Alice Mascarenhas reports: The 2010 Gibtelecom International Chess Festival got underway today at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. At precisely 2.45pm (Gibraltar time) Charles Isola from Anglo Hispano Ltd, representing all sponsors, made the first move with Etienne Bacrot from France who is the highest rated player in the Gibtelecom Chess Masters. Play began at 3pm.
Charles Isola with Etienne Bacrot
Famous Grandmaster Boris Spassky, following last year's successful visit has made a return to the Gibtelecom International Chess Festival, and today made the first move with Alexandra Kosteniuk, the Women’s World Champion, in Gibraltar for the first time.
Boris Spassky with Alexandra Kosteniuk
The top three seeds: Etienne Bacrot, Sergei Movsesian (GM 2708 Slovakia) and Francisco Vallejo Pons (GM 2705 Spain), are all participating in the tournament for the first time.
The draw for the pairings was held on Monday night at which the Minister for Sport, Heritage and Culture, Edwin Reyes was also present. The draw was carried out by Maxine de la Rosa, Miss Gibraltar 1st Princess. Master of Ceremonies was GM Stuart Conquest.
Edwin Reyes and Maxine de la Rosa
The First Princess wished everyone the best of luck, and Minister Edwin Reyes welcomed everyone to the Rock.
“Gibraltar is very proud to hold this tournament and we thank you for travelling such long distances to be here. Good luck to you all,” he said.
This year there are 35 Grandmasters playing in the Open Masters with over 228 players, a record for this type of event and open tournament of this nature. The tournament itself is a ten-day festival which boasts an impressive field. The other competitions running simultaneously are the Challengers with 84 players and the Amateurs with 40.
Live streaming with commentary is available every afternoon with Grandmaster Stuart Conquest. This year the tournament boasts a new broadcasting suite with the very latest technology installed by Gibtelecom. These commentaries are broadcast live on the congress website www.gibraltarchesscongress.com
Alice Mascarenhas Chess Press Officer, Gibraltar International Chess Festival