Mark Hebden and Gawain Jones fought for the top prize in the Kilkenny Masters last week, both being awarded a first prize.
The Kilkenny Masters tends to be a wonderful combination of some of the top players in an atmosphere which is friendly and sporting. The 2012 tournament was no different, as, between November 23rd and November 25th, some of the top seeds in chess such as Hebden, Jones, Keith Arkell, and Alexander Baburin met to challenge each other. Throughout these three days, the tone of play was relaxed and cheerful, and yet the players were still playing some amazing, tense, and focussed chess.
A week later, in the currently ongoing London Chess Classic, Jones was back, and was still on top form. Spectators were treated to one of the best games in the London Chess Classic so far when Jones took on renowned Grandmaster Judit Polgar. Despite Polgar’s aggressive play, it soon became clear that a draw could not be escaped, and the game ended amicably.
As many commentators have noted, unlike Polgar (who is a veteran player in top-quality international chess), the London Chess Classic is one of the most significant and prestigious tournaments in which Jones has taken part so far. His game with Polgar was thus an amazing achievement, and has convinced many that, in Gawain Jones, we are truly witnessing one of the rising stars of chess. Whatever the outcome of the London Chess Classic, it is certain that Gawain Jones has been going from strength to strength in the past fortnight!