Lowest Graded British Champion

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Keith Arkell
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:29 am

Here's my list of the best who haven't won(order only approximate).It's a mixture of the current rating list + the best of the rest (since the British chess explosion).More emphasis on the current list obviously because standards go up.

D.howell
L.McShane
G.Jones
M.Chandler
S.Haslinger
S.Gordon
N.Pert
J.Parker
S.Williams
M.Turner
D.King
M.Hebden
P.Wells
D.Gormally
M.Stean
D.Norwood
D.kumuran
P.Motwani
J.Emms

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:33 am

Too modest to put yourself on there I see Keith 8)
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Keith Arkell
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:20 am

Ok I forgot a few - also add kosten,Flear,Davies ; and If they don't win it soon then IMs D'Costa and Trent will become strong enough to make the list.

Of these Stean(1974),Chandler(1986),Kumuran(1993),and Emms(1997) have tasted winnning the tournament,but not the title.Myself too(2008) if I were on the list,but it's not for me to make that presumption.

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Gavin Strachan
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Gavin Strachan » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:20 am

I thought D'Costa was a GM. Staunton never won though it never existed in his time.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:36 am

I liked Leonard's comment at the co-winners in 1954 - they weren't that bad! Keene was very strong in the early 70s and did produce some beautiful games. Not relevant to the question, but wasn't Fazekas the one who got his false teeth out and put them by the side of the board to distract his opponent?

Surely Mike Basman gets a mention? Botwinnik thought he was the most promising young British player in 1967(?), and he was a pretty good judge. Without looking it up, I think Mike lost a play-off to Bill Hartston one year.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:52 am

The list of winners is here.

As ever with these things you run into the question of how much standards have improved and hence whether the question should be approached absolutely or relatively.

Among relatively recent winners Michael Hennigan perhaps stands out as being less trong than the rest?
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JustinHorton
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:54 am

I hadn't heard of Gordon Crown: there's some information here.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:05 am

JustinHorton wrote:.

As ever with these things you run into the question of how much standards have improved and hence whether the question should be approached absolutely or relatively.
Penrose won every year from 1958 to 1969 apart from Haygarth in 1965 and Lee in 1966. Apart from the winners before and after his dominance, it's difficult to think of any challengers that might plausibly claim to have missed out. In contrast, particularly from 1980 onwards, there's a long list of potential winners.

You might consider potential winners in that era to have been perhaps PH Clarke, the Littlewoods (JE and N) or Owen Hindle. None would come particularly high in any all time British list.

Mike Gunn
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Mike Gunn » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:14 am

<Surely Mike Basman gets a mention? Botwinnik thought he was the most promising young British player in 1967(?), and he was a pretty good judge. Without looking it up, I think Mike lost a play-off to Bill Hartston one year.>

This was 1973. I went to one of the games in the playoff (which in those days was a week long match) held in some hotel at Heathrow Airport which was fairly inaccessible to public transport, involving several changes on the tube and buses.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:10 pm

I spent a week in the company of Peter Griffiths recently.He was active in the 60s and played in a couple of Championships during that period.He told me quite frankly that the standards were far far lower back then. Even looking at 1972,however much Eley winning was an upset(and I used to play him as a junior in weekenders so I know what his level was),it would be a tough ask for a player like him to beat 50% today.
Basman duffed me up a few times in my early years,and there is/was clearly something special about his approach and understanding of chess,but I think in real terms he has never been stronger than for example IMs like Pein,Lane and Martin.Wikipedia has his peak rating as 2410.
However,if we are talking about relative to their world ranking at the time,rather than their objective playing strength,which is an entirely different matter of coure,then there are those such as Basman who should be included in the list.

By the was,apologies to James Howell and Aaron Summerscale-they of course should be on my list.And apologies also to those who are just below my cut off point.There are some strong players around 2450 who are still inside the best 30 or so to have not won,ahead of 100s of 1000s of players

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:38 pm

You are not really being very selective, Keith - how could all 20 or so of your list of "strongest never to have won the British" have won it, unless the event were to be held three times per year?

My list would be smaller. It would start with players who played regularly and came very close, preferably more than once. You, Keith, would be on it (you have twice entered the last round with a good chance of winning it) - but not Hebden, who has never entered the last round with serious chances. Nor Kumaran, who came close in 1993 but never bothered to try again subsequently.

Chandler, I agree, is the next choice, and we might already be able to include Gordon, Emms and Haslinger. I am less sure about Parker and McShane who each came close once or twice but who have hardly made consistent efforts to win it. If you were to count them, you would have to include Harikrishna and Sashikiran too.

(David) Howell does not even make my list - yet. James Howell comes closer!

Keith Arkell
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:48 pm

Actually,3 times Jonathan :x I was 1st = after 10 rounds at Dundee '93 but lost horribly with White to kumuran's wicked piece of Malcolm Pein assisted opening prep :(

I was determining players according to how strong they are/were(hence my inclusion of eg David Howell and Gawain)rather than how close they came to winning,but both approaches are interesting

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:06 pm

Yes, but damning Basman by saying his peak Elo rating was "only 2410" is pretty meaningless; firstly we all know just how colossally said ratings have inflated in the last 20-odd years, and secondly he was that rare being in competitive chess - somebody who *didn't* always care about the result above all else :)

What is the highest "Sonas" rating for Basman, out of interest?
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Keith Arkell
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:50 pm

Matt,I already said that if we were going according to the player's world ranking at the time then Basman should count.

I have said elsewhere that I believe that any statistical inflation in the rating system is far outweighed by the continuing rise in standards at all levels.So that although we can show, through maths, that for instance a rating of 2000 has become eg 2040 a decade later through the system gaining points;still,while those 40 points were being gained artificially,the actual strength in real terms of all 2000 players became (let us say)2100.
I don't know the exact degree of overal improvement,but it is easy to see that if everyone gets stronger then this will not show in the ratings,as these only measure players ratings relative to each other.
Put simply,you have to improve with the times just to maintain your position.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Lowest Graded British Champion

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:56 pm

Keith Arkell wrote: I have said elsewhere that I believe that any statistical inflation in the rating system is far outweighed by the continuing rise in standards at all levels.
We have had this discussion before I think :D Yes, there is *some* truth in what you say, but......

Looking back at some of my games (a rather less elevated level than yours, natch :wink: ) from the 1980s, I do wonder if my play has improved *that* much - but my grading has! Yes I know more about openings, endgame technique and stuff like that; but still make mistakes similar to those I made back then :(
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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