You've seen photographs of the chess players, you've seen the venue. Except... not quite. There were certain things I missed out. So yesterday I returned to the tournament to get some final photographs. And I ended up snapping more than I bargained for - including the only World Champion to visit the event, what's tucked away in Simpson's toilet, and Streatham and Brixton Chess Club's All Star Beer Grandmasters in action.
firstly, two of the Grandmaster faces that I missed out entirely in my first report, because they were so late to the venue that flash photography was no longer allowed. This time, Gawain Jones (right) was only five minutes late, and he only had to wait a further three for Ivan Sokolov to show up. Maybe Sokolov missed the time lost toward the end of the game, where he could not convert his extra pawn in a long, closed endgame. Well before that, the rest of the players were in Simpson's charming Knight's Bar, analyzing away in its comfortable chairs after their games. Left to right, here's Grandmasters Adams, McNab, Rowson paying a visit fresh from the British Championship, Adams and Speelman.
Below, John Emms chats to Eric Schiller whilst a seated Ray Keene takes a breather from it all to inspect his fingers (left), and Smeets and l'Ami relax after their games (right.)
Masters here, Masters there, Masters everywhere. But only one World Champion:
Winner of the Under 11 World Championship in Las Vegas, Emma Bentley, giving Ray Keene something to think about. Maybe in a decade, she'll be playing in the tournament room itself. Who knows?
And here's something completely different. It's another antique chess board, played on by the greats as the sign says, and perhaps one or two not so greats. This one hangs on the wall of the entrance of Simpson's, but what are the row of holes the arrow points to for? They look like they could each fit a matchstick. There was another one along the left hand side at the top, too - one for each opponent in other words. Do click to enlarge the image to take a look, and help resolve the mystery if you can.
Sometimes it seems like chess here, chess there, chess everywhere in Simpson's. Even the toilets in feature chess. Not wires in the ceiling of course; this old sign hangs in the upstairs gents:
Have prices gone up since then? Well, admission is currently free to watch the chess. But I suspect a cigar or coffee might set you back a bit more.
The Drinking Grandmasters from Streatham and Brixton Chess Club went to the pub up the road afterwards instead - your photographer being the one wearing the pink tie. I bumped into Jan Timman there to my surprise, stood at the bar on his own. Our conversation went like this:
Chivers: So! Is this where you come to get away from chess players?
And on that note, it's probably time just to remind you that you can find out results and games on the official website here. The tournament finishes tomorrow, when the round starts at 12 noon.