Meeting GM Daniel King

Five Queens Park Members had the pleasure of meeting the acclaimed English Grandmaster Daniel King on his visit to Glasgow this week.

In addition to being among the UK’s strongest players, GM King is notable as an author of 17 books, a commentator of key events including World Chess Championships since the 1980s, and content producer for his instructive PowerPlayChess YouTube channel.

GM King was the key guest at a special University of Glasgow Games and Gaming Lab seminar on Chess in Focus, which took place in the University’s Advanced Research Centre on 27 October. The purpose of the event was to explore the evolving relationship between chess and mental health, climate change, language and literature.

The event featured presentations, a Q&A with GM King, breakout discussion groups, and a special blitz match. During the Q&A, Queens Park Secretary Derek Rankine asked GM King for his views on the value of casual, over-the-board chess for improving mental health, citing positive stories Derek heard from some of those attending popular chess meetups around Queens Park.

GM King agreed chess has tremendous value for mental wellbeing, and said it was a source of regret that professional chess players had to become “assassins” when facing rivals over the chess board, and lose some of the opportunity to connect with others and form friendships that develop more easily at beginner and intermediate level in less competitive environments.

The blitz match saw two teams of five – alumni of Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities – face off in a 5+2 blitz match. Under the watchful eye of GM King – no pressure! – Derek Rankine and Jonny Linney won their games for the Glasgow Uni team, while Paul Cumming got a point for the Strathclyde Uni team. The Strathclyde Uni team, which also featured Sagar Kukreja of Queens Park and Nicolas Skettos of Phones Chess Club – a friend of Queens Park – won 3-2.

Also attending the event were Giuseppe Bosco of Queens Park and Colin Paterson of Phones; Colin is also a co-founder of Queens Park in its earlier incarnation as Govanhill Chess Club. The event was part of a series entitled ‘Forms in Focus’, which look at the relationship different types of games have with modern society. The series is hosted by Francis Butterworth-Parr and Dr Timothy Peacock of the Games and Gaming Lab.

Pictured above, left to right, are Nicolas, Sagar, Giuseppe, Paul, Derek, Dr Peacock, GM King, Jonny, Francis, and Colin.