My son and I visited the British Championships on Friday and watched much of round 5. It was nice to see old friends and colleagues and the playing conditions were very good. On the other hand it was hardly representative of the real strength of British Chess, at the top there are 7 of the UK’s International Grandmasters (out of 36) but this falls off rapidly with only 6 International Masters and just 3 players in the 2300 to 2399 range.
We sat in the commentary room for a while and International Master Andrew Martin was entertaining and instructive as usual. But he faced a tough challenge when being inundated by opening references and computer generated statistics/analysis from weaker players in the room.
Comparing this with previous Championships I can’t help thinking that something is amiss both with British chess and the game in general. Could it be that chess in this form is no longer very interesting? Who wants to know that particular moves score X%, player Y has a particular rating or that an engine assesses a position as +0.47?
Here anyway is Andrew’s commentary on the round 4 game of the day: