At the Annual General Meeting of the Hastings International Chess Congress held on 21 March 2015, Con Power stood down as Director of the event after a remarkable 32 years. He was congratulated on his long service and thanked for all he had done on behalf of the many players who played in Hastings over the years. Congress Chairman, Paul Smith, presented Con with a watch to mark his much appreciated contribution to the Chess Congress.
Stepping into the Director’s role is Alan Hustwayte. He has been Secretary of the Congress Committee for a number of years. He has been a chess enthusiast over many years and is a long term resident of Hastings. He was congratulated by colleagues and is pictured here with Con Power.
Despite further funding cuts announced by the Borough Council, dates have been set for the next Hastings Congress which will take place from 28th December 2015 to 5th January 2016 and a drive to raise further funding is now underway.
The Hastings International Chess Congress organisers have been advised by Hastings Borough Council that they propose cutting the funding by 50% to £10,000 for the next event and cutting funding completely for the following year. This was announced in the Hastings Observer of 16th January 2015.
The Congress has been aware of the likelihood of cuts for some time bearing in mind the draconian cuts faced by the Borough Council. The Congress AGM will take place on 21st March 2015 and the main topic will undoubtedly be the future of the event.
Hastings International Chess Congress ended on Tuesday 6th January 2015.
This year there was an outright winner – Grandmaster Zhao Jun from China with 8 points out of 9. He holds the Golombek Trophy for one year and received first prize of £2,000. The presentation was made by Mr. Dominic Lawson, President of the English Chess Federation who was also present at the opening ceremony.
The prizegiving ceremony was preceded by a buffet reception hosted by the Trustees of Horntye Park Sports Complex. The ceremony was also attended by Cllr.Bruce Dowling, Rt.Worshipful the Mayor of Hastings, Peter Finchand trustees of Horntye Park Sports Complex, Cllrs Maureen Charlesworth and Dominic Sabetian, Council representative Kevin Boorman and sponsors Laurence and Catherine Parr of the White Rock Hotel. Players and Congress organizers also attended when time allowed as the last crucial game affecting prizes below 1st did not finish until after 9.00pm.
Congress Chairman, Paul Smith, hosted the prizegiving. He noted that 27 countries were represented and that entries totaled 384 which was higher than last year. He made mention of the uncertainty regarding future funding bearing in mind the cuts expected by HBC but hoped that, one way or another, players and organizers would meet again for the 91st Congress in 2015-16. He thanked the Trustees and staff of Horntye Park for their smooth running of the event.
Cllr. Dowling, Mayor of Hastings, welcomed players to Hastings and said that he has had an interest in chess since school days. He hoped that players had enjoyed theirvisit to Hastings and would return for more chess and also as visitors to the town.
Dominic Lawson praised the standard and quality of the games and said that, as well as visiting the venue several times, he had spent a good deal of time watching the games on-line. One player whose games were given special mention was Mr. Wahbi Kheit from Israel who won the prize for best performance by a non GM or IM.