William Bates is the winner of the Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy awarded for the best chess game by a Shropshire player during the season.
Bates, who plays for the Oakengates-based Maddocks club, is only the second winner of the trophy which was inaugurated in memory of Roberts, a popular player and former county chess official who died in 2018. His winning entry was a game in the Telepost summer league in which he beat Nathanael Paul.
The judges, one from each division of the Shropshire league, were Nigel Ferrington – winner of the inaugural prize in the 2019-20 season – Andrew Grillage, and Steve Tarr. Bates’ win was the immediate top choice for two of the judges, described by one of them as “a nice attack and he kept reasonable control of the position while sacrificing.” “I must admit at being surprised,” said Bates after hearing the news.
All the entries were played online – because of the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus crisis Shropshire Chess Association had voted to relax the rule that the trophy is only for games played over the board.
Organiser Toby Neal said: “It was a tough choice for the judges, and choosing a best game for a brilliancy prize is rather like trying to say what makes for a great painting as it is of course entirely subjective, but Bill’s entry was the clear majority winner among them. All the entries are posted on the Shropshire chess website, so players can play them over and decide what are their own favourites. It was not possible to present the trophy at the annual meeting of Shropshire Chess Association and a presentation will be arranged soon.”
This year’s entries can be viewed here.