Jonathan Rowson is the tenth highest ranked Chess player from the United Kingdom and the Scottish number one. He was awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1999 and reached a career high of world number 139 in the middle of 2005 when he was at the peak of his powers. He has declined to world number 450 in recent years but still has an impressive resume with his career highlight coming in 2006 when he won three
consecutive British Open titles. Outside of Chess he is an established author and has four published books all about the game of Chess.
9) John Nunn
Full name: John Dunn
John Nunn is a veteran of the game of Chess and one of the most respected players in the world. The grandmaster has had a fantastic career and was one of the best players around before the turn of the century with his best performances coming during this period. He has four Chess gold medals to his name from various Olympiads and finished sixth in the 1989 World Cup. Just like Jonathan Rowson, Dr Dunn is a
published writer, with his books focusing on the problem solving nature of Chess.
8) Jonathan Hawkins
Full name: Jonathan Hawkins
Jonathan Hawkins is a real all-rounder after winning British titles in both the standard format and rapid time format. His rise to prominence in the world of a chess came as a surprise to many as, unlike many of his peers, he didn’t a compete at a high level as a child. Although he is now past his peak, he is giving back to the sport as a full-time coach while still competing as a player. He runs a club for juniors in Middlesex alongside fellow English Chess player, Tony Niccoli.
7) Julian Hodgson
Full name: Julian Hodgson
Despite not playing competitively for nearly 20 years, Julian Hodgson is still remarkably the 7th highest ranked player in England. This is. in large, due to how successful he was during his playing years. As a child he became the British u21 champion at just 14 years of age before going on to receive the title of Grandmaster just eleven years later. He has competed all over the world, winning the Canadian Open Chess
Championship in 1997 and the Chicago Open in 2001. His playing style has earned him the honour of having an opening move named after him. ‘The Hodgson attack’ involves bringing one of the two bishops into play in the opening two moves.
6) Nigel Short
Full name: Nigel Short
Nigel Short is one of the most famous names in British Chess and received an MBE from the Queen in 1999 for his services to the sport. Although he is now the vice president of FIDE and a commentator, he can look back on a superb playing career. Arguably the highlight of his illustrious career came in 1993 when he reached the final of the Chess World Championships where he sadly lost to Garry Kasparov of Russia.
He has won an abundance of tournaments over the years and reached a career high of world number three in 1988.
5) David Howell
Full name: David Howell
David Howell is another British Chess player who had great success as a child and went on to become a Grandmaster at the age of 16. making him the youngest Brit to earn that title. Since becoming an adult, Howell has continued to enjoy a successful career, however he is yet to reach the heights that many expected when he was a junior coming through the ranks. He has a few British titles to his name but in the coming years he will be hoping to compete on the world stage.
4) Luke McShane
Full name: Luke McShane
Luke McShane is arguably the best amateur Chess player in the world with the Englishman juggling his Chess career alongside a full a time job in London’s financial sector. Just like David Howell, McShane was tipped for great things when he was a child and was also granted the title of Grandmaster at the age of 16. In 2019, he competed in the World Team Championships where he was part of the England team which took home the silver medal. McShane’s favourite format is blitz, a version of Chess which is played under strict time constraints.
3) Gawain Jones
Full name: Gawain Jones
Continuing with the theme of child prodigy’s, Gawain Jones’ face was plastered across the Guardian newspaper in 1997 when he became the youngest player in history, at just nine years old, to beat an International Master in an official match. Now the British number three, Jones has made the most of his talents and has travelled the globe competing in prestigious Chess tournaments. Most notably, he won the New Zealand Open and Dubai Open in the same year back in 2016 and was also part of the England team which won silver in the World Team Championships in 2019.
2) Matthew Sadler
Full name: Matthew Sadler
Although he is currently the British number two and ranked in the top 50 in the world, Matthew Sadler’s career does have a feel of ‘what might have been’ about it. This is because for 11 years between 1999 and 2010 Sadler stopped competing entirely to work in IT in the Netherlands. Prior to his hiatus, Sadler won two British Championships and since returning he has won a rapid play tournament in the Netherlands and an international event in Oslo.
1) Michael Adams
Full name: Michael Adams
Michael Adams is not only the current British number one but arguably Britain’s greatest ever Chess player. He has won more than 60 events worldwide during his career and has reached multiple world championship semi finals and one final. The only other Briton to ever reach a world final is Nigel Short. He reached a career high of world number four in 2000 and remains active to this day, despite not playing in as many
tournaments as he used to.
That concludes the ten best British Chess players. Did you like this list? If you did, you might be interested in reading other lists like the best American Chess players and the best Russian Chess players.