Friday, December 24, 2010

Gawain Jones and Luke McShane blossom as British chess changes guard

  • Article history
  • chess 3171
    3171: Hou Yifan v Humpy Koneru, women's world championship 2010. How did China's 16-year-old (White, to move) reach the final by beating India's No2 seed? Photograph: Graphic For the best part of two decades Michael Adams and Nigel Short have been the top dogs in UK chess. Short challenged Garry Kasparov for the classical world title in 1993 and Adams reached the Fide world title semi-final and final in 1997 and 2005. But now Short is 45, Adams 39 and the old order is changing. Luke McShane's impressive tied second result at the London Classic coincided with Short finishing in last place and put the 26-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader ahead of his rival in the international rankings. Another significant, though less publicised, advance also took place at the Classic. The England No5, Gawain Jones, 23, was the best performer for the national team at the world Olympiad in October and was co-winner with Simon Williams at the London Classic Open, totalling an unbeaten 7.5/9 ahead of a flock of European grandmasters and masters. Immediately after London Jones flew to Warsaw for the European Blitz championship where, as the only competing English GM, he scored 17.5/26, well above expectations and including wins over leading GMs from Ukraine, Germany and France. Meanwhile David Howell, 20, the England No4 and youngest GM who had mixed results in 2010, has begun a philosophy course at Cardiff, at least temporarily rejecting a full-time chess career. So the target for Jones is to reach a 2600 rating, surpass Howell and challenge Short. However this turns out, the advance of the under-27 trio can only benefit English chess. Jones scored a good attacking win against the Israeli top seed at the London Open. G Jones v B Avrukh 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Bc5 5 Nxc6 bxc6 6 Nc3 d6 7 Na4 Bb6 8 Nxb6 axb6 9 Bd3 Ne7 10 Bg5 f6 11 Bd2 0-0 12 Qe2 Be6 13 0-0 Qd7 14 f4 Rae8 15 f5 Bf7 16 g4 d5 17 e5 fxe5 18 Qxe5 c5 19 Qg3 c4 20 Be2 Nc6 21 Rae1 Qe7 22 Bf4 Qc5+ 23 Kg2 d4 24 Bf3 Nb4 25 c3 Nd3 26 Rxe8 Rxe8 27 Bxc7 Bd5 28 Kh3 Bxf3 29 Rxf3 Ne1 30 cxd4 Qxd4 31 Rf4 Qc5 32 f6 gxf6 33 Rf5 Qd4 34 Bf4 Nd3 35 Bh6 Kf7 36 Bd2 Qxb2 37 Qc7+ Kg6 38 Rh5 Nf2+ 39 Kh4 1-0 3171 1 h5! gxh5 2 f5! exf5 3 e6 Bg3 (or Kd6 4 e7 wins) 4 a7 Kb7 5 e7 and Black resigned as a pawn queen

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