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Friday, July 22, 2011

Your chess preview for the upcoming British Championships 2011

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

The Guardian has carried this nice preview by Leonard Barden of the upcoming British Chess Championship. 

The British championship, which starts in Sheffield on Monday, is the strongest in the event's 107-year history, with almost all of England's top grandmasters taking part. There will also probably be a rare head-to-head between the former world finalists Michael Adams and Nigel Short, who are both in good form. Adams tied first at the World Open in Philadelphia, Short at the Commonwealth Open in South Africa.

The other interesting prospect is a clash of generations as the long supremacy of Adams, 39, and Short, 46, is challenged by the ambitious and fast-rising David Howell, 20, and Gawain Jones, 23, who aim to take over the top boards in the national team.

It is hard to see beyond these four as potential winners, as some of the other eight GMs in the field are comparative veterans. Two players who could provide a shock are Jonathan Hawkins, 28, who has surged from nowhere to international level, and the Croydon schoolboy Yang-Fan Zhou, the UK's youngest master at 17.

Short and especially Adams have psychological edges in that their losses to other Englishmen in classic games are very rare. True, most of their chess is played abroad, but they also have an aura of invincibility. Short recently lost to Jones in Bunratty, Ireland, but Adams has not been beaten by an English opponent for more than a decade.

A possible achilles heel for the big two is that the large field of 82 players means that the winning total should be at least 8½/11, with the risk that Adams and/or Short may concede too many draws.

The impressively strong entry reflects sponsor backing by Darwin Strategic and the work of the English Chess Federation president Conor de Mooi (CJ from BBC2's Eggheads quiz programme). First prize is £8,000, nearly double 2010's, with extra fees and conditions for the top players.

You can read further if you want to check out a cool tricky chess position!

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