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Intense concentration at Hastings International Chess Congress.

Intense concentration at Hastings International Chess Congress.

Turov heads field for chess tournament

Preparations are well under way for the 2017/18 Hastings International Chess Congress which will open on 28 December at Horntye Park. To date nine grandmasters and one woman grandmaster have signed up. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings International Chess Congress offers opportunities for all levels of player – from international masters to local club players – of whatever age. To date the line-up for the Masters tournament, the top event, includes nine grandmasters (GM – the highest rank in competitive chess) – and one woman grandmaster (WGM), says PR officer Pam Thomas. Twenty-three countries are represented overall and more than 20 players are under 21.

Held in Horntye Park sports complex, the congress will be officially opened at 2.05pm on Thursday 28 December by Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, and Cllr Judy Rogers, the Mayor of Hastings.

Top seed in the FIDE (World Chess Federation) rated Masters is Russian grandmaster Maxim Turov. He has not played in Britain before but has won the Dutch Open twice and the Oslo International GM Tournament as well as other contests in Romania, India and Germany.

Last year's winner, India's Deep Sengupta, will be back to defend his title.

Last year’s winner, India’s Deep Sengupta, will be back to defend his title.

Defending  his title is last year’s winner, Indian GM Deep Sengupta. Other players who have previously had success in Hastings are Uzbek GM Jahongir Vakhidov, Brazilian champion and GM Alexander Fier and his wife, WGM Nino Maisuradze, a former French champion and Olympian.

There are nine rounds in the Masters, which ends on Friday 5 January. Visitors are welcome and entry for spectators is free – but you have to keep quiet in the playing hall. GM Chris Ward will give a lively commentary each day starting at 2.45pm and will no doubt provide the usual entertaining opportunities for the audience to get involved. A selection of Masters games will appear on the website each day.

As well as the Masters, there are also Christmas and New Year morning and afternoon five-round events and the 35th Weekend Tournament on 6 and 7 January. The Open section of the Weekend is also FIDE rated.

A number of bursaries are being offered to players who are under 18 on 28 December 2017. These have been made possible by the John Robinson Trust – John was a long-term member of the Hastings organising and arbiting team. He took a keen interest in encouraging young chess players and it is with great pleasure that the trust has provided the congress organiser with the opportunity of offering these awards in his memory, says Pam Thomas.

The congress is sponsored by Tradewise Insurance Services, a subsidiary of the Tradewise Gibraltar company which sponsors the leading Gibraltar Chess event, and HBC. Further support comes from the John Robinson Trust, White Rock Hotel, Lansdowne Hotel, KC Computers, the English Chess Federation and the Power family.

For more information see the HICC website or contact Pam Thomas (, 07817 446070, 01424 445348).

To enter, apply via the website or contact congress director Alan Hustwayte (, 01424 443300).

See also Indian victory at Hastings chess congress.

Posted 18:15 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 In: Sport

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