Results and pairings
The 2014 British Chess Championships were held at the University of Aberystwyth from 19 July to 2 August, and marked the first return of the Championships to Wales since Swansea 2006: Aberystwyth had previously been the venue in 1955 (won by Harry Golombek) and 1961 (won by Jonathan Penrose). As a result of the Olympiad taking place in Tromsø from 1 to 14 August, the normal schedule of the Championship (11 rounds starting on Monday with a rest day on the middle Sunday) was amended, and the event started on Saturday 19th, with a rest day on the middle Saturday. This rescheduling enabled David Howell to defend the title that he had won outright at Torquay in 2013.
A field of 58 contested the Championship, including seven grandmasters (David Howell, Nick Pert, Mark Hebden, John Emms, Keith Arkell, Simon Williams and Chris Ward). However, it was IM Jonathan Hawkins who took the sole lead in round 4: after winning his first six games, Jonathan was 1½ points ahead of the field. These six wins included the following round 5 victory against Daniel Fernandez.
Jonathan drew his last five games, and it became a question of whether any of the GMs, could take advantage of this slowing of the pace by scoring heavily enough to catch him in the remaining rounds. The most likely contender was David Howell, who closed to within half a point coming into the last round as a result of wins against Chris Ward and Daniel Fernandez. In round 11, Hawkins drew as Black against Richard Pert, but Howell won the following game against Mark Hebden.
In view of the pending Olympiad, there was no play off on this occasion, and Jonathan and David shared the British, as well as the English, title. Jonathan’s result represented a GM norm, but it did not help him secure the title in view of the lack of foreign players faced: happily this was to be rectified at the Isle of Man International in October. The British an English Women’s titles were won by Amy Hoare, while the Alexander best game prize went to Chris Ward for his round 3 victory against Mark Hebden
The Championship is only one of many events that took place during the fortnight. A full list of prize-winners appears below. In addition to the regular financial support from the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust and the Permanent Investment Fund, help and support was provided by the following — Aberystwyth Town Council; British Chess Magazine; Ceredigion County Council; Ceredigion Museum; Chess & Bridge; Everyman Chess; Gambit Chess; Quality Chess; Sussex Junior Chess; Tourist Partnership Mid-Wales
An event of this nature does not take place successfully without a great deal of hard work by volunteers in the playing halls and behind the scenes. Thanks are due to the members of the control team and other contributors — Congress Manager: Kevin Staveley; Congress Treasurer: John Philpott; Chief Arbiter: Peter Purland; Principal Arbiters: David Eustace, Dave Thomas, David Welch (Chairman of Appeals); Arbiters: Matt Carr, Russell Dodington, Ian Eustis, Geoff Gammon, Alex Holowczak, Tony Tatam, John Thornton and Tom Thorpe; DGT Boards: David Clayton; Games inputters: Arnold Lutton, Nathanael Lutton, IM Jack Rudd and Samantha Thomas; Commentary: IM Andrew Martin and IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar; Coaching: WGM Sheila Jackson and IM Vaidyanathan Ravikumar; Website: Andrew Walker