British Solving Championship
Report by David Friedgood
The British solving championship, organised by the British Chess Problem Society,
was held on Saturday, 18th February 2012. There were two significant ‘firsts’
on this occasion. After 17 years being hosted by Oakham School, the championship
moved to that famous English institution, Eton College. Even if your performance
was below par, as mine was, it was good to be there, soaking up the atmosphere,
looking at the large paintings of historic luminaries on the walls. As a former
South African, I was intrigued by a stone dedicating the School Hall building
to the old Etonians who fell in the Boer War of 1899 to 1902.
The other significant ‘first’ was the capture of the British Solving
Championship for the first time by playing GM (and solving IM) Colin McNab.
Colin has always been a force to reckon with since he started solving, having
been selected for the British team at the annual world championship on a number
of occasions. Now he has broken into the clique which, since 1996, has consisted
of David Friedgood, Michael McDowell, Jonathan Mestel and John Nunn.
The championship combines an Open solving event with the British Championship,
for which entrants have to qualify by solving problems in a postal round. Visitors
this year included former Open winner and World champion GM Piotr Murdzia (Poland),
GM Eddy van Beers (Belgium), former Open winner GM Dolf Wissmann (Netherlands)
and Marcel van Herck (Belgium) (all titles are for solving). They competed with
Justifying his 2801 solver’s rating, Piotr Murdzia won overall in magisterial
style, scoring 100% and using a mere 172 out of a possible 230 minutes. Van
Beers and McNab both scored 61 points from a possible 65, having found only
the key of the (as usual) difficult long selfmate, but Eddy took the second
place on time tiebreak. Fourth was double GM Jonathan Mestel on 59 – a
moderate result by his standards. Britain’s other double GM, John Nunn,
suffered a dip in form, but his fifth place on 56 points using only 153 (!)
minutes is hardly a bad result.
Some people scored well above their rating expectation: Marcel van Herck, the
perennial Roddy McKay, and a particularly deserving winner of the Newcomer’s
Prize, David Hodge.
Sponsor of this most successful event was the hedge fund Winton
Capital Management. Further details can be found on the British Chess Problem
Society’s website, a link to which can be found below this article. The
following photographs were taken by the BCPS Assistant Treasurer, Sally Lewis:
A view of the venue between rounds
Piotr Murdzia receiving the Open Trophy from Winton Capital
Management’s Gordon Brown
Colin McNab receiving his Championship trophy
The following two problems and a study were among the thirteen positions for
solving. Bear in mind that they were selected by the Championship Director,
Brian Stephenson, for their difficulty, rather than their aesthetic value, although
the study is an excellent composition. The solutions are hidden and can be checked
by clicking on the ‘Reveal’ button.
Nikolai Glinskikh, Schach, 1997
Mate in three – to solve at championship
standard, allow yourself up to 20 minutes
Mario Matous, 4th Prize, Chervony Girnik, 1984
White to play and win – to solve at championship
standard, allow yourself up to 30 minutes
Friedrich Binder, Springaren, 1993
Mate in four – to solve at championship
standard, allow yourself up to 30 minutes
Any queries or constructive comments can be addressed to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright in this article David Friedgood 2012/ChessBase
British Chess Problem Society (BCPS), founded in 1918, is the world's
oldest chess problem society. It exists to promote the knowledge and enjoyment
of chess compositions, and membership is open to chess enthusiasts in all countries.
The Society produces two bi-monthly magazines, The Problemist and
The Problemist Supplement (the latter catering for beginners), which
are issued to all members. Composers from all over the world send their problems
and studies to compete in the tourneys run by the society.
The BCPS also organises the annual British Chess Solving Championship, and
selects the Great Britain squad for the World Chess Solving Championship. The
Society holds an annual residential weekend, with a full programme of solving
and composing tourneys and lectures; this event attracts an international participation.
Members are also entitled to use the resources of the BCPS library, and the
Society book service, which can provide new and second-hand publications.