The British Championships concluded in Hove last week with an exciting, but ultimately inconclusive, play-off for the Title amongst Michael Adams, Matthew Sadler, Tony Miles and John Emms. It is a sobering thought that Sadler and Adams were both in nappies when Miles achieved the Grandmaster title, and it was to be expected that the younger men would prevail in a rapidplay competition. The play-off was at 15 minutes for the game, plus 10 seconds per move. In practice, therefore, the players have to reach 30 moves after 20 minutes, 60 after 25, 90 after 30 and so on. At the end of the play-off John Emms had gleaned a solitary draw against Adams, whereas Adams beat Sadler and Sadler beat Miles. The game between Miles and Adams was a draw. So it was that Matthew Sadler and Michael Adams shared the British Championship, the first time in the event's history that the title has been split.

The three Essex players to take part may all have been a little disappointed. Karl Mah, Eddie Dearing and David Coleman all scored 5/11. David, the senior player, lost his first three rounds but rallied later. Karl's first 6 games included three losses and two draws, although his second round draw against Aaron Summerscale was an excellent result. Summerscale was only half a point short of the title and achieved his final Grandmaster norm. Eddie finished well with 3 points from the last 4 rounds.

One player with Essex connections is Andrew Martin, formerly of the East Ham club and still a correspondence player for the County. Andrew started the tournament especially well, with three wins. Four consecutive draws kept him in contention, but his two losses, in round 7 against John Emms and round 11 against Jon Speelman, were not enough to prevent him from achieving his first Grandmaster Norm. He also won the Best Game prize for his third round win against Jonathan Parker.

In sections other than the Championship, Lawrence Trent's achievements in the under-11 Championship were well documented in last week's Recorder. There was one other British Champion amongst the Essex contingent, and that was by Ron Vallance, of the Chelmsford Club. Ron won the under-100 title with a score of 4.5 / 5. Alan Trent scored 1.5 in this event. Three Essex players took part in the under-125. Barry Fraser scored 3/5, Howard Beriln and Ron Vallance each manged 2.

The Major Open consisted of some 140 competitors, including five from Essex. Andrew Lewis began well, but two losses at the end left him on 6.5 / 11.Neville Twitchell will have been pleased with his 6. The three Essex juniors participating in this event all scored 5. Thomas O'Brien won his first two games, but after that could only manage two more wins and two draws from the remaining 9 games. Tim Hebbes achieved a superb first round win against Roland Cole, but his remaining points were against much more lowly competitors. Matthew Lewsey, the youngest of the three, was given a second-round bye and did not achieve his first full point over the board until round 7.

In the age-group Championships, there were some Essex players who performed very well, and others who did not fulfill their potential. Ellen Walker's grade was the lowest in the under-16 Championship, but her score of 4/7 was enough for her to share 5th place amongst the 12 competitors, but not enough for the Girls' title. This was won by Iva Anguelov, with 5.

Robert Giddens' score in the under-14 Championship was also 4, placing him 9th, and Dominic Allen and Caius Turner, both of the Powdermill club, each scored 3.5 /7 to share 15th place in the 32-player under-13 event. Lawrence Trent once again led the way for the County in the under-12 competition, scoring an excellent 5/7. Graham Walker returned to form with 4, the same score as John Sneesby. Ezra Lutton and Alex O'Neill both managed 3.

Bobby Payne was disappointed with his 4.5/7 in the under-10 Championship. Stewart Trent also scored 4.5, and beat Bobby in their individual encounter. Josiah Lutton's 4 was a little below expectations, and Heather Walker let slip three winning positions and finished on only 3 / 7, well short of the total required for her to win a third consecutive Girls' title. Andrew Murphy lost his first four games but recovered excellently with three wins.

Stewart Trent and Josiah Lutton both played in the under-9 Championship, but Josiah never recovered from a first round loss to finish on 4, and although Stewart remained unbeaten, there were two or three games from which he could secure only a draw when a win seemed the more likely result. He finished on 5/7. Edward Morris scored a creditable 4.

The three best Essex scores in the under-8 Championship were by Andrew Alexandrou, Nathanael Lutton and Lee Wicks, all scoring 3/6. The first two of these each have another year in which to improve on these scores, as does Abigail Flint, whose 2 was short of the Girls' title by two points.

In the non-Championship events, Gary Kenworthy scored a splendid 4.5 / 5 to win the Open A competition in the second week, although your correspondent could manage only a feeble 2 in the same section.

Parker Jonathan - Martin Andrew [A42]

British Championship Hove (4.3), 1997

1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.d5 Nd4 6.Be3 c5 7.Nge2 Qb6 8.Nxd4 cxd4 9.Na4 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Qc7 11.c5 Nf6 12.f3 0-0 13.Rc1 e6 14.Bb4 exd5 15.cxd6 Qd8 16.e5 Re8 17.f4 Ne4 18.Qxd4 Qh4+ 19.g3 Nxg3 20.hxg3 Qxh1 21.Kf2 h5 22.Rc3 h4 23.Bg2 Qh2 24.gxh4 Qxh4+ 25.Ke3 Rxe5+ 26.fxe5 Bh6+ 27.Kd3 Bf5+ 28.Be4 Bxe4+ 29.Ke2 Bf3+ 30.Kd3 Be2+ 0-1