Hastings prepares for international chess

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HASTINGS is getting ready to host its 87th annual International Chess Congress at Horntye Park Sports Complex.

The prestigious competition, which runs from Wednesday, December 28 to Saturday, January 28, has so far received entries from all over the world including India, America, Ukraine and Iceland.

It will be opened by Hastings Borough Council leader Jeremy Birch who will make the first move in the Masters Tournament on the same day.

He said: “We are very pleased to host the event each year and it continues to be successful.

“It’s very important economically for the town as it brings a lot of business to our hotels, guest houses and restaurants, benefiting them at this time of year.”

Leading the tournament, which currently has 109 entries, is 24-year-old Chinese grandmaster Wang Yue who was rated 26th in the September 2011 world rankings.

English grandmaster, David Howell, is currently the second highest rated entry and both players took part in the recent London Classic at Olympia competition.

Last year’s tournament was jointly won by Indian grandmasters Deep Sengupta and Arghydir Das and India is again strongly represented with a men’s and women’s team taking part.

As well as the Masters Tournament there are events for more casual players and a Weekend Tournament midway through the Congress.

There will also be evening games including a pairs competition at the Pig in Paradise on Thursday, December 29, and another event at the White Rock Hotel on Monday, January 2.

English grandmaster, Chris Ward, will be giving a daily commentary on the leading games which will be broadcast on the Congress website.

The opening will take place at 2.05pm and entry is free for spectators to the playing area.

The Christmas, New Year and Weekend games begin at 9.30am and 2.15pm each day and the Masters Tournament is at 2.15pm each day.

Players can still enter the competition and entries can be taken on the opening day.

Further information is available on the Congress website www.hastingschess.com or by contacting Pam Thomas on 01424 445348.