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Chess grandmaster and multiple-time world champion Garry Kasparov and Chair of the Romanian Senate Anca Dragu opened on Friday the Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2021 tournament, part of the Grand Chess Tour.

Kasparov and Dragu made the first symbolic move of the competition in Bucharest, where 10 of the best chess players of the moment will compete alongside Romanians Constantin Lupulescu and Bogdan Deac.

Kasparov told a news conference that the Chess Classic Romania tournament will be held annually and will thus put Bucharest on the map of the world chess.

He said he is extremely happy to be in Bucharest adding that this is a good way to start the new chess. I never played in Romania when I was a professional player, he said, adding that looking around he would have liked to.

He called the new event an extraordinary event that sets new standards for professional chess, saying that he is grateful to his friends who have worked hard to organise the first competition of the Grand Chess Tour under the best circumstances.

added that the event will put Bucharest and Romania voicing regrets over not being able to bring all the best players in Bucharest because the pandemic turned plans upside down and some participants were lost to travel restrictions. But these restrictions, added Kasparov, will give Romanian players the chance to play against the best in the world.

Romanian Senate Chair Anca Dragu said that the tournament is a unique opportunity for Romania to host a stage of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour.

"The Grand Chess Tour is a unique opportunity for Romania to host a stage of the world tour founded by Garry Kasparov. Chess is a unique opportunity to harmoniously develop the minds of our children, to teach them the importance of patience," she said.

The Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2021 competition has a prize pool of 325,000 US dollars. It unfolds June 5-14 at the Sheraton Hotel in Bucharest without public access.

The ten players to run in the competition are:

Fabiano Caruana (USA) - the world's second best player and a challenger to reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, who became a grandmaster at the age of 14;

Levon Aronian (Armenia) - a grandmaster at 18, the fifth in the world, won the 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz tournament in Bucharest;

Anish Giri (Netherlands) - a grandmaster at 14, he has been in the world's top 10 for several years;

Alexander Grischuk (Russia) - currently seventh in the FIDE rankings, is a triple world blitz champion and multiple-time medallist at the Chess Olympiads;

Wesley So (USA) - world's number nine from the autumn of 2019 until February 2021, he managed to defeat in three finals Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlson;

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) - double world junior champion, a 2103 world rapid chess champion, individual gold medallist at the 2012 Istanbul Olympiads;

Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) - at the age of 12 he won the European Youth Chess Championship under 18. In 2003 he managed to defeat three world champions Kasparov, Anand and Ponomariov, and in 2019 he won the World Chess Cup final;

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) - world number 14, a fast chess European champion, and a blitz chess world vice-champion, as well as three times champion of France;

Constantin Lupulescu (Romania) - the best ranking Romanian chess player, represented Romania at seven Olympiads and eight European championships. In 2016, at the Baku Olympiads, he drew world champion Magnus Carlsen, helping his team to beat Norway;

Bogdan Deac (Romania) - Romania's second best player, became a chess grandmaster before turning 15. He made his debut in the senior national team at the age of 14. At the 2016 Baku Olympiads, he scored seven points out of 10 rounds played. AGERPRES (RO - author: Marius Tone, editor: Mihai Tenea; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Cristina Zaharia)

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