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British Chess Magazine - News Archive for 2008

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Coulsdon Xmas International, 15-19 Dec [29/12/08]

The Coulsdon Xmas International took place from 15-19 December. It was a 10-player all-play-all category 3 tournament with three IMs. Latvian IM Ilmars Starostits won with 7/9, with English players Rawle Allicock and 14-year-old Yang Fan Zhou both recording IM norms. View/download games. Official website.

Bob Wade: The Father of Modern English Chess [16/12/08]

Bob Wade;s funeral took place on Tuesday December 16th at 10.15am at Eltham Crematorium, Crown Woods Way, Eltham, London SE9 2AZ, and was followed by a reception (about 10-15 minutes walk away) at The Jolly Fenman in Blackfen, Sidcup Kent. Click here for a blog entry on the funeral, which was attended by a very large number of people from the chess world. From there you will find a link through to some photos of the day.
   In due course there is to be a Memorial Service in central London. All will be most welcome at all of these. No flowers please. Donations to the Bob Wade Memorial Fund HSBC Bank plc, 122 Finchley Road, London NW3 5JD 40-03-02 Acc # 71555863. This will in the first instance be used for the funeral and memorial service and at the request of the family any remaining funds will be donated to a Junior Chess Charity to be determined.

4NCL, 6-7 December [06/12/08]

There are live games from the 4NCL this weekend - Saturday 6 at 2pm and Sunday 7 at 11am - http://www.bcfservices.org.uk/livechess/4ncl/0809/index.htm - this afternoon, if Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant wins, I am informed her rating will go high enough for her to clinch her GM title (update: she did win but it is not yet clear if she has the necessary rating).

West Country Tournaments [04/12/08]

The Beacon Senior and 'Junior' (over 50) tournaments were held in Exmouth from 17-21 November. Senior: 1-2 Raymond Gamble, Ken Norman 4½/5, 3-7 John Dodgson, Trevor Holt, John Gorodi, Hamilton McMillan, Peter Hempson 4. Junior: 1 Graham Blowers 4/5, 2-3 Ian Heppell, Robert Clegg 3½. This was immediately followed by the Torbay Open in Torquay (21-23 November). Open: 1 Mike Yeo 4½/5, 2-3 Steve Dilleigh, Bob Eames 4, 4-6 Dave Ledger, Tyson Mordue, Allan Pleasants 3½. View/Download games: Beacon Senior/Junior 2008Torbay Open 2008 (my thanks to Bill Frost for the games).

Play in Gibraltar for Free! [04/12/08]

ICC Gibtelecom QualifierThe Internet Chess Club (ICC), in conjunction with the Gibtelecom Chess Festival, are offering ICC members a unique opportunity to win a round trip ticket, hotel room, breakfast and an automatic seat to the exclusive 7th Gibtelecom Chess Festival, running 27 January 27 to 5 February 2009 at the Caleta Hotel, one of Gibraltar's best hotels. You will be joined by many of the world's leading grandmasters, in what is hailed by many as one of the best chess events in the world! This Blitz Qualifier Tournament is open to all Internet Chess Club members. The winner of this package will be determined in a two-stage tournament event on ICC. The time control will be 3 0 for the whole tournament. Visit the ICC website for full details.


British Rapidplay Championship, 29-30 Nov [01/12/08]

The 11-round rapidplay event is being covered live at http://www.british-rapidplay.org.uk. GM David Howell scored a runaway victory, finishing two points clear of the field. Scores: 1 David Howell 10½/11 (conceding only a draw to Keith Arkell in round four), 2-3 Jonathan Hawkins, Mark Hebden 8½.

† Bob Wade (1921-2008) [29/11/08]

Bob Wade (1921-2008)Some desperately sad news: Bob Wade died this morning (29 November) at around 3am in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich (London). He had been suffering from a respiratory illness and had been in hospital since Wednesday (26th). Born 16 April 1921 in Dunedin, New Zealand, Bob had lived much of his life in the UK and became an IM in 1950. He became an international arbiter in 1958 and was awarded the OBE for services to chess in 1979. He won the New Zealand Championship three times, in 1943/44, 1944/45 and 1947/48, and the British Championship twice, in 1952 and 1970. A full obituary will follow - suffice to say for the moment that Bob was enormously popular, universally respected and a very influential player, writer, editor, tournament official and coach. At the same time he was the most modest and down-to-earth man that you could wish to meet. Nobody on the planet loved chess more than Bob and he devoted his long life to it. I am one of thousands who will remember him fondly as a friend and colleague. JSBCM Interview with Bob Wade (PDF format - from BCM, December 1999) • TWIC Obituary by Mark Crowther • ChessBase obituarysix-minute audio tribute by Jon Speelman and Malcolm Pein (from Chess.FM blog)

Armenia Take Gold Again at the Dresden Olympiad [24/11/08]

Dresden 2008The 38th Chess Olympiad took place in Dresden, Germany, from 13-25 November. It was an 11-round Swiss system event for 156 teams, with 119 women's teams competing in a separate event alongside. At this Olympiad, squads consisted of five players for both men's/open and women's teams, and in both events they play four-board matches. Three special rules are being used: (1) no draws under 30 moves; (2) any player not present as the clocks are started loses by default; (3) match points take priority over game points when deciding places and pairings (the tie-breaking procedure is quite complicated - check here on the FIDE website).
   Final Results: Armenia had a wonderful result, retaining the title they won in 2008 in Turin. Sargissian and Akopian both had outstanding performances for them. Open: 1 Armenia, 2 Israel, 3 USA. England finished as per their seeding - 15th. Short lost his final game (to Kozul of Croatia) but still had an excellent result, with a TPR of 2741 and not missing a board prize by too much. David Howell also did very well and could be on the brink of a 2600+ rating aged 18. Scotland finished 53rd, a little below their seeding, but the good news for them was a third (and I think final) GM norm for Keti Arakhamia. Board gold medals: Bd1 P Leko (HUN), Bd2 V Akopian (ARM), Bd3 G Sargissian (ARM), Bd4 D Blagojevic (MON), Bd5 D Jakovenko (RUS - the one bright spot in a poor performance by the favourites).
    In the Women's Olympiad, the winners were I think Georgia, for whom Maia Chiburdanidze had a phenomenal performance, beating both world championship finalists Alexandra Kosteniuk and Hou Yifan along the way and making a 2715 TPR. 1 Georgia, 2 Ukraine, 3 USA (so the USA did well to win bronze medals in open and women's sections despite 10th and 7th seedings respectively). England started well but faded towards the end, finishing 50th. Scotland were not far behind in 56th place. Board gold medals: Bd1 M Chiburdanidze (GEO), Bd2 A Zatonskih (USA), Bd3 N Kosintseva (RUS), Bd4 Joanna Madjan (POL - 2284 rated but 2621 TPR!), Bd5 N Zdebskaja (UKR).
   UK and Irish teams in men's/open competition: England: M Adams (2734g), N Short (2642g), D Howell (2593g), G Jones (2548g), S Conquest (2526g). Scotland: J Rowson (2596g), J Aagaard (2528g), J Shaw (2469g), K Arakhamia-Grant (2448m), C McNab (2455g). Wales: R Jones (2307f), I Rees (2297c), T Kett (2272), J Blackburn (2175), A Spice (2173). Ireland: A Baburin (2544g), B Kelly (2488m), S Collins (2412), M Quinn (2401), M Heidenfeld (2364m).
   UK and Irish teams in the women's competition
: England: J Houska (2399m), D Ciuksyte (2339m), I Lauterbach (2178wm), M Grigoryan (2076wf), K Bhatia (2065). Scotland: H Lang (2063), R Giulian (2032), C Wilman (2037), A Officer (1813), R Hughes (1796). Wales: S Blackburn (1883), O Smith (1961wf), J Wilson (1935), M Owens (1783), J van Kemenade. Ireland: G Ui Laighleis (1935), E Shaughnessy, S Cormican, A Coughlan, U O'Boyle.
   Official website: http://dresden2008.de/site/en/main.htmLive Games and results, Open/MenLive Games and results, WomenComprehensive Olympiad Details and ResultsPlayChess.com CoverageICC Coverage

Britbase Games [24/11/08]

Two more tournaments are available from Britbase: the Milton Keynes Open and the Hampshire Open. My thanks to Arthur Brameld and Sean Hewitt respectively. Mark Hebden won the Milton Keynes Open with a score of 5/5 (Simon Williams and Keith Arkell also played) while Mose Kawuma took the Hampshire title (Gavin Lock made the same score of 5/6 but was ineligible for the title). Milton Keynes results can be found at http://www.e2e4.org.uk/milton_keynes/milton_keynes.htm and results for the Hampshire Open at http://www.hampshirechess.co.uk/

34th Fortis Guernsey Festival, 19-25 Oct [16/11/08]

The annual Guernsey tournament took place at the Peninsula Hotel, Grand Havre Bay. Though no games are currently available, the latest results are appearing at the Guernsey Chess Club website (http://www.guernseychessclub.org.gg/). The top players this year are Kevin Spraggett, Tiger Hillarp Persson, Bojan Kurajica and Robert Bellin. Final scores: as expected, the three GMs finished 1-2-3, but overall victory went once again to Sweden's Tiger Hillarp Persson who beat Kevin Spraggett in the penultimate round. 1 T Hillarp Persson (SWE) 6½/7, 2-3 B Kurajica (CRO), K Spraggett (CAN) 5½, etc. Latest (16 November): a full report by Kevin Thurlow is now available. View/download Guernsey Open and Holiday tournament games (my thanks to Arthur Brameld).

Hello Mr Chips... [07/11/08]

Has FIDE had its chips? Well, it has now. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has set up a committee called CHIPS (which stands for Chess Information, Publication and Statistics) whose aim is to "present to your attention materials on chess magazines and famous chess journalists and editors. Here [on the new website] you will also find information on the activities and accreditations terms of press centers at different chess events". BCM has the honour of being one of the first two such periodicals to be referred to on the new website's launch. Check it out at http://www.chipsfide.com/

Anand corroborates his world title [30/10/08]

Bonn 2008: Anand vs Kramnik, Game 2
Viswanathan Anand: 15th world chess champion (Photo: Cathy Rogers)

Viswanathan Anand has retained and corroborated his world title by beating Vladimir Kramnik 6½-4½ in the 12-game match to decide the world championship from 14-31 October in Bonn. The event was being organised by Universal Event Promotion.


Latest Score (Kramnik had white in game 1 - colour sequence switched at game 7):

V Anand
V Kramnik
14 15 17 18 20 21 23 24 26 27 29 31  


View/download PGN fileGame 11: Anand managed to clinch the draw he needed to corroborate the world title (though it did cost him the top spot in the live world rankings - he is now 0.2 of a rating point behind Veselin Topalov). Anand was already champion, but had won the title via a tournament rather than the traditional and universally-preferred matchplay route of most of his predecessors, so he now holds the undisputed, quibble-free world chess championship title. Congratulations to Vishy Anand, 15th world chess champion! The last game ended in a draw after 24 moves, with Anand starting a game with 1 e4 for the first time in the match. Kramnik tried to make it imbalanced with a Sicilian but he didn't get very much and was probably slightly worse when he offered a draw on move 24. Game 10: Needing just a draw to win the match, Anand... lost! At last Kramnik gets a point on the scoreboard. He looked very much his old self, gradually building up a small opening advantage to the point where his opponent starts to crack - the chessboard equivalent of the WW1 "creeping barrage". Anand's position didn't look too bad but then he folded alarmingly around move 26-27 and suddenly it was all over. I wonder if he is suddenly getting nervous. Has 'fear of success' kicked in? Probably not, and it is unlikely that he will play so feebly in two more games. Isn't it? Game 9: another draw, leaving Anand only half a point away from clinching the match, but Kramnik came very close to a win with Black as Anand appeared nervous for the first time. White seemed OK until move 23 when things started to go wrong for him but Kramnik looked indecisive when a chance to cash in finally came his way. Game 8: another draw and now Anand only needs another point to win the match. Playing Black, he defended boldly with what is quite a lively variation of the Queen's Gambit (the Vienna) and played a new move on move 10. Kramnik had a couple of opportunities to sharpen things up but he opted to play safe and eventually take a repetition. A bit late in the day for playing safe but he doesn't seem to have much fight left in him. Game 7 was a draw. Vishy was pressing towards the end of the session but Vlad was able to give up a pawn and reach a drawn king and pawn endgame. Game 6: Vishy wins again! Vlad got himself into a fix around move 20 when he failed to get his pawn back after some exchanges. Vishy's rook looked a bit out of play but there seemed to be no good way to exploit it. Gradually Vishy took more of a grip as Vlad got more desperate. By the end he looked like a beaten man. Kramnik, now on minus 3, will have to emulate Steinitz (who was 1-4 down against Zukertort in the very first world title match in 1886) if he is to regain his title (Leonard Barden reminds me that Euwe was also three down to Alekhine in 1935 and came back to win). Another wonderful day for Indian sport as they also crushed the living daylights out of the Aussie cricket team! Game 5: another sensation as Kramnik miscalculates and allows Anand a brilliant finish. It looks very unlikely that Kramnik can recover from the two-point deficit. This win also takes Anand to the top of the live world rankings. If India also beat Australia in the cricket test match tomorrow (as seems highly probable), it could rank as the greatest sporting day in Indian history! Game 4: Kramnik tries for some active play with Black but a draw ensues • Game 3: Sensational win for Anand as Kramnik plays goes for broke with a sacrifice and miscalculates. The fact that it was with Black makes the point even more valuable for Vishy...

   Time control is 40 moves in two hours, followed by 20 moves in one hours, followed by 15 minutes for the remaining moves, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. If the match is tied 6-6, then four tie-break games shall be played on November 2, with 25 minutes each plus 10-second increments per move. If it is still a tie, two five-minute games shall be played with 10-second increments after each move. If it is still tied, it goes to an Armageddon game - White receives 6 minutes, Black 5 minutes, without increments. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared as winner. Official website: http://www.uep-worldchess.com/Playchess.comInternet Chess Club.

4NCL 2008/9 [05/10/08]

The new 4NCL (British Team League) season starts on 4 October at Sunningdale. There is live coverage of two matches per round.

4th European Union Championship, Liverpool, 9-18 Sept [09/09/08]

EU Championship 2008The next UK event on the horizon is a really big one - the 4th European Union Championship, which is being held at the World Museum Liverpool, William Brown Street, as a 10-round Swiss from 9-18 September. This is the latest in a fine series of prestige events held in Liverpool in the build-up to the city becoming 2008 European Capital of Culture and thanks to the efforts of local chess impresario Professor David Robertson. The line-up is mouth-wateringly strong: Michael Adams (ENG 2735g), Etienne Bacrot (FRA 2691g), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA 2681g), Nigel Short (ENG 2655g), Sergei Tiviakov (NED 2645g), Daniel Fridman (GER 2637g), Erwin L'Ami (NED 2610g), Alexander Beliavsky (SLO 2606g), Viktor Laznicka (CZE 2601g). That's just the 2600+ people: in addition, there are another 27 players rated over 2500 including David Howell, British champion Stuart Conquest and most of Britain's active GMs. If there's ever been a stronger Swiss event in the British Isles, I cannot think of it. The prize fund is £30,000. Official website: http://www.liverpoolchessinternational.co.uk/

Jessie Gilbert Celebration International, 16-25 Aug [26/08/08]

Jessie GilbertThe 1st Jessie Gilbert Celebration International takes place from 16-25 August at the Coulsdon Chess Fellowship (CCF) in Surrey. This ten-round FIDE-rated Swiss tournament is being run by Howard Curtis and Scott Freeman of the CCF to commemorate their much-missed club-mate, the women's international Jessie Gilbert who died so tragically just two years ago. Jessie's mother and sisters were at the opening ceremony and Jessie's mother Angela gave a moving speech. A strong field has assembled at Jessie's beloved club to play a tournament and it was heartening to see so many of her chessfriends, such as GM Gawain Jones and IM Thomas Rendle and many others, from all over the world, come to remember her and play chess in her honour. Official websiteJessie Gilbert memorial site • remember Jessie by contributing to her favourite charity, the NSPCC. Final: Aleksandar Berelovich (UKR) finished first. Scores: 1 A Berelovich (UKR) 8/10, 2-4 J Radovanovic (SRB), L Gerzhoy (CAN), K Arkell (ENG) 7, etc. David Eggleston achieved his 2nd IM norm and Jovica Radovanovic his 3rd (still needs the rating qualification). All games (viewer/download) are available here on Britbase (my thanks to Keith Selby).


World Youth Under 16 Olympiad, Mersin (TUR), 17-24 August [25/08/08]

The World Youth Under 16 Olympiad takes place in Mersin, Turkey, from 17-24 August over ten rounds. You can watch the progress of the English squad and read reports by their coach IM Adam Hunt here: http://www.chessuk.com/olympiad3.html. Play can be followed live at the official website. The English squad, seeded 10th of 27 teams, is Yang Fan-Zhou (2259, aged 13), Callum Kilpatrick (2203, aged 16), Felix Jose Ynojosa (2101, aged 12), Subin Sen (2050, aged 15), Elliott Auckland (1990, aged 15). Final: 1 India 28½, 2 Russia 28½, 3 Phillippines 27. England finished in 13th position with 20½ points after losing to gold medallists India ½-3½ in the last round. In round four Yang-Fan Zhou (2259) drew with Eltaj Safarli (AZE 2527g), who finished in the bronze medal position in the recent World Junior Championship.

Leicester FIDE-Rated All-Play-Alls [23/08/08]

Two ten-player all-play-alls are being played over the weekends of 23-26 August and 6-7 September at the Plough Inn, Station Road, Littlethorpe, Leicester, LE19 2HS. The official website has results and games (click on '2008 group A' or '2008 Group B').

6th Staunton Memorial Tournament, Simpsons-in-the-Strand, 7-18 Aug [18/08/08]

The prestigious 12-player grandmaster tournament is stronger than ever this year (category 13), with England's top two grandmasters, Michael Adams and Nigel Short playing together in a UK all-play-all for the first time. Full line-up: Michael Adams (ENG 2735g), Ivan Sokolov (NED 2658g), Nigel Short (ENG 2655g), Loek Van Wely (NED 2644g), Erwin L'Ami (NED 2610g), Jan Smeets (NED 2593g), Jan Werle (NED 2591g), Jan Timman (NED 2561g), Peter Wells (ENG 2526g), Jon Speelman (ENG 2524g), Alexander Cherniaev (RUS 2431g) and - trying for a GM norm at the age of 87(!) - IM Bob Wade (ENG 2167m). Against opposition averaging 2593, Bob Wade's expected score based on rating is a tad over ½/11 • Official website: http://www.howardstaunton.com/hsmt2008/index.shtml View/download all games. Final Scores: 1 M Adams 8/11, 2 L Van Wely 7½, 3 J Smeets 7, 4 J Timman 6½, 5-6 E L'Ami, I Sokolov 6, 7-9 J Werle, J Speelman, N Short 5½, 10 P Wells 5, 11 A Cherniaev 3½, 12 R Wade 0.

World Junior Championship, Turkey, 3-15 Aug [15/08/08]

The World Junior Championship takes place in Gaziantep, Turkey, starting on 3 August and ending on 15 August. It is a 13-round swiss event. David Howell (ENG 2561g) is 14th seed while Peter Constantinou (ENG 2225) is also taking part. The field also includes Filipino prodigy Wesley So and the Chinese girl player Hou Yifan. Karl McPhillips (IRL 2221) represents Ireland. Sarah Hegarty (ENG 1966) represents England in the girls' championship. Latest: Round 13 (of 13): Sadly, David Howell lost his final game to Abhijeet Gupta so he is out of the hunt for the gold medal. The last game was a nervous affair which went wrong for Howell almost from the outset. But he has had a magnificent tournament which, together with his previous tournament victory in Andorra, shows that he has made a major step forward in standard. He is still young enough to compete in this championship in future years. Last round games now in progress - click here to follow play. Final Scores: 1 Abhijeet Gupta (IND 2551g) 10/13, 2 Parimarjan Negi (IND 2529g) 9½, 3rd= Arik Braun (GER 2533g) - I think he takes the bronze medal - and probably 4th on tie-break David Howell (ENG 2561g) 9, etc. One curious fact was that all three leaders after the penultimate round were former British junior title-holders at some point in the past few years (in fact, each has won more than one British title). Official websiteEnglish team coach IM Lawrence Cooper's coverage.

British Championships, Liverpool, 27 Jul - 9 Aug [03/08/08]

The countdown has now started to the 95th British Chess Championships, being held in St George's Hall Liverpool from 27 July.
   Official website: www.britishchess08.comView/Download games all championship games
  Latest: Stuart Conquest beat Keith Arkell 1½-½ in a rapidplay play-off to become British Champion for the first time. Well done, Stuart! He is the first English-born, English-registered British champion for ten years (though Stuart lives in Spain). He drew his round 11 game with Simon Williams which allowed Keith Arkell to catch him up by beating Gawain Jones. Both players who tied first are relative veterans: Stuart 41 and Keith 47. Scores: 1-2 S Conquest, K Arkell 8/11, 2-6 N Davies, S Gordon, B Lalic, S Williams 7½, etc.
    In the women's championship, Jovanka Houska took the title for the first time after winning her final three games to finish on 6½, a point clear of Susan Lalic on 5½ and Meri Grigoryan 5 (who was the only one of the three women players to gain rating points - she did very well). Norms achieved: IM for Jonathan Hawkins and Jack Rudd (his final norm).
    The most notable story of the first week was 12-year-old Felix Jose Ynojosa's score of 4/6, inviting parallels with Nigel Short's performance at the same age in 1977. He faded in the second week and finished on 5/11 but still made a TPR of around 2320. Read the BCMBlog.
Here's my updated historical list of British Champions in all categories. I originally drafted this for the BCF website some years ago but the federation has not kept it up-to-date. Also, I have since made some amendments as the list published in the ECF Yearbook has a number of inaccuracies and misspellings. I've no doubt that my list is still not 100% accurate and I would appreciate any feedback if anybody spots anything wrong.
Other coverage: Prof. David Robertson's blog (he is the principal mover and shaker behind all the big-time events we've seen in Liverpool in recent years, and currently playing in the Major Open).
     The latest list of entrants shows that the English are determined to wrest back the championship which they once considered their personal property. Stewart Reuben has been running a British Championship quiz on the official website but here's an additional poser for you - when was the last time a born-in-England, English-registered player won the British Championship title? I won't keep you on tenterhooks - the answer is 1998. Working back, the title has gone to Scotland for the past four years, then there were two Indian winners; then Swiss-registered Joe Gallagher; then two years of Julian Hodgson (who was born in Wales). An entire decade has passed since Nigel Short won at Torquay 1998 - and even he doesn't reside in England.
   Barring late entries, we will have a brand new title-holder in 2008 because no former champion has as yet entered the fray (this could be the first time this has happened since the championship's early history though I've not taken the trouble to check*). With 2500+ rated English players Gawain Jones, Nick Pert, Stuart Conquest, Mark Hebden, Stewart Haslinger, Stephen Gordon, Keith Arkell and Danny Gormally all in the field, the hopeful English fans might be singing 'chess is coming home' in Liverpool. But, as any English football fan will tell you, never underestimate Croatia. English resident, Croatian-registered Bogdan Lalic will be flying the flag for his native country in Liverpool. And, while (barring late entries) there will be no Jonathan Rowson or Jacob Aagaard this year, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant is playing - now registered for Scotland and a runner-up at the 2006 championship. She always does well at the British Championship, though it is good to see that leading English women players Jovanka Houska and Susan Lalic will be there to give her a run for her money for the women's title. Intriguingly, there is also an outside chance of a German lifting the British Championship trophy for the first time. IM Dietmar Kolbus is a strong player from Germany who has lived in the Isle of Man for a number of years. He took the prize for the best Manx score in the last Monarch Assurance tournament. If he ties for the championship, my money's on Dietmar to win the penalty shoot-out... JS (* Leonard Barden wrote suggesting 1952 as a year in which no former champion took part in the British Championship and he's right. That was the last time it happened. Others before that were as follows: 1905 (Atkins - the first champion, Napier, from the inaugural 1904 event didn't play), 1912 (RC Griffith won on his sole appearance in the championship), 1913 (Yates), 1920 (RHV Scott), 1929 (Sultan Khan).

BritBase: Latest Downloads [15/07/08]

Three additions made to BritBase today - games downloads for the recent Irish Open Championship, Scottish Championship and the South Wales International. View/Download Irish Open Championships 2008View/Download Scottish Championships 2008View/Download 5th South Wales International 2008. My thanks to Jack Rudd for the South Wales International games.

Irish Open Championships, 5-13 Jul [15/07/08]

Alex Baburin is the new Irish champion, winning it at his first attempt (despite being resident in Ireland for 15 years). He finished first equal with Alon Greenfeld at the open championship event, both scoring an impressive 8/9 and receiving 2,000 euros each. Third was Mark Hebden with 6½, followed by Stephen Jessel on 6. Two more GMs, Algimantas Butnorius and Stuart Conquest, finished further down the field. A games download/viewer is available (see above). The tournament was held at the Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin and sponsored by Island Oil and Gas. Official website: http://www.icu.ie/articles/display.php?id=188

115th Scottish Championships, Glasgow, 5-13 Jul [15/07/08]

The Scottish Championship is being held as a nine-round open at Glasgow Academy, with the highest scoring Scot being eligible for the championship title. The first prize is £2,000. Official website: http://www.bcfservices.org.uk/livechess/scottish/2008/. Final: GM Jan Markos (SVK) and Tautvydas Vedrickas (LTU) shared first place in the open tournament with 7½/9. Alan Tate (SCO), of the Wandering Dragons club, took the Scottish title on tie-break (based on FIDE performance) from 2007 champion Andrew Muir. Both scored 6½, as did Ravshan Khamroev (UZB).

5th South Wales International Open, 5-10 Jul [11/07/08]

The South Wales International is a nine-round swiss event with GMs including Stewart Haslinger, Peter Wells and Normands Miezis plus a number of IMs. Official website: http://www.southwaleschess.co.uk/SWI/home.html. Final: GMs Normunds Miezis (LAT) and Stewart Haslinger (ENG) shared first place with 7½/9. David Eggleston (ENG) and James Cobb (WLS) shared 3rd place with 6½, both achieving IM norms.

Yeovil Congress, 13-15 Jun [17/06/08]

Matthew Turner and Chris Beaumont shared first place at the Yeovil Summer Congress over the weekend. 61 players took part in the congress in all. Open: 1-2 M Turner (Millfield), C Beaumont (Clifton) 4½/5, 3 C Purry (Frome) 3. Intermediate: 1-2 Tim Chapman (Guildford/Yeovil), Harry Streeter (Millfield) 4/5, 3-6 Andrew Farthing (Worcester), Megan Owens (Downend), Chris Webb (Dorchester), James Hall (East Grinstead) 3½. Minor: 1-3 Barry Davies (Keynsham), Simon Gray (Yeovil), Raymond (ISCA) 4/5. My thanks to Jack Rudd for the results and for supplying all the games from each section (quick work!) • View/Download games

Pesonen Memorial Match, Middlesex vs Sussex 2007-8 [08/06/08]

John Dodgson reports on a six-board correspondence match between Middlesex and Sussex which was played as part of Middlesex's centenary celebrations in 2007 and also to remember the Finnish-born Sussex player Erkki Pesonen who died in 2006. All six games are available in viewer or for download. Click on the above link.

Chess Skill Questionnaire [05/06/08]

Dr. Robert Howard of the University of New South Wales in Australia is carrying out a study of the chess skills of internationally-rated players. It involves a short online survey. Anyone with a FIDE rating can take part. For further details, click here.

BCMBlog [28/05/08]

Two further items on the BCMBlog in the last day or so: Boris Spassky's interview at Hay-on-Wye (which I attended) and a short obituary of Patrick Walker, sponsor of the Monarch Assurance Isle of Man tournament for 18 years, who sadly died at the weekend.

BCMBlog: Mike Truran Open Letter, 8 May [09/05/08]

Click on the BCMBlog (http://johnchess.blogspot.com/) for the text of an open letter sent to BCM by an outgoing non-executive director of the English Chess Federation, Mike Truran. English chess is currently in crisis following the resignation last week of four directors of the national federation - Martin Regan, Peter Sowray, Claire Summerscale and Mike Truran. As we understand it, the reason for the directors' resignations is the ECF Council's unwillingness to engage in a meaningful debate about the future of the organisation and the state of chess in the country. For further background, consult the following: the SCCU website report on the ECF Council meeting of 26 Aprildebate on the ECF Forumdebate on the Atticus CC forumStreatham & Brixton CC BlogNorth East Chess Forum.

Richard Furness Remembered [08/05/08]

Richard Furness (1937-2004)I've just read a very nice piece by Jonathan Rogers at the 4NCL website on the late Richard Furness (1937-2004) who was one of the UK's best ever chess organisers and arbiters. It reminded me that Richard had written his own memoirs for BCM shortly before he died and we had published them in five parts between May and October 2004. I thought it would be appropriate for them to be made available to a wider audience on the web, so here they are, exactly as published in the magazine. Click on the links to read Richard's memoirs (all in PDF format): Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Photos from Richard's scrapbook. If you have enjoyed reading them, perhaps you might consider making a small donation to Richard's chosen charity - the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

4NCL Final Weekend, 3-5 May [04/05/08]

The last three rounds of the 4NCL (British Team League) season take place from 3-5 May. Click here for live coverage of some of the games.

2007 ECF Book of the Year Presentation [15/04/08]

Left to right: Jacob Aagaard, Julian Farrand, Igor Nor, Ray Edwards, John Shaw
Left to right: Jacob Aagaard, Julian Farrand, Igor Nor, Ray Edwards, John Shaw

The presentation for the English Chess Federation's 2007 Book of the Year award (read the citation at the ECF website) was made at BCM's Chess Shop on 14 April. Two of the award judges, Ray Edwards and Julian Farrand, made the presentation to Israeli chess coach and author Igor Nor for Quality Chess's San Luis 2005 (read James Vigus's review of this excellent book in the June 2007 BCM). The book, which Igor Nor co-authored with his former pupil, ex-World Under-14 and under-16 champion, grandmaster Alik Gershon, is an in-depth account of the highly eventful FIDE world championship tournament won by Veselin Topalov . Also present at the presentation were representatives of the publisher, Quality Chess - Scottish GMs Jacob Aagaard and John Shaw. After four straight British Championship victories for Scotland - and Jacob is the reigning champion - perhaps this can be counted as another Scottish chess success. Or rather a joint Israeli/Scottish success! Incidentally Dr. Igor Nor is currently residing in England: he is a research assistant at the Department of Computer Science, Bristol University.

Surrey Easter Congress, 21-24 March [29/03/08]

IM Graeme Buckley won the Open at the Surrey Easter Congress with 6½/7 ahead of IM Eddie Dearing, 6, and GM Alexander Cherniaev, FM Jovica Radovanovic and Yang-Fan Zhou on 5. Click on the above link for a report by IM Susan Lalic. No games available as yet.

Bolton Easter Congress, 21-23 March [28/03/08]

The Open tournament at the traditional Easter tournament was won by GM Nigel Davies on 4½/5, ahead of GM Stewart Haslinger and James Hanley on 4. Click on the link above for a short report, kindly sent by Rod Middleton, which features three games from the event. Stewart Haslinger's spectacular win against Ali Jaunooby is well worth playing through.

West of England Championship, Exmouth, 21-24 March [28/03/08]

Russell James won the West of England Open held in Exmouth over the Easter weekend. Second-placed Ian Thompson was the highest finishing player qualified for the WECU championship title, so he takes the title and the British Championship qualifying place. Open Scores: 1 Russell James 5½/7, 2-4 Ian Thompson, John Hodgson, Daniel Hall 5, etc. Major: 1st Sarah Hegarty 6½, 2-3 John Stephens, Dave Rogers. Grading Prize - U137: Tim Woodward, Alan Papier, Robert Thompson. Minor: 1-3 Christopher Brooker, John Bashall, Daniel Frean. Grading Prize U100: John Maloney. Women’s championship: Sarah Hegarty. View/Download gamesCrosstable at WECU site.

Southend Congress - Jack Speigel Memorial, 21-24 March [27/03/08]

17-year-old David Howell was the runaway winner of the category 10 Jack Speigel Memorial tournament, played alongside the traditional Southend Easter Congress. After losing his first round game to Mark Hebden, Howell reeled off six straight wins and was already sure of outright first place before the final round started. Essex IM Lawrence Trent also did well to finish ahead of five GMs. View/Download all the gamescomplete results of the congress on the official website.

Jack Speigel Memorial, Southend (ENG), 21-24 March 2008       cat. X (2482)
                                  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 
1 Howell, David WL   g ENG 2528   *   1   1   0   1   1   1   1   6.0  2784
2 Wells, Peter K     g ENG 2520   0   *   1   =   =   1   1   =   4.5  2579
3 Trent, Lawrence    m ENG 2463   0   0   *   1   =   1   =   1   4.0  2535
4 Hebden, Mark       g ENG 2530   1   =   0   *   =   0   =   1   3.5  2475
5 Plaskett, Jim      g ENG 2490   0   =   =   =   *   0   1   1   3.5  2481
6 McDonald, Neil R   g ENG 2386   0   0   0   1   1   *   =   1   3.5  2496
7 Emms, John M       g ENG 2502   0   0   =   =   0   =   *   1   2.5  2377
8 Ward, Christopher  g ENG 2440   0   =   0   0   0   0   0   *   0.5  2066

54th Welsh Championships, Cardiff, 21-24 March [26/03/08]

The 2008 Welsh Championship, played at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff over Easter, was won jointly by the two IMs in the field, James Cobb and Leighton Williams. A complete report plus a download of all the games of the Championship, Major and Minor tournaments is also available (click on the above link) - many thanks to John Thornton for providing the report and games.

32nd Blackpool Conference, 7-9 March [12/03/08]

The live games website for the Blackpool Chess Conference indicates that GM Alexandre Dgebuadze (BEL) won with 4½/5. Leading English contender Mark Hebden lost to Roger Williamson and dropped out having scored 1½/3. As well as some games in PGN, the website features reports by Steve Giddins and photos by Steve Connor. Still a mystery to me why they insist on calling a congress a 'conference' - do the players confer during play? I think we should be told...

126th Varsity Match, Oxford-Cambridge [08/03/08]

The 126th Varsity Chess Match took place at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London, on Saturday 8 March at 12.30pm. The match ended in a 4-4 draw. View/download Varsity Oxford-Cambridge 2008 games.


Click here for a full report of the match with photos.

Recent British Game Scores... [06/03/08]

Andrew Whiteley, right, 2008 English Senior Champion, with runner-up James Simpson, leftBritbase has just been updated with game scores from some recent UK events. I am indebted to Bill Frost for sending me the games from the Torbay Open (November 2007), the Beacon Senior and 'Junior' events (also last November) and the East Devon Premier tournament played last weekend. Also, many thanks to Steve Burke and Neil Graham for sending me all the games and lots of info from the inaugural English Senior Championship played in Dovedale at the end of January. This was a splendid event, won by Andrew Whiteley ahead of a very strong field of over-60s players. Click on the link above for a full photographic report, kindly supplied by Neil Graham and Steve Burke.
In the photo, Andrew Whiteley, right, holds the trophy, with runner-up James Simpson, left.
    I should apologise for the lateness in posting all this info - I was laid low by a viral infection which sapped my energy for the entire month of February. Fortunately I am now on the mend. Here are the links to those game scores: Torbay OpenBeacon SeniorBeacon JuniorEnglish Senior ChampionshipEast Devon Premier. JS.

Too Much Chess! [18/02/08]

We are in urgent need of a moratorium on chess - there is currently far too much of it being played worldwide for journalists and webmasters to be able to keep up. Here are some links... Four Nations Chess Challenge - http://www.bergensjakk.no/four_nations_2008/ - nothing to do with the 4NCL, but a four-sided international match tournament between Sweden, England, Latvia and Norway from 15-17 Feb. That was the finishing order (not all the teams were truly representative of the countries' true strength, but it provided much needed experience for some of the younger players)... Cappelle la Grande (16-23 Feb) - http://www.cappelle-chess.com/ ... Aeroflot Open, Moscow, 14-22 Feb - http://www.aeroflotchess.com/... oh, and Morelia/Linares, 15-23 Feb (Mexico), 28 Feb - 7 March (Spain) - http://www.ajedrezmorelialinares.com.mx/.

6th Gibtelecom Chess Festival, 22-31 Jan 2008 [03/02/08]

Hikaru NakamuraBu XiangzhiThe 6th Gibtelecom Masters was won by US grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura after an exciting play-off with China's Bu Xiangzhi. Both scored 8/10. Bu Xiangzhi started with a fantastic streak of 7½/8 but then lost to Efimenko and drew with compatriot Ni Hua. Nakamura was the opposite: a mediocre 3/5 start but then a hot streak of 5/5. He won the play-off 2-0. There were GM norms for Viktorija Cmilyte (LTU), Robert Bellin (ENG) and Zong-Yuan Zhao (AUS - his final norm), with IM norms for Max Devereaux (ENG - he should get the title), Zhao Xue (CHN), Joachim Thomassen (NOR) and Ismael Karim (MAR). Download/view games at the Gibraltar site. The official site has reports, photos, videos and much more besides.


Corus Wijk aan Zee, 12-27 Jan [27/01/08]

The annual Corus Wijk aan Zee event consists of three 14-player GM tournaments, beginning 12 January and ending 27 January (rest days Wednesday 16, Monday 21, Thursday 24). Official website: http://www.coruschess.com/ ICC Live CoveragePlaychess Live CoverageCrosstableChessVibesChessDom. FM Steve Giddins is covering this tournament for BCM.
    The line-up in the A section is phenomenally strong: Viswanathan Anand (IND, 2799), Vladimir Kramnik (RUS, 2799), Veselin Topalov (BUL, 2780), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2760), Peter Leko (HUN, 2753), Vasyl Ivanchuk (UKR, 2751), Levon Aronian (ARM, 2739), Boris Gelfand (ISR, 2737), Teimour Radjabov (AZE, 2735), Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2733), Michael Adams (ENG, 2726), Judit Polgar (HUN, 2707), Pavel Elyanov (UKR, 2692), Loek van Wely (NED, 2681).
   Final: In the end, first place was shared by Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian. Scores: 1-2 Aronian, Carlsen 8/13, 2-3 Anand, Radjabov 7½, 5-6 Ivanchuk, Leko 7, 7-8 Adams, Kramnik 6½, 9-11 Mamedyarov, Polgar, Topalov 6, 12-14 Elyanov, Gelfand, Van Wely 5. View/download gamesclick here for Steve Giddins' round reports.

R.I.P. Bobby Fischer [19/01/08]

Guardian front cover 19 JanuaryBCM February 2008Former world champion Bobby Fischer died on 17 January 2008, aged 64. He died of kidney failure, having been hospitalised with this condition for quite some time. The photo (right) shows the front cover of the forthcoming (February) issue of British Chess Magazine. There will be a full tribute to Fischer in the March issue.
   Players at Corus Wijk aan Zee stood in silence on 18 January in honour of Bobby Fischer. Video tributes to Fischer at chessvibes.com • The Guardian (19 January 2008) is the UK newspaper with the most impressive and well-written tributes to the late champion. It featured news of Bobby Fischer's death as the main story on its front cover (see left): for front cover story by Stephen Moss, click heretwo-page Fischer obituary by Leonard Barden at the Guardian • shorter tribute in Leonard Barden's column of 19 JanGoogle News links to other Fischer articles