Simon Williams has qualified as England’s latest Grandmaster after a short draw with the top seed Vadim Malakhatko in round eight of the Hastings Masters. The result ensured that Williams’ rating exceeded 2500 and as he has secured three qualifying results in tournaments there is no impediment to the award of the GM title although it is subject to ratification by the Fide Qualification Committee.
It was fitting that Williams should achieve this milestone at Hastings, a tournament in which he has often played brilliantly. Two years ago he achieved his third GM qualifying result at Hastings and never ceased to play entertaining chess. His presence enlivens every event he plays in on and off the board and he thoroughly deserves the title.
This year, one aberration against Mark Hebden aside, Williams has tamed some of his attacking instincts and taken fewer chances. So it was also fitting that once the holy grail had been secured he immediately reverted to type, essayed a highly dubious line of the Benoni and was unceremoniously smashed in 22 moves by England international Nick Pert.
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