Reports | September 21, 2012 17:08

London GP opening video: drawing of lots, Lily Cole and an 8-year-old beating a GM

Here's our video of Thursday's opening reception of the London FIDE Grand Prix tournament. It was held at the Somerset House, on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the Thames, by the embankment, just east of Waterloo Bridge.

Lily Cole vs Veselin Topalov | Photo: Mission PR

The reception, which celebrated the start of the Grand Prix at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, was attended by more than 300 distinguished guests including ambassadors, stars from the stage and screen, well-known models and patrons of the arts. Invitees also enjoyed a number of performance blitz games, where the grandmasters competing at the Grand Prix London tournament challenged guests such as the Hollywood actress Gillian Anderson, the chess-loving supermodel Lily Cole, and the singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The young boy seen in the video is one of the most talented chess kids in the UK at the moment. His coach IM Lorin D'Costa sent us the following report:

The event opened with a blitz game between the players, but a mini event was also held alongside: 8 year old Joshua Altman from England, fresh from his bronze medal in the European Under 8 championships in Prague held back in August, grabbed his opportunity to play a super GM with a 5 minute blitz game against the former world championship challenger, GM Boris Gelfand from Israel.

Josh defied the whopping 2738 rating of his illustrious opponent and gained an advantage in the middlegame, but ended up losing on time. Still, this caught the eye of many and a crowd gathered around Josh as he took on other strong players- GM John Nunn, GM Gawain Jones (whom he was a whisker from holding to a draw) and IM Ali Mortazavi to name a few.

However the real sensation was Josh’s game against GM Luke McShane, rated 2713 and one of Englands top players. Josh even managed to beat Luke with the white pieces! In Lukes defence, he was spending the whole game chatting with GM Gawain Jones, but he did play to some strength. The ironic thing about this is that Luke, now 28 years old, was a famous prodigy himself (indeed winning the world Under 10 title as an 8 year old in Duisburg, Germany, back in 1992) and was famed for beating strong players at a ridiculously young age. Luke was extremely sporting, even allowing me to write this article and shaking Joshs hand and wishing him good luck in his future chess career.

A proud coach, D'Costa also sent us two games. He couldn’t recall the middle of the Altman-McShane game, but he remembered the opening and the finish of the game.

PGN file

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


sulutas's picture

With all those beautiful ladies in the reception, don't expect a very well-played Round 1 today; obviously our GMs may have lost their concentration, like Topa might be thinking about which 'opening move' he should go for when he sees Lily Cole next time.

valg321's picture

"Luke was extremely sporting, even allowing me to write this article and shaking Joshs hand and wishing him good luck in his future chess career."

*allowing* you to write this article?

filiusdextris's picture

Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Presumably chessvibes will want to rely on McShane's good will in the future so nice to place this in a good light.

Thomas's picture

The quoted sentence isn't by Peter Doggers who writes "we" when he means "Chessvibes", see elsewhere in the report: "Here's our video" and "Lorin D'Costa sent us ...".

The quoted sentence is by Lorin D'Costa, is obviously tongue in cheek and might be special British humor.

Pablo's picture

Agree. "Allowing" is a bit too much. I was also concerned about that word.

pundit's picture

This is such a great idea for hyping chess - invite prominent people who admire the game and let them party with top grandmasters!

"more than 300 distinguished guests including ambassadors, stars from the stage and screen, well-known models and patrons of the arts."

Anonymous's picture

Where is the game featuring Lily Cole beating a GM?

Lee's picture

Big opening receptions for big events like this are to be applauded.

Nice to see Grischuk smiling for a change, he should put one on more often.

Anonymous's picture

They might as have used a hand cranked gramma phone to play the fide hymn

Anonymous's picture

Thank you very much for another excellent report, it's great to learn about this apparently pleasant and sparkling event :-)

nicolov's picture

nice music (much nicer than the 'fide anthem' on a tape recorder !?). who is playing ?

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