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Posts of interest

Double World Senior Chess Champions!

European Club Cup for Women – medals

WSTCC reports from Nigel Povah

European Senior Teams Chess Championship

European Seniors Individual Chess Championship 2023

European Cities and Towns Chess Championships result

Kamila Hryshchenko – World Congress of Chess Composition

John Nunn takes Gold!

European Senior Teams Championships – final round and winners photographs

Report by Director of International Chess Malcolm Pein

— for the ECF AGM 2022 (download as a PDF)

2021-2022 was a busy year for International Chess because of the timing of two international team events in the same period. In November 2021, with international chess still heavily affected by Covid and many players out of practice, England played in the European Team Championships in Slovenia. Although the Open team’s final standing was diminished by a 1.5-2.5 last round defeat by Russia, there were two notable successes. Ravi Haria became our latest GM by inching over 2500 at the event and Gawain Jones had a storming tournament, scoring an unbeaten 5.5/7 for a 2782 performance and securing the silver medal on Board 3.

Lack of player availability left our Women’s team depleted and all were completely out of practice – one hadn’t played for years! –  and it wasn’t a complete surprise when they lost the first six matches and only won an individual game in round five.

I want to put on record my gratitude to our Director of Events Shohreh Bayat for agreeing to play after a long break from chess and she scored a creditable 3.5/7, with Zoe Varney also making her debut with 3.5/6. On top board, Katarzyna Toma was out of practice, and this was reflected in her losing her first four games and then winning four in a row. After winning the last three matches, the team ended almost exactly in line with their seeding.

The Chess Olympiad, moved at short notice from Moscow to Chennai, was a logistical nightmare with visas and flights. Huge thanks are due to the Director of Women’s Chess Aga Milewska for volunteering to stand for many hours at Indian visa offices.

After weeks of frantic activity, nearly everyone made it to Chennai on time, but we had to do without our board 3 Lan Yao for a couple of rounds due to the delays. Lan made a tremendous debut and I hope our new British Women’s Champion is a fixture of the team for many years to come. It was nice to have a Women’s team that was very competitive and started with a high seeding, which meant relatively easy early pairings. The team’s final result does not reflect the fact that England came quite close to defeating India, and the Armenian captain had some anxious moments too. Despite only being a part time player, Jovanka Houska  made a positive score on board one.

I was delighted with the performance of the Open team, who it should be remembered have only two full time players out of five. The standout performance was that of David Howell who scored 7.5/8 and won a gold medal for individual performance on board three. The team also has a relatively high average age, and it was youth that dominated the 11-round event with the Uzbek teenagers and Indian prodigies finishing in gold and bronze medal positions respectively. I must pay tribute to Mickey Adams who went through undefeated on top board and played 10 games.

England started with four straight match wins which included a drubbing of a strong Serbian team 3.5-0.5, and it could easily have been 4-0. In round five we were outplayed by a superb Armenian team who still took silver despite the migration of Levon Aronian to the USA.  After some ups and downs, a last round victory over Moldova would have seen us finish fifth ahead of the top seeds USA or a 2-2 draw would have placed us seventh or eighth.

In the end Luke McShane’s big advantage disappeared in the time scramble and we lost the match but still finished in line with seeding. Arriving a couple of days early  clearly helped the performance of the team and I’m indebted to the generosity of our performance coach Benjamin Portheault who assisted us gratis and who was able to help many of our players in a variety of ways. Many of the extra costs were covered by individual sponsors, to whom I would like to record my thanks.

Nearer to home it was good to see a revival of closed international tournaments and thanks to the efforts of the 4NCL, Lawrence Cooper, Adam Raoof and particularly Tim Wall there more norm opportunities than in previous years. In August Harry Grieve secured a GM norm by winning the British. Earlier in the summer Brandon Clark won an open tournament in Spain having earlier won an all-play-all tournament in Hamburg and I hope that Brandon and Marcus Harvey too can push on and swell the ranks of English GMs.

I managed to run a scaled-down London Chess Classic in December and it was an honour to be able to have Boris Gelfand with us, but it was a shame that the shadow of Covid hung over the event and affected attendance. England’s Michael Adams, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones lost narrowly to the Rest of the World team of Gelfand, Nikita Vitiugov and Maxime Lagarde in the main event which unusually was a Scheveningen tournament (we haven’t had one of those for some time).

David Howell wasn’t at the Classic, but did play at the FIDE Grand Swiss in Riga at the end of the autumn – and how well he did. While Alireza Firouzja and Fabiano Caruana qualified for the Candidates, David was right up there, sharing the lead with those two superstars with two to play. He was defeated by Caruana in round 5, then won four games in a row, a staggering performance in such a strong tournament. Those wins were over Nodirbek Yakubboev, Ruslan Ponomariov, Andrey Esipenko and Anton Korobov. David was then outplayed by Firouzja and held by Vincent Keymer, but his 7/11 and 2764 performance will live long in the memory.

As our enduring weakness has been the lack of talent coming through, I’m delighted to report that at the very end of August, Shreyas Royal got over 2400 for the first time at the age of 13. In addition, as I’m sure my colleague Alex Holowczak has written elsewhere, England now has two world #1 ranked seven-year-olds and two eight-year olds ranked second and 4th respectively. it’s essential that these talents and others we have at the younger age groups are all nurtured and that the money be found to support them and their development. The John Robinson Youth Trust and Chess Trust will be essential in that regard. The taps should be opened wide while we have this almost unprecedented opportunity.

At the other end of the age scale we should celebrate the triple gold success of our Open 50+, Open 65+ and Women’s 50+ teams at the World Senior Teams held at Acqui Terme, Italy in July. I was delighted to be able to pop in and watch the very competitive match between England 1 and England 2 when Glenn Flear took Mickey to the brink of defeat. England had by far the biggest delegation and this unprecedented success is due largely to the initiative and huge amount of work – including fund-raising – put in by the acting Manager of Senior Chess IM Nigel Povah, who worked in tandem with Stewart Reuben. We look forward to more success at Dresden in November for the European Championships  and indeed there has already been further success with Terry Chapman finishing second in the European Senior 65+ Championship in Lublin, where Tony Stebbings claimed bronze. We have started a roll of honour section on the ECF website, and look forward to more entries in 2022-23.  

— Malcolm Pein, 2 September 2022

Report on the ECU Congress and 89th FIDE Congress – Chennai, India – July/August 2022

— for the ECF AGM 2022 (download as a PDF)

As FIDE and ECU delegate I attended both the ECU Congress at Thessaloniki in July and the FIDE Congress which was staged in Chennai during the Olympiad there in August.

The three important items of business at the ECU gathering were:

  • Election of the Board and President;
  • Submission by the Belorusian Chess Federation;
  • Decisions on venues for various European representative events.

The President GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili was elected unopposed and so were the ECU Board, with one change, which was that I was elected (unopposed) to the ECU Board in place of Johann Pockesteiner of Austria who resigned his position.

The new head of the Belarusian Chess Federation was given the floor to plead the case for sanctions against Belarus and Russia to be lifted. The Russian delegation did not attend the congress. Many delegates spoke against; I made a fairly impassioned speech, pointing out that the previous head of the Belarusian Chess Federation Anastasia Sorokina, who was in the room, had been forced to flee the country after being denounced by the very person pleading the case for sanctions to be lifted. My fellow ECU board member Dana Reizniece-Ozola stated some facts to the effect that the situation had not changed since the original decision to impose sanctions was taken; indeed, it had got worse.

It was pointed out that the ECU’s position was broadly in line with that of the IOC, who actually proposed more stringent sanctions against Russian participation in sport. The vote to keep the sanctions was decisively in favour, although there were a few abstentions.

There was a competitive tender for the right to stage the European Schools Championships in 2024. I lobbied hard and spoke in favour of the bid going to the Irish Chess Union who would like to stage the event at Limerick. The Irish delegate Desmond Beatty spoke eloquently. It’s important I feel that just for once, our parents and players don’t have to go to Eastern Europe but can go somewhere in Western Europe, and the venue of Limerick University looks excellent. There was a clear vote in favour.

FIDE Congress

The main business of the FIDE Congress was:

  • Presidential elections;
  • Sanctions against Russia (not on agenda);
  • Resolution from Papua New Guinea;
  • Resolution from the ECF

The presidential elections were a complete non-event. The incumbent Arkady Dvorkovich ran a well-funded, slick campaign which included trips to many continents and countries to see delegates in advance. It was notable that he was present at the ECU meeting described above while his main opponent was not. Mr Dvorkovich also had a permanent presence at the Congress hotel as well as all the advantages that come with incumbency in an election. His opponents, in contrast, appeared underfunded or not funded at all and one ticket withdrew before the Congress.

The main opposition came from a ticket composed of Ukrainian GM Andriy Baryshpolets and Magnus Carlsen’s trainer Peter Heine Nielsen.

They made a lot of noise on social media but didn’t appear to do the basics of election campaigning. On the floor on the day of the election neither proved to be particularly charismatic or convincing. They did at least succeed in keeping the question of whether or not FIDE should have a Russian as president as a campaign issue, but they had little to say on other matters. Their poor performance on the floor on the day of the election contributed to them getting an even lower total than I thought they would receive. There was an overwhelming vote in favour of Dvorkovich.

The sanctions matter was a concern. UK government policy is for Russia to be isolated culturally and in sport. A Russian delegation did come to the Congress, but there was heavy lobbying behind the scenes and the vote of the European Chess Union was helpful. Ultimately, if I may borrow a phrase from Yes Minister, Mr Dvorkovitch decided to give it the ‘full Humphrey’ treatment and put the matter in the hands of a committee; and that committee is chaired by an American who was born in Ukraine. 

There was one very serious matter for the ECF. The chess federation of Papua New Guinea is headed by former English junior player Stuart Fancy. For reasons one can only speculate about he has been consistently negative towards the UK.

The Papua New Guinea federation proposed a resolution that would change the FIDE statutes to eliminate the FIDE membership of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as the Faroe Islands, Guernsey and Jersey as well as some other overseas territories which are not both members of the United Nations or do not have an Olympic Committee.

With the help of colleagues from the home nations and Channel Islands I managed to lobby many delegates in advance. I prepared a presentation which I put to the floor during the debate, making the point that the PNG proposal would contravene IOC practice which does not exclude federations retroactively. I also pointed out that a minimum of nine federations would be expelled.

I succeeded in getting the support of the FIDE President on the matter and the motion was rejected narrowly by 175 to two with one abstention. I also made the point quite forcefully during the debate that it’s ridiculous that we should have to fight something like this every year, and hopefully there won’t be any such resolutions proposed in the future.

Together with Nigel Short I proposed a motion in the same area to change the FIDE statute 9.4 as follows:

9.4 For new members, the country of the federation must be a country recognised by the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

We propose to change it to:

9.4 For new members, the country of the federation must be a country recognised by the United Nations or the International Olympic Committee (IOC).   

This was also passed by a large majority.

Hybrid World Cup Qualifier / Success in Stafford

In my capacity as Director of International Chess of the English Chess Federation, I’ve been very keen to ensure that our leading young players had the chance to play as soon as the lifting of restrictions allowed.

As such, I organised a Hybrid chess qualifier for the FIDE World Cup at the Hilton Hotel in Elstree in late May. This multi-country and multi-venue event was staged by the European Chess Union and qualified 36 players for the first stage of the world chess championship cycle which began just inland from Sochi last month. Hybrid events require each player to have access to a computer screen and an actual chess set and board. These were supplied by Chess & Bridge and I was especially grateful to arbiters Shohreh Bayat and Alex MacFarlane for ensuring everything ran smoothly.

GM Simon Williams, IM Andrew Horton, IM Ameet Ghasi, IM Ravi Haria and FM Marcus Harvey were all outrated by their GM opponents in the first round of the Elstree Qualifier. Harvey scored a fine win over Croatian chess legend Zdenko Kozul, but was outplayed in the tie-break. Only Haria, who defeated German GM Falko Bindrich 2-0, made it to the second round, before losing to the Russian GM Ernesto Inarkiev. Haria won the first game with this spectacular rook sacrifice (read more PDF)
(picture by Aga Milewska)

— Malcolm Pein

European Individual Chess Championship 2022

Zoe Varney and Shreyas Royal will be carrying the flag for England in this event …

Bronze in Batumi!

More medals for England in European Open Teams Championship! A fine all-round team performance secured the England team well-deserved Bronze medals in the European Teams Open Championship in Batumi, Georgia (24 October – 2 November), crowning an incredible 12 months for the national side, adding to Silver medals in the World Teams in March and 5th in the 2018 Olympiad.

England scored six wins and two draws to finish on 14/18, just one point behind Gold medallists Russia on 15/18 and Silver medallists Ukraine, who also finished on 14/18 but were slightly ahead on tie-break.

Plus scores by the whole team were the hallmark of an extremely professional performance: Mickey Adams scored an outstanding 5.5/9 on Board 1, while Luke McShane with 5/8 on Board 2, David Howell with 5/9 on Board 3 and Gawain Jones with 5.5/8 on Board 4 did a fantastic job considering they had rushed across Europe just two days after their exertions in the super-strong FIDE/ Grand Swiss in the Isle Of Man. Reserve Nicholas Pert scored a creditable 1.5/2, crucially giving Luke and Gawain a rest day each early on, allowing them to conserve their energy amid a punishing schedule.

The medals were finally secured due to an excellent 2.5-1.5 last-round victory over Germany, which came thanks to a great fighting win by GM David Howell in the fourth hour of play. As usual, Mickey was super-solid on 1, and Luke and Gawain held draws.

Highlights of this trip to Batumi included fine wins over Armenia, Croatia and the Netherlands, plus a memorable 2-2 draw with Gold medallists Russia, thanks to an accomplished endgame win by Mickey over Russian top board Dmitry Andreikin and a Harry Houdini act by Gawain to save a draw against Maxim Matlakov on Board 4.

It was the first England medal in the European Teams Open Championship since 1997, when Nigel Short, Mickey Adams, Jon Speelman, Matthew Sadler and Julian Hodgson won Gold. Four years later, the England Women’s team of Harriet Hunt, Jovanka Houska and Susan Lalic won the Bronze medals.

A fine team spirit and some good individual scores were also a feature of the England Women’s team’s performance in Batumi, although the mixed overall result (including 3 wins, over Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland) was about par for the team’s rating. As well as Jovanka Houska’s heroic 4.5/9 on Board 1, the addition of England debutante WGM Katarzyna Toma was a big fillip to the team, and her 5.5/9 on Board 2 was the team’s best score.

ECF International Director Malcolm Pein, who captained the England Open team, said ‘I am immensely proud of all our England players in the Open and Women’s teams, and the Open team’s excellent Bronze medal performance – coming after brilliant results in the Olympiad and World Teams – shows that we are now one of the very best teams in the world. The players would particularly like to record their thanks for all the messages of support and congratulations they received from ECF members throughout the event. It really boosted our spirits, knowing that the English chess community was rooting for us.’

— Tim Wall

Gawain Jones wins the TePe Sigeman & Co Tournament

Gawain at the tournament – picture by Lars OA Hedlund

Gawain Jones scored his best result of 2019 and one of his best ever tournament victories as he won the TePe Sigeman & Co Tournament in Malmo. The English no.1 scored an unbeaten 5/7 in this Category 17 event, which equated to a 2816 performance.

Jones began by outplaying the Iranian World Junior Champion, Parham Maghsoodloo, with the black pieces and also defeated Tiger Hillarp Persson and Ivan Saric, while remaining undefeated, including a comfortable final-round draw with the top seed, Pentala Harikrishna.

Leading scores: 1 Gawain Jones (England) 5/7, 2 Pentala Harikrishna (India) 4.5, 3 Nils Grandelius (Sweden) 4, 4 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Germany) 3.5, 5-6 Nihil Sarin (India), Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran), 7-8 8 Ivan Saric (Croatia), Tiger Hillarp Persson (Sweden) 2.5.

Jones’s victory lifts him to 2709 on the live rating list. He has, at least for now, pulled out a small gap over the pack, Michael Adams currently lying second on 2695, just ahead of David Howell (2693), Matthew Sadler (2692), and Luke McShane (2688). It’s a very exciting time for English chess and personally I can’t wait for the 2019 European Team Championships, which are due to begin in Batumi, Georgia in late October.

Despite the absence of Jones, Guildford won their seventh successive 4NCL title in Telford last week, helped by all of Adams, who outmanoeuvred Howell in trademark fashion, McShane, who racked up 3/3 in the final weekend, and Sadler, who comfortably held as Black the highly creative danger that is Richard Rapport.

Tiger Hillarp Persson (2563) – Gawain Jones (2702)
Sigeman & Co, Malmo 2019
English Opening

1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 e6 7.a3 Nge7 8.Rb1

A popular set-up for White. Jones has thus far countered as Black would the Closed Sicilian and now opts for a harmonious set-up with a second fianchetto.

8…0-0 9.b4 b6 10.e3 Bb7 11.Qb3 Rb8 12.Bb2 Qd7 13.d3 h6 14.Rfe1?!

14.Rfd1 g5 15.Ne2 to support d3-d4 looks more to the point.


Seizing the initiative.

15.Ne2 e5 16.Rbd1

The computer still likes White after 16.Qa4, but the famous Swedish player and creator of the Tiger Modern was likely afraid of 16…a6 when Black looks comfortable to human eyes and might even get in …b5.

16…Ng6 17.d4

The classic central counter to a flank attack. Now Black might go 17…e4 18.Nd2 f5, but Jones prefers to open the position.

17…g4 18.Nd2 exd4 19.exd4 cxd4


It appears counterintuitive to advance on the flank where White is weakest, but after 20.f4! he controls e5 and 20…gxf3 21.Nxf3 brings his knight back into play, with roughly level chances.


This rook, as the f-pawn may yet advance. Black has seized a strong initiative which he never lets go of.


The obvious move, but tactically flawed.

21…Nxd4 22.Bxd4 Bxd4 23.Rxd4 f5! 24.Rxd6 Qxd6!

The problem. Black obtains two rooks for the queen and the white king finds itself far too exposed.

25.Nxd6 Rxe1+ 26.Bf1 Ne5 27.c5+ Kh7 28.f4 Nf3+ 29.Kf2

Jones now wrapped up matters with a simple tactic.

29…Rxf1+! 30.Ke3 Re1+ 31.Kf2 Re2+! 0-1

— Malcolm Pein, ECF International Director

England win Silver in the World Open Team Championships 2019

A fantastic all-round team performance has secured England its first-ever Silver medals in the World Open Team Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan (held March 6-14). The medals are the first for England in a major team competition since they won Gold in the 1997 European Championship.

England’s score of 13/18 match points put them in second place behind Gold medallists Russia (16) but ahead of defending champions China (Bronze, with 12) and India (11).

The England team of Mickey Adams, Luke McShane, David Howell and Gawain Jones, plus reserve/analyst Jon Speelman, proved more consistent as a unit than other higher-rated teams, scoring a total of 5 match wins, 3 draws (including against Russia and India) and only one loss (to China). Luke McShane on Board 2 and David Howell on Board 3 were the highest scorers for England with 6/9 each, while top board Mickey Adams scored a valiant 3.5/9 and Gawain Jones on Board 4 scored 5.5/8.

England secured three individual board medals, with McShane winning Gold, Jones Silver and Howell Bronze.

Against Iran, an unwell Jon Speelman heroically stepped in for one game in place of an even more unwell Gawain Jones. What might have spelled trouble turned into a magnificent 3-1 victory, however as Adams, McShane and Howell all won.

The Astana result is a remarkable triumph for the England team, which qualified by virtue of a superb fifth place at the 2018 Batumi Olympiad. It was the first time England had qualified for the World Team Championship since 1997.

Especially notable from a historical perspective is the fact that Adams and Speelman were also part of the Gold-winning England team at the 1997 European Championship, and that Speelman won Bronze medals for England in the 1985 and 1989 World Team Championships.

The team was captained by ECF International Director Malcolm Pein, who said after England’s final round 3.5-0.5 victory over Sweden, “This was an amazing team performance, only made possible by invaluable support from The Scheinberg Family. All chess players in England can be justifiably proud of our national team today. We showed in Astana that although our teams do not receive the official and financial backing of many of our rivals, our resilience and team spirit are second to none. I’m looking forward to our next outing at the European Team Championships this October.”

— Tim Wall, 15th March 2019

International report 2017/18

The year, September 2017 until August 2018, has been an exceptionally good one for English International chess, with plenty of success for our leading players, as well as a number of norms and titles for our younger players.
As I write, we are ranked twelfth in the world by FIDE, based on the average rating of a country’s top-ten players, and are seeded eighth for the upcoming Olympiad in Batumi. Our top-six players can all be considered world-class: Michael Adams (FIDE rating 2712, world no.35), Matthew Sadler (2693, no.49), David Howell (2689, no.55), Gawain Jones (2677, no.65), Luke McShane (2672, no.70), and Nigel Short (2652, no.98). Yes, that’s six players in the world’s top-100! Something we have not had for some time.

Our Open team’s final placing at the European Championships in Crete was slightly disappointing but like at the Olympiad in Baku we were really close to doing very well and it was a case of fine margins. Both the Open and Women’s teams would have finished much higher, but for a disastrous final round where we managed just one draw in total from both teams! Even now it beggars belief, especially as the Open team had only lost one match up to that point.

I was concerned by the showing of our Women’s team at Crete but we have strengthened it for the Olympiad with the addition of Louise Head whose domination of the 2017 English Women’s Championship qualified her for the team and since then she has blossomed into a very strong player.

There was unprecedented success for Luke and Gawain at the European Individual where both qualified for the World Cup. Gawain also made a strong impression at his first ever elite event as he played in the Wijk aan Zee A tournament and had Magnus Carlsen on the ropes. David Howell also enjoyed tournament success and went above 2700 briefly.

Luke McShane claimed the silver medal in the European Blitz Championship in Katowice.

I am grateful to our sponsors Capital Developments Waterloo Ltd for enabling us to keep the British super-strong and this facilitated David Eggleston’s success as he earned his third and final GM norm – now he just needs the 2500 rating. Last year Daniel Fernandez had his GM title confirmed by FIDE, while at the Pula Open this summer Daniel was squeezed out on tie-break by IM Ravi Haria and in the same tournament, university students Andrew Horton and Joseph McPhillips both obtained their third and final IM norms.

I’m also delighted to report that Adam Taylor made IM norms at both Hastings and in the 4NCL, while Alan Merry continued his steady progress by making his first GM norm at the Polar Capital Open in Jersey.

Both the 4NCL itself and the 4NCL congresses provide excellent opportunities for all our players but there is still an acute shortage of FIDE rated and norm tournaments in England.  We are fortunate to have world-class Opens in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, which nowadays almost unofficially almost compete with each other to be the world’s strongest open, but these tournaments have limited capacity and aren’t accessible to everyone.

There is finally sight of a potential pipeline of new  talent as our current crop of Under-10s is first-rate, led by Shreyas Royal, who, of course, won a silver medal at last year’s European Youth and has more recently achieved a weekend tournament performance of 200 grade.

I am delighted that the Chess Trust has funded the Accelerator programme, run so well by GM Peter Wells and this means that our top talents can finally – for the first time ever really – receive all year round mentoring.

We must not neglect them. That means putting on more international events and trying to make weekenders stronger again. I was delighted to put £500 from the international budget into Tim Wall’s Northumbria Masters, which aimed, during the February half-term, to supply both international experience and norm possibilities. I need to do a lot more in that area but it needs funding.

Bigger prizes in weekenders will not only keep more 20-something IMs in the game and help our older grandmasters, but will most importantly ensure that our bright young talents can cross swords with titled players much more often. That is absolutely one of the best ways of learning, not least from the post-mortem analysis after the game.

Switching generations, I should pay particular tribute to some fine Seniors performances of late, as over-50s chess continues to go from strength to strength. Peter Gayson won a bronze medal at the European Senior Championships in Drammen this summer, while the England over-50 team so nearly won the World Senior Championship in Radebeul. In the end it was to be a classic case of only silver, although Keith Arkell won individual gold for his performance on board 5. I should also pay mention Nigel Povah’s superb 7/8 for the over-65 side, as well as the bronze and silver individual medals won by Sheila Jackson and Petra Fink-Nunn respectively for the women’s over-60 team.

We have a strong line-up of Adams, Howell, Jones, McShane and Pert in the Open section at the Batumi Olympiad, where John Nunn will bring a wealth of experience to the role of captain. Gawain, building on his promising performance in the top group at Wijk aan Zee, and Luke have already done very well in that Black Sea resort this year, both qualifying from the super-strong European Individual Championship for the next FIDE World Cup.

With Lorin D’Costa acting as captain and coach, I’m also quietly confident that the Women’s team (Jovanka Houska, Dagne Ciuksyte, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, Sue Maroroa and Louise Head) can outperform their seeding. The bronze medal earnt this summer by Akshaya in the European Youth Championships in Riga and Louise Head’s fabulous performance, culminating in a WIM norm at the Czech Open in Pardubice, as well as Jovanka claiming an eighth British Women’s title in Hull mean that our Women’s team should arrive in good form.

English chess is doing well, but we must continue to strive to find new investment, both to keep fielding an Olympiad team capable of a winning medal, as well as to give both our leading players and some hugely exciting young talent every chance of future success.

— Malcolm Pein, 12th September 2018