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100th British – Rd. 3 Pt. 2

What’s the problem?

Another of Stewart Reuben’s bright ideas for this 100th event is to have a problem-solving competition. He has collected a set of 10 and Trefor Thynne, President of the Torbay Chess League, has arranged to have them displayed in the windows of various shops, cafes, restaurants etc. around the town.

They are not problems in the manner of Comins Mansfield, that Devonian “Genius of the 2-mover”, who could challenge, tittilate and hope to defeat the world’s best solvers with his devilish constructions. These positions are meant to be accessible even to relative beginners, more likely to give pleasure at finding the correct move order, than frustration at an inability to do so.

To give an idea, here are 2 of the 10 to give you a taster. 

Problem 4 of 10. White mates in 2.

A pawn down, but White (to play) can win. How?

Who’s on-line in the mornings?

As the number of electronic boards goes up each year, the question arises of how to get the best use out of them. In recent years, they’ve generally hosted some of the junior sections, but this year, as an experiment, some of the other sections are getting their moment in the spotlight. Yesterday, for example, it was the turn of the U-140 Championship, with the result that, round about noon, Dave Gilbert, one of that number and an organiser of the 9 Man Simul , rushed into the Office, beaming widely, saying what a brilliant move it was, as within minutes he’d already had 2 congratulatory e-mails from friends and family who were following his victory live. 

Dave Clayton, the man in charge of the boards, tells me this week is an experiment to see how it goes. If successful, next week he may be able to predict which sections are featured live on the event website. However, the needs of the main Championship must always come first, and may affect what is possible in the mornings.

Round 3 Starts:

While some chessplayers were whizzing round in the Big Wheel, back at the ranch the afternoon events were getting under way. First of all, the previous day’s Best Game prize.

Did someone call my name?! Yang-fan Zhou hears of his Rd.2 Best Game Prize.

Gary Lane starts off against Stephen Gordon.

Dan Fernandez on his way to a win over the "Ginger GM", Simon Williams.


Bearded Richard Palliser on his way to the Rd. 3 Game of the Day vs Arkell.


British Championship – Torquay – Day 3

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Day 3

Entries shooting up:
The number of entries recorded on the home page of the event website is given as 837, which was a good enough response compared to some recent years, but that was only the position early on Sunday. During that day there was a near-constant stream of people arriving and wanting to enter something or other. One Irish lady, who shall be nameless, entered 5 events on the spot, saying she just wanted to be playing all the time. By the end of the day the total number of entries had shot up to well over 900. And of course, the same thing will probably happen again at the weekend, so don’t be surprised if entries touch 1,000 by the end.

Review of Round 2:
Of the 76 players, the number on a maximum 2 points is already down to just 7. The top seeds, Jones (Gawain), Williams, Gordon and Howell marched on, with David Eggleston, Jones (William) and Salimbeni all keeping pace. Conquest and Arkell got their 1st points. There are only two Dominics in the group, and of course they were paired. Local resident, Dominic Mackle is Devon’s qualifier by virtue of being host county. He is the current Devon Champion, while Dominic Tunks is Hampshire’s Match Captain. He qualified by obtaining a rating over 2350 from 7 games, playing for his Wessex team in the 4NCL, the first time this system has been used. Mackle got the win.
Andrew Martin’s game of the day was unusually a draw, that between Torbay-born Gary Lane and Portsmouth’s Peter Wells. They shared the prize money, the first time that’s happened. Check the game out on the website to see if you agree with Andrew.

Round 3 Opening Chaos:
Heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon, and sure enough it arrived in time to drench those coming in for the start of afternoon play. It built to a tropical intensity until at 2 p.m. some little monkey on the gallery (no one knows who – yet) pressed the fire alarm button to see what would happen. Well, two things happened – speakers all around the building ordered everyone outside immediately and the windows in the roof opened automatically to let out the smoke. There was no smoke to go out, of course, but an awful lot of rain to come in. Within minutes the boards, tables and floor beneath each window were soaked and the start was delayed by 15 minutes while Centre staff worked wonders, mopping up and changing wet chairs and cloths. Play eventually got under way at 14.30. Would the disturbance affect the focus of the GMs who like to go into an almost trance-like state of concentration before each round? We’ll see.

  Lara Barnes (left) helps to change wet cloths for dry while Sarah Hegarty looks on.

Irish Crystal: Few players here have been as regular in their attendance at the British as Graeme McCormack, who has only missed once since 1973, this being his 35th. He regularly enters the U-175 and U-150 championships.

He met his wife Gill while working in the same department as a civil servant in his native Belfast, where he plays for the Fisherwick Chess Club in Division 1 of the Ulster League. They married days before leaving to play at the Norwich event in 1994, and these days their anniversary usually falls during the British – this year their Crystal Anniversary was on Monday. Graeme lost his game that day, but they compensated by going out in the evening for a celebratory meal.

                                                                                                                      Gill and Graeme McCormack
 Trivia: Yesterday I asked whose was the last father and son combination to play in the British Championship before this year’s John and Paul Littlewood. It was not so long ago (Gt. Yarmouth 2007) when the arbiters’ nightmare partnership of Michael White and son Michael White both played. When young Michael became active on the chess circuit, Pere White starting using his second name of Ernest for a while, but appears to have reverted to Michael again recently.

2nd Question: This year we have teenage brothers William and Victor Jones of Lewisham, both playing in the Championship. They are not twins, nor, as far as is known, are any relation to 2nd favourite Gawain Jones, nor me. Their father Lawrence is playing in one of the morning sections. (so what happened to all the Smiths, anyway?).

Now, who were the last siblings to appear together in “The British”? (Answer tomorrow).