Hastings International Chess Congress
The Hastings International Chess Congress is an annual chess congress which takes place in Hastings, England, around the turn of the year. The main event is the Hastings Premier tournament, which was traditionally a 10 to 16 player round-robin tournament. In 2004/05 the tournament was played in the knock out format; while in 2005/06 and 2006/07 it was played using the Swiss system. Alongside the main event there is the challengers section, which is open to all players. The winner of the challengers event earns an invitation in the following year's Premier.
In addition to the annual international tournament at the Christmas Congress, Hastings has also hosted international tournaments at irregular intervals in its Summer Congress. The most celebrated of these is Hastings 1895, which featured two world champions and nearly all of the world's best players.
Every World Champion before Garry Kasparov except Bobby Fischer played at Hastings: Wilhelm Steinitz (1895), Emanuel Lasker (1895), José Raúl Capablanca (1919, 1929/30, 1930/1 and 1934/5), Alexander Alekhine (1922, 1925/6, 1933/4 and 1936/7), Max Euwe (1923/4, 1930/1, 1931/2, 1934/5, 1945/6 and 1949/50), Mikhail Botvinnik (1934/5, 1961/2 and 1966/7), Vasily Smyslov (1954/5, 1962/3 and 1968/9), Mikhail Tal (1963/4), Tigran Petrosian (1977/8), Boris Spassky (1965/6), and Anatoly Karpov (1971/2). The only champions to play Hastings while currently holding the title were Lasker at Hastings 1895 and Alekhine at the 1933/4 Christmas Congress.
Vera Menchik (Czechoslovakia), who was then the Women's World Champion, was the first woman to play in the Premier section, participating in seven tournaments from 1929/30 through 1936/37. In 1963/4 Nona Gaprindashvili (USSR) won the Challengers section when she also was Women's World Champion, earning a spot in the next years Premier. In the 1964/5 Premier she scored 5/9 to place fifth, beating all of the British masters in the tournament.
The Hastings Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined takes its name from the game Victor Berger (né Buerger) – George Alan Thomas, Hastings 1926/7, which began 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bg5 h6 5.Bxf6 Qxf6 6.Nc3 c6 7.Qb3.
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Premier (Christmas Congress)
The first Christmas Congress in 1920/1 was a four player double round-robin of British Champions, won by Frederick Yates 4/6 ahead of Roland Henry Vaughn Scott 3.5, Henry Ernest Atkins 3, and Richard Griffith 1.5.
The third Congress in 1922/3, began the event as a truly international competition with four foreign participants in the field of ten. Max Euwe (Netherlands) won with 7.5/9. Except for 1924/5 and during World War II, the tournaments would continue as ten-player events with the field half British, half foreign. In 1968 the field was increased to twelve, and in 1971 it was increased again to sixteen.
The Congress was held in the Hastings Town Hall from 1921 to 1929. In 1930 it was held in the Waverly Hotel; from 1931 to 1953 at the White Rock Pavilion; from 1954 to 1965 at the Sun Lounge, St. Leonards-on-Sea; and in 1966 Falaise Hall, White Rock Gardens. At first the tournament was funded by private donations and a grant from the Hastings Corporation, but eventually commercial sponsorship became necessary. The 1967 to 1969 tournaments were sponsored by The Times newspaper and the St Leonards and Hastings Corporations. This allowed an increase in the prize funds for both the Premier and Challengers' sections, with the prizes for the Premier being 1st £250, 2nd £100, 3rd £50, 4th £25, and £5 per won game for non-prize winners. Challengers prizes were 1st £100, 2nd £50, 3rd £30, 4th £20, 5th £10, and a £20 prize for the best score by a British player. Participants in the by-invitation Premier section had expenses paid. The entry fee for the Challengers' section was £4, with the 32-player field selected from the entries received. Zetters International Pools was the sponsor in 1975, and Ladbrokes in 1976. Other sponsors included J. D. Slater, W. R. Morry, and the Friends of Chess.
The 1961/2 Congress featured World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, making his first return to Hastings since 1934/5. The 1934/5 Congress was Botvinnik's first tournament outside the Soviet Union and he had finished a disappointing fifth behind Sir George Thomas, Max Euwe, and Salo Flohr tied for 1st-3rd, and Capablanca at 4th. This time Botvinnik was undefeated, winning seven and drawing two to finish first with 7/9. Svetozar Gligorić was second with 6, Flohr third with 5.5, and Arthur Bisguier and John Penrose tied for fourth-fifth with 5.
# Year Winner 1 1895 Harry Nelson Pillsbury (USA) 2 1919 José Raúl Capablanca (Cuba) 3 1922 Alexander Alekhine (France) 4 1995 Suat Atalık (Turkey)
Hastings 1895 is considered one of the greatest tournaments in the history of chess. It was one of the first tournaments to include all the top players, including former World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz and current champion Emanuel Lasker, Mikhail Chigorin, Siegbert Tarrasch, Karl Schlechter, Joseph Henry Blackburne, David Janowski, and others. The result of the 22-game round-robin was a surprise, as American Harry Nelson Pillsbury won with 16.5 points despite playing in his first international tournament.
The Hastings 1919 "Victory Tournament" was the first international tournament held in an allied country after World War I. The field was chiefly British, but the tournament was dominated by Cuban José Raúl Capablanca (soon to be World Champion) and Yugoslav grandmaster Borislav Kostić. Capablanca won 10.5/11 without a loss, drawing only his game to Kostić who placed second with 9.5. George Alan Thomas and Frederick Yates tied for 3rd-4th with 7 points.
Hastings 1922 was a double round-robin with Alexander Alekhine, Akiba Rubinstein, Efim Bogoljubov, Siegbert Tarrasch, George Alan Thomas, and Frederick Yates. Capablanca and Lasker had been invited but were unable to attend. The tournament featured a slower time control than had been usual in England—17 moves per hour instead of 20 moves per hour. The outcome wasn't decided until the final round. Bogoljubov lost all his games against tournament leaders Alekhine and Rubinstein. Rubinstein needed a final round victory over Thomas to tie for first with Alekhine, but achieved only a draw to fall a half point short. Alekhine won with 7.5, Rubinstein was second with 7, and Bogoljubow and Thomas tied for third-fourth with 4.
- Sunnucks, Anne (1970), The Encyclopaedia of Chess, St. Martin's Press, pp. 161–204, 459–461, LCCN 78106371 (background and crosstables through 1968/9)
- Congress History at the official website of the Hastings International Chess Congress
- Golombek, Harry, ed. (1977), Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess, Crown Publishing, pp. 137–139, ISBN 0-517-53146-1
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 162
- Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992), The Oxford Companion to Chess (2 ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 170, ISBN 0-19-280049-3
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 161
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 459–460
- Horowitz, I. A. (February 1962), "The World of Chess: Botvinnik the Invincible", Chess Review 30 (2): 35
- Sunnucks 1970, p. 199
- Official website
- Reports from chessbase: ,  and 
- Weeks, Mark (11 January 1999), THE WEEK IN CHESS 218: Hastings 1998-9, London Chess Center
- Weeks, Mark (7 January 2008), THE WEEK IN CHESS 687: 83rd Hastings International Chess Congress, London Chess Center
- Giddins, Steve (6 January 2010), Hastings Four players tie for first with 7.0-9, ChessBase.com
- Giddins, Steve (6 January 2011), Indians Sengupta and Das win Hastings, ChessBase.com