Before every great competition there is a great opening ceremony.
For chess players, a great opening ceremony is one that is efficient. This criterion was fully satisfied at the Villa Marina, the venue of the opening ceremony tonight, and the games tomorrow.
The Master of Ceremonies Alex Brindley, opened the proceedings by introducing Mr. Alan Ormsby, the Chief Organiser of the FIDE Grand Swiss.
Mr. Ormsby welcomed the players, and everybody who made the event possible. A notable fact was mentioned when he thanked the Isle of Man Immigration Service, which issued 120 visas to make it possible for players and everybody else who needed it to come to the island. Mr. Ormsby spoke about the Isle of Man open tournament, which ran from 2014 to 2018 and the first Grand Swiss in 2019. He said that Isle of Man is now an affiliate member of FIDE, and as such has a right to field a team at the upcoming chess Olympiad in Budapest in 2024, a goal that has been achieved after 30 years of hard work. He wished the best of luck to the two local players, Li Wu and Dietmar Kolbus who, ranked 113 and 114 out of 114 participants, will represent the Isle of Man. He concluded with special gratitude for the Scheinberg family, for their continuous support and generous help in all the years of the event.
Next to speak was Mr. Alfred Cannan, Chief Minister in government of the Isle of Man.
In his brief speech Mr. Cannan welcomed the participants and spoke of the importance chess has in these turbulent modern times. He expressed his desire that chess can serve as agent of peace. He also thanked the Scheinberg family for making this event possible as well as the generous support of other chess events.
FIDE’s CEO Mr. Emil Sutovsky started by saying that his last professional tournament was at the Isle of Man in 2018. He was happy to see again the players he met back then, but also new faces and promising youngsters. He noted the growth of the event and thanked the Scheinberg family for their incessant support and for making it all possible. “We work for you,” he concluded.
Next on stage was Chief Arbiter Alex Holowczak, who invited top seeds Fabiano Caruana and Aleksandra Goryachkina to choose one from the two bags that contained a king inside. Coincidentally, they both picked the bag that contained the black king, thus both starting their round one games with the black pieces. This also meant that all odd numbers will have black pieces in round one, with the even numbers having the white pieces.