Superseries of International Open Chess Festivals (swiss system) in classical chess, past and present


Aeroflot Open, Moscow

Biel Master Tournament Open Special feature
(==> part of Biel International Chess Festival, 50th years jubilee in 2017)

Bosna, Sarajevo, former strong invitational, now a rather local Open Special feature

Canadian Open Chess Championship, at various venues

Cappelle-la-Grande Open, currently of rather local character

Dubai Open Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup, Dubai Extras

Gibraltar Chess Congress Tradewise Masters Catalan Bay / La Caleta Superopen 2017

Grenke Chess Open, Karlsruhe (following the Neckar-Open, Deizisau)

Hastings Chess Congress, legendary invitation tournament, now Open Special feature

Isle of Man Open, Port Erin, today in Douglas Superopen 2017 Preview

Politiken Cup, Xtracon Chess Open, Copenhagen, today in Helsingør

Reykjavik Open, starting as an invitation tournament

Rilton Cup, Stockholm

U.S. Open Chess Championship Special feature
(1st edition held in 1900, annually without any break!!)
in swiss system since the mid-1940s, at various venues

World Open, mainly in Philapelphia, early editions in New York,
later sometimes also in Arlington or other U.S. cities

past Superopen:

Lloyds Bank Masters, London, 1977-1994 An easy-to-read survey

18 consecutive editions: First winner in 1977 was Miguel Quinteros, last winner in 1994 young Alexander Morozevich, both outright

Lone Pine, California, 1971-1981 Louis D. Statham Tournament Full history

11 consecutive editions: First winner in 1971 was Larry Evans, last winner in 1981 Viktor Korchnoi, among the winners, sole or shared, Tigran Petrosian, Bent Larsen, Svetozar Gligoric (2x), Vladimir Liberzon (2x), Oscar Panno, Vlastimil Hort, Florin Gheorghiu, Walter Browne, Arthur Bisguier, and Nona Gaprindashvili

Lugano Open, Switzerland, 1976-1989 Exlusive in the web!

14 consecutive editions: First winner in 1976 was Gennadi Sosonko, last winner in 1989 Viktor Korchnoi (3x, plus one co-win), among the winners Yasser Seirawan (2x), Gyula Sax, Lubomir Ftacnik, Vladimir Tukmakov, Bojan Kurajica, Sergio Mariotti, as well as Nigel Short (co-winner), Kevin Spraggett (co-winner), or Eugenio Torre (co-winner); many top ten / top twenty players participating, including also Anand and Spassky, Larsen, Miles, Nunn, Timman, Lautier, Hübner, Unzicker, Hort, Pachman, Gligoric, Ivkov, Szabo, Ribli, Adorjan, Gulko, De Firmian, Browne, Reshevsky and the strongest ladies, Lugano was really internationally mixed in gender and ages

New York Open, New York City, 1981-2000 (no editions '82, '99) Extended version to come

18 editions: First winner in 1981 was Lev Alburt, last winner in 2000 Ilya Smirin, both outright

Worth of mention:

OHRA Open, Amsterdam 1982-1990, 9 editions, strong Invitation Open series but with a field of (only) 24 to 32 players, then from 1985 to 1990, the Open was a side event of the OHRA Invitation tournament series at Amsterdam

recently cancelled or interrupted series:

Millionaire Chess (MC) Open, Las Vegas 2014 & 2015, Atlantic City 2016

Qatar Masters, Doha, 2014 & 2015

This listing of these twenty-two recurring international Open Supertournament series (named "Superopen" in analogy to the closed "Supertournament") in classical chess, from past and present, including two legendary longlasting series with an earlier peak time as a world elite invitation tournament (the famous Hastings Chess Congresses and Bosna in Sarajevo), is a best-effort,
 with a subjective component, no offense intended!

A Chess Superopen series is big and divers (strength and largeness of the top participating grandmasters and the status of the tournament in continuation), mixed in gender and ages, with players representing not only various countries, but also different continents.

By definition, the overview is focussed on series. Apart from series, only rarely a one-off open tournament had been superstrong, too; i.e. the Vienna IBM Open in 1986, the first international Chess Open ever featuring four current top ten players of the world, or the somehow forgotten Alekhine Open Memorial in 1992, held parallel to the Alekhine Invitation Memorial, both played at Moscow. Thus, these two Superopen are also presented briefly.

Apart from these series open to everyone, there were / are official "open" chess tournaments, held in swiss system, by name:

> Interzonal Manila 1990 

> Interzonal Biel 1993 

Both of these two last FIDE Interzonal tournaments (embedded in the World Chess Championship cycle), within a relatively large field of more than 60 strong players

> GMA Open (qualification) 1988-89; 1990
Belgrade, Moscow, Palma de Mallorca; Moscow

> PCA Open (qualifying) 1993 Groningen

> FIDE Grand Prix (qualification cycle) 2017, 
Sharjah, Moscow, Geneva, Palma de Mallorca
within a small field of 18 players each!

The format changed from a round robin (all-play-all) to a swiss system for the 2017 World Chess FIDE GP. In contrast to the previous editions where players played a full round-robin, each GP is now a 18-player, 9-round Swiss and players will each appear in three of the four GP tournaments (organised by AGON for FIDE).

The World Chess FIDE Grand Prix 2017 is a series of four chess tournaments with in total 24 players participating in the whole cycle, that form part of the qualification cycle for the World Chess Championship: The top two finishers (point scoring overall) will qualify for the 2018 Candidates Tournament.

> Team competitions, especially the biannually played Chess Olympiad since 1976 in Haifa, or the European Team Chess Championship (ETCC) since 1989 in Haifa, European Chess Club Cup, etc.

> World Junior Chess Championships (mostly) and World Senior Chess Championships

> National Championships in some countries (for instance, Switzerland has an alternate rhythm)

History of the Swiss System

Swiss system: Pairing system invented by Dr. J. Müller of Brugg, Switzerland, and first used in a chess tournament at Zurich in 1895.

George Koltanowski later introduced the Swiss System in the United States.

The first use of the Swiss system in the United States was the Texas Championship in 1942.

The first national event to use the Swiss system was the 1945 U.S. Intercollegiate Championship.

Since 1947 every (annually played) U.S. Open has been conducted under the Swiss System.

The first Swiss System at the Chess Olympiad (biannual team event) was Haifa, Israel in 1976.

George Koltanowski: The man who established the Swiss System in chess competitions

George Koltanowski, a Belgian-born American chess player, promoter, organizer, arbiter, and writer, was awarded the International Master title in 1950 when the title was first officially established by FIDE, and he was awarded an Honorary Grandmaster title in 1988.

He showed up for the 1946 U.S. Open Chess Championship (U.S. Open) in Pittsburgh, but was eliminated in the preliminary section and did not qualify for the finals.

The 47th U.S. Open in 1946, played in Pittsburgh was for the first time using the swiss system to determine different final sections in round robin.

In those years, the U.S. Open was played in round-robin preliminary and final sections. However, the next year, George Koltanowski returned, not as a player but as the director, introducing the Swiss system to the U.S. Open. He directed the 1947 U.S. Open in Corpus Christi, Texas, using the Swiss system for the first time ever in a U.S. Open chess event as a whole.

After that, Koltanowski traversed the country, holding Swiss system tournaments everywhere. Before long, the Swiss system was adopted as the standard for most chess tournaments in America, and Open Festivals worldwide. 

Definition and Explanation of the Swiss system

Austrian Chancellor Fred Sinowatz (Socialist Party) at the IBM-Vienna Open Chess Tournament on January 6, 1986, here in show-playing against Anatoly Karpov. Korchnoi won the Open on tie-break above Beliavsky. Photo: Bernhard J. Holzner, AP.

Vienna IBM-Open 1986 – four current top ten players

1.-2. Korchnoi at age of 55 (winner on tie-break scores), and Beliavsky; ahead of Ftacnik (3.-9., third on tie-break), Karpov, Nunn, Garcia-Palermo, Gheorghiu,  Quinteros, Spassky, Chandler, Dückstein, Züger, Danner, Kindermann, Klinger, Farago, Schüssler, Matanovic, Mednis, Borik, Zsuzsa Polgar, Helene Mira, among others

Four reigning top ten players of the world in an Open competing: Karpov (#2), Korchnoi (#6), Beliavsky (#7=), Spassky (#9=), followed by Nunn (#top twenty of ELO list January 1986).

Karpov (white) and Korchnoi (black) drew their individual encounter at IBM-Vienna Open, a hard-fought game:

IBM-Invitation Open tournament in January 1986, based on the model of Lone Pine, nine rounds swiss system, 48 invited participants in an international mix of absolute superstars, youngsters, female players and some local heroes (Austria, Germany, Switzerland).

One of the very few times, Anatoly Karpov playing an Open in classical chess (he remained unbeaten but with six draws out of nine games and was upset to be paired with too many 'minor' players due to swiss system). DIE SCHACHWOCHE no. 3 & no. 4 / 1986, and GM Robert Byrne,

Alekhine Open Memorial 1992 – a forgotten Superopen

In 1992 (100th anniversary of Alexander Alekhine, Alekhine Festival), there was held an additional Alekhine Memorial Open in Moscow, won by Sergei Tiviakov (then Russia) as clear first (ahead of Epishin, in a strong field with – among others – Aseev, Ehlvest, Malaniuk, Serper, Yudasin, Kramnik, Dolmatov, Oll, Sveshnikov, Sakeev, Smirin, Psakhis, Dreev, Sveshnikov, M. Gurevich, Kuzmin, Smyslov, Tseshkovsky, Xie Jun, Svidler, Akopian, Bagirov, Savon, Gipslis, Geller, Kholmov.

Watch out: (60 players)

Of course, it was nearly national, but a very strong and compact line-up. A big achievement for young Tiviakov!

The Open was running parallel to the closed invitation tournament (with Botvinnik, Najdorf, and Lilienthal forming the jury!), won jointly by 1.-2. Anand and Gelfand, followed by 3. Kamsky, 4.-6. Karpov, Salov, Jussupow, 7. Shirov, and 8. Timman.

Tiviakov, the Traveller
: Sergei somehow manages to (i) travel to the most exotic places in the world, (ii) win or co-win the tournaments staged there, and (iii) send the chess community a huge batch of photos he has taken during his stay. His illustrated reports and pictorial impressions, are always a highlight. Although he has considered himself a professional chess player since 1989, Tiviakov also finished his degree in agricultural economics.

Before studying the game, please have a look at his lively chess career. Tiviakov is certainly one of the strongest sub-2700 ELO players just one step beyond the very best, quite regular top hundred player since the early 1990s, his peak ranking is no. 14/15 of the world in July - December 1995; a decade later, in October - December 2005, ranked as no. 20, he has been one ELO point away from reaching the (today) notorious 2700 milestone.

Sergei Tiviakov, born in Krasnador in 1973, settled to Groningen in 1997.
Member of the Smyslov school. IM since 1990. GM since 1991.

For a selection of his tournament wins: (scroll down)

Open supertournament (Swiss System): big and divers, in status and strength

Biel Chess Festival regularly offers both, a closed invitation tournament (round robin) and an open tournament (swiss system) of high level calibre; the large and strong Open (MTO), sometimes forgotten / outshined by the Invitational (GMT), including three Interzonals.

Thus the near complete (really complete!) elite of the last forty years played at Biel Chess Festival in one or the other way – a feat only matched by Wijk aan Zee with its A,B,C groups.

As mentioned, the former world-class tournaments of Hastings and Sarajevo (Bosna) are now played in a swiss system and lost their previous stardom.

Glory and fame of a tournament (series) seem sometimes unpredictable, there are so many imponderabilities in economic life, well, in life in general Ha ha 

This has not necessarily to do with a format change, other factors count as well: an excellent combination of serious chess, playing conditions, organisation, sightseeing, location, good food, sponsoring, prize money, time, duration, media coverage and reception, the love and respect for the players!!

Reykjavik for instance gained much on reputation in status and strength after switching from a closed invitational tournament to an Open Festival today. As Gibraltar Tradewise, Isle of Man, Moscow Aeroflot, Dubai or Doha (Qatar Masters) it is proof, that an Open can successfully be launched on a high level, big and diverse. They have reached the status of a supertournament, too, and are offering several hundred of rated players to join the chess community.

Those were the days, Lone Pine, California in the '70ies (1971 until 1981), Llyods Bank Masters Open in London (1977 - 1994), New York Open (1981 - 2000) and maybe foremost the Lugano Open Festival Series, especially in the '80ies, can be regarded as the prominent predecessors and role model of the Gibraltar Tradewise Masters Chess Congress, the relaunched Isle of Man Open, Qatar Masters Open in Doha, Aeroflot Open in Moscow, Dubai or Reykjavik Open today.

Chessdiagonals reveals exclusively the Top Twenty (Super) Open series in classical chess of past and present, ordered alphabetically:

Aeroflot Open, Moscow, since 1999 (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

The Aeroflot Open is an annual open chess tournament played in Moscow and sponsored by the airline Aeroflot. It was established in 2002 and quickly grew to be one of the strongest open chess tournament; 2013 it was converted to a rapid and blitz event, while in 2014 it wasn't held.

The winner is invited to the Dortmund chess tournament held later in the same year, a tradition begun in 2003. Beside the main tournament (A Group), there are also B and C-class tournaments at Aeroflot Open.

Record winner is Ian Nepomniachtchi. He won 2008 and 2015 the Aeroflot Open in classical chess plus the 2013 edition blitz event.

Biel International Chess Festival, since 1968

Bosna, Sarajevo, since 1957, starting as Invitational (Official Site)

Sarajevo *1957 -

(No Wikipedia english entry so far)

Canadian Open Chess Championship, since 1956 (Official Site) (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

Played at various venues in  Canada. Not to mix with the national Canadian Chess Championship.

The Canadian Open Chess Championship is Canada's international Open chess championship, launched in 1956, and held annually since 1973, usually in mid-summer. It is organized by the Chess Federation of Canada. The event celebrated its 50th rendition in 2013.

It was organized every two years from 1956 until 1970. In 2015, no tournament was held.

Since 2016, the Open takes part in Windsor, Ontario.

The tournament rotates around the country, and has been held in seven of Canada's ten provinces during its 60-year history. The format has usually been a Swiss system with nine or ten rounds, usually over a nine-day period. It is open to all players who wish to enter, from Grandmasters to beginners.

The Championship's list of winners has included some of the world's strongest players, including Grandmasters Boris Spassky (in 1971, while he was World chess champion), Bent Larsen, Alexei Shirov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Viktor Bologan, Artur Yusupov, Bu Xiangzhi, Alexander Moiseenko, Kevin Spraggett, Ljubomir Ljubojević, Larry Evans, Pal Benko, William Lombardy, Gyula Sax, Igor Ivanov, Walter Browne, Tony Miles, Larry Christiansen, Joel Benjamin, Eduardas Rozentalis, Vladimir Tukmakov, Jonathan Rowson, Luke McShane, Vladimir Epishin, Vladimir Malaniuk, Pentala Harikrishna, Alexander Shabalov, Nigel Short, Eric Hansen, and many other top stars.

Toronto has hosted the most Canadian Opens with ten, followed by Ottawa with seven and Edmonton with six (as of 2014).

Montreal 1974 saw the largest attendance to date, with 648 players. Ottawa 2007 set a tournament record with 22 Grandmasters participating.

The first tournament in Montreal 1956 was noteworthy for the presence of 13-year-young prodigy Bobby Fischer, a future World chess champion, who tied for 8-12th places.

Laszlo Witt made the only perfect score (9-0) at Ottawa 1962.

Mark Bluvshtein is the youngest champion, at age 17 at Edmonton in 2005. Daniel Yanofsky was the oldest champion, at age 54, also in Edmonton in 1979.

Canadian Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett has the record for most titles with eight (either clear first or shared).

Cappelle-la-Grande Open, since 1985 (Official Site) (Wikiepdia in english) (Wikipedia in french)

The Cappelle-la-Grande Open is a chess tournament held every year in Cappelle-la-Grande, France, since 1985.

The tournament is usually played in the second half of February with an accelerated Swiss-system format in nine rounds. It is organized by the chess club L'Echiquier Cappellois and is played in the Palais des Arts of Cappelle-la-Grande.

It has become over the years one of the largest opens in the world, but in terms of average player strength slightly behind the Giants.

The 26th edition of 2010 had 652 participants, with 82 Grandmasters and 61 International Masters from 57 countries.

Record five-time winner is Mark Hebden (in 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995 and 1997, always shared).

It faced a near-collapse in 2017 and is reduced to a smaller event due to financial problems.

Dubai, Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup, since 1999 (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

Magnus Carlsen earned his final GM norm at Dubai in 2004, Wang Hao claimed the Dubai Open in 2005 as an untitled player above more than 50 GMs, Wesley So won his first major event at Dubai in 2008. Gawain Jones from England is the first player to defend his Champion title successfully, as double winner in 2016 and 2017.

Dubai Chess and Culture Club, UAE

The Dubai Chess and Culture Club, United Arab Emirates was established in 1979 as a part of the UAE Chess Federation, the governing body of chess in the UAE, and was officially recognized as an independent entity on May 16, 1981. The club’s headquarters was originally located in Burj Nahar in Deira District before it was moved permanently to its current location in Al Mamzar, Dubai.

The club's current headquarters was built on May 2, 1999 and was widely acknowledged as the most modern and biggest dedicated chess club in the world when it was completed. The building is designed in the shape of a rook.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktourm, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, is the honorary president of the Club. Sheikh Hamdan has played a major role in supporting the chess movement in the region. Some of the most notable members of the club include Saeed Ahmed Saeed, the UAE’s first world champion in chess and first IM, and Taleb Moussa, the UAE’s first GM.

The club played a major role in organizing the 27th World Chess Olympiad in 1986, which was hosted by the UAE Chess Federation at the Dubai World Trade Centre, and has organized other international chess events such as the 2014 World Rapid and Blitz Championships, Asian Cities Championships, Arab Championships and since 1999 the annual Dubai Open.

Dubai Open

Year-by-Year History

Gibraltar Masters, Catalan Bay /La Caleta, since 2003

Grenke Chess Open, Karlsruhe, since 2016 (Official Site in english) (Official Site in german)

Grenke Open, Karlsruhe, is following the Neckar-Open, Deizisau, 1997 – 2015 (former Official Site, still active) (Wikipedia)


Grenke Open is not to mix with the closed Grenke Chess Classic, held unregularly at Baden-Baden, sometimes as national, sometimes as international invitation tournament (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

Hastings Chess Congress, since 1920/21 (famous Summer Congress in 1895), starting as Invitational

Isle of Man (IoM) International Open Chess Tournament, since 1993 (Official Site) (IoM Official Facebook) (IoM Official Twitter) (Official Visitor Website)

Isle of Man Open has been played under three different labels:

Monarch Assurance IoM in Port Erin (1993 - 2007)
PokerStars IoM in Douglas (2014 - 2015) IoM in Douglas (since 2016)

Great Britain series - Isle of Man International Chess Tournament 2017

Entries are now open for the 2017 edition of the Isle of Man international Chess Tournament, to held in Douglas from 23 September to 1 October, made possible by substantial sponsorship from the Scheinberg family.  

The Masters section may well be the world’s strongest open tournament this year, with an expected field of up to 174 players, with 53 titled players already entered, including 38 Grandmasters. In addition, there will be two subsidiary, FIDE rated tournaments aimed at club players, the Major and Minor. Entry forms and Terms & Conditions for all three sections are now available via the homepage of our website.

The Masters will again be run as a 9 round Swiss, with a prize fund of £127,500, including a first prize of £50,000 already attracting the attention of many of the world’s elite players.

So far, six of the world’s top ten players have indicated their intention to play in the tournament, subject to their progress in the World Cup in Georgia, the latter stages of which overlap with our opening weekend.Some of the top names that have committed to our event include: Wesley So (world number 2); Fabiano Caruana (3); ex-World Champion Vladimir Kramnik (4); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (5); Hikaru Nakamura (6); ex-World Champion Vishy Anand (7). Other big names include Michael Adams and Nigel Short of England; Boris Gelfand of Israel; Alexei Shirov of Latvia; and Peter Leko of Hungary; all of whom have been World Championship finalists. There will also be a number of strong female players, including the world number 1, Hou Yifan of China, and Harika Dronavalli of India.

The tournament will again be held in the prestigious Royal Hall of the Villa Marina, with the backing of the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development which is kindly covering the cost of hiring the venue., the world’s biggest and best online chess site will be streaming live coverage of the tournament over 9 days, with the popular duo of Grandmaster Simon Williams  and Woman International Master Fiona Steil-Antoni  again being the two commentators. Manx Technology Group (MTG) will be kindly assisting with the technical aspects of the commentary production.

An innovation for this year’s Masters is that the first round draw to determine pairings will be fully random, i.e. any player can be paired against any other player in round 1. Another change is that there will be a play-off in the event of a tie.

More news will follow over the coming weeks and months, see:

Alan Ormsby

(Chairman, Isle of Man International Chess Committee)

3 April 2017, Official Site

Lloyds Bank Masters, London, 1977 – 2000

The Lloyds Bank Masters was a strong Open (swiss system) tournament series sponsored by Lloyds Bank, United Kingdom, organised during each summer in London from 1977 to 1994.

The winners: 1977 (inaugural edition) Miguel Quinteros, 1978 John Peters, 1979 Murray Chandler, 1980 Florin Gheorghiu, 1981 Raymond Keene, 1982 Anthony Miles, 1983 Yuri Razuvaev, 1984 John Nunn, 1985 Alexander Beliavsky, 1986 Simen Agdestein, 1987 Michael Wilder, 1988, Garry Lane, 1989 Zurab Azmaiparashvili, 1990 Zurab Sturua, 1991 Alexey Shirov, 1992 Jonathan Speelman (first on tie-break above GM Timoshchenko), 1993 Jonathan Speelman (clear first ahead of 2./3. Miles, Nunn), 1994 (last edition) young Alexander Morozevich (clear first at amazing 9.5/10!).

Note: Sometimes shared winners! This list always and only indicates the first on tie-break rule.


Great Britain series -

Lone Pine, California (Louis D. Statham Tournament), 1971 – 1981

Lone Pine International was a series of chess tournaments held annually in March or April from 1971 through 1981 in Lone Pine, California. Sponsored by Louis D. Statham (1907–1983), millionaire engineer and inventor of medical instruments, the tournaments were formally titled the Louis D. Statham Masters. The events were seven- to ten-round Swiss system tournaments, with entrance requirements that made them the strongest recurring Swiss tournaments in the U.S. in the 1980s. Former United States Champion and Grandmaster Isaac Kashdan served as the tournament director. (Wikipedia)

Year-by-Year statistics (Chessgames)

First winner in 1971 was Larry Evans, last winner in 1981 Viktor Korchnoi, among the winners, sole or shared, Tigran Petrosian, Bent Larsen, Svetozar Gligoric (2x), Vladimir Liberzon (2x), Oscar Panno, Vlastimil Hort, Florin Gheorghiu, Walter Browne, Arthur Bisguier, and Nona Gaprindashvili (1971) (1972) (1973) (1974) (1975) (1976) (1977) (1978) (1979) (1980) (1981) (game compilation)

Lone Pine: Viktor Korchnoi and the Soviets

When GM Korchnoi was invited at Lone Pine in 1979, Oleg Romanishin and Vitaly Tseshkovsky were slated to play, but then it was discovered that Viktor Korchnoi would also be playing, and the Soviet authorities cancelled their entries 

In 1981, Korchnoi entered the Lone Pine Open inkognito,  and won a spectacular game against Jussupow and the tournament as clear first. Besides this exception, Korchnoi has only faced Soviet players in official FIDE competitions after Amsterdam IBM in 1976 (won with Miles) until the end of boycott, Herceg Novi, Blitz in 1983 (Korchnoi clear runner-up after Kasparov), and Wijk aan Zee in 1984 (won with Beliavksy).

As a result of these boycotts, Korchnoi lacked the possibility to play most of the strongest opponents apart from the Candidate's cycle, ie. no game in classical chess with Tal between the year 1975 and Titograd 1984. No competitive game with young and promising Kasparov before they met at the official Chess Olympiad in 1982.

That means, no invitation for Viktor Korchnoi to estimated 40 possible international chess tournaments from 1976 up to 1983 because of boycott against him by the former Soviet Union.

Lone Pine: Alla Kushnir

Alla Kushnir was the first woman ever to compete at Lone Pine  – and she defeated GM Larry Evans in the first round of the event. Later she defeated also GM Istvan Bilek and Jeremy Silman, too.

Kushnir was the only woman IM at Lone Pine Tournament 1975. She came over from Israel with her other Ex-Russian compatriots, Vladimir Liberzon and Leonid Shamkovich. She had been the previous challenger three times in a row against Nona Gaprindashvili. Kushnir was the second ranking woman chess player in the world but in order to expedite her move to Israel in 1974 from the Soviet Union, she had to agree not to enter the current cycle for Woman’s World Championship.

She drew against GM’s Reshevsky, Csom and Robatsch and beat GM Bilek of Hungary and most notably, the upset in round one against American GM Larry Evans. This must have been the fire lit to drive him to place second in this event. She finished the Lone Pine Open 1975 with 5 points following 3 wins (Silman was her third win), 4 draws and 3 losses.

In the Soviet Union, men and women were strictly separated and not allowed to play each other (decadence!). Kushnir's otb meeting with Evans was the first top-level tournament chess game where a woman played a man since the days of Vera Menchik. 

Vera Menchik (16 February 1906 – 27 June 1944) was a British-Czech chess player who gained renown as the world's first women's chess champion. She also competed in chess tournaments with some of the world's leading male chess masters, defeating many of them, including future World Champion Max Euwe.  

In 1944, during one of the last German air attacks on London, the 38-year-old Vera, who was widowed the previous year, still holding the title of women's world champion, her sister Olga, and their mother were killed in a V-1 flying bomb attack which destroyed their home in the Clapham area of South London.  

Subsequently, in 1976, FIDE decided to award Women Grandmaster titles, too. Kushnir earned her WGM title, among a few other female players that inauguration year.

In 1977, Georgian Nona Gaprindashvili (USSR) took part at Lone Pine, and co-won, alongside with Balashov, Panno, and surprising Sahovic.

R.I.P., Alla Kushnir (1941 - 2013).

Lugano Open 1976 – 1989

A legendary Open chess tournament, and one of the strongest Open series ever held, sponsored by the Banca del Gottardo, from 1976 to 1989 annually played in March in the beautiful (Swiss-Italian Tyrolian) Prealps town of Lugano, Ticino. Principal initiator and organiser was Alois Nagler from the SG Zürich.

Lugano had a great Narrative: mixed gender and ages (legends and youth, both together), different styles and countries, plus prominent and promising players from the hosting nation.

Open Scacchistico Internazionale di Lugano 1976 – 1989
(Palazzo dei Congressi di Lugano, Patrocinato dalla Banca del Gottardo) 

  • Players: Spassky, Korchnoi, Larsen, Hübner, Unzicker, Teschner, Timman, Sosonko, Piket, Miles, Short, Nunn, Hort, Pachman, Ftáčnik, Sax, Ribli, Adorjan, Szabo, Flesch, Gligoric, Ivkov, Nikolic, Kurajica, Georgiev, Gheorghiu, Soos, Balashov, Tukmakov, Psakhis, Gulko, Mednis, Reshevsky, Browne, Seirawan, De Firmian, Spraggett, Quinteros, Nogueiras, Chandler, Torre, Westerinen, Petursson, Dückstein, Tóth, Mariotti, Lautier, and Anand as reigning Junior World Chess Champion, amongst many others plus Karpov for a closed side blitz event in 1988, and
  • Maia Chiburdanidze, Tatjana Lematschko, Alisa Marić, Suzana Maksimovic, Julia Arias, Jana Miles, Pia & her older brother IM Dan Cramling (Swedish champion in 1981), played in the Lugano Open, a role model for forthcoming events.

First winner at in 1976 was Gennadi Sosonko, last winner in 1989 Viktor Korchnoi (winning 1982, 1986, 1989, and 3rd (shared 1.-7.) in 1988, within five entries), among the winners Yasser Seirawan (2x winner within six entries), Gyula Sax, Lubomir Ftacnik, Vladimir Tukmakov, Bojan Kurajica, Sergio Mariotti, as well as Nigel Short (co-winner), Kevin Spraggett (co-winner), or Eugenio Torre (co-winner).

Lugano Open 1989, Auszug aus der Rangliste:

1. Kortschnoi mit 8/9 P. im 1. Rang; mit Petursson punktgleich im zweiten Rang; ganze 1.5 Punkte (!) vor 3.(=) IM Lautier (amtierender Junioren-Weltmeister von 1988), 4. De Firmian, 5. Gheorghiu, 6. Miles, 7. Tschernin, 8. King, ... 30. Sax, 31. Nunn, 34. Ftáčnik, 36. Nikolic, 40. Torre, 43. GM Maja Tschiburdanidse (amtierende Weltmeisterin 5.5/9P.), 46. Seirawan, 57. Hübner (mit 5/9P.), 81. Tukmakow, 86. Larsen (mit 4.5/9P.), ua. 184 TeilnehmerInnen Meisterturnier, 208 TeilnehmerInnen Hauptturnier.

Lugano Open series (1976-89), big and diverse: 

History: Lugano Open -

Millionaire Chess (MC) Open Las Vegas, Atlantic City, 2014 – 2016: Intense three years

New York Open, New York City, 1981 – 2000

  • The first New York Open was held on the July 4th weekend, 1981- at the Casa de Espana in New York City
  • The prize fund was $36,000, and the tournament was won by GM Lev Alburt of the United States, with 300 players participating (all sections together)
  • In 1983, the New York Open came back with an unprecedented prize fund of $100,000, and created a revolution in tournament chess
  • Up to that time, the largest tournament prize fund ever offered in the United States was $50,000. Thus, the New York Open could be considered the "father" of all big money open chess tournaments in the U.S., and even world wide
  • Three former World Champions (Spassky, Smyslov, Tal) playing
  • All three Polgar sisters played same year in the New York Open!!!
  • The New York Open has always been run with the emphasis on quality. The goal has always been to make the best tournament possible, not to just try and make money
  • More than two Hundred Grandmasters have participated in total
  • Almost $2,000,000 paid out to players in prizes
  • Players have come from at least 48 different countries
  • This includes Cuba, the first time any of their chess players have played in the USA since Castro came to power in Cuba
  • Every April, the “Big Apple” NYO was the greatest chess show on earth. Major national and international multimedia coverage: Television and front page newspapers across the world
  • Organizer: José Cuchi from Spain, President of “Heraldica Imports”

(No Wikipedia entry so far)

Record winner: Lev Alburt with three wins or co-wins.

Winners, sole or shared (full list):

1981 (first edition) Alburt, 1982 no edition, 1983 Alburt, Miles, Browne, IM Shirazi, IM Kudrin (five players), 1984 Dzindzichashvili, 1985 Ljubojevic, Seirawan, Christiansen, Kudrin, IM De Firmian, IM Dlugy (six players) 1986 Smejkal, Sax 1987 Seirawan, Adorjan, 1988 Ivanchuk, 1989 Fedorowicz, 1990 IM Khalifman, 1991 Goldin, 1992 Lobron, 1993 Goldin, Ehlvest, Benjamin, Alburt, Adianto, Hellers, IM Ilya Gurevich (seven players), 1994 Ehlvest, Oll, 1995 Blatny, 1996 Van Wely, 1997 Bologan, Krasenkow, 1998 Minasian, 1999 no edition, 2000 (last edition) Smirin

(Kasparov, Karpov, Korchnoi never played)


The OHRA Chess Festival was organized and sponsored by the OHRA an insurance company, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and held from 1982 to 1990. The first three years, there was a strong but small Open within a field of 24 to 32 (invited) players, a mix between top players and local Dutch participants. From 1985 on, there had been an international invitation supertournament as well, the closed Crown group, overshadowing the Open somehow. During the same years, OHRA also organised some strong invitation (super)tournaments at Brussels!

Hort (on tie-break), and Short won the inaugural Open event in 1982, Chandler (on tie-break), and Sax won in 1983, Timman above runner-up Portisch won in 1984. 

From 1985 on, the Open was now labelled as B-group. The winners were Hellers (1985), Zapata (1986), Hort (1987), Gulko, Gelfand, Lobron (1988), Azmaiparashvili, Psakhis (1989), Tukmakov, Judit Polgar (1990, that year saw all three Polgar sisters competing in the same event (!), Zsuzsa finished on 12th-15th place, Zsofia was 24th and last).

The Crown tournament (A group) winners at Amsterdam were Karpov (1985), Ljubojevic (1986), Van der Wiel (1987), Korchnoi (1988) and twice Beliavsky (1989, 1990).

At OHRA Brussels invitation tournaments, Korchnoi (ahead of Spassky) won in 1985, Kasparov (ahead of Korchnoi) won in 1986.

Survey: (in french language)

Politiken Cup, Xtracon Chess Open, Copenhagen, today in Helsingør, since 1979 (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

The Xtracon Chess Open (formerly the Politiken Cup) is an international chess tournament and the main feature event of the annual Copenhagen Chess Festival. Organized by the Copenhagen Chess Federation (KSU), it was originally set up to give Danish players the opportunity of international experience and title norms. Starting from modest means in 1979, with just 22 contestants, it has grown to become one of the world's largest and most respected open chess tournaments, with numbers of participants rising to 200 in 2003, and nowadays reaching well in excess of 400. 

The tournament has attracted many of the world's strongest grandmasters as well as promising youngsters. Former world champion Vassily Smyslov was among the winners in 1980 and 1986, while other notable winners have included Viktor Korchnoi as clear first in 1996 at the age of 65 and Nigel Short in 2006. At the Politiken Cup in 2003, Magnus Carlsen achieved his third and final IM norm. 

The early editions were held in Copenhagen and its suburbs, before moving to Helsingør. The tournament has always taken the format of a large "Open", accessible to both titled and non-titled players, except in 1983, when there was an invite-only, all-play-all Grandmaster event and a subsidiary Open tournament aimed at International Master level.

Double winning at Politiken Cup in Copenhagen (Open, swiss system) and at Sigeman & Co. in Malmö (Invitation Tournament, round robin) << the same year within one month >>, both won as clear first! A unique Scandinavian summer :))

Viktor Korchnoi (1996 at age of 65)

From 1979 to 2015, the main sponsor was the Danish daily newspaper Politiken, but new arrangements have been announced for 2016–2018. The main sponsor is now Xtracon A/S, a Danish IT company with a chess playing owner. Accordingly, the tournament has been renamed to reflect the change, although it is anticipated that the format will remain broadly the same.

The early editions were held in Copenhagen and its suburbs, before moving to Helsingør. The tournament has always taken the format of a large "Open", accessible to both titled and non-titled players, except in 1983, when there was an invite-only, all-play-all Grandmaster event and a subsidiary Open tournament aimed at International Master level.

In later years the tournament has taken place during July/August, over 10 rounds, at the Konventum, a convention centre and resort set in the scenic surroundings of Helsingør.

Qatar Masters, 2014 & 2015 (Official Site, expired) (Wikipedia, prize funds and winners)


Reykjavik Open, since 1964, starting as Invitational (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

The Reykjavik Open is an annual chess tournament that takes place in the capital city of Iceland. It was held every two years up to 2008, since then it runs annually. The first edition was held in 1964 and was won by Mikhail Tal with a score of 12.5 points out of 13. The tournament is currently played with the swiss system, while from 1964 to 1980 (biannually) and again in 1992 it was a round-robin tournament. The first Open of the series was won by Lev Alburt as clear first in 1982. (Wikipedia)


There have been several (further) strong international invitation tournaments at Reykjavik, which are not part of the traditional and numbered series.

In 1972, Reykjavik hosted the World Chess Championship between Boris Spassky (USSR) and Bobby Fischer (USA), also known as "Match of the Century".

Rilton Cup, Stockholm, since 1971/72 (Official Site) (List of winners, scroll down) (Wikipedia in swedish) (Wikipedia in polish, all winners)

(No Wikipedia english entry so far)

Stockholm 1971:

One day, an envelope arrived at the doors of the organizers of the local chess tournament, Stockholm Open. In the envelope there was money — and a note: "Make a strong tournament!"

The event's namesake Dr. Tore Rilton, who died in 1983, wanted the new tournament to become an opportunity for young Swedish talents to challenge strong masters from abroad.  The story about Rilton Cup and its donator: (ChessBase India).

In 1971/72, IM (then) Jan Timman won the inaugural event above clear second Walter Browne, the beginning of an annual series played over New Year with a rich national and international tradition. Legendary Vasily Smyslov, Viktor Korchnoi (unbeaten as =5th in 2003/2004), or Mark Taimanov participated, too. Indian Krishnan Sasikiran triumphed outright at the recent Rilton Cup 2016/17 ahead of clear second Sergey Volkov. Top-seeded Gata Kamsky finished joint third.

Stockholm's Chess Federation and the Rilton Committee are working continuously to create to create an even more attractive tournament for the world's elite and chess lovers of all levels. Every player is portrayed over the board with a professional photo during the event and covered on the official website.

U.S. Open Chess Championship, since 1900 (no break!!)

Played in swiss system since the mid-1940s, at various venues in the United States. (Official Site) (Wikipedia)

U.S. Open *1900 -

The Swiss System was used for the first time (after the first two rounds were paired by lot) to determine qualifiers for the various final sections at the U.S. Open in 1946.

Beginning with the U.S. Open in 1947, the Swiss System would be used for the entire tournament and the number of players began to grow. This helped solve the scheduling problems which had plagued previous Open tournaments, when two or three games would have to be played every day for an extended period.

World Open, since 1973

Held mainly in Philapelphia, early editions in New York, later sometimes also in Arlington or other U.S. cities. (Official Site) (List of winners) (Wikipedia)

The World Open is usually played in the first week of July, sometimes beginning at the end of June. All editions have been organized by the Continental Chess Association.

The 1986 edition had as many as 1507 participants (all sections together), arguably a world record for a chess tournament. Nick De Firmian won that World Open of 1986 outright and the first prize of $21,930 at that time supposed to be a record for a swiss system tournament.

Open serials (swiss system) - present

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 "", 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 FederationThe 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
Baku, Open
Bangkok, 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
Bratto, Open
Bunratty Masters, Open
since 1956 Canadian Open, at various venues
Capo d'Orso, Porto Mannu Open in Palau, Sardinia
Cappelle-la-Grande, Open
Chicago Open, in Wheeling, Illinois
Copenhagen, Helsingor et al. Xtracon Open (formerPolitiken-Cup”), Open
Dehli, 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, Open
since 1920/21 (1895 Summer Congress) Hastings Chess Congress, Open
Isle of Man  (IoM), Isle of Man International”, in Douglas
  (originally “Monarch Assurance” in Port Erin), Open
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)
Malta Open, in Sliema
since 1960 Mar del Plata, Open
Mérida, Yucatán (Torre Repetto Mem), Open
Metz, Open
Moscow, Open
Minsk, 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, Open
San Sebastian, Donostia, Open
since 1957 Sarajevo, Bosna, Open
Sharjah Masters, Open
Skopje, Macedonia “Karpos Open
St. Petersburg (Chigorin Mem), Open
since 1971/72 Stockholm,Rilton-Cup”, Open
Trieste, Open
since 1900 U.S. Openat various venues
Vancouver (Keres Mem), Open
Vienna Open
(mostly in bi-annual rhythms)
Vlissingen, Hogeschool Zeeland”, Open
Voronezh Master (Alekhine Mem), Open
since 1973 World Open, at various venues
Zürich Weihnachts-Open (ex Nova-Park)

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 World Chess Champion participated again in an open tournament (swiss system instead of round robin): Magnus Carlsen, winning at the Qatar Masters in Doha.

From the absolute top-level players, Viktor Korchnoi had the biggest impact, the broadest range of won Superopen Tournaments, 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), rivalled maybe by Nigel Short and Tony Miles (many of moderate strength), surprising Vlastimil Hort, and several GMs from the United States, of course. If you do consider all Open Festivals with titled players competing, then Sergei Tiviakov is a contender for achieving the most wins in different international swiss system tournaments, above pure local level.

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 Winken

Open serials (swiss system) - past

Classical chess, annually recurring individual international Open Festivals (swiss system),
past, a selection of the most important series in status and strength

Lone Pine, California, formally titled the Louis D. Statham Masters (strong international Open 1971-1981 with a semi-invitational character, less than hundred players per edition), Lugano, Switzerland (strong International Open 1976-1989, in the 1980 years extremely tough mixed in countries, gender and age of competitors and regularly with top ten players), London Lloyds Bank (strong international Open 1977-1994, many British players), New York Open (strong international Open 1981-2000, no edition in 1982 and 1999, many American players, biggest price money), Berlin Summer (large international Open 1983-1998, many German players, about 400 players in one field), as the arguably five most prominent past series of Chess Open Festivals, among various other cancelled tournaments (Aosta Valley Open in Saint Vincent, Bled Open, Liechtenstein Open, etc.) 

Special, large and strong Swiss system in classical chess:

GMA World Cup Open series 1988-1990
in Belgrad, Moscow, Palma de Mallorca and Moscow (final)

FIDE Interzonal played in a swiss system
in Manila 1990, and in Biel 1993

plus Junior, Senior, and team competitions

How to figure out a style that will work in Opens

Leko in 2006. Photo by Milan Kovacs

Peter Leko explained that the Isle of Man (IoM) Open 2016 was his first open with a classical time control since 1992, Sydney Open in Australia when he was 13 years young!

Leko who finished with 5.5/9 at IoM in 2016 said he wants to play more after his relative inactivity over the last two years (that means, he did no longer got invitations after dropping out of the top ten, top twenty in the Elo list and losing his youth bonus).

Leko also said he has to figure out a style that will work in Opens. That’s really a good idea :)

More and more top-level Grandmasters are beginning to take part in Opens and sometimes the very same players win those events, too.

Carlsen triumphed in Qatar, Nakamura won Gibraltar thrice in a row.

Now the Isle of Man tournament is going to break all records.

Compare Alina L’Ami, IoM 2016 in ChessBase:

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Open Chess Tournaments or When your meal depends on your next move..

The gap (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:

Globetrotter 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.

That's why top ten, top five players didn't often play in open tournaments (swiss system). No guaranteed prize money (except you got conditions) plus potential to lose face and a ton of rating points if they have a couple of drawn games.

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 or Nakamura (i.e. Short, Miles and others accelerate to play in international Open when they were no longer top ten, top twenty ranked).

From the absolute top-level players, Viktor Korchnoi had the biggest impact, the broadest range 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), rivalled maybe by Nigel Short and Tony Miles (including many tournaments of rather moderate strength), surprising Vlastimil Hort, and several GMs playing and surviving the harsh competition of the large Open tournaments in the United States, of course. 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, later as reigning World Champion (and for twenty years afterwards) he didn’t play any competitive chess game whatsoever.

Karpov  very rarely played in an Open tournament 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 a swiss system after becoming a Grandmaster in 1980.

Kramnik  did not play any swiss system in classical chess after the 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 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.

Vladimir Kramnik at Doha, Qatar Masters 2014 in his first Open Chess Tournament after more than 20 years! Who the heck am I playing..? A photo by Maria Emelianova that went viral

New trend?

Top players entering (and winning) in swiss system formated Open Festivals!

Magnus Carlsen emulates Boris Spassky (1971) and reaps reward at Qatar Open (2015):

Magnus Carlsen’s bold decision to play in an open tournament at Doha, Qatar Masters in 2015, the first reigning male world chess champion to do so since Boris Spassky in 1971, paid off handsomely when the 25-year-old Norwegian won first prize unbeaten on 7/9 with one of his best performances. He tied with Yu Yangyi, then crushed his Chinese rival 2-0 in the speed tie-break. (Leonard Barden)

The Qatar Masters Open took place 19th to 30th December 2015. World Champion Chess Magnus Carlsen heads a stellar field. This was the first appearance by a reigning male World Champion in a Swiss system Open at standard time controls since Boris Spassky played in Vancouver in 1971.

Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Sergey Karjakin, Li Chao, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Pentala Harikrishna, Dmitry Jakovenko Yu Yangyi, Wei Yi, etc. 18 players rated over 2700 Elo and 50 over 2600 Elo compete. Magnus Carlsen won the event after defeating last year's champion Yu Yangyi 2-0 in play-off (blitz, there was no previous rapid). They both had tied on 7/9. 

World Chess Champions winning a major International Open Festival (swiss system) in classical chess

Open Festivals of major status in classical chess (standard controls), no rapid of blitz, no events in k.o. or a combined format; no official qualification or national tournaments, no team competitions, no Junior or Senior

Reigning World Champions

Spassky: Canadian Open in Vancouver 1971 (together with Hans Ree)

Gaprindashvili: Lone Pine, Louis D. Statham Tournament 1977 in a four-way tie at the top, making this the first Statham tournament with co-champions (Balashov best on tie-break, Sahovic, Panno, and Gaprindashvili, nine rounds).

Carlsen: Qatar Masters (Open) in Doha 2015 (after blitz play-off vs. Yu Yangyi)

Non-reigning World Champions

Fischer: U.S. Open in Cleveland, Ohio 1957 (on tie-break above Arthur Bisguier)

Petrosian: Lone Pine, Louis D. Statham Tournament 1976 as clear first in a seven-round length

Smyslov: Politiken-Cup 1980 (shared) and 1986 (shared); in addition, Smyslov won also the 6th edition of the Reykjavik series (outright) in 1974, but then played as an invitation in round robin

Spassky: Lloyds Bank Masters 1984 (shared, Nunn best on tie-break in a five-way tie), U.S. Open in Hollywood, Florida 1985 (shared with Seirawan and Benjamin)

Tal: Berlin Summer 1986 (best on tie-break); Tal won also the inaugural event of the Reykjavik series in 1964, but then played as an invitation in round robin

Vierte Ausgabe 1986 in Berlin, 466 Teilnehmer ! (davon 12 GM, Pia Cramling und Computer Mephisto) 

1. Michail Tal (Sieger nach Wertung), IM Nathan Birnboim, Arild Lauvsnes (Norwegen), ua. vor Dizdar, Drasko, Hertneck, Jansa, Velikov, Lengyel. Kindermann, Gheorghiu, Gutman, Rogers, Inkiov, Pia Cramling, Klundt, Radulov, Bellon, King, Spassov, Tringov.  Mephisto-Computer  mit 5.5/9!

Letzte Runde mit GM Velikov vs. GM Tal 0-1, IM Birnboim vs. GM Lengyel 1-0.

Erstmalige Teilnahme eines sowjetischen Spielers: Top-Favorit Ex-Weltmeister Michail Tal gewann, wenn auch knapp (Levente Lengyel hätte Turniersieger werden können mit einen Sieg gegen Nathan Birnboim).

Die Sieger des vorangegangenen Jahres 1985 waren Suba (Feinwertung) und Kortschnoi. Die Serie Berliner Sommer Open startete 1983 unter dem Namen American Summer, Hort als Alleinsieger, 1984 Lobron (mit Hulak und Lein), und wurde jährlich bis und mit 1998 ausgetragen, in den '90er Jahren jedoch ohne Stars.

Anand won many rapid & blitz and events, and k.o.-format series or advanced chess, i.e. he is multiple winner of the Corsican Circuit and at Leon series. In classcial chess, he was co-winner of the Kolkata Open. Kramnik is a Troll winner, an Open in Gausdal, Norway, and shared winner at Dortmund Open, which is of minor strength compared with the traditional Open series above. Karpov won an Open in Moscow, Kasparov won a national qualification open tournament in Daugavpils, joint with Igor Ivanov. Carlsen won other Scandinavian and / or youth events as well.