Chess News

10 Years of International Chess in Gibraltar

2012 is a special year for chess as the Rock’s biggest and most popular international event celebrates its tenth birthday. The Tradewise 2012 Chess Festival will be held over 10 days from 24th January to 2nd February, 2012.

As well as Judit Polgar, the world’s top woman player, Mickey Adams, Nigel Short and Peter Svidler have all accepted invitations to play. With names added daily to the already impressive list there is no doubt the 2012 tournament will be the strongest open ever in the world.

As Gibraltar continues to lead the way in the world of chess the tenth edition of the tournament will see the prize money increased by 20% to an amazing £150,000. In addition, there is a further prize of £5,000 to celebrate the HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee which will be awarded to the top scoring player from a Commonwealth country.

In 2012 the Gibraltar Masters could have eight to ten players rated over 2700. Judit Polgar, with a rating of 2701, is in this ‘2700 club’ as are Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) 2746, Peter Svidler (Russia) 2740, Michael Adams (England) 2733, Le Quang Liem (Vietnam) 2717, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) 2715, Alexey Shirov (Spain) 2713, and Zoltan Almasi (Hungary) 2710.

Stuart Conquest, director of the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, on an upbeat note assures they are all definitely coming to play on the Rock but with the international rating list updated every two months we must wait until January 2012 to know with certainty which players are classified at this level. Other players, such as England’s Nigel Short, are just a couple of rating points shy of this list.

“Of course,” he adds confidently, “there is still time for other top-ranked players to enter. The Gibraltar Masters is an Open event, and anyone may play.”

So the tenth anniversary edition of the tournament may yet reach a higher level. Establishing chess as an international festival on the Rock was the dream of organiser Brian Callaghan, who as anyone in the world of chess will tell you, has made the Caleta Hotel the home of chess for those 10 days in the middle of winter. In just nine years, with the help of sponsors, his staff at the hotel, and a top chess organising team, he has assured the growth of chess locally and of the tournament world-wide.

Make a note in your diary… Masters (Open to all): Tues 24 January – Thurs 2 February (10-round Swiss, FIDE rated) Challengers A (Under 2250): Mon 23 January – Fri 27 January (5 rounds, FIDE rated) Challengers B (Under 2250): Sat 28 January – Wed 1 February (5 rounds, FIDE rated) Amateurs A (Under 1800): Mon 23 January – Fri 27 January (5 rounds, FIDE rated) Amateurs B (Under 1800): Sat 28 January – Wed 1 February (5 rounds, FIDE rated). Play starts every morning at 9am. The Masters start every afternoon at 3pm.

For more information contact: Alice Mascarenhas , Chess Press Officer
Email: or Website:

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