Sunday, July 22, 2012

British Chess Championship

Tomorrow, the 2012 British Chess Championships starts. As I know a lot of the players in both the Championship and the Major Open I'll be following it with interest. Actually, I have to admit that since the World Championship has ended, I've really enjoyed the high level chess that has been happening around the world. First the Tal Memorial, then the Russian Higher League and Dortmund have all been great with interesting stuff at the match between Russia and China and the mass of open tournaments around the world. Besides the British Champs, world number 1 Magnus Carlsen will be in action at Biel where he comes up against strong opposition in Nakamura and Morozevich. However, though I'll be keeping an eye on this, my mind will be firmly fixed on the North of England, and the British Championships.

It is a tournament I never played in, though I did qualify for it. Unfortunately, the year I qualified was the year I emigrated to Australia so I ended up not playing. This year there are 7 Grandmasters (Jones, Howell, Gordon, Turner, Gormally, Conquest, Arkell) and 6 International Masters (Hawkins, Palliser, Hanley, Houska, Kolbus and Rudd) out of a field of 62 players. A bit further down the list, I'll be watching to see how Don Mason and Mike Surtees get on. I always used to have some great games with Don in the Birmingham league back in the 1990's and I hope he has a good tournament. I've also had a few games against Mike Surtees, mostly at weekend congresses in the North West of England, and they usually turned out to be hard fought affairs. Mike also has his own thoughts on opening theory so his games are certainly not tied down with theoretical dogma!

To help me follow these, I've checked out some blogs and websites that I'm going to read for the next 2 weeks (at least). I guess I should really be following some British sites, so I'm going to use the following:

- Streatham and Brixton Chess Blog seems to updated regularly, with a group of different contributors
- Steve Giddins blog should have good content regarding on and off the board action
- The Week in Chess (TWIC) Although some games will be published live on the British Championship site, I will use the live games server at TWIC as well, and follow commentary by Malcolm Pein. The advantage of TWIC is that it can show other tournaments live at the same time!

I have also subscribed to the following blogs
- Alexandra Kosteniuk's blog is a news blog which on first look seems excellent is a totally random choice of blog to follow, but when I had a look at it I really enjoyed the writing style, and the local flavour of the content, which is what I usually strive for here. It also has an awesome set of links!

Finally, here's a game to hearten underdogs in the British Championship. The unpredictable Mike Surtees plays his own brand of chess, which will no doubt give him some unpredictable results. Here he plays a GM in the 2009 British Rapidplay Championships and by move must surely be close to lost. Maybe you should try to guess the move for black in this game!

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