So the British is now over and regardless of whether you consider him to be 'Champion' or strongest-amongst-those-who-bothered-their-arses-to-turn-up it would take a particularly curmudgeonly fellow to deny Stuart Conquest praise for winning the thing. You can only beat the guy in front of you after all and to remain unbeaten after facing seven GMs and an IM (Conquest's 11 opponents elo average was 2457) is a pretty special feat that few could match.
As EJH predicted on Friday, a play-off was eventually required to establish the winner. While this is never truly satisfactory justice was done when Conquest overcame Keith Arkell in a pair of rapid games played on Saturday morning. I've nothing against the latter but he'd only played a couple of GMs on his way to 8/11 and his opponents elo average (2403) was notably lower than Conquest's. Conquest, moreover, had been at the head of the field from round 4* while Arkell took the swiss gambit approach and was always just off the pace and only hit the front at the very end. The reason why Arkell spent the tournament just behind the leaders? That would be his loss to Conquest himself in round 4.
Conquest was a worthy winner then, and this morning you can see for yourself how he did it. The position above is from the second Conquest-Arkell play-off game. It's move 17 and although Arkell, playing black, won't resign for another 30 moves or so, it's here that Conquest gained a decisive advantage.
White to play and win the British Championship.
* the sole exception being round seven which Conquest ended a half point behind EJH's beau Bogdan Lalic.