In view of the ongoing Corona pandemic the 12th London Chess Classic was played on a smaller scale but it took place. The focus of the event was a match between three English and three international players, which was won by the “Rest of the World”. There were also a number of side events, and last weekend the Classic concluded with the English Rapidplay Championship.
Ten English players took part, including the five grandmasters Michael Adams, Gawain Jones, Luke McShane, Daniel Gormally and Jon Speelman. Lawrence Trent, best known to most chess fans as an eloquent commentator, was the best-known non-GM.
Among the lesser-known participants was Ameet Ghasi (born 1987), a strong IM who won the British Rapid Chess Championships in 2000 at the age of 13 to become the youngest winner in the history of that event. Ameet Ghasi and his twin brother Sumeet Ghasi were considered great chess talents in their youth, but preferred to concentrate on their professional careers. Ameet Ghasi studied biochemistry and now works at Deloitte.
Among the younger participants was Marcus Harvey, born in 1996, who comes from Oxford, attended Marlborough School, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, and began studying mathematics at the University of Southampton in 2014. A little younger still is Andrew Horton, born in 1998. In 2015 Andrew Horton became FIDE Master, in 2018 International Master.
The youngest participant was Ravi Haria, born in 1999. Ravi Haria, IM since 2017, won the British U18 Championship as a 15-year-old in 2014. He qualified for the 2021 World Cup, where he eliminated GM Vadim Zvjaginsev in round one after a play-off. In round two, however, Haria was eliminated by Etienne Bacrot, also in a play-off.
The English Rapidplay Championships were played on Saturday and Sunday in a ten-player round robin. Luke McShane and Gawain Jones set a fast pace that even former World Championship candidate Michael Adams couldn’t keep up with and both finished the tournament with 7.0/9 to share first. But Gawain Jones won the play-off 2:0.
In round 4 Jones defeated Jon Speelman with a surprisingly swift attack.
Speelman,Jon S (2504) – Jones,Gawain C B (2665) [A15]
12th LCC English Rapid London ENG (2.4), 11.12.2021
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.b3 Bg7 4.Bb2 c5 5.e3 0–0 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0–0 d5 8.cxd5 Qxd5 9.Nc3 Qf5 10.Rc1 Rd8 11.d3 b6 12.a3 Bb7 13.Qc2 White opted for a Hedgehog with reversed colours but already has a slightly uncomfortable position.
13…Rac8 14.Qb1 Qe6 15.Ba1 Ng4
Intending to take on e3.
16.Rfe1 A good reaction was 16.Ng5 Qf5 17.Nge4.
16…Nce5 16…Nxe3? 17.Bf1
17.Nxe5 Bxe5 Bringing trouble to the white king.
18.h3? Necessary was 18.Bxg4 Qxg4 19.e4.
18…Bh2+ 19.Kf1 19.Kh1 Nxf2+ 20.Kxh2 Qe5+ 21.Kg1 Qg3 22.e4 Nxh3+ 23.Kh1 Nf4 24.Bf1 g5 followed by Rc6–h6.
19…Nxe3+ 20.fxe3 Qf5+ 20…Qf5+ 21.Bf3 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Qxf3# 0–1