Monday 27 July 2015

No more English GM's?

I was having a look at the field for the 2015 British Championship and I noticed a strange distribution of titled players. The Championship has done well to attract 11 GM's, but oddly, only has 3 IM's playing. In a similar fashion, there are 12 players rated above 2400, but only another 9 above 2200.
I'm pretty sure this situation has occurred somewhat regularly in recent years, and have seen discussion of this situation on the English Chess Forum. It is a little similar (on a larger scale) to what happened with the Australian Open in 2007 (4 GM's and only 2 IM's), and I wonder why it is so.
Some of the given reasons have to do with the likelihood of winning prizes against the cost of playing, which if true, does strike me as odd. An admission that you don't quite have what it takes to move to the next level is one that most top players would never openly make, but essentially it seems to be saying the same thing. Conditions might be another issue, although the solution to that is of course becoming a GM yourself.  Otherwise I am at a loss to come up with a rational reason for the absence of GM's, unless it is simply that England has generated as many GM's as it can, and there are no more left to be had!


Brabo said...

Just have a look to the age of many IMs. Most of them are not teenagers anymore. Contrary to many GMs, an IM has in most cases a full-time job outside chess. Taking 2 weeks while you have only 4 weeks holidays per year to play chess is not reasonable. In old times wife would take care of the kids but we live today in a changed society which doesn't accept such behavior anymore.

I see exactly the same thing in the Belgian championship: a few professionals, a lot of young/ very young players and a bunch of retired/ + 50 people.

As FM, 30+ with young children I only play a few short competitions of maximum a few days. This has nothing to do with a lack of ambitions.

Anonymous said...

There are only a handful of British IMs actively seeking GM titles. As Brabo observes, many of the IMs gained their titles in their youth, before moving on. For ambitious players, the Norms available in the British can be substandard. Regulations restrict the number of Norms played mostly against players from your own Federation. Hawkins suffered from this, despite sharing the title last year, his score didn't count for a Norm, because he needed a Norm with non-Eng players.

If there were sponsorship income to give IMs free accommodation as well as free entry, I expect the lure of a subsidised holiday might attract a few more.