— by Mark Jordan, Manager of Publicity Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Play started today with Michael Adams in a ½ point lead on 7/8 over Gawain Jones and with the players unsurprisingly paired against each other with Jones having White. Since Adams had already vanquished his other main rival, David Howell, and a win would guarantee him lead of 1 point over the field whilst a loss would put Jones ahead of the pack, this game was a game of crucial importance. Jones played the English which morphed into a sort of reverse Benoni and, although the computer assessed the position as equal early on, White’s position was constricted and Black was soon able to assume the initiative. A tactical flurry later, leading to a queen against a Rook advantage in favour of Adams left Jones with the forlorn hope of Queening his c-pawn. Adams soon wrapped things up and achieved his 1 point lead over the field.
It seems unlikely that anyone will catch Adams now with only two rounds remaining and his main rivals behind him but, if he keeps up the present momentum and wins his final two games he will equal the record score of 10/11 as well as capturing the title. Since the British will be run on a shorter format next year this is probably the last time that such a score could be achieved.
Jovanka Houska drew with Black against Fodor, is now on 6/9, and with a 1.5 lead over her nearest rival there is only a mathematical chance that she will not regain the British Women’s title.