Grandmasters aim to be king of castle

PLAYERS from across the UK and the rest of the world descended on Hastings this week to take part in the annual International Chess Congress.

The event was held at Horntye Park Sports Complex and saw seasoned players and amateurs alike competing.

Cllr Jeremy Birch with Chess Master Ke Mu from China

Cllr Jeremy Birch with Chess Master Ke Mu from China

The Masters tournament was held this week and saw competitors from 23 countries, including 12 grandmasters, 12 International Masters and one Woman International Master.

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, opened the congress on Saturday (December 28).

He said: “It was an honour to make the first move of the 89th Hastings International Chess Congress. First held in 1895 it is the longest running chess congress in the world, and one of the best known.

“Hastings Borough Council is pleased to be the main sponsor of the congress, as it brings hundreds of visitors to the town at a time when the hotels and guest houses would otherwise be quiet. And the town gets excellent media coverage from the event, making Hastings famously competitive.”

The congress is being sponsored by the council, with additional support from the White Rock Hotel, Lansdowne Hotel, KC Computers and Orion Energy.

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 today (Friday) and playing 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