A great turnout of 13 members enjoyed the annual club Christmas dinner held at the recently re-opened and renamed Coleham Tap. Organiser Steve Wilson kept proceedings in order despite Fred being fashionably late, and a variety of openings led to a popular Turkey middlegame and sticky Christmas pud endgame. We wish a happy Christmas to all our members and their families.
Further celebrations have been announced in recognition of a notable club milestone. John Casewell has calculated that 2023 will mark 45 years since the formation of the NALGO club that morphed (Morphied?!) into the present day club. (The full story can be found in the History pages here
.) To kick off the anniversary year John is organising a New Year Arena Event to be held on Lichess on Tuesday 10 January. The Arena is open to all members and follows the format of the successful Keith Arkell Arena held during lockdown, with a time control of 5 mins with a 3 second increment, ensuring plenty of games for everyone and the chance of a few upsets along the way. Those who have yet to sample an online event are particularly encouraged to enter. See John's email, or contact him direct, for details of how to join in.
Around a dozen members attended a successful first training session presented by Rob Nield at the club at the end of November. The evening covered a variety of topics in response to attendees' interests and proved both entertaining and informative. We hope to hold further sessions as the fixture calendar permits.
Rob shares his experience with the training session audience
At the same time as Rob's session, Telepost C were in Division 2
action, gaining a hard-fought 3-2 win over Maddocks C to stay in title contention at the top of the table. The Oakengates side returned two weeks later to reverse the 3-2 margin against Telepost E. The match was notable for wins by Charlie Bethune and Cesar Pileggi, who is surely player of the month - as well as beating George Viszokai in this match, he won against Telford's Ryan Barton the previous week. In the same fixture, Tristan Humphreys marked his league debut with a draw against Telford's Tim Skidmore. Meanwhile in Division 1
, Telepost B chalked up their first point of the season with a commendable draw away to Shrewsbury A that featured wins for Daniel Hilditch-Love against former county champion Nat Paul and for reserve James Holyhead against Dan Lockett. Steve Kempsell ensured the overall result with a draw against Francis Best and was close to repeating the score in the B's next outing at home to Maddocks B, only to be beaten in the final couple of minutes by the wily and seemingly time trouble pressure immune Simon Maydew.
Cesar repeated his win against Barton in an excellent performance in the first Rapidplay Division Two
night, hosted at Telford, where he also beat Newport's Phil Love, one of the highest rated players in that competition. Cesar was playing for Telepost C, who were hampered by being one player short, but Telepost B made a great start to the same campaign, anchored by three wins for Kate Walker and two wins and a draw for Graham Shepherd, which leaves them top of the table.
Kate was unwittingly at the centre of the action back in classical Division 2 when Telepost C travelled in sub-zero temperatures to Telford for a top of the table clash against Telford A. The C team were 2-1 down as the clock time began to run out, but both Kate and James Holyhead had promising positions in the remaining games. James lost out to Telford's Toby Neal doing what he often does, finding a winning endgame under considerable time pressure, with a sequence of queen moves ending in a skewer check, leaving all eyes on Kate's game against the top-rated player in the division, Mark Keady. With both players under 5 minutes on the clock, Kate was trying to push a passed pawn in a rook and minor piece ending when Keady made an illegal move, triggering the award of an extra two minutes for Kate. However it then took at least five tense minutes for the clocks to be set correctly, including one attempt where the players had four and three hours respectively! When play eventually resumed, Keady made a strong defensive move prompting a quick draw offer from Kate, to the amusement of the onlookers and frustration of the clock setter, Steve Szwajkun! 3.5-1.5 to Telford, to take them top of the table.
Hopes of Telepost Dark Knights marking their debut 4NCL Online season with promotion were quashed when TDK 1 narrowly lost their final-round match against Colchester JFF A. TDK 1 finish with seven points
, one ahead of TDK 2, who finished their season with a win over Colchester's C team. We will soon have to confirm our entries for the next season which begins in January. Anyone interested in joining the squad should contact Dennis Bonner asap. Matches are held on Lichess on alternate Tuesday evenings.
A final reminder that entries are being taken for the Shropshire Congress, to be held 6th-8th January at the Wrekin Housing Group in Telford. The entry fee increases by £5 if made after 31 December. All the details and entry form here