WHAT THE PAPERS SAY
Read Toby Neal's Column in the Shropshire Star on Tuesdays for the latest Shropshire Chess news.
Here are some recent cuttings.
If you have a news item email - TNeal@shropshirestar.co.uk.
Shropshire player tops the charts - 17/09/2019
Shropshire chess player Kate Walker – dubbed "Killer Kate" by her clubmates – has proven herself among the best women chess players in England by winning the English Chess Federation's women's Grand Prix in her category. Kate, who plays for Shrewsbury's Telepost club, was top in a field of 20 in the section of the competition for players with a grading between 120 and 139.
With a personal grading of 126, Kate's performance was head and shoulders above a number of contenders who were stronger on paper. The Grand Prix is a year-long competition based on players' results in qualifying events.
Two Newport chess players are revealed as Shropshire's most improved under the new grading list as the league season gets under way in earnest.Leading the charge is the junior Daniel Hilditch-Love, with an impressive 22-point rise in his grading. Daniel is now graded 105. Athar Ansari also sees a double-digit rise, from 166 to 179. Gradings are an assessment of playing strength based on results. Leading the county rankings are Nick Rutter, another Newport player, on 204, and Telepost's Nigel Ferrington on 201.
Making a return to the Newport chess club after a quarter of a century away was Andrew Grillage, although it was not a happy homecoming from Newport's point of view as he was playing for visiting Wellington A and his win contributed to Wellington's 5-0 whitewash of Newport C. Andrew is a former Newport player who last played in Shropshire in the 1990s, but then lived and worked in Malta and has recently returned.
A new chess club, called the Nerdy Chess Club, is starting on October 2. Dennis Bonner of the Telepost club said: "It is at the bottom of Mardol in Shrewsbury and started as a board games club and will now be extended to chess from October 2. There will be a kids' club from 4pm to 6pm and 13-plus from 6pm to 10.30pm, each Wednesday."
New season is underway - 10/09/2019
Hostilities have commenced for the new season in Shropshire Chess League with a new league controller, penalties for late starters, and a brilliancy prize on offer for the best game of the campaign. And the big issue will be whether there is a team which can halt the juggernaut that is Newport A, serial winners of the league championship, who last season also won all other available trophies to boot.
Other contenders will be encouraged by the fact that this season Newport's nominated line-up does not include three star players – Grandmaster Keith Arkell, his brother Nick, and International Master Lawrence Cooper – whose use, albeit occasional, had proven somewhat controversial.
In their opening matches, Telepost A and Maddocks A have both served notice that they will be fighting at the top, with thumping wins.
In the wake of a decision by Shropshire Chess Association's annual meeting, home teams which fail to set up chess sets and clocks in time for a prompt 7.30pm start in league matches will face what is in effect a time penalty – the clocks will be set as if the match had started on time.
A new trophy is being introduced in memory of the former general secretary and Wellington player Colin Roberts, who died last year. The Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy will be a brilliancy prize, for the best game by a Shropshire player in any competition during the course of the season, excluding blitz, rapidplay, and internet games. It has been made possible thanks to a £100 donation in his memory by his family.
New league controller is Adrian Zdanowski, who has succeeded Nathanael Paul in the role.
Some Shropshire players have been limbering up for the new season by taking part in various summer events. Richard Szwajkun was second in the Minor section of the Leyland Chess Congress, while a number of Shropshire players took part in the weekend's UK Open Blitz Championship in Birmingham, including Athar Ansari, who was 11th in a field of 80.
Bryant shines in 4NCL Congress - 23/07/2019
Richard Bryant was the local success story as he won one of the top prizes at the 22nd 4NCL Congress held in Telford.
Bryant was one of five players to share first place in the Major section of the tournament for players with an international FIDE rating below 2000. The Oswestry player, who was one of several Shropshire-based players competing among the 160-strong field – had to do it the hard way after suffering a shock opening round loss with the white pieces to Steven Potter of St Helens. But he then reeled off four straight victories to finish on 4/5, earning £190 in prize money.
Bryant was the only prizewinner among the "home" competitors – but several others came close, particularly in the Major section.
Newport's Ian Jamieson was in contention throughout, but lost his final round game to Martin Burns to finish on 3/5. Phil Zabrocki of Telepost and Maddocks' Dave Gostelow were both unbeaten to finish joint third on 3.5/5.
In the elite Open section – which featured grandmasters Keith Arkell and Mark Hebden – Shropshire's players found the going tough.
Lee Davis – who has previously played for Ludlow – and Newport's Athar Ansari were the leading scorers with 2.5/5. Steve Tarr of Maddocks scored 1.5/5 – including a spectacular victory over Sam Herring in round four – while Newport pair Chris lewis and Stuart Ross scored 1/5.
The section was won by Hebden, while Arkell could only manage 3.5/5 for a share of ninth place, admitting afterwards it had been a very tough and competitive tournament.
In the Major section, former Shrewsbury player Ed Goodwin finished on 3/5, but others struggled.
Shrewsbury's Peter Kitchen shared 32nd place on 2/5, suffering two chastening defeats to lower rated juniors. Tony Preece of Maddocks started well but finished on 1/5, where he was joined by Telepost's Graham Shepherd.
In the Minor section for players with an English Chess Federation rating under 135, George Viszokai (Maddocks) and Newport junior Daniel Hilditch-Love were the top scorers with 3/5, finishing joint 12th.
Roger Brown (Telford) and Kieran Lappin, who has represented Ludlow, scored 2.5/5, Kate Walker (Telepost) scored 2/5, and Ian Jamieson (Maddocks) scored 1/5.
Report by Peter Kitchen
Chris Lewis wins blitz
handicap - 16/07/2019
Chris Lewis was the winner of his own tournament in the first of the summer blitz chess competitions hosted by Newport chess club. Lewis, who organised the event, scored 6.5 to take first prize of £15, winning six games and drawing his seventh.
Bill Bates was second on 6, and Tony Preece in third spot and winning the grading prize for players graded under 150. Other grading prizes went to Rajeev Raghaven, Nick Holmes, and Dan Hilditch-Love.
The event was a handicap, with the strongest players having just three minutes to make all their moves, and less strong players having as much as eight minutes.
Newport's Athar Ansari is celebrating an impressive success at the Golders Green rapidplay tournament, which is FIDE rated. Taking part in the Open in the London event, he was joint winner.
"I played three FIDE Masters, the strongest of whom was rated 2294," said Athar. "This was my best performance, to win the Open section in London."
Athar and other Shropshire players will be involved in more chess action in Shropshire this weekend, with the Four Nations Chess League congress being held at the Ramada Hotel in Telford town centre from July 19 to 21, with a total field of around 150.
A number of Grandmasters have entered and will compete in the Open, which is the strongest section. Several Shropshire players have entered this section – Chris Lewis, Nathanael Paul, and Stuart Ross, all from the Newport club, and Steve Tarr, from Oakengates-based Maddocks.
In the section for players with a FIDE rating of under 2000, Shropshire entries include Athar Ansari and Ian Jamieson (both Newport), Oswestry's Richard Bryant, Peter Kitchen from Shrewsbury, Tony Preece (Maddocks), and Graham Shepherd (Telepost).
And in the section for those graded under 135, Shropshire hopefuls include Roger Brown (Telford), Kate Walker (Telepost), and George Viszokai (Maddocks),
|County teams to be re-established - 09/07/2019
Shropshire is making a return to the fray in inter-county chess competition after several years away.
At least two teams, an Open, and a team for players graded under 120, will be fielded next season, run by Matthew Clark and Dennis Bonner respectively. And Roger Brown is hoping to run a third team, for players graded under 140.
The proposal was given the nod at the annual meeting of Shropshire Chess Association.
Shropshire dropped out of inter-county competition because there was nobody to run the teams, and also trouble finding enough players – 16 are needed for the Open team.
Among other headlines from the meeting are that home teams which fail to set up chess sets and clocks in time for a prompt 7.30pm start in league matches will face what is in effect a time penalty – the clocks will be set as if the match had started on time – and a new trophy is being introduced in memory of the former general secretary and Wellington player Colin Roberts, who died last year.
The Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy will be a brilliancy prize, for the best game by a Shropshire player in any competition during the course of the season, excluding blitz, rapidplay, and internet games. It has been made possible thanks to a £100 donation in his memory by his family.
Among more controversial resolutions were a proposal that a nominated Division One player must play in at least half the matches, or face a penalty – a move to stop clubs nominating players who then do not play regularly. That was passed, but a move to strip Division Two or Division Three champions of the championship trophy if they decline promotion was narrowly defeated.
League controller Nat Paul has stepped down, to be replaced by Adrian Zdanowski, and Munroe Morrison is being lined up to take over as president from Francis Best.
Meanwhile Telepost's Kate Walker, who has acquired the nickname "Killer Kate," has been in the prizes again, winning joint first at the North Wales chess congress at Llandudno, taking home £200.
And the first summer blitz event at Newport chess club is being held on Thursday, July 11 , at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start.