Eleven brave souls (plus a few non-combatants) converged on the Chiswick Town Hall on the 2nd of June for a simultaneous exhibition with the renowned Danny King, one of the UK's most influential and charismatic GMs. Danny achieved his IM title in 1982 and went on to become a GM in 1989. He has represented England numerous times at international level and has won tournaments from all over the world. Nowadays, he enjoys parallel careers in both chess and the media, and has commentated on many famous events including the Man versus Machine match in 1997 and Kasparov versus The World.
The evening was incredibly pleasant, food and drink was laid on for all participants, and a quick speech was made before the match started. Danny would be playing white on all boards this evening - he clearly had some preparation in mind!
Danny King rolls up his sleeves in anticipation (Does this not remind you of Neo vs Smith from the Matrix?)
The match was entertaining on many fronts - an early highlight included Harry Burdon's game which became fascinating as quickly as move seven (photographic evidence to boot) with several games becoming quite complicated reasonably quickly, including those of Kishan, Andy, Petr and Tom. The field of players was not weak this evening, with over half the participants at ECF-150 or higher.
After a lot of tea, biscuits and complicated positions were mulled over, Danny's opponents began to fall, with a few of the earlier boards getting second games. It soon emerged that there were several contenders for an upset, including Petr Vachtfiedl and Andy Hayler.
A knight sacrifice was played against Tom Fuller which looked incredibly strong, but Tom somehow managed to play a series of saving moves (with possibly a missed, but very complex, win for white - at the time Danny was still playing 7 boards though) which looked to grind down to a Knight vs 3 pawn endgame...and suddenly there were three boards in contention!
Some quick analysis... (Disclaimer: The computer was not actually turned on, this was just a posed shot :P)
Mixed fortunes then ensued towards the end of the evening. Petr unfortunately lost after gaining a good position but fell to a well timed counterattack, while Andy Hayler played an equalising move in a very complex but advantageous position and drew first blood with a draw! One of the last games to finish produced the most fireworks, however: Tom Fuller managed to prevent a passed pawn queening while advancing his own pawns in a very technical end-game which produced the only victory of the night for the challengers - well done! Tom and Andy both received copies of Danny King's "Kasparov vs Deeper Blue" book as reward for their efforts.
The final scores: Danny King 9.5 - 1.5 Challengers. All the photos are available on the photo page.