Last Saturday, Gawain Jones was celebrating the win of his first British Chess Championship title in North Shields – but the popular young English grandmaster turned it into a double celebration with the confirmation of his invitation to play at the London Chess Classic, at Kensington Olympia, 1-10 December, 2012.
This is the biggest event of Gawain Jones’s career, and he now joins World No 1 Magnus Carlsen, World Champion Vishy Anand, World No 2 Levon Aronian, the defending champion Vladimir Kramnik, the UK No 1 Mickey Adams, and Women’s World No 1 Judit Polgar in the confirmed line-up so far for the year-ending elite spectacular in London.
Yorkshire-born Jones, 24, has risen rapidly through the junior ranks to mature into one of England’s best young hopefuls in the game today, who along with Luke McShane and David Howell are all vying to replace the long-standing top dogs of Adams and Nigel Short.
The latest Fide world rankings also shows him established in the world top 100.
And while the London Chess Classic will see him rise onto the elite stage for the first time, he will certainly be no pushover, as some may think, judging by his past results: He top-scored with 75 percent for the England team in the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansisk, and then went on to take first equal with GM Simon Williams at the London Chess Classic Open, ahead of Boris Avrukh and Abhijeet Gupta.
In 2011, he won the Bunratty Masters, ahead of former world championship challenger Short, whom he defeated; also in the same year, he won the Commonwealth Championship title. And now, he’s the new 2012 British Champion.