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China beats the UK by 28-20 points

9/10/2007 – Who, 25 years ago, would have imagined this possible? The decisive factor in this defeat was undoubtedly the Chinese players' tenacity and staying power. Time after time, the British players saw precious half points slip through their fingers in the fifth and six hours' of play, bowing to the time-limit and the incredible resourcefulness of their opponents. Illustrated report with an historical picture.
 

UK v China in Liverpool

From September 4th to 9th the city of Liverpool played host to a UK-China summit chess match. Teams of six male and two female players competed in a Scheveningen-style match.The rate of play was all moves in 2 hrs plus 30 seconds per move. The English team included both Michael Adams and Nigel Short, the first time for almost 20 years that the two have played together in an event on British soil. The Chinese team included top stars Wang Yue, Bu Xiangzhi  and Ni Hua, plus 13-year old schoolgirl sensation Hou Yifan.  Alongside the match, there was also a nine-round International Open, with a prize fund in the region of £10,000–£12,000.

Final rounds

Round five: Saturday was a great day for British sport. England's footballers, cricketers and rugby players all won, as did Scotland's footballers. But sadly, this day of British sporting success did not extend to the chess board, as the UK suffered their worst day so far against China. The visitors won the round 5.5 - 2.5, without loss of a game, to take a near-decisive seven-point lead into the final round.

Round six: As expected, the Chinese team clinched overall match victory against the UK. Adams won in ruthlessly professional style against Hou Yifan. Nigel Short was left lamenting his failure to clinch the full point, after falling victim to yet another piece of defensive tactical ingenuity from Ni Hua. "I am just such a patzer!", was Short's exasperated comment after the game.

China defeated the UK team by an emphatic 28 points to 20 in the match at Liverpool. The decisive factor was undoubtedly the Chinese players' tenacity and staying power. UK team captain Jonathan Speelman commented in his speech at the Closing Ceremony that "had the match been using that revolting English custom of adjudicating the games after four hours' play, the final result would have been a lot closer!". Indeed it would – time after time, the British players saw precious half points slip through their fingers in the fifth and six hours' of play, as the pressure of the time-limit, plus the incredible staying power and resourcefulness of the Chinese players proved too much.

The guest of honour at the Closing Ceremony was Mr Gong, the Consul-General at the Chinese Consulate in Manchester.


Mr Gong, the Chinese Consular-General in Manchester, receives the Liverpool Trophy from the city's Deputy Mayor


Gawain Jones (2nd left) and Hou Yifan share the prize for the best result on the junior boards. Far left is event organiser, Professor David Robertson


Jon Speelman, arrived at the event, expecting to be match commentator, "...but then found myself promoted – or at any rate, moved in one direction or another – to be UK captain".

25 years on

There was some amusement before the start of the final round, as tournament webmaster Steve Connor arranged an interesting photoshoot.

The above picture of two youthful innocents, enjoying a game of chess, was taken 25 years ago, in London in 1982, at the National Primary Schools Championship. It shows an extremely young Mickey Adams (White), and an equally young Gary Quillan. Since both players are present at Liverpool this week, it was decided to re-create the scene, a quarter of a century later, with the result that you can see below!

Now we are all waiting for the Liverpool International in 2032, when we can do the "50 years on" picture...

Reports by Steve Giddins, photos by Stephen Connor

Final standings

United Kingdom Rtn. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Tot.
14
GM Adams, Michael 2724
½
½
1
0
½
1
GM Short, Nigel 2683
0
½
1
½
½
½
3
GM Rowson, Jonathan 2599
0
0
0
½
½
½
GM Pert, Nicholas 2536
½
0
0
½
0
½
GM Jones, Gawain 2526
0
1
½
0
½
½
GM Howell, David 2519
½
0
1
½
0
0
2
IM Arakhamia-Grant, Keti 2418
1
½
1
1
½
0
4
6
IM Houska, Jovanka 2401
½
½
½
0
0
½
2
   
3
3
5
3
20
20

China Rtn. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6
Tot.
22
GM Wang, Yue 2696
½
½
1
½
½
1
4
GM Wang, Hao 2626
1
1
½
½
½
½
4
GM Zhang, Pengxiang 2649
1
1
0
1
½
½
4
GM Bu, Xiangzhi 2685
½
½
0
1
1
½
GM Ni, Hua 2681
1
1
0
½
1
½
4
WGM Hou, Yifan 2523
½
0
1
½
½
0
WGM Shen, Yang 2439
0
½
0
1
½
½
6
WFM Ding, Yixin 2278
½
½
½
0
1
1
   
5
5
3
5
28
28

Elo performances by the individual players

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