Michael Adams crushes British Ch. with 10.0/11

by Albert Silver
8/9/2016 – Michael Adams, the long-time highest rated English player on the FIDE rating list, has won the British Chess Championships 2016 in Bournemouth to add to his 4 previous British titles. His score of 10.0/11 equaled the record set by Julian Hodgson in 1992 and, given that future championships are planned to be run over nine rounds, this was probably the last opportunity for the record to be equaled or exceeded. Illustrated report with commented games.

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By Mark Jordan and Albert Silver

All photos by Brendan O'Gorman

The Bournemouth Pavilion where the competition took place

Although Michael Adams was the overwhelming Elo favorite in this year’s British Championship, which can be as much a curse as a blessing. In such situations, failing to muster the will to play as hard and as incisively as one can, against opposition that doesn’t feel as threatening as others, has a nasty way of costing half points and even full points if one is not careful. Such tales are legion.

Michael Adams was the big favorite, and he did not wilt with a 2800+ performance

David Howell did not let himself be disheartened by his loss to Adams and took second with 8.5/11

David Howell - Michael Adams


IM Andrew Martin analyzes the titanic battle between David Howell and Michael Adams

Gawain Jones was the third seed and lived up to his seeding by taking third with 8.0/11

This year’s event was not weak in any way either. True, there were no other 2700 challengers, but there were players such as David Howell and Gawain Jones, just dying to sign a title over the head of a player such as Adams, not to mention the myriad other grandmasters and masters in the field.

Gawain Jones - Michael Adams


Keeping the game under tight control, Michael Adams wins with a devastating counterattack

The playing hall was as elegant as it was spacious

Rows of fans follow the first four boards of play, with a view of the players, and the display boards behind

At the start of the final round there was a chance that there would be a play-off as, had Adams lost and David Howell won, they would have both been on 9/11 requiring a play-off. Unusually for the final round of the Championships however, the leader was playing black against an untitled opponent, Martin Brown, over whom he had close to a 500 point rating advantage. One of the reasons for such a pairing was that Adams had already played his main rivals with an interesting effect on the up and down-floats; the other reason being that Brown has had a very good tournament, defeating GM Wells along the way, and now needed a draw to secure an IM norm.

Martin Brown, facing here David Howell, was one of the very positive surprises in the event, coming within a half point of an IM norm, denied only by Michael Adams

Since Adams also needed a draw to ensure he won the title it was always possible that an early decision could be agreed. Adams uncompromising attitude to chess and the large rating differential made this outcome seem unlikely.  In the event Brown walked in to some pretty original and devilish opening preparation in a well-known position, failed to respond accurately and was despatched in short-order. Brown has the compensationof playing a great tournament, and had the opportunity to contribute what might turn out to be a theoretically important game against the winner of the last 11-round British Championship.

Nicholas Pert, a popular author of openings DVDs, came in ninth place with 7.0/11

GM Peter Wells

Jovanka Houska won the British Women’s title with a score of 7.0/11. She defeated Lentzos in the final round but already had the Championships in the bag with a round in hand.

The masked man!

The British Championship is more than just the main event; it is also a collection of events in parallel so that all fans can enjoy the atmosphere. Jaime Ashworth was one of the Yates Weekenders.

The lower gardens of Bournemouth

For those wishing a beach atmosphere, there is the pier area

Final standings

Rk SNo   Name Rtg Pts
1 1 GM Adams Michael 2727 10,0
2 2 GM Howell David Wl 2663 8,5
3 3 GM Jones Gawain Cb 2650 8,0
  11 IM Tan Justin Hy 2438 8,0
5 5 GM Hebden Mark L 2509 7,5
  6 GM Fodor Tamas Jr 2505 7,5
  7 GM Gormally Daniel W 2494 7,5
  8 GM Emms John M 2467 7,5
9 4 GM Pert Nicholas 2570 7,0
  12 GM Ward Chris G 2437 7,0
  14 GM Wells Peter K 2419 7,0
  15 IM Houska Jovanka 2386 7,0
  20 FM Claridge-Hansen William 2299 7,0
  21 FM Duncan Chris R 2292 7,0
  25   Brown Martin 2252 7,0
16 9 GM Arkell Keith C 2455 6,5
  13 IM Palliser Richard Jd 2422 6,5
  16 IM Eggleston David J 2376 6,5
  17 FM Batchelor Peter J 2341 6,5
  19 IM Kolbus Dietmar 2315 6,5
  24 FM Storey Charles H 2256 6,5
  34   Jones Steven A 2186 6,5
  61   Moreby James E 2040 6,5
24 18 FM Harvey Marcus R 2324 6,0

Click for complete standings


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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