As one of the few strong open chess tournaments during the pandemic, the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival is underway in Sitges, Spain. While the participants enjoy playing chess as never before, the tournament hall showcases a wonderful variety of face masks.
The games of the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival can be found here as part of our live games platform. Lots of lectures can be enjoyed on the tournament’s YouTube channel.
Since April of this year, we know that Oskar Stober Blazquez, the owner of the Sunway Sitges hotel and the main organizer of the tournament, likes challenges. He successfully held the first-ever online tournament with a classical time control, the Sunway Sitges International Online Chess Open, when Spain and most of Europe were in its first strict lockdown.
The biggest challenge was the aspect of cheating. There were some cases, and these players were removed from the tournament.
Stober: „I tend to look at it from the perspective of a hotel manager. The satisfaction of the participants is of higher value than chess standards. This might not sound politically correct but if I look back, people were so grateful, so delighted. They had such a good time.“
Eight months later, holding the seventh edition of the festival is no less of a challenge. While it was never certain that the tournament could be held, Stober also never really planned to cancel it.
„If everything is canceled, we have a chance to do something no one is doing,“ he said.