International invitation top tournament series in Spain

Alicante Beliavsky's clean win with a perfect score of 13/13

Barcelona, independent world-class tournaments Big report
Barcelona, Magistral Ciutat, today a team event, ongoing


Bilbao, previously called Grand Slam Chess Final

Costa Brava, played in Sant Feliu de Guixols et al.

Costa del Sol, played in Torremolinos, Malaga et al. An easy-to-read survey

Dos Hermanas Nine out of the top ten ranked player in a round robin


Lanzarote, Arrecife de Lanzarote

Las Palmas Extended version

León, various formats, today a rapid knock-out, ongoing

Linares / Linares - Morelia (Mex)

Madrid, Magistral The forgotten superseries 
Madrid, Prequels; and USSR vs. Rest of the World (Rapid)

Montilla-Moriles An easy-to-read survey

Olot An easy-to-read survey


Palma de Mallorca Extended version

Pamplona Facts & Figures


San Sebastián


Terrassa An easy-to-read survey

Zafra et al., Ruy Lopez Festival named after 16th-century Spanish bishop Ruy López de Segura, offering a Magistral (international invitation tournament) and an Open where the players had to play the Ruy Lopez Opening, sometimes also called the Spanish Opening or the Spanish Game.

Important distinction:
Barcelona (ongoing International Chess Open de Sants, Hostafrancs i La Bordeta), Las Palmas, Palma de Mallorca, San Sebastián / Donostia, as well as other spanish cities (eg. Malaga, Sevilla), are also venues of strong Open tournament series as well as Rapid (eg. Villarrobledo, Oviedo) and / or exhibition events (especially León, pioneering Advanced chess).

Cities hosting one singular classical invitation tournament (eg. Ubeda) and / or Open alone, or organised a match, are not part of this survey of invitation *serials*

For the record:

Sevilla hosted the World Chess Championship in 1987 between Kasparov and Karpov (12-12). Kasparov kept the title without any further play-off. (Chessgames) (Wikipedia)$$.htm (Mark Weeks overview) (Chess with videos)

Cazorla, Spain, hosted the World Chess Council WCC (following the PCA, following the GMA; these organisations were in concurrence to the FIDE during the time of the schism) World Chess Championship Candidates Final Match in 1998 between Kramnik and Shirov to determine the right to challenge Kasparov. Despite being the underdog, Shirov won with 5.5-3.5 (two wins, no loss!).

However, things went wrong for the nominated Challenger Shirov, instead, it was Kramnik who got a shot for the title, dethroning reigning Champion Kasparov: (Chessgames) (Wikipedia) 

Between 1993 and 2006, the title was split during the schism, there always have been two rivaling international chess bodies (FIDE and GMA / PCA / WCC, then FIDE and Braingames / Einstein) and both arranged World Chess Championships and crowned World Chess Champions..

ALICANTE 1973 – 1981 (without 1976)

Torneo Internacional Ciudad de Alicante, Memorial Gimeno Brotons.
Moderate strong invitation tournaments, most famously for Beliavsky's clean win with a perfect score in 1978 at an amazing 13/13!!

BARCELONA, world-class tournaments

1929 (World Exhibition) Capablanca
1946 (25th Anniversary Club Ajedrez Barcelona) Najdorf
1989 (GMA World Cup) Kasparov, Ljubojevic

Smyslov, Tal, Spassky, and Korchnoi played at Barcelona, too.

BARCELONA, Ciutat Magistral (former Casino Masters), starting in 1996, international series since 2004

Prominent winners were Ivanchuk (2005), Nakamura (2007), Seirawan (2011), or Morozevich (2015)

In 2009, then IM Daniel Alsina Leal surpassed nine grandmasters to win outright!

BARCELONA, Open de Sants, Hostafrancs i La Bordeta, annually since 1999

Barcelona's most emblematic and largest chess tournament.

Exclusive Year-by-Year History. Among the winners: Adhiban, Bartel, Fier, Hillarp Persson, Moskalenko, Nisipeanu, Rodshtein, Sadler, Qun Ma

COSTA DEL SOL series (1961 – 1987)

Torremolinos and Malaga were the main venues. 27 annual editions.

Gligoric, Pomar, Szabo, O’Kelly, Ivkov, Benko, Torre, R. Byrne, Christiansen, Seirawan, Tal among the tournament winners.

DOS HERMANAS 1989 – 2008 (unregular)

The Spanish City in the south of Sevilla in Andalusia, hosted some really big tournaments in the shadow of Linares; plus Internet activities.

Watch out 1996 (Kasparov fails) and 1999 (Anand last)

LAS PALMAS 1972 – 1981, 1982 Interzonal, 1987, 1991 – 1994, and 1996 Torneo Mundial de Ajedrez Gran Canaria

Supertournament series (plus many Open).

Larsen as well as the World Champions Tal, Smyslov, Kramnik, and Anand played, but they failed to win at Las Palmas international invitation tournament!

MADRID, earlier tournaments

1936 Koltanowski
1943 Keres
1945 Alekhine
1951 Prins, starting at 10/10!
1957 Darga
1959 Pérez, Pomar
1960 Zonal - Gligoric, Pomar, Portisch (after play-off)
1961 Milić, Robatsch
1973 Karpov

MADRID, Rest of the World vs. Soviet Union (Rapid) 1988

One of the first big Rapid events (25 minutes per game) in chess history. Scheveningen system, eight players, each team.

Korchnoi (best individual performance), Kasparov, and M. Gurevich at 5.5/8

Magistral de MADRID 1992 – 1998

Supertournament series.

1992 Karpov
1993 Kramnik (on tie-break)
1994 Judit Polgar, at 18
1995 Korchnoi, at 64
1996 Topalov (on tie-break)
1997 Topalov (Armageddon vs. Shirov)
1998 Anand


The Andalusian region hosted a cozy little invitation tournament series.

Karpov won in 1976, Spassky in 1978 the last edition, Timman in 1971 the first tournament. Radulov is record twice winner.

OLOT 1965 – 1975 (without 1966)

Olot lies at the northeast of Spain near the French border. The City hosted a cozy little invitation tournament series.

Arturo Pomar played ten times; experienced O'Kelly and young Csom won twice.

PALMA DE MALLORCA 1965 – 1972 including 1970 Interzonal

Supertournament series (plus many Open).

All post-war World Chess Champions (then) did participate at Palma de Mallorca: Botvinnik, Smyslov, Petrosian, Spassky failed to win at Palma de Mallorca!

PAMPLONA 1990 – 2009 (no GM tournament in 2000)

City of the north of Spain which has hosted Grandmaster Tournaments (Magistral), mostly combined with Opens.

Pamplona 1990 was where Zsuzsa Polgar earned her final male GM norm to obtain the title!

TERRASSA 1989 – 1992 plus Prequel in 1960

Closed international invitation tournament in a cozy mix with many Spain players.

Among the winners O'Kelly in 1960 with a perfect score (a clean 7/7), thereafter Oll, Ehlvest, Adams, and Topalov.

Zafra et al., RUY LOPEZ Festival 2007 – 2010

Magistral, plus an Open, rapid, youth and amateur tournaments, lectures.

Zafra is the hometown of Ruy López de Segura, 16th-century Spanish Bishop.
The Ruy Lopez Chess Opening is named after him.

@ RUY LOPEZ Opening, and the first international tournament

In 1574–75, Ruy López played in the first known international master-level tournament in chess (it stayed a singular event), held at the Royal Court of Spain in El Escorial, close to Madrid.


If a pdf will be updated, then it changes its URL, that's why these tournament series above should be better linked under the general address (Spain invitationals) or directly downloaded as pdf.

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