Mark Hebden

Mark Hebden defies his age by winning seventh British Rapidplay title
Leonard Barden
Friday 6 November 2015 13.33 EST

Speed chess is popular and a large global internet audience watched Magnus Carlsen perform last month at the world rapid and blitz championships in Berlin. The UK version took place last weekend when the annual British Rapidplay, 11 rounds of one-hour games spread over two days, was staged in Leeds.

Nigel Short won the inaugural event in 1986 and the rollcall of winners includes the English grandmaster elite of Michael Adams, John Nunn, David Howell and Gawain Jones. Even one of the golden Soviets played in 1991, when Lev Polugaevsky was joint first.

The 2015 renewal was more low-key but produced a close race among the four top seeds. Mark Hebden, the only GM in the field, was challenged by the international masters Ameet Ghasi and Simon Ansell as well as by Dan Fernandez, the Cambridge student who already has two GM norms. This quartet vied for the lead throughout and at the end a whisker separated them. Hebden and Ghasi shared the title on 9/11, followed by Ansell and Fernandez on 8.5.

It was another triumph for Hebden. The Leicester grandmaster is aged 57 but continues to perform at a high level. He first won the British Rapid in 1990 and this was his seventh title in 25 years.

Hebden’s chess longevity, in an era when many top players wind down after 40, reflects his relaxed approach and his skilled use of opening systems which he knows in depth.

Full article here.

Tags: ,
Share: 0