A ruthless display from Telford A saw them clinch promotion back to the top flight of Shropshire Chess League for the first time in five years. The Dawley-based side whitewashed a Newport B side with ambitions of reaching the top two themselves to rack up a 10th win in 10 division two matches. It means Richard Szwajkun’s team are guaranteed a top two finish – and are just one point away from securing the division two title.
It ends five years of heartache for traditionally one of the biggest clubs in the county. Telford were relegated from division one in 2018 but have since struggled to consistently maintain promotion challenges – finishing third three times since. It has been a real team effort this time with all of the side’s regulars contributing heavily throughout the season. Richard Parry leads the way with 8.5/9, the experienced Toby Neal has 8/10 and captain Szwajkun 7/8. They have been backed up by Roger Brown’s 7/9 on bottom board and top board Mark Keady, who has scored 6/8.
The club last won the top flight title under the Shifnal & Telford moniker in 2009, and their first aim will surely be to re-establish themselves at the top table. A five-star display away at Newport B saw Keady, David Hollands, Parry, Neal and Szwajkun all win to ensure they returned back down the A518 with a 5-0 win – and promotion – under their belts. They can now only be caught by Telepost C, who are six points adrift with a game in hand but just three games left to play. The two sides will meet in Shrewsbury on April 17 – but if Telepost drop points away to Maddocks C next week the title will be Telford’s.
Elsewhere in the division, Telford B maintained their unlikely bid to make it a promotion double for the club by defeating midtable Maddocks C 3-1. Both sides defaulted bottom board, but wins for Hollands, Richard Barton and Tim Skidmore saw the Bs home. At the foot of the table, Telepost E completed a league double over clubmates Telepost D with a convincing 4-1 triumph. Only Martin Ayres’ victory over junior Charlie Bethune on bottom board spared the Ds – now cut adrift at the foot of the table – from being whitewashed.
The battle for the Shropshire Online Chess League crown will be fought for over Oswestry’s top two sides. Both Oswestry A and Oswestry B are locked together on points at the top of the division one table after Oswestry B effectively ended Shrewsbury A’s challenge with a comfortable 3-1 win.
Elsewhere, Newport’s new teenage recruit Krishna Thimmegowda built on his encouraging start to his competitive chess career by claiming runner up spot in the under 18s second tier of Warwick Junior Open. The 13-year-old, representing the town’s Burton Borough School, scored 4/5 to finish behind under 18s Group B winner Jasper Fong of Warwick. Thimmegowda, who won his first three rapidplay league matches for Newport recently, also made his over-the-board league debut in the 5-0 division two defeat at the hands of Telford A.
Meanwhile, both Newport A and Telepost A were this week hoping to gain ground on Shropshire Chess League leaders Maddocks A during this week’s division one fixtures. With Maddocks inactive, Telepost were hosting a county town derby against Shrewsbury A while Newport were at home to struggling Telepost B. There was also a big clash at the bottom between Oswestry A – two points clear of the drop zone – and second bottom Maddocks B.
Shropshire Chess League division two:
Telepost D 1-4 Telepost E – G Shepherd 0-1 S Greenwood, A Brims 0-1 S Hollands, S Sweeney 0-1 C Pileggi, J Casewell 0-1 P Billington, M Ayres 1-0 C Bethune
Newport B 0-5 Telford A – P Love 0-1 M Keady, C Parker 0-1 D Hollands, J Greenwood 0-1 R Parry, D Griffiths 0-1 T Neal, K Thimmegowda 0-1 R Szwajkun
Telford B 3-1 Maddocks C – S Tennant 0-1 M Billington, D Hollands 1-0 G Viszokai, R Barton 1-0 I Jamieson, T Skidmore 1-0 K Verma, default 0-0 default
Online league division one:
Oswestry B 3-1 Shrewsbury A – P Beckett 1-0 N Paul, R van Kemenade 1-0 F Best, P Lovatt 1-0 S Priestley, P Fisher 0-1 D Lockett