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GM Magesh Chandran Panchanathan (left) on his way to winning the last Hastings Masters. In coronavirus times over-the-board chess tournaments have all but disappeared (photo: Brendan O’Gorman).

Hastings chess goes online

Hastings International Chess Congress would normally be under way by now, but like chess events over the world, in the face of the coronavirus it has gone online and been replaced by an all-play-all event featuring most of England’s top players. Nick Terdre reports.

The new tournament, named for its principal sponsor, is the Caplin Hastings Online All-Play-All, which will take place on the weekend of 9 and 10 January with 12 players and a prize fund of £7,000.

Ten of the participants, mostly familiar faces at Hastings, are Grandmasters Michael Adams, Luke McShane, Gawain Jones, David Howell, Nicholas Pert, Daniel Gormally, Mark Hebden, Keith Arkell and Glenn Flear, plus International Master Ameet Ghasi. All are English. The other two places are reserved for the winner and runner-up of the British Online Chess Championships which are currently under way.

Games will take place in the rapid-play format, each players having 15 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. There will be six rounds on the Saturday and five on the Sunday. The games, along with commentary by GM Simon Williams and Women’s Grandmaster Jovanka Houska, can be followed free on the streaming service.

“As Hastings has been shown and referenced on the very popular Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, we hope to attract a wide audience,” said congress director Mark Bryant.

Hastings, one of the first international tournaments when it was first held in 1895, normally holds not only the Masters tournament for top players, but also a Christmas Tournament, New Year Morning and Afternoon Tournaments and a Weekend Open. It regularly attracts several hundred players, including many from overseas.


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Posted 15:55 Wednesday, Dec 30, 2020 In: Sport

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