Malcolm Pein

Malcolm Pein: A Life in Chess

Malcolm learnt the moves at the age of three, won his first tournament at five and was British Junior Champion in 1977. He represented Merseyside, Lancashire and England at junior level and has played for Liverpool Chess Club since 1971 and Wood Green Chess Club since 1978. He qualified for the International Master title in 1986. His most notable triumphs in tournament play include victories over Jon Speelman, Vishy Anand, Peter Svidler and Lev Psakhis.

Although still an active player, Malcolm ceased playing professionally in 1993 and since then has been involved in English chess in the roles of coach, journalist, publisher, tournament organiser, fundraiser, Chess in Schools charity CEO, ECF Director, ECF Delegate to FIDE, England team captain and chess entrepreneur.

In 2010, Malcolm founded Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC)  – a UK-registered charity whose aim is to improve children’s educational outcomes and social development by introducing them to the game of chess. Malcolm has been the charity’s CEO since inception, and by the end of 2020 the charity had taught the game to over 250,000 children. It has expanded into libraries, youth clubs, care homes and there is an expanding prisons programme supported by the Ministry of Justice. Malcolm frequently goes into prisons to do simultaneous displays. 

Fundraising and Sponsorship

Since 2009, Malcolm has raised over £10 million in donations and other contributions for CSC, including corporate donations from companies such as Barclaycard. He has been instrumental in securing six-figure sponsorships for the London Chess Classic, Grand Chess Tour and FIDE. 

To launch the charity in 2009, Malcolm devised, fundraised and organised the London Chess Classic, the UK’s first world-class elite all-play-all tournament since Phillips & Drew GLC in 1986. The tournament ran annually up to 2019, with the 2020 tournament cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECF Fundraising

Since becoming ECF International Director, Malcolm has raised funds towards the costs of our international teams and international tournaments. In 2016, Malcolm secured a £25,000 sponsorship for the ECF from Jupiter Asset Management as well as a £15,000 private donation to support the England team and the British Championships. These two items supported England’s participation in the 2016 Olympiad and 2017 European Teams. In 2017, Malcolm secured £30,000 towards the British Championships and a further £30,000 in 2018. In 2019, the participation of the England team at the World Team Championships in Astana was entirely funded from private sponsorship, as was our participation in the 2020 and 2021 Online Olympiads. Most recently Malcolm raised £4,000 for the Northumbria Masters.

ECF Posts

Malcolm was elected ECF Director of International Chess in October 2015. Since that time the England Open team has enjoyed enormous success and won medals for the first time over 20 years with silver at the 2019 World Team Championships and bronze in the 2019 European Team Championships. Our 5th place at the 2018 Batumi Olympiad was the best for over 20 years.

When he was elected Malcolm defined the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the role. While Covid has been a factor, these KPIs are well on the way to being achieved.

He has been the captain of the England Open team since October 2015, with the team enjoying notable successes at the 2016 Olympiad in Baku against China and Azerbaijan. Malcolm captained England to the bronze medal at the 2019 European Team Chess Championships in Batumi, Georgia and to silver medal at the 2019 World Team Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. England’s finest result in over 20 years.

Malcolm is also the representative to FIDE for the ECF, representing the federation’s interest at international level. 

Journalist and author 

Malcolm started writing The Daily Telegraph in 1987 and has written a daily chess column every day for 34 years, over 11,0000 columns in total. He is also the owner and executive editor of CHESS magazine. Recently he has started to record videos for Chessable.

Malcolm has written a number of chess books and booklets, including:

  • Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981)
  • Trends in Spanish Marshall (Trends Publications, 1990)
  • Blumenfeld Gambit [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991)
  • Bobby Fischer: The $5,000,000 Comeback [with Nigel Davies and Jonathan Levitt] (Cadogan 1992)
  • The Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess