Czech Open 2006 chess festival to start on Thursday


The east Bohemian town of Pardubice will host a two-week festival of chess, bridge and board games, starting on Thursday. Organisers say it is the biggest European event of its kind, as they are expecting some several thousand participants from all over the world to take part in tournaments and contests in different games.

The town of Pardubice, probably best known for its Velka pardubicka cross-country steeplechase, is getting ready to welcome a wholly different kind of sporting event. Rather than physical fitness, the participants will exercise their brains in a multitude of disciplines, from chess to backgammon to scrabble. Petr Pisk is one of the organisers.

"This is the 17th year of our international festival of chess, bridge and games, Czech Open 2006. We are expecting more than 4,000 people from all over the world. We started with chess but the festival has increased to include bridge and other games. For the main tournament in chess, more than 1,800 people from 50 countries from all over the world have registered so far."

Czech President Vaclav Klaus is expected to play a game of chess in Pardubice, as is the legendary Czech ice hockey goal-keeper Dominik Hasek. But, as Petr Pisk says, there will be more famous names at the festival.

"In the chess section, there will be the best player in the Czech Republic, Mr David Navara who is number 14 in the world ranking. Also grandmaster Sergej Movsesjan will play there. His nationality is Slovak but he lives in Pardubice. He is the best player in Slovakia. There will be also other interesting people. For example, we have a competition in sudoku where the world champion Jana Tylova will take part, our well-known folk singer Jaromir Nohavica will play a tournament in scrabble and many other interesting people will participate in this festival."

If you can't make it to Pardubice in the next couple of weeks for the international festival of chess, bridge and games, you can still watch selected chess games and bridge competitions online at the festival's website .