Search Keverel Chess
Monthly Archive

Posts Tagged ‘British Championships 2010’

Adams is New Champion – Of Course! (14.08.2010.)

So, Mickey Adams proceeded to win the British Championship as expected with the excellent score of 9½/11 points, 1½ ahead of his nearest rival and the highest total since Julian Hodgson won the title with 10 points at Plymouth in 1992. The other native Cornishman, Andrew Greet, also did very well in coming 3rd= on 7½, with a late run of 4/5 points in the 2nd week. The three adopted Devonians did rather less well, though were by no means disgraced. Leading the trio was Keith Arkell (7), ahead of Dominic Mackle (6½) and Jack Rudd (6), though Mackle’s performance related to his actual grade (194) was by far the better.

Here is a second look at Adams’ first game. White, faced at the outset with almost certain defeat and the choice of what opening to play, feels he might as well go down in buccaneering style, and opts for a swashbuckling gambit in the hope, perhaps, that there might be some glimmer of light in the ensuing complications. There was, of course, but only for Adams.

White: Robert Eames (207). Black: Michael Adams (267). Bishop’s Gambit – Morphy Variation. [C33]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 The King’s Gambit, offering White’s f-pawn in exchange for quick development and a strong centre. 2…exf4 3.Bc4 This is now called the Bishop’s Gambit. 3…d5 Not to be outdone in the generosity stakes, Black offers a pawn back, for the same reasons. A move propounded by the German Ludwig Bledow in 1840  4.Bxd5 Nf6 the great Paul Morphy’s favoured continuation. 5.Nf3 Nxd5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qf5 8.0–0 Nc6 9.d4 Be6! This invites White to try and win a piece. If White had fallen for it by playing 10.d5 forking 2 pieces then 0–0–0! simply wins the d-pawn; 10.Ne2 g5 11.b3 0–0–0 12.Bb2 Bg7 13.c4 g4 14.Ne1 f3! Naturally, Black must try to crack open White’s kingside defences without delay. 15.gxf3 Rhg8 16.f4 If 16.fxg4 Qxg4+ 17.Ng3 Nxd4 16…g3 Already there is no defence. 17.Nf3 If 17.Nxg3 Bxd4+ 18.Bxd4 Nxd4 19.Rf2 (or 19.Kh1 Rxg3 20.hxg3 Qh3+ 21.Kg1 Qxg3+ 22.Ng2 Bg4 23.Qe1 Ne2+ 24.Qxe2 not 24.Kh1?? Qh3 mate) 19…Qh3 20.Ng2 Nf5 21.Qf3 Nxg3 and Black’s attack is unstoppable. 17…gxh2+ 18.Kh1 Bf6 19.Qd2 Qg4 20.Rf2 Bf5 21.Qe3 Nb4 0–1

Black brings his final piece into play, ready to invade the White defences on either c2 or d3. This crushing win by Adams in Round 1 spelled out to the rest of the field just what they could expect.

The solution to last week’s position was 1.Rf2! allowing the Queen to administer mate in several places across the 3rd rank.

There now follows the 1st of 2 early two-movers by the noted Cornish problemist, Christopher Reeve.

Whte to mate in 2 moves.

Adams Almost Home & Dry in British (07.08.2010.)

With nine of the eleven rounds of the British Championship completed at the time of going to press, things have gone more or less as one might have forecast for local players. The favourite, Mickey Adams, has found it a stroll in the park, conceding only 2 draws so far, and well clear of his nearest rivals. Jack Rudd has proved as unpredictable as ever, starting with 3 great wins followed by 3 disappointing losses. Keith Arkell has played a series of long endgames, including one game of 160 moves, close to a world record length for a strong over-the-board tournament. Andrew Greet performed well enough without any danger of adding the British to his recent Scottish title, while Dominic Mackle has done much better than last year at Torquay, having benefited from that experience.

Here is Jack Rudd’s win from Round 3 which won him the Game of the Day accolade. He has to withstand a strong attack, but strikes back with telling effect at the weak points left by Black.

White: Jack Rudd (211). Black: Simon Williams (237).

King’s Indian Defence – Classical Variation. [E99]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.a4 Rf6 Black launches his kingside attack, looking for a quick kill. 14.a5 a6 15.Nd3 Rh6 16.Qc2 Qe8 17.Rfc1 Nf6 18.h3 Qh5 19.Kf1 Bxh3 20.gxh3 Qxh3+ 21.Ke1 g4 22.Kd2 g3 23.Bg1 c6 24.Qb3 Black’s attack has left his Queenside poorly protected, which will rebound on him as White exploits it. 24…Qd7  Sound the retreat! 25.c5 cxd5 26.cxd6 Nc6 27.Nxd5 Nxd5 28.exd5 Nd8 29.Nc5 Qxd6 30.Ne4 Qd7 31.Bb6 Nc6 32.Rh1 Rxh1 33.Rxh1 Now the open lines created by Black are utilised by White. 33…Nd8 34.d6+ Kh8 35.Bd3 h6 36.Nf6! Qf7 If 36…Bxf6 mate follows thus:- 37.Rxh6+ Kg7 38.Rg6+ Kh8 39.Qg8#. 37.Qxf7 Nxf7 38.Ne4 Bf8 39.d7 Kg7 40.Rh4 Be7 41.Rg4+ Kf8 42.Nc5 Ng5 43.Rxg5! hxg5 44.Nxb7 g2 45.Ke2 Rb8 46.Be4 Bd8 47.Kf2

1–0. Black resigned as he cannot cope with the threats in the Queenside corner.

The 60th Paignton Congress is now just 4 weeks away, and late entries should be directed to Linda Crickmore on 01752-768206.

Alert solvers will have noticed my mistake in last week’s solution, which should have been 1.Rcc7, not Rc8 which fails to 1…Nc6. I knew this, of course, (no, honestly!) but mistyped it at the crucial moment. Last week’s position was solved by 1.Rf2! and Black’s best efforts will be thwarted by a Queen mate somewhere along the 3rd rank. Here is a 3rd 2-mover by Heathcote.

White to mate in 2 moves.

British Championships 2010 (10.07.2010.)

 The British Championships start a fortnight tomorrow in Canterbury with a total of only 554 entries at the moment. Although a number of late entries will be coming in, it will probably fall well short of last year’s entry of almost 1,000 at Torquay.

In the top section, Michael Adams is overwhelming favourite with a grade of 267, well ahead of the other four Grandmasters so far entered, Peter Wells & Stephen Gordon (both 238), Keith Arkell (237) and Simon Williams (234).

The last time Adams played in the event (Hove 1997) he became joint champion after an unresolved play-off. In the last round, he needed a win to be sure of being involved in that play-off. This is that game.

White: M. Adams (260) – A. C. Kosten (241)

Ruy Lopez – Close Defence [C88]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Black has the choice of taking the proffered e-pawn (Open Defence) and having to endure sharp attacking play, or continuing with sensible development as here with the Close Defence   5…Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 White now continues somewhat cautiously for a few moves, watching and waiting. 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Qd7 11.Nc3 Rae8 12.Nd5 Na5 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Ba2 White retains both bishops, a small advantage as the position opens up later. 14…c5 15.Nh4 Nc6 16.c3 Bc8 17.Bg5 Kh8 18.Bd5 Nd8 19.Nf5 Qc7 If 19…Bxf5 20.exf5 and Black’s kingside pawns are going to be broken up, a second small advantage. 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Qf3 Rg8 22.g3 Ne6 23.Kh2 Ng5 24.Qe3 Rg6 25.a4 a thematic freeing move in this opening, though it usually comes earlier. 25…bxa4 26.Rxa4 Reg8 27.Rea1 Ne6 28.Nh4 Rg5 29.Qf3 threatening the weak pawn on f6, brought about by the exchange on move 20. 29…Qe7 30.Nf5 Qf8 31.Rxa6! with Black’s pieces tied up in defence, White offers to sacrifice material in order to monopolise the open spaces on the queenside. 31…Nc7 If Black had accepted the offer play might have continued 31…Bxa6 32.Rxa6 Nc7 33.Nxd6 Nxd5 34.exd5 R5g6 35.h4 and all the attacking options are with White. 32.Nxd6 Nxd5 33.Nxc8 Qxc8 34.exd5 Rf5 35.Qe2 Qd8 36.c4 Qf8 37.Ra8 Qh6 38.d6 1–0 The advancing d-pawn will prove decisive.

Cornwall’s other player in the Championship is Andrew Greet (231) while Devon’s interests centre around Jack Rudd (214) and Dominic Mackle (200).

had accepted the offer play might have continued 31…Bxa6 32.Rxa6 Nc7 33.Nxd6 Nxd5 34.exd5 R5g6 35.h4 and all the attacking options are with White. 32.Nxd6 Nxd5 33.Nxc8 Qxc8 34.exd5 Rf5 35.Qe2 Qd8 36.c4 Qf8 37.Ra8 Qh6 38.d6 1–0 The advancing d-pawn will prove decisive.

Cornwall’s other player in the Championship is Andrew Greet (231) while Devon’s interests centre around Jack Rudd (214) and Dominic Mackle (200).

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Qa6! and if 1…Kxf3 2.Qe2 mate or 1…Qxf3 2.Qxe5 mate or 1…Bxd5 2.Qd3 mate.

This 2-mover is by the brilliant Devon composer, Comins Mansfield.

White to mate in 2.

British Championships 2009 Prizegiving

Saturday, 8th August 2009


So things went as predicted – more or less. On Bd. 1, Gary Lane showed his hand by offering a draw after move 6. Howell declined, perhaps hoping to go out with a further win, but when the position soon became a bit turgid and would have required a lot of time and effort to resolve, he clearly came to the conclusion that the easiest option was probably the best after all. Furthermore, he was due to play in the 1st round of the Staunton Memorial in London the next afternoon, so it made good sense to conserve his energy.
After shaking hands with Lane, he rose from his chair with a broad smile, and there were handshakes and congratulations all round. He had won the title with 9 points, the highest total this century (8.5 points is par) and in that company it was a considerable achievement by any standard. In case he had stumbled at the final hurdle, Simon Williams and Mark Hebden would have been waiting for him, as they overcame Stephen Gordon and Gawain Jones, respectively, so finished joint 2nd on 8.5, frustratng for them as, in most years this would have given them the title or at least a play-off.
In the last game of the round to finish. Andrew Greet just failed to get a very respectable score as he pushed Conquest to the limit. Rudd finished in sparkling form as he equalled his highest score ever, after having been on bottom board-but-2 in Rd. 4.
Palliser’s 8 pts was also an excellent result for him. Last year it would have got him into the play-off.
Last year at Liverpool, in order to prepare for the prizegiving and the rush of trying to take meaningful photographs of the winners with their trophies, I hit on the idea of having a small table set up with a board and pieces next to the steps where the winners come down from the stage, so one can deal with the situation almost in a conveyor belt fashion. This was done the night before to minimise the risk of last minute panics. And to further reduce the risk I put a large printed notice in the middle of the board to the effect “Photographer’s table – do not move”. When I arrived the next morning, everything had been cleared away – no table, no set, no notice – nothing.
Nothing daunted, I prepared in the same way this year, but having learned from Liverpool, I worded the printed notice more pointedly, to the effect “Photographer’s Table – do not move before the prizegiving” in very large, computer-printed letters, and weighted down by a pawn on each corner. It was there at 9 p.m. as I left.
Next morning at 8.30 I couldn’t believe my eyes – no set and board, no table, no notice – nothing. That moment was my low point of the fortnight. Fortunately, the staff were very helpful and another table was found, and there was a spare set and board in the office, it was rectified fairly quickly.
The prizegiving went very smoothly and quickly. Scores of pictures were taken and the camera battery managed to cope – just about. Fortunately, it was decided to do the British players first to enable Howell to get off to London a.s.a.p. so if the battery did run down, it would have not been so serious. And they’ve come out reasonable well. Here is a selection.

David Howell – New British Champion.


Three Wise Men – the joint seniors champions.

And now… a group of Lady Champions:

Meg Owens, of Wales, with the Roy Clunes Trophy.

British Ladies Champion – Jovanka Houska, (as was)

Sheila Dines

Kevin Stavely of the Rhondda, with the Richard Boxall Plate for his contribution above and beyond the call of duty, in running the Sunday Quiz and the Murder Mystery play.

Balloon Match:  Weatherwise, the morning had started the best of the fortnight, so immediately after the prizegiving was over I gathered together Jack Rudd and Andrew Greet, and said we should get down there. I’d give the balloon folk one hour to get off the ground, then I was off.
From that moment on, everything fell into place, as if the weather Gods had had their fun and decided to relent as we’d given them enough amusement to last into the autumn.
We trundled the heavy equipment down to their little office. The balloon was up, having its obligatory test-run, and we could be on the first public ascent of the day.
Down it came, everything was piled in, Andrew and Jack and me with borrowed, hand-held video camera, and in moments we were rising up to 400 feet. With just 7 minutes on the clock, Jack and Andrew rattled out the moves and after what looked like a close contest, Greet won. There was just time for 2nd game mostly played on the way down. A draw was agreed, and so Greet won the match.
This was, of course, a match between deadly rivals, Devon and Cornwall; Greet from St. Austell and Rudd resident in Bideford, have each been their county Champions. So Cornwall won the first aerial chess match bewteen the two counties, just as they did the first terra-firma-based match in 1901.
Two questions remain: (a) Is this History’s first-ever inter-county match in a helium ballon at 400 feet?
(b) Did it actually take place at all, or am I making it up to cover for the fact that the weather was so lousy?
In answer to the latter, the video will be out shortly; post production is, even now, in the hands of IJ Productions, who are adding suitable music and titling.
In answer to the former, I’m going to claim it as a world 1st, but am happy to listen to credible counter-claims.

British Championships 2009 Final round.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Early start:
The last day has dawned with blue skies all around and no wind to usher in cloudbanks – the weather gods must be making belated attempts to make amends. It’s a bit late now, though.
Driving over extra early, on the car radio, Radio 4 gave out on the 8 o’clock news the story that a load of old humanoid fossils had been discovered in Torquay and were to be investigated. Ah, I thought, at last the BBC have responded to my prompting and are going to cover the exciting last day. But no, alas. It turned out they were found in Kent’s Cavern in the 19th century and may have been cannibal victims, 9,000 years ago. On the other hand, they could have been Torbay’s first chess players in a match that went horribly wrong. You never know….

Rd. 10 Summary:
The drive provided an opportunity to ponder the day’s prospects.
Last night, Howell beat the defending champion, Stuart Conquest, to put himself a point clear of the field, and surely on the brink of the title. Is he going to lose for the first time in the last round when on the brink of becoming British Champion? I think it unlikely. Several other factors are in his favour (a) he’s already played all those nearest to him (b) he has the White pieces and (c) the draw has paired him against local hero Gary Lane, who is 2 full points behind him and about 200 rating points below. It’s a funny old game, of course, full of unexpected twists and turns, but if Howell doesn’t finish up the Champion from this position, it will be little short of sensational. For a start, either Hebden or Williams would have to beat their Grandmaster opponents just to draw level and force a play-off. On top board, I foresee a shortish game with an early offer of a draw accepted by Lane, giving Howell the title and Lane some extra rating points. Seems logical, but what do I know?

Below: Conquest takes on David Howell in the penultimate round:

Murder Most Foul:
It’s well-known that Torquay was Agatha Christie’s home town, but on arrival here I found a murder had been committed last night, right here in the Centre, not in the library with some lead piping, but someone had been poisoned in the Rosetor Suite. Shocking, of course, but for the 2nd time in minutes I’d got the wrong end of the stick.
It was, in fact, a murder mystery play put on by Arbiter Kevin Stavely, using 6 volunteer actors from the enormous cast of players and hangers-on, only too keen to strut their stuff on stage. The script is provided by a company and all the actors have to do is to familiarise themselves with the words and actions required, and deliver them with some kind of conviction before a paying audience, who have to guess who did what to whom, when and why. A goodly number stumped up their 50p admission charge and a good time was had by all. In a typical drawing room denoument, it emerged that Alan Burke had poisoned Peter Hale.
Below: The cast (l-r) Christine Burke, Alan Burke (the murderer); Alec Toll; Lateefah Messam-Sparks; Hannah Dale; Peter Hale (the victim).

Killer Queens:
Another shot from yesterday’s party on the patio outside the office. If you find yourself sitting down to play opposite any of these girls, don’t be fooled – they’re all British Champions.

l-r: Sheila Dines; Megan Owens; Lateefah Messam-Sparks; Hannah Dale and Evie Hollingworth. 

Above: Scottish junior, Calum McQueen, playing on top board in Rd. 10 of the Major Open. The party hat did him no good at all as he lost to Robert Eames.

Question: Has anyone played more games at Torquay than this man?

Answer: Probably not.

He’s Mitchell Burke of Oldham who can be seen just starting his 34th game of the fortnight. He’s played in 2 rapidplays, the Major Open, the U-16 Championship and the 5 Day Open A.M. If one factors in the 19 other games in blitz tournaments, the total comes to 53 games. Mitchell is a member of the 3Cs club in Oldham and clearly has a great appetite for the game.

Start of the Final Round:

A great crowd assembled round the top boards before the start of the final round, mainly awaiting the start of the top game Howell v Lane; they were due a wait as Howell is always about 10 minutes late – under FIDE’s new regulations he would have defaulted every game.
Above: Gary Lane in “Waiting For Godot”.

Above: Gary: “Shall we settle this quickly with a game of Stone, paper, scissors?”.

Below: David: “Nice try, Gary; let’s try an old fashioned Ruy Lopez instead”.


Above: Howell goes for the Exchange Variation. 3 moves later Lane offered a draw, which Howell turned down. So much for the quick draw theory. Looks like Howell’s going for the win.

16.50 Correction – Howell’s just agreed to the draw, as there was no clear way of making any progress. He rose from chair grinning broadly, and we have a new champion. At the same moment, Jack Rudd’s opponent ran out of time with Jack still an hour and a half to spare, which puts him on 7 points – a wonderful late run after an equally terrible start.

British Championships 2009 2nd Thursday Rd. 10

Thursday, 6 August 2009

2nd Thursday Rd 10

Penultimate Rd;
Late last night Wells beat Eggleston to reach 6.5, but Eggleston’s assured 2nd IM norm was some compensation for him.
Conquest’s win yesterday puts him back on top board with White against Howell, sole leader on 7.5. Will Howell be content to drift to the finish with 2 draws and see what the following pack can do? Williams is clear 2nd on 7/9 with Black against Wells. How will he be seeing the situation? He is on fire and a win would put him level with a drawing Howell. And Hebden having white against lower rated opposition must be fancying his chances, a win would put him on 7.5, although his opponent Rendle will have his own views on the matter. Surely the eventual champion must come from these 6.

Last year’s Girls’ U-12 Champion was Rahda Jain. On the way out of the hall this morning, she told me she’d won again and I ventured to say she was likely to defend her title successfully. “Oh no, not that”, she replied “I’m after the overall title this year”. I was truly put in my place.

Below: Rahda at Liverpool 2008

A Storey of Salvation Through ChessBase:
38 year old Charlie Storey, playing in the British Championship, was brought up in Newcastle-on-Tyne where he had a difficult upbringing. He admits to failed academically at school, leaving with no qualifications. On the other hand, he was excellent at sport, playing centre forward for Blythe Spartans and having trials with Oldham Athletic, though the manager, Joe Royle, didn’t rate him.
He didn’t have much of direction in life in his late teens, but gradually got into chess and joined the Jesmond Chess Club. He then purchased an early version of the computer program ChessBase3 and things really took off. He quickly developed a great love of chess and knowledge of computers. He was very competitive and has won about 60 Open Tournaments over the years.
He also found he had the gift of communicating his chess skills to large numbers of young beginners. He wrote a chess syllabus called Bandana Chess, and has his own website at
As his reputation as a chess coach grew, so did his reputation in computer skills and he was encouraged to enroll at university where, at the age of 37, he recently graduated with a 2:1 in “Informatics Forensics” (i.e. messing around with computers).
He puts all this down to the redemptive powers of chess; it’s taught him to use his brain, to concentrate, persevere and constantly strive for self-improvement. If the basis was chess, the tool was ChessBase, which enables players to harness the twin powers of human and artificial intelligence. He reckons they have been his salvation – without chess he could have been condemned to a life of aimless drifting.
What of the future? Andrew Martin has offered him the post of coach to the ECF U-16 team in the junior Olympiad in Turkey (24th Sept – 2nd Oct.). He’s also had an excellent job offer from the Civil Service which would entail moving south, out of his natural habitat in the North East. So who knows what the future holds for Charlie Storey.
Below: Charlie at the start of Rd. 10 – he loves a good party.

Game of the Day (Rd. 8)

Above: I know I’m getting deaf, but did someone just call out my name?

Below: Yes it’s true, John Littlewood – you’ve just won the Game of the Day prize.

Birthday Party: Mention has already been made of one birthday present offered here at Torquay – today there were more celebrations as one of the juniors celebrated her 17th birthday, joined by a crowd of Britain’s top juniors.

Below: Lateefah Messam-Sparks (centre) surrounded by some of the best juniors here at the British. Much cake was consumed by all. Hats were retained for play during Rd. 10.

British Championships 2009 2nd Wednesday Rd. 9.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

2nd Wednesday Rd. 9

A Near Thing:
Players from all quarters of the UK plus a few from Gibraltar, Russia, Australia et. al. have come to Torquay to play in one or other of the 22 sections of the British Chess Championships. Yet few can have had a shorter journey than 9 year old Nandaja Narayanan who lives just round the corner from the Riviera Centre. This was her first serious tournament, and she was not disappointed as she won the Girls’ U-9 title.
She attends Sherwell Valley Primary School in Torquay and attends the local junior chess club at Churston Ferrers, run by retired teacher Vic Cross, the same Vic Cross who has run the back office at the British for many years.
Nandaja first learnt the moves from her father , a consultant gynaecologist at Torbay Hospital. When asked how good a player he was he said “I can push the boat out but can’t navigate”. She then started to take the game more seriously, eventually getting private coaching from Victor.
All her opponents were boys on the way to the title, and beating them gave her greater confidence. She now feels encouraged to go on to further successes in the future. At the moment, her 3 year old sister, Niranjana, takes an interest and may well take up the game herself, so Nandaja may have an added incentive to keep ahead of her, or she might get overtaken.

Above: Nandaja with her trophy and coach Victor Cross outside my office.

Rd. 9: We are really approaching the sharp end of things now. In the short term, 9 round norms are obtainable. David Eggleston only had to turn up and play a solitary move in order to qualify for his 2nd IM norm, as he already had the points in the bag after 8 games, but a 9th game, however short, does have to be played. Not content with this, however, his game against Wells went on much longer than the others on the top tables. Meanwhile, Williams’ good run continued with a win against Gawain Jones, to put him in clear 2nd behind David Howell who overcame Palliser on Bd. 1. Stuart Conquest too kept in the mix with a win over former British Champion, Paul Littlewood. Hebden beat Gormally to join Conquest on 6.5, but other key games are going on into the gathering gloom.

Lower down the order, Arkell’s indifferent form meant another loss today and at this rate he will struggle to be in the prize list at all. On the other hand, Jack Rudd, who had a desperately bad first week, has hit the winning trail; another win today put him on 5.5. So from the murky depths of Bd. 34 out of 36 in Round 4, he has now scored 4.5 pts from the next 5 rounds. This is looking dangerously like consistency, which is not like Jack at all. What’s happening to him?

Old Fashioned Generosity: The draw in the Seniors paired club-mates Brian Gosling and David Toms (see earlier picture), who both play for Sidmouth in local leagues and Exmouth in the county leagues. It also happened to be David’s birthday, so Brian gave him the best present of all – the gift of a piece during the game and the full point. Isn’t that what friends are for?

Herald Express: The local daily paper here in Torbay is the Herald Express, which covers event from Dawlish down to Dartmouth. Through the efforts of the Torbay League Secretary, John Doidge, who ordinarily writes a monthly chess column for them, they have agreed to almost daily coverage which he provides. Today, however, they have excelled themselves with the promised full page article by former Guardian columnist, Mike Baker, who was here last week. Access the article on their website, and find about the activities of Cable Guy (and others).

British Championship – Torquay – Rd. 8

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Second Tuesday – Rd. 8

Weather: Last night I drove home amid teeming rain, spray and dense hill fog over the Haldon Hills. Coming in this morning it was exactly the same, with another day’s rain forecast. The balloon has made only two solitary 20 minute ascents in the last 10 days, so the projected aerial match is looking very unlikely. Unless things improve in the next 3 days, this must go down, from the weather point of view, as the worst British Championship in history.

John Dunleavy: This event commemorates the contribution John Dunleavy made to British chess, especially his central role in creating the ECF out of the old BCF. My full biography is accessible from the front page of the event website. John’s son, Malcolm and his family were unable to be present at the opening, but had agreed to come in this week, as they were on a camping holiday in the South Hams. They came in this morning and enjoyed meeting many of John’s former colleagues. They had little connection with the highly-organised world of chess administration that John so loved, but enjoyed looking round the many different aspects of this big event.
Below: Claire and Malcolm Dunleavy, Jack (16) and Charley (11).

Around the Hall: So much attention is paid to the progress of the British Championship itself, that it is easy to overlook the many other sections going on in the hall at the same time. It’s impossible to do justice to them all, of course, but here’s a glimpse at some of them.
British Seniors Championship:
Former British Ladies Champion in her former existence as Dinah Dobson, (1967, ‘68 and ‘69 it says in the record book, but can’t have been that long ago – someone’s made a mistake here, surely!). Now Dinah Norman, she can look a bit serious at times but always raises a bright smile for the camera.
Below: Incidentally, of the 4 players involved in these adjacent games, 3 are women. Dinah is playing Caro Hunt, Harriet’s mother, while another former British Ladies Champion, Gillian Moore, is next door. And there are a number of other women involved in this section.

Dr. David Toms retired to East Devon recently after a career as a senior psychologist in the Medical Dept. of Nottingham University. As a teenager he was an English Junior International, taking part in a tour of Germany.

Above: Diminutive Anna Wang playing her morning game in the U-10s, a game she won to bring her to 1.5/2. Anna comes from Oxford where she attends the Junior Dept. of Oxford High School. She is a member of the Cowley Chess Club. Two years ago she won the British U-8 title at Gt. Yarmouth but was unable to play in Liverpool last year.

Above: Rahda Jain, giving her morning game in the U-12s 100% concentration. Last year she won the Girls’ U-12 title at Liverpool and hopes to make a successful defence. The prospects look good as last week she won the Girls’ U-13 title, jointly with Anna Wang’s sister, Maria.

See below the presentation by Peter Purland.

British Championship – Torquay – Rd. 7

Monday, 3 August 2009

2nd Monday – Round 7

Review of Rd. 7:
Jones and Howell are joint leaders going into Rd. 7, but they’ve already played each other and can’t repeat that. Howell was drawn against Wells and a time scramble was forecast both in the daily bulletin and on the main website. How right that proved to be. As the first time control approached there was a flurry of moves in front of crowds of onlookers, before they retired toa quite corner of the room to reconstruct the correct sequence of moves, only to discover that Wells had not made the required number of moves and so had lost on time – a vital point for Howell to guarantee him at least a share of 1st place going into Rd. 8.
Jones kept pace with a win over Trent, giving the two winners joint leadership on 6/7. Simon Williams won to become clear 3rd on 5.5. Needing and getting wins to keep in touch with these top 3 were Conquest, Palliser, Eggleston, Gormally, Rendle and Paul Littlewood, all now on 5/7. The leading pack is thus reduced to 8, but it looks like Simon Williams is the one on a hot streak at the moment. Can he keep it up?

Regular visitors No. 2:
Another of the more regular visitors to this event over the years is John Calvert of Bilborough, Nottingham, this being his 28th visit since the 1970s.
He was born in Chandlersford, Hants, but his family moved to Nottingham where they initially lodged with a Polish family who taught the young John to play chess.
He joined the Nottingham Mechanics Institute club in 1969 and has remained with them ever since. He is a Lib Dem candidate for the City Council, thus being a political colleague of Tony Gillam, the man who has almost single-handedly published more chess books than anyone else in the country, if not the entire world.
At the British he usually enters one of the afternoon lower-rated sections, and also visits Hastings most years, and frequents the bookstall at both events.

                                                                                            Below: John Calvert watches John Littlewood in action.


British Championship – Torquay – 2nd Sunday.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Second Sunday

Rest Day: The 2nd Sunday is a rest day for the main tournaments, but there are weekenders for those who cannot get away during the week, and treat this like a typical weekend congress.

Cricket Match: Meanwhile, Andrew Martin traditionally tries to assemble a cricket team to play a match against a local team. Some years he can’t identify a team with a free space on that one day, and some years he can’t get 11 players to turn out. This year he succeeded on both fronts and will shortly be arriving at Clyst St. George, between Exeter and Exmouth, for a 40 over match. KO at 14.30.

                                                                                                              Below: 5 minutes to Kick off

Above: 1. Scorer Peter Sowray and Andrew Martin discuss their team’s prospects.
Above 2: Trefor Thynne explains his plan to son Richard; he aims to hit the middle ball of the three coming towards him and hope for the best.



                                                                                                        Above: The BCF Team ready for action.
                                                                                                    Front row (l-r): Isaac Stables & Tom Haxby.
                                                                                        Seated: Trefor Thynne, Alec Toll (capt.), Jim Fisher.
                              Standing: Richard Thynne; Chris Briscoe, Charlie Storey, Michael White, David Le Moir, Andrew Martin, Jack Rudd.


Clyst St. George is a very small village, almost a hamlet, but any lingering thoughts that their team might reflect this in playing strength were very soon dispelled. For a start, the highest score ever made in Devon League cricket was by a home batsman on this ground in 1984 when Bob Merrifield scored 255 off 143 balls, including 37 fours and 9 sixes. They have 2 teams in the Devon League and 4 junior teams, and last season was one of their best ever – so the signs were there from the outset.
The home team won the toss and elected to bat, and in no time at all were 145 without loss, and remarkably one of the two opening batsmen had contributed only 18 to this total. The opener, Pete Andrews, went on to make 150, and once he was out, the match reverted to a more even contest, but by that time it was slipping away. At one point, Trefor Thynne was bowling his slow spinners, and was hit for 4. Wicket keeper and team captain, Alec Toll, shouted down the wicket “Give it more flight”. Trefor duly did and the ball was whacked for 6, high, wide and handsome over the massive oak trees that surround the pitch, whereupon Trefor calls back “Is that enough flight Skipper?”
Shortly before the start, Alec Toll had briefed his side on the art of the “long barrier”, where the fielder goes down with hands ready, and body in line behind the ball as an additional stopper – just in case. Jim Fisher appeared to dispense with the hands bit of it and just flung his body everywhere to prevent boundaries. He must have bruises all over this morning. One super performance was David Le Moir’s two Caught and Bowled, when in both cases the ball was struck back him with great force; in full follow through, he thrust out his right hand and the ball just stuck. Neither batsman could believe it.
At the end of 40 overs they had reached 248 for 9, with Richard Thynne taking 4 wickets, David Le Moir 2, and Briscoe and Martin 1 each.
After a splendid tea, Martin and Toll hit back with a splendid 70 from Andrew and 37 from Alec. Trefor Thynne’s plan (see above) worked to a certain extent – after 40 minutes at the crease he was still O not out, then he hit a boundary that was met with a great cheer from the pavilion, but he was out shortly after. The chess-players eventually reached 162 all out, a respectable score in most circumstances but not enough on this occasion. The home team had entered into the spirit of the occasion and manoeuvred their team according to the situation at each point in the game, so that it never got too one-sided. Everyone involved felt it had been a really enjoyable match played in a truly sporting spirit. One of the better ones of recent years.


Review of Round 6: After about 5 rounds, as in any Swiss tournament, players of roughly level abilities have formed themselves into little groups down the order, and will tend to play in small mini-leagues. Draws then become more common than in the early rounds and a win is that much more valuable, especially at the top. Indeed, the top 3 games on Saturday ended in a draw, but Simon Williams swept aside Gary Lane’s defences with his strong long black diagonal occupied by his Queen and bishop, to come within half a point of the 2 leaders and top seeds, Howell and Jones. Similarly, Lawrence Trent bounced back from his loss to Howell in the previous round with a win against Graeme Buckley, keeping him in the mix. Joint winners last year, Arkell and Conquest also won to keep their scores at least respectable.
The Game of the Round was by Chris Briscoe for his win with Black against Cornishman Andrew Greet. Jack Rudd got back to something like his usual form with a a win against Sarah Hegarty in a game between a former West of England Champion and WECU Ladies Champion.
The draw for Rd. 7 found 17 players on between 5 and 4 points (inclusive), and it is difficult to see anyone from outside this group overtaking all of them.
Sibling Rivalry: The last pair of brothers to both play in the British before this year’s Jones boys, were the Eggleston brothers.
David Howell is the youngest favourite to win since who?
Re. John Littlewood’s probable record of 50 years between 1st and most recent appeances in the British is still standing, as I have checked out that A. R. B. Thomas’s record was 46 years (1926 – 1972). Still researching E. G. Sergeant.