Freestyle tournament for $20,000

5/9/2005 – It's a new kind of chess tournament, with a substantial prize fund. $20,000 in all, $10,000 for the winner. Top grandmaster conditions. But with a difference. In the PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the Playchess.com server anyone can play. Even you. And anything goes. Anything! (In fact computer assistance is encouraged). Here are the details.

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It's a new kind of chess tournament, with a substantial prize fund. $20,000 in all, $10,000 for the winner. Top grandmaster conditions. But with a difference. In the PAL/CSS Freestyle Chess Tournament on the Playchess.com server anyone can play. Even you. And anything goes. Anything! Here are the details.

PAL/CSS Freestyle Tournament

The point of the PAL/CSS Freestyle tournament is that the participants are permitted to use external help. They are allowed to use computers, books, club mates, grandmasters. Get help from Vishy Anand or Fritz, from Karpov or Deep Shredder. Play alone or in a team. The use of computers is not just allowed, it is encouraged. Almost mandatory...

Qualifier

This is how it works: if you are not a GM or IM then you start with a qualification tournament. This will be held on the weekend of May 28-29 and will be played over five rounds. The time controls are 25 minutes for all the moves plus a 10 second increment per move, the event is a classical Swiss. If there are a very large number of entries two or more qualifiers will be staged. Around ten teams (depending on the number of entries) will qualify for the semifinals.

Note that all games are played over the Internet. On the days allocated to you by the organisers you need to log onto the Playchess.com server and start playing. For once we can switch off our sophisticated monitoring software that catches people using computer assistance. In the Freestyle tournament we assume everybody will be working with help from a chess engine.


Computer-assisted games between Kramnik and Anand in Leon 2002


The players are allowed to use databases, chess engines, anything they like

Semi-finals

The semi-finals begin on the weekend starting June 4th, and are played at the rate of 60 minutes for the game plus 15 seconds increment per move. This is the stage were GMs and IMs join in, together with a few professional high-powered computer teams (e.g. Hydra). They are all seeded to the semi-finals, which consist of seven rounds according to the Swiss system. Once again, depending on the number of entries, there may be more than one tournament held in parallel.


Vishy Anand experimenting with computer-assisted chess (here using a Pocket PC)

Finals

In the end there will be four finalists who take part in four-game matches, with the winners playing for the top prizes. The prize fund, donated by the PAL Group in Abu Dhabi (UAE), will be divided as follows:

1st prize: US $10,000
2nd prize: US $5,000
3rd prize: US $3,000

There are special prizes for amateur teams: US $1000, $600 and $400 for the three best non-commercial entries. In addition there will be special material prizes donated by ChessBase Ltd.

How to register

All details on the tournament will be made available on the official tournament web site given below. You can also register your entry there. The starting fee is €25 per team. GMs and IMs do not need to pay a starting fee or take part in the qualifiers. They will be seeded to the semi-finals.

Note that you must have an account to play on the chess server Playchess.com, in order to participate in the Freestyle tournament. To register you need to provide your name and a contact address. GMs and IMs need to provide proof of their identity before the tournament starts. A title account on Playchess (with a King or Queen symbol) is sufficient, since it has been validated by ChessBase. Otherwise you will be asked to fax a copy of your passport or ID card to the organisers.

After registering you will receive full scheduling information by email, together with a password for access to a special forum, where participants can discuss the rules and the progress of the tournament with the organisers and other participants.

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