Listen to this article
Gawain Jones has become the new England No1 following the 31-year-old Yorkshireman’s career-best victory in the traditional TePe Sigeman & Co international tournament at Malmo, Sweden.
The twice British champion scored an unbeaten 5/7 in an elite field, finishing half a point ahead of the top seeded Indian No2, Pentala Harikrishna.
Jones is now ranked No32 in the world with his highest ever international rating of 2709, some 15-20 points ahead of his England team colleagues Michael Adams, David Howell and Luke McShane. This quartet won silver for England at the world team championship in Kazakhstan in March.
Adams, and before him Nigel Short, had between them been No1 for around 30 years in a vintage era for English chess, and in that period both reached world championship finals. Short challenged Garry Kasparov in 1993, while Adams reached the Fide title final in 2004. Now Short is 53 and Adams 47, beyond the peak age for top grandmasters.
Paradoxically, a bad defeat helped to spark Jones’s current surge. Magnus Carlsen blundered a bishop against him at Wijk 2018, then recovered to win. But for the rest of 2018 and again this year Jones steadily advanced in the Faroes, Dubai, Sharjah, Reykjavik and the British championship. Continuous action as long as your winning run lasts is a tested formula at all levels of sporting competition.
White to play: what result? Apparently a trivial puzzle this week in a strange position with very few pieces and all the action in the top left-hand corner — but check your answer carefully.
Click here for solution
Get alerts on Chess when a new story is published