A dramatic and controversial online British championship finished last weekend with victory for grandmaster Keith Arkell on 7.5 points from nine games. Aged 60, he is the oldest-ever winner, surpassing Dr Stefan Fazekas at 59 in 1957. However, the online title is not part of the over-the-board series expected to resume this October.

One day before victory, Arkell looked out of it, but his eighth-round defeat was reversed when his opponent — whose only recorded over-the-board results were five games a decade ago — was disqualified for allegedly violating the host site Chess.com’s fair play policy.

Michael Adams, the England No 1 and defending online champion, finished a point behind Arkell after conceding too many draws. In the final round, Adams dropped half a point to 10-year-old Frederick Gordon, an outstanding Scottish talent. Gordon stood worse, but fought back into a drawn endgame.

Gordon, a pupil at Edinburgh’s George Heriot’s School, finished fifth on 5.5/9, with grandmasters in the top three places and the under-16 champion fourth. His official pre-pandemic rating was a modest 1,759, amateur standard, while his current form is 2,250, master level and a phenomenal improvement. Gordon has the potential to become Scotland’s all-time best. 

Internationally, US champion Wesley So won the online Chessable Masters, the penultimate event on the Meltwater Tour. That was despite a crushing 19-move defeat by the rising Netherlands star Jorden van Foreest.

Puzzle 2431

He vs Brunner, online speed game 2021. Black to move and win. Clue: White has the imminent threats of Qxg7 mate and Qxe6+, so Black needs drastic measures.

For solution, click here

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