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British Champs-2013

User Rating: / 4
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 12 August 2013
by GM Danny Gormally

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Just finished playing the British chess championships, which took place in the picturesque Devon town of Torquay.

As the winner David Howell said at the prizegiving, he wished every tournament was in Torquay, it really is a happy hunting ground for him having won his first British champs the previous time it had been held there.
David is a nice guy who fully deserved his success. He played solid chess throughout and made very few serious errors; the only game where he was in any sort of trouble was against Simon Williams. The other big pre-tournament favourite Gawain Jones, by contrast will have been slightly disappointed with his result. He got bogged down in too many draws.

I supposed that's the drawback of having such a high rating and coming up against solid 2200-2300 players in opens- they are more than happy just to play for the draw against you.

Really you could argue the tournament went to the formbook as the top four seeds filled the top four places. From a personal perspective I could have done much better, but I seem to score 7.5/11 in the British with quite some regularity, having achieved that score seven or eight times now. I have never scored higher than that either, something that bugs me.

7.5/11 normally gets you around £600-800, but this year there were more players, so it only won £250, hardly even enough to cover the considerable expense of drinking and eating in a relatively expensive seaside resort for two weeks. Although the grandmasters did get a fee of £500 as well. I also won £140 in the pre-tournament rapidplay, a useful bonus.

Probably the highlight of the fortnight, although it sounds childish, was my ride on the big wheel, which offered breath taking views across the harbour. I also have a fear of heights so it was good to challenge that. I started having almost a mild panic attack when I got to the top it started swaying in the wind a little, but quickly calmed down.

It's good to take on your fears and quickly you realise it's just about becoming used to the situation, so your mind develops ways to cope. All the therapy to deal with phobias can never replicate the actual experience. Eventually you have to take it head-on.

Speaking a bit more about the chess, I started well with 3/3 but then had a mini-collapse. I overestimated my position against Tony Kosten and went for an unsound attack, then I had a nightmare game against Fernandez.

Having been outplayed in the opening and early middlegame, I dropped a pawn, finding myself in a hopeless situation, only for my opponent to blunder it straight back. Then in time trouble he went wrong to the point where it looked as if I even was winning. Then I messed up so the endgame was just a draw, but after the time control I made a fundamental error, I should done what all good Russians tell you to do, go and take a walk to clear your head.

Instead I sat almost glued to the board, continued to play quickly and turned a completely drawn endgame into a lost one. A comedy of errors really. Possibly I already felt under pressure as Howell was racking up such a big score at that stage, that having lost my previous game, it looked like even with a draw my chances would be gone. But sometimes you can try too hard.

A horror game so really I did well to bounce back after that and have a reasonable finish.

Replay the games of the tournament

The hess World Cup starts today which should be exciting- Gawain Jones has a great chance to bounce back as he has a winnable tie in round one, and if he gets through that he'll almost certainly play Gata Kamsky in round two. Overall I'll confidently predict a win for the top seed Levon Aronian, who should be very good at these short match formats.

GM Daniel Gormally is open for chess lessons. You can contact him using this This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Other posts by GM Danny Gormally:

Ghent and now the British
I'll never be fat again!
Lessons learnt!
The sad case of Borislav Ivanov: Part II
Does Anyone Have a Cure for Anger Problems?
The Depth of Chess
Fundraising in chess
Nurturing a Chess Prodigy
The Sad Case of Borislav Ivanov
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men - Part II
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men
One move, one line - Part II
One move, one line
Candidates Final Review & Preview of Upcoming World Championship Match
Would Carlsen have beaten Capablanca?

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Last Updated ( Monday, 12 August 2013 )
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