Grandmaster Michael Adams turned in a superlative performance earlier this month to win the British Championship for the fifth time. The first occasion was 27 years ago in Plymouth. Adams’s performance on this occasion included victories with the black pieces against the two former British champions David Howell and Gawain Jones. Adams’s score of 10/11 equals the record set up by Julian Hodgson. It is likely that this record will never be broken, since the English Chess Federation in their wisdom have decided from now on to reduce the number of rounds in the Championship from 11 to 9.
Howell-Adams; British Championship, Bournemouth 2016 (diagram 1)
After a fashionable Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez, Adams overcame Howell’s attacking ambitions and worked up a modest endgame edge into the full point. 32 … c4 33 dxc4 Rf6 34 c5 Qd8 35 Rf1 Rxf7 36 Rxf7 c6 37 Kb2 Qd1 38 Rb7 Qxh5 39 Qg3 Qe8 40 Kc3 Qe6 41 Kb4 Qa2 42 Ka5 Qxc2 43 Qxe5 Qd3 44 Kb6 Qxa3 45 Kxc6 Qd3 46 Rb8 Rxb8 47 Qxb8+ Kh7 48 Qe5 Qa6+ 49 Kd5 a3 50 Qf5+ Kg8 51 c6 Qb5+ 52 Kd6 Qxf5 53 exf5 a2 54 c7 a1Q 55 c8Q+ Kh7 and Adams went on to convert his advantage in 77 moves.
Jones-Adams; British Championship, Bournemouth 2016 (diagram 2)
Adams has built up powerfully on the black side of a reversed Benoni position and now executes a classic central breakthrough. 24 … e4 25 dxe4 Nxe4 White’s main problem is that this knight will land on c3. 26 Bf4 Qd8 27 Nd2 Nc3 28 Rxe7 Rxe7 29 Rxe7 Utter desperation but 29 Qa1 Ne2+ 30 Kh1 d3 is crushing. 29 … Nxd1 30 Rxb7 Bd6 31 Bxd6 Qxd6 32 c5 Qe5 33 c6 Qe1+ 34 Kh2 Bf5 35 Ne4 Bxe4 36 Rb8+ Kh7 37 Bxe4+ Qxe4 38 c7 Nxf2 39 Kg1 Nxh3+ 40 Kh2 Qc2+ White resigns
Adams-Gormally; British Championship, Bournemouth 2016 (diagram 3)
Adams terminates the game with a quiet move which leaves his grandmaster opponent utterly helpless. 40 Qd3 Black resigns 41 Rd8 will be decisive.