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British Simultaneous Record

by GM Jonathan Rowson

Saturday August 9 2003 - Manchester

GM Jonathan Rowson walked into the chess record books on Saturday, August 9. The Aberdeen born Scottish no.1 broke the British record (previously 142) for the number of opponents challenged simultaneously.

Jonathan played 150 players winning 137, drawing 12 and losing just once for an overall score of 143/150. Prior to the event Jonathan had said: “Anything over 140 will be satisfactory.”

The event was held to publicise the opening of the Mind Sports Olympiad in Manchester organised by IM David Levy, a former Scottish Champion: “We wanted to organise a special curtain-raiser for the Olympiad, to thank Manchester for supporting our event.”

Coronation Street’s Shobna Gulati (pictured right), who plays shop girl Sunita Parekh, was one of the opponents. The display earned £3,000 towards the Kirsty Howard's Francis House Children's Hospice appeal.


For most strong players a “simul” is more onerous on the feet than on the brain. Jonathan calculated he walked 10 miles during the display. “The simul started at 10.00 in the morning to around 7.15 - a total of about nine hours! I only had two five minute breaks but really enjoyed myself - some of the games were really tense."


The following was the first game to finish after two hours play: 1 e4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Bd3 f5 4 exf5 Bxg2 5 Qh5+ g6 6 fxg6 Nf6? (6...Bg7) 7 gxh7+ Nxh5 8 Bg6 mate. Jonathan recalls, “I remember that this was a young kid sitting next to his dad. He looked really excited when he took on g2 - I was sorry to disappoint him!”

Play over game


Preview: YOU can help to break the British Record for simultaneous Chess. On Saturday August 9th, in the Sugden Sports Centre in Manchester, Scottish Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson will attempt to break the British record for the number of Chess games played simultaneously. You can be one of his opponents!

We are expecting TV, radio and newspaper coverage of the attempt. The current record stands at 142 and was set in December 1956. All proceeds from this record attempt will support Kirsty's appeal to secure Francis House Children's Hospice in Didsbury.

We are looking for 150 chess players who would like to be part of this historic occasion and at the same time to help the Kirsty Appeal. Everyone who takes part will be encouraged to find sponsorship from friends and family to help the appeal.

Little Kirsty Howard was born with her heart back to front. Kirsty is the face of the charity appeal formed in her name. She has become a major celebrity since she walked onto the pitch at Old Trafford hand in hand with her hero David Beckham and handed the final baton to Her Majesty the Queen at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Kirsty was given six weeks to live three years ago. She continues to defy medical prognosis and is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Kirsty's target is to raise £5 million total for Francis House, of which £2,139,127 has been raised to date. This record-breaking attempt is being organized by the Mind Sports Olympiad. For information about the Mind Sports Olympiad please visit

This historic event starts at 10am on August 9th. The Sugden Sports Centre is at 114 Grosvenor St, Manchester M1.

Contact information: If you would like to play in the simultaneous chess record attempt: Telephone 01204 305563 or e-mail:

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