The British Championships are under way, held this year at Bournemouth. Increased sponsorship – although it is not clear who by – has strengthened the field and there are eleven grandmasters in a field of 86 in the Championship headed by Michael Adams and David Howell. Our own David Faldon is playing in the U180 section and currently stands on 1½/3 with two rounds to go. Elsewhere, those looking for surprises may have difficulty as the opening two rounds have largely gone to form. However, a victory for an international master over a grandmaster is not to be sniffed at and this one caught my eye yesterday. Andrew Martin, a far better judge than me, was similarly impressed and chose it for his Game of the Day so if you would like a commentary on the game, go to the British Chess Championships website and click on Andrew Martin videos.
White: Jack Rudd (2213) Black: Tamas Fodor (2505)
British Chess Championships 2016
This year’s traditional end of season blitz tournament, was the eleventh but the first (and last) Brexit Blitz. On the basis that a second EU referendum seems increasingly unlikely, it was decided that perhaps fourteen chess players should play a blitz tournament to decide whether the future would be Project Fear or Prospect Clear. As usual, the players were divided into two teams (‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Doom and Gloom’) of equal ability and each player played all seven of his opponents in matches of twelve minutes’ duration, six for each player. There was the usual mix of the good, the bad and the ugly, coupled with confusion on the scoreboard when two players who were due to play in round eight – each player had a bye for one of rounds 1-7 – played each other in round four instead. For the last two or three rounds, therefore, no-one knew who was winning – just like the evening of June 23rd, in fact. The Boom Boom team began well but Doom + Gloom finished strongly and the final result was a tie: 24½-24½. So whoever said that chess imitates life was right: when it comes to Brexit, will it be Project Fear or Prospect Clear? Nobody knows! The important thing as far as the club was concerned is that a good time was had by all and everyone (or almost everyone) retired to the pub afterwards to celebrate the first-ever draw in a Broadstairs Blitz. Many thanks to those who were able to play on this rearranged date – the original being the night of the England-Iceland Euro 2016 match and we all now wish we had played then instead. Many thanks to Chris Wand from Ramsgate Chess Club, our guest for this year and special congratulations to Ian Hames, who won all his matches, and to Jordan Leach for scoring 3/7 with a grade of 46.
While we offer our congratulations to Wei Yi for his fine performance at the 9th Bilbao Masters, it would be churlish not to do the same to Magnus Carlsen for his tremendous achievement, finishing five points clear of a very strong field. People often complain that there are not enough wins in top-level tournaments so Carlsen’s victory is especially convincing when you consider that he won four of his ten games. It must have been a sobering tournament for Sergey Karjakin who faces Carlsen in the World Championship final this autumn and was not only beaten by Carlsen in round three but then witnessed this demolition of Wesley So, the world number eleven, in the next round.
White: Magnus Carlsen (2855) Black: Wesley So (2770)
Bilbao Masters 2016
The 9th Bilbao Chess Masters is currently taking place and features an intriguing rehearsal for the forthcoming world championship final between the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, and his challenger Sergey Karjakin. The top class field also includes last year’s winner Wesley So, fellow top-10 players Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri and – guess who? – yes, it’s our old friend Wei Yi. The tournament is a double round-robin and uses ‘football’ scoring with three points for a win and one for a draw. After six rounds it will come as no surprise to anyone that Carlsen has a three-point lead with 11/18 but Wei Yi is holding his own and is currently third with 7/18. His round two defeat by Carlsen has been well publicised and Wei Yi certainly gave the champion a test. However, we like to concentrate on his wins so here is today’s victory over Anish Giri. Wei Yi’s win takes his rating to over 2700 and at 17, he is the youngest member of the club.
White: Wei Yi (2696) Black: Anish Giri (2785)
Bilbao Masters 2016
Things have been fairly quiet on the congress front but for those waiting with baited breath, I can confirm that the 2016 Thanet Congress is going ahead as usual: same venue, same weekend, same people running it although for this we need to be especially grateful to the Thanet League chairman, Alan Atkinson, who is standing in for the usual controller, Kevin Thurlow, who received an offer he could not refuse elsewhere. Can you believe it? A better offer than running the Thanet Congress! Well, I never. Next thing we’ll be told that Iceland could beat England at football…..
If you would like an entry form, they are available if you follow this link and click on ‘entry form’:
Online entry should be available soon via the Thanet Chess website http://www.thanetchess.org.uk/.
In the meantime, here to whet your appetite is Andrew Greet, last year’s Open champion, winning his Round 3 game with a neat finish. After the game, Andrew wrote that following White’s 25th move ‘Black could have resigned, but John sportingly allowed me a pretty finish. I must have been about seven years old when I first learned the smothered mate but this was the first time I was able to play it over the board!’
White: Andrew Greet (237) Black: John Anderson (214)
Thanet Congress 2015