Yorkshire Chess Association





Gawain Jones’s Early Days in York


Following an earlier postscript here to an item in the ECF Newsletter, Jon Griffith of York has forwarded such detail as he has of Gawain Jones playing for York in the Woodhouse Cup.  Jon’s contribution appears inset below, with some background compiled by the webmaster, as kindly edited with clarifications and additions by Gawain’s mother Tanya – to whom “Thanks!”


Gawain was born in December 1987, near Keighley, and a few weeks later the family moved to Ampleforth.  Later they lived in Ripon, before moving to Guisborough (which was officially in Cleveland in those days).  It was there that Gawain first began to show his talent at chess, and he joined the Guisborough chess club shortly after his sixth birthday.  His parents were running a small educational software business, and helped to sponsor some of Sean Marsh’s popular junior tournaments in nearby Middlesbrough.  When Gawain was eight, the family moved back to the Ampleforth area where he developed his love of rugby.  His mother Tanya had written two comic novels, drawing on her experience as a solicitor and now added a third to the series, Trotter’s Bottom, a chess-themed murder mystery.


In 2002, the family, now including Gawain’s younger brother and sister, moved for a couple of years to Italy, living first in Lucca and later in the hills north of Florence.  Gawain’s ability to speak Italian, and close connection with Lucca chess club, date from these years.  In 2004 they moved to Ennis in County Clare, in the Republic of Ireland, close to the location of the renowned Bunratty tournament.  Later the family moved to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, though Gawain was by then generally based in England.


Gawain met New Zealand WIM Sue Maroroa at the Dresden Olympiad of 2008, and they married in 2012.  After living in London and New Zealand, they moved to Sheffield in 2016, Gawain returning to his Yorkshire roots.  They have a baby daughter and rescued Staffie dog.


Of Gawain’s early years, in North Yorkshire, Jon Griffith writes:


At nine years old Gawain was already an accomplished player, but this area of North Yorkshire is a chess desert, so his parents found us in York.  In 1997/98 he played 5 Woodhouse games for York RI A, scoring 40% on board 6.  He ended the season with a YCA grade of 168A.


He played more in 1998/99; I don't have his record but I recall him playing in the Woodhouse at board 3.  His grade went up to 189B that season, and then to 201D, before they moved away at the end of 1999.


Whilst here he was too young to travel and play in the York league, but he certainly found plenty of chess elsewhere.  I have records of him playing at the York Congress in 2001 and 2002, but he may have played here and at other events earlier.  I believe David Adams negotiated his Woodhouse attendances with his parents.



Gawain became a FIDE Master in 2004, and later in the same year an International Master.  He became a Grandmaster in 2007.  He won the British Championship in 2012 (at North Shields) and in 2017 (at Llandudno).


He has played for England in 6 Olympiads, those of 2008 (Dresden, inter alia meeting future wife Sue), 2010 (Khanty-Mansiysk), 2012 (Istanbul), 2014 (Tromsø), 2016 (Baku), 2018 (Batumi).  He has represented England also in the World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad (a while ago now), the European Team Chess Championship, and the World Team Chess Championship.  His debut in the 4NCL for Chessable White Rose 1 was on 2nd June 2020, in the online format.  (He plays for Guildford in the OTB 4NCL.)


As an individual competitor, Gawain’s latest chess success has been winning the European On-Line Blitz Chess Championship.


As a further postscript, Peter Cloudsdale has sent in a game by a 13-year-old Gawain Jones in the 4NCL.

Click here to play through Gawain Jones 1-0 David Anderton, 25/11/2001.