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On the surface the London Chess Classic
2015 looks like any other elite tournament. Top players like
Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin
Topalov, Anish Giri showcase some high class chess, and the
entire chess world learns from their games. However for a
person who was present at the playing venue for all of these
ten days of the event I have to say that there is much more
to the London Chess Classic than what meets the eye. The
moment the doors of the elevator open on the third level of
the Olympia Center in Kensington, London, you can see the
entire floor buzzing with chess activities. This article
pays a tribute to many of the individuals and special things
that make the London Chess Classic what it is – a
celebration of chess!
In the past grandmasters loved to play in
Russia. The reason: crowds there understood chess really
well, and they would in some ways motivate the players to
showcase their best chess.
The scenario was not so different in
London. A huge number of chess-literate people turned up to
watch the top players in action, and the organizers
reciprocated by giving them a chance to not only see their
chess idols up close but also to take pictures, selfies and
autographs with them.
If you are greedy, and just meeting the
grandmasters is not enough for you, the London Chess Classic
gives you plenty of opportunities to play against titled
opponents, and in fact face world famous players like John
Nunn (pictured below) Jon Speelman and Luke McShane.
These three gave a simultaneous
exhibition on three different days of the festival, and many
chess enthusiasts, young and old, enrolled themselves for a
lifetime opportunity to play against a GM.
More than 1700 kids from different
schools of London converged upon the Olympia Center from the
7th to the 11th of December to participate in chess events
representing their schools.
I am sure you can imagine how this chess
atmosphere can really get the kids hooked onto the game of
chess for a lifetime.
This year’s London Chess Conference was
bigger than ever with more than 120 participants from nearly
thirty countries, spanning all continents. It was held
nearby the London Chess Classic at the Hilton Olympia in
Kensington on the 5th and 6th of December 2015. Some of the
really well thought out topics included chess with refugees,
chess and old people, chess in prisons, where to invest
public money in chess, chess and mathematics, chess and
football and others. The number of speeches and talks were
so great that it was impossible to keep a track of all of
them. But one thing is certain – attending this conference
will surely give you new horizons and dimensions in which to
perceive the game of chess. This unique meeting was rounded
up by a Social Chess Entrepreneurship Bootcamp starting on
4th December and workshops on New Chess Research and
Advanced Topics in Teacher Training on 7th December.
TDAH y ajedrez: rehabilitación cognitiva,
a Spanish project that develops chess as an educational
intervention for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), has been voted as the clear
winner of the Best Social Chess Project competition by the
attendees of the Chess and Society conference.
The Pro-Biz Cup was held on the 14th of
December 2015. It brings the best business minds and the
world’s leading grandmasters together in a fun knockout
tournament to raise money for the UK charity, Chess in
Schools and Communities (CSC).
The businessmen bid for their favourite
players and one who bids the highest gets the chance to team
up with the grandmaster.
Top players of Britain, with the
exception of Michael Adams and Nigel Short, took part in the
inaugural British Knockout Championships. The eight players
at the start included David Howell, Luke McShane, Nicholas
Pert, Gawain Jones, Jonathan Rowson, Jonathan Hawkins,
Daniel Fernandez and Yang-Fan Zhou.
Top seeded David Howell won the event and
took home a hefty check of £20,000, by beating Nick Pert in
the six-game final by a score of 4-2. Nick Pert, however,
was surely the man of the event, as he knocked out two
higher rated players, Jonathan Hawkins and Luke McShane, to
bag the runners-up prize of £10,000.
On the 12th and the 13th of December a
ten-round Super Rapid with the time control of 25 minutes +
10 seconds increment was held. The first prize was quite a
high sum of £2,500, which attracted a lot of strong players
to the event.
Parallel to the elite event a strong FIDE
Open consisting of 216 players from all around the world
took place. The rating average of the tournament was 2125
and there were 27 grandmasters taking part, six of them
having an Elo above 2600.