Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Keeping Up With The Joneses...Not An Easy Matter!

The recent Staunton Memorial Tournament was the seventh in a very
successful series. This year’s event had added significance for your
correspondent due to the inclusion of GM Gawain Jones.

Virtually every step of his chess life has made the headlines (even though
a lot of the early ones only made the chess column of the Teesside Herald
& Post!).

Some memorable highlights include…

Winning the Cleveland Under-9 Championship at the age of five
(needless to say it was at the first attempt!)

Claiming a large number of local scalps on his way up the ranks

Smashing the BCF 200 grading barrier

Setting a World Record by becoming the youngest person to beat an
International Master (Malcolm Pein) in a competitive game

Becoming an International Master thanks to a terrific performance
at the British Championship

Beating Grandmasters - in great style - with alarming regularity

Drawing with Viktor Korchnoy - using the Benko Gambit!

Becoming a Grandmaster!

There have been many other achievements, of course….the above is
merely a quick checklist of those that have stuck in my mind over the
years. There are many more to come too, I’m sure…

Gawain’s performance at the Staunton Memorial was absolutely
outstanding and included smashing victories against such luminaries as
former World Championship Candidate Jon Speelman, Super-GM Loek
van Wely and former World Championship Finalist Jan Timman.

A quick trip over to: http://howardstaunton.com/index.shtml will provide
the full story. It’s a pity that the tournament clashed with this year’s British
Championship; it would have been very interesting indeed to see how far
Gawain could have gone on the road to the national title.

I’m not quite sure what he has to do to become the official ECF Player of
the Year; I’d say his recent achievements are without equal in that
category. It’s high time Gawain was representing his country in the
European Championships and Olympiads on a regular basis.
Anything less would amount to a terrible selection blunder.

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