Hastings Congress 2011/12 won by GM Wang Yue

1/8/2012 – Aside from national championships, the Hastings Congress is the longest running chess tournament in history, with a tradition going back to 1919, won by Capablanca. Over the years, the grand event has seen almost every world champion (except Fischer and Kasparov), and the ultimate who's who of greats. This year Chinese GM Wang Yue added his name to the illustrious list of winners.

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Hastings Congress 2011/12

Aside from national championships, the Hasting Congress is the longest running chess tournament in history, with a tradition going back as far as 1919, won by Capablanca. Of course, the name Hastings brings to mind the incredibly famous tournament of 1895, but the actual yearly tradition really first started in the summer of 1919, and the end-of-the-year event began in 1920/21 with the inaugural victory of Yates.

Over the years, the grand tournament has seen almost every world champion (except Fischer and Kasparov), and the ultimate who's who of great players. Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Flohr, Botvinnik (who played 14-year-old Mecking in the 1966 edition), Gligoric, Keres, Smyslov, Korchnoi, Spassky, Bronstein, Tal, Karpov, Portisch, and the list just goes on and on.

The tournament has attracted fewer top players in the last years most likely for financial reasons, though it is still a favorite and important part of the annual tournament calendar. The British had good reasons to hope for some top spots, even if the very top seemed reserved for the Elo-favorite, Wang Yue (2697), and a healthy contingent of grandmasters came hoping to add their names to the illustrious list of winners.

The brightest British hope was GM David Howell, rated 2633, and the second rating of the tournament. He had an excellent start with 3.5/4, but a road accident against Chinese GM Wang Yue in round five dampened his enthusiasm, after which he slowed down, ending in eighth. Even so, he was the highest-placed English player, ahead of his GM compatriots WIlliams, Pert, and Hebden.

GM Wang Yue is the first Chinese player to win the Hasting Congress

The winner was effectively the top-seed, GM Wang Yue, with 2697 Elo, and once top 10, and showed his class. It is risky for such a high Elo to play in a tournament where he has such a large rating advantage because he has almost no margin for error. Just one draw too many can cost him Elo points even should he win the tournament, and Elos are the coin of today's GMs. Wang scored a superb 7.5/9, a half-point ahead of the field, and can proudly add Hastings to his trophy list.

Right behind, with 7.0/9, were Romanian GM Andrei Istratescu, residing in France, followed by two young Indian IMs, 18-year-old Babu Lalith and 19-year-old Sundar Shyam, both of whom scored GM norms in the process.

Also of note was the World Under-12 champion, Murali Karthikeyan, who came in 21st with a performance of 180 Elo above is current rating.

Final standings


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