Cheque, mate: World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over £300k tax bill –

But so-called “mind-sports” were not included in the Revenue exemption, leading to an appeal by the English Bridge Union which was thrown out.

Entry into the UK Chess Challenge costs schools £40 for 30 pupils and £15 for every £15 thereafter.

“I’m not saying chess should be a considered a sport,” Mr Basman said. “It is not a sport – it is a valuable mental activity that benefits children.

“But the Government should recognise that. For organised chess tournaments like the UK Chess Challenge to continue to benefit our children it needs this help.

“The Government pours £300 million a year into physical sport but spends nothing on mental sport, and then goes after the guy who does. 

“They should value the Chess Challenge. I’m not doing this for money, my profit is seeing children’s education being improved.”

The annual competition spans eight months and has a prize find of £12,000. This weekend the top 60 players will gather in Loughborough, Leics, to battle it out for the top prize of £2,000.

Former winners include several of England’s young stars including Cambridge University student Yang-Fan Zhou, who is on the brink of taking the esteemed Grandmaster title.

“What we try to do is produce champions, the children who go on to run the country,” Mr Basman said. “We have had the top girl in England, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, come through in the competition.

“She is now a teenager but first played when she was six because she was desperate to win one of our mascots.

Cheque, mate: World’s biggest chess championship faces axe over £300k tax bill –

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