Matthew Sadler shows he is back in the game

by Sabrina Chevannes
6/20/2014 – In the 90s Matthew Sadler was one of the best English players. But in 2000 he abandoned tournament chess to work regular hours at Hewlett Packard. In 2010, after having played no rated game for ten years, he came back to competitive chess. In a recent rapid tournament in London he showed how strong he still is. Sabrina Chevannes reports...

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Sadler wins 2nd Kings Place Rapidplay

There are not too many strong rapidplay events in England which feature several Grandmasters and last year the 1st Kings Place Rapidplay saw 6 GMs and 13 IMs taking part, including British Champion David Howell. GM Gawain Jones was last year's winner with 5.5/6 but neither himself nor David were playing in this year's competition, leaving it open for a new winner.

The tournament took place in the heart of London in a very impressive venue which made the playing conditions superior to most tournaments held in the UK. It was back in the same venue this year and they hope to continue to host chess events in the future.

The playing venue

England has seen the return of GM Matthew Sadler this year, with his appearances at the London Chess Classic and the 4NCL, where he impressed the Olympiad selectors enough to make it into this year's team. So we will continue to see him play in Tromsø, but first, he warms up with the 2nd Kings Place Rapidplay!

It wasn't going to be a walk in the park for Matthew with the likes of GM Mark Hebden and GM Simon Williams playing as well as 7 IMs. After 4 rounds, it was a 5-way tie for the top spot, between GMs Sadler and Hebden, IMs Ansell and Mortazavi and a surprising player - FM Carl Strugnell who had just defeated GM Simon Williams in a very thrilling game.

FM Strugnell vs. IM Mortazavi




Carl is actually a chessboxer, the popular hybrid sport that is taking the world by storm. He only played in this tournament to warm-up for his fight in the Chessboxing event that evening! Since Sadler and Hebden had already played, it was a GM vs IM showdown in round 5, whilst FM Carl Strugnell got a "down-float" to IM Thomas Rendle.

The higher-titled players were victorious in these matches leaving Hebden and Sadler tied for first going into the last round with IMs Rendle and D'Costa just half a point behind and hoping to snatch a share of the £1500 prize fund. Perfectly enough, the pairings were such that the leaders were facing those just trailing in another GM vs IM battle for the final round.

There was not much going on in the Hebden-D'Costa game so all our attention was turned to the Rendle-Sadler game.

The decisive game: Thomas Rendle vs Matthew Sadler. Sadler won the game and the tournament.




It still looked like nothing was happening in the Hebden-D'Costa game but Mark desperately wanted a shot at the prize money and was pushing very hard for a win in a position in which he seemed to have a very tiny edge. His over-pressing led him to make some mistakes and suddenly Lorin was the one with the better position! However, he did not use his chances and the game ended in a draw, allowing Mark to take home the full £500 2nd place prize.

We were lucky enough to be receiving live commentary on all the games from GM Chris Ward as well as Nick Murphy.

Chris Ward (left) and Nick Murphy

They were often joined by the players after the game who joined in with the commentary, giving the crowd great insight into their games.

Live games shown in the foyer

We were all pleased to see Matthew Sadler back in action, taking home the well-deserved £1000 prize and we look forward to seeing him in Tromsø doing England proud once again!

Organiser: Chess England
Sponsor: King's Place: Music+Art+Restaurants

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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