
Shrewsbury B overtook Telepost to move into third in the table – but the Shelton side were also unable to take full advantage of Oswestry’s defeat as they were held 2.5-2.5 at Telford B. The visitors found themselves 2-0 down when Mark Smith lost to Jason Kenderdine on board four and Ivor Salter was beaten by Roger Brown on bottom board. But Dan Lockett beat Stefan Tennant on board two and Matt Best inflicted Simon Maydew’s first defeat in 16 games on top board to level the scores. Norman O’Connor and Windsor Peck agreed a draw in a tense finale on board three to ensure the spoils were shared.
Meanwhile, players across the country have received new grades published by the English Chess Federation based on their performances in rated games. Nigel Ferrington and Kate Walker of Telepost have both seen their grades go up dramatically after enjoying a strong first half of the season. Ferrington has seen his grade rise 11 points from 186 to 197, making him the second strongest actove player in Shropshire behind Newport’s Nick Rutter, who is now graded 201. Walker’s grade has gone up 17 points from 83 to 100. She has established herself as top board in the club’s D team in division three and has featured regularly for the clubs B and C teams in division two. Andrew Lewis enjoyed the biggest grading increase at Shrewsbury with a rise of nine points to 120, while Francis Rooney of Condover & Church Stretton saw his grade go up six points to 117.
Grades are used to estimate playing strength and form the basis of board order in league matches.
Derby win for Telepost A - 30/01/2014
A much needed win for Shrewsbury B - 23/01/2014
Big win for Condover & Church Stretton - 16/01/2014
Rapidplay race hots up - 09/01/2014
Defeats for the town's B teams - 19/12/2013
Christmas number one spot for Shrewsbury A- 12/12/2013
Surprise defeats for town's B teams - 05/12/2013
Shrewsbury's encounter with Wellington started badly for the home side when Ivor Salter lost against Colin Mace on board three. But Matt Best's side appeared to have turned things around thanks to Mark Smith's win over Rob Nayman on bottom board and Dan Lockett's victory over John Lenton on board two.
Missed opportunity for both county town teams - 28/11/2013
Town rivals battle for division 2 title - 21/11/2013
Shrews beat champions - 14/11/2013
Title race wide open - 07/11/2013
Telepost A make rapid start - 24/10/2013
Meanwhile, in the longer form of the game Shrewsbury B have gone top of division two of the Shropshire Chess League after a 3-2 home win over fellow high-flyers Oswestry A.
Michael Adams to take on Shropshire's finest - 11/10/2013
Meanwhile, Telepost B have moved to the top of division two of the Shropshire Chess League after a 3.5-1.5 win away to Wellington B. Despite Keith Tabner's reverse against Richard Gillespie on top board, the visitors proved too strong and came away with the points thanks to victories for Peter Crean, John Westhead and Alasdair Benjamin. Vinnie Crean drew with Derrick Powell on board three. The result puts the Abbey Foregate side top of the table with a 100 per cent record on points difference ahead of a resurgent Oswestry A side which has started the season strongly after promotion from division three last season.
| So close for league newcomers - 04/10/2013
Condover and Church Stretton A captain Steve Rooney admitted his side had missed an opportunity after slipping to a 3-2 defeat away to an under-strength Telepost A.
Rooney's team suffered their second successive derby defeat in division one of the Shropshire Chess League following their opening day defeat against Shrewsbury A, leaving the village side still searching for their first points of the season. The visitors had chances on several of the boards during the clash at Abbey Foregate, but were ultimately unable to capitalise against a home side missing big hitters Richard Bryant and Phil Zabrocki.
Telepost's Nigel Ferrington beat Steve Rooney on top board, but Francis Rooney defeated Vinnie Crean on bottom board to haul the visitors level. The next three boards all appeared evenly matched, but Telepost gained two decisive victories thanks to Peter Crean's win over Graham Shepherd on board three and Keith Tabner's triumph over Eric Elwell on board four.
Michael Bukojemski played an opposite coloured bishop ending superbly to beat Matthew Clark on board two, but it was no more than a consolation for the visitors. Rooney said: "We narrowly missed getting some points against Telepost A - having looked like taking the spoils earlier in the evening."
Shrewsbury A remain the early season pacesetters - and were indebted to stand-in captain David Everington for retaining their 100 per cent record following a 3-2 win over Priorslee Lions A. Everington won the final game to finish against William Bates on board two to settle a tense match. Earlier Peter Kitchen and Andy Tunks played out a tame eight move draw on board four before Dan Lockett drew with Marvin Carbin on bottom board and Ed Goodwin and Glyn Pugh shared the spoils on board three.
Jamie Hopkins and Adrian Zdanowski also drew on top board, and Everington kept a cool head to win his game and seal the match in the hosts' favour.
In division three Condover and Church Stretton B are top of the table after playing out a 2-2 draw at home to Telepost D.
The visitors took the lead when Alisdair Benjamin beat John Casewell on bottom board. Charles Micallef and Alan Cliff drew on top board and Tom Williamson and Dean Pinnington shared the spoils on board two, but Chris Pimm-Jones equalised for the hosts with a win over Brian Holford on board three.
| Jamie Hopkins steps down - 19/09/2013
Jamie Hopkins has resigned as Shrewsbury A captain one game into the new season – just days after guiding his side to the top of the embryonic Shropshire Chess League division one table.
Hopkins has stepped down due to family commitments and has also withdrawn from the club's rapidplay teams and Shrewsbury Club Championship, a tournament he won last season. He had initially agreed to take on the role for another season at the club's annual general meeting last Friday, but informed club secretary Francis Best of his decision over the weekend. He is expected to be available for section for Shrewsbury A's home match against Priorslee Lions A on September 27 but it's not known how much he will feature this season. Hopkins had captained Shrewsbury A to a fine 4-1 local derby win at Condover & Church Stretton A which took them top of the table earlier in the week.
Best will stand in as the club's A team captain until a permanent successor is found. Hopkins guided Shrewsbury A to third place in division one last season and enjoyed a fine personal season where he won two trophies and lost just once in the league on top board. He said: “I have resigned as Shrewsbury A team captain. I have had to withdraw due to family commitments and I will have limited availability for the rest of the season as a result.”
Over on the boards, Shrewsbury A gatecrashed Condover & Church Stretton A's big night with an ultimately comfortable local derby win.
It was the first ever competitive appearance by a Condover team in the Shropshire Chess League following a summer merger between the social Condover club and Church Stretton. But they were given a harsh lesson at Condover Social Club by a ruthless Shrewsbury side which ran away with the match on the bottom boards.
After Hopkins and Trevor Brotherton agreed a quick draw on top board, Ed Goodwin gave Shrewsbury the lead with victory over the hosts' new signing Michael Bukojemski on board three. Francis Best and Steve Rooney drew on board two, but David Everington sealed the match in the visitors' favour by beating Graham Shepherd in a rook ending on board four.
The most entertaining game of the night was between two players on the comeback trail on bottom board. Shrewsbury's Peter Kitchen – playing his first game for six months - won a piece quickly against Eric Elwell, who had not played for more than a year. But Kitchen made heavy weather of it and was pushed all the way before eventually winning on time.
Despite defeat, officials at Condover & Church Stretton were delighted with how their first night in league action had gone.
John Casewell, who founded the former Condover club three years ago, said: It was always my desire to see competitive chess at Condover and despite the A team losing the B team won and it was a very satisfactory night.” He added the newly-formed club had formed a link with Telepost to use players to help field a competitive side in division three.
Steve Rooney, Condover & Church Stretton A captain, said: “From a club point of view it has worked really well. It is a great environment to be playing chess and it bodes so well for the future. “I think Michael Bukojemski could be a really good player for us, and it felt the match was a lot closer than the final score suggested.”
Telepost A's match with Telford A was postponed.
In division three, Condover & Church Stretton B defeated Telford C thanks to wins for Charles Micallef, Francis Rooney and Casewell. Shrewsbury B won 3.5-0.5 at Oswestry B with victories for Ian Davies, Eric Inglis and Fred Harris.
| New season fixtures - 29/08/2013
Telepost A will start the new Shropshire Chess League season with a home fixture against Shifnal & Telford A on the opening day of the campaign. The Abbey Foregate side will launch their bid to reclaim the division one title on September 9 against a side which finished in midtable last season. And captain Richard Bryant will hope his side can go one better than last season, when they were pipped to the championship by Newport A on the final day.
Shrewsbury A will make the short journey to Condover for a derby against Condover & Church Stretton the following day. The hosts, who last season were known as Church Stretton, will be hoping to build on last season's midtable finish but face a challenging start playing all of last season's top three in their first three matches.
Shrewsbury A captain Jamie Hopkins will hope his side can produce a more sustained challenge for honours after finishing a distant third last season, although the make-up of his squad will not be fully confirmed until after his club's annual general meeting on September 13.
The full list of fixtures for all three divisions has been published this week on the Shropshire Chess Association website. Condover & Church Stretton won't have to wait long for their second derby - they will travel to Telepost A on September 23 before facing champions Newport A on October 8.
The first town derby will see Telepost A host Shrewsbury A on October 21 with the return fixture at the Redwoods Centre on February 21. Division three will also start on September 9 - and two local sides will be in action.
Shrewsbury C will travel to Oswestry B hoping to make up for the disappointment of missing out on promotion on the final day last season, while Telepost D will host Priorslee Lions C.
The first round of matches in division two will be played in the week starting September 16 and will include a derby between Telepost B and Telepost C. Shrewsbury B face a tough trip to face a Newport B side which only narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight last season. Meanwhile, Shrewsbury Chess Club's AGM will be held on September 13 at the Redwoods Centre in Bicton Heath from 7.30pm.
| Another record for Nigel Ferrington - 22/08/2013
Telepost's Nigel Ferrington has created his own small piece of history after becoming the first chess player to retain the Shrewsbury Town Championship title. Ferrington has won this year's tournament with a round to spare after defeating Shrewsbury's David Everington in round four - meaning even if he loses his final round game and is caught by any of the chasing pack he would be the champion on tiebreak. A clean sweep of five consecutive victories is also in Ferrington's reach for the second year in a row. His victory over Everington was his 10th win in a row in the tournament in a run stretching back to 2011, and he has not lost since a round three defeat two years ago - against Everington.
There is still an almighty scramble to see who will clinch the runner-up spot behind Ferrington. Jamie Hopkins and Francis Best of Shrewsbury and Telepost's Phil Zabocki and Keith Tabner are all on 3/4 going into the final round, while Everington is on 2.5/4.
The grading prize for players graded under 140 is yet to be decided, with a number of players in the middle of the pack in the running. Tournament controller Keith Tabner is expected to make the draw for the final round shortly, while there are still five matches in round four to be completed. The tournament's tiebreak system is set on a sum of progressive scores, which favours players who win matches in earlier rounds. As Ferrington has reached four points first, his sum of scores will be higher than anyone else if he is caught and he would therefore be champion should he lose in the final round.
| Shrewsbury Town Championship update - 15/07/2013
Telepost's Nigel Ferrington has become the favourite to retain his Shrewsbury Town Championship title after a number of his closest rivals dropped key points.
Ferrington, who became the first Telepost chess player to lift the trophy last season since the competition started in 2010, has won his first three matches. He currently shares the lead with four players - who have all played a game more than him - in the five-round competition. And with the tie-break set to be decided by a sum of progressive scores, victory with the white pieces against Shrewsbury's David Everington in round four would almost certainly secure the trophy.
It would mark a successful end for a difficult season for Telepost's top board Ferrington, who has seen his grading slip by 18 points to fall below the 200 mark in the latest published list and was helpless to stop his Telepost A side being pipped to the Shropshire Chess League division one title by a resurgent Newport A.
Shrewsbury's Jamie Hopkins, who is bidding to win an unprecedented hat trick of individual titles after his Shropshire Individual and Shrewsbury Club Championship triumphs - has seen his challenge derailed by consecutive draws against clubmate Everington and Telepost's Phil Zabrocki. Hopkins, Zabrocki, Francis Best - who lost to Ferrington in round three - and Keith Tabner all have 3/4 while Everington has 2.5/3. Of the rest of the field, Shrewsbury's Matthew Best and Telepost's Kate Walker both have 2/3.
The tournament, held over the summer months for members of the Shrewsbury and Telepost clubs, has 21 competitors this season and is expected to finish in September. It is run as a Swiss tournament, meaning each player's draw is determined by their results in previous rounds.
| Best season yet for Matthew - 08/07/2013
Shrewsbury B captain Matthew Best has capped a fabulous season by securing the highest grade increase of any chess player in Shropshire. Teenager Best, who won 11 and lost just two of the 18 Shropshire Chess League games he played for Shrewsbury's A and B teams last season, has seen his rating rise by 34 points since January to 147 - making him the sixth strongest player at the club.
He particularly hit the gas after Christmas - winning eight of his 11 league matches and suffering just one defeat. But he still has work to do to gain top billing in his family - his dad Francis has a 21 point lead over him in the new grading list despite a four point drop to 168.
Best's clubmate Jamie Hopkins also has reason to celebrate after becoming Shropshire's third highest ranked player. Hopkins, who enjoyed a successful first term as Shrewsbury A captain and won both the Shropshire Individual and Shrewsbury Club championships, saw his grade rise by two to 193, placing him behind Newport duo Thomas Pym (217) and Nick Rutter (197).
Nigel Ferrington remains Telepost's highest graded player despite an 18 point drop from 204 to 186, closely followed by his club captain Richard Bryant (184) and Phil Zabrocki (175).
Trevor Brotherton has cemented his position as Church Stretton's highest graded player and is now joint fourth in Shropshire after a six point rise to 191. Graham Shepherd, who is registered with both Church Stretton and Telford-based club Priorslee Lions, saw his grade rise by 17 points to 146.
Individual grades, which are now published by the English Chess Federation every six months, are used to give an approximate level of a player's strength and are used as a basis for board order in team matches. In the Shropshire Chess League, players within 10 points of each other can be played in any order in a team at the captain's discretion, but otherwise players must play in grade order.
Meanwhile, a number of Shrewsbury, Telepost and Church Stretton players helped Shropshire's U140 team become national champions by beating Kent 9-7 in the final played at Warwick. Telepost's Peter Crean won his game while Shrewsbury duo Ivor Salter and Ian Davies and Church Stretton's Graham Shepherd picked up draws as the county side roared back from an early 4-1 deficit to win the trophy.
| Proposed new rapidplay tournament - 26/07/2013
A new rapidplay chess league could be brought in for the start of the new Shropshire Chess League season, it has been revealed.
Under the proposals, teams would play reduced length matches with either 20 or 30 minutes thinking time per player, compared to the one hour 35 minutes in the regular league.
The idea was put forward by Shrewsbury's Matt Best at the annual general meeting of Shropshire Chess Association. It was hoped the new competition would run alongside the current league season, but it is now expected that dedicated nights would be held every six weeks for competing teams to play a number of matches.
Best said the idea of the new rapidplay league had been devised in a bid to provide more opportunities in for players in the county to play competitive chess. He said team captains would have until July 31 to make suggestions for how the league would be run and added a deadline for entries had been set for August 31.
It comes after a rule change was brought in at the SCA AGM hardening the association's stance on players playing for different clubs in different divisions of the Shropshire Chess League.
Best said: “For some people there is not enough chess, while for others the amount on offer is perfect. This will be something different for those who want to play more. “I had hoped it would run alongside the league season, but after discussions at the AGM I think it would be more likely for nights to be set aside where teams would play a number of matches at one venue.
“I am not expecting to get enough teams for multiple divisions - I think there will probably be six or seven to start with although I would like more. But if we do get enough teams I would probably split divisions on existing placings in the regular league.
“The teams don't have to stick to current clubs. If there are individual players from clubs without a team there is nothing stopping them coming together to make their own team for the rapidplay league.”
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| Jamie Hopkins shines - 28/06/2013
Shrewsbury's Jamie Hopkins has capped a memorable season by being named Shropshire's county chess champion - his second piece of silverware in the space of three weeks.
Hopkins beat Telepost captain Richard Bryant in the final round of the Shropshire Individual Championship to finish on 5.5/7, pipping defending champion Nick Rutter to the title on tiebreak. He has also won Shrewsbury Club Championship after victory over Mark Smith in the final round. He scored 4.5/5, finishing half a point clear of David Everington who could only draw with the black pieces against Francis Best in the final round. It caps a fabulous year for Hopkins, who has lost just once in 25 matches since last August - a defeat to Newport's Rutter in the final league game of the season which denied him an unbeaten record in his first season as Shrewsbury A captain. He could yet make it an unprecedented treble - he is one of the top seeds for Shrewsbury Town Championship, which is being played throughout the summer months.
Hopkins had to face an agonising wait to be confirmed as county champion, eventually coming out on top after entering the final round as one of four players in contention.
The two games involving the top four were played at the same time at Shrewsbury Chess Club. Tournament leader Trevor Brotherton was beaten by Rutter, leaving Hopkins and Bryant knowing the winner of their game would take the title. The game was adjourned at the end of the evening with Hopkins holding a two pawn advantage in a queen ending, and Bryant resigned three days later without playing in. It is the third time Hopkins has won the county individual - he previously lifted the trophy in 2002 and shared the title with Brotherton in 2008.
Hopkins said: “I have had some good years in the past where I have been involved in teams which have won trophies and but this is certainly up there for me as one of the best seasons I have had. I'm really pleased. “I lost to Telepost's Nigel Ferrington in August last year in the town championship but since then I have only lost once and that was to Nick in the final league game of the season.” Hopkins was presented with the Shropshire Individual Championship trophy by tournament controller Rutter at the Redwoods Centre on Friday (June 21).
Meanwhile, Telepost A saw their season end on a disappointing note when they were beaten 3.5-0.5 by Newport A in the final of the Cox Trophy, played at Shrewsbury Chess Club on Friday. Ferrington drew with Rutter on top board but a full-strength Newport side cleaned up on the remaining boards. Thomas Pym beat Phil Zabrocki on board two, Gavyn Cooper was victorious against John Bashall on board three and Nathanael Paul triumphed over Keith Tabner on bottom board. It enabled Newport to complete a league and cup double having already beaten Telepost A to the Shropshire Chess League division one title - the first time the east Shropshire side had won the league since 2007.
In the minor Knockout, Shrewsbury B's hopes of silverware were dashed when they lost 3-1 against Ludlow. Ivor Salter beat Richard Woodley on bottom board but Norman O'Connor, Mark Smith and captain Matt Best all lost. Ludlow have since lost the final against tournament favourites Wellington A 3-1.
| Successful few weeks for Telepost - 13/06/2013
They've won silverware and reached the final of another knockout competition - it has been a successful few weeks for Shropshire Chess League heavyweights Telepost A.
The Abbey Foregate-based outfit triumphed in the Shropshire Quickplay Championships, seeing off Church Stretton 4.5-0.5 in the final. Richard Bryant's side are also through to the final of the Cox Trophy after a 3-1 triumph at Shifnal and Telford A in the semi final thanks to wins for Nigel Ferrington, John Bashall and Noel Kiffin.
And they will be gunning for revenge against a Newport A side who beat them to the Shropshire Chess League division one title. Telepost will start the final, which will be held at Shrewsbury Chess Club on June 21, as slight underdogs but will be confident going into the match against a side they did beat earlier in the season.
Telepost didn't have it their own way during the quickplay championships, losing twice in the group stage including a 4-1 loss against the Stretton side they eventually beat in the final. They needed to win a playoff against arch-rival Shrewsbury A to reach the semi-finals - after which they didn't look back.
It has been a case of so near and yet so far for Shrewsbury A. As well as the playoff defeat during the quickplay championships, they agonisingly lost their Cox Trophy semi-final at Newport A on board count after a 2-2 draw. David Everington beat Tony Holdford on board three while Jamie Hopkins drew with the county's top player Nick Rutter and Dan Lockett held Chris Lewis on bottom board. But Francis Best was outplayed by Nathanael Paul on board two for what ultimately turned out to be the decisive result.
Meanwhile, the Shropshire Individual Championship will be decided tomorrow, Friday, at Shrewsbury Chess Club - with four players still in with a chance of winning the title. Leebotwood-based Trevor Brotherton, who plays for Shifnal & Telford, leads the field by half a point and will be crowned champion if he avoids defeat with the black pieces against Rutter.
But if he slips up, the winner of the game between Hopkins and Bryant would have a chance to take the title. Both matches will be played at the Redwoods Centre from 7.30pm.
Two of the area's chess clubs have merged ahead of the start of the 2013/14 season. Church Stretton Chess club has merged with Condover, which has been a club aimed at social players only, and the new club will be known as Condover and Church Stretton. They will play their matches on Tuesday evenings at Condover Social Club and hope to enter two teams in the Shropshire Chess League next season. Telepost's Nigel Ferrington will play a 12-board simultaneous display to launch the new club on September 17. Any prospective new members should contact Steve Rooney on (01694) 723724 or John Casewell on (01743) 871172
| League crown slipping away - 04/04/2013
Telepost A will launch one final bid to retain their Shropshire Chess League crown - and avoid an unwanted piece of history.
Richard Bryant's side will go into their final two league fixtures of the season knowing they could win both games and still miss out on the title - despite dropping just three points all season. Until the past three years traditionally 22 points from a possible 28 has been enough to win division one.
If Telepost beat Shifnal and Telford A and B they will finish the season on 25. They remain a point behind league leaders Newport A, who have won 10 straight matches since being beaten by Telepost A in early October.
The Abbey Foregate side will travel to Woodside on Wednesday (April 10) to face Shifnal and Telford A before returning on April 24 to face the already relegated Shifnal and Telford B. And they will be hoping for a favour from town rivals Shrewsbury A, who host Newport A in the final match of the season.
The bar has been set higher than usual in recent years - two years ago Shrewsbury A won the title with 27 points after winning 13 and drawing one of their games and last year Telepost A won 13 games and lost one to claim the crown with 26 points.
Meanwhile, Church Stretton A have moved into the top half of division one after a bonus 5-0 default win over Shifnal and Telford B, who failed to raise a team. Steve Rooney's side must beat fellow relegated side Telepost B in their final match in a bid to hold on to a place in the top four.
| Convincing win for Shrewsbury A - 28/03/2013
Shrewsbury A have all but secured a top three finish in division one of the Shropshire Chess League for the sixth successive year after a convincing 4-1 win over midtable Priorslee Lions A.
Wins for Dan Lockett, David Everington and Mark Smith led the Shelton-based side to victory - leaving them needing one point from their last two matches to guarantee a third place finish. Should Hopkins' side finish the job it will be the ninth time in the past 10 seasons Shrewsbury have finished in the top three - a run which has seen two league titles won along with three runners-up and four third place finishes. Lockett gave Shrewsbury the need with a win over Andy Tunks on board four, and Everington doubled the lead by gaining revenge for a defeat against Steve Tarr on the opening day of the season by securing victory in their clash on board three. And the match was sealed when Mark Smith won against Gary White on bottom board.
But the two most entertaining games were on the top two boards. Shrewsbury captain Jamie Hopkins was in serious danger of losing his unbeaten record for the season against William Bates on top board and spent the whole night on the defensive, managing to hang on for a draw despite almost running out of time in a difficult position. Francis Best had chances to win against Glyn Pugh on board two, only to let a material advantage slip and wriggle out of a bad position in a time scramble to draw.
It was a good week for the Shrewsbury club as the B team picked up their best result of the season by beating division two champions elect Wellington A 3-2 in their own back yard. Matt Best's side has endured a difficult season but after a recent upturn in form have now almost secured a top half finish - and the win at Wellington represented a major upset. Best got his side off to a flier with victory over Dele Ogundipe on board four and Ian Davies doubled the advantage by beating Martin Walsh on bottom board. The hosts came back into the match after Mark Smith was beaten by Colin Roberts on top board, but a famous win for the visitors was sealed when Norman O'Connor triumphed over Colin Mace on board three. Ivor Salter lost to the higher-rated Toby Neal on board two, but it was no more than a consolation for the home side.
Telepost C have also confirmed their place in division two for next season after a 2.5-2.5 draw away to relegation-threatened Shifnal and Telford C. Vinnie Crean beat Jason Kenderdine on board two and John Westhead won against Roger Brown on board three, but Peter Crean lost to Richard Szwajkun on top board and John Casewell was defeated by Steve Szwajkun on bottom board, Charles Micallef drew with Tim Skidmore on board four. The result leaves Telepost C three points clear of the drop zone with one game left and means Shifnal and Telford C can only escape the drop by beating fellow strugglers Ludlow in a crunch final-day relegation decider.
In division three, Shrewsbury C have slipped out of the promotion places after they were left without a game and two of their rivals picked up points. Oswetsry A reclaimed top spot by winning 3-1 at struggling Telepost D. For Telepost Alan Cliff drew with Ashley Peile on board two and Kate Waloker shared the spoils with Ron Thomson on board three, but Shane Sweeney and Dean Pinnington lost their games. Wellington B claimed second spot with a 2-2 draw at fellow promotion challengers Newport D - although Shrewsbury C have a game in hand. Ian Davies's Shrewsbury side face a trip to league leaders Oswestry A in their next match before ending the season with another journey to north Shropshire to face midtable Oswestry B.
| Telepost B are relegated - 21/03/2013
Telepost B have been relegated from division one of the Shropshire Chess League after a disastrous 5-0 defeat in their crunch trip to mid-table Priorslee Lions A.
Matthew Clark's side travelled to Telford knowing they needed to avoid defeat to maintain their bid to stay in the top flight after a difficult season. But they were overwhelmed by their hosts and failed to trouble the scorers on the night. Noel Kiffin lost to William Bates on top board, Clark was defeated by Glyn Pugh in the battle of the captains on board two, and John Westhead was beaten by Steve Tarr on board three. Charles Micallef lost to Andy Tunks on board four and John Casewell was beaten by Gary White on bottom board. The result leaves Telepost B - who won division two last season - four points adrift of sixth-placed Church Stretton but with a vastly inferior points difference which they cannot overhaul over the final two games.
Clubmates Telepost A kept the pressure up on leaders Newport A with a convincing 4.5-0.5 win over Church Stretton. Top board Nigel Ferrington was held to a draw by Stretton captain Steve Rooney, but the Abbey Foregate side cleaned up on the remaining boards against their under-strength visitors. Richard Bryant beat John Whittaker on board two, John Bashall won against Graham Shepherd on board three, Keith Tabner was victorious against Francis Rooney on board four and Peter Crean defeated Chris Pimm-Jones on bottom board.
Shrewsbury A kept up their bid to secure a top three finish with a tense 3-2 win away to rock bottom Shifnal and Telford B - a result which confirmed the hosts' relegation. David Everington won a piece in the endgame to defeat Richard Szwajkun on board two to give the visitors the lead only for Dan Lockett's loss to Jason Kenderdine on board four to level the scores. But within moments Shrewsbury were back ahead. Peter Kitchen - who had declared himself unavailable for the rest of the season after becoming a father in January but answered an SOS from captain Jamie Hopkins to play - avenged a defeat earlier in the season against Stefan Tennant by emerging victorious from their clash on board three. It turned out to be the winner after Mark Smith rescued a draw in a difficult ending against Steve Szwajkun on bottom board while Hopkins - who enjoyed much the better of his game against Toby Neal on top board - was forced to settle for a draw after failing to find a win in a complicated endgame with time running out.
Shrewsbury A will face Priorslee Lions A at the Redwoods Centre tomorrow (Fri) in a match which is likely to go a long way to decide who will finish third in the division.
In division three Shrewsbury C's fairytale season continued as they moved top of the table for the first time after clinching their fifth win in six matches away to Shgifnal and Telford D. The struggling hosts could only field two players due to late withdrawals, and Shrewsbury duly sealed a 3.5-0.5 win thanks to wins for captain Ian Davies over Brian Malone on board two and Andrew Lewis sharing the spoils with Roger Brown on top board.
Davies' side must travel to title rivals Oswestry A - who have a game in hand - on April 8 and still have plenty of work over the final two games to seal promotion with both Wellington B and Newport D close behind in a four-way title race.
In division two Shrewsbury B have finally secured their safety after a 4.5-0.5 win over struggling Ludlow. Ed Goodwin beat Whittaker on top board, Smith won against Richard Woodley on board two and Ivor Salter secured a victory over Alan Wright on board three. Norman O'Connor beat Paul Munday on board four but the visitors averted a whitewash after Shrewsbury captain Matthew Best was held by Keith Thompson on bottom board.
It wasn't a good week for Ludlow as they also went down 4-1 at home to Shrewsbury's town rivals Telepost C. Peter Crean, Westhead and Casewell won their games, while Vinnie Crean drew with Woodley on board two and Charles Micallef shared the spoils with Thompson on board four. The result means Telepost C only have to avoid defeat away to Shifnal and Telford C in their next match to confirm their place in division two for next season.
|Shock loss put B team in danger of the drop - 14/03/2013
Shrewsbury B suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat against lowly Shifnal and Telford C to leave themselves mired in a relegation dogfight in division two of the Shropshire chess League.
Matt Best's side went into the match knowing a win would virtually guarantee their safety after a difficult season. But the under-strength hosts were well beaten by their visitors, who gave themselves a boost in the battle to stay up despite remaining second from bottom in the league table. Shrewsbury's top board Mark Smith lost to Richard Szwajkun on top board before Fred Harris was beaten by Brian Malone on bottom two to give Shifnal and Telford a shock 2-0 lead. Andrew Lewis pulled one back with a win over Steve Szwajkun on board four but the game was up when Norman O'Connor let a promising position slip against Roger Brown on board two to lose. Best got a consolation for the hosts by beating Tim Skidmore on board three, but it was not enough to rescue a point.
Shrewsbury remain fourth in the table but are now just two points clear of Shifnal and Telford in the final relegation spot. The Redwoods Centre outfit do have two games in hand on a number of their relegation rivals.
Telepost C secured a vital win in their bid to stay up by beating rock bottom Priorslee Lions C 4-1 away. With Shifnal and Telford C beating Shrewsbury B, the Abbey Foregate side would have dropped into the relegation zone with a defeat. But they ran out convincing winners on the night thanks to victories for Peter Crean, Vinnie Crean, Charles Micallef and John Casewell. John Westhead's loss to Alan Shaw on board three was the only blemish on a fine team performance. Telepost C are now fifth in the table, one point clear of the drop zone with a game in hand on Shifnal and Telford C.
In division three, Telepost D's difficult season continued as they were well beaten 4-0 by promotion-chasing visitors Wellington B. Shane Sweeney, Alan Cliff, Kate Walker and Gordon Lyon all lost their games. And Wellington's victory enabled them to leapfrog Shrewsbury C into second place - the final promotion spot - with three games left to play.
Shrewsbury C were last night (Wed) due to travel to struggling Shifnal and Telford D and promotion rivals Wellington B and Newport D were also due to face teams in the middle and lower reaches of the table.
| Tabner stars in local derby - 07/03/2013
Keith Tabner's victory over Dan Lockett in the decisive final game helped Telepost A to their first Shropshire Chess League double over town rivals Shrewsbury A for five years - and kept the pressure on leaders Newport A in the division one title race.
Tabner won the bottom board match in a frantic finish to secure a tense 3-2 victory for the visitors at the Redwoods Centre. It leaves Telepost a point adrift of Newport - who travel to third-placed Shrewsbury on the final day of the season - with both sides having three games to play.
But the result was tough on a Shrewsbury side which had fought back from the disappointment of David Everington's defeat against John Bashall on board four to draw level thanks to Francis Best's fine win over Telepost captain Richard Bryant on board two. Ed Goodwin had earlier secured a draw on his home debut against Telepost's Phil Zabrocki on board three, while Shrewsbury captain Jamie Hopkins and Nigel Ferrington shared the spoils on top board.
Bryant said: “I think we were a bit lucky to win - we are two evenly matched sides and perhaps a draw would have been a fairer result. But it was a win and that was the main thing. “We don't have any control over the title - all we can do is keep winning our games and hope Newport falter. They still have to play Shrewsbury, but at the moment I think their ‘goal average' is better than ours. “Francis Best had a very god night against me - he played really well.”
Hopkins praised Best for his win, and said the team was now focussed on trying to secure a top three finish with both Newport and Telepost well clear at the top of the table.
Church Stretton continued their fine start to 2013 with a 4.5-0.5 win away to an under-strength Shifnal and Telford A side. The hosts were missing their regular top three boards and were no match for Steve Rooney's slick visitors. Trevor Brotherton, John Whittaker, Graham Shepherd and Francis Rooney all won their games, and Stretpon were denied the whitewash when Rooney was held to a draw by Simon Maydew on board two.
Telepost B were unable to stop the Newport A juggernaut as they fell to a 3.5-1.5 defeat - keeping them in deep trouble in the relegation zone. John Westhead claimed the scalp of Tony Holdford on board four and Charles Micallef drew with Chris Paul on bottom board as the hosts made a fight of it. But Newport were too strong on the top three boards - Noel Kiffin lost to Nick Rutter on top board, Matthew Clark was beaten by Gavyn Cooper on board two and Vinnie Crean went down to Nathanael Paul on board three.
In division three, Shrewsbury C captain Ian Davies was his side's saviour as a fine finish in an endgame following a spectacular attack against Steve Szwajkun rescued a point for his side against Newport D - and kept them in the hunt for promotion. Davies' won in superb style on board two to tie the match at 2-2, keeping Shrewsbury C in second place in the division and a point clear of their opponents. Earlier Fred Harris was beaten by junior Lewis Clarke on bottom board to give the visitors the lead, and despite Eric Inglis' victory over Steve Cooper on board three levelling the scores Newport had gone back ahead through Richard Szwajkun's win over Andrew Lewis on top board.
| Major setback for Telepost A - 07/02/2013
Telepost A have suffered a major setback in their bid to retain their Shropshire Chess League crown after losing their top-of-the-table clash against title rivals Newport A.
The Abbey Foregate side were beaten 3.5-1.5 at home - losing top spot in the table to their visitors in the process. It came despite Telepost captain Richard Bryant defeating one of Shropshire's top players Nick Rutter for the second time this season. Bryant was also due to face Rutter this week in the Shropshire Individual in a bid to complete an unlikely hat trick of victories.
Telepost had looked good early on - but a dramatic turnaround on bottom board helped Newport take the lead. Keith Tabner had been material up against Tony Holdford, but got caught out and checkmated. Bryant equalised with his convincing win over Rutter, but Nigel Ferrington lost his big clash with Tom Pym on top board and Telepost were unable to fight back again. John Bashall drew with Nathanael Paul on board four and Phil Zabrocki - needing a win to save a point - lost in a time scramble against Gavyn Cooper on board three.
Bryant said: “I was delighted to beat Nick - last time I felt I was a bit lucky but this time I really felt like I won the game rather than him losing it. “I had been very optimistic but Keith, who had been winning, got checkmated and it just didn't happen for us. “It is out of our hands now and it is not a nice feeling having to rely on other people doing you a favour. But there are still many games left and there are many teams capable of taking points off Newport.”
Shrewsbury A struck a key blow in the race for third place by beating fellow mid-table outfit Shifnal & Telford A 3.5-1.5. Both sides were below strength, with Shrewsbury captain Jamie Hopkins ruled out through illness and Dan Lockett unavailable. The visitors were without big hitters John Footner and Nazif Nazif and were forced to call up lower division players to plug the gaps. But once Peter Kitchen recovered from losing a pawn early on to beat Windsor Peck convincingly on board three Shrewsbury never looked in danger. Matt Best extended the lead by beating Tim Skidmore in a king and pawn endgame on bottom board. Two quick draws sealed the match in Shrewsbury's favour - David Everington was held by a resilient Richard Gillespie on board two and Francis Best put in a solid showing to draw with Dave Gostelow on top board. Mark Smith and Stefan Tennant shared the spoils on board four.
Telepost B drew 2.5-2.5 away to fellow strugglers Shifnal & Telford B - a result that did little for either side's slim hopes of avoiding the drop. Telepost's top boards Noel Kiffin and Peter Crean lost to Simon Maydew and Windsor Peck, but Vinnie Crean beat Roger Brown on board four and John Westhead won against Tim Skidmore on bottom board. Matthew Clark and Stefan Tennant drew on board three.
Both sides are three points adrift of Church Stretton, who picked up a useful point at Priorslee Lions A. Trevor Brotherton beat William Bates on top board but Steve Rooney lost the battle of the captains against Glyn Pugh on board two and John Whittaker was beaten by Jim O'Neil on board three. Graham Shepherd won against Andy Tunks on board four and Francis Rooney drew with John Tunks on bottom board.
| So close in top-of-the-table battle - 14/12/2012
Shrewsbury A were left wondering what might have been after slipping to a 3.5-1.5 defeat away to Shropshire Chess League division one title challengers Newport A. Jamie Hopkins' side gave their star-studded hosts a strong game but ultimately came up short and have slipped to fourth in the table going into the Christmas break. Defeats for Francis Best against Tom Pym on board two and for stand-in Ivor Salter on bottom board against Tony Holdford were enough to sentence Shrewsbury to defeat. And the visitors were left to rue missed opportunities elsewhere, with both Jamie Hopkins and Dan Lockett having chances to win their games against Nick Rutter and Nathanael Paul on boards one and four but both having to settle for draws. David Everington also drew with Gavyn Cooper on board three.
Hopkins said; “I can't believe I let Nick get away with a draw in my game - I could have won in many ways but a mistake at the very end allowed him to block up the position. But in the context of the match it didn't matter in the end.”
Church Stretton secured some vital breathing space at the foot of the table with a stunning 5-0 win over rock-bottom Telepost B. The result was a huge boost for Steve Rooney's side, who had slipped just a point clear of the bottom two before the game after a poor run of results hindered by key players being unavailable. But for the visitors their hopes of survival now look bleak with just one win all season and a vastly inferior points difference compared to their rivals. Trevor Brotherton beat Noel Kiffin on top board, Rooney defeated Matthew Clark on board two and John Whittaker won against John Westhead on board three. Graham Shepherd was victorious against Charles Micallef on board four and Francis Rooney beat the experienced John Casewell on bottom board.
Telepost A remain a point clear at the top of the table after a routine 4-1 win over struggling Shifnal and Telford B. Nigel Ferrington beat the in-form Richard Thompson on top board and further wins for Phil Zabrocki over Windsor Peck on board three and for Westhead against Tim Skidmore on bottom board sealed the victory. Captain Richard Bryant drew with Simon Maydew on board two and Vinnie Crean drew with Stefan Tennant on board four.
In division three Telepost D are now a point adrift at the bottom of the table after a heavy 4-0 defeat away to Oswestry B.
| Mark Smith stars for Shrewsbury B - 07/12/2012
Shrewsbury B have slipped deeper into trouble at the foot of division two of the Shropshire Chess League - despite a brave fight against title favourites Wellington A. Mark Smith's outstanding win over Colin Roberts on top board - making up a 38 point grading difference - proved in vain for the hosts as they were edged out 3-2. The result leaves Matt Best's side sixth in the division and just two points outside the relegation zone after four defeats in their opening sis matches.
Shrewsbury fell behind when Francis Rooney lost to Ken Hickmott on bottom board, and despite Best rescuing a draw from a difficult position against John Lenton on board four the home side were soon two down when Norman O'Connor dropped a piece against Richard Gillespie on board three. Shrewsbury rallied against Wellington's star players Roberts and Toby Neal - who would both walk in into any division one side based on their gradings - but were unable to claw back the deficit. Ivor Salter defended strongly against Neal's dangerous attack on board two but had to force a draw to avoid defeat, meaning Smith's victory in a time scramble on top board was not enough. Captain Best said his side had been outgraded on every board and had come very close towards securing a result. But life will not get any easier for Shrewsbury B, who travel to a table-topping Priorslee Lions B side which has won all five of its fixtures so far in their final match before the Christmas break.
Meanwhile Telepost C have secured some welcome breathing space from the bottom two after a crucial 3-2 win at home to relegation-threatened Shifnal and Telford C. Wins for Vinnie Crean over Roger Brown on board two and for John Westhead against Andy Jones on board three helped the Abbey Foregate men to a victory that leaves them in the top half of the table and three points clear of the drop zone. Elsewhere Peter Crean drew with Richard Szwajkun on top board and Charles Micallef drew with Tim Skidmore on board four, but John Casewell lost to Steve Szwajkun on bottom board. Telepost C will host Wellington A in their final game before Christmas.
Meanwhile, four players representing Shrewsbury, Telepost and Church Stretton featured in Shropshire's narrow 8.5-7.5 defeat away to Derbyshire in the MCCU U140 Championship. Shrewsbury's Ivor Salter won his game against Michael Boreham on board nine and clubmate Ian Davies drew with Ivor Rees on board 14. But Church Stretton's Graham Shepherd lost to Roger Walker on board four and Telepost's John Westhead suffered the same fate against Graham Pace on board 11. The result leaves Shropshire in third place in the seven team competition, with the top two set to go through to the national knockout stages.
| Telepost A lose their 100% record - 30/11/2012
Telepost A have seen their lead a the top of division one of the Shropshire Chess League cut to a single point after being held to a 2.5-2.5 draw at home to Shifnal and Telford A. The result ended Telepost's 100 per cent record after five straight wins, while title rivals Newport A were able to close the gap after a convincing 4-1 win away to mid table Priorslee Lions A. Nigel Ferrington and Richard Bryant both secured victories over Dave Gostelow and John Footner on the top two boards, but the visitors hit back through Nazif Nazif who defeated Noel Kiffin on board three and Windsor Peck who beat Vinnie Crean on bottom board. Keith Tabner and Richard Gillespie drew their game on board four. The Abbey Foregate side will now be hoping town rivals Shrewsbury A will be able to do them a favour when they travel to Newport next week in the final round of fixtures before the Christmas break.
At the other end of the table, Church Stretton have slipped into a relegation battle after losing their crunch clash away to Shifnal and Telford B 3.5-1.5. The hosts had lost all five of their first matches, but had served notice of their improvements by pushing Shrewsbury A hard the previous week. And they clinched their first points of the season and moved off the bottom of the table thanks to Peck's victory over Graham Shepherd on board three and a bottom board default by the visitors. Elsewhere Stretton's Trevor Brotherton beat the in-form Richard Thompson on top board, but captain Steve Rooney was held to a draw by Simon Maydew on board two and his son Francis lost to Richard Szwajkun on board four.
Shrewsbury A moved up to third in the table after a 5-0 win over town rivals Telepost B, who now prop up the division. The visitors were significantly under-strength and proved no match for Jamie Hopkins' side. David Everington was the only Shrewsbury player to encounter serious difficulties - but he took advantage of a slip by Charles Micallef to win on board three and open the scoring. Peter Kitchen doubled the advantage by beating Shane Sweeney on board four, and Francis Best sealed the match by defeating John Westhead on board three. Dan Lockett ground out a win over Dean Pinnigton on bottom board for his first win for the A team this season and Hopkins triumphed over his opposite number Matthew Clark to complete the whitewash.
In division three Shrewsbury C beat a struggling Shifnal and Telford D side which only arrived at the Redwoods Centre with two players. With his team starting the match 2-0 up, captain Ian Davies agreed a quick draw with Tim Skidmore on board two to seal the tie in Shrewsbury's favour. But Andrew Lewis lost on time to Roger Brown on top board despite outplaying his opponent for much of the game. The result moves Shrewsbury up to third in the table, but there are fears Shifnal and Telford D may soon be forced to withdraw from the league which could see the result expunged from the records.
| A huge scare for Shrewsbury A - 23/11/2012
Shrewsbury A returned to winning ways and moved back into the top half of division one of the Shropshire Chess League - but only after being given a huge scare by rock bottom Shifnal and Telford B. The top boards came good for the Redwoods Centre-based side, with captain Jamie Hopkins, Francis Best and David Everington all chalking up victories in a 3-2 win. But despite Everington's win over Richard Szwajkun on board three giving Shrewsbury the lead, the hosts fell 2-1 behind before rallying to clinch a much-needed victory.
Fist Peter Kitchen let a winning position slip to lose surprisingly against Stefan Tennant on board four, before a below-par Dan Lockett was beaten by Steve Szwajkun on bottom board. Hopkins defeated the in-form Richard Thompson on top board to level the scores, before Best beat Simon Maydew on board two to complete the turnaround.
Meanwhile top-of-the-table Telepost A showed no mercy in their local derby with an under-strength Church Stretton side, returning back up the A49 with a 4.5-0.5 victory. The result - Telepost's fifth win from five matches this season - was secured thanks to wins for Nigel Ferrington, captain Richard Bryant, Keith Tabner and John Westhead, while Phil Zabrocki drew his game on board three. Stretton, who were missing first-choice players Trevor Brotherton, Karl Wakefield, Tiago Faustino and Gerald Link, remain sixth in the table a point above the drop zone and were due to face an important trip to fellow strugglers Shifnal and Telford B last night (WED).
Telepost B remain in the relegation zone after a heavy 5-0 home defeat at the hands of Priorslee Lions A. At the start of the season this would have been a fixture Matthew Clark's team would have targeted as potentially winnable. But they were no match for their visitors, with Noel Kiffin losing to William Bates on top board and Clark beaten by Glyn Pugh on board two. John Westhead came off second best against Andy Tunks on board three, Charles Micallef lost to Gary White on board four and John Casewell was beaten by George Viszokai on bottom board.
In division two Shrewsbury secured a second successive win to aid their recovery from a poor start to the season by beating struggling Shifnal and Telford C 4-1 away. The returning Mark Smith drew with Richard Szwajkun on top board before Ian Davies beat Brian Malone on bottom board to give the visitors the lead. Captain Matt Best extended the advantage by beating Steve Szwajkun on board four and the points were sealed with Norman O'Connor drew with Andy Jones on board three before Ivor Salter beat Tim Skidmore on board two. The result moved Shrewsbury B into the top half of the table, albeit just two points clear of the relegation zone.
Telepost C also remain in the group of sides just above the drop zone after a disappointing 3-2 home defeat against previously winless Priorslee Lions C. Despite wins for Vinnie Crean and Kate Walker on boards two and four, the hosts fell to defeat thanks to losses for Peter Crean, Shane Sweeney and Dean Pinnington. The visitors had lost their first four games but their victory moved them off the foot of the table.
| Shrewsbury B open their account - 16/11/2012
Telepost A have cemented their position at the top of the Shropshire Chess League by making it four wins out of four with a 3.5-1.5 win at Priorslee Lions A.
Wins for Nigel Ferrington, Phil Zabrocki and Vinnie Crean were enough for the Abbey Foregate side to see off their spirited hosts and maintain their 100 per cent record - despite a surprise defeat for in-form captain Richard Bryant against his opposite number Glyn Pugh on board two. And with matches to come against teams in the lower half of the table Bryant will be confident his side can continue their winning run.
But the defending champions already have fellow title challengers Newport A breathing down their necks after they swept aside Telepost B 5-0. For Telepost A, Ferrington beat Will Bates on top board, Zabrocki won against Andy Tunks on board three and Crean was victorious over George Viszokai on bottom board. Keith Tabner drew with Gary White on board four.
An under-strength Telepost B were unable to halt super-strong Newport's march and succumbed to a whitewash. Matthew Clark lost to Nick Rutter on bottom board, John Westhead was beaten by Thomas Pym on board two and Charles Micallef came off second best against Gavyn Cooper on board three. John Casewell and Dean Pinnington lost their games against Nathanael Paul and Tony Holdford on the bottom two boards, leaving Telepost B in the bottom two.
In division two, Shrewsbury B picked up their first win of the season with a convincing 4.5-0.5 win away to fellow strugglers Priorlslee Lions C. Both sides went into the match having lost their first three matches, but the hosts were no match for Matthew Best's side who secured a much needed victory. Ivor Salter won swiftly on board two and debutant Ed Goodwin beat John Tunks on top board to double the lead. Andrew Lewis drew with Simon O'Dell on bottom board before Norman O'Connor won a lively game against Alan Shaw on board three and Best won a complicated ending on board four against Matt Reynolds.
In division three, Shrewsbury C slipped to a 2.5-1.5 defeat away to unbeaten league leaders Newport D. Andrew Lewis won on board two and Eric Inglis drew on board three, but Ian Davies and Tony Purser lost their games.
Telepost D also lost, going down 3-1 at Wellington B. Dean Pinnington, Gordon Lyon and Brian Holford lost their games and Shane Sweeney won on bottom board.
The results leave Shrewsbury C fourth in the league with four points, two points clear of Telepost D who lie at the bottom of a congested table.
|Local derby win for Telepost - 09/11/2012
Telepost A claimed the local derby bragging rights and returned to the top of division one of the Shropshire Chess League after a 3.5-1.5 victory over town rivals Shrewsbury A.
Captain Richard Bryant led by example with a convincing victory over Peter Kitchen on board two although the hosts were made to sweat when David Everington beat Phil Zabrocki on board three. But Keith Tabner and John Westhead both won hard fought battles against Dan Lockett and Ian Davies on the bottom two boards to turn the match in Telepost's favour, while Nigel Ferrington and Jamie Hopkins drew their game on top board. The result maintains Telepost's 100 per cent start to the season and leaves them in the driving seat in a bid to defend the Shropshire chess League title with wins over two of their closest challengers Newport A and Shrewsbury already under their belts.
It was also Shrewsbury's first defeat of the campaign, although captain Jamie Hopkins was not too disheartened at his team's showing. He said: “It was great to see David Everington back to his best with a clever strategic win against Phillip Zabrocki, who had an excellent season last year. “Telepost were worried for a time, and while it was our first loss of the season it was to a quality outfit. We need to make the most of our next two games against very dangerous B team opposition.”
Church Stretton picked up their first win of the season with an impressive 3.5-1.5 victory over Shifnal and Telford A. John Whittaker picked up the key victory over Richard Gillespie on board three and the visitors were forced to default bottom board. Trevor Brotherton, Steve Rooney and Graham Shephered all drew their games.
In division two Telepost C endured a tough night as they were well beaten 4.5-0.5 away to Newport B. Westhead's draw with Steve Ross on board three averted the whitewash, while Peter and Vinnie Crean, Charles Micallef and John Casewell all lost their games.
In the Four nations Chess League Shrewsbury's Peter Kitchen put in some improved performances without much reward on duty for Celtic Tigers 1 in division three south at the weekend. Having travelled to Wokefield Park near Reading for the matches, Kitchen had to settle for a draw with junior Simon Leung in his side's 4.5-1.5 win over KJCA Knights on Saturday. And the following day he fell to an agonising defeat against higher-rated Stephen Cairns after making a fatal positional slip in time pressure after four hours of play during a 3-3 draw with Sons of Anarchy.
|Telepost A are early leaders - 19/10/2012
Telepost A have laid down a major statement of intent in the battle for the Shropshire Chess League division one title by beating fellow contenders Newport A in their own back yard.
Nigel Ferrington and Richard Bryant both won against super-strong duo Thomas Pym and Nick Rutter to set up a stunning 3.5-1.5 win for the Abbey Foregate side, who have gone top of the embryonic league table as the only side with two wins out of two.
Phil Zabrocki drew with Gavyn Cooper in a game between two players graded over 180 ECF on board three, and despite Peter Crean's defeat to Nathanael Paul on board four Keith Tabner beat Danny Griffiths on bottom board to secure victory for Telepost. It was a fine result for Bryant's side, who have lost the services of Dave Bates for the season.
Bryant said Bates had made himself unavailable to play for the immediate future, while Telepost B may also have to do without Steve Kempsell and Bob Simpson following the club's move from playing on a Tuesday to a Monday night.
Shrewsbury A rescued a draw away to Shifnal & Telford A on an emotional night in Stirchley. The players arrived to discover Shifnal & Telford stalwart Iain Wilson had died just hours earlier following a battle with cancer. The match only started after a heartfelt speech and tribute from the hosts' Richard Thompson - a friend and teammate of Mr Wilson's for the past 30 years - and a minute's silence.
Over the board Peter Kitchen let a promising position slip through poor time management to lose against Nazif Nazif on board three, and although David Everington levelled with a fine attacking performance against Richard Gillespie on board four Thompson put the home side back ahead by beating Dan Lockett on bottom board. Captain Jamie Hopkins defeated Dave Gostelow on top board to draw Shrewsbury level, and Francis Best held a very difficult ending against the experienced John Footner to secure an unlikely draw - Shrewsbury's second in as many away matches.
Church Stretton A got their season up and running with a 2.5-2.5 draw at home to Priorslee Lions A. Trevor Brotherton got the hosts off to a strong start by beating William Bates on top board, but the visitors turned the match around with two victories of their own. Firstly Gary White recovered from being a piece down to beat Gerald Link on bottom board, then Steve Tarr beat Stretton's guest player Ian Judd in a king and pawn ending on board three. John Whittaker drew with Andy Tunks on board four, but captain Steve Rooney levelled the scores by beating Glyn Pugh on board two.
In division two Shrewsbury B have slumped to the foot of the table after an under-strength side lost 3-2 away to Ludlow. Dan Lockett's win over Joe Watson on top board was not enough as Matt Best and Andrew Lewis drew their games and Ivor Salter and the returning Francis Rooney lost.
Telepost C suffered a 3-2 home defeat against early table toppers Priorslee Lions B, with Vinnie Crean and Charles Micallef picking up draws and the visitors defaulting bottom board.
Church Stretton B have been forced to withdraw from division three without playing a game.
| Stunning victory for Matthew Best - 5/10/2012
A spectacular queen sacrifice which helped Matthew Best to a stunning victory was not enough to help Shrewsbury A get their Shropshire Chess League division one campaign off to a winning start.
Best found a clever tactical combination which involved giving up his queen - his strongest piece - to deliver an almost instant checkout against Gary White of Priorslee Lions A on bottom board. It was quite a turnaround for Best, who had been struggling until he found the win.
When top board Jamie Hopkins marked his debut as captain with a win over William Bates, Shrewsbury were cruising at 2-0 up. But the match turned around on the remaining boards. David Everington let a promising position slip to lose against Steve Tarr on board three.
And although Francis Best drew a sharp game against Glyn Pugh on board two, Dan Lockett lost on time to Andy Tunks on board four with his opponent having just seconds to spare himself. Lockett had earlier enjoyed a comfortable edge, but his eventual loss meant the match finished 2.5-2.5.
Hopkins said while he was pleased with how his side had played it had been 'disappointing' to miss out on an opening day win.
Telepost A started their title defence with a comfortable 3-1 win over clubmates Telepost B. The match was played with just four players per side due to unavailablity, and last season's champions came through thanks to wins for Nigel Ferrington, Richard Bryant and Phil Zabrocki.
Charles Micallef replied for the B team with an impressive win over Keith Tabner on board four.
Church Stretton A started their season with a 3.5-1.5 reverse away to a Newport A side expected to make a strong challenge for the title.
Trevor Brotherton and Steve Rooney lost to super-strong duo Nick Rutter and Thomas Pym on the top two boards. John Whittaker held Nathanael Paul to a draw on board three and Graham Shepherd beat Steve Ross on bottom board but Gerald Link was beaten by Chris Lewis on board four.
In division three both Shrewsbury C and Telepost D started the season with 2-2 draws.
Andrew Lewis rescued a point for Shrewsbury against Wellington B by beating Dele Ogundipe on board two. Earlier captain Ian Davies and Eric Inglis lost their matches while Fred Harris won his game on bottom board.
Shane Sweeney's victory over Tim Skidmore on board two helped Telepost D secure a draw against Shifnal and Telford D, aided by a bottom board default by the visitors.
| Flying start for Telepost C - 28/09/2012
Telepost C have got their Shropshire Chess League division two campaign off to a flying start with a crushing derby day victory over town rivals Shrewsbury B.
The Abbey Foregate side defeated their hosts 4-1 to put themselves among the division's early pacesetters. It was a surprise result as the two sides were evenly matched on paper and Telepost C spent much of last season fighting the drop. Father-and-son duo Peter and Vinnie Crean did the damage with wins over Dan Lockett and Mark Smith on the top two boards, while Charles Micallef defeated new Shrewsbury B captain Matt Best on board four. Norman O'Connor and Andrew Lewis prevented further damage with draws on boards three and give against John Westhead and James Kingston respectively.
The derby day victory was a dream start for a Telepost side which spent much of last season fighting relegation. And with many of their opening day line up expected to feature in the club's B team in division one, it could yet prove a valuable two points for the Abbey Foregate outfit.
The result sees Shrewsbury B slip to the bottom of an embryonic league table, and they will make the long trip to Ludlow A on Monday looking to kickstart their season. Telepost C will host fancied Priorslee Lions B on the same night.
New Shrewsbury Town Champion - 30/08/2012
| Major Milestone for Nigel Ferrington - 16/08/2012
Telepost's Nigel Ferrington has reached a major milestone in the chess world by joining the exclusive ‘200 club' in the latest grading list.
Ferrington has seen his ECF rating, which measures playing strength rise 10 points to 201, making him the second strongest player in the county behind Newport's Nick Rutter, whose grade has dropped four points to 204. It marks a fine season for Ferrington, who scored 10/14 on top board as Telepost A reclaimed the Shropshire Chess League division one title from town rivals Shrewsbury A. The Telepost player will also be breathing a sight of relief after a run of two draws and two defeats in his final four games of the season in Shropshire threatened to derail his hopes of reaching the 200 mark. He is now one of just two Shropshire-based players graded over 200 after Newport's Thomas Pym, who was graded 209 on the January list, dropped off the rating list after a period of inactivity.
Ferrington is not the only player with reason to celebrate after clubmate Philip Zabrocki saw his rating rise 12 points to an all-time personal high of 180. Zabrocki scored 10/12 during the league season and was only denied an unbeaten record by defeats to Shrewsbury's Francis Best in the final match of the league season and a loss to Tiago Faustino of Church Stretton in the Cox Trophy.
Faustino has made a major impact since joining Church Stretton in January - and he has shot into the county's top 10 on the new grading list with a first published rating of 176. He won nine and drew four of his 13 games in league and cup action but is now the club's number two player. His teammate Trevor Brotherton also saw his rating rise by nine points to 185.
Jamie Hopkins has cemented his place as Shrewsbury's top ranked player after his rating rose four points to 181, and the club's B team captain Dan Lockett has seen his grade go up by 12 points to 147. But A team captain David Everington has seen his grade drop 18 points to 158 after an inconsistent season.
| Quickplay success for Telepost - 01/06/2012
Telepost A have clinched their second trophy of the season after dramatically winning the final of the Shropshire Quickplay tournament on the last game.
Phil Zabrocki managed to engineer a stalemate in a lost position against Newport A's Gavyn Cooper in the final moments of their board two clash to clinch a 3-2 victory in the final. It came after captain Nigel Ferrington continued his fine recent form by eating Shropshire's top player Nick Rutter on board one and Noel Kiffin beat Chris Lewis on bottom board. New signing for the day William Bates, who usually plays for Priorslee Lions, drew with Nathanael Paul on board three and John Bashall lost to Athar Mehmood on board four.
It comes after Telepost A reclaimed the Shropshire Chess League division one title earlier this year and was achieved without the likes of regular captain Richard Bryant and Dave Bates. Bryant said he was delighted at his team's efforts.
Church Stretton A also enjoyed a successful tournament, reaching the final four and then whitewashing Wellington A 5-0 in the third/fourth place playoff.
But it was a day to forget for Shrewsbury, whose two sides both struggled. Shrewsbury A failed to field a full team for some of the matches and finished second bottom, while Shrewsbury B also failed to make the semi finals. Shrewsbury A captain David Everington said: “It was one of those things - we couldn't compete when we were starting several matches 1-0 down. We are grateful to everyone who turned out for us.” Each team of five played seven matches during the event at Wrekin Housing Trust in Telford and players had 20 minutes each to play all their moves in one game.
| Stretton chase silverware - 25/05/2012
Church Stretton A have the chance to end a successful season with some silverware after reaching the final of the Cox Trophy.
Stretton, who finished mid-table in their first season back in the top flight of the Shropshire Chess League, beat an under-strength Shifnal and Telford A 3-1. They will take on league runners-up Newport A in the final on Tuesday (May 29) at Telepost. Trevor Brotherton beat Iain Wilson on top board, captain Steve Rooney defeated Richard Gillespie on board two and Eric Elwell won against Andy Jones on bottom board, meaning Karl Wakefield's defeat to Windsor Peck on board three was no more than a consolation for the visitors. It was a fine result for Stretton, who were themselves missing Tiago Faustino and Graham Shepherd, and although they will go into the final as underdogs the south Shropshire side did manage to draw with Newport A during the league season.
But it was heartbreak for Shrewsbury A who were eliminated from the competition on bottom board elimination after drawing their semi final 2-2 at Newport. The match hinged on the result on board two, when David Everington resigned with just seconds left on his clock against Gavyn Cooper. But in the frantic final seconds the Shrewsbury captain had missed a move that would almost guarantee checkmate. Elsewhere Jamie Hopkins picked up an impressive draw against Nick Rutter on top board and Dan Lockett played a superb game to beat Chris Lewis on bottom board. Francis Best and Nathanael Paul played out a complex draw on board three.
In the Minor Knockout Telepost Chess Club enjoyed a double whammy over arch rivals Shrewsbury. In the unofficial western half of the draw, tournament favouirtes Telepost B defeated Shrewsbury C 2.5-1.5 at the quarter final stage thanks to wins for John Bashall and Keith Tabner on the top two boards, with Tony Purser replying for division three Shrewsbury C.
But Telepost C caused a shock by beating Shrewsbury B 2.5-1.5. Noel Kiffin beat Mark Smith on top board and John Westhead beat Ian Davies on board three, meaning Norman O'Connor's win over Charles Micallef on board two was in vain. Vinnie Crean and Andrew Lewis drew on bottom board.
The two Telepost sides will face each other in the semi final, with Shifnal and Telford B and Newport B contesting the other semi.
| Stretton spring a surprise in Trophy - 18/05/2012
Church Stretton A have sprung a surprise by dumping Shropshire Chess League champions Telepost A out of this season's Cox Trophy.
Steve Rooney's side drew 2-2 at Abbey Foregate but progressed to a semi final against either Shifnal and Telford A or Wellington A on tie break. Stretton stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to Tiago Faustino's win on board three against Phil Zabrocki and Trevor Brotherton's victory over Nigel Ferrington on top board. The hosts replied through victories for Richard Bryant over Rooney on board two and for Peter Crean over Graham Shepherd on bottom board. But under tie break rules the bottom board result was eliminated, giving Stretton the win.
An under strength Shrewsbury A were pushed hard before beating Ludlow 2.5-1.5. Shrewsbury were without Jamie Hopkins and Peter Kitchen and the outcome was in the balance for much of the night. Captain David Everington drew with Joe Watson on top board and replacements Ian Davies and Matt Best drew their games on the bottom two boards. Francis Best clinched the match for the hosts by beating John Whittaker in the deciding game on board two.
Shrewsbury face a challenging trip to Newport A, who finished second to Telepost A in division one, in the semi finals.
In round one of the Minor Knockout Telepost B beat Oswestry B 3.5-0.5 to set up a county town derby against division three outfit Shrewsbury C in the quarter finals. Steve Kempsell drew with Ron Thomson on top board but Keith Tabner, Matthew Clark and John Casewell all won their games.
For Shrewsbury C it will be a second successive derby as they beat Telepost D 3.5-0.5 in round one. Ian Davies, Eric Inglis and Tony Purser all won their games but Kate Walker averted the whitewash by drawing with Andrew Lewis on board three.
Meanwhile the draw for the first round in Shrewsbury Town Championships has been made. Defending champion David Everington has the black pieces against Ivor Salter while top seed Nigel Ferrington will also have the black pieces against Dan Lockett.
| Ten out of ten for Telepost A - 02/03/2012
Telepost A have put one hand on the Shropshire Chess League division one trophy after chalking up their 10th straight win after beating Newport A in the top-of-the table clash. Victories for Nigel Ferrington over Shropshire's top player Nick Rutter on top board, for captain Richard Bryant over Gavyn Cooper on board two and for the in-form Philip Zabrocki over Chris Lewis on board four were enough to move Telepost three points clear with just three games remaining. The result, which ended their hosts' own seven match winning streak, means Telepost could clinch the league title before facing defending champions Shrewsbury A in the final round of fixtures. Elsewhere Dave Bates became the latest victim of Nathanael Paul's hot streak on board three - Paul has won nine and drawn two of his 11 games for Newport A this season. Peter Crean and Danny Griffiths drew on bottom board.
Church Stretton A have secured their status in the top flight for another season after clinically beating lowly Wellington A 4.5-0.5. The hosts were retaining hopes of carrying off a Great Escape of their own after narrowly missing out on victory against Shrewsbury A last time out. But wins for Trevor Brotherton, Karl Wakefield, Tiago Faustino and Graham Shepherd saw Stretton home comfortably. Captain Steve Rooney drew with Toby Neal on board two.
Shrewsbury A moved back into second place in the division - but were once again unimpressive as they scraped a 3-2 win over relegation-threatened Ludlow. It looked like David Everington's side would pay for missing their chances as they slipped 2-1 behind with two matches to play. Norman O'Connor let a winning ending slip to draw with Ken Thomson on bottom board. And Francis Best, despite building up a commanding position, lost his way in time pressure and suffered a shock defeat against Richard Woodley on board three. Everington drew a quiet game with John Whittaker on board two to leave Ludlow on the brink of victory. Peter Kitchen equalised with a comfortable win over Paul Munday after some tactical fireworks on board four and Jamie Hopkins spared the hosts' blushes by beating Joe Watson in the deciding game on top board.
In division two Telepost C have given themselves a real chance of survival after picking up a second straight win, this time upsetting promotion-chasing Priorslee Lions B 3-2. Noel Kiffin beat Munroe Morrison on top board and Vinnie Crean won against Marvin Carbin on board three. John Westhead lost to Gary White on board four but draws for Charles Micallef and John Casewell meant it wasn't enough for the visitors. Telepost C now lie just a point behind Oswestry A and Priorslee Lions C - who they face in their next two fixtures.
Telepost B have maintained their promotion push after a 4-1 win over Oswestry A. Steve Kempsell, Keith Tabner and Matthew Clark won their games.
Shrewsbury B have kept their outside chance of a top two finish alive after beating Priorslee Lions C away 3.5-1.5. The hosts were the divisions surprise package before Christmas but have fallen away badly since Christmas and Dan Lockett's side took full advantage. Ivor Salter and Andrew Lewis picked up the all-important victories, while Lockett, Mark Smith and Matt Best drew their games.
| Five star Telepost C - 24/02/2012
A five-star showing by Telepost C saw them whitewash relegation rivals Wellington B to move off the bottom of division two of the Shropshire Chess League. John Casewell's side put in their best showing of the season to record a stunning 5-0 away win - only their second victory of the season. Charles Micallef beat Derrick Powell on top board, John Westhead won against James Kaczynski on board two, Noel Kiffin was victorious against Dele Ogundipe on board three and Vinnie Crean beat Martin Walsh on board four. The under-strength hosts defaulted bottom board. It gives the Abbey Foregate side renewed hope in their battle to beat the drop and has also boosted their points difference. But they must still make up a three-point gap to Oswestry A and Priorslee Lions C over the final four games to survive.
At the other end of the table captain Dan Lockett led from the front with a crucial win as his Shrewsbury B side won 3-2 away at Priorslee Lions B to keep their hopes of promotion alive. Lockett beat Graham Shepherd on top board in the only decisive game of a tense match. All the other matches finished as draws, with Norman O'Connor and Eugene Raby sharing the spoils on board two and Ivor Salter and Marvin Carbin agreeing a truce on board three. Andrew Lewis and Gary White drew on board four while teenager Matt Best drew with the experienced George Viszokai on bottom board. Lockett's side are now unbeaten in their last three matches but still lie four points adrift of town rivals Telepost B in the second and final promotion place.
In division three, Church Stretton B picked up their second win of the season to consolidate their mid table position with a 3-1 success at struggling Oswestry B. Tiago Faustino beat Ron Thomson on top board and despite Francis Rooney losing to John Davies on board two victories for Tom Williamson and Jim Carless on the bottom two boards sealed the deal for Stretton. Telepost D remain bottom of the table after losing 3-1 away to promotion chasing Newport C. Shane Sweeney beat Will Gormley on top board but Dean Pinnington, Brian Holford and Gordon Lyon lost their games.
| Telepost A move clear at the top - 17/02/2012
Telepost A have moved a step closer to reclaiming the Shropshire Chess League title after a ninth straight victory moved them three points clear the top of the table. The Abbey Foregate side won 4.5-0.5 away to mid-table Priorslee Lions A, while closest rivals and defending champions Shrewsbury A were held to a surprise 2.5-2.5 draw away to bottom-of-the-table Wellington A.
It has handed Richard Bryant's side the perfect boost ahead of a trip to Newport A next week, who are now their nearest challengers. A win would see Telepost on the brink of the title, which they last won in 2010. Telepost didn't have it all their own way against Priorslee, and were pushed hard on several boards. But wins for Nigel Ferrington, Philip Zabrocki, Peter Crean and Steve Kempsell all won their games, with Bryant's draw with William Bates on board two the only blemish on a near-perfect scorecard.
Shrewsbury A slipped to third in the table by being held at Wellington and are now relying on favours from their rivals to hang on to their crown. Francis Best got Shrewsbury off to a good start with a win over Ken Hickmott on board three but Wellington turned the match around with wins for Toby Neal over David Everington on board two and for James Kuczynski against Norman O'Connor on bottom board. Peter Kitchen hauled Shrewsbury back level with victory over Dele Ogundipe on board four, leaving everything resting on the top board game. Both Jamie Hopkins and Colin Roberts had chances to win in an exciting finale, while Hopkins was also perilously short of time. But the two eventually shared the spoils, a result which in truth does little to help either team. It extends Shrewsbury's poor run of form to one win in four matches, while the result was enough to move the hosts off the bottom of the table despite still searching for their first win of the season. Everington said: “It was a disappointing result but in the end it was a fair one.”
Church Stretton A continue to languish in lower mid-table after a 3.5-1.5 defeat away to Newport A. The match was lost on the top two boards, where Steve Rooney and Karl Wakefield lost to super-strong duo Nick Rutter and Gavyn Cooper. Elsewhere, Tiago Faustino drew with Nathanael Paul on board three, Gerald Link and Chris Lewis shared the spoils on board four and Graham Shepherd drew with Danny Griffiths on bottom board.
In division three, Shrewsbury C won 2.5-1.5 away to Oswestry B thanks to wins for Eric Inglis and Tony Purser on the bottom two boards to move up to third in the table. Telepost D remain bottom of the table after a 3-1 home defeat against promotion contenders Newport B, with Kate Walker maintaining her good run of form with victory on bottom board.
In the Four Nations Chess League Shrewsbury's Peter Kitchen helped Celtic Tigers 2 finally pick up their first win of the season, beating Neil Homer in a 4.5-0.5 win over e2e4.org.uk 5. And former Shrewsbury player Angelica Dean, who moved to Lancaster two years ago, picked up one of the best results of her career by beating Rodney Dixon of Oxford 3, who was graded nearly 50 points above her. Unfortunately her Oldham-based 3Cs 2 team were penalised for defaulting a board and lost the match 5-0. Dean had lost to Theodore Dias in a heavy defeat against e2e4.org.uk 5 the previous day.
| Shock as Telepost surrender top spot - 10/02/2012
Telepost B have lost top spot in division two of the Shropshire Chess League after seeing their five-match winning run come to an end after a surprise 3-2 home defeat against Priorslee Lions C.
Matthew Clark's side suffered something of an off-night, with top boards John Bashall and Steve Kempsell losing to son and father duo Nathanael and Chris Paul. Bob Simpson beat Alan Pickles on board three and Matthew Clark won against Paul Broderick on board four but Shane Sweeney lost to Alan Shaw on bottom board. And the hosts also had to watch promotion rivals Shifnal and Telford B steal a march in the title race as they beat Telepost C 3.5-1.5 at the same venue to take over at the op of the division. Noel Kiffin was Telepost C's only victor, coming out on top against Stefan Tennant on board three, while Charles Micallef drew with Steve Tarr on top board. But John Westhead, Vinnie Crean and John Casewell all lost their games. Telepost B are still well placed to earn promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking, but the C team remains in the relegation zone and facing an uphill fight to stay in the division.
In division three Church Stretton B remain in the bottom half of the table after slipping to a 3-1 home defeat against title contenders Shifnal and Telford C. After drawing their first five games of the season Stretton have been involved in decisive results in their last three matches. But they have lost two of them, leaving them four points off the pace in the promotion race. Tiago Faustino and Eric Elwell both drew their games on the top two boards. But both Francis Rooney and Tom Williamson lost their games.
Meanwhile, players from the west of the county helped Shropshire's first team save face during a crushing 14-2 defeat away at Lincolnshire in the MCCU open minor section. Captain Glyn Pugh was forced to field a team two players short after 17 players from across the county were unavailable, and the team was outgunned by a string Lincolnshire side. Telepost's Nigel Ferrington, Shrewsbury's Francis Best and Church Stretton's Graham Shepherd all drew their games, with Newport's Nick Rutter completing Shropshire's scoring with another draw.
| Shrewsbury leave it late - 03/02/2012
A dramatic late turn around helped Shrewsbury A to victory over Shifnal and Telford A and keep their dreams of retaining the Shropshire Chess League division one title alive. Despite holding a 2-1 lead with just two games to finish, Shrewsbury looked to be heading for a third successive defeat with both Peter Kitchen and Dan Lockett struggling in their games on the bottom two boards. But with the games entering a blitz time scramble after three hours of play, they both were turned on their head. Firstly Lockett took advantage of a mistake by opponent Steve Tarr to win to seal the match in Shrewsbury's favour. And Kitchen gave the scoreline a flattering look by winning on time against Richard Thompson, having managed to stir up complications in a lost endgame. The match had started badly for Shrewsbury when David Everington dropped his queen to lose instantly against Iain Wilson on board two, only for Francis Best and Jamie Hopkins to turn things around with wins over Richard Gillespie and Nazif Nazif on boards three and one respectively. Everington said: “It is strange how things go - even though we were 2-1 up it looked like we were going to lose, and a third successive defeat would have been very damaging. “The two players involved exhibited great resolve to keep going and use the clock to help get the results we needed.” A win for Shrewsbury was vital as both of their title rivals recorded whitewash 5-0 wins against opposition fighting against relegation.
Town rivals Telepost A retained their two point lead at the top of the table by sweeping aside Ludlow A. Nigel Ferrington, Richard Bryant, Dave Bates, Vinnie Crean and Peter Crean all won their games.
But Newport A remain on the tails of Telepost and Shrewsbury after picking up a 5-0 win of their own against bottom-of-the-table Wellington A.
Church Stretton A slipped to a 3-2 defeat away to Priorslee Lions A that sees them drop to sixth in the table. Defeats for Steve Rooney against Will Bates on board two and for Karl Wakefield against Jim O'Neil on board three did the damage, meaning Gerald Link's win on board four against John Tunks was in vain. Trevor Brotherton drew with Glyn Pugh on top board and Graham Shepherd drew with Marvin Carbin on bottom board. Stretton remain four points clear of the drop zone with a vastly superior points difference.
In division two Telepost B have stolen a march on their rivals by crushing fellow promotion contenders Priorslee Lions B 4-1 to move back to the top of the table. John Bashall beat the dangerous Nathanael Paul on top board while Keith Tabner beat Gary White on board three and Matthew Clark won against George Viszokai on bottom board. Steve Kempsell and Bob Simpson both drew their games.
In division three Church Stretton B have belatedly picked up their first win of the season after winning 3-1 away to Telepost D. Stretton drew their first five matches before tasting defeat in their last match before Christmas. But they were too strong for their hosts, with new signing Tiago Faustino beating Shane Sweeney on top board, Francis Rooney beating Brian Holford on board two and Adrian Thorpe beating Gordon Lyon on board three. Alan Cliff got one back for Telepost by beating Chris Pimm-Jones on board four.
Shrewsbury C were convincing winners after they beat the division's surprise package Newport C 3.5-0.5. The visitors started the match in third place on the fringes of the title race, but were no match for their hosts. Matt Best got Shrewsbury off to a flyer with a quick win over Sellick Davies on board two and captain Ian Davies doubled the advantage with a win over Will Gormley on top board. Eric Inglis drew with Jonathan Newey to seal the match before Tony Purser beat Malcolm Price on bottom board.
|Shrewsbury B draw with leaders - 27/01/2012
Shrewsbury B held Shropshire Chess League division two leaders Shifnal and Telford B to a creditable draw - but still lost ground in the race for promotion. All five games between the two sides were drawn on a tense night, leaving Dan Lockett's side in fourth place. They are also the only side to halt the title charge of their hosts having beaten them 3-2 on the opening day of the season - Shifnal and Telford have won all six of the other games they have played. But they now lie four points adrift of town rivals Telepost B who occupy the second promotion spot - having played a game more.
Telepost B cemented their place in the promotion places with a sixth won from seven games, completing a league double over clubmates Telepost C with a 3.5-1.5 win. John Bashall beat Charles Micallef on top board and Matthew Clark won against John Casewell on bottom board to secure the win, with the other three games all drawn. But while Matthew Clark's side are seeking a quick promotion back to the top flight, Telepost C remain second bottom three points adrift of safety.
In division three both of the county sides remain unbeaten after picking up three points between them since the Christmas break. Telepost D picked up just their second point of the season after a 2-2 draw at home to Oswestry B., with Shane Sweeney and Kate Walker picking up wins on to board and bottom board. Shrewsbury C picked up a point thanks to a 2-2 draw away to top-of-the-table Shifnal and Telford C, with all four matches finishing as a draw. And they picked up another draw against another title-chasing outfit Newport B. Captain Ian Davies and matt best lost on the top two boards but Eric Inglis and Tony Purser won their games to secure a share of the spoils.
At the Four Nations Chess League Shrewsbury's Peter Kitchen travelled to Hinckley in Leicestershire to compete - only to find himself playing Glyn Pugh of Telford-based outfit Priorslee Lions. It was the first time the two had met despite seven season playing in the same division - and Kitchen came out on top. Pugh had the last laugh as his Halesowen team beat Kitchen's Celtic Tigers 2 4.5-1.5, and Kitchen was also well beaten the following day by Henry Brockbank.
|Mixed fortunes for the county town's top teams - 19/01/2012
The title race in division one of the Shropshire Chess League has taken a further twist - with contrasting fortunes for the county town's top two sides. Telepost A put in one of their best performances of the season, winning 4-1 at Shifnal and Telford A to pull two points clear at the top of the league. Captain Richard Bryant led the way with the opening victory, followed up by wins for Dave Bates, Nigel Ferrington and Philip Zabrocki.
But Shrewsbury A suffered a collective off-night, slumping to a disastrous 4.5-0.5 defeat away to fellow title challengers Newport A. Peter Kitchen's early draw with Tony Holdford on board averted the whitewash as the defending champions suffered their heaviest defeat for many a years. It was Shrewsbury's second consecutive defeat following the end of their 21 game unbeaten run and was also particularly damaging to their points difference.
Telepost A captain Bryant said: “It has been a very good week for us. I couldn't believe the Shrewsbury score - but it shows just how dangerous Newport are and clearly it is going to be a vital match when we play them. “We had a wonderful match ourselves and just have to keep going.”
Shrewsbury captain David Everington said; “I was left a bit speechless but it isn't as though we were hammered on every board. Both Francis and Matthew Best had chances in their games. “It is just one defeat and we still have every chance of winning the league.”
At the pther end of the table Church Stretton A completed a league double over south Shropshire rivals to pull further clear of the relegation zone. Stretton's 3-2 win was a far cry from their 5-0 whitewash against the same opponents on the opening day of the season, but was enough to end a run of three straight defeats. Wins for Steve Rooney and debutant T. Faustino were enough for Stretton, despite Graham Shepherd's loss on board three. Trevor Brotherton was held to a draw by Joe Watson on top board and Peter Munday and Chris Pimm-Jones shared the spoils on bottom board.
| Local players shine in Shropshire Congress - 12/01/2012
Telepost's Nigel Ferrington and Church Stretton's Trevor Brotherton both picked up memorable draws against international master John Cox to lead the local charge at the new Shropshire Chess Congress. Both players - among Shropshire's elite for many years - enjoyed fine tournaments at Wrekin Housing Trust at the weekend, with Ferrington finishing joint fourth in the open section on 3.5/5 and Brotherton picking up the grading prize for players rated under 175 by finishing on 3/5. Both managed to hold Cox - who originally hails from Shropshire and still occasionally turns out for the county despite now living in the south east - to notable draws. Brotherton drew with Cox in round one while Ferrington drew with Cox and eventual winner Tristan Cox to finish with a grading performance of 205.
Other notable performances from local players included Telepost's Phil Zabrocki picking up 2.5/5 despite being heavily out-rated in the open section, while Peter Crean picked up a slow starter award for winning two of his last three games to finish on 2.5/5 in the major section. In the minor section juniors Matthew Best and Francis Rooney, of Shrewsbury and Church Stretton respectively, were among nine players to tie for third place with 3.5/5 and were also joined by Telepost's John Westhead.
It marked a successful start for the tournament, which was pulled together by Shrewsbury's Francis Best and Church Stretton's Steve Rooney in the space of five weeks after the late collapse of the former Wrekin Chess Congress. About 110 players took part in the weekend event, with half of the field coming from Shropshire. And the event's organisers are due to meet this week to start planning next year's event.
Rooney said: “I think the entry was higher than it has been at the county's congress for four or five years and we are delighted that people have supported the event so well. “Francis and I felt people wanted a tournament to take place after it became clear the Wrekin Congress wouldn't go ahead and it has proved to be the case. I think the tournament was very well received and we think it has a future.” The major section for players graded 160 and under was won by Wiatt Ropp of Stratford on Avon (4/5) while the minor section for players rated 125 and under was won by Midlands-based player David Buckley (4.5/5)
Local players' results (all scores out of a possible five): OPEN - Nigel Ferrington (Telepost) 3.5, Trevor Brotherton (Church Stretton) 3, Richard Bryant and Phil Zabrocki (both Telepost) 2.5, David Everington (Shrewsbury) and Steve Rooney (Church Stretton) 1.5. MAJOR - Peter Crean (Telepost) 2.5, Keith Tabner (Telepost) 1.5, Ian Davies (Shrewsbury) 1. MINOR - Matthew Best (Shrewsbury), Francis Rooney (Church Stretton) and John West head (Telepost) 2.5, Vinnie Crean (Telepost) 3, Tony Purser (Shrewsbury) 2.5, Dean Pinnington (Telepost) 1, Kate Walker (Telepost) and Heath Pearson (junior) 0.5.
| Going gets tough for Church Stretton - 22/12/2011
Church Stretton A slumped to a third consecutive 4-1 defeat in the Shropshire Chess League - this time at the hands of division one dark horses Shifnal and Telford A. The late withdrawal of top board Trevor Brotherton significantly weakened the Stretton line-up, and the hosts had no answer to a strong Shifnal and Telford side.
Captain Steve Rooney, Karl Wakefield, Gerald Link and late substitute Eric Elwell all lost their games, with Graham Shepherd picking up a consolation win against Iain Wilson on board four. After an encouraging return to the top flight Stretton have now suffered three heavy defeats, also going down to Shrewsbury A and Telepost A in their current difficult run. They are fifth in the table, three points clear of the relegation zone at the season's halfway stage.
Captain Rooney said: “Top board Trevor Brotherton was forced to pull out at the last minute which meant everyone shunted up a board and Eric Elwell valiantly turned out at short notice to play on board 5. The only win came for Graham Shepherd on board four. “It was always going to be a tough run-up to Christmas with the final three matches against strong sides, and the A team will be aiming to get a good start again when the second half of the season starts in January.”
In division two Shrewsbury B picked up a much needed 3.5-1.5 win in the town derby against Telepost C to pull clear of the relegation zone. Despite once again being fancied to challenge for promotion, Dan Lockett's side has struggled during the first half of the season and went into the fixture on a run of three defeats in their past four games. But they were too strong for their struggling town rivals, with Lockett beating Charles Micallef on top board, Norman O'Connor winning against Vinnie Crean on board four and Andrew Lewis defeating James Kingston on bottom board. Ray Cox lost to Noel Kiffin on board three and Mark Smith and John Westhead shared the spoils on board two. The result leaves Telepost C in the relegation zone three points adrift of safety.
| Telepost win local derby and surge to the top - 15/12/11
Telepost A have ended Shrewsbury A's 21 match unbeaten run and moved top of the Shropshire Chess League after a dramatic come-from-behind win way to their archrivals.
Wins for Nigel Ferrington on top board and Dave Bates on board three turned the match on its head and allowed Telepost to snatch a 3-2 win in a closely-fought derby. It was Shrewsbury's first defeat since a 4-1 reverse away to Newport A in March 2010 having previously won 25 of their past 27 matches spanning two years. Not even bringing in former regular Phil Makepeace - who travelled up from London on the day of the game for a one-off appearance on top board - was enough for the hosts, who have now fallen behind their town rivals on points difference going into the Christmas break.
For a jubilant Telepost it was their sixth straight win and their first over Shrewsbury since October 2009. It could all have been so different for Shrewsbury, who took the lead through Peter Kitchen's win over Peter Crean on bottom board. But after Jamie Hopkins and Richard Bryant shared the spoils on board two the match turned on board four. Shrewsbury's Francis Best had built up a winning advantage against Philip Zabrocki but blundered a piece and had to settle for a draw, losing his 100 per cent record for the season in the process. Ferrington beat Makepeace on top board and Bates defeated Everington, who later claimed to have missed a potential win in chronic time trouble.
Telepost captain Bryant said: “I'm ecstatic. If we had lost we would have been too far adrift of Shrewsbury and would have been playing for second but now the title race is wide open and up for grabs. “I have a horrible feeling it will go to the last match of the season when we play Shrewsbury at home, and if we have a chance by then it will be good. “I couldn't believe how things worked out - it was a fantastic result for us and our team really did pull out all the stops. I was worried when I saw Phil Makepeace playing on top board for them as it made our task even more difficult.” Everington said: “I'm kicking myself over my game and I was a bit surprised at the time Francis couldn't find a way through. But we are still even on points with Telepost and it is still all to play for.”
In division three Church Stretton B's run of five straight draws finally came to an end with a 2.5-1.5 home defeat to high-flying Newport C. Francis Rooney won on top board but Adrian Thorpe and Jim Carless lost their games in the middle order and Tom Williamson drew on bottom board.
Meanwhile Church Stretton's Steve Rooney and Shrewsbury's Francis Best have helped save Shropshire's annual chess congress, which attracts competitors from across the country. After the annual Wrekin Chess Congress was cancelled due to a failure to secure a venue, Rooney and Best have secured the offices of Wrekin Housing Trust in Telford to host the event, which will be held over the weekend of January 7 and 8 and has been renamed the Shropshire Chess Congress. For more details or to enter visit www.shropshirechess.org
| Rivals to clash with top spot the prize - 08/12/2011
Shrewsbury A and Telepost A will do battle in the first county town derby of the season tomorrow (FridayI) - with the winners being rewarded with the number one spot in the Shropshire Chess League table at Christmas.
The two sides have dominated division one in the first half of the season collectively winning 11 of the 12 matches they have played, with Telepost's opening day defeat at home to Shifnal and Telford A the only blemish on their record. Shrewsbury have won all six of their matches, stretching their amazing unbeaten run to more than 20 matches going back to early 2010.
But Richard Bryant's Telepost side go into the game with a superior points difference and the knowledge a win will guarantee them top spot. Bryant said: “We are doing a lot better than I expected. At the start of the season I thought the best we could do was third behind Shrewsbury A and Newport A but we have been very consistent so far. “I'm a bit surprised at how Newport are doing - I thought they would be a lot stronger. But we are looking forward to Friday night, matches between ourselves and Shrewsbury are always close and hard fought.”
If Bryant was looking for good omens he would have been heartened to see Telepost B win their local derby away to Shrewsbury B 3-2 - returning to the top of the division two table in the process. Mark Smith lost to John Bashall on top board and despite Ray Cox beating Keith Tabner on board three Ivor Salter's loss to Matthew Clark on bottom board was enough to hand Telepost the victory. Dan Lockett drew with Steve Kempsell on board two and Norman O'Connor and Bob Simpson shared the spoils on board four. The result leaves Lockett's side in the bottom half of the division after three defeats in their last four games.
Telepost C sprung a shock by beating high-flying Oswestry A 3.5-1.5 to pick up their first win of the season. Without the highly-rated Brian Whyte on top board the visitors were less of a threat, and despite Charles Micallef's loss on top board Telepost came good on the bottom three boards with wins for Noel Kiffin, Vinnie Crean and John Casewell. John Westhead drew with Ashley Peile on board two. Although Telepost C remain in the relegation zone they are still in touch with Priorslee Lions C and Shrewsbury B.
In division three Shrewsbury C won their own county town derby 2.5-1.5 at Telepost D to pick up their first win of the season. Ian Davies and Matt Best both won on the top two boards for Shrewsbury with Alan Cliff replying for Telepost, while Kate Walker and Tony Purser drew on bottom board.
Church Stretton B made it an astonishing five draws from five games, this time sharing the spoils 2-2 away to title challengers Newport B. Adrian Thorpe and Jim Carless won on boards two and three but defeats for Francis Rooney and Tom Williamson on top and bottom boards meant yet another draw for the south Shropshire side.
| Leaders hit back to march on at summit - 01/12/2011
Shrewsbury A made it six wins from six to remain two points clear at the top of the Shropshire Chess League - but only after surviving an almighty scare against a battling Priorslee Lions A side. David Everington's side found themselves 2-1 down and staring at their first defeat for almost two years on their first ever visit to the Lion pub after Everington was beaten by Jim O'Neil on board two. But late heroics from Francis Best and Peter Kitchen - who both won their games at the death - turned the match on its head and maintained the visitors' 100 per cent start to the season. The first two games to finish had ended on draws - teenager Matthew Best drew comfortably with Marvin Carbin on bottom board and Jamie Hopkins and Glyn Pugh sharing the spoils after 15 moves on top board. Best had appeared to let a comfortably winning position slip against Andy Tunks only to break through and win a knight at the end of the game. Kitchen had enjoyed an edge throughout his game against John Tunks but ended up winning on time in a blitz finish.
Everington said: “We did come away feeling we had been a bit lucky and things didn't look good when we were 2-1 down. “Watching the game Jamie and I both thought Francis was winning, and in the end Andy Tunks made a mistake. “I was really pleased for Matthew Best as that is his first result for the A team - last time out he was so unlucky to lose after playing so well and he did very well this time out.”
Telepost A remain on their town rivals' tails after a 4-1 win over Church Stretton A in a match which both captains admitted was closer than the scoreline suggested. Karl Wakefield gave the visitors the lead with a win over John Bashall on board three, and with the games looking even on the other four boards Stretton looked like they could pick up a surprise win. But the hosts ended up winning all four games - Peter Crean beat Graham Shepherd on board four and John Westhead beat Francis Rooney on bottom board. The last two games to finish were both won on time, with Nigel Ferrington beating Trevor Brotherton on top board, Richard Bryant coming out on top in the battle of the captains against Steve Rooney on board two. It made it a miserable return for Stratton - on the end of the same scoreline for the second time in five days on two visits to the county town after their earlier defeat to Shrewsbury A.
In division two Telepost B returned to the top of the table with a 4-1 win over rock bottom Wellington B. Keith Tabner, Matthew Clark and Vinnie Crean won their games, with top board Steve Kempsell and Bob Simpson on board three picking up draws.
Shrewsbury B played two games in the space of five days - but extended their winless run to three games. Firstly they picked up a creditable 2.5-2.5 draw away to previous leaders Oswestry A. Wins for Ivor Salter and Andrew Lewis on the bottom two draws secured a point despite defeats for Ray Cox against Brian Whyte on top board and for Ian Davies against Ashley Peile on board three. Captain Dan Lockett drew with Graham Ives on board two. But Lockett's side then slumped to a 3.5-1.5 home defeat to Priorslee Lions B. Norman O'Connor beat Gary White on board three and Lockett drew with Graham Shepherd on board two but Mark Smith, Salter and Lewis all lost.
Telepost C are in the bottom two after suffering a damaging 3.5-1.5 defeat away to relegation rivals Priorslee Lions C. The hosts were too strong on the top boards, with Charles Micallef losing to Nathanael Paul and John Westhead being beaten by George Viszokai on board two. Vinnie Crean beat Alan Pickles on board three to record Telepost's only win of the night and Shane Sweeney drew with Paul Broderick on bottom board, but John Casewell lost to Chris Paul on board four.
| Reigning champs stay on win trail - 24/11/2011
Reigning Shropshire Chess League champions Shrewsbury A shrugged off the departure of star man John Parrott to record their most convincing victory of the season.
The Shelton-based side beat Church Stretton A 4-1 to make it five wins from five, maintaining their position at the top of the division one table. It helped cushion the blow of the loss of Parrott, the county's third strongest player, who has decided to take a break from chess for personal reasons. Parrott made history by winning all 14 of his league matches last season and was the driving force behind Shrewsbury's title-winning campaign last season. But despite a strong start to this season he had see his 21 match unbeaten run come to an end with two successive defeats in recent weeks.
Victories for captain David Everington, Francis Best and Peter Kitchen were enough to ease Shrewsbury home against a strong Stretton side featuring former Shrewsbury players Trevor Brotherton and Steve Rooney. After Jamie Hopkins and Brotherton drew in just seven moves on top board, Everington defeated Rooney convincingly to give his side the lead. Kitchen had taken early control against Karl Wakefield on board four, but was given an almighty scare in a wild endgame, finding a series of only moves in time pressure before finally clinching the point. Best ground down Gerald Link on board three to seal the match before Norman O'Connor and Graham Shepherd shared the spoils on bottom board.
Everington said: “I'm really pleased - it was our best result of the season and our best performance too. “John has decided to take a break from chess for a little while. He could be back in a few weeks, it could be a little longer, but he will always be welcome back.”
Shrewsbury's town rivals Telepost A remain on their tails in what is increasingly looking like becoming a two-horse race for the title. Richard Bryant's side won 3.5-1.5 away to lowly Wellington A to make it four straight league victories. Nigel Ferrington beat Colin Roberts on top board, while Dave Bates and Phil Zabrocki picked up wins over Ken Hickmott and Derrick Powell on boards three and four. Richard Bryant drew with Toby Neal on board two, meaning Peter Crean's loss to Dele Ogundipe on bottom board was no more than a consolation for the hosts.
In division three Shrewsbury C and Church Stretton B shared a 2-2 draw at Shelton Hospital - making it the visitors' fourth draw in four matches this season. Adrian Thorpe continued his good run for Stretton by beating Matthew Best on board two but Tony Purser ensured Shrewsbury earned a point by beating Chris Pimm-Jones on bottom board. Ian Davies drew with former Shrewsbury player Francis Rooney on top board and experienced duo Eric Inglis and Tom Williamson shared the spoils on board three.
| Lockett's side slip to first setback - 17/11/2011
Shrewsbury B's unbeaten start to the season has been ended with a shock 1.5-3.5 defeat to Priorslee Lions C in division two of the Shropshire Chess League. Dan Lockett's side had won their first two matches but were well beaten by a Priorslee side expected to finish in the lower reaches of the table. Lockett and Norman O'Connor suffered surprise losses to Alan Pickles and Chris Paul on boards three and four and Mark Smith came off second best to Nathanael Paul on top board. Ivor Salter's win against Alan Shaw on bottom board was no more than a consolation for the home side, while Ray Cox drew with George Viszokai on board two.
Telepost B returned to the division's summit with a convincing 4-1 win in a top-of-the-table clash away to Oswestry A. John Bashall drew with the dangerous Brian Whyte on top board and Steve Kempsell shared the spoils with Graham Ives on board two. But Telepost cleaned up on the remaining boards with victories for Keith Tabner, Bob Simpson and Matthew Clark.
Clubmates Telepost C pushed highly fancied Priorslee Lions B all the way before falling to a 3-2 defeat. Charles Micallef and John Westhead picked up draws against Munroe Morrison and Graham Shepherd on the top two boards but the damage was done on boards three and four with losses for Vinnie Crean and A Cliff. Shane Sweeney won against George Viszokai on bottom board.
In division three Church Stretton B made it three draws from three matches by sharing the spoils 2-2 at home to Oswestry B, with Francis Rooney on top board and Adrian Thorpe on board three picking up wins. But Telepost D suffered their second 4-0 whitewash defeat of the season, proving no match for high-flying Newport B.
At county level, Shropshire's first team pulled off a surprise 10-6 win at home to Leicestershire to kickstart their season in the MCCU Open Minor section. Leicestsrhire had hammered division favourites Greater Manchester in their opening game and featured grandmaster Mark Hebden in their line-up, while Shropshire had lost at home to last season's wooden-spoon outfit Worcestershire. But despite Hebden quickly beating Nick Rutter on top board, Shropshire took control of the match and lost only two further matches out of the 16 boards. The achievement was all the more impressive as the hosts were outgraded on all but four boards. Among the local contingent Telepost's Nigel Ferrington drew on board two, Jamie Hopkins (Shrewsbury) won on board four, Richard Bryant (Telepost) and Peter Kitchen (Shrewsbury) drew on boards five and seven) and John Bashall (Telepost) won on board nine. Glyn Pugh's side's next match is away to a Derbyshire side still searching for their first win of the season on December 3.
| No show helps Telepost A - 10/11/2011
Telepost A made the most of an extraordinary mix up which saw Newport A turn up with just three players for their Shropshire Chess League division one clash to pick up a much-need victory. Richard Bryant's side would have expected a stern examination of their title credentials against a Newport outfit featuring three of the county's top players and some of the brightest young prospects in the league. But the visitors arrived at the Abbey Foregate club without Gavyn Cooper and Chris Lewis - and it later emerged designated driver Lewis had got his dates mixed up and forgot to turn up. Telepost made the most of their 2-0 headstart to record a 3.5-1.5 victory, keeping themselves on the heels of leaders and town rivals Shrewsbury A while inflicting heavy damage to Newport A's title hopes. Newport are already five points off the pace. Nigel Ferrington lost to Nick Ritter on top board, but Philip Zabrocki beat Tony Holdford on board four to seal the match and Dave Bates drew with Nathanael Paul on board three.
Bryant said: “Even if Newport would have turned up with five players I would still have fancied our chances of getting something out of the match - I think we had the better of the three boards that were played. “I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for Newport captain Nick Rutter - there is only so much you can do as a captain to get your team ready. When they get their full team out they are one of the best in the division so it is a great result for us.”
Church Stretton A maintained their strong start with a 4-1 win over Wellington A which captain Steve Rooney said was closer than the scoreline suggested. Gerald Link beat John Lenton on board three and Karl Wakefield doubled the advantage by beating Derrick Powell on board four. But Dele Ogundipe hauled Wellington back into the game by beating the experienced Graham Shepherd on bottom board. At that stage the match was in the balance with both of the remaining games looking fairly even. But Colin Roberts and Toby Neal both went for broke in their games and both came off second best, with wins for Trevor Brotherton and Steve Rooney sealing Stretton's win.
Shrewsbury A made it four wins from four - but were pushed far closer than expected away to lowly Ludlow A. The visitors were quickly 2-0 thanks to wins for David Everington and Francis Best and a big score looked on the cards. But Ludlow forged an unlikely fight back, with John Whittaker picking up a tremendous win over John Parrott on board two and Paul Munday miraculously winning a supposedly lost ending when Matthew Best walked into a mating net on bottom board. Top board Jamie Hopkins sealed the win for Shrewsbury with a hugely impressive win on top board. Everington said: “I felt so sorry for Matthew Best - he played a superb game and he will learn so much from what happened to him in the endgame. You only make that sort of mistake once in your career. “Jamie's win was one of his most impressive efforts for some time, he played really well.”
In division two Telepost B were knocked off the top of the table and lost their unbeaten start after a 3-2 home defeat against Shifnal and Telford B. John Bashall lost to Steve Tarr on top board and Keith Tabner's loss to Windsor Peck on board three meant Bob Simpson's win over Roger Brown on board four was not enough to save the match. Steve Kempsell and Matthew Clark drew their games. But there was better news for clubmates Telepost C who picked up their first point of the season with a 2.5-2.5 draw against Wellington B
| Rooney survives the blitz - 03/11/2011
A last gasp victory for captain Steve Rooney against young prodigy Gavyn Cooper helped Church Stretton A snatch an eye-catching 2.5-2.5 draw away to title challengers Newport A. Rooney beat Cooper in a blitz finish to secure a hard-earned point for his side - and leaving Cooper cursing his decision to refuse an earlier draw offer which would have sealed the match in his side's favour. The result leaves Stretton handily placed in third place on their return to the top flight - and keeps them ahead of their much-fancied opponents.
Stretton's night got off to a good start when Trevor Brotherton held Shropshire's number one Nick Rutter to a draw in a sharp struggle, and things looked even better when Karl Wakefield beat Tony Holdford on board four to give the visitors the lead. Wins for Nathanael Paul over Gerald Link on board three and for Chris Lewis over Graham Shepherd on bottom board appeared to have turned the match in Newport's favour before Rooney's late heroics.
Shrewsbury A remain top of the table, but were made to work hard for a 3-2 home win over Wellington A. Peter Kitchen got the defending champions off to a flier with a spectacular sacrificial attack which proved too much for Derrick Powell on board four. David Everington turned around a difficult position to win against Ken Hickmott on board three and draws for Ray Cox against Dele Ogundipe on bottom board and for Jamie Hopkins on top board against Colin Roberts sealed the match in Shrewsbury's favour. But there was one final twist - having battled his way into a winning position against Toby Neal on board two John Parrott made an uncharacteristic slip and threw away a bishop to lose. It ended Parrott's unbeaten run of 21 games in all competitions since returning to competitive chess just over a year ago, which had included 15 wins and one draw in the league.
Telepost A lie second in the table after a tense 3-2 home win over Priorslee Lions A. Wins for Nigel Ferrington on top board against Glyn Pugh and for Phil Zabrocki over Joe O'Neil on board three were enough for victory, despite Peter Crean's loss to John Tunks on board four. Captain Richard Bryant drew an exciting game with William Bates on board two and Steve Kempsell shared the spoils with Munroe Morrison on bottom board.
In division two Shrewsbury B made it two wins from two matches with a 3-2 victory at Wellington B. Dan Lockett and Ray Cox picked up victories on the top two boards, and although Norman O'Connor lost on board three draws for Ivor Salter and Andrew Lewis on the bottom two boards secured the match.
In division three Shrewsbury C picked up their first point of the season with a 2-2 draw at home to Oswestry B thanks to victory for Eric Inglis on board two against Euan Stephenson. Ben Purser had earlier lost on bottom board and Ian Davies and Tony Purser drew their games. Church Stretton B drew away to early pacesetters Shifnal and Telford C with Francis Rooney winning on board two and Graham Shepherd and Tom Williamson picking up draws. But Telepost D suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat away to high-flying Newport B.
| Telepost B set the pace - 27/10/2011
Telepost B are the early pacesetters in division two of the Shropshire Chess League - opening up daylight at the top of the table with a convincing 4-1 win at Priorslee Lions C. Despite John Bashall being beaten by Nathaneal Paul - who also turns out for division one title chasers Newport A - on top board the Abbey Foregate side was untroubled on the remaining boards. Steve Kempsell, Keith Tabner, Bob Simpson and Matthew Clark all won their games.
It is a different story for clubmates Telepost C, who still remain without a point after a second successive 3.5-1.5 loss - this time at the hands of Shifnal and Telford B. Defeats for Charles Micallef on top board and John Casewell on board four proved decisive, with the remaining three boards all ending in draws. Casewell's side will be hoping to get off the mark when they entertain fellow slow starters Wellington B in their next match.
In division three Shrewsbury C have slumped to the foot of the table after a 2.5-1.5 defeat at Newport C. Ian Davies beat Paul Broderick on top board and Matthew Best drew on board two, but Eric Inglis and Alan Purser lost on the bottom two boards. It was a second successive defeat for Davies's side after a heavy opening day defeat at the hands of Shifnal and Telford C.
Meanwhile in division one Church Stretton A face a difficult test away to Newport A while Telepost A will be hoping to make up ground at the top of the table when they host Priorslee Lions A. Leaders Shrewsbury A host Wellington A.
| Difficult week ends well for Jamie Hopkins - 20/10/2011
He had suffered a difficult week at the chess board - but no-one's smile was wider than Shrewsbury A's top board Jamie Hopkins on Sunday night. Hopkins had lost two matches in the space of three days with the white pieces in action for both club and county - both owing much to his habitual time trouble which saw promising positions turn into depressing defeats. But on Sunday he held former world chess championship challenger Nigel Short - who is Britain's number two and still in the top 50 players in the world - to a comfortable draw during a simultaneous display. Short also awarded Hopkins the best game prize for his effort.
Hopkins wasn't the only player with something to celebrate - Telepost's Nigel Ferrington also drew with Short and at one stage looked to be on top in his game. But that was as good as it got for those challenging Short in Sunday's simultaneous display - all other 32 players lost. The event, which was superbly organised by Shropshire Chess Association president Francis Best, also featured lectures by Mr Short on some of his recent games and an appearance by Eggheads star CJ de Mooi.
Meanwhile Shrewsbury A have moved top of the Shropshire Chess League after a workmanlike 3.5-1.5 win over an under-strength Shifnal and Telford A. David Everington ground out a win against the home side's captain Richard Gillespie on board three and Peter Kitchen wore down Stefan Tennant on bottom board. Iain Wilson gained the distinction of ending John Parrott's 15-match winning streak in the league by holding Shrewsbury's board two to a draw. But Francis Best made the match safe by beating Richard Thompson on board four, meaning Hopkins' defeat to Dave Gostelow on top board was nothing more than a consolation for the hosts.
Telepost A picked up their first win of the season with a comfortable 4.5-0.5 win at Ludlow A thanks to wins for Nigel Ferrington, Dave Bates, Philip Zabrocki and Peter Crean.
But Church Stretton A slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Priorslee Lions A. Defeats for Steve Rooney and Gerald Link on boards two and three proved critical, despite Karl Wakefield's win over Andy Tunks on board four. Trevor Brotherton drew with Glyn Pugh on top board and Graham Shepherd and John Tunks shared the spoils on bottom board.
In division two Shrewsbury B defeated Shifnal and Telford B 3-2 with wins for Norman O'Connor and Ian Davies, while Dan Lockett lost to Steve Tarr on top board.
In division three Church Stretton B played out a 2-2 draw with Telepost D. Francis Rooney lost to Shane Sweeney on top board, Tom Williamson beat Dean Pinnington on board two, Chris Pimm-Jones got the better of Gordon Lyon on board three but James Carless lost to Alan Cliff on bottom board.
Shropshire's first team suffered an agonising 7.5-8.5 defeat against local rivals Worcestershire in the opening round of fixtures in the opening round of fixtures in the MCCU Minor Championship. Last time the two sides met Shropshire won convincingly, but this time the visitors had the final word by winning four of the final six boards, including a run of victories in the middle order. Nigel Ferrington won impressively on board two, but Jamie Hopkins, Richard Bryant, Peter Kitchen and John Bashall all lost their games.
| New look B team win Telepost derby - 13/10/2011
A new-look Telepost B side made a winning return to life in division two of the Shropshire Chess League by easing to a 3.5-1.5 win over clubmates Telepost C. The B team went some way towards erasing their painful relegation from the top flight on the final day of last season thanks to wins for Steve Kempsell, Bob Simpson and Matthew Clark. But Peter Crean's team did not have it all their own way, with the experienced Keith Tabner losing to Vinnie Crean on board three. And top board John Bashall was held to a draw by Charles Micallef. The B team finished bottom of division one last season but only after taking their survival fight to the last day of the season, when they lost a winner-take-all match against Wellington A. Despite Phil Zabrocki and Peter Crean since being moved into the club's A team, the likes of Bashall and Tabner add experience and strength to the side.
John Casewell's C team comfortably survived last season in their first year back in division two and will hope to match that achievement this time around.
Meanwhile former world title contender Nigel Short will take on more than 30 players from Shropshire and beyond in a simultaneous display at Wrekin Housing Trust in Telford on Sunday. The day will also feature an appearance by Eggheads star CJ de Mooi and will include a series of lectures and a lightning tournament. And a host of local players are expected to feature for Shropshire's first team when they take on Worcestershire in the opening round of fixtures in the MCCU Open Minor Championship at Shifnal on Saturday
| Last gasp Francis is simply the best! - 06/10/2011
A nail-biting victory for Francis Best with just six seconds to spare helped Shropshire Chess League champions Shrewsbury A come from behind to record a thrilling 3-2 win opening day win over Newport A.
Best checkmated Chris Lewis in the deciding game on board four with just moments to spare, edging Shrewsbury to a potentially vital victory to open their defence of the division one title. Newport A were last season's surprise package finishing as runners-up. But with young stars like Thomas Pym, Gavyn Cooper and Lewis all having completed their university studies they look set to launch a major title challenge this season. The visitors, who were without captain and county individual champion Nick Rutter, took an early lead thanks to Nathanael Paul's demolition of Peter Kitchen within 18 moves on bottom board, while Shrewsbury captain David Everington and Tony Holdford drew on board three. John Parrott hauled Shrewsbury level with an impressive win over Cooper on board two, before Jamie Hopkins and Pym shared the spoils after a tense struggle on top board to set the stage for Best's dramatic victory.
Newly-promoted Church Stretton A are the early pacesetters after a five-star display in the south Shropshire derby, whitewashing Ludlow A 5-0. Steve Rooney's side were too strong for their rivals, who were also promoted from division two last season. Trevor Brotherton, Rooney, Gerald Link, Karl Wakefield and Graham Shepherd - back with Stretton after playing in the top flight for the former Coddon A team last season - were all victorious. Rooney said: “We are not sure how long it will last but it is nice to be top of the table and it's a good start. We had a grading advantage over Ludlow but managed to really make it count.”
Telepost A suffered a disappointing start after being beaten 3.5-1.5 at home to Shifnal and Telford A. Richard Bryant's new-look side, with Philip Zabrocki and Peter Crean coming in on the bottom two boards, will harbour title ambitions of their own this season but suffered an off night. Nigel Ferrington lost to the experienced John Footner on board one, Dave Bates was beaten by Iain Wilson on board three and Crean was defeated by Stefan Tennant on bottom board. Bryant inflicted a rare defeat on the super-solid Dave Gostelow on board two and Zabrocki drew with Richard Gillespie on board four.
The town's two division three teams both suffered a bad start to the season. Kate Walker's victory on bottom board spared a whitewash as Telepost D lost 3-1 at Oswestry B, but Shrewsbury C were unable to avoid that fate, losing 4-0 at home to Shifnal and Telford C.
Fascinating start to the new season - 29/09/2011
|Extra places available to challenge grand master - 29/09/2011
Ten extra places have become available for a chance to take on former World Chess Championship challenger Nigel Short in a simultaneous display in Shropshire. Short, who famously took on Garry Kasparov in a high-profile televised title match in London in 1993, will be taking on players from around the county and beyond at Wrekin Housing Trust's headquarters in Telford on October 16. Short, who remains one of Britain's top players on the international circuit, will take part in a simultaneous display, where he will play individual games against every opponent at the same time. All 30 original places have been snapped up, but at the suggestion of Eggheads star and English Chess Federation president CJ de Mooi - who has helped organise the event - an extra 10 places have become available. Places cost £35. Anyone interested can contact Francis Best on (01743) 821220 or visit www.shropshirechess.org
More trophy success for David Everington - 22/09/2011
| Huge boost for Church Stretton - 08/09/2011
Church Stretton have received a huge boost ahead of their return to the top flight of the Shropshire Chess League with the return of Trevor Brotherton to the club. Brotherton, who last season captained Shifnal and Telford A, will spearhead the team on top board as Steve Rooney's side look to establish themselves in division one. Brotherton was part of the Church Stretton side which missed out on a first ever league title on points difference to Telepost A three seasons ago, although he departed the following season and the side was subsequently relegated. He has been one of the county's top players for many years. Rooney said: “We are delighted that Trevor is returning to Church Stretton for the coming season. Having won the division 2 title last year and with it promotion to Shropshire's top division, it will be a big boost to have one of the county's biggest hitters on board one for us.”
Stretton plan to bring back their second team for the coming season, which will be led by Tom Williamson, in division three. Rooney urged anyone in the area interested in playing should contact him on 01694 723724.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury's John Parrott has shot into the top five players in Shropshire according to the latest grading list. Parrott enjoyed a remarkable season on his return to competitive chess after a three year break, winning all 14 of his league games on bottom board helping propel Shrewsbury A to the division one championship. In total he won 16 and drew two of his 18 games and his new grading of 191 - an all-time personal-high - sees him fourth in the list and likely to be Shrewsbury's board one this season. The top three players are Newport duo Nick Rutter (205) and Thomas Pym (199) and Wellington's Vikas Sharma (197), who has since returned to India. Telepost's Nigel Ferrington is fifth with a grade of 190.
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