Three Shropshire players have made their mark on the national stage by competing in the English Championships. Shrewsbury’s Nathanael Paul and Maddocks’ Athar Ansari were in the field for the English Open Championships, while Telepost’s Kate Walker was among the 22 competitors in the English Womens’ Championship.
Both events were held in Kenilworth over the bank holiday weekend and featured some of the nation’s strongest players. The Open was won by Britain’s number one Mickey Adams with 6/7, while grandmasters Peter Wells, Mark Hebden, John Emms and Danny Gormally and a number of international masters also played.
Paul, who is Shropshire’s highest ranked player, found the going tough particularly against unpredictable and underrated junior players. But he kept battling away and finishing the tournament with two-and-a-half points from his seven games. Ansari scored a respectable 2/4 from the first two days – losing only to IMs in the form of Matthew Wadsworth and Neil Bradbury – before withdrawing from the final three rounds. Walker was among the lowest seeds in the womens’ competition and eventually finished 22nd and last, but performed well to score 1.5/7.
Meanwhile, Newport A secured runners up spot in the top flight of Shropshire chess League after a tense final round of matches. Their 2.5-2.5 draw at Shrewsbury A was enough to make sure they finished second in the division one table behind champions Maddocks A, while the result was also enough to secure Shrewsbury’s first top three finish for 10 years. Robert Green’s win on bottom board against Krishna Thimmegowda in the final game to finish meant Shrewsbury leapfrogged their rivals Telepost A in the table – making it the first time they have finished as the highest ranked team from the county town for eight years. Elsewhere, Maddocks had a fine week as the As won 3.5-1.5 at Oswestry A while the relegated Bs finished with a flourish by beating bottom of the table Telepost B 5-0.
In division two, champions Telford A were given a scare by rock bottom Telepost D before scraping home 3-2, while runners up Telepost C beat clubmates Telepost E 3.5-1.5. The match did feature an upset when teenager Archie Flavell defeated Kate Walker with the black pieces on top board to give the Es their solitary win of the night, while junior player Merry Curtis picked up a creditable draw against the experience Vinnie Crean on board three.
Shropshire Chess Association’s summer knockout tournaments are returning after a year’s break – and county officials have taken a leaf out of the FA Cup’s book by broadcasting the draw live. The draws for both the Cox Trophy for division one clubs and the Minor Knockout for division two outfits were taking place on a Zoom online broadcast on Wednesday this week (May 31) at 6.30pm. Details are available at www.shropshirechess.org
Meanwhile, Shropshire Minor Individual Championship is due to come to a conclusion this week – with three players in the running for the top prize. Telepost’s James Holyhead, Shrewsbury’s Robert Green and Newport’s Joe Greenwood are all on 5/6 heading into the final round. Greenwood will be white against Holyhead, while Green will have the black pieces against Ian Jamieson of Maddocks. Green defeated long-time leader Holyhead in round six, while Greenwood has fought back from an opening round defeat to Jamieson to win five on the bounce. The deadline for games to be played is this Friday (June 2).
Shropshire League division one:
Oswestry A 1.5-3.5 Maddocks A – R van Kemenade 0-1 A Grillage, C Lowick Higgie 0-1 G Pugh, R Bryant 0-1 T Preece, A Bailey 0.5-0.5 S Tarr, J van Kemenade 1-0 S Maydew
Maddocks B 5-0 Telepost B – W Bates 1-0 D Hilditch-Love, S Tarr 1-0 J Westhead, G White 1-0 G Shepherd, S Maydew 1-0 S Greenwood, M Morrison 1-0 S Wilson
Shrewsbury A 2.5-2.5 Newport A – F Best 0-1 N Rutter, P Kitchen 0-1 C Lewis, M Smith 0.5-0.5 I Jamieson, S Priestley 1-0 C Poole, R Green 1-0 K Thimmegowda
Shropshire League division two:
Telepost D 2-3 Telford A – G Shepherd 1-0 J Footner, A Brims 1-0 R Szwajkun, S Sweeney 0-1 R Brown, M Ayres 0-1 S Tennant, default 0-1 S Szwajkun
Telepost E 1.5-3.5 Telepost C – A Flavell 1-0 K Walker, R France 0-1 J Holyhead, M Curtis 0.5-0.5 V Crean, R Macmillan 0-1 N Holmes, K Vidler 0-1 D Bonner