Chapter 8 – 1990-1999

The Coddon Years

The decade opened with two league titles for a Shrewsbury team of Gordon Bradley, Andrew Footner, David Everington, Tony Green, and Stuart Cook. There then followed a remarkable period of dominance by the Telford based Coddon Club. Having already won the title in 1989, they now topped the Shropshire table for six consecutive seasons from 1992 to 1997. The core team of Glyn Pugh, Carl Portman, Richard Archer, and Phil Cameron was initially led by Alan Knight, and later joined by Trevor Brotherton, Kiddy Makwaya, and Ian Gilbert. In June 1997 Ian Gilbert at 18 was Midlands Junior Chess Champion, a title he won at the Midlands championships in Birmingham.

In 1998 the Coddon empire disintegrated. Brotherton and Portman moved to Shrewsbury to join Bradley, Everington, and A.Footner and take the title back. In 1999 Portman and Archer joined Nick Rutter, Tony Holdford, and John Jeggo to take the title to Newport.

The Cox Trophy (summer cup) was shared more widely. Newport won four times including three consecutive wins 1993 to 1995 with a team including Nick Rutter, Phil Darmanin, Tony Holdford, John Jeggo, and Mark Hubbuck. Telepost and Coddon each won twice with Shrewsbury and Oswestry winning once each. Thus three clubs won the league and cup double. Shrewsbury in 1990, Coddon in 1992 and 1996, and Newport in 1999. 

The County Individual Championship was won three times each by Nick Rutter and Trevor Brotherton (one shared), twice by David Gostelow, and once each by Nigel Ferrington (shared), Carl Portman, and John Jeggo.

Throughout most of the decade eleven Shropshire chess clubs entered teams in a Shropshire Chess League of three divisions each with eight teams of five players. The clubs were Church Stretton, Coddon, Newport, Oswestry, Perkins, Shifnal, Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury School, Telepost, Telford, and Wellington. In 1998 new clubs were formed at Ludlow and Ellesmere, although the latter folded in 2001. Shrewsbury School chess club dropped out in 1999.

Under 11 junior chess was organised by Alan Shaw at Dothill, whilst the 12 to 18 year group were represented by Matthew Clark of Shrewsbury School.


This 1996 photo was taken on Coddon’s visit to Shrewsbury. Standing left to right:- Phil Cameron, Sue Portman, and Carl Portman. Seated left to right:- Richard Archer, Trevor Brotherton, and Kiddy Makwaya.

I.R. Wilson – President

Iain Wilson, who in 1999 took over from David Everington as President of the Shropshire Chess Association, in play at the Wrekin Congress.

N.J. Rutter – Six Times County Champion

Nick Rutter moved to Shropshire in 1988 joining the Telford club before moving to Newport.. He won his first title in 1989 and went on to become the dominant player on the county scene up to the present time. He repeated his success in 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and again in 2005, whilst also enjoying success in tournaments both local and national, including results against several titled players.He has also made a major contribution to chess administration working as County Grading Officer and in running the County Championships. Sadly a flood at his home in 2001 destroyed all of his chess records. Can anyone supply a contemporary gamescore please? Meanwhile here is a more recent game.

Rutter, N – Ferrington, N  [B99] Shropshire Individual Championship, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 b5 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.g5 Bxd4 13.Rxd4 Bb7 14.Bxb5 This is a bit risky because black gains a tempo attacking the loose rook.. 14…axb5 15.Nxb5 Qb6 16.Nxd6+ Ke7 17.Qe3 Rxa2 18.Nc8+ Bxc8 19.Rxd7+ Kxd7 20.Qxb6 Ra1+ 21.Kd2 Rxh1 22.Qd4+ Kc7 23.Qc5+ Kb8 24.Qd6+ Ka8 #Blacks two rooks and a bishop are far superior to white’s lone queen. However, blacks pieces are not well co-ordinated, his king is exposed and his pawns are weak The position was too interesting to take a draw. 25.f5 exf5 26.exf5 Ra1 27.Qd5+ Bb7 28.Qxf7 Rd8+ 29.Kc3 Ra7 30.Qxg7 Be4 31.Qe5 Rc8+ 32.Kd4 Bxc2 33.Qd5+ Rb7 34.h4 Ba4 35.g6 Bc6 36.Qa5+ Ra7 37.Qb6 Rb7 38.Qa5+ Ra7 39.Qb6 Rb7 40.Qa5+ ½–½

D.W. Gostelow – Twice County Champion

David Gostelow joined the Telford club in 1985 and, with a grade of 175, immediately became one of the county’s top ten players. He has maintained that position for most of the subsequent twenty years, although business committments have limited his appearances on the local chess scene. He won his first County Individual Title in 1991, repeating the feat in 1996.

David Gostelow – Carl Portman – Individual Round 3, 1999
1.d4 c5 2.c3 cxd4 3.cxd4 d5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.Nc3 e6 7.e3 Bb4 8.Bd3 Qa5 9.0–0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Qxc3 11.Bd6 Ne4 12.Bxe4 dxe4 13.Ng5 Qa5 14.Qh5 Qf5 15.f3 Qg6 16.Qh4 f6 17.Nxe4 Ne7 18.Rac1 Nf5 19.Qf4 Bd7 20.Rc7 b6 21.Rfc1 Qh6 22.Qxh6 Nxh6 23.Rb7 Nf7 24.Ba3 f5 25.Nd6+ Nxd6 26.Bxd6 h6 27.Rcc7 Rd8 28.Rxa7 b5 29.Rcb7 Rh7 30.Bc5 g5 31.Rxb5 Rf7 32.Rbb7 f4 33.e4 g4 34.fxg4 e5 35.d5 Rc8 36.Ba3 Rd8 37.h3 f3 38.Bc5 Rc8 39.Rc7 Rxc7 40.Rxc7 fxg2 41.Kxg2 Rf4 42.Rb7 Rxe4 43.Rb6 Rc4 44.Bb4 e4 45.a3 Rc2+ 46.Kg3 e3 47.Rxh6 e2 48.Rh8+ Kf7 49.Rh7+ Ke8 50.Re7+ Kd8 51.Kf2 Bb5 52.d6 Rc1 53.g5 Rf1+ 54.Kg3 Rg1+ 55.Kh4 Rh1 56.g6 Bd7 57.Rxe2 Rxh3+ 58.Kg5 Rg3+ 59.Kf6 Rf3+ 60.Kg7 Rg3 61.Rf2 Be8 62.Rf6 Rg4 63.Kh7 Rh4+ 64.Kg8 Rh6 65.Kg7 Rh4 66.Re6 Bb5 67.Re7 Rg4 68.Ba5+ Kc8 69.Rc7+ Kb8 70.d7 1–0

T.S. Brotherton – Four Times County Champion

Trevor Brotherton joined the Telford Club in 1986 ensuring that, with John Footner and David Gostelow also on their books, the team was so successful in the mid 1980’s. He won his first County Title in 1992 and shared the 1993 crown with Nigel Ferrington. In 1995 he joined the already strong Coddon Club and again won the individual title (grade 186). He has since played for Church Stretton and Shrewsbury winning his fourth County Championship in 2003.

Tony Holdford -Trevor Brotherton – 1999
1.f4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Bd3 b6 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.b3 0–0 7.0–0 d5 8.f5 Nbd7 9.fxg6 hxg6 10.Bb2 e5 11.Be2 Qe7 12.a4 c5 13.a5 d4 14.exd4 exd4 15.Nb5 Nd5 16.Bc4 Ne5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Qg4 Kg7 19.Rae1 f5 20.Qe2 Rae8 21.Qf2 Nf6 22.h3 Ne4 23.Qe2 Ng3 24.Qxe5+ Qxe5 25.Rxe5 Rxe5 26.Rd1 Rd8 27.Nxa7 Rde8 28.axb6 Re1+ 29.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 30.Kf2 Rb1 31.Kxg3 Rxb2 32.Bd3 Ra2 33.Nb5 Ra6 34.Nd6 Rxb6 35.Nxb7 Rxb7 36.Kf4 Kf6 37.h4 Re7 38.g4 fxg4 39.Kxg4 Re1 40.Bb5 Rd1 41.d3 Rc1 42.Be8 Rxc2 43.h5 gxh5+ 44.Kxh5 Rc3 45.Bb5 0–1

N. Ferrington – Three Times County Champion

Nigel Ferrington joined the OSB Club (later Telepost) as a junior in 1986. He shared the County Title in 1993 with Trevor Brotherton. However he came into his own in the next decade winning further County Championships in 2001 and 2004 whilst helping his club to five consecutive league titles.

Nigel Ferrington – David Gostelow – Individual Round 4, 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 a6 6.Nd6+ Bxd6 7.Qxd6 Qf6 8.Qd1 Qg6 9.Nc3 Nge7 10.h4 h5 11.Bg5 d5 12.exd5 Nb4 13.Bxe7 Kxe7 14.Bd3 Nxd3+ 15.Qxd3 Qxd3 16.cxd3 b5 17.Rc1 Rd8 18.f4 exf4 19.0–0 Bb7 20.Rxf4 Rd7 21.a4 Rad8 22.axb5 axb5 23.Nxb5 Bxd5 24.Rc5 g6 25.Rd4 Kf6 26.Kf2 Ke5 27.Re4+ Kf6 28.Rf4+ Kg7 29.Rd4 f6 30.g3 Kh6 31.Rc7 g5 32.Rxd7 Rxd7 33.Nc3 Be6 34.Rxd7 Bxd7 35.Ne4 Bb5 36.Ke3 gxh4 37.gxh4 Kg7 38.b4 Kf8 39.Nxf6 1–0

C.S. Portman – 1998 County Champion

Carl Portman, the 1998 champion can claim a unique record in Shropshire chess. He also has seven Shropshire League Championship wins with three different clubs in the Shropshire league. He joined the GKN club in 1984 moving to Coddon in the late 1980’s. He was a member of the Coddon Team which dominated the Shropshire League from 1992 to 1997. However in 1997-8 he moved to Shrewsbury to take the league title with his new club to add to his individual crown. The following season he moved to Newport taking the league title with him, before leaving Shropshire for Gemany. This was a loss to the local chess scene – he had been General Secretary of the Shropshire Chess Association and anonymous writer of the Shropshire Star chess column.

Carl Portman – Toby Neal – Individual Round 4, 1999
1.c4 d6 2.Nc3 f5 3.d4 Nf6 4.g3 e6 5.Bg2 Be7 6.e3 0–0 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.0–0 Qe8 9.a3 Kh8 10.b4 e5 11.d5 Nb8 12.Bb2 a5 13.Qd2 axb4 14.axb4 Rxa1 15.Rxa1 Na6 16.Ba3 g5 17.b5 Nc5 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.Ra8 e4 20.Na4 b6 21.Qb2 Bd6 22.Bh3 Qe7 23.Qc3 Be5 24.Qd2 Rg8 25.Kf1 Qg7 26.Bg2 Qh6 27.h3 Nh5 28.Ke1 f4 29.exf4 gxf4 30.Bxe4 Qf6 31.g4 f3 32.gxh5 fxe2 33.Kxe2?? Carl should have taken with the Queen 33…Bd4? missing Bg4+ picking up the rook for bishop. 34.Kd3 Bxf2 35.Kc2 Bd4 36.Nc3 Qe5 37.Qh6 Bf5? [37…Qe7] 38.Rxg8+ Kxg8 39.Qg5+ Qg7 40.Qxg7+ Bxg7 41.Bxf5 1–0

J.R. Jeggo – Newport

John Jeggo first appeared on the Shropshire chess scene in the 1960s and was for many years to narrowly miss out on a county championship title. In 1999 however he struck a major blow for the older generation by winning the title as a veteran, thus becoming the oldest player to win the County Title.

John Jeggo -Nick Rutter – Round 7, 1999
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 c4!? The “Hawk” , a rare opening invented by Stefan Bucker, an IM known for his unusual opening ideas. 4.Nc3 Qa5 an interesting alternative is 4. .. b5. 5.Bd2! The main line is 5. Qd4 which leads to wild positions. 5. Bd2 appears to lose a pawn, but white can then win the c pawn by force leading to a favourable ending for white. 5…Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.Bxc3 Qc7 8.Qd5 and white gets the pawn back. 8…e6 9.Qxc4 Qxc4 10.Bxc4 white has a clear but small endgame advantage. 10…Nc6 11.0–0 f6 12.a3 a6 13.Rad1 b5 14.Bb3 Bc5 15.Rd2 Ke7 16.Rfd1 d6 17.Nd4 Ne5 18.Kh1 Bd7 19.f4 Ng6 20.Rf1 a5 21.Ne2 Bc6 22.f5! e5 23.Bd5 Bxd5 24.Rxd5 Nf8?? a careless error, forced is [24…b4! when black may be able to hold the position.] 25.b4! axb4 26.axb4 Be3 27.Rfd1 Ra2 28.Be1 Rxc2 29.Nc3 Bf2 30.Bxf2 Rxc3 31.Rxd6 black is now dead. 31…Rc4 32.Bc5 Kf7 33.Re1 Although John could have finished the game more quickly – for example with Rb6, Black’s lost position isn’t going anywhere. 33…g6 34.g3 Rg8 35.Rd8 threatening Ra1 with mate to follow. Black is forced to sacrifice. 35…gxf5 36.exf5 Rg5 37.Rxf8+ Kg7 38.Rb8 Rxf5 39.Rxb5 Kg6 40.Rb8 Rc2 41.Rg8+ Kf7 42.Rg4 Ke6 43.Rh4 h5 44.g4 Rf4 45.Rxh5 Rxg4 46.Rf1 Kd5 47.Rhf5 Rh4 48.R5f2 Rxf2 49.Rxf2 Ke6 50.Kg2 f5 51.h3 f4 52.Re2 Kf5 1–0

Alan Shaw – Shropshire Junior Academy

Chess for the under 11s in Shropshire was organised by Alan Shaw from the late 1980s until 2004 when ill health forced his retirement from the post. Taking over from Brian Lindley and Mike Mapleton, Alan was assisted by Brian Moore, and later took sole charge. In some years Shropshire not only entered under 9 and under 11 boys but also a girls team in the National Championships. During his tenure the county have had at least 8 children who played for their country.

Mr Shaw ran Dothill Chess Club (He was formerly a teacher at Dothill School) on Saturday mornings for 12 years to 2004 where it became the prime training ground for young under 11 chess talent in the county. Currently in 2005 Shropshire have five junior international players, all of whom have graduated through the Dothill Chess Academy.

Gordon Bradley – Shrewsbury Chess Club

Gordon Bradley arrived from the Blackpool area in 1990 to take up a mathematics teaching post at Shrewsbury Girls’ High School. He joined Shrewsbury Chess Club and, with a grade of 173, immediately made a dramatic impact upon the county scene helping the Shrewsbury A Team to its first ever league and cup double – this for a club which had won nothing since 1981. Even though at about this time he began to show the first symtoms of Parkinson’s disease, his contribution to both club and county has been immense. He was able to take on the very best in Shropshire on equal terms and did so with an uncompromising style of attacking play, which delighted anyone who cared to watch.

With Gordon playing usually on top board further league and cup titles followed culminating in a second double success in 2004. Unfortunately this was to be his last season with the club. Inevitably, as the disease progressed, the attendant tremors and an occasional feeling of confusion got worse and began to affect his play – although he continued to produce sparkling chess until his family decided in late 2004 that he needed day-long care and arranged for him to live at a nursing home. He died in 2008.- David Everington

The 2002 photo shows Gordon Bradley with the Shrewsbury Club Championship Trophy (which dates back to the 1896 – the club having been founded circa 1890)

Here is a sample game, a bit quieter in style than many of Gordon’s, which caused some astonishment in the November 1999 league match between Shrewsbury A and Telepost A, on top board:

White: Nigel Ferrington – Black: Gordon Bradley – Caro-Kann
1.e4 d5 2.ed Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.d4 cd 5.c5 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Qa4 Bf3 Qc7 9.Bb5 e5 10.O-O Rc8 11.Re1 Be7 12.Qa7 ed 13.Bc6 Qc6 14.Bf4 Kd7! (Odd looking but it ends all Black’s development problems, with a won game) 15.b4 Ra8 16.Qb6 Qb6 17.cb Bb4 18.Rc1 Rhc8 19.Rc8 Rc8 20.a4 Kc6 21.a5 Nd7 22.Bd2 Bd2 23.Nd2 Nc5 24.Rc1 Kb5 25.Nb3 d3 26.Kf1 d2 27.Nd2 Ka5 28.Rb1 Rc6 29.Nb3+ Nb3 30.Rb3 Rb6 31.Re3 Re6 32.Rc3 b5 White resigns

A.Green – Shrewsbury

Tony Green, another player in the 170 bracket, travelled in from Mid-Wales to play for Shrewsbury 1989 to 1991. There is a nice calm positional feel to this win. The Stonewall Dutch is a good, aggressive defence but White plays to keep his opponent cramped and the latter, as so often in this situation, makes things worse with a freeing move – 18…..c5. 

Green, A – Kirkwood, R [A95] – Rhyl Congress Open, 1990
1.d4 f5 2.g3 e6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.c4 0–0 7.Nc3 c6 8.b3 Ne4 9.Bb2 Nxc3 10.Bxc3 Nd7 11.e3 Nf6 12.Ne5 Ne4 13.Bb2 Qe8 14.f3 Nf6 15.Qd2 b6 16.Rfc1 Bb7 17.Rc2 Rc8 18.Rac1 c5!? 19.Nd3 Nd7 20.dxc5 bxc5 21.cxd5 exd5 22.Ba3 (A hanging pawn structure has arisen, but one where he cannot save his c pawn – so he tries something radical and falls into a nice trap) 22…d4? 23.exd4 cxd4 24.Rxc8 Bxc8 25.Rxc8! (Two bishops are normally more than a match for a rook) 25…Qxc8 26.Bxe7 Re8 27.Ba3 Qc3 28.Qxc3 dxc3 29.Kf2 Nf6 30.Bf1 Nd5 31.Bc5 c2 32.Nc1 Rc8 33.Bxa7 Nb4 34.Bc4+ Kf8 35.a4 Ke7 36.Ke2 Kd6 37.Kd2 Re8 38.Be3 g6 39.Bf4+ Kc5 40.Be3+ Kd6 41.Bf4+ (A little repetition in time trouble) 41…Kc5 42.Nd3+ Nxd3 43.Bxd3 The Black pawn falls and white will soon promote on the queen side. 1–0

The picture shows Russian Grandmaster Lev Polugaevsky taking on 30 of Shropshire’s best in a simultaneous display at the Buckatree Hall Hotel on September 13th 1992. Carl Portman arranged the event and Lev stayed overnight at his house.

On 22nd February 1996 it was the turn of Grandmaster Nigel Davies to put on a simultaneous display at Church Stretton chess club to coincide with organiser Graham Shepherd’s birthday. 

Davies, N – Tabner, K [D35] 
Simultaneous display, 22.02.1996 
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Bb4 7.Bd3 c5 8.Nge2 c4 9.Bc2 h6 10.Bh4 a6 11.0–0 Qc7 12.Bg3 Bd6 13.f3 b5 14.e4 Bxg3 15.Nxg3 dxe4 16.fxe4 b4 17.Nce2 0–0 18.Nf4 Bb7?! [Better is 18…Rd8 when 19.e5? would be met with Nxe5] 19.e5 Nd5 20.Nxd5 Bxd5 21.Nf5 Be6 22.Qg4 Bxf5 23.Qxf5 g6 24.Qg4 Nb6 25.e6!! black is already beyond salvation 25…Nd5 26.exf7+ Rxf7 27.Qxg6+ Kf8 28.Qxh6+ Kg8 29.Rxf7 Qxf7 30.Rf1 Qe7 31.Qg6+ Kh8 32.Qh5+ 1–0 

Daniel King Simultaneous display.

The picture shows GM Daniel King making his move against organiser Carl Portman at the Charlton School in Telford on November 20th 1993. The final score was Daniel King 20 Shropshire players 5.

Highest BCF Grades 1990-1999

192 – NJ Rutter – Newport174 – R Bryant -Oswestry
190 – K Makwaya – Coddon174 – AF Footner – Shrewsbury
186 – TS Brotherton – Coddon171 – ML Green – Shrewsbury
186 – NJ Ferrington – Telepost171 – AJ Gilbert – Madeley
184 – JK Footner – Telford170 – A Green – Shrewsbury
176 – G Bradley – Shrewsbury170 – D Everington – Shrewsbury
175 – DW Gostelow – Telford170 – C Roberts – Shifnal

Note that there are no juniors at all in this list – a clear indication of the impact of the 1986 action by the teachers’ unions which destroyed the Shropshire Schools Chess Association and denied a whole generation of youngsters access to this beautiful game. Fortunately Alan Shaw and others were already at work to give the next generation their chance.

How things used to be

In these days of match results published on the web within minutes of the last move of the night, automatic tables and cross-referencing, and digital grading, it is remarkable to see the efforts made by SCA officials in times past to keep the league running smoothly. Peter Crean has provided the documents below. The meticulously handwritten league tables and grading lists are believed to be compiled by Brian Holland in his role as Gradings Officer.

To Chapter 9 – 2000 – 2005