Thursday 6 December 2018

It's starting not to feel like Christmas

I understand that Christmas isn't a huge deal everywhere on the planet, but I still feel surprised when big chess events begin, or run across December the 25th. Over the years I have seen events in the Middle East, Singapore and even Spain which ask players to give up Christmas Day to play chess.
Added to that list is the 2018 World Rapid and Blitz Championship in St Petersburg, Russia. The event has been moved from Saudi Arabia to Russia, due to the inability to guarantee visa's for all players (eg players from Israel). However the dates remain the same, meaning Christmas Day is the scheduled arrival day for players wishing to take part.
The actual games (Rapid first) start on the 26th, and run through to the 30th of December. While the event isn't quite as open as it looks (you need to be rated above 2500 to enter), there is an exception for national champions, regardless of rating. However winter in Russia may not be that appealing, especially for us in the southern hemisphere, although it might be slightly more bearable than the December heat in Saudi Arabia.

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