Classical chess, annually recurring individual international Open Festivals (swiss system),
present, a selection of the most important series in status and strength
U.S. Open Chess Championships (Open, played annually at various venues) since 1900 without any break!, Reykjavik (Open, at the beginning up and including 1980
and once again in 1992 a biannual international invitation tournament) since 1964, World Open (most often in Philadelphia, sometimes in New York and other U.S. cities) since 1973, Politiken-Cup / Xtracon Chess Open (with
renaming in 2016), Copenhagen, Helsingor et al. since 1979, Cappelle-la-Grande (Open), France since 1985, Isle of Man Open (IoM), originally under the patronat of "Monarch
Assurance", annually played in Port Erin from 1992 to 2007, after a seven-year break, now relocated in Douglas as "PokerStars" in 2014, and after another extensive relaunch in 2016 labelled as "Chess.com", Dubai Open (Sheikh
Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup) since 1999, Moscow, Aeroflot Open from 2002-2012 (rapid and blitz edition in 2013, no edition in 2014), and again since 2015, Gibraltar Chess Congress (Open) since
2003 in Catalan Bay (span. La Caleta), initially sponsored by Gibtelecom, since 2011 by Tradewise, Las Vegas (for the first two editions) and Atlantic City, Millionaire Chess (Open) launched in 2014, or
Qatar Masters (Open) in Doha launched in 2014
Note: Hastings (first invitation tournament in 1895), is today played as an Open Festival
using the swiss system since 2005/06 (after one year with knock-out modus). Hastings International Chess Congress welcomed Tradewise Insurance Services as a new sponsor since the edition of 2015/16, in conjunction
with Hastings Borough Council and the English Chess Federation. The traditional Sarajevo (Bosna), starting in 1957 with a ten-year break due to Balkan conflicts, is today played
as an Open Festival since 2010
Survey in alphabetical order of about 50 annually recurring Open Festivals in classical chess:
Abu Dhabi Chess Festival, Open
Al-Ain Chess Classic, Open
Andorra Open, in La Massana
Bad Homburg, “Rhein-Main-Open”
Bad Wörishofen, ChessOrg Open
BCC Bangkok Open
Barcelona, “Open de Sants, Hostafrancs i La Bordeta”
Basel (Riehen), Schachfestival Neujahrs-Open (ex Hilton)
since 1948 Belgrade Trophy, Open
since 1968 Biel Master Tournament, Open
Bunratty Masters, Open
since 1956 Canadian
Open, at various venues
Capo d'Orso, Porto Mannu Open in Palau, Sardinia
Chicago Open, in Wheeling, Illinois
Copenhagen, Helsingor et al. Xtracon Open (former “Politiken-Cup”), Open
Dresden, “ZMDI Festival”, Open
Dubai, “Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup”, Open
Gibraltar, “Tradewise Chess Festival”, Open
Guernsey Chess Festival, Open
since 1963 Groningen Chess Festival,
since 1920/21 (1895 Summer Congress) Hastings Chess Congress, Open
Isle of Man (IoM), “Chess.com Isle of Man International”, in Douglas,
(originally “Monarch Assurance” in Port Erin),
Karlsruhe, “Grenke Chess Open” (since 2016 following Deizisau, “Neckar-Open”)
Doha, “Qatar Masters”, Open
Kolkata (Calcutta), Open (successor of Goodricke)
Kuala Lumpur, “Malaysia Open”
Las Vegas (MC1 & MC2), Atlantic City (MC3), “Millionaire Chess” Open
Liechtenstein Open, in Mauren, Triesen et al. (1983-2014, relaunch possible)
Open, in Sliema
since 1960 Mar del Plata, Open
(Torre Repetto Mem), Open
National Open, in Las Vegas, Nevada et al.
North American Open, in Las Vegas, Nevada
Philadelphia Open, Pennsylvania
Pardubice, “Czech Open”
since 1964 Reykjavik,
San Sebastian, “Donostia”, Open
since 1957 Sarajevo,
Sharjah Masters, Open
Skopje, Macedonia “Karpos Open”
St. Petersburg (Chigorin Mem), Open
since 1971/72 Stockholm, “Rilton-Cup”,
since 1900 U.S. Open, at various
Vancouver (Keres Mem), Open
Vienna Open (mostly in bi-annual rhythms)
“Hogeschool Zeeland”, Open
Voronezh Master (Alekhine
since 1973 World Open, at various venues
Weihnachts-Open (ex Nova-Park)
Open Superseries - www.chessdiagonals.ch
Closed elite series - www.chessdiagonals.ch
Sincere apologies to anyone whom I have unintentionally omitted to mention!
From a technical
point of view, some open tournaments revealed an incredible strength (number of grandmasters participating), but lacked somehow of the same status / prestige as a closed invitation tournament. Maybe
this will change in near future. In 2015, for the first time ever since 1971, Boris Spassky, co-winning at the Canadian Open Chess Championship, held that year in Vancouver, a reigning male World Chess Champion participated again in an open tournament (swiss
system instead of round robin): Magnus Carlsen, winning at the Qatar Masters in Doha.
A comment ❤
Open Chess Tournaments or When your meal depends on your next move..
(loss) of a few dozen rating points can make the difference between regular invitations to closed supertournaments and “banishment” to the chancier and less rewarding world of the Open chess circuit:
Vladimir Epishin, is an example of a grandmaster who could claim at the highest level only for a few years, the fate of so many professional chess players just one step beyond the very best. He was a regular top-twenty player in the mid-1990s, who
peaked as clear number ten of the world in 1994 (January-June list), but soon afterwards disappeared from the radar of the very best, dropped out of the top hundred (there are plenty strong players today), remaining a very busy Open participant: A real chess
professional - who has to win prizes to eat and pay mortgages or rent.
Think also of traveller Sergei Tiviakov, winner of the European Individual Chess Championship in 2008 and always dangerous
for anyone, or Bartosz Soćko, the Polish player is one of the most busiest professionals today, or Lithuanian world voyageur Eduardas Rozentalis, there aren't that many countries in which he hasn't played a competitive game, or multiple British
Rapid Chess Champion Mark Hebden, who also seems to be playing non-stop following the chess winds seeking a weekly wage, or from Hungary, veteran Iván Faragó, supposed to have the second largest number of higher class
games, after Viktor Korchnoi.
No guaranteed prize money (except you got 'conditions') plus potential to lose face and a ton of Elo points if they have a couple of drawn games against lower rated participants:
That's why top ten, top five players didn't often play in open tournaments (swiss system).
Rare empirical exceptions of fearless
top-level chess prominence, playing as well even during their heyday frequently in Open tournaments (swiss system, non predictable opponents contrary to a closed round robin, no chances for drawing masters),
are especially Korchnoi and Nakamura (i.e. Short, Miles and others accelerated to play in international Open when they were
no longer ranked in the top ten, top twenty of the world, or participated primarily in Open in their youth years, before they advanced to the absolute elite).
From the absolute top-level players, Viktor Korchnoi had the biggest impact, the broadest range and diversity of Superopen series, followed by Hikaru Nakamura at relatively young age (many strong, but not that much internationally mixed
Open in the USA, plus an epic record at Gibraltar), chess Open is his favourite hunting ground, in closed elite tournaments (round robin or knock-out), comparatively, Nakamura seems to be somehow less successful.
Then there are surprising strong Vlastimil Hort (winning or co-winning Lone Pine, U.S. Open, London Lloyds Bank, Berlin Summer, Amsterdam OHRA, plus some
less known Open Festivals), the mentioned Nigel Short and Tony Miles (including many tournaments of rather moderate strength), Gyula Sax or Alexei Shirov, as well as many strong American GMs frequently playing and surviving the harsh
competition of the large Open chess tournaments in the United States, of course (eg. from Benko to Browne, from Christiansen to Kamsky, from Evans to De Firmian).
From all World Champions, until Carlsen arrived, it is first and foremost Boris Spassky who did play and (co-)won several different Open of note (see the list further below). If you do consider all Open
Chess Festivals with titled players participating, then Sergei Tiviakov is a contender for achieving the most wins in different international swiss system tournaments, above pure local club level, yet sometimes, Tiviakov, the traveller,
was the only grandmaster in the open field.
Fischer played in the inaugural edition of the Canadian Open Chess Championship, held at Montreal in 1956
as a thirteen years young teenager, and won the U.S. Open at Cleveland in 1957 (on tie-break above Arthur Bisguier). Later as reigning World Chess Champion, and for twenty years afterwards, he didn’t
play any competitive chess game whatsoever.
Karpov very rarely played in an Open tournament in classical chess during his
prime time, and never as a reigning World Champion. He heavily criticized the swiss system, eg. after the IBM-Vienna Open in 1986 with four top ten players, Karpov himself, Korchnoi, Beliavsky, and Spassky (organized in the style of Lone Pine).
Kasparov did never play an individual international Open tournament (swiss system) in classical chess after becoming a Grandmaster in 1980, the year he won the official FIDE World Junior Chess Championship in
Dortmund, played in swiss system.
Kramnik did not play any individual Open tournament in classical chess after the official FIDE Interzonal tournament in Biel 1993 and the PCA Qualifier (equivalent
to FIDE's Interzonal) in Groningen 1993, then both held in swiss system up to the first Qatar Masters, held at Doha in 2014, a span of 21 years! Prior to that, he played for instance at Dortmund Open in 1992 or at Gausdal Troll Masters (Open) in 1992.
Note: Since the 1976 Chess Olympiad in Haifa, Israel, and since the 1989 European Team Chess Championship, also in Haifa, these two major FIDE team events are organised in swiss system, but team events have quite a
different character, and there a player can pretty easily avoid to play an opponent (s)he doesn't like, taking a rest day.
Most of the Superopen are divided into different sections for players of all level
==> There are hundreds of fascinating local Open
Chess Events and Festivals !!
Watch out in your area 😉