British and French championships

8/20/2005 – The first is over and was won – again– by Scotsman Jonathan Rowson. Trick question: when was the last time an Englishman won the title? In the French championship a 14-year-old boy – yes, another one of those – and a 21-year-old lady are in the lead. We bring you games, results and pictures.

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Smith & Williamson British Chess Championships 2005

The British Championship was held from July 31 to August 13 at the Villa Marina & Gaiety Theatre Complex, Isle of Man.


The tournament venue on the Isle of Man


The other championships being held in the same hall


Round two game between Timothy Woodward and Jonathan Rowson (Woodward won)

Photos by Roy Lawrence

The tournament was won by Jonathan Rowson of Scotland. After he did it we received a trick question from Scotsman and chess columnist John Henderson. "Can you tell me who (and when) the last English player was to win the British Championship?" Try and guess it before you look at the solution below.

You may want to bear in mind there are four separate entities, England, Wales and Scotland, which go to make up Great Britain, which turns into the United Kingdom if you remember that Northern Ireland is part of the club. Each of the parts fields its own team in football and other sporting events, greatly diminishing (some say improving) the chances of winning something. And the population of each entity is deeply insulted if you do not use exactly the right term (and we thought the Netherlands was complicated!).

One more thing to remember: India is not part of Britain, the last time we checked.

Final standings

  1 ROWSON,Jonathan W........ SCO g  2599 8½ 
  2 CONQUEST,Stuart.......... ENG g  2503 8  
  3 HASLINGER,Stewart G...... ENG m  2412 8  
  4 EMMS,John M.............. ENG g  2509 7½ 
  5 PERT,Richard............. ENG m  2424 7½ 
  6 GORDON,Stephen........... ENG f  2390 7  
  7 GREET,Andrew N........... ENG f  2425 7  
  8 JESSEL,Stephen........... IRL    2285 6½ 
  9 KNOTT,Simon J B.......... ENG m  2382 6½ 
 10 LITTLEWOOD,Paul E........ ENG m  2355 6½ 
 11 RUDD,Jack................ ENG    2268 6½ 
 12 WARD,Chris G............. ENG g  2485 6½ 
 13 ASHTON,Adam.............. ENG    2294 6  
 14 JONES,Gawain C........... ENG m  2442 6  
 15 MASON,Don................ ENG    2265 6  
 16 MORRISON,Graham.......... SCO f  2322 6  
 17 SOWRAY,Peter J........... ENG f  2364 6  
 18 WHITE,Michael JR......... ENG    2200 6  
 19 WILLIAMS,Simon K......... ENG m  2461 6  
 20 WOODWARD,Timothy......... ENG f  2313 6  

The answer to John Henderson's quiz questions is that we we need to go back to the previous century to find the last English player to win the British Championship. Jonathan Rowson of Scottland won the last two. Indians (Ramesh and Kunte) won the two before him in 2003 and 2002. Joe Gallagher, who was registered Swiss at the time, won in 2001. Julian Hodgson, who was born in Wales, won in 2000 and 1999. This leaves Nigel Short in 1998, as the last true-blue Englishman to win the title!


French Championship in Chartres

This is being held in the beautiful historical city of Chartres, famours for its cathedral and stained-glass windows which marked the transition in the Middle Ages from the darkness of sanctuaries to the light of Romanesque architecture.

The tournament runs from August 15–27 and has two sections, male and female. The official web site, which starts up with a heavy Java replay page, provides photos and videos. Somewhat disconcertingly the games from the men and women's sections are lumped together in a single database, making it difficult to generate tables or do any other kind of statistics. We have heroically split them apart, manually, and provide them in separate databases below.

In the men's section 14-year-old Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is sensationally in the lead, playing 263 Elo points above his 2527 rating (making for a 2790 performance so far).


Maxime Vachier-Lagrave [Photo French Chess Federation]

Maxime completed three GM norms at the age of 14 years and four months (in the space of seven months), making him one of the youngest grandmasters in the history of the game.

Standings in the men's section:


Guest of honour Anatoly Karpov opens the Championship

In the women's section 21-year-old WGM Sophie Milliet, who won the championship in 2003, is in the lead, ahead of Almira Skripchenko, who won it last year. Milliet has won four of her five games so far, with a 2578 performance.


Sophie Milliet [Photo French Chess Federation]

Standings in the women's section:


A view of the tournament hall, with the male and female sections


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