The New World

Shropshire’s historic first ever internet chess league season is under way, bringing in a new format, some new players, and some new problems for contestants to contend with.

Online games mean it is possible for players to take part from their homes literally anywhere – including abroad – which has opened up new opportunities for clubs. For instance, among those joining the fray are Carl Portman, who was a key part of the all-conquering Coddon team of yesteryear before moving from Shropshire and has since led a project to popularise chess in prisons.

The flip side is that a number of regular Shropshire players are absent from line-ups because they don’t like playing chess online, or alternatively don’t like the time limit, which is roughly half that of over-the-board chess, which is too fast for one or two, although not fast enough for some others. Mouse control also comes into the equation, with at least one of the opening games seemingly decided by a slip of the mouse. 

Matches are being played on the Lichess chess platform, which means it is possible to watch games online if you know the players’ user names.
In the initial Division One fixtures Telepost A and Newport A ran out winners. In the top flight teams are of four, but in the other divisions they are of three, and in the first round of matches there Telepost B, Newport B, and Wellington A were winners. The online season’s first Division Three matches were being played this week.

Division One Telepost A 3, Oswestry A 1: N Paul 1, B Whyte 0; P Zabrocki 1, M Altinsoy 0; R Archer 1, T McMahon 0; M Nightall 0, L Cox 1.
Newport A 3, Maddocks A 1: N Rutter 1, D Gostelow 0; C Portman 0.5, G Pugh 0.5; N Clarke 0.5, S Maydew 0.5; A Taylor 1, S Tarr 0.
Division Two – Telepost B 2.5, Telepost C 0.5: P Officer 1, R Nield 0; K Walker 1, N Holmes 0; J Westhead 0.5, D Bonner 0.5.
Newport B 2, Oswestry B 1: C Lewis 1, P Lovatt 0; D Hilditch-Love 1, A Bailey 0; A Jones 0, P Fisher 1.
Shrewsbury B 1, Wellington A 2: H Birch 0, A Grillage 1; P Kitchen 1, T Faustino 0; M Best 0, M Podlesak 1.