Hawkins, Howell Share First at British, Bu Wins Politiken

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 7/31/14, 2:53 AM.

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:

Bu Xiangzhi wins in Elsingore | Photo © Moscow Open

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:

Gawain Jones | Photo © Dubai Chess

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)

Rk SNo Name Fed Rtg Pts TB1 TB2
1 3 Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2693 9.0 57.5 59.75
2 7 Jones Gawain C B ENG 2665 8.0 57.0 54.25
3 4 Matlakov Maxim RUS 2685 8.0 56.5 55.25
4 6 Rodshtein Maxim ISR 2671 8.0 54.0 51.00
5 8 Negi Parimarjan IND 2645 8.0 53.0 49.25
6 2 Rapport Richard HUN 2701 7.5 57.0 52.25
7 9 Romanov Evgeny RUS 2643 7.5 55.5 49.50
8 35 Schroeder Jan-Christian GER 2370 7.5 53.5 47.00
9 12 Ramirez Alejandro USA 2580 7.5 52.5 48.25
10 20 Hector Jonny SWE 2506 7.5 52.5 47.50
11 17 Schandorff Lars DEN 2529 7.5 51.5 47.00
12 19 Smerdon David AUS 2519 7.5 51.0 46.00
13 22 Svane Rasmus GER 2494 7.5 50.5 45.75
14 21 Semcesen Daniel SWE 2503 7.5 50.0 44.75
15 14 Le Roux Jean-Pierre FRA 2560 7.5 50.0 44.25
16 40 Smirnov Anton AUS 2334 7.5 49.5 42.50
17 23 Ly Moulthun AUS 2466 7.5 47.5 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
20 16 Gao Rui CHN 2529 7.0 53.0 41.50
21 10 Meier Georg GER 2632 7.0 52.0 43.75
22 32 Ikeda Junta AUS 2402 7.0 52.0 42.00
23 15 Cornette Matthieu FRA 2532 7.0 51.0 42.75
24 27 Tari Aryan NOR 2412 7.0 50.5 42.00
25 28 Hoi Carsten DEN 2409 7.0 49.0 36.25
26 25 Kristiansen Jens DEN 2415 7.0 48.0 39.50
27 34 Carstensen Jacob DEN 2375 7.0 46.5 39.00
28 30 Roser Kevin FRA 2406 7.0 46.5 38.75
29 121 Thogersen Rasmus DEN 2098 7.0 46.5 36.00
30 62 Veng Johnny DEN 2244 7.0 46.5 35.75

(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!

There was no playoff or tiebreak; Hawkins and Howell shared the victory in Aberystwyth.

British Championship 2014 | Final Standings (Top 20)

# Name Title Fed Rtg Pts Perf
1 Howell, David W L GM ENG 2650 8.5 2615
2 Hawkins, Jonathan IM ENG 2516 8.5 2621
3 Pert, Nicholas GM ENG 2564 7.5 2544
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
8 Haria, Ravi ENG 2202 7.5 2295
9 Fernandez, Daniel Howard IM SIN 2396 7.0 2507
10 Storey, Charles H FM ENG 2241 7.0 2251
11 Zhou, Yang-Fan IM ENG 2475 6.5 2325
12 Williams, Simon K GM ENG 2462 6.5 2405
13 Ward, Chris G GM ENG 2422 6.5 2412
14 Tan, Justin FM AUS 2375 6.5 2333
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
18 Kett, Tim WLS 2270 6.5 2184
19 Fernandez, Michael ENG 2029 6.5 2336
20 Brown, Martin ENG 2194 6.0 2241

(Full final standings here)

7475 reads 12 comments
One Vote


  • 2 years ago


    Rapport, Richard (2701) vs. Rogers, Tim L (2011) is thebest game.Cool

  • 2 years ago


    Hawkins' book title is misleading though, it is more like an intermediate endgame book than a coaching book.

    Axel Smith's Pump Up Your Grading is a much better coaching book.

  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago


    In Bu Xiangzhi- Rapport, of course not just the black bishop but also the (doubled) extra pawn was rather 'bad', and these factoids are somewhat related. A winner's pattern from Bu's perspective: He won three endgames with an extra pawn (opposite-colored bishops were no problem) and drew one a pawn down.

    A bit surprising to call Rasmus Svane "Danish but plays under the German flag". He may belong to the sizable Danish minority in northernmost Germany (Schleswig-Holstein, where I lived myself for a while) but, to my knowledge, spent his entire (chess) life in Germany and was/is supported by the German federation/German sponsors. So it seems rather odd if the tournament website calls him "completely Danish", and the (Google-translated) Danish version hints at/hopes for an upcoming federation change.

  • 2 years ago


    @alghul:  You should finish the book.  It is worth a complete reading.  Ok, I lie, I skipped the R+B vs R section.  But I actually finished the rest of the book, some sections more than one reading.   I will revisit the book sometime in the future, at which time I will try to work out all the plans and the moves myself.

  • 2 years ago


    Hawkins' score was a GM norm score but he does not get the title as he has not got a GM norm from a tournament with enough international ,in his case non British, players in it.

  • 2 years ago


    @MervynS: FIDE info shows that Hawkins had already 2 GM norms, this must be a third one.
    @roamingwind: I like his book. Yes, it is mostly about endgames, but he does write in an unusual clear way - something clicks when I read his explanations (Up to now, I am still in the first quarter of the book).

  • 2 years ago


    I am pleased to see IM Hawkins shares first place, he wrote a very good book on endgame -- "From Amateur to IM".

  • 2 years ago


    Not the best game for Tim L Rogers, that 5 move mate. He probably knew he was going to lose but probably wanted to put up a better fight

    Did IM Hawkins get a GM norm too?

  • 2 years ago


    Can't wait to see Bu playing at HZ

  • 2 years ago


    Thanks for the great coverage as ever Pete....no doubt we will see you ' loitering with intent ' at the Olympiad.

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