The strongest-ever World Senior Championship took off in Bucharest, with the participation of 366 players from 58 countries in four different categories: +50 Open, +50 Women, +65 Open and +65 Women.
The current World Champion in the main category, the Armenian Karen Movsziszian, won’t have an easy task defending his title: he is now 13th in the starting list, which is headed by Kiril Georgiev (MKD, 2582) Darcy Lima (BRA, 2540), Zurab Sturua (GEO, 2540), Alexander Shabalov (USA, 2528). Fifth in the ranking list is the local star Mihail Marin (ROU, 2521), who not only makes his debut in a senior event but is also playing his first World Championship ever.
The +65 Open category, with 192 players, is the largest event. The field includes legendary players like Rafael Vaganian (ARM, 2514), Anatoli Vaisser (FRA, 2497), Evgeny Sveshnikov (RUS, 2485), Yuri Balashov (RUS, 2457) and Vlastimil Jansa CZE, 2436).
Elvira Berend, of Luxemburg (2349) and Zoya Schleining, of Germany (2344) top the list in the +50 Women section, while in the +65W the absolute star is the defending champion Nona Gaprindashvili: she already has six senior titles under her belt, having been the only female World Chess Champion to obtain the World Senior title as well.
The playing conditions for this event have dramatically improved, reaching a total prize fund of €46,000, further to the FIDE decision to increase the prizes by €30,000. The venue for the event is the main ballroom of RIN Grand Hotel Bucharest, a four-star hotel placed right next to the Vacaresti Natural Park, also known as “the Bucharest Delta”.
The opening ceremony was conducted by the tournament director, Elena Cristian, the director of the Senior Center of the Municipality of Bucharest, Alexandra Dobre, the president of FR Chess, Sorin Iacoban, and the Grandmaster Florin Gheorghiu. FIDE was represented by the Belgian Jan Rooze, Senior Chess Director, and the Jamaican Ian Wilkinson, Honorary Vice President; both of them are taking part in the tournament.
The honorary first move was made by the legendary Florin Gheorghiu, the first Romanian player to achieve the Grandmaster title and winner of the Junior World Champion in 1963 at Vrnjacka Banja. A participant in four interzonal tournaments, he won the Romanian Championship a total of nine times, being at the same time a university lecturer in foreign languages. Now, at 75, he is still a very active person and his passion for chess remains intact – as it does for every and each of the 366 players who gathered in Bucharest for this event.
Round 1 – Tuesday 12 November, 15:00
Round 2 – Wednesday 13 November, 15:00
Round 3 – Thursday 14 November, 15:00
Round 4 – Friday 15 November, 15:00
Round 5 – Saturday 16 November, 15:00
Round 6 – Monday 18 November, 15:00
Round 7 – Tuesday 19 November, 15:00
Round 8 – Wednesday 20 November, 15:00
Round 9 – Thursday 21 November, 15:00
Round 10 – Friday 22 November, 15:00
Round 11 – Saturday 23 November, 14:00