Huge Score For Michael Adams At British Championships

Huge Score For Michael Adams At British Championships

| 12 | Chess Event Coverage

On Friday, GM Michael Adams won his fifth British Championship title in Bournemouth. The English grandmaster tied the record score of 10/11 set by GM Julian Hodgson in 1992. IM Jovanka Houska claimed the women's title.

He doesn't play them too often, but when he does, he usually wins. This year, GM Michael Adams, the long-time highest rated English player on the FIDE rating list, played in the British Championship again, in which he was in a class of his own. Even for a man of his stature, scoring nine wins and two draws was impressive. 

The tournament took place July 25 to August 5, in the Pavilion in Bournemouth, a coastal resort town on the south coast of England. Adams' participation was obviously most welcome for the organizers, who were disappointed by the absence of the reigning champion, GM Jonathan Hawkins. The greatest competition was most likely to come from GMs David Howell and Gawain Jones

After defeating two much lower rated players, Adams drew his round three game with GM Peter Wells. Then he faced the two Pert brothers in back-to-back rounds, beating Richard Pert as white, and drawing Nick Pert with the black pieces.

It was Howell who was leading by that point, having scored 4.5/5. He had defeated GM Keith Arkell in that fifth round, using what is probably the most aggressive way to deal with the 3...Qd6 Scandinavian, the opening first popularized by GM Sergey Tiviakov. Howell then also sacrificed an exchange, and his will to win was eventually rewarded.

The next day, July 30, was the clash between Adams' biggest rivals: Howell and Jones. Jones held a slight edge but couldn't get through Howell's defense, so they drew. Meanwhile, Adams defeated IM Justin Tan of Australia to catch Howell in first place. The opening wasn't the problem for Tan, who was doing quite all right, but he then completely collapsed tactically.

But this was Tan's only loss. The Aussie would eventually finish with an excellent score of 8/11, good enough for his second GM norm. Here's one of his grandmaster scalps:

From the moment Adams got atop the standings, he never let go. In fact, the top seed finished with six straight wins, including against Howell and Jones. Howell was doing OK as White in an Anti-Berlin, but he was slowly outplayed in an endgame with only heavy pieces, though things remained extremely complex until the end.

An impressive win for Adams in Bournemouth.

After beating IM David Eggleston as white, Adams also had to play Jones with the black pieces. That wasn't a problem: out of the opening Black was already fine, and with simple moves, he increased his advantage. It's remarkable how difficult White's position is after move twenty.

Adams' win against GM Daniel Gormally was as smooth as silk, although Black's last move was a blunder of course. 

Howell still had a chance to catch Adams in the final round. However, by then the tournament leader had met almost all of the strongest players. In the last round, Adams easily beat the untitled player Martin Brown (who was having a great tournament) to clinch his fifth British title. As the highest scoring female player in the group, IM Jovanka Houska clinched the women's title. 

103rd British Championship | Final Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Fed Title Name Rtg Pts.
1 1 GM Adams, Michael 2727 10
2 2 GM Howell, David Wl 2663 8,5
3 3 GM Jones, Gawain Cb 2650 8
4 11 IM Tan, Justin Hy 2438 8
5 5 GM Hebden, Mark L 2509 7,5
6 6 GM Fodor, Tamas Jr 2505 7,5
7 7 GM Gormally, Daniel W 2494 7,5
8 8 GM Emms, John M 2467 7,5
9 4 GM Pert, Nicholas 2570 7
10 12 GM Ward, Chris G 2437 7
11 14 GM Wells, Peter K 2419 7
12 15 IM Houska, Jovanka 2386 7
13 20 FM Claridge-Hansen, William 2299 7
14 21 FM Duncan, Chris R 2292 7
15 25 Brown, Martin 2252 7
16 9 GM Arkell, Keith C 2455 6,5
17 13 IM Palliser, Richard Jd 2422 6,5
18 16 IM Eggleston, David J 2376 6,5
19 17 FM Batchelor, Peter J 2341 6,5
20 19 IM Kolbus, Dietmar 2315 6,5

(Full final standings here.)

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