THIS year’s Hastings International Chess Congress kicks off tomorrow (Saturday).
The event, which is now in its 89th year, will be held at Horntye Park Sports Complex and will run until Sunday, January 5.
The congress attracts players from around the world, both grandmasters and less experienced players.
Last year’s event saw the British champion, grandmaster Gawain Jones win the Masters Tournament outright with 7.5 points.
He was presented with the Golombek Trophy for one year and won first prize of £2,000.
In 2011, 25-year-old Chinese grandmaster Wang Yue, rated 26th in the September 2011 world rankings, came top in the congress.
Last year’s tournament drew players from all over the world, which included 13 grandmasters, with 22 countries represented from as far afield as New Zealand, Indonesia, Iceland and the USA.
The congress is sponsored by Hastings Borough Council with support from the White Rock Hotel, Orion Energy, KC Computers and the Lansdowne Hotel.
Earlier this year funding from the council was shrouded in doubt but in March the authority confirmed it would once again support this year’s tournament.
The congress is open to spectators free of charge and the Masters start play at 2.15pm.
Social players who fancy a taste of the competitive action might want to consider taking part in the five-game novices tournament starting in the evening on Friday, January 3 and playing the Saturday and Sunday morning (January 4 and 5) and afternoon.
To participate players can ask one of the congress officials at Horntye Park or phone Con Power on 01424 431970 or alternatively log online at www.hastingschess.com.