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Sometimes described as the “new voice of chess”, Lawrence is one of the stars to emerge since live video commentary of chess events became the norm. His portfolio includes the 2013 World Cup and the Anand-Carlsen World Championship match, while he’s now signed up to bring his flare to chess24’s broadcast system.
Jan Gustafsson welcomes Lawrence to chess24
Lawrence got his lucky break as a commentator back in 2009 when he was approached to work for the first ever London Chess Classic. That came off the back of tournament director Malcolm Pein listening to The Full English Breakfast – a podcast Trent produces with GM Stephen Gordon and Macauley Peterson.
Although Lawrence has taken breaks from the game – three years at university, time coaching kids in Mexico and a job in the city of London – he’s also no slouch at the chessboard. After his dad showed him how the pieces move on a rainy Saturday afternoon he made rapid progress, winning the British Championship three years in a row (U11/U12/U13).
He claimed the IM title as a 19-year-old in 2005 and in the same year won his first major tournament – the Italian Porto San Giorgio Open, finishing above grandmasters and scoring his first GM norm. He enjoyed it so much he repeated the feat the next year, while in 2009 his rating hit 2487, within touching distance of the 2500 needed for aspiring grandmasters.
Although practical play has taken a backseat to commentary, he can still wreak havoc on the chessboard, as the following game (annotated by Lawrence) demonstrates:
11. exd3 ♗c5! and even 3 pawns down Black has fantastic compensation. (11... ♘gxe5 12. ♘xe5 ♘xe5 13. ♕xa7 ♖d8=/∞ ) 12. ♕a4 ♘gxe5 13. ♘xe5 ♘xe5 14. ♕xd7+ ♔xd7 and Black has more than enough initiative to compensate for the 2 pawn deficit.
12. axb4 ♘xb4 13. ♕xa7 (13. ♕a4? ♘c2+ 14. ♔d1 ♘xa1∓ ) 13... 0-0⁉ (13... ♘c2+ 14. ♔d1 0-0 15. ♖a5! is the critical position I was analysing) 14. ♗g2 ♘c2+ 15. ♔f1 ♘xa1 16. ♕xa1 is still very unclear: 16... ♖a8 17. ♕b1 ♕a4! 18. ♔e1 ♘xe5 19. b3 ♕c6∞
14. h3 must be the critical move 14... ♗e2 (14... 0-0? 15. hxg4 ♕xg4 16. 0-0 ♖b6 17. ♕a4 ) 15. f4 0-0 16. fxe5 ♘xe5 and despite being a piece down it seems as though Black has got decent "practical" compensation
23. ♕f1 ♕xf1+ 24. ♖xf1 ♖e2 25. h3 ♘h2 26. ♘xh2 ♖exd2 27. ♘f3 ♖g2+ 28. ♔h1 ♖xg3 29. ♖ad1 ♖xh3+ 30. ♔g1 ♖g3+ 31. ♔h1 ♖b3 32. ♘g1 ♖gd3 33. f5 ♖xa3 34. f6 gxf6 35. ♖xd3 ♖xd3 36. ♖xf6 ♘e5? 37. ♖xh6 c6 38. ♖h4 ♖d1 39. ♖f4 ♖c1 40. ♔g2 ♖xc5 41. ♘e2 a5 42. ♘g3 ♔f8 43. ♔f1 ♖c3 44. ♔g2 ♖c2+ 45. ♔f1 c5 46. ♖a4 ♘c6 47. ♘f5 ♖h2 48. ♘d6 ♔e7 49. ♘b7 ♖c2 50. ♘xa5 ♘xa5 51. ♖xa5 ♔e6 52. ♔e1 f5 53. ♔d1 ♖c4 54. ♖a8 ♖e4 55. ♔d2 c4 56. ♖a5 ♔f6 57. ♖a1 ♔g5 58. ♖g1+ ♔f4 59. ♖f1+ ♔g4 60. ♖g1+ ♔h3 61. ♖f1 f4 62. ♖h1+ ♔g2 63. ♖h4 ♔g3
Lawrence is also becoming a prolific video author for chess24. So far he’s filmed the following series:
Photo: Ray Morris-Hill