The race for this year’s club championship has finished and the result is a tie between David Faldon and David Horton who will share the Goodall Cup. It is an especially worthy achievement for David Horton to be joint winner in this his fiftieth year as a member of Broadstairs Chess Club. He first won the Goodall Cup in 1966. It is also a notable achievement for David Faldon as this is his fifth victory in the competition either outright or as joint winner in as many years. Congratulations to both Davids. With so much at stake, it seems entirely appropriate that their match should be played right at the end of the season. David Faldon had to win to share the trophy which he did but no-one expected the game to be over quite so quickly or to be decided in such spectacular fashion.
White: David Faldon (175) Black: David Horton (167)
Broadstairs Club Championship 2015
The London Chess Classic has become a major fixture on the chess calendar and the line-up for this year’s tournament which starts on December 4 has just been announced – and what a line-up!
Magnus Carlsen 2853 (world ranking 1), Viswanathan Anand 2816 (2), Veselin Topalov 2816 (3), Hikaru Nakamura 2814 (4), Fabiano Caruana 2808 (5), Anish Giri 2793 (6), Alexander Grischuk 2771 (9), Levon Aronian 2765 (11), Michael Adams 2740 (18), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2731 (24).
This gives it an average rating of 2791, a category 22 tournament and only nine points off category 23. With seven of the world’s top ten competing – alas no place for Wei Yi – it will be one of the strongest chess tournaments ever played in this country and, indeed, the world. The London Chess Classic is one of three ‘super’ tournaments that make up the Grand Chess Tour, the others being the Norway Chess Tournament played in June and the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis which begins on August 22 – no world top ten players at this year’s Thanet Congress then. The 2015 Sinquefield Cup has an average rating of 2799.6 so depending on what stage its category is announced, it could be a category 23 tournament which probably makes it the strongest ever.
But how can we compare modern tournaments with those of the distant past when ELO ratings were only introduced in 1970? If you Google ‘strongest chess tournaments’ you get any number of suggestions, not least the Sinquefield Cup of 2014 but if we want to compare it with tournaments of the early 20th and even late 19th century then we need to devise an alternative measure. An excellent article originally published in Chess Base in 2009 suggests that a simpler way to measure the strength of a tournament is to give points to the number of top ten players in the world taking part. With four points for the top two, three for numbers three and four, two for five and six, and one for seven to ten, that gives the London Chess Classic a total of twenty. According to the article, this puts it on a par with the strongest tournaments ever played, including the AVRO tournament of 1938, often quoted as the best ever, including in its line-up Alekhine, Capablanca, Botwinnik and Euwe i.e. the then world champion and all his nearest challengers. The tournament was won by Paul Keres, considered by many to be the strongest player never to be world champion. For more information on the article click here.
The British Championships are over for another year and Jonathan Hawkins emerged as the outright winner following his sharing of the title last year. Hawkins was the only winner from the top four boards in the last round to finish with 8½/11. The Best Game prize went to Glenn Flear for the second consecutive year, this time for his win against Mark Hebden. It featured as Andrew Martin’s Game of the Day for round four and can be seen and heard here. Alternatively, you can play it through yourself without Andrew’s comments.
White: Glenn Flear (2450) Black: Mark Hebden (2500)
2015 British Chess Championships (University of Warwick)
For those curious to know, Broadstairs’ David Faldon scored 3/5 in the U180 section, losing his fourth game but winning in round five to finish 8=/36. Next year the championships move to Bournemouth – well worth a visit.
The British Championships are into the second week and it is tight at the top. At the time of writing (Monday p.m.) two players lead with 5½/6: GM Danny Gormally and GM David Howell. The latter once beat your correspondent at the Thanet Chess Congress, employing the Marshall Gambit to good effect and kindly demonstrating afterwards where I went wrong. Very decent of him, you probably think, especially as he was only seven at the time but that’s another story. Behind the leading two comes GM Nicholas Pert on 5/6 followed by seven others on 4½/6, one of whom is last year’s joint champion, GM Jonathan Hawkins. In the last half-hour, however, he moved up to join the leaders with this quick win that caught the eye.
White: Jonathan Hawkins (2554) Black: Alistair Hill (2159)
2015 British Chess Championships round 7 (University of Warwick)