Nanjing 2010 - Preview

10/19/2010 – Nanjing 2010 is possibly the hottest round-robin tournament of the year, and is the first in history with three players rated 2800 in it. That it takes place in China is not so surprising considering they not only champion their own oriental values but even classical music. Read the preview, see the 1000 piano extravaganza, and above all, don't miss the breathtaking Yuja Wang!

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The 2010 Nanjing International tournament takes place from October 19th to October 30th in Nanjing, China. It is a ten-round double round-robin event, in which each player faces every other player twice, once with the white pieces, and once with black.

Time control: 40 moves in two hours then 20 moves in one hour followed by tha rest of the game in 15 minutes with a 30 second increment as of move 61.

Game start: rounds 1-9 at 2:30 PM local time (11:30 PM Pacific daylight / 2:30 AM New York / 8:30 AM Paris), and round 10 at 10 AM local time (7 PM Pacific daylight / 10 PM New York / 4 AM Paris)

Rest day: October 25th (after round 5).

Nanjing Super-GM 2010

Although Bilbao will hold the accolade of strongest tournament in history, albeit only six rounds long, Nanjing can make certain claims to fame and firsts, such as being the first tournament to have three players rated 2800 in it.
The list of players is truly mouthwatering as the event will present ten rounds of top-level chess, with not only the highest rated in the world, but also a fine collection of combative players all of whom are renowned for their dynamic fighting chess.

Magnus Carlsen (2826 Elo), 19, the second highest rating in history after Gary Kasparov, model, rich, ... as if this introduction were even remotely necessary. More worthy of comments is that he has also been going through a tough phase in terms of chess results recently (which we hope was at least compensated for by plain fun), and has lost a slew of rating points in the last two events. This is the last event before the next rating list, and there is absolutely no doubt he will want to set things right, and staunch the Elo bleeding. There is no question he is capable of it, but butting heads against the best of the best is a tough way to get one’s bearings.

Vesselin Topalov (2803 Elo) was notably absent from active chess this year due to his understandable focus on his world championship match against Anand, though he punctuated his final foray with a fantastic victory in Linares. The match itself was a bitter disappointment, and possibly one of the reasons for his subpar Olympiad result. This is the first time he will be playing Anand after the match, and also his chance to settle the score a bit. One thing is certain, his chess is never boring.

Viswanathan Anand (2800 Elo) has had a fantastic year in which he defended his unified title and reaffirmed his world champion status despite a disastrous opener, and has rejoined the 2800 club. He also just finished second at Bilbao where he continued to add a few Elo to his rating and may end the year on his own personal best.

Wang Yue (2732 Elo) is currently the strongest Chinese player and after slipping in rating while focusing on his university studies, had mentioned at the World University championship (which he won) his ambition to rejoin the world’s top ten. As it were, his combined results there and at the Olympiad have already secured that goal, and now is his chance to shine on his home turf.

Vugar Gashimov (2719 Elo) was slighted by his federation for the Olympiads for reasons of their own, yet has been on the rise specifically due to his superb results in the team events of the elite Spanish and Croatian leagues. He too will want to show here just how big a mistake that was.

Etienne Bacrot (2716 Elo), was the top French player for a long time, and is currently tied for the most national titles. His experience playing at the top with the best, as well as his professionalism, make him a welcome element in any event, and even in such company, he is more than capable of holding his own.

The tournament is well funded as would be expected for such a field, and the total prize fund is 250 thousand Euros split as follows:

The tournament is well funded as would be expected for such a field, and the total prize fund is 250 thousand Euros split as follows:

First place: 80,000 Euros
Second place:    55,000 Euros
Third place: 40,000 Euros
Fourth place: 30,000 Euros
Fifth place: 25,000 Euros
Sixth place: 20,000 Euros

The event is ten rounds in a double-round robin, the first round being on October 20th, and the last on October 30th. The time control is the older two hours for 40 moves, then one hour for 20, then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 second increment, and would seem to be using the Sofia rules even though it does not explicitly describe them as such:

2.5 Players cannot propose a draw only when it is a theoretical draw position and should be decided by the chief arbiter;

Another rule worth mentioning is:

2.7.2 Before and after each game, players should shake hands to give their regards. (Or by other ways to show social greeting, according to players’ own traditions.).


The special comment on traditions is clearly aimed at including the Asian bow.

China - bastion of western culture

Though the growth of western chess in China has been remarkable, even more remarkable has been the overall growth of western culture there as a whole. It isn’t that China is becoming less oriental, but rather that its sheer size allows it to embrace anything in what might be deemed a modest number for them, and still be monumental. Take classical music, with western icons such as Mozart and Beethoven. During the Mao era, praising it would have been tantamount to heresy, and even playing an instrument such as the piano was dangerous, yet look at how quickly and incredibly things can change. Right now, China not only has has the largest number of pianos in the world, but also the largest number of pianos per capita, and the count isn’t even close.


A total of 1000 players play 1000 pianos together to greet the
opening of the 28th China Harbin Summer Concert in Harbin,
capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, August 6, 2006. 


China's piano passion was behind this mindblowing concept.

Despite not only being perfectly capable of preserving their national identity and culture, it is almost ironic that the largest oriental nation is *also* becoming the largest bastion of western culture, upholding its greatest achievements where it is in stagnation and decline in the very nations that gave it birth. Sounds like an exaggeration? It is anything but.

Their new wealth, combined with a desire to see their offspring have a better childhood than they did, has led to an obsession with the piano in China. Conservative estimates suggest that 30 million Chinese children are currently learning the instrument; many reckon the figure is much higher. [Click for full article]

Even if the ‘conservative’ number is the actual figure, thirty million learning the piano, or anything (imagine chess...), is staggering. That is half the entire population of France, and would mean at least one in 2.5 children in the US. With such volume, it is no surprise they are producing prodigies in every field they embrace, leading to brilliant stars on the rise such as


23-year-old Yuja Wang plays amazing performance of Cziffra's Tritsch Tratsch Polka.

 
Yuja Wang plays Cziffra's transcription of the "Flight of the Bumblebee" at unbelievable speed!

Twenty-three year old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is widely recognized for playing that combines the spontaneity and fearless imagination of youth with the discipline and precision of a mature artist. Regularly lauded for her controlled, prodigious technique, Yuja’s command of the piano has been described as “astounding” and “superhuman,” and she has been praised for her authority over the most complex technical demands of the repertoire, the depth of her musical insight, as well as her fresh interpretations and graceful, charismatic stage presence. Visit her home page here.


Watching the games from Nanjing

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