Gawain Jones had a career-best result at last week’s Isle of Man Open, where the Yorkshireman, 30, shared third prize with 6.5/9 and defeated the top seed Levon Aronian. It was consolation for earlier this year when Jones blew a winning position against world No1 Magnus Carlsen.

Radoslaw Wojtaszek won at Douglas with 7/9 after a speed tie-break, but the Pole admitted to mixed feelings. His key game against the England No1 Michael Adams in the Catalan Opening (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3) led to a sharp and confusing position where Adams blundered. But the preparation had really been intended for the final round of last month’s Olympiad. If Wojtaszek’s Indian opponent there had fallen for the trap, Poland would have taken gold ahead of China, the US and Russia.

Next Friday the keenly awaited €1m 12-game world championship match between Carlsen and his US challenger Fabiano Caruana opens at The College, Southampton Row, Holborn, London. They are clearly the global top two, which augurs for a close and competitive series, so I am hedging my forecast. If there is a decision before or at game 12, I expect the American to win; but if it goes to 6-6 and speed tie-breaks then Carlsen should retain his crown.


Can you find White’s only winning move? It’s rook and two pawns each, seemingly an easy draw, but there is a hidden route to victory.

Click here for solution

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article