After a tense play-off against fellow English grandmaster Stephen Gordon, the top rated competitor, Gawain Jones, won the British championship last weekend.

There were several remarkable performances by juniors in the main event.

That by 17-year-old Wellington College student James Holland caught the attention of several commentators — but in fact Bicester club’s Marcus Harvey is younger than Holland and performed at least as well as any of the juniors.

The Oxfordshire 15-year-old scored 6.5/11 and an impressive streak of three wins on the trot in rounds 3 to 5 included the scalp of grandmaster Danny Gormally. The following game against a tricky opponent was played in round 4. White: Charles Storey Black: Marcus Harvey 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Storey meets Marcus’ French with the positional Tarrasch variation — a favourite of former world champion Anatoly Karpov — but an opening that leaves plenty of scope for the second player.

3...a6!? French expert John Watson calls this a ‘semi-waiting move that asks White to commit’. The usual moves here are 3...c5 and 3...Nf6 — the latter the focus of the recently published 4th edition of Watson’s justifiably popular Play the French.

Marcus’s move is slightly unusual but has been tried both by many top players including English French Defence expert Nigel Short and by new the new British Champion Gawain Jones. 4.Ngf3!? Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.c3 c5 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.0–0 g5!? This move looks weakening — but it’s all the rage in this sort of position and puts serious pressure on White’s centre by threatening to drive White’s knight away from f3. 9.dxc5 Nxc5!? Centre pawns are considered the bigger prize and 9...g4 10.Nd4 Ndxe5 is usual.

10.Nb3 More testing for Black would have been 10.Bc2!? g4 11.Nd4 Nxe5 12.f4 gxf3 13.N2xf3 when White has a dangerous lead in development.

10...g4 11.Bg5!? Be7 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Nfd4 Nxe5 14.Nxc5 Qxc5 15.Be2 h5 16.f4 Nc6 17.Qd2 Bd7 18.b4 Qb6 19.a4 a5 20.b5 Ne7 21.Kh1 Qd6 Black’s weakened dark squares offer White decent compensation for the pawn deficit. 22.Nb3 b6 23.c4 Nf5 24.Qb2 0–0 25.Rad1!? Qe7 Marcus rightly eschews 25...Ne3 26.Qf6 when White has dangerous threats. 26.cxd5!? Again, tempting his young opponent with the offer of the exchange. 26...Ne3!? This time Marcus grabs the material. 27.Qe5 Nxf1 28.Bxf1 f6 29.Qxh5 e5?! 30.f5? Positionally suspect and missing 30.fxe5 fxe5 31.Qg6+ Qg7 32.Qxb6 which not only pockets a pawn — but also frees the c5 square to give the b3 knight some scope. 30...Qg7 31.Qh4?! Qg5 32.Qf2 Bxf5 33.Qxb6? Grabbing the vital pawn — but now it just loses material. 33...Bc2 34.Rd3 Bxd3 35.Bxd3 Rac8 36.Qe6+ Kh8 37.Bf1 Qf4 38.Kg1 Qe3+ 39.Kh1 Qf2 40.Nd2 Rc1 41.h3 Rxf1+ 42.Nxf1 Qxf1+ 43.Kh2 g3+! 0–1