Shropshire players make life tough for Grandmaster

Grandmaster chess player Keith Arkell did not have things all go his way as he took on 19 challengers simultaneously from the Shropshire chess scene in an online event. Two players beat him – the county’s top woman player, Kate Walker, from the Telepost club, and Newport’s young star Daniel Hilditch-Love. A further four achieved draws, Telepost’s Phil Zabrocki, John Westhead, Nick Holmes, and Maddocks’ Ian Jamieson.

The event was played on the Lichess online chess platform. Organiser Nat Paul of the Telepost club said: “The event was a brilliant success with lots of captivating and exciting games to cap off a wonderful day of chess beginning with the resumption of the 2020/21 Candidates which was delayed due to Covid. It was a really enjoyable evening and we’re very thankful to Keith for agreeing to play and to continue his ongoing connection with Shropshire chess. As a club Telepost hope in future to have an even larger turnout from Shropshire affiliated players for any possible upcoming events. They’re always a lot of fun.”

Elsewhere the season has ended in the Four Nations Chess League in which a number of Shropshire teams take part, and in which the competition is inevitably very tough. The county’s 4NCL captain Chris Lewis said: “I think it’s fair to say our first team took a beating and so were relegated along with our third team. The rest of the teams finished mid-table or higher. There were as usual some cracking overall performances but special shoutout to Andy Pritchard who scored 80 per cent on 4/5.”

Lewis is stepping down as captain but says Charles Higgie and Matt Clark have both agreed to be joint captains in the new season, which begins on August 24. “With the likely resumption of over-the-board chess how many teams we enter online versus how many OTB teams we enter is yet to be decided,” Lewis added.

Division OneNewport A 3, Shrewsbury A 1: G Cooper 1, default 0; I Jamieson 1, F Best 0; C Lewis 0, M Best 1; D Hilditch-Love 1, D Lockett 0.
Oswestry A 2, Maddocks A 2: B Whyte 0.5, A Zdanowski 0.5; M Altinsoy 0.5, D Gostelow 0.5; T McMahon 0.5, G Pugh 0.5; L Cox 0.5, S Maydew 0.5.
Division ThreeNewport C 0, Shrewsbury C 3: D Lovegrove 0, J Wilkinson 1; W Gormley 0, I Salter 1; M Price 0, N O’Connor 1.
Shrewsbury D 0, Telepost E 3: N O’Connor 0, P Crean 1; A Purser 0, N Holmes 1; R Nayman 0, P Billington 1.