The race to become the chess champions of Shropshire has taken a few extra twists and turns – after both of the top two failed to win their matches. Defending champions and current leaders Maddocks A were surprisingly held to a 2.5-2.5 draw by bottom-of-the-table Telepost B. But that came a couple of days after Maddocks’ nearest challengers Newport A were beaten 3.5-1.5 by third placed Telepost A.
Telepost A were actually the only side to win in the current round of Shropshire Chess League division one fixtures, as draw specialists Shrewsbury A shared the spoils for the fourth time in seven games, this time with struggling Oswestry A as their opponents, to remain fourth. It means that Maddocks A now have a three-point cushion at the top of the table over Newport, with Telepost A a further two points adrift with a game in hand. Monday’s (March 13) county town derby between Telepost A and Shrewsbury A will go some way towards defining which of the sides can hang on to the leaders’ coat tails.
At the other end of the table, Telepost B’s second point of the season was not enough to lift them off the foot of the table. But they are now only a point behind Maddocks B, while Oswestry A’s draw at Shrewsbury means they have a two-point cushion to the drop zone.
The Telepost v Newport match was particularly poignant as it marked the end of Stuart Ross’s long association with chess in the county. Ross, who has played for Newport for the past 11 years and for the former Shifnal & Telford club for many years before that, is moving away to Cambridge. But he was unable to sign off in style, as he was beaten on bottom board by John Bashall.
The match also saw the county’s top two players lock horns on top board, and this time Telepost’s Nigel Ferrington got the better of Newport’s Nick Rutter. Newport didn’t go down without a fight – Ian Jamieson battled to a draw against Telepost’s Matthew Clark after the Telepost captain got short of time in a superior position, while Chris Lewis turned down a draw offer in an attempt to beat Phil Zabrocki but also had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Meanwhile, Telepost B have been crowned as the champions of Shropshire Rapidplay League division two – without even playing. They sat out the latest round of matches at Newport Chess Club, but nearest rivals Telford B have now completed their fixtures and cannot catch them. Telepost’s promotion to the top flight was confirmed by their club’s C team, who beat promotion challengers Maddocks C in the final match of the night to give the Bs an unassailable lead. The star of the evening was 13-year-old debutant Krishna Thimmegowda, who made his bow for Newport B in some style by winning all three of his matches. Telford’s David Hollands also won all three of his games on the night.
Elsewhere, reigning champions Oswestry A have inched two points clear at the top of Shropshire Online Chess League division one after a narrow 2.5-1.5 win over an under-strength Shrewsbury B. The match did feature a huge upset when Oswestry’s Brian Whyte – one of the county’s top players – made an uncharacteristic blunder to get checkmated by Shrewsbury’s Tony Purser, a veteran of the local over-the-board league in divisions two and three.
Telford A are three points clear at the top of online league division two with a game in hand on their nearest pursuers Shrewsbury C, who have risen up the table after a win and a draw in the space of a week against Newport A.
There is still time for junior players to enter Shropshire Junior Chess Congress, which will be held for the first time in a decade at Charlton School in Wellington on March 18. So far 32 players have entered, and while many are based around the county entries have been received from as far afield as Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire, Crewe, Coventry, Birmingham and the Potteries. For details visit www.shropshirechess.org/junior-chess/shropshire-junior-chess-congress-2023/
Shropshire Chess League division one:
Telepost A 3.5-1.5 Newport A – N Ferrington 1-0 N Rutter, P Zabrocki 0.5-0.5 C Lewis, M Clark 0.5-0.5 I Jamieson, D Hodge 0.5-0.5 T Holmes; J Bashall 1-0 S Ross
Maddocks A 2.5-2.5 Telepost B – A Grillage 0-1 D Hilditch-Love, G Pugh 1-0 J Westhead, T Preece 0-1 F Bench, G White 1-0 S Greenwood, M Morrison 0.5-0.5 S Wilson
Shrewsbury A 2.5-2.5 Oswestry A – N Paul 1-0 R van Kemenade, F Best 0.5-0.5 C Lowick Higgie, D Lockett 0-1 R Bryant, S Priestley 1-0 A Bailey, I Salter 0-1 G Slegg
Rapidplay League division two:
Telepost C 1-3 Telford B – S Wilson 0-1 D Hollands, S Sweeney 0-1 S Tennant, A Brims 1-0 R Barton, Y Smart 0-1 S Szwajkun
Newport B 1-3 Maddocks C – P Love 0-1 M Billington, D Lovegrove 0-1 G Viszokai, C Poole 0-1 I Jamieson, K Thimmegowda 1-0 K Verma
Telepost C 2-2 Newport B – S Wilson 0.5-0.5 P Love, S Sweeney 0.5-0.5 D Lovegrove, A Brims 1-0 C Poole, Y Smart 0-1 K Thimmegowda
Telford B 2-2 Maddocks C – S Tennant 0-1 M Billington, D Hollands 1-0 G Viszokai R Barton 0-1 I Jamieson, S Szwajkun 1-0 K Verma
Telford B 1-3 Newport B – S Tennant 0-1 P Love, D Hollands 1-0 D Lovegrove, R Barton 0-1 C Poole, S Szwajkun 0-1 K Thimmegowda
Maddocks C 1.5-2.5 Telepost C – M Billington 0.5-0.5 S Wilson, G Viszokai 0-1 S Sweeney, I Jamieson 0-1 A Brims, K Verma 1-0 Y Smart
Online league division one:
Oswestry A 2.5-1.5 Shrewsbury B – C Lowick Higgie 0.5-0.5 S Priestley, M Altinsoy 1-0 I Salter, B Whyte 0-1 T Purser, A Bailey 1-0 R Vernon
Online league division two:
Shrewsbury C 1.5-1.5 Newport A – T Purser 0.5-0.5 M Price, W Apted 0-1 C Parker, R Vernon 1-0 A Davies
Oswestry C 1-2 Telford A – S Tulett 0-1 R Brown, J Smith 1-0 R Thompson, A Evans 0-1 T Skidmore
Newport A 0.5-2.5 Shrewsbury C – A Jones 0-1 M Best, M Price 0.5-0.5 T Purser, A Davies 0-1 R Vernon