Membership milestone prompts new club night

Having reached a record membership of 54, Telepost Chess Club officials have responded to the increasing pressure on space by making plans for an additional club night. With the prospect of at least six teams in the league next season combined with the continued growth in Juniors plus all the usual individual competitions and social chess it has been decided to trial an extra club night, to be held on a Wednesday, beginning in August. Mondays will be designated the night for “quiet” chess, with league fixtures and other competitive games being played alongside any other activities that don’t distract from the atmosphere needed for serious games. A guide to the etiquette expected for this is being prepared. Wednesdays will be “social” night with the chance for a livelier level of banter, though with the chance of any overflow serious games from Mondays being played in the small match room. Club secretary Dennis Bonner has contacted all members about the plans and welcomes any further feedback. We are particularly looking for volunteers to help with the running of Wednesday nights.

On the board, the Summer knockout cups have produced a number of upsets, most notably Telepost B’s win over their senior colleagues Telepost A in the semi final of the Cox Trophy. The teams took the fixture very seriously with both captains stepping down in order to field stronger players. All appeared to be going to plan for the A team when Fred Bench won early on on bottom board against James Holyhead. But two hard fought draws by the Bs’ John Westhead and Rob Nield against substantially higher-rated opponents Phil Zabrocki and Trevor Brotherton left the match in the balance on top board, where Dan Hilditch-Love had held an even position against Nigel Ferrington. With both players heading for time trouble in a rook and pawns ending, Dan made an audacious advance with his king down to Nigel’s home ranks, creating the vital extra piece that led to queening and Nigel’s resignation, earning a round of applause from the spectators for the skill shown under such pressure. 2-2 the final score, but in the four-board knockout cups the scores of the bottom boards are removed until there is a result – so Fred’s win was discounted and the Bs advanced to the final, where they will face league champions Maddocks A.

Captains Matthew Clark (front) and Steve Wilson (rear) follow the tense Cox Trophy derby

Telepost C, meanwhile, travelled to Telford B in the semi final of the Minor Cup, to be met by a lower-rated team featuring two juniors. Nick Holmes won quickly on board four, repeating the pattern of the Cox Trophy derby, but Kate Walker was manoeuvred into trouble by Telford’s Steffan Tennant on top board and did well to escape with a draw as Steffan ran low on time. Meanwhile James Holyhead was firefighting against Tim Skidmore on board three, with material down and his king pinned in a corner. Graham Shepherd had been offered a draw by Ryan Barton but knew that if James were to lose, a 2-2 result would see Telepost lose on board count, so played on hoping for the win. In a tense final 20 minutes, James finally succumbed and teenager Ryan showed real maturity in constructing a careful winning attack against Graham. 2.5-1.5 to Telford, who deservedly progress to the final.

The Shropshire Team Quickplay made a welcome return for the first time since Covid. Featuring all-play-all rapidplay matches and a playoff final between the top two teams of five, the competition is held over one day. Captain Matthew Clark reports on Telepost’s performance:

Telepost entered a strong team in the One Day Summer Rapid Play Cup. We were very grateful to Toby Neal for organising this event and to the Maddocks Club for hosting us. Thank you as well to Phil and Dan Love for all their hard work helping with scores and organisation. Our team were: 1) Phil Zabrocki 2) Dan Love 3) Rob Nield 4) Matthew Clark 5) Fred Bench. We had an unbeaten run through the League section, winning 6 matches and drawing 4 to finish top of the League. This meant that we qualified for the final against Newport. In a tense match, we finished 2.5-2.5, but sadly lost on board count. Star performer of the day was Fred Bench who won all 11 games. This was a fantastic achievement by Fred and required impressive consistency under time pressure. Well done to Newport and we look forward to competing for more trophies next season.

Telepost in action at the Shropshire Quickplay

The quartet of Telepost Juniors who did so well in last month’s Shropshire Megafinal travelled further afield for the Northern Gigafinal, held over two days in Manchester. As the name implies, there’s a considerable jump in standard from the Mega to the Giga and all four held their own. Rudi Bedford scored 4.5/7 in the Under 10s, Merry Curtis 4/7 and Henry Bedford 3.5/7 in the Under 12s, and Archie Flavell 3/7 in an Under 18 section won by an IM with a rating of 2098 – a real reflection of the remarkable quality of players coming to the fore in the current resurgence of chess. Our four players also had plenty of fun challenging players from across the country between rounds.

Telepost’s Gigafinal quartet joined by Newport’s Krish Thimmegowda

Young talent was also on show at the Crewe congress, held at Crewe Alexandra’s stadium. Five Telepost members took part, with Dan Hilditch-Love joint fourth with 3.5/5 in a keenly contested U1950 Major and Cesar Pileggi an excellent 3/5 in the U1750 Intermediate.

As the competition season quietens for the summer months – though the Shrewsbury Town Championship continues and has now reached the third round – some dates for your diary. Next Monday, 24 July, sees the Shropshire Chess AGM held at Telepost – all members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Our own club AGM has been chalked in for Monday 21 August. Please email any proposals or things you’d like to discuss to Dennis. Looking further ahead, Steve Wilson’s popular pre-season rapidplay event will be on 11 September.

Finally, the keen-eyed among you will have noticed some small changes to the club website. We’ve moved to different software for reasons of cost and ease of use – let us know what you think and do get in touch with Nick if you’d like to get involved or contribute an item. Huge thanks as always to Vinnie Crean for sorting out the backstage technical gubbins.

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