Tuesday, July 09, 2024

ChessFest draws 23,000 people to Trafalgar Square

Starring nine-year-old Bodhana Sivanandan, who's just been selected for the England women's team, the annual ChessFest event attracted 23,000 people to Trafalgar Square on Sunday. That's an increase of 8000 over last year.

The English Chess Federation site says:

Bodhana was joined by a host of top UK grandmasters and three other young English super-talents: 15-year-old Shreyas Royal, who is on the brink of becoming England’s youngest ever grandmaster, fast-rising under 10 Supratit Banerjee and Ethan Pang, the world’s number-one under-9 player.

British Champion Gawain Jones and England’s number-one Nikita Vitiugov, both world-class grandmasters, treated the crowd to a display of blindfold chess. There was also an appearance from Anthony Mathurin, from the BBC show The Traitors, who is a chess coach.

The festival, now in its fourth year, drew chess enthusiasts from across the country, including many of the country’s top grandmasters, for a day of fun suitable for every level of player. 

It was organised by the charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) with support from the Mayor of London and XTX Markets.

With an upsurge of interest in chess - attributed to The Queen's Gambit television series and to people rediscovering the game online during lockdown - and a crop of outstanding junior players, it looks as though Britain is heading to the top again. In the 1990s we were second as a chess power only to the old Soviet Union.

Malcolm Pein, chief executive of CSC, said:

"It was wonderful to see over 23,000 people enjoying what is the Glastonbury of chess in Trafalgar Square. A mid-afternoon downpour did not stop play, unlike the cricket!"

The photographs here were taken by Andrew Moss and are used with his permission and that of Malcolm Pein, chief executive of Chess in Schools and Communities.


nigel hunter said...

That photo of the flamingo's !!.Reminded me of Alice in Wonderland

Jonathan Calder said...

There's a strong chess theme in Alice Through the Looking Glass, so I think between them the two books inspired those costumes for the live game.