Chess: eventful British women’s championship breaks 1948 record


A turbulent British Women’s Championship last weekend had some twists and turns and produced a new record. The pre-tournament favorites were England’s Harriet Hunt and Scotland’s Keti Arakhamia-Grant, who in their prime years were both in the world top 10 or near the top 10, but now rarely play. A shock seemed likely when No.3 seed Katarzyna Toma, who combines chess and vet work, defeated his two rusty rivals early in the rounds. Then Toma dropped points to the lower ranked players, while Hunt returned to form, scored 5.5 / 7 and edged Toma by half a point.

It’s been 22 years since Hunt’s last title, and his family and plant genetics work now take up most of his time. The previous record for time between winning championships, 20, was set at Bishopsgate, London in 1948 when Edith Price defeated Eileen Tranmer and won at 76. I witnessed this game and remember Price on the board wearing a large feathered hat as she faced her opponent with a shoot-off of ladies and tricks.

Price was also the owner-manager of Gambit, Crowded London Chess Cafe off Cannon Street, the basement of which hosted the Britain vs USSR radio match in 1946, where code cracker Bletchley Hugh Alexander defeated world No.1 Mikhail Botvinnik.

The annual Oxford v Cambridge varsity match, first staged in 1873 and the world’s oldest chess match, takes place this Saturday at its traditional venue, the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London.

The game starts at 12:30 p.m. and the matches will be broadcast live on The 16 players represent eight nations, and a close game is likely as both teams average around the master level of 2,200.

Puzzle 2441

Maxim Rodshtein v Michael Adams, Bundesliga 2016. Black to move and win. English No.1’s raging laps found the fastest way to end the game.

Click here for solution

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