Last weekend’s Scarborough congress attracted a bumper entry of 300, as tournament regulars greeted the resumption of a popular fixture. Competitive chess in the north-east is recovering well from the pandemic. The British championship and a GM tournament were staged in Hull. and an invitational in North Tyneside.

The 4NCL national league, played online last season, returns over the board shortly with 80 teams against 94 before Covid-19. There will be new champions, for Guildford’s record breakers have retired after 83 matches and eight years without defeat.

County teams plus local clubs and leagues, which have an older demographic, have been generally less resilient, although a few have successfully tapped in to the online chess boom inspired by Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit. Battersea, Camberley, Kingston, Richmond and Surbiton, all in a suburban belt, have booming memberships.

The Carlsen v Nepomniachtchi $2m, 14-game world championship match which starts in Dubai on November 26 should be a further stimulus. How can an interested FT reader join in?

You can start a game online very quickly by logging on to lichess.org. For over the board chess, log on to englishchess.org.uk, then click Find a Chess Club for one near you or Calendar for details of future one-day and weekend congresses open to players of all strengths.

Puzzle 2443

Roland Scott v Joseph Blake, Edinburgh 1920. White (to play) is queen for bishop up, but can you find his only winning move? A century ago, Scott solved the puzzle and won the British championship.

Click here for solution

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