Chessable sponsor deal boosts English and British championships
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Chessable, which specialises in interactive learning and is part of Magnus Carlsen’s Play Magnus Group, will sponsor three important English Chess Federation competitions this year. The new English championships at Kenilworth on May 19-22, the traditional British championships at Torquay in August, and the year-long Grand Prix for the best overall congress results, will all have enhanced prize funds.
British chess has been affected negatively by the pandemic, yet positively by the boom in online games, plus the popularity of Magnus Carlsen and Netflix’s Beth Harmon. Evening club nights and matches are in decline, but many players combine over-the-board and internet competition.
At expert level and above, which is where the new Chessable backing will have most effect, England used to be No2 behind the old Soviet Union, but not any more. International results are dependent on the four grandmasters — Michael Adams, Luke McShane, David Howell and Gawain Jones — who have been the nucleus of the national team for a decade but are now all aged over 30, and in Adams’s case over 50.
Their successors, if any, are likely to emerge via achievements in the English and British championships, the 4NCL league, Hastings, and the London Classic. The doubt is because, again for more than a decade, a 2500 rating, equivalent to the top 700 best in the world, has proved a ceiling which young UK talents have been unable to breach. Even this is far below the level of the top 50-100 where players can survive on the professional tournament circuit.
There is hope, and it is coming from the youngest age groups. This week the European individual championship is in progress at Terme Catez, Slovenia, with a field of more than 300, many of them GMs and IMs. Shreyas Royal, 13, who is among the youngest entrants, began with two draws against highly rated grandmasters, and is sure to meet other eminent opponents in the later rounds. Games begin 2.15pm daily and can be viewed live and free at chess24.com.
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