Outlook for British chess is gloomy

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The Independent Online
AS THE British Chess Championship enters its final rounds in Dundee, the game is struggling with its own problems, writes William Hartston.

The championship has been without a major sponsor for four years and no longer attracts the leading players. Of Britain's 22 grandmasters, only three are playing in Dundee.

Without sponsorship, the organisers are unable to offer the good expenses and appearance fees that top players demand. With a first prize of pounds 1,000 the championship is not good business for professional players who can attract more lucrative invitations from abroad.

Britain's longest-running international event, the Hastings tournament, is also struggling, kept alive by continued support from the local council.

With tickets for next month's pounds 1.7m 'Times World Chess Championship', priced between pounds 45 and pounds 150 for a single game, rumoured to be going slowly, the outlook for British chess is pessimistic.

Leading scores with two rounds left to play in the British Championship: Hennigan 71 2 ; Ward 7; Kumaran 61 2 ; Emms and Arkell 6 (one unfinished); Hodgson, Martin and Ferguson 6.