Shropshire players out for top chess prizes
Shropshire players were shut out of the top prizes in their home tournament as around 140 players took part in the county’s annual chess congress, writes Toby Neal.
As the five-game competition held at the Wrekin Housing Trust in Telford moved into its final round, hopes of a local win in one of the four sections rested on the shoulders of Telford’s Richard Szwajkun, who was among three players on 3.5 points in the Intermediate section.
However, things went awry and he was beaten in the crunch final game.
“I made a mistake early on. I pushed a pawn and lost two pawns for it, and then I ran out of attacking material. I made a mistake, so I can’t complain,” he said.
But there was some Shropshire cheer thanks to George Viszokai, one of the oldest players in the competition, who plays for the Telford-based Maddocks club, and Peter Mellor, originally from Telford but now living in Liverpool, who had come back ‘home’ to take part.
Both finished with four points, giving them equal third place in the Intermediate.
“I’m pleased. I played very well and won both my games,” said Viszokai, speaking on Sunday, the final day of the weekend tournament.
Joseph McPhillips of Bolton won the Open section, which is for the strongest players, with 4.5 points, scooping the £1,000 top prize. Marcus Harvey of Wood Green was second.
Four players on four points shared first prize in the Major section – David Stephenson, Graham Ashcroft, Tim Lane, and Robert Clegg.
Winners of the Intermediate on 4.5 points were jointly Alan Woollaston and Chris Fraser.
The only player to score a clean sweep by claiming victories in all five games was Oliver Davies, of Alsager, who was outright winner of the Minor.
In a break from practice in previous years, there was no presentation ceremony – with many players having come from far away, experience has shown that they like to start making their way home rather than hanging around waiting for all games to finish.