Chess

British Knockout Championship semi-finals

• England top 4 Mickey Adams, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane all negotiate their way through a tough quarter-final stage to qualify for the British Knockout Championship semi-finals.

• David Howell triumphs eventually over IM Ravi Haria in a rapid playoff, despite almost coming to grief in the first Classical game.

• Semi-Finals pit Adams vs McShane and Howell vs Jones.

• Live coverage of the Semi-Final matches, starting Tuesday at 11:00 UTC, is available on the London Chess Classic website.

British Knockout ch

Despite valiant efforts from the underdogs in the British Knockout, England Olympiad team members Mickey Adams, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane all managed to win their Quarter-Final matches – although not without a struggle.

Qtr Fina1 1 1 2 3 4 A
Simon Williams 2466 ½ 0 - - - ½
Mickey Adams 2706 ½ 1 - - - 1½

Qtr Fina1 2 1 2 3 4 A
David Howell 2697 ½ ½ 1 1 - 3
Ravi Haria 2436 ½ ½ 0 0 - 1

Qtr Fina1 3 1 2 3 4 A
Gawain Jones 2683 1 ½ - - - 1½
Alan Merry 2429 0 ½ - - - ½

Qtr Fina1 4 1 2 3 4 A
Jonathan Hawkins 2579 ½ 0 - - - ½
Luke McShane 2667 ½ 1 - - - 1½

David Howell had the closest shave of all the top seeds, only managing to qualify for the Semi-Finals after winning a nail-biting playoff match 2-0 against IM Ravi Haria.

Elsewhere, Mickey Adams enjoyed a convincing victory in Game 2 of his match, after putting GM Simon Williams’s central king position under pressure in a double-edged Sicilian Richter-Rauzer. As his position started to crumble, Williams launched a desperate knight sacrifice against Adams’ king, but to no avail.

Gawain Jones, after his Game 1 win against IM Alan Merry, opted for a pawn sacrifice and active play with an ‘octopus’ knight to keep the balance, drawing comfortably in a rook endgame to ensure qualification.

Luke McShane played a nicely controlled endgame to knock out GM Jonathan Hawkins, using a strong rook on the seventh rank and an active king to bring home the point.

After a break on Monday, for the Pro-Biz Cup at Google HQ in London, the Semi-Finals resume on Tuesday.

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The London Chess Classic is the UK’s largest chess tournament and the concluding leg of the Grand Chess Tour, an international circuit of world-class chess events inspired by legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov. It is the flagship event of Chess in Schools and Communities and includes a range of amateur and age-grade competitions for 1,000s of children from the charity initiative nationwide.

By Tim Wall

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