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Hull set for huge chess festival this summer



Hull will be going chess crazy this summer with the city’s first Play Chess Festival.

The programme will last for three months and will take place across the city in parks, squares, libraries, shops, markets, cafés and pubs. It will be open to all ages, existing chess-players and those who just want to learn.

Events will range from fun day stalls in park events, to a ‘chess sesh’ in libraries. The fantastic programme will then culminate with the British Chess Championships in Hull in October.

Graham Chesters, president of the Hull and District Chess Association, said: “After COVID restrictions, we want to give the people of Hull something a bit different. Chess is played by millions across the world. It’s a fabulous game, brings lots of educational and social benefits, and is cheap!”

Hull has a long history with chess. The British Championships came here for the first time in 2018, bringing with them more than a thousand players and supporters, and an estimated economic benefit of more than £1m to the city.

Since then the city has hosted a masters tournament, the English Women’s Championships and the Hull Chess Congress 2019.

The launch of the City’s first Play Chess Festival will take place at the Deep on Monday August 2.

The opening will be performed by Councillor Rosemary Pantelakis, portfolio holder for culture at Hull City Council, who will play the opening moves on a giant chess set within the Deep, against a backdrop of fish swimming in tanks.

As a nod towards the recently popular Netflix sensation, she will use the Queen’s Gambit. This will be followed by two of the Deep’s professional divers playing chess underwater.

Councillor Pantelakis said: “I am very supportive of young people having the opportunity to learn chess. The Council is keen to back the exciting festival programme and the ambition to make Hull a chess city.”

Below is the current programme for the Play Chess Festival. More events will also be announced throughout the summer.


• August 4: Large Play Day – Queen’s Gardens (11am – 3pm)

• August 12: Chess Fun Day – Pearson Park (1 – 4pm)

• August 14: Live Chess – Queen Victoria Square (11am – 2pm)

• August 17: Chess Sesh – Hull Central Library (2 – 3:30pm)

• August 18: Chess Sesh – East Park Library (10:30am – 12:00pm)

• August 21: Family Day – Pearson Park (11am – 3pm)

• August 24: 1st online Hull & East Riding 4NCL match – Premier Division

• August 25-27: Junior Summer School at Hymers College

• August 28: Chessfest at Trinity Square and Trinity Market (11am – 4pm)


• October 2-10: British Chess Championship, Royal Station Hotel

• October 14-17: British Women Chess Championship, Royal Station Hotel

• October 20-22: Junior Coaching Event, Royal Station Hotel

• October 20-24: Grandmaster Norm Event, Royal Station Hotel

• October 22-24: Hull 4NCL Congress, Royal Station Hotel

You can find out more about the Hull and District Chess Association here.

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