British Championships: Howell leads alone

8/5/2013 – Round six: David Howell beat Peter Wells and took the sole lead, after Stephen Gordon drew his black game against Mark Hebden. Howell is now at 5.5/6, with Hebden and Gordon following half a point behind (and a phalanx of nine players on 4.5/6). Once again we combine the 2013 Championship with a historical narrative of the darkest horse to ever win the British Championship.

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A record-breaking number of over 1000 players are taking part in the 2013 British Championships, attracted by a combination of the beautiful venue and the fact that it’s the 100th in a series stretching right back to 1904. This year it is taking place in the Riviera International Centre in Torquay. There are 23 different sections at the 2013 British Championships, catering for all ages and abilities, but the main focus of interest is on the Championship itself. There are 106 players taking part, of whom 33 are titled players, including thirteen grandmasters. The Championship runs from 29th July to 10th August 2013.

Before we proceed to the games and results of round six here a Game of the Day review
from round five of the game GM Mark Hebden v IM Ameet Ghasi, provided by Andrew Martin:

Top results of round six

No. White
Rating
Black
Rating
Result
1 GM Howell, David W L
2639
GM Wells, Peter K
2479
1-0
2 GM Hebden, Mark L
2555
GM Gordon, Stephen J
2521
½-½
3 GM Williams, Simon K
2481
IM Hawkins, Jonathan
2517
½-½
4 Mackle, Dominic
2216
GM Lalic, Bogdan
2489
½-½
5 GM Arkell, Keith C
2444
IM Fernandez, Daniel
2346
1-0
6 IM Knott, Simon J B
2318
GM Jones, Gawain C B
2643
½-½
7 Weaving, Richard
2196
IM Zhou, Yang-Fan
2469
0-1
8 IM Ghasi, Ameet K
2459
IM Bates, Richard A
2375
1-0
9 GM Kosten, Anthony C.
2458
Osborne, Marcus E
2269
1-0
10 IM Kolbus, Dietmar
2288
IM Palliser, Richard J D
2453
½-½
11 Longson, Alexander
2279
GM Ward, Chris G
2432
½-½
12 GM Gormally, Daniel W
2496
Weller, Jean-Luc
2172
1-0
13 GM Emms, John M
2469
Brown, Martin
2203
½-½
14 GM Flear, Glenn C
2456
Shaw, Peter
2164
1-0
15 Scott, Gordon W
2039
IM Lane, Gary W.
2401
½-½
16 FM Eggleston, David J
2363
Haria, Ravi
2133
0-1
17 FM Chapman, Terry P D
2308
Waters, Clive L
2129
1-0
18 FM Ledger, Dave J
2305
Batchelor, Peter J
2118
1-0
19 FM Storey, Charles
2214
IM Rudd, Jack
2280
0-1
20 Tambini, Jasper
1979
IM Meszaros, Gyula
2255
0-1

Top rankings after round six

David Howell's win to put himself in a clear lead on 5.5, the Hebden v. Gordon draw put them on equal second, while there is now a phalanx of nine players on 4.5, as some fell back with draws allowing winners like Arkell, Ghasi and Kosten to make up ground with wins. Though undefeated, defending champion Gawain Jones has conceded four draws, and needs a good 2nd week to get back in contention.

Rnk Name
Score
Rating
TPR W-We
1 GM Howell, David W L
5.5
2639
2804 +0.82
2 GM Hebden, Mark L
5.0
2555
2620 +0.55
3 GM Gordon, Stephen J
5.0
2521
2655 +1.05
4 IM Hawkins, Jonathan
4.5
2517
2485 -0.12
5 GM Lalic, Bogdan
4.5
2489
2413 -0.43
6 GM Williams, Simon K
4.5
2481
2470 +0.04
7 GM Wells, Peter K
4.5
2479
2503 +0.32
8 IM Zhou, Yang-Fan
4.5
2469
2482 +0.21
9 IM Ghasi, Ameet K
4.5
2459
2489 +0.32
10 GM Kosten, Anthony C.
4.5
2458
2465 +0.21
11 GM Arkell, Keith C
4.5
2444
2430 +0.01
12 Mackle, Dominic
4.5
2216
2474 +1.94
13 GM Jones, Gawain C B
4.0
2643
2397 -1.41
14 GM Gormally, Daniel W
4.0
2496
2404 -0.55
15 GM Flear, Glenn C
4.0
2456
2251 -1.25
16 IM Palliser, Richard J D
4.0
2453
2400 -0.21
17 GM Ward, Chris G
4.0
2432
2390 -0.19
18 IM Fernandez, Daniel
4.0
2346
2478 +1.11
19 IM Knott, Simon J B
4.0
2318
2353 +0.35
20 FM Chapman, Terry P D
4.0
2308
2386 +0.76
21 FM Ledger, Dave J
4.0
2305
2354 +0.35
22 IM Kolbus, Dietmar
4.0
2288
2490 +1.59
23 IM Rudd, Jack
4.0
2280
2363 +0.67
24 IM Meszaros, Gyula
4.0
2255
2264 +0.14
25 FM Eames, Robert S
4.0
2244
2244 +0.04
26 Haria, Ravi
4.0
2133
2393 +1.97

Mark Hebden receives his Best Game prize from Chief Arbiter David Welch

Selection of games from round six

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Game of the day by Andrew Martin

Game of the Day Rd 6 GB Ch 2013

Photos provided by Brendan O'Gorman and Keverel Chess


To really appreciate how far the event has come in its 100 years, one needs to take the opportunity to look back at some of the milestones on the way – the great characters, the champions and their games. To do this, IM Andrew Martin is using his computer skills to pick out some key games from the past and run his expert eye over them. Similarly, Bob Jones, local chess history writer, is compiling a set of ten pages, each on a past champion and one of his/her games. These will appear, one at a time, in the daily championship bulletins.

British Champions & Their Games - No. 6

1946 – Nottingham

After an eight-year hiatus, players assembled at Nottingham University, happy that normality and good order could now be resumed. The event was still being run on its original format of an invitational 12 player American, and when the Scottish Association submitted the name of Robert Forbes Combe, the organisers advised them to think again and come up with someone more suitable to face up to the likes of Alexander, Golombek, Winter, Wood, Wade, Broadbent et al.

It would be tempting to suggest that Combe was an unknown, even in Elgin, had it not been for his legendary loss in four moves at the 1933 Folkestone International, when he played as a 21 yr. old last minute substitute.

Combe - Hasenfuss, Folkestone Chess Olympiad, Round 3, June 14, 1933
1.d4 c5 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.Nxe5? Qa5+ and White resigned since he loses his knight.

In addition to this notoriety, he had no track record at this level, hadn’t played chess of any sort for seven years and had a very weak heart which would be likely to affect his play in a tough tournament. Yet the SCA stuck to their guns and insisted he play.

The result was a sensation. In round one he played Alexander, the previous champion and odds-on favourite to retain his title, who often preferred the black side of the board.

[Event "British Championship 1946"] [Site "?"] [Date "1946.07.21"] [Round "?"] [White "Combe"] [Black "Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D43"] [Annotator "Jones,Bob"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2013.07.15"] [SourceDate "2013.07.17"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Bg5 h6 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Qb3 c6 7. Nbd2 Nd7 8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Qf4 10. Bd3 g5 ({A hazardous continuation, typical of Alexander's style, but neither} 10... Nf6 11. Nxf6+ Qxf6) (10... e5 11. O-O Be7 12. Rfe1 { equalises for Black.}) 11. Ng3 g4 12. Ne2 Qc7 13. Nd2 c5 14. d5 Ne5 ({If} 14... exd5 15. O-O-O d4 16. Rde1) 15. O-O-O Bd7 16. Be4 ({Stronger was} 16. Ne4 O-O-O 17. N2c3 Nxd3+ 18. Rxd3 Qf4+ 19. Kb1 exd5 20. g3 dxc4 21. Qxc4) 16... O-O-O 17. f4 gxf3 18. Nxf3 {Diagram [#]} Bd6 $2 ({A Blunder. As Alexander demonstrated after the game, correct was} 18... Ng4 19. dxe6 fxe6 {and Black has nothing to fear as} 20. Qc3 {can be met by} h5 {and if} 21. Qxh8 Bh6+) 19. dxe6 Bxe6 20. Rxd6 Rxd6 ({Not} 20... Qxd6 $4 21. Qxb7#) 21. Nxe5 Rhd8 22. Nf3 f5 23. Bc2 Qg7 24. Nf4 Bf7 25. Qe3 ({Much better than} 25. Bxf5+ {when the whites pieces would be exposed to attack.}) 25... Re8 26. Qxc5+ Rc6 27. Qxa7 Qg4 28. Qa8+ Kc7 29. Nd5+ Bxd5 30. Qxe8 {Diagram [#]} Qxc4 ({If} 30... Qxg2 31. Qe5+ Kb6 32. Qd4+ Kc7 33. Rg1 Qxf3 34. cxd5) 31. Qe5+ Kc8 32. Qxf5+ (32. Nd4 {at once would be met by} Be4) 32... Be6 33. Qf8+ Kc7 34. Qg7+ Kb8 35. Qe5+ Ka8 36. Nd4 1-0

A surprise this may have been to the unwary and unknowing, but it was no fluke, as Combe carved his way through the field, until he reached the penultimate round two points clear and could afford to relax with a draw against Winter to become, as Wood put it, …”the darkest horse who has ever won the British Championship”.

Robert Forbes Combe, the darkest horse in British Championship history

In reality, Combe possessed a very large collection of tournament books and whiled away long winter evenings by his fireside playing through hundreds of master games. This was his only British Championship and Folkstone was his only international – what a contrast! His heart finally gave out, dying in Aberdeen in 1952, aged just 39. His BCM obituarist, W. A. Fairhurst, wrote ”He was a very great chess-player… and it is probable he possessed the greatest chess brain of any British player of the last 20 years”.


Links

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