Shropshire Chess League champions Maddocks A have done the double after adding the rapidplay league title to their trophy cabinet – in the most dramatic circumstances. The Oakengates side came out on top in a thrilling-three way fight for the Shropshire Rapidplay Chess League division one title, eventually lifting the crown with a one-point margin over Newport A.
Maddocks A, Newport A and Telepost A all went into the final round of fixtures at Telford Chess Club with a chance of winning the league – and Telepost started the night in pole position ahead of Maddocks with Newport as the outsiders. But the Abbey Foregate club endured a nightmare evening – drawing against their two title rivals to hand the initiative to Maddocks before narrowly losing a county town derby with midtable Shrewsbury A in the final round to slip to third. Maddocks A beat Shrewsbury A and Telford A to claim five points from the evening to finish on 24 points, while Newport followed up their opening draw with Telepost with comfortable wins over the bottom two sides Telford A and Maddocks B to move on to 23 points. Telepost were a point further adrift.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Telepost, as they had spent most of the season at the top of the table with Maddocks while Newport made a late run from further adrift. But Telepost did gain a degree of comfort in the main Shropshire Chess League by becoming the first sider to defeat Maddocks A for more than two years. Their 3-2 win against a visiting side that travelled without their West Midlands-based reinforcements Nick Walker and Phil Bull means that Telepost have a real chance of securing a top three finish in division one. They lie level on points with arch-rivals Shrewsbury A – but know that they will clinch third place if Shrewsbury lose their final fixture at home to second-placed Newport A. Shrewsbury will have plenty of motivation themselves – they would overtake Telepost with a draw and would even claim runners up spot if they win. Newport will also be determined to seal runners up spot themselves and look to finish as close as possible to champions Maddocks A.
Shrewsbury kept themselves in contention for a top-three finish by coming from behind to beat relegated Maddocks B on the road. The hosts took the lead within the opening hour when Munroe Morrison took advantage of some over-ambitious play from Stephen Priestley on board four. But wins for Nathanel Paul on top board and Robert Green on bottom board turned the match around, and Shrewsbury hung on to win thanks to draws on the remaining two boards. The match saw a welcome return to league chess of William Bates, who played board one for Maddocks B to make his first Shropshire Chess League appearance for more than three years.
Oswestry A continued their fine recent run of form with a convincing 4-1 win over rock bottom Telepost B. The visitors travelled a player light and were no match for their hosts, although Dan Hilditch-Love did claim another impressive win on top board, this time over Oswestry’s Rudy van Kemenade.
Although the league season is drawing to a close, a number of major individual events are coming up on the regional chess calendar. Junior players are encouraged to compete in the UK Chess Challenge Shropshire Megafinal at Charlton School in Wellington on June 10. For details visit www.shropshirechess.org/junior-chess/junior-tournaments/shropshire-megafinal-2023/
In addition, organisers of the newly-created Derbyshire Chess Congress have urged Shropshire-based players to enter. David Woodhouse, principal congress organiser, described the event as “an exciting new development for congress chess in Derbyshire and the Midlands”. The inaugural event will be held in Long Eaton on September 23 and 24, and for more details visit https://dcc23.co.uk
Shropshire league division one:
Telepost A 3-2 Maddocks A – N Ferrington 1-0 A Grillage, M Clark 0-1 G Pugh, D Hilditch-Love 1-0 T Preece, R Nield 1-0 S Tarr, G Shepherd 0-1 G White
Oswestry A 4-1 Telepost B – R van Kemenade 0-1 D Hilditch-Love, R Bryant 1-0 J Westhead, A Bailey 1-0 S Wilson, G Slegg 1-0 A Flavell, J van Kemenade 1-0 default
Maddocks B 2-3 Shrewsbury A – W Bates 0-1 N Paul, S Tarr 0.5-0.5 F Best, S Maydew 0.5-0.5 P Kitchen, M Morrison 1-0 S Priestley, M Billington 0-1 R Green
Rapidplay league division one:
Maddocks A 3-1 Shrewsbury A – A Grillage 0.5-0.5 N Paul, W Bates 1-0 F Best, P Bull 0.5-0.5 S Priestley, T Preece 1-0 I Salter
Telford A 2-2 Maddocks B – T Neal 0-1 S Tarr, R Szwajkun 1-0 G White, R Brown 0-1 M Morrison, S Tennant 1-0 S Maydew
Newport A 2-2 Telepost A – N Rutter 0.5-0.5 N Ferrington, I Jamieson 0.5-0.5 D Hilditch-Love, C Lewis 0-1 M Clark, T Holmes 1-0 G Shepherd
Telepost A 2-2 Maddocks A – N Ferrington 1-0 A Grillage, D Hilditch-Love 1-0 W Bates, M Clark 0-1 P Bull, G Shepherd 0-1 T Preece
Newport A 4-0 Telford A – N Rutter 1-0 T Neal, I Jamieson 1-0 R Szwajkun, C Lewis 1-0 R Brown, T Holmes 1-0 S Tennant
Shrewsbury A 2.5-1.5 Maddocks B – N Paul 0.5-0.5 S Tarr, F Best 1-0 G White, S Priestley 1-0 M Morrison, I Salter 0-1 S Maydew
Telford A 1-3 Maddocks A – T Neal 1-0 A Grillage, R Szwajkun 0-1 W Bates, R Brown 0-1 P Bull, S Tennant 0-1 T Preece
Telepost A 1.5-2.5 Shrewsbury A – N Ferrington 1-0 N Paul, D Hilditch-Love 0-1 F Best, M Clark 0.5-0.5 S Priestley, G Shepherd 0-1 I Salter