Quartet reach playoff to decide county town champion

A four-way playoff will be held to decide the next chess champion of Shrewsbury, it has been confirmed. Telepost duo Nigel Ferrington and Matthew Clark and Shrewsbury pair Dan Lockett and Stephen Priestley will be the contenders after all four finished Shrewsbury Town Championship with four points out of a possible five. Priestley’s performance has already seen him named the tournament’s under 1700 ECF champion, while Telepost’s Alex Brims – competing in the tournament for the first time – is the under 1400 winner with an impressive 3.5/5.

The playoff will see two ties held to determine a winner – and if the matches both provide winners a deciding match between the pair will be held.  Top seed Ferrington – whose rating is at least 250 points higher than anyone else in the competition, will have the white pieces against tournament surprise package Priestley, while Clark will have white against Lockett. If both games finish as draws they will be replayed with colours reversed, tournament controller Paul Billington has confirmed. It is expected both matches will be played in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the new league season.

Priestley was one of the long-time leaders of the 20-strong field, and both he and Clark finished the regular five rounds unbeaten with three wins and two draws each. The pair drew quickly in just 20 moves in the final round. This enabled both Ferrington and Lockett to make up lost ground and catch the pair. Ferrington lost to Clark in round two but defeated Rob Nield in the final round to reach the playoff, while Lockett similarly recovered from a loss to clubmate Peter Kitchen in round two to win all four of his other games.

Meanwhile, local sides endured mixed fortunes in the latest round of fixtures in the 4NCL Online.  Despite a win for international master Paul Littlewood on top board, Shropshire & Friends 1 lost 2.5-1.5 to Charlton Cobras A in division one. In division two, Shropshire & Friends 2 crushed Guildford 2 4-0 and the thirds drew 2-2 with Atticus. Shropshire & Friends 4 were outclassed 3-1 with Dundee City 3 in division four, while in division five it was a tougher week for Telepost Dark Nights. The club’s first team was held to a 2-2 draw by Wessex Some Stars G, while the seconds narrowly lost 2.5-1.5 to Beckenham. In the Junior 4NCL Online, Shropshire Juniors were heavily beaten 6.5-1.5 in division four by Chess Rising Stars 2.

Finally, a call has been made for Shropshire players to enter Crewe Congress, which will be held over the weekend of October 14 to 16 at Crewe Alexandra FC’s Wrights Lounge. Nigel Gardner, one of the organisers, said entries were on the up but that they were keen to encourage more players to sign up. More details are available at crewechessclub.co.uk/congress-entry or by calling Dave on 07984 572456 or Nigel on 07827 718871. Entries made after October 7 will be subject to a £5 additional charge.

Further details of Crewe Congress here.