The 28th World Senior Chess Championship, which is being held from November 17th until November 29th 2018, is currently in full swing. The championship is divided into 4 categories: Open 50+, Open 65+, Women 50+ and Women 65+. 330 participants come from 57 different countries and all continents. Among these players are 20 Grandmasters and 10 women Grandmasters. The biggest number of participants, 180 of them, play in the category Open 65+. GM Evgeny Sveshnikov from Russia is defending his title from last year. This year his competition is quite strong. GM Jansa Vlastimil from Czech Republic is currently in the lead with all points. The strengths in category Open 50+ are currently more equally distributed. 5 players have collected 5 points so far (GM Danielsen, GM Sturua, GM Arakhamia – Grant, GM Bagaturov and GM Movsziszian).
It looks like that the fight for the title will be interesting until the last round. In Women 50+ category WGM Strutinskaia is currently in the lead with 5 points. In category Women 65+ WGM Valentina Kozlovskaya showed some great stability so far and is surprisingly in the lead with 5 and half points. The legendary Nona Gaprindashvili is also playing in this category but has so far faced some setbacks. However the organizers are very pleased that such a legend decided to take part in the tournament, despite her significant hip problems. Nona Gaprindashvili said that she decided to play, because of Bled’s unique charm. And it is true; Bled is an ideal place to play chess. The first big tournament in Bled was organized already in 1931. Later on many important players took part in different tournaments including Robert James Fisher and Garry Kasparov.
During the free day of the World Senior Chess Championship another rapid tournament in memory of the legendary Slovenian grandmaster Albin Planinc was organized by the European Chess Academy and Slovenian Chess Federation. The prize fund of 3800€ attracted in total 155 players from 32 countries. Among them were 12 grandmasters and 2 women grandmasters. After 9 rounds GM Mladen Palac from Croatia won the tournament and he was followed by the best senior player GM Rashkovsky Nukhim and the best Slovenian player GM Marko Tratar. GM Lagarde Maxime from France the first seed pf the tournament finished 4th. All of them finished with 7 and half points. The best woman was WGM Berend Elvira from Luxembourg.
Besides the main tournament and the memorial of Albin Planinc many other events are being organized as well: 2 blitz tournaments, special lectures by GM Adrian Mikhalchisin, literature evenings in Russian and English languages, trips all over Slovenia and for the first time in history during the chess tournament also Escape room.
All of the events naturally would not have been possible without the help of the sponsors. The organizers would especially like to thank Chess Base for all the support. Special thanks also go to the main supporter of the European Chess Academy Evgeny Ushakov.