Time scrambles – where players frantically make their moves instantaneously before running out of seconds and losing the game – can lead to strange things happening on the chess board. Just ask Newport’s Shane Greenwood and Shrewsbury’s Francis Best – both players mistakenly left their kings in check within a few moves of each other in the latest round of Shropshire Rapidplay League matches.
Best was the first to leave his king under attack, which is an illegal move according to the rules of the game. Both players initially started discussing a few variations believing the game to be over in Greenwood’s favour. But the rules state that the guilty player does not forfeit the game but instead two extra minutes’ thinking time are awarded to his opponent. The game continued, but this still left Greenwood as a big favourite with two and a half minutes to finish the game compared to Best’s roughly 30 seconds. But the slippery Best managed to evade Greenwood’s attempts to checkmate him – and then the Newport man left his king in check. Now it was Best with time in the bank and Greenwood with a flag about to fall – and Greenwood duly lost on time a few moves later.
It was a costly escapade for Newport, as it meant Shrewsbury drew the match 2-2. One of the highlights of the night was a beautiful sacrificial attack by Newport’s Daniel Hilditch-Love which saw him convincingly defeat the experienced Glyn Pugh of Maddocks A on board three of their match. Maddocks A ended the night, which was held at Newport Royal British Legion, with a firm grip on top spot. They beat both Shrewsbury and Newport 3-1 and were awarded a 4-0 walkover against Telford to move six points clear at the top of the table. Telford’s failure to raise a team saw them default all three matches 4-0. This helped Shrewsbury move up to second in the table – despite picking up only one point over the board on the night – having benefitted from three default wins so far this season.
The next rapidplay league night will be hosted by Maddocks on June 9, before the final two sessions are held at Telepost and Shrewsbury.
In the Shropshire Chess League, Telford B are the new champions of division three. They need just a point in the top-of-the-table clash with Maddocks C to seal the championship, but a 2.5-1.5 win has put them an unassailable six points clear. Richard Thompson’s side have won nine and lost just one of their 10 games so far in what has been a very impressive season. It was Thompson and Stefan Tennant who picked up the crucial wins on this occasion – Tennant beat Mark Billington on top board, while Thompson triumphed over George Viszokai on board two. Ian Jamieson replied for Maddocks by beating Steve Szwajkun on board three.
In division two, Telepost B have moved just a point behind long-time leaders Maddocks B after a crushing 5-0 derby win over clubmates Telepost C. An intriguing clash saw Kate Walker paired against her partner James Holyhead on board three – and it was Walker who won the tussle. David Hodge, Rob Nield, Steve Kempsell and Graham Shepherd also won their games for a strong-looking B-side, who will have to win their final game against Telford A then hope Maddocks B slip up against Telepost C to have a chance of winning the title.
The race to avoid the wooden spoon in division one was this week being decided – Oswestry needed to secure at least one game point against Newport A to consign Shrewsbury to bottom spot, regardless of how the county town outfit get on later in the week when they also face Newport A. Champions Maddocks A will look to complete their campaign with an eighth win out of eight when they travel to face Telepost on Monday (May 30).
Telepost C 0-5 Telepost B – K Tabner 0-1 D Hodge, P Billington 0-1 R Nield, J Holyhead 0-1 K Walker, N Holmes 0-1 Steve Kempsell, D Bonner 0-1 G Shepherd
Telford B 2.5-1.5 Maddocks C – S Tennant 1-0 M Billington, R Thompson 1-0 G Viszokai, S Szwajkun 0-1 I Jamieson, R Benten 0-5-0.5 K Verma
Newport 2-2 Shrewsbury, Maddocks A 4-0 Telford (match defaulted); Shrewsbury 1-3 Maddocks A, Telford 0-4 Newport (match defaulted); Telford 0-4 Shrewsbury (match defaulted, Maddocks A 3-1 Newport.