The top end of the Championship Rd. 11 draw looks like this.
The afternoon started with the presentation of the Rd. 10 Game of the Day to GM Glenn Flear.
There was bound to be an element of anti-climax at the start of the round, knowing that the big prize had already been decided, but this didn’t prevent a large crowd of spectators and photographers gathering around the top board. In fact, if Jones had been able to spring a surprise, it would undoubtedly have take a little of the shine off Howell’s prize, so there was no sign that he was in danger of resting on his laurels. The others, too, were fighting amongst themselves for a place on the prizelist. In spite of the fact there were draws a-plenty, they were mostly hard-fought – only Lalic and Arkell settled for a quick draw.
The fact is that Howell likes Torquay. He won there in 2009, and nowhere else. When I first did the publicity job, at Torquay in 1997, I was asked by the local TV company to obtain the oldest player in the building to act out a short encounter with the youngest. I located an old gent, while a colleague, Victor Cross, brought along a 5 year old boy, who quickly outplayed his vastly senior opponent while the camera rolled. The boy was called David – David Howell.