English Championships: Five co-leaders in the open

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/22/2024 – The English Championships are taking place on June 20-23 at the Holiday Inn Kenilworth-Warwick in Kenilworth. Each event is a 7-round Swiss open. After 4 rounds, the open section has 5 players sharing the lead, including top seeds Michael Adams (pictured) and Gawain Jones. In the women’s tournament, defending champion Katarzyna Toma is the sole leader with a perfect 4/4 score. | Photo: English Chess Federation

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Top seeds Adams and Jones among co-leaders

Two players are the clear rating favourites at the English Championship this year, Michael Adams and Gawain Jones, two of the five English players rated 2600 or above at the moment — Nikita Vitiugov, David Howell and Luke McShane are not participating.

After three rounds, both Adams and Jones were sharing first place with seventh seed Peter Roberson, all with a 3/3 perfect score. In round 4, Jones played white against Adams in a game that ended drawn after 19 moves. Roberson also signed a draw, which allowed Daniel Gormally and James Jackson to join the leading pack with 3½/4 points.

Two rounds will take place on Saturday, while the final round and the potential playoffs are scheduled for Sunday.

Gawain Jones

Gawain Jones | Photo: English Chess Federation

In round 3, Roberson obtained a quick, 17-move victory over Jan Murawski. The latter underestimated his opponent’s attacking chances out of a Spanish Opening.

Engines already give White a considerable advantage here, as Black has overplayed his hand by pushing his h-pawn while still undeveloped. However, after 12...a6, Murawski could have kept the battle going.

Instead, his 12...Be7 led to a quick defeat.

Roberson found the devastating 13.Nxd5, when 13...Nxd5 fails to 14.Qxb5+ with a deadly fork. In the game, there followed 13...Bg4 14.Qxb5+ Bd7 15.Nxf6+ gxf6 16.Qd5

There is no defence for Black now. Murawski tried 16...0-0, but resigned after 17.Nxf7, as White is both threatening to capture the queen and to give a number of lethal discovered checks along the light-squared diagonal.

Standings after round 4

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Adams, Michael 3,5 0
2 Roberson, Peter T 3,5 0
3 Jones, Gawain Cb 3,5 0
4 Jackson, James P 3,5 0
5 Gormally, Daniel W 3,5 0
6 Willow, Jonah B 3 0
7 Wells, Peter K 3 0
8 Wadsworth, Matthew J 3 0
9 Verbytski, Oleg 3 0
10 Ghasi, Ameet K 3 0
11 Khoury, Theo 3 0
12 Fernandez, Daniel H 3 0
13 Shearsby, Jude 3 0
14 Murawski, Jan 3 0
15 Seymour, Timothy P 3 0

...80 players

All available games

Toma still perfect among the women

A total of 22 players have registered to participate in the Women’s English Championship, with Harriet Hunt, Elmira Mirzoeva and Katarzyna Toma the three top seeds — they are rated third, fourth and sixth in England as per the latest FIDE ratings list. Jovana Houska and Yao Lan are absent at the Championship in Kenilworth.

After four rounds, Toma is the sole leader with 4/4 points. Born in Poland, the WGM has been representing England since 2018. Last year, she was the outright winner of the Championship after scoring 5½/7 points.

In round 4, Toma beat Mirzoeva after the latter wrongly decided to trade the queens and enter a minor-piece endgame.

Black is already in some trouble, but playing 41...Qe6, allowing 42.Qxe6 fxe6, gave White a more straightforward path to victory. Toma patiently made the most of her more flexible minor piece and superior pawn structure until getting a 70-move win.

Standings after round 4

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Toma, Katarzyna 4 0
2 Mirzoeva, Elmira 3 0
3 Hunt, Harriet V 3 0
4 Dicen, Elis Denele 3 0
5 Hryshchenko, Kamila 2,5 0
6 Rida, Ruqayyah 2,5 0
7 Subramanian, Anusha 2,5 0
8 Maton, Emily 2,5 0
9 Latypova, Olga L 2,5 0
10 Hariharan, Shambavi 2 0
11 Longson, Sarah N 2 0
12 Catabay, Mae C 2 0
13 Varney, Zoe 2 0
14 Khunda, Deema 2 0
15 Fernando, Manel 1,5 0

...22 players

All available games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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