Chess: How does White win?
WITH all the elite tournaments overlapping one another right now, it might be easy to miss the fact that the British championship got under way on Monday in Sheffield, and is one of the strongest in the event's 107-year history, with all of England's top grandmasters taking part.
The strong entry reflects new sponsorship by Darwin Strategic and the work by the English Chess Federation minor-celeb president Conor de Mooi (CJ from BBC2's Eggheads). First prize is 8,000, nearly double that of 2010, with – controversially – extra fees and conditions for the top English players.
Grandmaster favourites among the 82-player field includes former elite stars and world championship finalists Michael Adams, 39, and Nigel Short, 46. From a younger generation, there's David Howell, 20, and newly crowned Commonwealth champion Gawain Jones, 23.
There are no Scottish grandmasters playing in Sheffield – this is part of the controversy that we'll return to in a later column – but we do have two young rising stars there in Clement Sreeves and Calum MacQueen. Sreeves had a fantastic Scottish championship earlier this month, and his hot form is evident in Sheffield after beating English GM Nick Pert to start on a perfect 2/2.
C Sreeves - N Pert98th British Ch., (2)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 c5 4 exd5 Qxd5 5 Ngf3 cxd4 6 Bc4 Qd8 7 0–0 Nc6 8 Nb3 a6 9 Nbxd4 Nxd4 10 Nxd4 Bd6 11 Bb3 Qc7 12 h3 Ne7 13 Qe2 Bd7 14 Rd1 0–0–0 15 Be3 e5 16 Nf3 f6 17 Nd2 Bf5 18 Nc4 Bc5 19 Rxd8+ Rxd8 20 Rd1 Rxd1+ 21 Qxd1 Kb8 22 Bxc5 Qxc5 23 Qd8+ Nc8 24 Ne3 Bg6 25 Be6 Qc6 26 Bb3 Qc7 27 Qg8 Ka7 28 Nd5 Qd7 29 Qf8 Nd6 30 Ne7 a5 31 a4 Qc7 32 c3 Qb6 33 Bd5! Bc2 34 Qxg7 Bxa4 35 Qxf6 Bd7 36 Qxe5 a4 37 Be6 Bxe6 38 Qxe6 Qxb2 39 Qxd6 a3 40 Qd4+ Ka8 41 Qa4+ Kb8 42 Qe8+ Ka7 43 Nc8+ Kb8 44 Nd6+ Kc7 45 Qe5 Qb1+ 46 Kh2 a2 47 Nc4+ Kd7 48 Qd6+ Ke8 49 Qe6+ Kd8 50 Qf6+ Ke8 51 Ne5 Qb3 52 c4 Qa4 53 Qe6+ Kd8 54 Nf7+ Kc7 55 Qd6+ Kc8 56 Qd8 mate 1–0