It’s December so what are you looking forward to? Here’s a clue – there are only 24 days to go until…..yes, you’ve got it. There are only 24 days until the Hastings Chess Congress begins. The view expressed here before is that Hastings is not quite what it was and the main reason for that is a five letter word beginning with ‘m’ and ending in ‘y’. The proximity in the chess calendar of the Tata Steel Tournament offering megabucks to all and sundry leaves Hastings with mere grandmasters while the super GMs head for Holland (Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Anish Giri are already confirmed entrants). That is not to say Hastings lacks good games. One of my first visits was for the 1988/89 tournament and I arrived on the Friday afternoon ahead of the Weekend Congress to catch the final round of the Open Tournament. On the top board was 12-year old Judit Polgar playing white against GM Glenn Flear. So if you were 12, facing a grandmaster, what would you play after 1.e4 e5 ? Why, the King’s Gambit, of course!

White:  Judit Polgar      Black:  Glenn Flear

Hastings Open 1988/89


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