Telford and Telepost top of the (early) pops

Newly-promoted Telford A have made a dream start to life back in the top flight of Shropshire Chess League – while Telepost A have celebrated landing a marquee signing by going top of the early table.

Telford won their first division one match for five years, beating Oswestry A at home 3-2 thanks to wins for Mark Keady and Richard Szwajkun on the top and bottom boards. Meanwhile, Telepost A were able to parade the county’s number one player Nathanael Paul on top board for their club derby against another promoted side Telepost C following his transfer from town rivals Shrewsbury A. Paul defeated Dan Hilditch-Love on top board as the A team cantered to a 4.5-0.5 victory. It marks a strong start for Telepost, who are now the biggest club in the county in terms of members and now boast the strongest top order in the league with Paul and Nigel Ferrington. They will look to make a renewed push for honours after a disappointing fourth placed finish last season.

Elsewhere, last year’s runners up Newport A returned home from a trip to Shrewsbury A with the points in their pocket following a narrow 3-2 victory. Ian Jamieson gave the visitors an early lead, and despite Stephen Priestley equalising for the hosts Joe Greenwood clinched the match on the final board to finish. Oswestry will be sick of the sight of Telford’s Dawley Royal British Legion home – their B team also made the long trip home from the venue on the back of defeat, this time a 4-1 loss to Telford B in division two. All of the matches in the division resulted in convincing victories – relegated Telepost B beat Telepost E 4-1, while the other relegated side Maddocks B have gone top of the fledgling league table after a thumping 4.5-0.5 win over Newport B.

Division three has made a welcome post-pandemic return with a bumper nine-team field. They include Church Stretton A – making a league return after five years away – and Shrewsbury B who are back after a three-and-a-half year over-the-board absence. The three new junior teams were all in action in the opening week – but Newport Junior, Telepost Junior and Telford Junior all suffered defeats.  The Shrewsbury-based Telepost club has entered a record seven teams in the league this season, and their other new team Telepost F was playing its first match at home to Shrewsbury B this week.

Matches have also started in Shropshire Online Chess League. Two four-team divisions will be contested, and Shrewsbury A are the early leaders of division one after a 3-1 opening win over newly-promoted Telford A.

Meanwhile, entries have opened for 2024’s Shropshire Chess Congress that will take place from January 12 to 14. Organisers have said entries are likely to be limited to 150 players, so those interested are urged to book their places quickly by visiting The event has been one of the most successful on the calendar, attracting rapidply growing numbers of entries from across the country over the past few years.

Finally, Tony Preece of Maddocks has been named as the winner of the Colin Roberts Memorial Trophy for his brutal kingside attack against Newport’s Danny Griffiths. Preece’s game was judged the best of eight entries by the judging panel to clinch him the trophy, which is presented to the best game of the season by a Shropshire player in memory of the popular former Telford and Wellington player. The game can be viewed by visiting the Shropshire Chess Association website.

Latest results:

Division one:

Telepost A 4.5-0.5 Telepost C – N Paul 1-0 D Hilditch-Love, N Ferrington 1-0 K Walker, P Zabrocki 1-0 J Holyhead D Hodge 0.5-0.5 N Holmes, F Bench 1-0 D Bonner

Shrewsbury A 2-3 Newport A – F Best 0.5-0.5 C Lewis, M Smith 0-1 I Jamieson, D Lockett 0-1 J Greenwood, R Green 0.5-0.5 P Love, S Priestley 1-0 D Griffiths

Telford A 3-2 Oswestry A – M Keady 1-0 R van Kemenade, D Hollands 0.5-0.5 C Lowick Higgie, R Parry 0.5-0.5 R Bryant, T Neal 0-1 A Bailey, R Szwajkun 1-0 J van Kemenade

Division two:

Telepost B 4-1 Telepost E – R Nield 1-0 S Hollands, F Bench 1-0 G Shepherd, S Kempsell 0.5-0.5 C Pileggi, S Greenwood 1-0 V Crean, A Flavell 0.5-0.5 A Brims

Telford B 4-1 Oswestry B – R Szwajkun 1-0 A Grocott-James, R Brown 1-0 J Smith, R Barton 0-1 G Slegg, T Skidmore 1-0 M Smith, S Szwajkun 1-0 default

Maddocks B 4.5-0.5 Newport B – S Tarr 1-0 P Love, S Maydew 1-0 D Griffiths, G White 1-0 K Thimmegowda, M Morrison 0.5-0.5 C Parker, H Hrubis 1-0 A Jones

Division three:

Telepost Junior 1-3 Telepost D – R Bedford 0-1 C Bethune, M Curtis 1-0 S Sweeney, N Sharp 0-1 J Casewell, R France 0-1 M Ayres

Newport Junior 1.5-2.5 Newport C – K Thimmegowda 1-0 A Jones, B Zelawski 0.5-0.5 D Lovegrove, J Jom 0-1 M Price, J Woolley 0-1 M Layton

Telford Junior 0-4 Maddocks C – S Szwajkun 0-1 M Billington, J Cotterill 0-1 G Viszokai, H Heys 0-1 J Hill, J Haycock 0-1 H Hrubis

Shrewsbury 2-2 Church Stretton A – I Salter 0-1 J Lear, I Davies 0-1 C Lear, T Akinruli 1-0 T Wilson, R Vernon 1-0 P Barratt

Online division one:

Shrewsbury A 3-1 Telford A – F Best 0-1 M Keady, S Priestley 1-0 R Brown, D Lockett 1-0 S Tennant, R Vernon 1-0 R Thompson

Oswestry A 2-2 Oswestry B – R van Kemenade 1-0 M Altinsoy, P Fisher 0.5-0.5 P Lovatt, G Slegg 0-1 A Bailey, default 0.5-0.5 default