Horntye Park in Hastings is host to some of the greatest chess players in the world today as the final of the Chess Congress is played, but it could be the final time.
Hastings Borough Council has been hit with a 6.4% spending reduction from central government, causing ‘a significant cut in support for the annual Hastings Chess Congress’.
Council leader Jeremy Birch in a statement said “We have managed to protect those services most dear to the hearts of local people and those that make the biggest difference to the town.
However, some savings will still be difficult to swallow.”
Starting in 1895, the tournament is believed to be the oldest still running in the world, and having seen almost every Grandmaster play there, it is hoped the tournament can keep going.
Con Powers, Chairman of the Hastings International Chess Congress worries for the future and said it could damage the English game: “We have had a lot of English grandmasters start of in Hastings, that’s where they got all of their experience from and where they qualify for the titles.
“A lot of the English Grandmasters have got Hastings to thank.”
It is hoped private funding could be found.
In December last year, the world-renowned congress was given a £6,000 grant from the Kowitz Family Foundation in conjunction with Chess in Schools and communities (CSC) to help young players get into the game.