Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

Chess champions in UK for clash

Norwegian chess champion Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen, 19, has been coached by world champion Garry Kasparov

England's four leading grandmasters are taking on world chess champions in a major London tournament.

London Chess Classic at Olympia, west London, has been billed as the UK's biggest chess tournament for 25 years.

England number one Nigel Short and world number two player, 19-year-old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, are among those competing in the eight-day event.

Mr Short said: "Chess is the ultimate game of patience and self control from which life skills can be learnt."

He added: "I am really looking forward to playing chess in front of a home crowd in London and am particularly pleased that so many schools are visiting the event."

Fellow England grandmasters Michael Adams, Luke McShane and David Howell are also taking part.

'Titanic battle'

World chess champion Garry Kasparov came out of retirement to coach Mr Carlsen, tipped as a future world champion.

More than 400,000 adults regularly play chess in the UK, according to the London Chess Centre.

The tournament aims to increase its popularity as well as present London as a strong candidate to host the 2012 World Championships.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Chess is a titanic battle of minds and this tournament is the perfect opportunity for enthusiasts to see some real world class action."

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