It’s renowned as a game that requires a lot of patience – but one of Shropshire’s top chess players has taken that to a new level by ending a 37-year wait to claim one of the county’s biggest prizes.
Maddocks captain Glyn Pugh has won this year’s Shropshire Individual – a feat which bestows him the honour of being county champion. It is the second time the 63-year-old has won the coveted title – last time he was relatively fresh-faced and in his 20s as the year was 1985. Glyn was presented with his trophy at the recent Shropshire Chess Association annual general meeting. And it was a night of double success for him, as he was also awarded the Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy for the best game by a Shropshire player in the 2021/22 season.
Back in 1985 Glyn tied for the Shropshire Individual title with Shrewsbury’s David Everington after the pair couldn’t be separated over two playoff games, but this is the first time he has won the title outright. He scored 6/7, including an eye-catching win over the county’s number two and tournament top seed Nick Rutter along the way.
Sadly both Everington and Roberts have died in recent years, but Pugh still fondly remembers his battles against them. The trio were also regularly facing each other in top flight league matches within the past decade. Glyn said: “I last won this competition 37 years ago. I shared it with David Everington, then two years later I lost a playoff against Colin Roberts. And now I’ve finally won it again.
“Even after beating Nick, I still had to face Daniel Hilditch-Love with the black pieces in the last round and he is not an easy player to face. It was a very tight game but he got himself into time trouble and that made the difference. My only loss was to Thalia Holmes, who recently qualified for the UK Chess Challenge Gigafinal for junior players.”
Pugh won the Colin Roberts Trophy for his spectacular victory over clubmate Athar Ansari in last year’s Summer Individual. It was characterised by a brilliant bishop sacrifice that saw Ansari – one of the county’s strongest and fastest improving players – defeated within 26 moves. The game can be seen by visiting www.shropshirechess.org and searching in the Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy section.
Editor’s note – the Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy games can be seen here.