Malaga's 2003 International Chess Open. / / SUR

Current chess boom revives Malaga's International Open

Over 140 players will face off at the city's sports centre a decade after the last event was held

FERNANDO TORRES

The resurgence of chess as a phenomenon of the masses has come to stay. The combination of Netflix's hit series The Queen's Gambit and some changes in habits caused by the pandemic has kept this sport thriving like never before.

This current boom has led to the revival of the extinct Malaga International Chess Open, which will celebrate its 15th edition next weekend.

This open tournament achieved a certain pedigree on the European scene. It was founded in 1998 and had its last edition in 2011, killed off by the economic crisis and the loss of institutional funding.

Now, thanks to a push by the Malaga delegation of the Andalusian Chess Federation, Malaga city hall and the provincial authority, the Open comes with more momentum than ever.

Up to 141 chess players will face off in a total of seven rounds. There will also be 25 International Masters and Grandmasters present, coming from countries like Argentina or Armenia, as well as Spaniards from Madrid, Galicia, the Canary Islands, Cordoba or Cadiz. The expectation created by the competition's return has generated a waiting list of over 60 candidates.

The seven rounds of the Open mean that even though professionals are allowed to participate, the results won't count towards the score of those who aspire to reach a ranking- in order to affect ratings, the tournament would need to have nine rounds.