There were few early upsets, although the sole Essex-based competitor, David Coleman, will prefer to forget his first week. He began with three losses, and its was not until round 6 that he registered his first win, against Alan Barton (Lancashire). The top two seeds, Nigel Short and Matthew Sadler, were the only players to remain on 100% for 4 rounds, so they were obliged to play one another in round 5. Remarkably for two players who have been at the pinnacle of British Chess, in Short's case for almost 20 years and in Sadler's for 5 or so, they have never played one another apart from one simultaneous display when Sadler was still at school. This game was eagerly awaited and the crowd was not disappointed.
It was not classically good chess. Indeed, at one point IM Malcolm Pein commented that Sadler was playing "appallingly badly", but it was a fascinating battle. Initially Sadler appeared to be taking the initiative as black's king-side pawns became doubled and isolated, but then Short completely turned the tables as he out pressure on white's c3 knight. Indeed, the exchanges which occurred there left white with such poor pawns that it seemed inevitable that he must lose. However, Sadler is nothing if not a fighter and he dug in excellently, although a pawn down. This game carried on for almost the entire 7 hours allotted to it, and was finally agreed drawn after some 72 moves had been played and each side had a pawn poised to queen.
In other events, there were some sterling performances by Essex competitors. Gary Kenworthy (Powdermill) score 5/6 in the first Rapidplay to take second place, and Gary was being closely shadowed throughout the tournament by Ellen Walker. Ellen's only loss was in the final round, against Grandmaster Aaron Summerscale. She finished on 4, taking the prize for players graded under 140.
The first week's Junior events failed to provide Essex players with any Championships, but there were some very creditable performances. Josiah Lutton was sole leader in the under-11 after 4 rounds, but then two losses from his last three games left him on 5 points. Bobby Payne found himself with a difficult position against William Bennett, a strong Cambridgeshire player, in the final round, but showed his characteristic tenacity to pull off a fine win. Heather Walker was a little unfortunate as final round pairing decision deprived her of any chance of the Girls' title. Heather was lying third amongst the girls, a point behind Sabrina Chevannes (Birmingham) and Elizabeth Roberts (Manchester) at the start of the last round, but because these two were paired (not the natural pairing), no matter what the result of her game Heather would be unable to catch at least oneof them. As it happened, Heather played especially well to beat Lee Gold, one of the leading players in the age group, and Sabrina Chevannes won the girls' title after an excellent week's work in which she was the only player to beat the eventual Champion, Chetan Deva (Surrey).
Lawrence Trent (Ilford) played extremely well in the under-13 Championships. After a first round setback, in which he drew against someone he was expected to beat, he worked his way up the board order until he played the Tournament Leader, Lorin d'Costa (Herts). Lorin had earlier made himself extremely popular with the England selectors by inflicting defeat on Kumardip Chakrborty, an Indian player who over the past two years has entered the British Championships and won almost everything it was possible for him to win. Lorin appeared to be extending his 100% record against Lawrence as he won the exchange. However, an endgame was reached in which Lawrence established two passed pawns on the fifth rank and Lorin decided that he was not going to risk defeat in the now muddied waters of a difficult endgame. This draw was the only one Lorin conceded on his way to a well-deserved Under-13 Title.
In the following game, played in round 6 of the British Championship, the top seed may well feel that he missed a chance.
Short,N - Rowson,J [B92]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 10.Nd5 Nbd7 11.Qd3 Rc8 12.c4 Nc5 13.Nxc5 dxc5 14.b3 Bxd5 15.cxd5 Bd6 16.a4 Qe7 17.g3 c4 18.bxc4 Bc5 19.Bd2 Ra8 20.Kg2 Rfc8 21.Bc3 Bd6 22.Rab1 Qc7 23.f4 Nd7 24.f5 b6 25.Bd2 Rab8 26.Qf3 Qd8 27.h4 Nc5 28.Ra1 Be7 29.Rh1 Nb7 30.g4 Nd6 31.Rac1 f6 32.a5 Nb7 33.axb6 Qxb6 34.g5 Nc5 35.Be3 Qb2 36.Rcd1 Nxe4 37.Rb1 Qa2 38.Ra1 Qb2 39.Rhb1 Qc2 40.Rc1 Qb2 41.Rab1 Qa2 42.Rxb8 Rxb8 43.Kf1 Ba3 44.Qxe4 Bxc1 45.Bxc1 Qa1 46.Qe3 Rb1 47.Kg2 Rxc1 48.Qb6 Qa2 49.Qd8+ Kf7 50.Qd7+ ½-½
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