ChessFest, the annual open-air day where ordinary players and novices can test their skills against grandmasters and masters, will be back in London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday July 17.

The event includes free lessons by more than 50 chess coaches for children and adults, as well as top English experts taking on all comers in simultaneous play, blindfold chess and speed games. The boy and girl seven-year-olds, Kushal Jakhria and Bodhana Sivanandan, who won gold medals in the world age group championships in Greece and have performed strongly in adult competitions, will also be there.  

Two of the most celebrated games in chess history, played 50 years ago when Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky at Reykjavik 1972, and 25 years ago when IBM Deep Blue crushed Garry Kasparov in New York 1997, will be recreated on a giant screen in the square with 32 professional actors taking the part of the pieces.

ChessFest comes at the start of an important few weeks for the game’s status. The Chessable British Championships, with over 800 entries and counting, will be staged at the Riviera Centre in Torquay from August 8-21. 

From July 28 to August 10, the 187-nation Olympiad will be hosted in Chennai, India. England are seeded 10th among an entry where the United States are clear favourites. China, the holders, are not competing, while Russia are banned due to the invasion of Ukraine. The Michael Adams-led team will hope for a top-six finish, but realistically will do well to maintain their seeding.

Puzzle 2477

Pavel Anisimov v Ian Nepomniachtchi, Krasnoyarsk 2007. Black, the future double world title challenger, to move and force mate.

Click here for solution

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article