James Holyhead has produced one of the biggest upsets in Shrewsbury Town Championship for many years by defeating defending champion Nathanael Paul in the opening round. Telepost’s Holyhead made up a rating deficit of more than 600 ECF points to record a stunning victory that few would have predicted.
Playing with the white pieces in a Dutch Defence, Holyhead started well and built up a promising kingside attack. Paul won a pawn and looked set to beat off the attack – but a momentary slip saw him play some crucial moves in the wrong order, allowing Holyhead to break through and causing Paul’s position to collapse. Although the opening round is seeded, it is a result that shows there are no easy games in the competition, which this year has attracted 24 entries. The tournament is a five-round Swiss, meaning Paul still has the opportunity to bounce back in the coming rounds. Players have until the end of May to play their opening round games.
Elsewhere, Maddocks A have taken an early step towards a league and rapidplay double after moving top of Shropshire Rapidplay League. The newly-crowned Shropshire Chess League champions won all three of their fixtures at the latest round of matches, which the Oakengates-based club hosted. They defeated Telford and clubmates Maddocks B 3-1 before ending the night with an important 2.5-1.5 win over Telepost, which enabled them to open up a two-point league over the Shrewsbury-based club at the top of the table. Telepost could take consolation from Phil Zabrocki’s win over Athar Ansari on top board, ending the Maddocks player’s perfect start of five wins from five games.
Meanwhile, Telford B are on the brink of securing the Shropshire Chess League division three title. Telford narrowly scraped past rock bottom Telepost E – who rather dispiritingly suffered defeats on consecutive nights – to move four points clear of Maddocks C with just two games left. A point in either of their remaining matches will be enough for Telford to be champions.
Newport C 4-0 Telepost E – Joe Greenwood 1-0 M Ayres, C Parker 1-0 M Ryan, M Price 1-0 T Keegan, Jennifer Greenwood 1-0 G Humphreys
Telford B 2.5-1.5 Telepost E – S Tennant 1-0 M Ayres, S Szwajkun 0-1 T Keegan, T Skidmore 0.5-0.5 J Gough, R Benten 1-0 Y Smart
Telford 1-3 Maddocks A, Telepost 3.5-0.5 Maddocks B; Telford 1.5-2.5 Telepost, Maddocks A 3-1 Maddocks B; Maddocks B 2.5-1.5 Telford, Telepost 1.5-2.5 Maddocks A.