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Daniel J. King

Full name Daniel John King
Country England
Born 28 August 1963
London, England
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2560 (July 1990)

Daniel John King (born 28 August 1963 in Beckenham, England) is an English chess grandmaster, writer, coach, journalist and broadcaster.

Chess career

When at his most active as a player of the game, he made solid progress, picking up the International Master title in 1982 and the Grandmaster title in 1989. King won minor tournaments around the world and recorded promising results at some of the more prestigious events, for example 4th= at Bern 1987, 4th= British Championship 1987, 1st= (with Boris Gelfand) at the Sydney Open 1988, 5th= London 1988, 2nd= Dortmund 1988 and 2nd (after Bent Larsen) London 1989. At the Geneva Young Masters in 1990, he shared first place with the Australian Ian Rogers. There then followed a parallel media career that spanned the presenter, commentator, reporter, analyst spectrum and this most likely impacted on his playing career, by limiting the opportunity for dedicated research and study. Nevertheless, as a professional player for more than 20 years, he has continued to play chess at a high level, including the top leagues of the Bundesliga and 4NCL. In 1996, he was the winner of the Bunratty Masters, an Irish tournament with an impressive list of previous winners, including John Nunn, Sergei Tiviakov and Peter Svidler.

King also achieved international team honours, representing England at the European Team Chess Championship (Haifa 1989) and at the Reykjavik VISA Chess Summit of 1990, the latter being the scene of a celebrated victory over the Soviet team and a team silver medal.

Generally known as 'Dan', he is a well-respected trainer and a coach to many of the UK's brightest chess prospects. An author of more than 15 chess books, his subject matter has ranged from the preparatory Winning with the Najdorf to the self-tutoring How Good is your Chess and Test Your Chess.

Media interests

He became well known nationally for his coverage of the World Chess Championship 1993, live from the Savoy in London, on Channel 4 television. The programme, hosted by Carol Vorderman, contained expert commentary and analysis from King, Ray Keene, Jon Speelman and Fritz, the chess-playing computer program. Against all the odds, the show struck a chord with the British public and showed King to be a likeable, media-friendly personality. It was even reported that he had become the choice of 'thinking women' across the UK, as they watched in large numbers, whether chess-literate or not. Television work continued to come his way and he contributed to three further world championships broadcast by the BBC, ESPN, Eurosport, STAR TV (Asia) and other networks. He covered the controversial Kasparov versus Deep Blue match in 1997 and for four months of 1999, provided daily MSN commentary on the high profile Kasparov versus The World game. In October 2002, he was a key part of the elite analytical team engaged in the prominent 'man versus machine' contest, Brains in Bahrain.

His growing affinity with television created other opportunities too; he was a games consultant for the Cilla Black (ITV) show Moment of Truth, he scripted and presented two half hour chess documentaries on radio and has, over many years, produced instructional chess videos and DVDs for GM Video and ChessBase, among others. In the mid-nineties he appeared in the UK advertising campaign for Audi/Volkswagen cars.

In the field of journalism, King writes regular columns in CHESS magazine (How Good Is Your Chess?) and Schach 64, the leading journals of the UK and Germany. From 2006 to 2012, he co-hosted a regular Monday chess column with Ronan Bennett in The Guardian, which sought to be instructive, rather than topical. Through test positions taken from actual games, their amateur and expert assessments of the possible continuations were discussed and compared. Nigel Short's column was axed to make way for the style-shift and the justification for the change was the subject of some debate in chess circles. Since 2010, Daniel King has served as one of the commentators for the prestigious London Chess Classic. He also has a channel on YouTube that is regularly updated with new chess related content including chess puzzles and analysis of high level games. Chess historian Edward Winter has ranked him as one of the top five Internet broadcasters. He lives in Teddington, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

Selected bibliography