Shrewsbury Chess Club have pulled off a coup by enticing Nathanael Paul – Shropshire’s third highest rated player – to join the club from rivals Telepost. Paul, who has an ECF rating of 2142, has signed for the club primarily to enable him to attempt to defend his Shrewsbury Town Championship title, which he won last summer.
A driving force behind Newport A’s dominant team of recent years, Paul started his chess-playing career for Coddon (now Maddocks) and played online for Telepost during the Covid-19 pandemic. He has been taking a break from team competitions this season and that is not expected to change in the immediate future. But Shrewsbury club officials hope he will be a valued presence at club nights and will help encourage current and new members to make improvements to their game.
Paul was recently presented with the town championship trophy by organiser Paul Billington, and the draw for this year’s opening round has just been made. Twenty-four players have entered this year’s competition, which will revert to being played predominantly over the board with four of the field requesting to play online only. Telepost’s Nigel Ferrington is the top seed, and he will start with the white pieces against Billington, while Paul will start his defence as black against Telepost’s James Holyhead. The full draw is available at www.shropshirechess.org.
Meanwhile, Maddocks B have taken a huge step towards clinching the Shropshire Chess League division two title after winning the top-of-the-table clash away at Telford A 3-2. Gary White and Steve Tarr picked up the crucial wins for the visitors, with Mark Keady replying with a win on top board over Simon Maydew. Maddocks are now five points clear of Telford A and Telepost B with just two games to play, and their rivals will have to win all of the remaining matches to have a hope of overhauling them. It would cap a tremendous season for the club, as its A team has already sealed the division one title and is chasing a perfect season of winning all eight matches. Telepost B kept up the pressure by winning their inter-club derby with Telepost D 4-1.
In Shropshire Online League, Shrewsbury B are now seven points clear at the top of division two after a 2-1 win over struggling Newport A. Telford kept up the pressure with a 3-0 win over Telepost C, and both they and Newport Juniors have games in hand on the leaders.
The next round of Shropshire Rapidplay League is due to be held at Maddocks this Thursday (May 5).
Telepost D 1-4 Telepost B – F Bench 0-1 D Hodge, V Crean 0-1 R Nield, S Wilson 1-0 J Westhead, S Sweeney 0-1 G Shepherd, J Casewell 0-1 N Holmes
Telford A 2-3 Maddocks B -M Keady 1-0 S Maydew, T Neal 0.5-0.5 T Preece, R Brown 0-1 G White, S Tennant 0-1 S Tarr, T Skidmore 0.5-0.5 M Morrison
Online division two:
Telford 3-0 Telepost C, Shrewsbury C 0-3 Telepost D, Shrewsbury B 2-1 Newport A, Oswetsry C 1.5-1.5 Newport Juniors.