All Change At The Top
The decade began on a highly optimistic note. In 1980 John Cox became the first Shropshire player to beat a grandmaster, and in 1981 Charles Morris became the second. However most of the county’s strong players moved away in the early 1980s. When David Everington semi-retired following his 1981 county championship win, John Blore took over the mantle of strongest player in a much weakened county chess scene. However thanks to the work of enthusiastic teachers – notably Brian Nichols and John Blore at secondary level and Brian Lindley and Mike Mapleton at junior level, and organisers like Bill Clarke and others, a new generation of quality junior players came through from 1982 onwards. James Clarke, Glyn Pugh, Paul Mukherjee, Jonathan Bourne, and Colin Roberts all became county champions in their turn.
On the club front the league title was claimed by GKN (the county’s largest club which sadly folded when the company closed its sports pavillion), Shrewsbury, SAHA, Stirchley twice, Telford three times (led by John Footner), Shifnal, and Coddon (formed in 1988 from the old GKN club).
In 1989 Nick Rutter took his first county individual championship title to usher in a new era – this was a tournament he would dominate for several years to come.
The President of the Shropshire Chess Association in the early 1980s was Dr.H.D. Gemmell (Shrewsbury pictured left), Secretary G. Mansell (GKN), and Grading Officer B.G. Holland (Nalgo), the latter noted for the copperplate handwriting of the annual grading lists which have proved so helpful to me in researching this history. In 1988 Hugh Gemmell was succeeded as President by David Everington. Keith Tabner
J.D. Blore – 3 Time County Champion
John Blore, a Newport schoolteacher, graced the Shropshire chess scene from 1979 until 1986. He was county champion in 1980, 1982, and 1983. With David Everington concentrating on business interests, John took over the mantle as dominant Shropshire player (1980 grade 195), even taking on the Shrewsbury Chronicle chess column, whilst still finding time to coach the county juniors. Equally at home with a sharp king’s gambit or a quiet positional game, he moved from GKN to lead Stirchley to league titles in 1983 and 1984.
Blore, J – Cox, J [A26] Shropshire Individual, 1982
John Cox (215) was favourite to win the county title in 1982. However in this 3rd round clash it is Blore who comes out on top and goes on to take the crown.
1.c4 Nc6 2.g3 e5 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 f5 7.e3 Nge7 8.Nge2 Be6 9.Nd5 Qd7 10.0–0 Nd8 11.b4 c6 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.a4 0–0 14.b5 Bd7 15.Ba3 Ne6 16.Nc3 Rfd8 17.Qd2 Nc5 18.d4 exd4 19.exd4 Ne4 20.Nxe4 fxe4 21.Rbe1 Qf6 22.Bxe4 Bh3 23.Bg2 Bxg2 24.Kxg2 Qxd4 25.Qxd4 Bxd4 26.Re7 cxb5 27.cxb5 Rac8 28.Rc1 Rf8 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Bxd6 Rc2 31.Kf3! The centralised king will play a decisive role. 31…Rxf2+ 32.Ke4 Bb6 33.Rxb7 Rxh2 34.Bb8 Ra2 35.Kd5 Rxa4 36.Be5 Ra2 37.Ke6 suddenly threatening mate in two 37…Rf2 38.Rg7+ Kf8 39.Rxh7 Ke8 40.Rh8+ Rf8 41.Rxf8+ Kxf8 42.Kf6 Ke8 43.Kxg6 Kd7 44.Kf5 Kc8 45.g4 Be3 46.Bf4 Bd4 47.g5 Kb7 48.Be5 Be3 49.g6! necessary to avoid 49……..Bxg5 50 Kxg5 Kb6 and draws. 49…Bh6 50.Bd4 a6 51.b6 a5 52.Ke4 a4 53.Kd3 a3 54.Kc2 Bf8 55.Kb3 Kc6 56.Ka4 Kb7 57.Kb5 1–0
J.W. Clarke – County Champion 1984
James Clarke, seen here in 1983, learned his chess at the Wakeman School, Shrewsbury and Nalgo Chess Club, run by his father Bill Clarke. In 1984 aged 17 he became Shropshire County Champion before leaving Shropshire for university. Later, playing for Yorkshire, his grade reached 212 BCF before he retired from chess.
Bradbury, N – Clarke, J [B00] Shrops v Greater Manchester Bd1, 1984
Here is a top board win against Greater Manchester (N.Bradbury ELO 2395) to savour.
1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Nc3 0–0 7.h3 e5 8.d5 Ne7 9.Be3 h6 10.Qd2 Kh7 11.Nh2 Nd7 12.f4 f5 13.fxe5 Nxe5 14.Rf2 fxe4 15.Rxf8 Qxf8 16.Nxe4 Qg8 17.c4 Nf5 18.Bf2 Bd7 19.Nf3 Nxf3+ 20.Bxf3 Qh8 21.Re1 Re8 22.g4 Ne7 23.c5 Be5 24.cxd6 cxd6 25.Qb4 Qf8 26.Bg2 [26.Qxb7 Qxf3 27.Qxd7 Qxh3 is good for black.] 26…b6 27.Qd2 Ng8 28.Bd4 Nf6 29.Bxe5 Nxe4 30.Rxe4 Rxe5 31.Rxe5 dxe5 32.d6 Qf4 33.Qc3? QxQ leads to a draw 33…Qd4+ 34.Qxd4 exd4 35.h4 g5 36.hxg5 hxg5 37.Kf2 Kg6 38.Kf3 Kf6 39.Bf1 Ke5 40.Bd3 Bc6+ 41.Kg3 Kxd6 42.b4 Ke5 43.a3 Be4 44.Be2 Bc2 White must lose his bishop to stop the pawn. 0–1
Glyn Pugh – Joint County Champion 1985
Glyn Pugh began his Shropshire chess in the mid 1970s as a junior with Broseley and then GKN and his sharp tactical style has made him a formidable opponent on the county scene now for some thirty years. Moving via Telford to Coddon he has enjoyed success in club, county and tournament play reaching grade 174. In the 1985 county championship he tied for first place with David Everington.
Here black chooses the complexities of the Sicilian Dragon but meets his match.
Pugh, G – Sachs, J [B74] Shrops v Greater Manchester, 1984
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.f4 0–0 8.Be3 Nc6 9.Nb3 a5 10.a4 Be6 11.0–0 Qc8 12.h3 Nb4 13.Bf3 Nd7 14.Nd4 Bc4 15.Rf2 Rd8 16.Rd2 e5?! 17.Ndb5 Bxb5 18.Nxb5 exf4 19.Nxd6 fxe3 20.Nxc8 exd2 21.Ne7+ Kh8 22.c3 Nb6!? 23.cxb4 Bxb2 24.Rb1 Nc4 A critical position – but Pugh had already worked out how to counter black’s intended….Ne3….d1=Q etc 25.Nd5! Bd4+ 26.Kh1 Rac8 27.Be2 Be3 28.Bxc4 the balloon has burst! 1–0
Paul Mukherjee – County Champion 1986
Paul Mukherjee (Pictured in 1983) also graduated from the Wakeman School and Nalgo Chess Clubs to become another young County Champion. Encouraged by his father Ajoy Mukherjee, himself a formidable correspondence player, he won the title in 1986 at age 17 before going to university.His work now involves travelling the world from his Denmark home leaving no time for chess.
Mukherjee, P – Footner, J [B23] Shropshire Open, 1984
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 e6 4.Bb5 Nge7 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bxc6 Nxc6 7.0–0 Be7 8.d3 0–0 9.a4 d5 10.Bd2 d4 11.Ne2 f5 12.e5 Bd7 13.h3 b5 14.g4 g6 15.gxf5 gxf5 16.Kh2 Kh8 17.Ng3 bxa4 18.Qe2 Rb8 19.Rab1 Nb4 20.Ng5 Bxg5 21.fxg5 Be8 22.h4 Nxc2 23.Kh3 a3 24.bxa3 Nxa3 25.Ra1 Rb3 26.g6! White means to get his bishop to f6 to embarrass the black king. 26…Bxg6 27.Bg5 Qd5 28.h5 Be8 29.Bf6+ Kg8 30.Nxf5! Rxf6 [If 30…exf5 31.Rg1+ Bg6 32.hxg6 h6 33.Qh5 and wins. Of course white’s night move also threatens Nh6 mate!] 31.Ne7+ 1–0
J.D.Bourne County Champion 1987
Jonathan Bourne, the pride of Oswestry, rose through the junior ranks in the mid 1970s.On top board in 1978 he led his club to its first championship of division 1 in the Shropshire league whilst adding genuine quality to the county team. In 1987 he crowned his Shropshire chess achievements with the county championship before moving to pastures new.
In this beautiful minature from a 1982 league match the young James Clarke suffers one of his most startling defeats ever.
Clarke, J – Bourne, J [C56] Nalgo v Oswestry, 1982
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qa5 9.Nxe4 Be6 10.Neg5 0–0–0 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Rxe6 Bd6! So far play has followed the book line of the two knights defence classical variation. Here Qe2 or Bg5 would follow book. However Clarke strays and things start to go rapidly wrong. 13.Re4 Rde8 14.Qe2 Qh5 15.Bd2?? missing the threat on h2 15…Bxh2+ 16.Kf1 Rxe4 17.Qxe4 Re8 18.Qh4?? the final blunder in a lost position, at the time published by Steve Thomas in his local chess column as “spot this week’s mate in two”. 18…Qb5+ 19.c4 Qxc4 0–1
Colin Roberts – County Champion 1988
Colin Roberts first appeared as a junior at the Shifnal club in 1978. Ten years later he won the county individual championship. He has been at the heart of the county chess scene ever since, taking over as General Secretary of the Shropshire Chess Association in 2001.
Here is an example of his favourite French Defence.
Graham, N – Roberts, C [C00] Shrops Indivividual Champs, 1984
1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.f4 Nc6 5.Ngf3 Nge7 6.g3 b6 7.Bg2 Bb7 8.a3 Rb8 9.Qe2 dxe4 10.dxe4 Nd4 11.Nxd4 Qxd4 12.c3 Qd7 13.0–0 f6 14.Rd1 Rd8 15.Bf3 Qa4 16.b3 Qd7 17.Bb2 Qd3 18.Qxd3 Rxd3 19.Be2 Rd7 20.Bc4 e5 21.Be6 Rd6 22.f5 b5 23.a4 b4 24.cxb4 cxb4 25.Nc4 Rxd1+ 26.Rxd1 Nc6 27.Bd7+ Ke7 28.Be6 Nd8 29.Nd6 Bc6 30.Nc8+ Ke8 31.Nxa7?? Bc5+ 0–1
Oswestry Rapidplay Tournament 1983-2006
For twenty-three years Oswestry Chess Club staged a one-day six-round Rapidplay tournament. It was held annually, usually at the end of October and invariably on a Sunday, from 1983 until 2006. Competitors played six 30 minute games, using the Swiss system, and vied for the Tyn-y-Wern Trophy and later, from 2001, the Frank Harris Cup. The event was held at various venues in England and Wales and was a popular tournament with local players who came mainly from Shropshire, Cheshire and North Wales. – details here
THE JUNIOR CHESS SCENE
Shropshire Schools Chess Association
Extract from John Blore’s Shrewsbury Chronicle column May 1981
The fourth chess congress organised by the Shropshire Schools Chess Association will take place on June 5th at the Charlton School, Wellington.
This is a change of date and venue from those previously notified to schools, due to the availability of the Phoenix Centre being withdrawn.
The congress has grown from modest beginnings, so much so that this year some 400 youngsters are expected to take part in the six groups: under 9, u10, u11, u12, u14, and u16. The competition will take the form of a 5 or 6 round Swiss Tournament and will run from 10.00am to about 4.00pm.
Entry forms have been sent to all schools in the county to be returned to Mr B.A. Lindley, Sec. Shropshire Schools Chess Association c/o John Randall Junior School, Madeley.
The Shropshire Schools’ under 18 championships is drawing to a close. Three teams qualified for the final section which is decided on an all-play-all basis.
Wakeman School, under the careful guidance of Brian Nicholls, have had absolute domination over this competition for several years and I would tip them to retain their title. However real competition is starting to appear in the shape of Adams Grammar School and next year Adams will probably hold the balance if Wakeman’s Jeffrey Chapman leaves to go to college.
Here is the board 1 encounter between Paul Smith – Adams and Gary Cook – New College, the third team in the final group.
Cook, G – Smith, P [C55] New College v Adam’s, 1981
1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 e5 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bxd5 Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qd8 8.d3 Bg4 9.Qe2 Bd6 10.Be3 0–0 11.h3 Bf5 12.Qd2 Re8 13.0–0–0 Bb4 14.a3 Ba5 15.Bc5 Nd4 16.b4? weakens the position of his king. White’s downfall is now remarkably sudden. 16…Bb6 17.Bxd4 Bxd4 18.Rhe1 a5 19.Nb5 axb4 20.Nfxd4 bxa3!? A truly amazing move. The game now looks like a typical Norman Andrews county first team match. The point of the combination is shown by the game. 21.Nxf5 a2 22.Kb2 c6 23.Nc3 a1Q+ White resigned. No doubt he was punch drunk by Black’s 20th move. The finish could be:- 24.Rxa1 Qb6+ 25.Nb5 Qxb5+ 26.Kc3 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 c5 threatening Qb4 mate 28.Ne7+ Kf8 29.Nd5 Rd8 threatening rook takes knight and Black is winning. 0–1
Staffordshire Building Society Schools Annual Chess Competition
An annual schools chess competition ran between 1980-1983. The winners were:
1980 Abraham Derby
1981 Adams Grammar
1982 Adams Grammar
1983 Blessed Robert Johnson
Brian Nicholls – Wakeman School
Brian Nicholls was a strong player with the Shrewsbury club and the county team. Importantly however he was also a teacher at the Wakeman School in Shrewsbury. Here he founded a school chess club which, with his expert coaching, produced a steady stream of quality players, many of whom joined Bill Clarke’s Nalgo club. These included two county champions in James Clarke and Paul Mukherjee as well as Jeffrey Chapman, Rupert Brindley, and many others.
B.Nicholls – M.Mapleton [B02] – Shrewsbury A v Stirchley A, 1979
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.exd5 Nxd5 4.Nxd5 Qxd5 5.d4 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.c3 e5 8.Be2 exd4 9.0–0 0–0–0 10.cxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Qxd4 13.Be3 Qe4 14.Rac1 (Black has come out of the opening with his extra pawn and could probably consolidate by Bd6 and Rhe8 – but instead he tries to defend his a pawn – with dreadful conseqences.) 14…a6? 15.Rxc7+! Kxc7 16.Bb6+ Kxb6 17.Qxe4 Bc5 18.b4 Bd4 19.g3 g6 20.Kg2 Rhe8 21.Qf3 f5 22.Rd1 Re4 23.Rd2 Rc8 24.Qd1 Bc3 25.Rd7 Rxb4 26.Qd5 Rc6 27.Rd6 Rbc4?? (Black could still have made White work for it but, demoralised by the loss of his Queen, he blunders). 28.Qxc4 1–0
W.A. Clarke – Organiser, administrator, and archivist.
Bill Clarke took up the game late in life becoming an average club player. However it was his organisational skills that made him a major influence on the Shropshire scene. He founded and ran Nalgo (later Telepost) Chess Club, ran the County Individual Championship, and organised simultaneous displays and events.
From 1980 to 1984 Bill ran the county junior teams. Teams at U13, U14, U15, U16, and U18 level were regularly entered in local and national events. For example 1980-81 season he took junior players to the following events:
Oct 1980 – National Lightning Championships at Telford – 5 juniors
Nov 1980 – National U16 Team Championships at Northampton – 10 juniors
Feb 1981 – Midlands U18 Team Championships at Nuneaton – 12 players
Feb 1981 – Midlands U14 Team Championships at Brownhills. – 11 players
Feb 1981 – County Lightening Championships at Shrewsbury – 4 juniors
Mar 1981 – Junior Training Day with John Blore – 12 juniors
Mar 1981 – National U14 Team Championships at Rugby – 11 players
Mar 1981 – Lloyds Bank Junior International Squad Championships in London – 4 players
(U16 – Mark Griffiths. U14 – Philip Darmanin, James Clarke, Jeremy Spearman )
Apr 1981 – Jonathon Mestel Simultaneous in Brownhills – 7 Players.
Bill Clarke writes –
“I was remembering some of those great days when the record sheets surfaced. John Blore was a great help to me at the time. The first time I took a team was to the National under 16 championships held at Northampton. I think the results are on the sheets. John was teaching at Adams school Newport and managed to borrow the school mini coach for the journey. We stopped at a service station on the M1 on the way down. This was the era of ” Space Invader ” machines and we couldn’t get the buggers back in the coach, they had to be dragged away from the machines! I remember being in a panic over whether we would get there in time for the first round!
As the day wore on we were obviously exceeding expectations. I remember the bloke in charge of the London team coming up to me at one stage saying, “Where the hell have you discovered this lot from? I have never heard of them and you have some really good players out there!” I remember feeling quite chuffed!” – Bill Clarke 16/02/2005
The Shropshire players that day who finished 3rd out of 8 behind London YMCA and Warwickshire were – S. Buttery, J Spearman, P. Darmanin, J Clarke, P. Smith, M. Hollier, K. Brotherton, E. Spearman, D. Phillips, N. Walley.
Philip Darmanin writes:- “Recently, I found a game that I played in 1975 for Sutton Hill Chess Club, when I was 7 years of age. I actually remembered that it was my responsibility to play new members who had entered the club; one person being Richard Thompson!! Then we moved to the Madeley Court and became Telford Chess Club. There were some interesting players back then who were dedicated to Shropshire chess like Jack Baldwin, Lou Prescott, Norman Andrews, John Freeman, John Tunks, Alan Knight and of course my father Tony Darmanin. Later on, in the 1980s, enthusiastic players like George Viszokai, Eugene Raby, Dennis Buttery and others became unsung heroes of Shropshire chess ferrying the juniors about to various competitions. It was a great time!!”
Philip Darmanin 03/11/2005
Bill retired from playing at the end of the decade, but reemerged in 1992, as captured in this piece for the SCA News Bulletin, written by Dave Bryan and kindly provided by Peter Crean:
Then in 1986 disaster struck – the teachers’ union blacklisted all extra-curricular activities. At a stroke the Shropshire Schools Chess League, which had been controlled by Wellington teacher John Lenton, was destroyed never to return. The Shropshire Schools Chess Association disappeared and chess in the county’s schools became very rare indeed. Future generations would be denied the opportunity to be schooled in our noble game. However the chess genie could not be entirely put back into his bottle and the game was now more firmly established in the county than ever before.
John Casewell and David Moore, both parents of young chessplayers, organised the under 14 and under 16 teams from 1986 to 1989 entering various local and national competitions. With no new talent now coming through the school system these teams were largely the former under 11s with little or no additional coaching. Nonetheless the national under 16 finals were again staged in Telford in 1989. The following year Matthew Clark (Shrewsbury School) took on the role of organiser for the over 11s.
J. Chapman – Nalgo
Jeffrey Chapman was the star of the powerful Shrewsbury based Wakeman School chess team. He was one of several strong juniors to play for Nalgo in the eighties. He caused a sensation when he pulled off this upset on board one in the Shropshire League.
Jeffry Chapman (158)-John Cox (191) [B22] – Nalgo v Shrewsbury Bd1, 1980
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Qa5!? 3.Bc4 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e5 d5! 6.Be2 Nfd7 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d4 b6 9.Bd2! (To meet the intended 9….Ba6 with 10.c4 trapping the queen) 9…c4 10.a4 b5 11.b3 Ba6 12.b4 Qb6 13.axb5 Bxb5 14.Na3 Be7 15.Bg5 Bxg5 16.Nxg5 h6 17.Nh3 0–0 18.Bh5 a5 19.Nxb5 Qxb5 20.Qf3! g6 (Very neat: he brings his queen into the kingside attack and at the same time prevents 20…axb4 21.Rxa8 Rxa8 22.Qxf7+ etc.) 21.Qg4 Ne7 22.Nf4 Kh7 23.Nxe6 ( A forceful breakthrough – but necessary as black threatens 23….gxh5) 23…fxe6 24.Qxe6 Rae8 25.Rxa5 Qc6 26.Bxg6+! (The winner! Now white grabs nearly all the enemy pawns.) 26…Kg7 27.Qxc6 Nxc6 28.Bxe8 Rxe8 29.Rxd5 Nf8 30.Rc5 Ne7 31.Rxc4 Kg6 32.f4 Kf5 33.g3 Ra8 34.Kf2 Nd5 35.Kf3 Ra2 36.g4+ Kg6 37.Ke4 1–0. JohnBlore observed in the Shrewsbury Chronicle – the final position looks like something out of a space-invaders game!
R. Brindley – Nalgo
Rupert Brindley, like Jeffrey Chapman, was another powerful junior to emerge from Wakeman School. Both joined Shrewsbury and then Nalgo chess clubs and were graded over 170 before leaving for university. This game was played in London at the Lloyds Bank Junior Tournament.
R. Brindley – S.Taylor [A13] – Lloyds Bank Junior Tournament, 1980
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0–0 d5 6.b3 Bd6 7.Bb2 Nbd7 8.d4 0–0 9.Nbd2 c5 10.e3 Qc7 11.cxd5 exd5 12.Rc1 Rac8 13.dxc5 bxc5 14.Nd4! Qb6 15.Nf5 Rfe8 [He would have preferred to keep his bishop but, unfortunately for black 15…Bb8 was beautifully met by 16.Nxg7 Kxg7 17.Qg4+ Kh8 18.Qxd7] 16.Nc4! dxc4 17.Nxd6 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Qc6+ 19.Kg1 Ne5 20.Bxe5! Rxe5 21.Nxc8 Qxc8 22.Rxc4 g5 23.Qd6 Qf5 24.f3! (ending black’s hopes of counterplay on the white squares) 24…Rxe3 25.Rxc5 Qg6 26.Rc8+ Re8 27.Rxe8+ Nxe8 28.Qxg6+ hxg6 and black resigned a few moves later. 1–0
M.J. Griffiths – Shrewsbury
Mark Griffiths, a talented junior player from the Shrewsbury club, had reached grade 174 at age 15. He came so close to winning the County Championship in 1981. After 4 rounds he was a clear point ahead of his rivals. A draw, which he seemed to deserve in this round 5 clash with David Everington, would probably have been enough. However a blunder on move 34 decided the whole event. Everington took the title with 6/7, half a point ahead of his young opponent who had drawn with John Blore in the last round.
Everington, D – Griffiths, M [E47] – Shropshire Individual Rd 5, 1981
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0?0 5.Bd3 b6 6.e4 Bb7 7.Bg5 h6 8.h4 hxg5? [Black should now try 8…d6! 9.e5 dxe5 10.dxe5 Be4 11.Rh3 with a small edge for white.] 9.hxg5 g6 10.gxf6 (10.e5 was an exciting alternative, too complex to analyse) 10…Qxf6 11.e5 Qg5 12.Rh3 c5 Best. If 12….Qxg2 13.Rg3 is too strong. 13.Rg3 Qh4 14.Qc2!? cxd4 15.Bxg6! dxc3 16.bxc3 Bxc3+! 17.Rxc3 Qd4 18.Bh7+ Kg7 19.Rg3+ Kh8 20.Rd1 Qxe5+ 21.Ne2 f5 22.Rd4 Be4 23.Qb2 (With a piece about to go white seems to be in trouble, but the last two moves conceal a wicked purpose) 23…Kxh7 24.Rxe4! Qxg3! (A fine answer in time trouble – other replies lead to mate. With two rooks for the queen black should probably draw) 25.Nxg3 fxe4 26.Qe2 Nc6 27.Qxe4+ Kg7 28.Nh5+ Kf7 29.Qf4+ Ke7 30.Qg5+ Kd6 31.Nf6 Kc7 32.Qg3+ e5 33.Qg7 Rad8 34.Nxd7 Kc8?? (A tragic blunder. After Rg8 black was still in the game.) 35.Nxf8 1-0
J. Spearman – Stirchley
Jeremy Spearman, another strong Shropshire junior with Stirchley Chess Club, finished 2nd= behind James Clarke in the 1984 County Championship. His grade reached 178J before he too left for college. This miniature was from the first round.
Jeremy Spearman – John Bashall [D01] – Shrops.Individual Rd.1, 1984
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Bf5 4.e3 e6 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.cxd3 Be7 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.e4 0–0 9.e5 Ne8 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.0–0 c6 12.g3 Nc7 13.Nh4 c5 14.f4 cxd4 15.Ne2 Na6 16.Nxd4 Nb6 17.Qg4 Nb4? 18.Nhf5!! 1–0
K.B.Dredge – Telford
Kevin Dredge was one of several mid 170 graded players on the county scene from 1982 to 1986. This county championship game caused much interest at the time. Dredge outgrades and outplays his opponent – but sometimes there is no justice in chess as demonstated here. White rises like a phoenix from the ashes of his position to salvage an unlikely draw.
Keith Tabner – Kevin Dredge [B25] Shropshire Individual Rd 1, 1985
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.f4 Nge7 7.Nf3 0–0 8.0–0 d6 9.Kh1 Rb8 10.a4 a6 11.Ne2 b5 12.axb5 axb5 13.c3 b4 14.d4 cxd4 15.cxd4 d5 16.e5 Qb6 17.b3 Ba6 18.Rf2 Ra8 19.Neg1? Be2! 20.Qxe2 Rxa1 21.Bb2 Ra2 22.Qd3 Qa6 23.Qd1 Nf5 24.Bf1 Qb6 25.Qd3 h5 26.Bh3 Nce7 27.g4 hxg4 28.Bxg4 Nh6 29.h3 Nef5 30.Rg2 Qa6 31.Qd2 Qb5 32.h4 Nxg4 33.Rxg4 Rc8 34.Ne2 Ne3 35.Rg1 Rc2! 36.Qxe3 Rxe2 37.Qc1 Raxb2 38.Qc8+ Bf8 Played quickly and confidently. 39.Rxg6+!? This came as a bolt from the blue. A crowd gathered around the table as Black spent much of his remaining time analysing the position. 39…fxg6 40.Qxe6+ Kh8 41.Qf6+ Bg7 42.Qd8+ Kh7 43.Ng5+ Kh6 44.Nf7+ Kh7 ½–½
A.F. Footner – Shrewsbury
Andrew Footner joined the Shrewsbury club in the early 1980s and, like his elder brother John, has been amongst the elite group of stronger players ever since. Here is an example of his attacking flair.
D. Roberts – A.Footner [D07] – Shrewsbury A v Telford B, 1990
1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e3 e5 5.d5 Nce7 6.Bxc4 Ng6 7.Qb3 Bd6 8.Bb5+ Kf8 9.e4 f5 10.Nf3 Nf6 11.Ng5 h6 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Ne6+ Bxe6 14.dxe6 Ke7 15.Bd3 Nf8 16.Bc4 Qc8 17.Be3 Nxe6 18.Bxe6 Qxe6 19.Qxb7 Rab8 20.Qxa7 Rxb2 White seems to be doing well enough until his over-ambitious move 21. 21.0–0–0?! threatening both the b2 rook and Rxd6. 21…Rhb8! 22.Bc5 [22.Rxd6 Qc4! wins – but in this line Black still has a brilliant answer.] 22…Rb1+!! 23.Nxb1 Qc4+ 24.Kd2 Rb2+ 25.Ke1 Qe2# 0–1
A.J. Gilbert – Madeley
There are many examples of father and son both playing in the Shropshire league. Alistair Gilbert, like father John Gilbert, played for the Stirchley or Madeley clubs during the 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Rising through the junior ranks, by the early eighties Alistair was established as one of the county’s stronger players.
J.McAvoy – A.Gilbert [C95] – Shropshire Individual, 1985
Comment by Alistair: “Thanks to the many mistakes by both of us, this is one of the most interesting games I have ever played. Jim could have won it with 36.Qf2 etc. and is still kicking himself that he didn’t, but it all took place in a wild time scramble in which both of us were overcome by the shakes and were playing random moves. The ending defies analysis but I’m sure Jim should have drawn it.”
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.Re1 0–0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 c5 12.Nf1 Re8 13.Ng3 Bb7 14.d5 c4 15.Bc2 g6 16.Be3 Qc7 17.a4 Nc5 18.a5 Bc8 19.b3 cxb3 20.Bxb3 Bd7 21.Ng5 Rac8 22.Bd2 Nb7 23.f4 exf4 24.Bxf4 Nxa5 25.e5 Qc5+ 26.Be3 Qxc3 27.e6 fxe6 28.dxe6 Bc6 29.Rxa5 Qxa5 30.Nf7 Qc3 31.Nh6+ Kg7 32.Ngf5+ gxf5 33.Nxf5+ Kg6 34.Bd4 Qxe1+ 35.Qxe1 Kxf5 36.Bc2+? [36.Qf2+!! Kg6 37.Bc2+ Kg7 38.Qg3+] 36…Be4 37.Qf2+ Kxe6 38.Bxe4 Nxe4 39.Qf4 Nf6 40.g4 Kd7 41.Qf5+ Kc7 42.Bxf6 Bxf6 43.Qxf6 Kc6 44.Qc3+ Kb6 45.Qd4+ Kc7 46.Qg7+ Kb6 47.Qxh7 Rc1+ 48.Kg2 Rec8 49.Qd7 R8c6 50.g5 R6c3 51.Qxd6+ Ka5 52.Qd8+ Ka4 53.Qd5 R1c2+ 54.Kg1 b4 55.g6 Rg3+ 56.Kf1 Rxg6 57.Qd1 Rgc6 58.Qa1+ Kb3 59.Qb1+ Ka3 60.Qa1+ Ra2 61.Qd1 a5 62.h4 Kb2 63.Qe2+ Rc2 64.Qe5+ Kb1 65.Qe4 Ra1 0–1
This picture was taken at the National Under 16 Championship held at Madeley Court Centre Telford 5th Dec 1981. Organiser Bill Clarke is standing on the right next to Joe Adderley and Brian Lindley. Nancy Cox and Ajoy Mukherjee are on the left with Geoff Maidden and John Blore centre. One of the children seated is Bill’s daughter Louise. Shropshire’s 10-player team finished 5th behind Nottinghamshire and London.
Grandmaster Victor Korchnoi is pictured above in a 1981 simultaneous display at GKN Sankey. Below some of his other opponents consider their next moves. There were several such events in Shropshire in the 1980s including Lev Polugayevski, Ray Keene, and Indian masters Thipsay and Barua.
In a joint Shropshire and Staffordshire event staged in Telford in 1983, grandmaster Ray Keene (picured left) took on the best juniors from both counties in a simultaneous display. 27 Shropshire juniors took part.
Indian grandmasters Thipsay and Barua each took on 20 local players in a simul at Old Shrewsbury Bowling Club 11/08/1985 organised by Ajoy Mukherjee. Dibienda Barua won 17 and drew 3. This drawn game, so nearly a win for black, earned the best game prize.
Dibienda Barua v Keith Tabner
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.0–0 Nc6 7.c3 e6 8.Re1 Bd6 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 0–0 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Qxf6 gxf6 14.Nd2 e5 15.Nb3 e4 16.Bf1 f5 17.Rad1 a6 18.Nc5 Bxc5 19.dxc5 Rad8 20.Rd2 d4 21.cxd4 Rxd4 22.Rxd4 Nxd4 23.Rd1 Rd8 24.Kh1 f4 25.Bc4 Kg7 26.b4 f5 27.a4 e3 28.b5 axb5 29.axb5 Kf6 30.g3 Ke5 31.Re1 Nc2 32.Re2 Rd1+ 33.Kh2 fxg3+ 34.fxg3 Rd2 35.Kg1 Kd4 36.c6 bxc6 37.bxc6 Kxc4 38.c7 Rxe2 39.c8Q+ Kb3 40.Qe6+ Kb2 41.Qxf5 Re1+ [Better is 41…Rd2 with winning chances] 42.Kh2 e2 43.Qe5+ Kb1 44.Qb8+ Kc1 45.Qf4+ Kd1 46.Qd6+ Kc1 47.Qxh6+ Kd1 48.Qd6+ Kc1 and white draws by perpetual check. ½–½
Jon Speelman’s simul, organised by Carl Portman, was held at Coddon on 11th December 1988.
JS was 4th ranked in the world at the time and won 27, drew 4.
He is pictured with Glyn Pugh, Richard Archer, and David Everington (right).
GKN A in play against Oswestry A with top boards Kevin Brotherton (left) against Jonathan Bourne. Philip Darmanin is making his move on board 2.
Highest BCF Grades 1980 – 1989
|215 – JJ Cox – Newport||175 – DW Gostelow – Telford|
|195 – J Blore – GKN Sankey||175 J-MJ Griffiths – Shrewsbury|
|191 – J Haynes – GKN Sankey||175 – NJ Rutter – Telford|
|186 – JK Footner – Telford||174 J-R Brindley – Nalgo|
|182 – JD Bourne – Oswestry||174 – AJ Gilbert – Madeley|
|182 J-JW Clarke – Nalgo||174 – G Pugh – Coddon|
|180 – T Brotherton – Telford||173 J-P Mukherjee – Nalgo|
|178 – D Everington – Shrewsbury||171 J-J Chapman – Nalgo|
|178 J-J Spearman – Madeley||170 – R Parry – Shifnal|
|176 – AF Footner – Shrewsbury||169 – N Graham – Telford|
|175 – K Dredge – Telford||168 – N Andrews – Shrewsbury|
In 1983-84 the officials and clubs were as follows:-
Shropshire Chess Association
Affiliated to the British Chess Federation
|1st Team Captain||J.D.Blore|
|2nd Team Captain||R.Powell|
|3rd Team Captain||R.Simpson|
|County Junior Team Managers||W.A.Clarke, J.D.Blore|
|Congress Controller||Mrs N.Cox|
|Individual Tournament Controller||G.Pugh|
|Lightening Tournament Controller||G.Pugh|
|Correspondence Chess Controller||S.A.Gardner|
|Records & Grading Officer||B.G.Holland|
|Summer & Minor Knockout Controller||J.Adderley|
|Clubs and Secretaries|
|Bomere Heath||J.Adderley||Wale Room, Church St.Bomere Heath|
|Chess Players Chess Club||D.Powell||Arts Centre, Princes St.Wellington|
|Church Stretton||B.H.Pogson||Youth Rooms, Church St.Church Stretton|
|GKN Sankey||S.Bricknell||Sports Club, Hadley Castle, Telford|
|Market Drayton||A.H.Cannell||Beacon Community Centre, Longslow Rd|
|Oswestry||W.Evans||Youth Centre, Oak St. Oswestry|
|Rolls Royce||W.Blackmore||Sports Club, Albert Rd, Shrewsbury|
|Salop Nalgo||W.A.Clarke||Shirehall, Shrewsbury|
|Severn Trent||P.J.Buswell||Shelton, Shrewsbury|
|Shifnal||E.Elwell||Union Inn, Victoria Rd, Shifnal|
|Shrewsbury||C.A.Bliss||Royal Shrewsbury Hospital|
|Shrewsbury School||L.Le Quesne||Kingsland House, Shrewsbury School.|
|Stirchley||B.Lindley||Stirchley Centre, Telford|
|Summerhouse Chess Club||D.M.Bonner||Summerhouse Inn, Albrighton|
|Telford||R.Thompson||Court Centre, Madeley, Telford|
The last recorded winner of the Ernest Groom Memorial Trophy – SCA Correspondence Chess Championship was E. Elwell in 1989. All known winners of the trophy are below:
|1962||Mrs E. Ingram|
|1963||Dr H.D. Gemmell / A.A. Samworth|
|1964||Dr H.D. Gemmell / D.M.H Everington|
|1965||Dr S. Ancell/ J. Baldwin/ E. G. Small|
|1966||Dr A. Angell/ D.M.H Everington|
|1969||Dr S. Angell/ J. Baldwin/ A.E. Dearlove/ E. Ingram/ J. Jeggo|
|1973||R.J.A. Cox/ J. Tunks|
|1974||J.H. James/ S. Gardnier|
|1978||A. J. Knight|
|1980||J. D. Blore|
|1983||A.J. Gilbert/ A.K. Mukherjee|
|1985||A.J. Gilbert/ A.K. Mukherjee|