The Richard Riordan Chess Festival

July 12-14th in Netanya, Israel, part of the 18th Maccabiah Games

The International Chess Festival (part of the 18th Maccabiah Games) starts on July 12, 2009 at Netanya, Israel, with the participation of chessplayers of the highest class. The festival includes plenty of events for players at all levels, professionals as well as amateurs, together with various attractions. The main event is the Super-Torunament, with 12 elite Grandmasters, who will compete between July 12-14 in Rapid Chess (15m/game + 5s per move) and then on July 16 in Blitz Chess (4m/game + 2s per move).

The Hon. Richard Riordan was Mayor of the City of Los Angeles 1993-2001. A lawyer and lifelong aficionado of Chess and friend of many leading players, Richard Riordan was moved to lend his public prestige and personal support to the Maccabiah in recognition of Maccabi’s encouragement of young Chess players in many countries, and in the warm spirit of fellowship and values shared by Israel and the United States of America.

Pavel Eljanov sq Judit Polgar sq

Pavel Eljanov and Judit Polgar

The participants:

1. GM Boris Gelfand, Israel 2733

Israeli No. 1, currently in the world’s top 10. Individual Vice-Champion of the world 2007. Led the Israel national team to a silver medal at the 2008 Chess Olympiad. Has won dozens of international competitions, the most recent of which is the ACP rapid World Cup, Odessa, May 2009.

2. GM Judit Polgar, Hungary 2693

The strongest-ever woman in the history of chess. Youngest of the three sisters from Budapest who took the chess world by storm during the 1980s. Since her childhood played almost exclusively in male events. International Grandmaster at age 15 and a regular participant at top-class events.

3. GM Pavel Eljanov, Ukraine 2693

Currently in the world’s top 50

4. GM Evgeny Najer, Russia 2669

Winner of the Super Tournament during the 17th Maccabiah Games, 2005

5. GM Emil Sutovsky, Israel 2660

World Junior Champion 1996, European Individual Champion 2001

6. GM Boris Avrukh, Israel 2647

Current Israeli Champion (2008)

7. GM Daniel Fridman, Germany 2646

Former German Champion (2008)

8. GM Ilia Smirin, Israel 2641

Former Israeli Champion (1992, 1999)

9. GM Alexander Beliavsky, Slovenia 2640

Former USSR champion (4 times)

10. GM Michael Roiz, Israel 2635

Winner of Valjevo Gorenje 2007

11. GM Maxim Rodshtein, Israel 2627

Former Israel Champion (2006)

12. GM Vitali Golod, Israel 2587

The Super Tournament takes place at Blue-Bay Hotel, Hamelachim St. 37 Netanya. Chess lovers and the general public are hereby invited to attend the games. During the rest-day of the Super-Torunament, there will be three festive simultaneous displays with GMs Gelfand, Polgar and Eljanov. Further information about the festival may be found at

We are expecting one of the greatest ever chess festivals in Israel, regarding both quantity and quality. See you at the Maccabiah Games!

Ram Soffer

Press Officer

Organizing Committee of the International Chess Festival

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