Businesses urged to support charity Chess Challenge and compete for Diamond Jubilee prizes!

The top-ranked chess player in the Humber region is to take on all-comers in a simultaneous challenge with a right Royal prize at stake.

And members of the local business community are being urged to send their star players to compete in the event, which will raise funds for the Smile Foundation.

John Cooper will face up to 16 opponents at a time in the exhibition organised by Hull-based Studio Anne Carlton as part of the company’s celebrations for Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Win or lose, three of the challengers will receive one of the commemorative chess sets specially produced by Studio Anne Carlton to mark next year’s Royal celebration. They will also collect cash prizes of £250, £150 and £100 from Napoleons Casino and Restaurant, which will be the venue for the challenge on 11 January.

“We’re providing some complete sets of the Diamond Jubilee edition as prizes and Napoleon’s will be putting up some cash prizes,” said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Studio Anne Carlton.

“We’ll also be making a donation to the Smile Foundation to help them kick-off their 2012 fund-raising activities, and we’d be delighted if other businesses would join us at the event.

“There must be a lot of people in the local business community who have been keen chess players in the past and who may still be involved. Entry is free but a donation to the Smile Foundation would be appreciated.”

John, a lecturer in history at Hull College, was nominated by organisers of the Hull and District Chess Association for the charity challenge.

During his 35 years playing chess, John has found himself on both ends of “simul” events. As a junior he was one of many players who tried and failed to topple Czech Grandmaster Vlastimil Hort on a visit to Hull.

Now 48, John expects his opponents in the Diamond Jubilee challenge to be something of an unknown quantity.

“I’m sure I will know some of them because they are being recruited through local chess clubs, but hopefully there will be some new people. There will be some good players because Hull has always been quite a centre for chess in Yorkshire.”

The maximum number of opponents that he will face at any one time at Napoleons Casino and Restaurant is 16 but further players may be added depending on how many take up the challenge. The event is open to anyone over the age of 18. It will take place on Wednesday 11 January from 6pm until 10pm and potential participants should register their interest by sending their details to Michael Lee, Managing Director of Studio Anne Carlton at      

“The challengers don’t have to beat John to have a chance of winning,” said Michael.

“The prizes will be awarded to the opponents who John judges to have given him the best games. So we want to attract as many challengers as possible. John will start by facing 16 but as players lose and boards become vacant hopefully we will have more players waiting for their chance.”

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