The Story of 2020 Chess
At the end of the 2015 summer term, the outgoing President of Durham University Chess Club attempted to arrange a friendly match against York University to celebrate the end of the exam period. However Leeds University were also interested in participating, so with the help of Joel Wagg and Alexander Taylor a small scale rapid-play team competition was set up for students in York. It was labelled ‘The Northern Universities Chess Championship’ (NUCC) inviting teams from across the UK. There were 32 students representing a handful of universities on the 14th of June 2015, which resulted in Durham prevailing over York in a thrilling finale to claim the inaugural title.
Eager to build on this success the committee sought support to enhance this student venture for the next academic year. This was achieved through a chance meeting with the director of the ‘British Chess Magazine’, who generously agreed to sponsor the next event and provide memorabilia for tournament prizes. ‘Purling London’ also kindly donated a prestigious Chess board which was to be used as the overall first trophy for the winners, and has been used ever since.
On the 6th November 2015 twenty teams from a dozen universities took part in the second instalment of NUCC at York University, with Edinburgh the eventual winners. The success of the tournament was recognised through publications in the Yorkshire Post, The British Chess Magazine and the Durham Palatinate, significantly raising the profile of NUCC.
Buoyed by this success members of the NUCC committee launched a sister tournament in the south, which despite being the first event it immediately matched the enthusiasm seen in York, with Oxford University triumphing overall. Lord Lyndon Harrison of Chester offered his valuable support in attending, and awarding the prizes in the closing ceremony.
A development and re-branding of NUCC came out for the 2016-17 season, '2020' Chess, which was designed to crown the best rapidplay team in the country with 20 minutes as the time controls. New sponsors were brought in from Chess and Bridge who kindly provided Chess sets and prizes, along with slick new digital clocks raising the profile and professionalism of the tournaments. Chess Openings Wizard became the first Chess software company to support us offering yet more prizes all the way from the United States, demonstrating how 2020 has received recogition around the world!
Events have since been held across the UK, in record breaking numbers in London (28 teams), Leeds,York, Birmingham and Manchester with the top teams, many of them from schools and clubs as well as universities, qualifying for the ‘2020 Grand Final' which takes place ever year in February.
Warwick were the first winners in 2017 in York, with the Mayor Barbara Boyce kindly attending to award the prizes.
Surbiton Chess Club claimed the title in 2018 in Birmingham, and most recently Imperial triumphed in the same location in 2019.
2020 Chess has also been officially recognised by the English Chess Federation and accepted onto the council, more details can be found here:
Chess and Bridge: www.chess.co.uk
Chess Openings Wizard: www.bookup.com
Decode Chess https://decodechess.com/
The Internet Chess Club: www.chessclub.com
Chess Lessons https://chesslessons.com/store/
Purling London https://purlinglondon.com/
The Organisers and Assistants
This venture would not have been possible without the help and support from those who assisted in order to make it a success, we are most grateful for their support,
Peter Hornsby 2020 Chess Founder and Tournament Director
Alexander Taylor Chief Arbiter (ECF Level One qualified)
Previous assistants from the NUCC 2015/16 and 2020 Chess 2016/17 seasons:
Colette Spencer, Katie Raine, Isobel Cotogni, Nathalie Taylor, Jamie Slevin, Ben Raine, Josh Cavendish, Phil Purcell Elhans Imanovs, William Peck, Sam Walker, Joel Wagg, Hugh Harris, Alex Taylor, Francis Kirk
Assistants from the 2020 Chess 2017/18 Season:
Robert Starley, Kughan Ravindran, Daniel Lowe, Scott Leadbetter, Gregor Ciccarelli, Phil Purcell, Nathalie Taylor, Francis Kirk, Alex Taylor
Current organisers for the 2020 Chess 2018/19 Season
Ashley Smith, Julian Morozov, Alex Taylor, Nathalie Taylor, Ashley Clayton, Kughan Ravindran