Alex brimful of gambits in Congress conquest

Telepost players made a superb showing in this year’s Shropshire Chess Congress, held at Wrekin Housing Trust from 12-14 Jan. 150 entrants competed in four sections and Telepost had 14 players spread across the tournament.

In the senior Open section, Nigel Ferrington’s 4/5 placed him joint second and Dan Hilditch-Love remained unbeaten on 3/5, with all his games played against considerably higher-rated players. The Intermediate section, for players rated under 1700, was very competitive and Sam Hollands, who last year won the lower Minor section, and Archie Flavell both held their nerve to win their final round matches and score 4/5 for a share of second place. Both played some entertaining chess, including this lovely example of dancing knights from Sam in round four:

Sam Hollands v Neil Horner, Shropshire Congress Intermediate round four – full game here

The winner of the section, as in the Open, was a junior player, reflecting the recent shift in the game as the influx of young players during lockdown produces a stream of new talent.

The Minor section produced some of the weekend’s most dramatic chess, largely courtesy of Telepost’s Alex Brims, who uncorked some explosive gambits to finish on 4.5/5 in joint first with Newport’s Andy Jones. The top boards of each section were broadcast live both in the venue and on the internet, and Alex kept the spectators entertained with this 8-move win in round two:

Jeff Wilson v Alex Brims, Shropshire Congress Minor round two – full game here

Not content with that, in the final round he took just six moves to secure the title:

George Viszokai v Alex Brims, Shropshire Congress Minor round five – full game here

Alex was joined on the prizewinners’ podium by Rudi Bedford, who shared third place with an excellent 3.5/5. Congratulations to all our players and to the conference organisers who produced a very well-run tournament.

Telepost have made a very promising start in the opening round of the knockout cup competitions which this year are being held during the main season, rather than in early summer. In the Cox Trophy, for teams in Division One, Telepost A knocked out Telepost C 3-1. Star of the night was Dan Hilditch-Love who inflicted a first loss of the season on Shropshire’s top player, Nat Paul, adding to the roster of top county players that Dan has beaten. In the Minor Knockout, for teams in Divisions Two and Three, our B, E and Junior teams have all progressed, with F and D still to play their matches. The B team had a walkover after arriving at Shrewsbury to find none of the opposing team present. The E team travelled to Oswestry B and edged a tight match courtesy of wins from Sam Holland and Alex Brims and a draw for Paul Billington. The Juniors put in a fantastic performance to beat current Division Three leaders Church Stretton, with wins for Rudi and Henry Bedford and Merry Curtis.

Telepost A’s unbeaten run in Rapidplay Division One came to an end courtesy of a shock result against Telepost B in the latest match night, held at Maddocks. Wins for Dan Hilditch-Love on board one against Nigel Ferrington and reserve Dennis Bonner against David Hodge on bottom board, plus a draw for Shane Greenwood against Nat Paul, were enough to score an eye-catching victory. The Bs backed the win up with draws against Maddocks B and Telford A, to move off the bottom of the table. The A team brushed themselves off to pick up a win and a draw and remain four points clear at the top of the table at the halfway stage in the competition. In Rapidplay Division Two, Telepost C are second after hosting the second match night and securing a win and a draw. Once again, Maddocks failed to field a team.

In the Shropshire League, Telepost B hosted Maddocks B in a top-of-the-table clash in Division Two. A very strong Maddocks side edged the match 3-2 to move one point clear of the B team. Reserve Matthew Clark’s draw with Steve Tarr on board one was a forced draw against the London System – a variation on exactly the same achievement by Sam Hollands against Steve in the match between Telepost E and Maddocks. In the Es’ latest match, Sam won on top board against John Footner as they travelled to Telford B and came away with an excellent 3-2 win that takes them level with Newport B in mid table. Division Three fixtures resume this week.

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