Kelly took on south London-born Houska - a nine-time British Women’s Chess Champion and one of the world’s leading female chess-players - this afternoon, streamed live on YouTube and the club's official Facebook page.
The pair faced off in two fast-paced games, during which Kelly was forced to defend against a series of attacks - luckily, he's had some experience on that front!
The game was arranged off the back of the success of the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, which has been the platform’s most watched drama of 2020, charting the fictional life of female chess protégé Beth Harmon who progresses from a challenging upbringing in an orphanage through the international chess ranks, all the way to world champion.
Martin’s opposite number for this one-off chess match was Jovanka Housaka. She has been playing for England in the Chess Olympiad since 1998, twice leading her team to top 10 finishes.
In between tournaments, Jovanka is also a chess commentator and author, recently, her novel 'The Mating Game', co-written with James Essinger, was optioned for a Hollywood film.
Jovanka had three minutes on the clock, whilst Martin enjoyed 10 minutes of thinking time… one thing is for sure, he needed every second of it!