Vader, a monkey and a pawnstar: Great and good of chess gather for wild night

David Howell playing Chris
Battersea Chess Club sponsored by Bishop's Move

A contingent of Battersea’s finest, plus myself, ventured north of the river last weekend for a night of chess like no other…

Fasten your seat belts, and I will explain.

The event in question was the star-studded first Crypt Blitz, a party thrown by Ginger GM and sponsored by Capital BFS Ltd.

Now if this doesn’t become an annual event we will be sorely disappointed, because it was a bloody riot.

The bash was held in the spooky depths of The Crypt Gallery, a venue underneath a church in Bloomsbury.

On the guest list there was unquestionably the great and good of British chess.

Firstly, our hosts the two Simons who run Ginger GM, Simon Williams and IM Simon Ansell.

But also IM Malcolm Pein, GM David Howell, the chess photographer Lennart Ootes, the commentator Fiona Steil-Antoni, World Championship semi-finalist Jon Speelman and fresh from playing blitz against Magnus, IM Lawrence Trent.

GM Danny Gormally even came dressed as the only man more gloomy than himself, Darth Vader.

Oh yes, it was fancy-dress.

I managed to not realise, as did Ali, but Chris Beckett decided to go like this:

Beckett playing Lawrence Trent, with Darth Vader
Beckett playing Lawrence Trent, with Darth Vader

Yes, he’s Hugh Hefner, the PAWNstar. But my first though was Captain Birdseye.

However the prize for the best outfit of the night had to go to Dave Spence, sporting a monkey in a cage and, of course, playing the Orangutan 1.b4.

Much mirth was made when he played Speelman who – experienced campaigner that he is – remained resolutely unfazed throughout.

Overlooking it all was The Godfather of chess organisation, our very own impresario Aldo Camilleri who helped organise it.

Chris and Ali did ok, but as you can see the chess didn’t go so well for me, although I blame the booze and being massively outgraded…

Ginger GM Crypt Blitz results
Ginger GM Crypt Blitz results




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