British Champions: Gawain Jones and Jovanka Houska

by André Schulz
8/10/2017 – The British Championships in Llandudno ended last weekend Sunday in the dead heat — a tiebreak between Luke McShane and Gawain Jones. After two rapid games, Jones emerged the 2017 British Champion. Jovanka Houska was the top scorer among female players and became the woman's champion. | Photo: David Thomas

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On the weekend, the 104th British Championship ended, this time Llandudno. Llandudno is located in North Wales, the "Ll" at the beginning of the village name is pronounced "Lch". The championships were played in a conference center, the "Venue Cymru", where "Cymru" is the native language for Wales.

The popularity of the national championship for the top British players is, as everywhere, heavily dependent on the prize money being offered, and this was very good this year thanks to the commitment of some new sponsors. Among other things, the English Chess Federation is supported by the "John Robinson Youth Chess Trusts," a foundation that has particularly focused on the promotion of young British talent.

The first prize this year was GBP £10,000. £5000 went to the runner-up, while the third received £2500 and prizes extended to 8th place (£500). In addition, there were a number of rating prices. The best woman at the end of the tournament received £1000 and the title of the women's champion.

The actual national championship was played with about 100 players competing in a nine-round Swiss system. Among them were 13 Grandmasters and two WGMs as well as many more title holders.

The best starter was Luke McShane, who led the field after six rounds with 5½ points. In the 7th round, McShane made a draw against Daniel Gormally and was caught by John Emms, who had defeated Jonathan Hawkins. Gawain Jones scored a full point against Jovanka Houska and reached the semi-finals with Nicholas Pert (both also with 5½ points).

In the penultimate round, the game between John Emms and Luke McShane ended drawn, allowing Gawain Jones to take the lead by beating Nick Pert.


Three players entered the last round with 6½ points. Here, McShane and Jones split the point. David Howell defeated John Emms and moved into a tie with McShane and Jones. Craig Henley also made the leap to the top by defeating Zhou Yang-fan.

With four players on 7 points, a knockout playoff with two games each was needed. McShane took care of Howell, and Jones won against Henley, each with a smooth 2:0. In the final Gawain Jones scored 1½:½ in his favour and thus became British champion 2017. The women's title went to Jovanka Houska, as the best-placed woman — in 22nd place.

John Nunn became 50+ Senior Champion.

Commentary by IM Michael Rahal

Final standings after Round 9

Rg. Name Pkt.
1 Jones Gawain Cb 7,0
2 Howell David Wl 7,0
  Mcshane Luke J 7,0
  Hanley Craig A 7,0
5 Emms John M 6,5
  Ghasi Ameet K 6,5
  Palliser Richard Jd 6,5
8 Hawkins Jonathan 6,0
  Pert Nicholas 6,0
  Adair James R 6,0
  Hebden Mark L 6,0
  Zhou Yang-Fan 6,0
  Gormally Daniel W 6,0
  Trent Lawrence 6,0
  Wells Peter K 6,0
  Haria Ravi 6,0
  Eggleston David J 6,0
  Horton Andrew P 6,0
19 Williams Simon K 5,5
  Merry Alan B 5,5
  Arkell Keith C 5,5
  Hunt Adam C 5,5
  Houska Jovanka 5,5
  Mcphillips Joseph 5,5
  Longson Alexander 5,5
  Batchelor Peter J 5,5
  Kolbus Dietmar 5,5
  Claridge-Hansen William 5,5
  Moore Graham J 5,5
  Murphy Conor E 5,5

All available games


Commentary for Rounds 1-9

Commentary by IM Michael Rahal, IM Daniel Fernandez (Rounds 3-7) and GM Ilja Zaragatski (Rounds 1-2)

Game of the Day

The ECF presented a daily 'Game of the Day' video:

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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