Shanghai will host the first stage in September, coinciding with the World Expo and the presence of Bilbao in Shanghai.
The “Atrio de Alhóndiga Bilbao” one of Bilbao's most prestigious venues will host the Final, which will be held in October.
The players who will participate in Shanghai are: Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Alexei Shirov and Wang Hao. The top two qualified in Shanghai will play along with Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand in Bilbao.
The Grand Slam Final Chess Masters will be held one more year in Bilbao, with a great novelty: this year a previous stage will be played in Shanghai. The Grand Slam Chess Association is yet again to entrust the hosting of this event to Bilbao (Spain) due to the great success of the 2008 and 2009 edition. This year, the organizers have built a more spectacular formula, a first stage in Shanghai from September 3rd to September 8th. The Final will be held in Bilbao, from October 9th to October 15th.
The Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna, announces the Grand Slam with Vishy Anand (left)
The important presence of Bilbao in the Expo Shanghai, with an exhibition space that has received more than 500,000 visitors, will be supported with the organization of this world famous chess event. The Major of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna, has presided the presentation act of the Final, with the presence of the World Champion Viswanathan Anand. Andoni Madariaga, coordinator of the Final and Juan Carlos Fernández, the Technical Director, and some representatives of the sponsors and institutions have attended the Presentation.
Anand plays a garden chess game against the Mayor in the Town Hall
The Masters Final is played exclusively by the winning players of the tournaments that, along with Bilbao, make up the Grand Slam Chess Association and are among the best tournaments in the world: Corus Wijk aan Zee, Holland, Ciudad de Linares, Spain, the Pearl Spring Tournament of Nanjing, China, and the Kings Tournament of Bazna, Romania, this year incorporated into the Grand Slam as substitute of MTel Masters, Sofia, Bulgaria, that this year has not been played since Sofia hosted the World Championship. Along with these winners, others players have been invited for their sports merits.
The four players who will participate in the first stage in Shanghai are: Wang Hao, as best Chinese player (20th ranked); Alexei Shírov, as best Spanish player (9th ranked); Levon Aronian, as winner of the Final Chess Masters 2009 (5th ranked); and Vladimir Kramnik, as fourth ranked in the world ranking.
The top two qualified in Shanghai will play in Bilbao along with Magnus Carlsen, winner of the tournaments of Wijk aan Zee, Nankín and Bazna, and current number one of the wold; and Viswanathan Anand, current World Champion (3rd ranked). Among the best players of the world, only Veselin Topalov (winner of Linares and number two of the world) will miss the Final, due to personal reasons.
Anand gives a simultaneous exhibition after the announcement in Bilbao
The “Atrio de Alhóndiga Bilbao”, one of Bilbao's most prestigious venues, will host the Final. The organisers have confirmed that all those aspects that contributed to the excellent results achieved in 2008 and 2009 are all to be expected again this year as well as the great turn-out that was witnessed both locally and internationally. A varied programme of extra events, the “expert’s spot” commentary and analysis area for all audiences to follow, big screens, live internet transmission, and media representatives from every continent are all also to be expected at the event. And, most importantly, the hosting of an elite chess event outside, amongst the greater public.
The 3rd Masters Final supports interesting and novel rules in order to guarantee a battle and spectacle in each game. The so called “Sofia Rule” which states that draw offers will only be allowed by the arbiter, will be applied. The scoring system will be once again similar to football scoring system: Players will get three points for winning a match, one point for drawing and zero points for losing. This scoring system was first applied in an elite chess tournament during the last Bilbao Final Masters 2008, and is known as the “Bilbao Rule”.