Around 150 chess players from various parts of the globe will be participating in the third Malta International Chess Open, hosted at the Canifor Hotel in Buġibba between November 17 and 23.

Backed by the sponsorship of the Malta Tourism Authority and Cheverny Investments Ltd, the event has over 180 players registered as 30 local players are set to test their skills against those of their international peers.

Growing on a yearly basis from 129 players in its first edition, the tournament has attracted players from 30 countries this year, including a big number from the UK and Germany, but also some others from distant countries such us Canada, USA, Ecuador, Faroe Islands, India and Mongolia.

Of the Maltese contingent, the highest-rated player is newly-crowned national champion Joseph Gauci. He will be closely followed by national team members Robert and Patrick Zerafa.

Other notable players include former Malta no.1 Peter Sammut Briffa, Clarence Psaila (the co-organiser along with Chessorg) and Duncan Vella. They are all among the top 10 highest FIDE-rated players on the island.

The favourite for the Malta Open title is Grand Master Bartolomej Heberla.

The Pole tops the rating charts with his FIDE rating of 2,556 and incidentally is also the reigning Malta Open champion.

However, Heberla will have to contend with over 20 other titled players throughout the nine-round, Swiss-system tournament if he is to retain the honour.

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