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Malta International Open starts at the Topaz today

Grand Master Stellan Brynell is back to mount a defence of his title as Malta International Open chess champion.

Brynell, of Sweden, claimed the Malta Open title after winning the 2011 tournament – placing first out of 125 participants.

His task will be far from easy this time as over 150 participants from 25 different countries yesterday made their first moves of the tournament which is being staged at the Topaz Hotel, Buġibba.

Among the participants are Grand Masters Heberla, Mirzoev, Matamoros, Petrov and Williams who all enjoy a higher rating than Brynell.

The list of the Maltese players taking part is topped by four of the five highest rated, active players on the local scene – national champion Colin Pace, Joe Gauci and brothers Robert and Patrick Zerafa.

Having now reached its second edition, the tournament is co-organised by Clarence Psaila and Chessorg.de headed by Juergen Wempe. It is supported by the sponsorships of the Malta Tourism Authority and Cheverny Investments Limited.

The Malta Open comes to a close on November 24.

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