Sitges, named world headquarters of national women's chess team
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has chosen Sitges to host the World Women’s Team Championship 2021 (WWTC), from September 26th to October 3rd. During this time, the best chess players from the national teams of Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, as well as Spain as the host team, and a US team, will meet at the Casino Prado Suburense. The Councilman for Tourism, Luis Miguel Garcia, welcomed the FIDE's choice. He believes that "it is a designation that puts Sitges back on the global map and demonstrates, once again, that big events, held safely and in compliance with all health measures, are possible". Meanwhile, the Councilman for Sports, Jaume Monasterio, stressed "Sitges' commitment to sports, and specifically to the Villa de Sitges International Chess Open, with a long history of almost 50 years and organized by the chess section of the Casino Prado Suburense, which will also be the host of this important competition". Jaume Monasterio added that "Sitges is also committed to promoting female talent, with other competitions such as the Mediterranean Ladies Open Golf".
The decision was announced at the Federation's headquarters in Lausanne (Switzerland), which considered the town because it was the only one in Europe that decided to maintain one of the major international high-level open events on the annual calendar, the Sunway International Chess Open, in spite of the pandemic. In April, during a complex sanitary moment, Sitges had already focused the world's attention on this sport by receiving the support of most of the former world chess champions for having promoted the first online tournament in history with a classical time control. The event was held following strict security measures which, after 10 days of competition, concluded without any reported Covid-19 cases.
Chess has been the fastest growing sport during the lockdown and the subsequent months, due to how easy it is to play online and the acclaimed Netflix series, 'The Queen's Gambit', starring a female chess player, which has helped to bring the sport closer to the general public.
The new FIDE president, the former Russian vice-premier Arkady Dvorkovich, is determined to promote women's chess in his new mandate. In this regard, "the choice of a western cosmopolitan, open-minded and liberal minded person is not accidental", according to the Federation. The previous editions were held in former Soviet countries, China and Turkey, with a long tradition in this sport, but "possibly at a lower level in terms of gender equality".
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