Bull on the charge as opposition blitzed

Phil Bull roared to victory at a hugely competitive Newport Chess Club blitz tournament. Bull, who plays most of his chess for Wolverhampton, won six of his seven matches to take the top prize, half a point clear of Maddocks’ Andy Grillage. The only blemish on his record was a defeat to Newport’s Thalia Holmes in round three.

Organisers will have been delighted at the high turnout, which saw 27 players turn out as the new league season draws closer. A handicap system was employed whereby supposedly weaker players with lower gradings received more thinking time – ranging from just three minutes for the highest rated player Nick Rutter to eight minutes for the lowest rated players. This had the effect of providing more opportunities for surprise results.

Bull won the £18.75 first prize, runner-up Grillage picked up £12.50 and third place was shared between Rutter, Glyn Pugh of Maddocks and Telepost’s James Holyhead. Four £6.25 grading prizes were handed out – Pugh was the under 1900ECF winner, Fred Bench (Telepost) the highest placed U1665 winner, Holyhead claiming the U1500 accolade, and ungraded Dave Hollands, who finished joint sixth with an impressive 4.5/7, claiming the U1250 prize.

Meanwhile, Shropshire’s Four Nations Chess League team has received a last-minute reprieve from relegation after the make-up of the new divisional structure was confirmed. Despite provisionally being placed in division four for the 2022/23 season, Shropshire and Friends will now compete in division three west. The first two rounds will be played in Daventry over the weekend of October 22 and 23, and captain Charles Higgie is still on the lookout for players who wish to join the squad. Email Charles at higgiecharles@gmail.com