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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Malta Chess Open from November 17

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hello everyone,

Malta is not a country that you would associate with chess very easily. There's a nice chess open happening there from November 17 with 180 players from around the world (including only 30 home players). It is the third Malta International Chess Open, hosted at the Canifor Hotel in Buġibba between from November 17 to 23. Malta is a republic in the Mediterranean Sea 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily. 

Backed by the sponsorship of the Malta Tourism Authority and Cheverny Investments Ltd, the chess event has grown over the years. A lot of chess players from UK, Germany, Canada, USA, Ecuador, Faroe Islands, and even India and Mongolia are playing this time around.

Of the Maltese contingent, the highest-rated player is newly-crowned national champion Joseph Gauci. He will be closely followed by national team members Robert and Patrick Zerafa. Other notable players include former Malta no.1 Peter Sammut Briffa, Clarence Psaila (the co-organiser along with Chessorg) and Duncan Vella. They are all among the top 10 highest FIDE-rated players on the island.

The favourite for the Malta Open title is Grand Master Bartolomej Heberla. He is top seed with rating of 2556 and is also the reigning Malta Chess Open Champion. However, Heberla will have to contend with over 20 other titled players throughout the nine-round, Swiss-system tournament if he is to retain the honour.

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