Telford Chess Club is taking Shropshire Chess League division two by storm – with its A and B teams occupying the top two spots at Christmas. Telford A won their top of the table clash with Telepost C 3.5-1.5 to make it five wins from five, while Telford B leapfrogged Telepost by winning 3-2 away to mid-table Newport B.
It marks a fine campaign so far for the Dawley-based club, which has endured a rough past decade that included the A team – who were last champions of Shropshire in 2009 – being relegated from the county’s top flight in 2018. They have finished third three times in four division two campaigns since, but are now mounting their strongest challenge yet to secure a top two berth and promotion back to division one.
Telford A’s challenge has been bolstered by a strong middle order – Richard Parry has a 100 per cent record with 4/4 on board two, while new signing Toby Neal has 4/5 on board three and Richard Szwajkun 3.5/4 on board four. They have been well backed up by solid showings by Mark Keady, who has 2.5/4 on top board, and Roger Brown who has 3.5/5 on bottom board, while John Fotner has won both matches he has played for the As.
Telford A’s clash with Telepost C saw the two teams with 100 per cent records meet – and again it was Telford’s powerful middle order that made the difference. Parry, Neal and Szwajkun all won their games and Keady drew with Kate Walker on top board, meaning Nick Holmes’ win over Brown on bottom board was no more than a consolation for the visitors.
Victories for David Hollands on top board and Richard Thompson on board three were enough to maintain Telford B’s surprise challenge with a triumph over Newport B. Hollands’ form on top board – he has scored 4.5/5 – has been a driving force behind their campaign, although they have played a game more than third-placed Telepost C.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury A are the surprise leaders of Shropshire Rapidplay League division one after the latest round of fixtures at Telepost on Monday Dec 19. Francis Best’s side won two of their three fixtures to go top of the table on game points scored – but as they aren’t involved in the next two sets of fixtures they will be overhauled by teams with games in hand in the new year.
It was hosts Telepost A who were the team of the night, winning all three games including a 3.5-0.5 triumph over local rivals Shrewsbury in the final round of the evening to go second in the table. They had the two strongest performers of the night, with Nigel Ferrington scoring 3/3 on top board and David Hodge 2.5/3 on board four. Telford A picked up their first win of the season at the sixth attempt by convincingly winning their derby with Maddocks B in the final round.
Entries are continuing to come in for Shropshire Chess Congress, which will be held from January 6 to 8, with 91 players now signed up across the four sections. Players are reminded to enter by New Year’s Eve to avoid late entry fees. Visit www.shropshirechess.org for more details and to enter.
Shropshire Chess League Division Two:
Telepost E 2-3 Maddocks C – M Ryan 0-1 M Billington, C Pileggi 1-0 G Viszokai, S Hollands 0-1 I Jamieson, C Bethune 1-0 J Hill, T Humphreys 0-1 K Verma
Newport B 2-3 Telford B – D Griffiths 0-1 D Hollands, P Love 1-0 S Tennant, C Parker 0-1 R Thompson, A Jones 0.5-0.5 R Barton, M Price 0.5-0.5 S Szwajkun
Telford A 3.5-1.5 Telepost C – M Keady 0.5-0.5 K Walker, R Parry 1-0 F Bench, T Neal 1-0 J Holyhead, R Szwajkun 1-0 V Crean, R Brown 0-1 N Holmes
Rapidplay League Division One:
Telford A 1-3 Shrewsbury A – T Neal 0-1 N Paul, R Szwajkun 0-1 P Kitchen, D Hollands 0-1 F Best, R Brown 1-0 D Lockett
Telepost A 3-1 Maddocks B – N Ferrington 1-0 S Tarr, P Zabrocki 0.5-0.5 M Morrison, M Clark 0.5-0.5 G White, D Hodge 1-0 S Maydew
Telford A 0.5-3.5 Telepost A – T Neal 0-1 N Ferrington, R Szwajkun 0-1 P Zabrocki, D Hollands 0.5-0.5 M Clark, R Brown 0-1 D Hodge
Maddocks B 1.5-2.5 Shrewsbury A – S Tarr 0-1 N Paul, M Morrison 0.5-0.5 P Kitchen, G White 0.5-0.5 F Best, S Maydew 0.5-0.5 D Lockett
Maddocks B 0.5-3.5 Telford A – S Tarr 0-1 T Neal, M Morrison 0.5-0.5 R Szwajkun, G White 0-1 D Hollands, S Maydew 0-1 R Brown
Shrewsbury A 0.5-3.5 Telepost A – N Paul 0-1 N Ferrington, P Kitchen 0-1 P Zabrocki, F Best 0-1 M Clark, D Lockett 0.5-0.5 D Hodge