On the bucket list: Wijk aan Zee

by ChessBase
1/11/2018 – Starting tomorrow, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and their colleagues will be making a return trip to the Dutch hamlet of Wijk aan Zee. ChessBase will have daily round-up live shows, following each round starting with GM Yannick Pelletier for Round 1 which kicks off on Saturday. But earlier this week Anish Giri, visited the city of Hilversum to promote the "chess on tour" initiative, which will see the fifth round of the Masters group, held on Wednesday, January 17th, at the museum "Beeld en Geluid" ("Image and sound") | Photo: Tata Steel Chess

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Waiting for Wijk

A quote attributed to Bent Larsen captures the significance and tradition of what's now known as the Tata Steel Chess Tournament: "Normal people should see Naples before they die, but the great chess masters have to win the Wijk aan Zee tournament first of all".

Earlier this week fans of Anish Giri had a chance to get up close and personal in Hilversum as he and tournament evangelist IM Hans Böhm made an appearance, and also played some casual games, at an event at the "Foodhall Mout" building on the town's main square. After the chess session, Giri and Böhm signed autographs and then Anish went home to continue the preparations for the super-tournament that will opens tomorrow in Wijk aan Zee. The first round will be played on Saturday in both in the Masters and Challengers groups.

Cita de Bent Larsen

Larsen himself played five times, winning twice | Photo: Tata Steel Chess

The who, when, where

The tournament has taken over the nickname "the Wimbledon of chess" since the demise of the Linares tournament, which was last held in 2010. With 13 rounds, the Tata Steel Chess is one of the largest and toughest in the world and routinely attracts the cream of international chess elite. This year, the 80th edition is extra strong!

World Champion Magnus Carlsen and former world champions Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, and former Women's World Champion Hou Yifan, will all participate this year. Both Carlsen and Anand have won the tournament five times. Other familiar faces from the world's elite include: Giri, Wesley So (the defending champion), Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin.


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The schedule for the 80th Tata Steel Chess runs from January 12th to 28th, but not all rounds will be held in Wijk aan Zee; the recent tradition of holding two rounds of the Masters group "on tour" in larger Dutch cities continues, with this year's lucky venues being the "Beeld en Geluid" building in Hilversum (which is "the" media city in the Netherlands) on January 17th and the Academiegebouw building ("Academy Building") of the University of Groningen on January 24th.

All rounds, including those of Hilversum and Groningen, are be freely accessible to the public, and the large crowds which regularly gather to watch the grandmasters play is one of the hallmarks of this storied tournament.

Debuts in Wijk aan Zee 2018

As we reported in December, Maxim Matlakov will be making his Wijk aan Zee debut. The 26-year-old is number 23 in the world ranking. The biggest success of his career so far has been his triumph in the 2017 European Individual Championship in Minsk. The last participant to be announced for the Challenger's group is Matlakov's compatriot Dmitry Gordievsky (21 years old), who is not yet well known in the West. He achieved the Grandmaster title just a few months ago and was the winner of the prestigious Moscow Open ahead of players like Gata Kamsky, Denis Khismatullin and Alexander Grachev.

The winner of the Challengers group qualifies to the Masters in 2019. Gawain Jones tied with Markus Ragger on 9 / 13 in the 2018 Challengers tournament, but narrowly claimed the spot on tiebreak score. Jones just celebrated his 30th birthday and his debut in the Masters group will be his toughest challenge to-date.

Gawain has been married to WIM Sue Maroroa since 2012

Complete Masters and Challengers groups

Name FED Elo World rank
Magnus Carlsen  Norway 2834 1
Fabiano Caruana USA 2811 2
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 2804 3
Wesley So USA 2792 6
Vladimir Kramnik Russia 2787 7
Peter Svidler Russia 2768 10
Viswanathan Anand India 2767 11
Sergey Karjakin Russia 2753 14
Anish Giri Netherlands 2752 15
Wei Yi China 2743 22
Maxim Matlakov Russia 2718 32
Hou Yifan China 2680 64
Adhiban Baskaran India 2655 96
Gawain Jones England 2640 127
Name FED Elo Born
Vidit Gujrathi     India 2718 1994
Bassem Amin Egypt 2693 1988
Michal Krasenkow Poland 2671 1963
Anton Korobov Ukraine 2652 1985
Matthias Blübaum Germany 2640 1997
Erwin l´Ami Netherlands 2634 1985
Jeffery Xiong USA 2634 2000
Jorden van Foreest Netherlands 2629 1999
Dmitry Gordievsky Russia 2622 1996
Benjamin Bok Netherlands 2607 1995
Aryan Tari Norway 2599 1999
Harika Dronavalli India 2497 1991
Olga Girya Russia 2489 1991
Lucas van Foreest Netherlands 2481 2001

Ratings as of January 1, 2018 | Source: FIDE


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Daily live round-up shows

We'll be re-capping each day's action with a live webcast at 21:00 CET (3pm EST) from a variety of familiar ChessBase contributors:

13. Jan Round 1 Yannick Pelletier
14. Jan Round 2 Daniel King
15. Jan Round 3 Simon Williams
16. Jan Round 4 Daniel King
17. Jan Round 5 Simon Williams
18. Jan Rest day  
19. Jan Round 6 Simon Williams
20. Jan Round 7 Daniel King
21. Jan Round 8 Yannick Pelletier
22. Jan Rest day 2  
23. Jan Round 9 Lawrence Trent
24. Jan Round 10 Yannick Pelletier
25. Jan Rest day 3  
26. Jan Round 11 Daniel King
27. Jan Round 12 Lawrence Trent
28. Jan Round 13 Daniel King
ChessBase authors

GM Daniel King has already recorded a preview of the tournament for ChessBase Videos:

You'll find all round-up shows in a special section


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Tata Steel Chess en Wijk aan Zee 2018

All the broadcasts on Playchess.com at a glance (guide)

Links




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Kenster Kenster 1/12/2018 02:33
@Petrarlsen - Yeah, definitely a tournament to look forward to! Will be interesting to see what happens.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/11/2018 03:38
I didn't realize this until now, but the line-up of this tournament is even better than what could be expected : following the December 2017 rating list, there should have been 1 out of 2 2800+ GMs (the two 2800+ GMs, on the December 2017 list being Carlsen and Aronian), now, after the January 2018 list, there will be 3 out of 3 2800+ GMs ! (Carlsen, Caruana, and Mamedyarov.)

For me a real "superstar", in chess, is either a 2800+ GM, or a 2750+ GM who was previously above 2800 AND was also at one point either World Champion or Elo World n° 1. And ALL the players corresponding to this definition will be present in Wijk aan Zee, this year (with Anand and Kramnik as ex-World Champions) ! Quite outstanding ! I'm not sure (I didn't checked), but I rather think that this is perhaps the first time in history when ALL the players corresponding to these definitions are participating in the same tournament...
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