Staunton Memorial Tournament, Simpsons, 25-31 August 2003
Last Edited: Tuesday August 24, 2004 9:49 AM
Grandmaster chess returned to its most famous historical venue when the Staunton Memorial Tournament was played at Simpsons in the Strand, London, from 25 August to 1 September 2003. This is the official website for the tournament.
This four-player, double-cycle, event was organised by Ray Keene and Barry Martin and featured...
Time control: 2½ hours for all the moves. The event marked the 175th anniversary of Simpsons in The Strand as a chess venue, and is supported by the Staunton Society, the Savoy Hotel and the Ron Banwell legacy. The prize fund was £4,000, with the winner receiving £1,500.
The playing days were 25, 26, 27 August, then 29, 30, 31 August.
The tournament closing ceremony took place on Monday 1 September. A book of the tournament is planned in due course, written by GM Ray Keene and published by Hardinge Simpole. Click here for a list of Hardinge Simpole chess books currently available from the BCM Chess Shop.
Press info: phone Pam Carter on 020 7420 2329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Download PGN File of Games (note: the score of the game King-Emms corrected @16:50 on 02Sept2003)
Round 1 (Monday 25 August) - click on the results to see the games in a java window
Ray Keene reports: GM Jan Timman flew in from Amsterdam to watch the first round and take part in the drawing of lots. Also amongst the audience was Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, former top board for the House of Lords chess team. David Howell played with insufficient finesse and his position was soon a shambles. A knight sacrifice netted Emms a pawn, and the subsequent endgame presented him with no difficulties. Speelman v King was a far more heavyweight affair. Subtle pressure netted Speelman a two pawn advantage, but in mutual time pressure King fought back with a knight sac to expose White to a harassing sequence of checks. These, however, proved insufficient.
Round 2 (Tuesday 26 August) - click on the results to see the games in a java window
Ray Keene reports: The tournament at Simpsons in the Strand continued with all decisive games. Former world championship contender Jon Speelman now leads with 2/2, ahead of King and Emms (both 1) and 12-year-old David Howell (0). Emms sacrificed a pawn against King, but Black went into an endgame where the extra pawn proved invaluable. Howell chose a harmless variation against Speelman's Pirc Defence. An early draw offer was turned down and Howell was ground down in an efficient endgame.
Round 3 (Wednesday 27 August) - click on the results to see the games in a java window
John Saunders reports: Speelman vs Emms was the tournament's first drawn game and a fairly sedate one. But King-Howell more than made up for it. Daniel King gained the edge from a Ruy Lopez opening but, perhaps influenced by the spectral presence of Victorian masters who played at this famous venue, threw caution to the winds and launched an old-fashioned sacrificial kingside assault. His romantic dash brought rich rewards as the attack broke through and was crowned with a beautiful queen sacrifice to force mate. The spectators loved it, and perhaps the ghosts of the Divan did too, though it was tough on David Howell who is still to open his account. Scores at the halfway mark: Speelman 2½, King 2, Emms 1½, Howell 0.
Round 4 (Friday 29 August) - click on the results to see the games in a java window
Ray Keene reports: The furious pace set so far slowed down today when both games were drawn. 12-year-old David Howell thus opened his account by holding John Emms. Emms as White enjoyed a prolonged initiative, but his advantage dissipated when the GM tried unsuccessfully to blitz his less experienced opponent in time trouble. Speelman was quickly better with Black against Daniel King, but was content to preserve his small lead. Scores after Round 4: Speelman 3/4, King 2½, Emms 2, Howell ½.
Round 5 (Saturday 30 August) - click on the results to see the games in a java window
Ray Keene reports: Only one game was played today since Daniel King has postponed his game against John Emms until Monday. The game played was an impressive display of experience versus youth as former world championship semi-finalist Jon Speelman gradually strangled 12-year-old David Howell. Howell missed his chance for a fight-back on move 26 when ...Bxd2 was obligatory followed by equine occupation of d4. As it was, Black's control of d4 proved illusory when Speelman swept away Black's bastions with a sacrifice of rook for knight. A further rook sacrifice led to the utter demolition of the crumbling black fortress. Scores after Round "4½": Speelman 4/5, King 2½/4, Emms 2/4, Howell ½/5.
Round 6 (Sunday 31 August) - click on the results to see the games in a java window
John Saunders reports: Two rather dull games today. Both were French Defences, with Howell playing the exchange variation with a view to keeping things simple, while Speelman played a fairly bland variation of the Tarrasch, to keep the draw in hand. Both achieved their objectives. Howell's early draw offer was turned down but he succeeded in keeping the position under control and his opponent at bay over 50 moves, so doubling his score. Speelman achieved the draw which makes him sure of undisputed first place without worrying what happens in the postponed King-Emms game. So, well done to Jon Speelman. The postponed round 5 game (King v Emms) was played on the Monday, from noon onwards. This game ended in a draw, after a hard-fought battle of 75 moves, with just the kings left on the board.
Post-mortem of the Rd 3 game between Daniel King and David Howell
Jon Speelman playing John Emms in Rd 3
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