Tuesday, July 31, 2012

British Championships Round 7

David Howell (5.5/7) drew with Gawain Jones (6/7) today and Arkell (4.5/7) lost to Stephen Gordon (6/7).

On the top board it looked like Jones was playing for a win, but he found it difficult to create clear chances against White's solid play. Gordon impressively outplayed Arkell in an endgame, but appears to have blundered badly with 36...Nxa4? as 37.Be4+ Kh8 38.Rf7 Rg5 39.Qf1 was clearly winning for White.

Stephen Gordon has won 6 of his 7 games, losing only to Jones, but has faced weaker opposition (on average). In the next round he has to face Howell, whereas Jones has played (and beaten most of) the top scoring players. The only GMs left for him to play are Gormally (5/7) and Conquest (4.5/7). In fact, Jones has the higher-scoring IM Hawkins (5/7) next round. Hawkins lost to Howell in round 3, but otherwise has faced untitled opposition. Any result (except a loss!) against Jones tomorrow would certainly shake things up.

On 6 points: Jones (TPR 2726) and Gordon (TPR 2621)
On 5.5 points: Howell (TPR 2627) and Hawkins (TPR 2480)
On 5 points: Turner (2480), Gormally (2418), Hanley (2354) and Rudd (2272)

Rudd's (unintentional, I'm sure) Swiss Gambit has paid off as he has followed his two initial losses with five straight wins. Rudd has been playing some exciting chess, as has Hawkins. We can only hope that these two will play each other in a future round.

Turner played a rather old-fashioned continuation (8. Ne5) in a KID / English and appeared to choose an inferior move (13. Bg5 instead of 13. Ndxc5) but nevertheless achieved a clean win in good positional style. Walker should probably have played 13...Ne6

Also deserving of a mention is Charlie Storey, who avoided using his patented Sniper (with Black today) and instead went in for a Sicilian against GM Danny Gormally. His move 9...d5 seemed slightly dubious, leading to a French-style position with a knight offside on b6. However, this was all theory and presumably followed Storey's preparation. Gormally deviated with 11.Ne2 (taking the square e2 away from his queen).

After 11...Bd7 12.Nf4 Storey reacted with 12...h5?! and continued to play aggressive moves, showing no fear as he followed up with ...g5, ...g4 and ...f6 (a move that no-one in Andrew Martin's analysis room predicted). Gormally sacrificed a pawn in an attempt to catch Black's king in the centre. Black gave the pawn back and sacced another, bravely castling kingside. Sadly the lack of pawn cover proved too much of a liability and Gormally found a sequence of accurate moves to create a mating attack.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

British Championships Week 1

Here's a round-up of the web coverage of the event:

1Turner vs StoreyHolland vs HouskaTWIC
2Jones vs ChapmanGawain Jones
3Howell vs HawkinsJones vs Arkell
4Weller vs Hanley
5Gordon vs Osborne
6Jones vs Turner

Soanes Weekender

The long awaited results for the Soanes have been posted.

We can see that Tim Woodward started with two draws and a win (against George Horne, to whom I lost at Blackpool in 2011). Sadly Tim then lost to David Gilbert in round 4 taking him out of the running. Mr Gilbert scored 4/5 (including a full point bye in the first round).

Pos Name
ECF Score
Colour Float Result
34 Espinosa, Monica
104e  0.0 w ½
28 Crouch, Timothy J
129 0.5 b ½
3 Horne, George H
148 1.0 w v 1
18 Gilbert, David J
137 2.0 b ^ 0
30 Bonnello, Chris J
122 2.0 w ½


Saturday, July 28, 2012

British Championships Weekender

It may be a rest day for the Championship contenders tomorrow, but not for Trowbridge's own Tim Woodward, who is currently competing in the Soanes (under 150 ECF) 3 day tournament. 3 rounds have completed, but the results are not currently available on the official website.

However some kindly soul has uploaded this image of the pairings for round 4. From this we can see that Tim is on 7th board (from 18), and tomorrow morning has Black against David Gilbert (joint winner of this year's Blackpool Intermediate section). Hopefully this means that Tim is still in the running for a prize of some sort. We wish him the best of luck.

British Championships Day 6

The top seeds played to their ratings today, overcoming lesser graded opponents.
Jones beat Matthew Turner, Howell beat James Holland (who was unable to achieve a 3rd draw against GM opposition), and Gordon got a point against Marcus Harvey.


Rating TPR 16
1GM Jones, Gawain C

2655 2784
1 1 1 1 ½ 1
2GM Howell, David W

2620 2627
½ 1 1 ½ 1 1
3GM Gordon, Stephen

2539 2564
1 1 1 0 1 1

Gordon has lost to Jones but won his other 5 games (albeit against untitled players). So presumably Howell and Jones will play each other on Monday.

IM Jonathon Hawkins and GM Keith Arkell are each on 4.5 points. Arkell has played Jones and Hawkins has played Howell.

Jack Rudd beat Robert Shaw in another quick tactical affair. He joins a pack of players on 4/6 that includes GM Stuart Conquest who is the 3rd player (after Jones and Howell) to remain unbeaten in the tournament.

Yorkshire Chess have yet to publish a review but I expect round 6 will be covered here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

British Championships Day 5

As reported by Yorkshire Chess, round 5 featured another superb result for James Holland who held leader Gawain Jones to a draw. As a reward for his score of 1 out of 2 against GM opposition he has White against second seed Howell tomorrow.

Another untitled player defying expectations is Marcus Harvey, who scored a fine win against GM Danny Gormally and goes on to face Stephen Gordon.

Matthew Turner won again to go 4/5 but now has to face Jones on Saturday. The other "local boy" Jack Rudd had to work harder for today's win and his next opponent is FM Robert Shaw. Perhaps Rudd is playing a form of Swiss Gambit? If he keeps winning I'm sure he'll get a GM soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

British Championships Day 4

Yorkshire Chess have published their round 4 report. On board 1 Stephen Gordon spurned a draw by repetition against Gawain Jones and tried to continue attacking a rook down. Jones is now the clear leader on 4/4. Only one player, his next opponent James Holland, is on 3.5/4. There's only a 455 grading point difference in this round 5 match (and Holland is performing 500 above his FIDE rating!).

Matthew Turner seemed to be content to draw (in a slightly worse position) against unbeaten Marcus Osborne (who is getting tough pairings - hence the 2575 TPR). Turner should be favourite to win against untitled James Hanley next round. Osborne gets to play Stephen Gordon. Can his excellent form continue?

IM Jack Rudd had another trademark fast win that featured a rook sac on f7. IM Hawkins also won quickly (with a passive rook sac) to go 3/4 but somehow avoids facing a GM in round 5: he has Black against James Jackson (who defeated Rudd in round 2).

IM Richard Palliser played a rather dubious knight sac. White took that, then Black's rook, and calmly held on to the material for a straightforward win, even offering a knight back to rub it in.

For yesterday's Game of the Day, IM Andrew Martin has chosen Howell vs Hawkins. Also The Week In Chess has the current standings and previous games. For an alternative to the official live feed you can visit chessdom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

British Championships Day 3

Only 2 players are on 3/3 - GMs (and 1st and 3rd seeds) Jones and Gordon, who will play each other in round 4. The accelerated pairings are producing some interesting early encounters. 2nd seed David Howell is half a point behind the leaders, having defeated IM Hawkins. Howell will have Black against Gormally tomorrow.

James Holland won a nice tactical game against FM Dave Eggleston, and is also on 2.5/3 but avoids meeting another Grandmaster: instead he is paired with FM Robert Shaw. Matthew Turner beat James Adair by first picking up a pawn, then another, and converting to a rook ending. Chess can be made to look very simple by good players.Turner now faces Marcus Osborne, an untitled player I've not come across previously.

Amy Hoare lost quickly to IM Jack Rudd (who apparently used only 11 minutes in total). A dubious (time-wasting) excursion with a knight gave Rudd an advantage based on a pin. White tried to break this but ended up with her queen trapped in the middle of the board.

One of the last games to finish was Foo vs Houska, with the IM (and highest rated female player in the tournament) unable to force through a win in a long ending that had draw written all over it. Somehow it got to 130 moves before the point was split. I guess that's called tenacity.

Remember that the games are being broadcast live, with commentary from IM Andrew Martin starting at roughly 3 PM (14:00 GMT).

P.S.We appear to have some genuine press coverage (finally): http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2012/07/25/99th-british-chess-championships-comes-to-north-shields-61634-31466213/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

British Championships Day 2

Today the West Country's adoptee Matthew Turner drew with Black against FM David Eggleston to give himself an "easier" 3rd round pairing. While GMs Arkell and Jones face off on board 1, Turner has White against James Adair, a slightly less formidable opponent according to his 2262 FIDE grade. I'm sure Adair would disagree, having drawn with 259 (2620 FIDE) rated David Howell in round 1 and having beaten an IM in round 2.

An even more surprising result (at least on paper) was the draw (with White) by GM Daniel Gormally against 17 year old untitled James Holland. However Holland, graded 213, is clearly a very strong player and one to watch for the future.

Somerset's IM Jack Rudd again failed to secure a point (or even a half) in a complex game and now faces Sussex junior Amy Hoare (with whom yours truly once agreed a draw in the final round of the Frome Congres).

Charlie Storey bounced back from his loss against Turner with what appeared to be a reverse Sniper turning into a reverse Benko. Trowbridge's own Snipers take note.

The most exciting game of the round was arguably Stephen Gordon's win against Simon Roe, which featured a rook sac to bring out Black's king. Please read the Yorkshire Chess Association's excellent comments on round 2.

However, Andrew Martin has decided to go with Gawain Jones' win against Terry Chapman for his Game of the Day.

British Championships Day 1

It's been a while since any content was posted here, mainly owing to work commitments. I intend to remedy this starting right now.

Readers may be aware that the 2012 British Chess Championships are underway. The Yorkshire chess website has some coverage of the round 1 results. It also has an excellent overview of the Yorkshire-based competitors.

IM Andrew Martin has a video introduction to this year's competition, and has already posted his "Game of the Day" for Round 1 which features GM Matthew Turner (of Millfield School) beating Sniper expert Charlie Storey.

The South-west's IM Jack Rudd got off to a poor start, losing to Jim Burnett. Jim now has to face even tougher opposition in the form of IM Jonathon Hawkins.