Some 276 players from more than 60 countries made their opening moves in the first round of the 2018 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival yesterday afternoon.
There are in total 414 entries in all three tournaments this week – the Gib Masters, the Challenges and the Amateurs. Eight of the entries are from Gibraltar.
There are seven local players in the amateur tournament – Joseph Greco, Arun Mahbubani, Sarah Popy, Aryan Dhanwani, Dev Mahbubani and Craig Reyes. In the open, the Gibraltar Masters, there is only one local player, Alan Gravett.
James Humphreys, Chairman of Tradewise Gibraltar Insurance Ltd, the main sponsor at the event, made the first move on the top board for Hungarian player Anita Gara, the World No.3, who was playing the top seeded player in the Gibraltar Masters, Levon Aronian from Armenia.
Mr Humphreys, whose company has been the main sponsor for the past seven years and has supported the festival for 13 out of its 16 year history, yesterday announced this year would be the last for them as main sponsor and as the “name of the tournament”.
As a result, he added, this would be a very special tournament for him.
“I hope you enjoy it. We have been voted the best in all categories in the world in chess and Tradewise is delighted to have its name associated with the best. Have a great time and enjoy this social tournament and I hope your minds work well,” he told the players.
MISS GIB AND CULTURE MINISTER
The pairs for the first games were drawn on Monday night at the opening ceremony by Miss Gibraltar 2017 Jodie Garcia.
Culture and Sports Minister Steven Linares welcomed everyone to the festival and spoke of how proud Gibraltar was in having the best open tournament in the world.
The Gibraltar Government continues to support the festival year on year and the first visit yesterday was from Deputy Chief Minster Dr Joseph Garcia.
Having attended every single tournament over the past 16 years, Dr Garcia said he truly appreciated how far the tournament had come to become the best open tournament in the world.
“I think it is remarkable the way in which it has grown. It us incredible and Gibraltar is delighted with the tournament, with chess and the way it has been progressing over the last 16 years.”
The Government he said would continue to support chess in Gibraltar and in the schools.
“We are very encouraged to see the development of chess locally and as a government we welcome it and do everything we can to make that possible,” he added.
Every afternoon as from 3pm cameras will be switched on for the live streaming of the games and analysis of the Gibraltar Masters with Grandmaster Simon Williams and International Master and current British Women’s Champion Jovanka Houska.
The Amateur and Challenger tournament start at 9.45am.