In less than a one week the biggest ever global event in Gibraltar celebrating 10 years of chess on the Rock will make its opening move. The 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival has grown beyond all recognition since it first started 10 years ago.
The open tournament, the Gibraltar Masters, with the largest concentration of chess Grandmasters and players ever, begins on Tuesday, 24 January, with the first move scheduled for 3pm.
“The Tradewise International Chess Festival is ready to play host to the greatest number of world chess players and Grandmasters ever who will compete in Gibraltar in its 10th edition,” emphasises organiser Brian Callaghan.
The success of the tournament is down to the team both at the Caleta Hotel which has become the home of chess on the Rock, and the international team of chess arbiters etc., in the first few years headed by Stewart Rubens, and now by Stuart Conquest.
The atmosphere created over those 10 days of play has been crucial to its success. The fact that amateur chess players can sit alongside professionals has been an important ingredient in the growing popularity of the festival. Being able to eat, breathe and sleep chess every moment of the day for 10 days has also been vital, as has been the emphasis given to the women’s game. The festival has been made possible because of the belief and constant support of all the sponsors. Gibtelecom was the first major sponsor and continues on board on the technical front, but leading the sponsorship today is the Tradewise Insurance Company.
James Humphreys from Tradewise says the company is very proud of its association, as all in Gibraltar should be proud of this international Chess Festival, and the promotion of the game as a learning tool in schools locally.
“Having our name above the door to such a prestigious world event means more for Tradewise by way of supporting Gibraltar, and the dynamic individuals responsible for placing Gibraltar on such a worldwide stage, than it does for our own global recognition,” he says.
“Chess is a massive worldwide community, second only in size of federations to football, and the eyes of the world will once again be focused on Gibraltar next week. It is not surprising that the tournament has grown in size and recognition as so many have worked very hard in order to create a warm and inviting “City of Chess” that people, players and their families, want to return to again and again,” he emphasised.
Over the years the tournament has been enjoyed by a huge internet audience and has become the world leader in this area in the world of chess introducing the game to a wider audience. This has been thanks to Gibtelecom’s innovative technology and the unique, built-for-purpose webcasting suite installed at the Caleta Hotel which has brought into the arena thousands of chess enthusiasts from all over the world.
“Gibtelecom is committed to continue supporting this event, both as a sponsor and technically, and will continue to seek new ways to ensure that the event remains at the forefront of chess technology. The company also values supporting the local community and sees sponsoring this event as an opportunity for promoting and developing the game of chess in Gibraltar,” said a spokesperson for the company.
At the end of this week 57 GM’s, 11 of which are rated 2700 or over, will begin to arrive on the Rock. In all 58 federations will be playing in Gibraltar this year and Director Stuart Conquest, who continues to be bombarded with requests as the day approaches, points out that this is a considerable increase on last year, when there were only 46. This with the big names on the list is certain to make the 2012 tournament stronger than ever before and the best open anywhere in the world.
Running simultaneously will be the Challengers and Amateur tournaments. It all begins next Monday 23 January with play concentrated at the Caleta Hotel. The new Gibraltar champion will emerge 10 days later on Thursday 3 February when the final will be played.
Tradewise Chess Press Officer