Chess fan finishes 24-hour fundraiser for cardiac unit

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A MARATHON chess event took place at Banbury’s Castle Quay shopping centre at the weekend in a bid to raise cash for the Cardiac Physiology Fund at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Banbury Chess Club member Carl Portman played for a full 24 hours during the Hearts and Minds Chessathon, taking on several opponents including Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry, who made the first move on Saturday morning.

Mr Portman is a patient of the hospital’s cardiac ICD team himself and has an implantable cardioverter device – a combination of a pacemaker and defibrillator – which may have saved his life several times.

He said: “I want to give something back to say thank you for all the support so far. I came through the 24 hours pretty well considering that I’m supposed to get a good night’s sleep with the heart condition I have.

“I had the idea of Hearts and Minds because when people have problems with their hearts it can incapacitate them physically for days, months and sometimes even for life.

“I wanted people to be aware that they can keep their brains active and that using chess – one of the greatest mind games ever – will be of great benefit.”

So far Mr Portman has exceeded his £500 target and has currently raised £577 – with more than £230 raised on the day. His hope is that late donations may make the total £1,000.

He said: “I want to thank everyone involved in all aspects of my 24-hour Chessathon.

“People have been incredibly generous.”

To donate, visit

For more information visit Mr Portman’s website on