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Photo Feature: 125 Chess Game Spectacular Thrills Shoppers In The High Street

Published on: 12 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 12 Sep, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

Shoppers and chess fans were thrilled and amazed as nine chess Masters took on a rolling queue of 15 players each, simultaneously, in a marathon six-hour display outside of Holy Trinity Church on Saturday (September 11).

Around 400 players, as young as eight years old, gave battle against the experts on the 125 boards, celebrating the 125 years of the Guildford Chess Club meeting at the Guildford Institute.

International Chess Master, Andrew Martin playing 15 young hopefuls in the simultaneous chess display in the High Street.

Players, stewards and members met later for a well-earned celebration dinner at the Mandalay Hotel to toast the success of the event. Lead organiser, Nigel White said: “It took six months to plan but it’s been great fun.”

International Master, Nigel Povah, chair of Guildford Chess Club, said: “Chess is intriguing, competitive and bottomless. We are one of the strongest chess clubs in the UK and we welcome players from beginners to Grandmasters.”

Ranked 60th in the world, Grandmaster, Gawain Jones, said: “It’s a beautiful place to play chess. People are very excited.”

The “chess spectacular” was opened by Mayor Marsha Moseley, accompanied by her consort, Cllr Nigel Manning. Mayor Mosley said it was wonderful to see so many young people interested and taking part.

Guildford Chess Club member, Mike Gunn said: “Chess is all consuming, it’s like meditating. But incredibly competitive. It is a game of perfect information, you see everything on the board. The trick is calculating the future.”

George Henty, 8, and Ryan Jones, 8 were having great fun waiting for the game to start. Ryan lasted one and a half hours before losing to International Master, Nigel Povah.

Joe Firth expected to last no more than 15 moves against International Master, Andrew Martin. He was delighted to reach move 27. Inspired, he said: “I’m going to have another session later.”

Sisters, Bernice (13) and Belle (10) Mok left Hong King a month ago with their parents to live in Guildford. They were excited to be playing.

Solomon Sutton (9) recently won the Epsom Mens Player of the Year 2021. Solomon said he was an Arsenal fan. Unlike his team, he said: “I’m going to win”.

Nona Nwajide, on her 9th birthday, with her father, Obi. Nona said: “I like all the different moves”.

Amy Ma (8) with her parents, Kate and Cliff, came from Reading to take part in the simultaneous display.

Archie Piatt, just starting at the University of Surrey to read chemical engineering, said: “I love the competitive nature of chess, you can always get a good attack rolling. I’m definitely going to lose against International Master, Nigel Povah, but I plan on going down with a fight”.

Club members and brothers, James (19) FIDE Master, Alex (17) and Will Golding (16) have all represented England. Their parents, Christine and Charles, said they were “very proud”.

One of the few winners, Steven Hall, shakes hands with 13-year-old chess star, Jessica Mellor. Jessica resigned after a close game. Each player was left with their king and just one pawn. Steven said: “She is a fantastic player.”

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test 2 Responses to Photo Feature: 125 Chess Game Spectacular Thrills Shoppers In The High Street

  1. Roshan Bailey Reply

    September 12, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    What a fantastic event this must have been – I wish I’d known about it beforehand. Well done to all concerned and please publicise via The Dragon in advance if you do another one. I will definitely try to attend if you do.

  2. Brian Creese Reply

    September 14, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    It was a great event – the weather was good and lots of people stopped to watch and chat. I think it would be great if this could become a regular event.

    Sadly my total lack of preparation, unsurprisingly, didn’t help and I was soundly thrashed by Alex Golding in 35 moves. Perhaps next year I might do better.

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