Since May 2012 Guildford’s team has clocked up 81 wins and two draws in the Four Nations Chess League, but the Surrey club missed out on European competition because its star players had other commitments.

Now the pandemic has created an opportunity in the online 58-team European Cup on the weekend of March 27-28, when Guildford are seeded third behind Czech and Russian teams. The Russians include Andrey Esipenko, the 18-year-old who defeated world champion Magnus Carlsen at Wijk. 

Guildford will field Michael Adams, David Howell, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones, effectively the England national team. The pandemic has greatly reduced playing opportunities for those outside the world top 20, who are eligible for Carlsen’s Tour, so this will be seen as a chance to put English chess back on the map.

Meanwhile Carlsen is currently playing the fourth leg of the $200,000 Meltwater Champions Tour after failing to win any of the first three. The champion won elegantly against France’s No1, but more tests lie ahead. Games can be watched, free and live, every afternoon until Sunday March 21 (4pm GMT start).

2411

Wesley So v Magnus Carlsen, Paris 2016. Black to move. White threatens an immediate end by Qxe8 mate. What was the world champion’s move which defeated the threat and won quickly for Black?

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