Champagne corks popping as Maddocks end seven-year wait for title

Maddocks A are the new chess champions of Shropshire after sealing their first division one title for seven years. The Oakengates-based side came from behind to win 3.5-1.5 away to bottom side Shrewsbury to mathematically secure the championship with two games to go.

Glyn Pugh’s side have won all six matches so far and will go into their double-header with Telepost A hoping to complete the season with a 100 per cent record. It capped a great week for the club, as Maddocks B have gone three points clear at the top of division two. The club was the dominant force of the Shropshire chess scene during the 1990s when they were based at the former Coddon club. But they endured an 18-year drought before winning the title in 2015 under the Priorslee Lions name.

They didn’t have it all their own way at the Nerdy Café on Friday night. Pugh agreed a peaceful draw in just 17 moves with Dan Lockett on board four, but home captain Francis Best put Shrewsbury ahead with a spectacular win over Adrian Zdanowski on board two. Maddocks were too strong on the remaining boards, with Tony Preece, Athar Ansari and Andrew Grillage all picking up wins to secure the victory required to sew up the league. Ansari in particular has been a driving force for Maddocks, winning all six league games so far this season.

The victorious Maddocks A players celebrate sealing the league title. From left, Andrew Grillage, captain Glyn Pugh, Tony Preece, Adrian Zdanowski and Athar Ansari.

The defeat was bad news for Shrewsbury, who now lie two points adrift of the rest of the pack with just two games to play. Their cause wasn’t helped by relegation rivals Oswestry picking up a much-needed 3-2 win over Telepost A. The visitors were left to rue the absence of top board Nigel Ferrington, as wins for Rudy van Kemenade on top board and former Telepost captain Richard Bryant on board three led the hosts to a crucial win. Fred Bench’s win for Telepost on bottom board against Gary Slegg was in vain.

Maddocks B have established a gap at the top of division two thanks to a convincing 4.5-0.5 win away at Telepost C. Simon Maydew, Tony Preece, Gary White and Steve Tarr all won their games, while James Holyhead averted the whitewash for the hosts by drawing with Munroe Morrison on bottom board.

In division three, Telford B won the key top-of-the-table clash with Maddocks C 2.5-1.5 to move six points clear at the top.

Despite their woes in the Shropshire Chess League, there was better news for Shrewsbury as they moved two points clear at the top of the rapidplay league. They benefitted from Newport’s failure to raise a team due to Covid cases in the camp to claim a default win and a 2-2 draw with town rivals Telepost at the latest rapidplay night hosted by Telford Chess Club. But they did lose their final match 2.5-1.5 to the hosts. Shrewsbury’s position has been boosted by two default wins so far, and with five of the seven nights still to take place there is still plenty of chess to be played. Telepost were the night’s most successful team as they backed up their draw with Shrewsbury by beating Telford 3-1.

In the online league, Shrewsbury B stretched their unbeaten run to nine games and remain four points clear at the top of division two after defeating fellow challengers Telepost C 2-1. They had captain Mark Smith to thank for winning the decisive game against Peter Westhead on top board. Newport Juniors kept up their pursuit by beating Newport A 2-1, with the aid of a top board default.


Division one:
Oswestry 3-2 Telepost A – R van Kemenade 1-0 P Zabrocki, C Lowick Higgie 0.5-0.5 M Clark, R Bryant 1-0 J Bashall, A Bailey 0.5-0.5 D Hodge G Slegg 0-1 F Bench
Shrewsbury 1.5-3.5 Maddocks A – P Kitchen 0-1 A Ansari, F Best 1-0 A Zdanowski, M Smith 0-1 A Grillage, D Lockett 0.5-0.5 G Pugh, R Vernon 0-1 T Preece

Division two:
Telepost C 0.5-4.5 Maddocks B – K Tabner 0-1 S Maydew, P Billington 0-1 T Preece, N Holmes 0-1 G White, D Bonner 0-1 S Tarr, J Holyhead 0.5-0,5 M Morrison

Division three:
Maddocks C 1.5-2.5 Telford B – M Billington 0-1 S Tennant, G Viszokai 0-1 R Thompson, I Jamieson 1-0 T Skidmore, J Hill 0.5-0.5 R Benten

Online league division two:
Shrewsbury C 0-3 Telepost B (match defaulted)
Shrewsbury B 2-1 Telepost C
Oswestry C 1.5-1.5 Telepost D
Newport Juniors 2-1 Newport A

Rapidplay league:
Newport 0-4 Telford (match defaulted), Shrewsbury 2-2 Telepost;
Telepost 3-1 Telford, Shrewsbury 4-0 Newport (match defaulted);
Telford 2.5-1.5 Shrewsbury, Newport 0-4 Telepost (match defaulted).