When the list of participants in "Serbia Open 2021" began to form and when it was certain that it would be an extremely strong tournament, dilemmas began: when was the last time that a similar tournament was played in Belgrade?
The answer is not difficult and older chess fans will easily remember. In the eighties, the tournament "JAT open" was very popular in Belgrade. The sponsor of the tournament was the national airline from back then, and it was played in the beautiful halls of the Congress Center "Sava". The last edition of the tournament was played in 1989 in a very modest line-up, and the "Belgrade Trophy", established on the initiative of the Belgrade Chess Federation at the beginning of this century, can be considered the successor of this tournament.
The golden year of the "JAT Open" was 1988. At that time, the Grandmasters Association (GMA) decided that it would be one of their elite tournaments, with a prize fund of 100.000 dollars, and also paid travel and hotel expenses for all grandmasters who participated in the tournament.
That brought an extremely strong players to Belgrade and as many as 98 (the number 100 is mentioned) grandmasters. The top contender in terms of rating was then the Soviet player Mikhail Gurevich, with a rating of 2630, who was eighth in the world at the time.
The first place was shared by six players with 7 points, and according to additional criteria, the then Yugoslav grandmaster Krunoslav Hulak celebrated his victory, which was a world-worthy result. There were 258 players at the tournament.
You can see the final placement at the link: