The Super Rapidplay in Memory of Michael Uriely

by Sabrina Chevannes
12/18/2016 – The Super Rapidplay at the London Chess Classic started yesterday, and this year the tournament is stronger than ever and has an incredible 474 participants! The tournament is being held in memory of a talented young chess player from London, whose life was taken far too early. Read about the action from today’s rapidplay and other events....

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Photos: Lennart Ootes, Sabrina Chevannes

Michael Uriely was an extremely talented young chess player, with notable achievements such as 2nd place in the British U9 championships. Sadly, his life was taken and the very young age of 9, at the MindSports Olympiad due to an asthma attack. He attended Westminster Under School, a school with several years of chess history – notably Luke McShane was a former pupil. They are even coached by former British Champion, Julian Hodgson.

An anonymous donor supported this year’s Super Rapidplay and Michael’s memory will be treasured. There is a nice display for Michael outside the playing hall, with a remembrance book for those who wish to share their wishes.

Michael’s twin sisters were in attendance at Olympia today and one of the twins, Noga, made the ceremonial first move on two Super-GM boards.

At 12pm, the Super Rapidplay kicked off and the tournament has not just been about attracting top Grandmasters, but also about helping England’s top juniors. Each year, in the first round, normal Swiss pairing rules are abandoned and our most talented juniors are placed against the top Grandmasters in the event. This year, the top 12 Grandmasters had to face 12 of our most fearsome juniors.

Noga played the first move for one of our top junior girls, Cosima Keen, who was facing last year’s Super Rapidplay winner Luke McShane!

Naturally, the idea is to get our juniors the experience playing top players and give them an opportunity they wouldn’t ordinarily have. However, on board 1, Sussex junior Alex Golding scored a draw against top seed Hrant Melkulmyan from Armenia! It must be 3rd time lucky for Alex, since he has played David Howell and Michael Adams in the past two years!

After 5 rounds, 7 players remain on a perfect score – all familiar names from the FIDE Open. David Howell, the top seed on the maximum points, is looking to make up for his loss to Nigel in the British Knockout and become the Super Rapidplay champion himself.

Luke McShane, last year’s winner, is only half a point behind. Last year’s performance is now impossible to beat; he scored 10/10 and then took a draw in the last round to come outright 1st. However, if he finishes with a perfect 5/5, he can equal last year’s score.

Another notable event happening yesterday was the book signing for “The Mating Game” – a chess novel written by Jovanka Houska and James Essinger. The book should have a PG stamp on it, being that there are some rather raunchy sections of it, but it really got everyone talking yesterday. Players discussed which real chess players each character was based on and just how similar they are.

I don’t want to produce any spoilers for the book, as it is clearly a must-read for anyone who enjoys chess and entertainment! I will be producing an in-depth with British Ladies’ Champion, Jovanka Houska shortly, where I will delve more into Jovanka’s creative side and the thought behind “The Mating Game”.

Born in 1986 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England, Sabrina now lives in London where she is managing director of the London Academy of Chess and Education. With over 300 members of the academy, she has one of the largest following of students in the UK. Sabrina is a Women International Master and an active chess player.


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