THE UK's most renowned chess player became check-mates with the pupils of his old school as he staged a tournament in the Great Hall.

Bolton School Old Boy Nigel Short returned to the town to celebrate a century of competitive chess at the school — by simultaneously playing 30 of the school’s best junior chess players.

The event was chaired by Chris de Mooi, who is famous as a television “Egghead” and President of the English Chess Federation.

Boys at the school heard about their opponent’s meteoric rise in the chess world as well as anecdotes from his own schooldays.

The chess grandmaster left the independent day school in 1981 as a child prodigy and the youngest International Chess Master in history at 14.

He went on to become Britain’s strongest chess grandmaster of the 20th century.

Speaking ahead of last night’s tournament, Mr Short s a i d : “ I ’ m enjoying being back here, it’s the first time that I’ve visited properly since I left in 1981.

“It’s a good opportunity for the children to play against me. I’m hoping I will win.

“I am sure there are some good players here and obviously this is tiring playing 30 opponents at the same time so mistakes will happen.”

He added: “There are more chess boards in the UK than there are cricket bats and I’m trying to cultivate that interest.”

Pupil Luke Cavanaugh, a g ed 10 , from Heaton, said: “I’ve been playing since I was s even and i t ’ s re a l ly enjoyable.

It’s really exciting that Nigel Short is here.”

Philip Britton, Headmaster of Bolton School Boys'

Division, said: “It's been an absolute pleasure to welcome Nigel Short back to Bolton School.

“He is one of many of our alumni who have visited us recently, other household names include Sir Ian McKellen, Mark Radcliffe and Ralf Little. The pupils really enjoy meeting these famous old boys who have gone out into the world and made a difference. It truly inspires them.”

He added: “Chess clubs have existed at the school for 100 years and we have a long tradition of success at chess, both regionally and nationally.”

■ Today Mr Short was return to the school to play a further display against 30 local junior chess players in an event organised by Manchester Chess Federation and talk about his experiences as a chess grandmaster.