Hull Grandmaster Challenge 2016 – Luke McShane

Hull Grandmaster Challenge 2016

Sunday June 5th 2016 saw the 3rd Hull Grandmaster Challenge following two successful events in 2014 and 2015 against Gawain Jones and David Howell respectively. The current world number 69 and second highest English ranked player in the world, Luke McShane came to Hull. The venue was the excellent Elizabethan Suite at the Mecure Royal Hull Hotel. The day followed the same format as previously – a blitz in the morning and then a full simultaneous in the afternoon.

Hull Grandmaster Challenge 2016.

Dave Stephenson gives Luke McShane his best efforts in the blitz.

In the morning a blitz session Luke took on seven players (with grades ranging from 192 to 132) with just 60 seconds on his clock to five minutes on ‘ours’. A 7-0 whitewash to Luke, although he only just managed to defeat Eric Gardiner (182) with one second remaining on his clock! Ryan Burgin (192) had an excellent position, but then lost twice on the same move (once on time and once for an illegal move – is this a record!). After three years of this blitz format the scores are: Grandmasters 18.5, Hull 1.5. Something doesn’t quite seem right here!!

GM Gawain Jones 6/6 = 100%
GM David Howell 5.5/7 = 79%
GM Luke McShane 7/7 = 100%

The afternoon simultaneous was formally opened by the Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull and Admiral of the Humber, Cllr Sean Chaytor who made the first move on the top board (d4). There were 31 opponents with players from Harrogate, Leeds and Sheffield supplementing local players. The first player to lose ‘fell’ after 85 minutes. Although the simultaneous lasted just over four hours in all the majority of players were defeated between 160 and 220 minutes. David Howell in 2015 didn’t lose a single game, Luke McShane just one (as had Gawain Jones). Luke was graded over 2700 before returning to full time employment. His victories include a win over world champion Carlsen, but this year an outstanding performance saw Mate Ther of Harrogate, aged 10, defeat Luke McShane fair and square to win the prize of a copy of Fritz, kindly donated by Chess Direct.

Hull Grandmaster Challenge 2016.

Mate Ther scored an outstanding win to win the best game prize courtesy of Chess Direct.

Not only did he fail to beat one of the youngest competitors, but he couldn’t knock over the oldest either as Roelof Westra (164), aged 84 of Hull was the first of 6 players to gain a draw. Further draws were won by Ryan Burgin (Sheffield; 192), John Atkinson (Hull; 174), John Thackray (St Andrews; 171), Tamas Szilard (Sheffield; 160) and Ian Bell (Hull; 156). Luke managed some remarkable wins – in one game he was a queen for two bishops down, in another a full piece should have fallen, but he won both these games with mating attacks. The last game to finish saw a draw for John Thackray, a pawn up, but not good enough to get a win.

Hull Grandmaster Challenge 2016.

McShane pondering his next move against Roelof Westra, with Eric Gardiner looking on.

Three years of Hull Grandmaster Challenges have produced some interesting statistics:

GM Gawain Jones 27.5/31 89% (1 loss, 5 draws)
GM David Howell 26.5/28 94% (0 loss, 3 draws)
GM Luke McShane 27/31 87% (1 loss, 6 draws)

However this doesn’t quite tell the full story as an analysis of the grades of opponents shows that Luke McShane faced a slightly stronger collection of players, David Howell the weakest (although not by much). Just how long does it take a Grandmaster to beat players with an average grade of 140 or so? We now know the answer is, on average…. not very long:

GM Gawain Jones 7.1 minutes per opponent
GM David Howell 6.8 minutes per opponent
GM Luke McShane 8.2 minutes per opponent

McShane 2

The Hull Grandmaster Simultaneous’ will continue with a target of 30 players per event—this seems about the right number to fill the time available of up to four hours (and a bit!). Players from outside Hull will be welcome, even though the event is subsidised from our charitable funds. A DVD of the day is in the process of being produced—copies will be available from Roger Noble ( Overall assessment – another really good day’s chess against one of England’s best. Hull has another year to improve!

Report by Stephen Greep,
Hon General Secretary
Hull and District Chess Association

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2 Responses to “Hull Grandmaster Challenge 2016 – Luke McShane”

  1. Martin Carpenter

    Jul 16. 2016

    Great to see Roelof still going and clearly playing quite well too :)

    Reply to this comment
  2. Andy Bak

    Jul 17. 2016

    I wonder if Mate will have as long a career as Roelof?

    Reply to this comment

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