A Forced Checkmate for a Champion

A Forced Checkmate for a Champion

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Chess is a game that has been played for centuries. Some people spend years trying to perfect their play while some people make playing amazing moves look so effortless. Unfortunately, some impressive careers are cut short. In the case of Jessica Gilbert, her life was tragically cut short when she was still a teenager. 

Jessie Gilbert

Early Chess Career

Jessica Gilbert, a British chess player, was born on January 30th, 1987, in Surrey, England. Her parents, Angela and Ian Gilbert, separated in 2003.

In 1999, Jessie achieved the title of FIDE master after winning the Women’s World Amateur Championship. Additionally, she received praise from Tony Banks, the Sports Minister, during a parliamentary debate.

A game Jessie played against famous streamer and live commentator Anna Rudolf.

Jessie Gilbert

It appeared that everything was going well for her. Bure, a Swedish healthcare company, and the Brain Trust charity had both provided her with £4000 to study chess in the US. In 2005, she was admitted to the University of Oxford to study medicine. However, she decided to dedicate a year solely to chess. During this time, she managed to acquire three norms from major chess tournaments in a short period!

A game Jessie played against Atousa Pourkashiyan, Hikaru Nakamura's wife.

The Czech Open 2006

Jessie was going to play in the Czech Open 2006, which took place in Pardubice. This “Chess Festival” would end up being a disaster for the Gilbert family and it was a tragedy for the chess world.

Jessie was doing pretty well at the Czech Open. She had scored 4.5/8 so far and was placed 12th. 

But things only went downhill from here...

Jessie's Death

It was the night, of 25th of July, 2006. Amisha Parmar, 14, and her friend, 19, were both in their room at the Hotel Labe. ALLEGEDLY, both of the girls had drank heavily and after some time, Amisha went to the bathroom as she became ill. When she came out of the bathroom, she didn’t find her friend in the room. She (Amisha) assumed that she (her friend) had gone for a walk.

Amisha Parmar

Amisha was told, on the 26th of July, at 3:30 am, that her friend had died. Her friend was Jessica Laura Corey Gilbert.

Jessie had fallen off the 8th floor of the building and had died. Her body was found under a tree. Some people say that Jessie might’ve sleepwalked off the building and many others say she committed suicide. Her friend, Amisha, told news sources that she had tried harming herself before as well.

We can't exclude that she would fall but because of the setting of the room I would say you need a certain energy to climb, [the window] is not level with the floor. We found quite a lot of medication, a lot of vitamins and then things we could not tell what it was until they were examined by medical people and they found they were antidepressants. They were in her name. We think she may have had psychological problems. It could have been an accident. But there are several factors which suggest she probably jumped. - Inspector David Kakrda.

Whatever happened, R.I.P Jessie Gilbert.

Her friendly personality endeared her to all ages in the chess community and she will be much missed - The English Chess Federation. 

Ian and Angela Gilbert

Ian Gilbert

Two days after Jessie died, her father was under fire for cases of sexual abuse. He had previously been charged with 7 cases of rape and 2 counts of indecent assault. The British Police stated that one of the victims of Ian Gilbert’s abuse was dead, which gave the British Press the idea that Jessie Gilbert was one of the victims. Allegedly, Jessie had also accused her father of rape.

We believe that Jessie died because of the evil acts of one man (Ian), who stole her childhood and systematically destroyed her. We believe that Jessie was silenced by threats of death, but died tragically despite her years of silence. - Angela Gilbert, Ian's ex-wife.

Mr Gilbert denied all the charges said he had no idea why his daughter would hate him enough to make false rape allegations. A few months later, Ian Gilbert was found not guilty of all the charges pressed against him. 

Ian Gilbert and his current wife Sally.

Angela Gilbert

But the story doesn’t end there! Angela Gilbert was arrested for alleged murder attempts. She allegedly tried to kill her ex-husband Ian. Fortunately (for her), the case did not proceed.

It's ludicrous, complete nonsense. It is just ridiculous to say that I want my ex-husband dead. - Angela Gilbert

Jessie and  Angela Gilbert


Once again, R.I.P Jessie Gilbert.

This blog contains information that is alleged and may vary from article to article. If you spot any errors, please bring it to my attention in the comments section. Thank you!

- The Standard, The Guardian, CNN, ChessBase, Wikipedia and a few other news sources helped me make this blog! 

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good day!