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England has six elite grandmasters normally ranked among the world top 100. Nigel Short is playing in Moscow while Matthew Sadler is busy with his IT work, but the other four are all in action at the current £50,000 British KO championship at London’s Olympia Conference Centre.

The longtime England No1 Michael Adams, his likely heirs apparent Gawain Jones and David Howell, and the top amateur Luke McShane, who doubles as a GM and financial trader, were top seeded so were kept apart in last weekend’s quarter-finals.

Before that there was an interesting preliminary round involving two qualifiers, two rising talents, England’s two highest rated women, the veteran John Nunn, and the former champion Jonathan Hawkins.

The outstanding incident in the early rounds was Howell’s narrow escape against the Hertfordshire junior Ravi Haria,19, who had the three-time British champion at his mercy but missed a simple chance for a winning ending. Howell recovered, won a speed tie-break, and met Jones in the semi-final.

Adams has been the national No1 for nearly 20 years now, so every event like this is a test of his status.

The three-day final this weekend is free and live to view online from 2pm onwards.

Puzzle 2294

Hikaru Nakamura v Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, chess.com 2018. Nakamura (White, to play) is one of the world’s best speed players, but with first prize hanging on this diagram he got it wrong. Can you do better than the elite grandmaster?

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