Sunday, 31 January 2010

Calling all budding chess champs

The first meeting of the Shropshire Junior Chess Academy for 2010 takes place on Sat 6 February. The session is open to to U18 chess players of all abilities and involves some fun games and coaching with the chance to 'graduate' through the chess Academy.

A number of junior chess players from the academy play for county teams and take part in a range of competitions against other juniors and adults.

"Whether you are a budding chess master, or have just learned the moves, you will get a warm welcome at the academy," says joint county chess organiser Steve Rooney.

The Academy meets at Trinity School, Ford, near Shrewsbury from 10am to 12pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Steve Rooney on 01694 723724 or email

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Shrewsbury win junior derby

The derby match between Shrewsbury Juniors and Newport Juniors in the Shropshire league took place last Thursday after a postponement before Christmas. A well-fought match ended in a 3.5 - 1.5 win for Shrewsbury.

The first game finished was on board 3 when Shrewsbury's Chris Lovejoy overlooked a combination from young opponent David Birtenshaw which lead to checkmate. Then a rook and pawn ending on board four went Shrewsbury's way to equal the score as Matthew Best overcame Luke West. On board one Shrewsbury's 'honorary' junior Ian Davies built up a strong attack and won his match against Mark Richards.

Henry Graham then clinched the match for Shrewsbury with a win on board five against Richard Heath. Henry got a two pawn advantage then sensibly swapped off major pieces and eventually won a rook as well.

The final game which wouldn't affect the final score was nonetheless the most closely-fought of the match. Shrewsbury's Francis Rooney defended stoutly against an attack on his kingside from his former team mate Jonathan Newey who now plays for Newport. The final stages of the game saw Jonathan a piece up but Francis' advanced pawn caused him a lot of problems with a number of mating threats from rook and king. Jonathan decided to give up his rook for the advanced pawn leaving him with a knight and three pawns against the rook. Perilously short of time, Francis found a way of forcing off a pawn and then Jonathan had to give away his queen promoted from a pawn to avoid checkmate.

The final seconds involved a desperate chase of king against knight and pawn and showed the weakness of the knight in such situations ending up with a drawn king against king and a pawn. Great entertainment for those watching!