Over the Board
International Master since 1985, this is the level below Grandmaster. Former British Junior Champion and chess professional.
Chess Correspondent of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph for over 30 years. Commentated on chess for BBC, Sky TV, Independent Television News and CNN, BBC Radio 5 and BBC World Service. Author of numerous books on chess.
Trained over 20 national and world junior champions. In the mid 80s I worked in Tower Hamlets and turned it into the strongest UK Borough at primary school level with a team formed exclusively of first–generation immigrant children for whom English was a foreign language.
Chess Shop and Publishing
In 1992 founded the London Chess Centre, a games store in central London. It remains a focal point for chess activity in the UK and publishes ‘CHESS’ magazine.
Appointed Chess Internet Consultant to IBM Corporate for the Kasparov v Deep Blue match in 1997 and advised them on the development and presentation of Chess.IBM.com which became the biggest website in the history of the Internet at the time.
Responsible for the pre-planning of the World Chess Championship match between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik in London 2000. In 2002 appointed Technical Director of the ‘Brains in Bahrain’ match between Vladimir Kramnik and the computer program Fritz. In 2009 I raised funds for and staged the 1st London Chess Classic, Britain’s most prestigious event for 25 years. The London Chess Classic has run every year since 2009 and four world champions; Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen have participated. In 2016 the LCC became the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour to which I was appointed to the Management at the outset, before resigning in 2019.
Chess in Schools and Communities
As a result of the success of the 2009 London Chess Classic, in 2010 I formed a charity with the aim of reintroducing chess to state schools. Head teachers were receptive to, and approving of my innovative approach, which was to have chess taught formally in the primary school classroom through a specially devised 30-week curriculum, as opposed to delivering chess via the traditional after–school or lunch time club. This ensured an equal number of girls and boys had the opportunity to learn the game and this participation is reflected in the numbers that attend CSC tournaments. Typically, a UK chess event will have fewer than 5% female participation. In CSC events that number is usually above 30%/
The charity grew quickly and from the 80 schools supported in year one, CSC now teaches chess in 350 schools and 800 classrooms weekly. Nearly 1000 more schools have received support in the form of equipment, training or learning materials. I developed a training course for chess tutors and CSC has recruited and trained over 300 chess teachers. I developed a funding model in which the school pay half the cost and the rest is covered by fundraising. The charity has since expanded its offering to older people and, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, prisons. We received two awards from the Sports and Recreation Alliance in 2013 and 2014.