The European Individual Chess Championship opened in Jerusalem on Tuesday, with over 250 players from 33 countries participating, among them 117 grandmasters.
The top-ranking players participating are Czech David Navara and Nikita Vitiugov of Russia. World champion Magnus Carlsen and Boris Gelfand, the top Israeli player, are not competing; top-tier players generally compete among themselves, fearing a chance loss could cost them in the rankings.
Some 100 Israeli players are competing, led by past and present national team members Maxim Rodshtein, Ilya Smirin, Tamir Nabaty and Emil Sutovsky.
The largest visiting delegation is from Russia and includes Alexander Motylev, the winner of last year’s championship in Armenia.
The opening ceremony on Monday was attended by Mayor Nir Barkat, Culture Minister Limor Livnat, and the president of the Israel Chess Federation, former Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or. The tournament runs through March 8.