Bolton School Former Pupils
Nigel Short, MBE
Nigel Short, MBE (1976-1981)
Nigel is a chess grandmaster, columnist, coach and chess commentator.
After becoming the youngest International Master in chess history aged 14 (breaking Bobby Fischers’ 1958 record), he was awarded the grandmaster title in 1984, aged 19 – becoming the youngest grandmaster in the world at that time, he is now regarded as the strongest and best known English player of modern era, ranked third in the world for a period of 18 months from 1988 to 1989 (third to Kasparov and Karpov), and in the top ten for over a decade.
In addition, he has written chess columns and book reviews for The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Spectator, The Sunday Telegraph and The Guardian for over twenty years, and is now writing a monthly column for New in Chess.
He has visited School regularly to participate in simultaneous matches with pupils, most recently in February 2017.
What is your connection to Bolton School? Were any other members of your family here?
I had no connection with the School prior to joining it as a pupil.
What is your fondest Bolton School memory?
Wargaming during the lunchtime. Listening to debates at the Literary and Debating Society (I regret not having actively participated). Enjoying the excellent, but steadily dwindling, chess library (books were apparently regularly pilfered). Playing bass in my rock band The Urge.
What do you feel your experience at Bolton School has given to you personally?
Perhaps a little more confidence socially in some formal situations. Academically, it is harder to say: I studied certain subjects – like Physics – which I never had the slightest interest in, or use for, in my entire life. On the other hand, I discovered, in early adulthood, that I could write reasonably well. It is an incredibly important skill for most jobs – even for one as obscure as mine. The foundations were probably laid in History, Latin, plus a little Greek, as much as English itself.
What is the best career advice you can give to Bolton School pupils today?
Follow what interests you. Learning is a life-long process, so you had better enjoy what you are doing.
What do you think about Bolton School’s 100 Campaign aim to re-establish genuine open access through its bursary fund?
It is a very important and worthy initiative.