Hawkins, Howell Share First at British, Bu Wins Politiken
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IM Jonathan Hawkins and GM David Howell shared first prize at this year's British Championship in Aberystwyth in West Wales.
GM Bu Xiangzhi of China won the very strong Politiken Cup where another British player, GM Gawain Jones, tied for second place with GMs Maxim Matlakov, Maxim Rodshtein and Parimarjan Negi.
Updating on Mike's recent Trio of Pre-Olympiad Chess Events, which already covered the end of the Canadian Open, here's a final report on the other two events.
The Politiken Cup has turned into one of the stronger open tournaments on the calendar in recent years. This summer, it was an excellent opportunity for many strong grandmasters to warm up for the Olympiad, and not having to travel that much further!
The 10-round tournament took place July 21-29 in Helsingor, Denmark and the top-seeded players were Alexander Moiseenko (Ukraine, 2707), Richard Rapport (Hungary, 2701), Bu Xiangzhi (China, 2693), Maxim Matlakov (Russia, 2685), Romain Edouard (France, 2679), Maxim Rodshtein (Israel, 2671), Gawain Jones (England, 2665), Parimarjan Negi (2645, India), Evgeny Romanov (Russia, 2643) and Georg Meier (Germany, 2663).
As mentioned by Mike, former Chinese prodigy Bu Xiangzhi was in fantastic shape, and topped the field after nine rounds with the huge score of 8.5 points. A draw in the final round was enough for clear first as his nearest rivals, Matlakov and Negi, were trailing by a full point.
Bu succeeded, but his opponent Rapport certainly tried. The Hungarian won a pawn at some point, but his remaining bishop was too bad to claim a serious advantage:
Matlakov and Negi in fact played a quick draw in the final round. They were caught in second place by two more players: Jones and Rodshtein.
Many strong British players skipped their national championship (see below) this year, and GM Jones was one of them. He clearly got stronger opposition in Elsingore than was possible at the British, and he did quite well: a shared second place with a 2712 performance rating.
In the final round, in a Classical King's Indian (Mar del Plata variation) he trapped a bishop while combining threats to the white king:
Rodshtein played against the other Chinese participant, 22-year-old Gao Rui of Qingdao. That must have been a pretty easy win for the Israeli GM, taking into account the theory of this sharp Anti-Grünfeld line. Gao got himself into a known, but losing position.
Two veterans ended close to the top: GMs Jan Timman of the Netherlands and Jonny Hector of Sweden. It was Timman who won their mutual encounter:
In the last round, 62-year-old Timman had to concede a draw to 15-year-old Norwegian talent Aryan Tari. More youngsters were successful: FM Jan-Christian Schröder of Germany scored his first GM norm, while 13-year-old Australian Anton Smirnov obtained his third IM norm.
The 17-year-old IM Rasmus Svane, who is Danish but plays under the German flag, had a good tournament as well. He beat the top-seeded player in an excellent game in the final round:
On a final note, the official website has the funny brief news item that Englishman Tim Rogers was the “first and last man to finish a game” at the tournament. In the final round, he won in 99 moves in what was the last game still going on in the playing hall.
The same player lost his first round game in just five moves! That short game was a variation to a well-known theme in the Caro-Kann:
Politiken Cup 2014 | Final Standings (Top 30)
|2||7||Jones Gawain C B||ENG||2665||8.0||57.0||54.25|
|15||14||Le Roux Jean-Pierre||FRA||2560||7.5||50.0||44.25|
|18||13||Hillarp Persson Tiger||SWE||2569||7.0||54.5||43.75|
|19||11||Timman Jan H||NED||2610||7.0||53.5||45.50|
(Full final standings here)
The 101st British Championship, held in Aberystwyth in West Wales, finished yesterday in a two-way tie for first place between IM Jonathan Hawkins and GM David Howell. Hawkins had a great start as he won his first six games, and after drawing his next three he was topping the field with 7.5/9.
Also, in the last round he split the point with Richard Pert in the always-entertaining Marshall Gambit of the Semi-Slav:
Howell's start wasn't great. After a draw in the third round, he lost to GM Simon Williams in the next. He then scored 4.5 points in the next five rounds and drew with Nicholas Pert, and was half-a-point behind Hawkins with one round to go.
On Wednesday, Howell managed to catch the leader with the following win. Note his patience in this game!
British Championship 2014 | Final Standings (Top 20)
|1||Howell, David W L||GM||ENG||2650||8.5||2615|
|4||Hebden, Mark L||GM||ENG||2554||7.5||2533|
|5||Emms, John M||GM||ENG||2456||7.5||2476|
|6||Arkell, Keith C||GM||ENG||2433||7.5||2448|
|7||Pert, Richard G||IM||ENG||2430||7.5||2498|
|9||Fernandez, Daniel Howard||IM||SIN||2396||7.0||2507|
|10||Storey, Charles H||FM||ENG||2241||7.0||2251|
|12||Williams, Simon K||GM||ENG||2462||6.5||2405|
|13||Ward, Chris G||GM||ENG||2422||6.5||2412|
|15||Jackson, James P||FM||ENG||2320||6.5||2354|
|16||Harvey, Marcus R||ENG||2287||6.5||2300|
|17||Lewis, Andrew P||FM||ENG||2286||6.5||2252|
(Full final standings here)