Town gearing up for annual chess contest

FINAL preparations are underway for this year’s Hastings International Chess Congress, which kicks off next Friday (December 28).

The event, which is in its 88th year, will be held at its usual venue, Horntye Park Sports Complex, until January 6.

Next Friday’s opening will be made by Councillor Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, at 2.05pm, who will say a few words and take part in a game.

The annual tournament attracts players from all over the world and this year players signed up for the Masters Tournament already include 13 grandmasters, with 22 countries so far represented from as far afield as New Zealand, Indonesia, Iceland and the USA. Local and regional players are also well-represented.

Pam Thomas, event spokesman, said: “The world-famous chess event will again be sponsored by Hastings Borough Council and its continued support is much appreciated by both organisers and competitors.

“There are tournaments for all playing strengths and players are able to register until play begins. If you have never played competitive chess, this could be an ideal place to start.

“For those who do not wish to play but have an interest in chess there is a daily commentary on the Masters Tournament given by English grandmaster Chris Ward. Entry for spectators and commentary is free and full details of playing times are available on the congress website

“As well as the serious chess there are evening events at the White Rock Hotel on Saturday (December 29) and January 2 when there will be a FIDE rated Blitz competition and a Pairs Tournament providing some light-hearted games.

“Additional and much valued support for the event is provided by The White Rock Hotel, The Lansdowne Hotel, KC Computers, Orion Energy and Deutsch UK.”

Last year 25-year-old Chinese grandmaster Wang Yue, rated 26th in the September 2011 world rankings, came top in the congress. For more information log onto or email Pam Thomas at