£1 million 'Golden League' is leaked

by Albert Silver
2/4/2015 – It was in the middle of a chat in his Masterclass that Veselin Topalov let slip there would be a series akin to the FIDE Grand Prix, but in this case including the top tournaments in St. Louis, Stavangar, and London, with more to come. GM Ian Rogers got the scoop and posted on Twitter, and it was confirmed. Here is what is known so far about this breaking news.

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Although chess journalist GM Ian Rogers was the first to officially break the scoop, Veselin Topalov actually let the cat out of the bag a bit before, though in less detail.

 

Though the Masterclass by Topalov is wonderful to watch, describing an excellent game between him and
Shirov from 2004, the key moment is at 1:03:00 when he mentions the package deal. He explains

Topalov explains, "It's a package for three tournaments. I don't know if I should announce it, but it is St. Louis in the States, Norway, and London. Apparently now it will be like a package like the Grand Prix (...) Not FIDE. This is completely independent."

Ian Rogers than tracked it down and was able to get more details which he posted

Malcolm Pein, director of the London Chess Classic acknowledged the scoop shortly after

It didn't take long for the Telegraph, of which Malcolm Pein is a columnist, to carry the story

Right after came Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet

So what is known so far about the new elite circuit?

  • The mastermind behind the series would seem to be Garry Kasparov
  • Pein confirmed the total prizefund of the Golden League is around one million pounds
  • The players will be the top nine by rating plus a wildcard for each organiser, for a total of ten players
  • Although this year the series will include only the three tournaments (St. Louis, Stavanagar, London), the plan is to include a fourth. Jakarta was alluded to, though it was uncertain.

Though the initiative is not in doubt, many details are, and Norwegian TV2 says the president of the Norwegian Chess Federation, Joran Aulin-Jansson, said he was expecting a press release with information about Golden League on February 16-17 or thereabouts.


Topics golden league

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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fons fons 2/5/2015 09:05
So more money for the top 10 players. Except that those are the only ones who don't need more money.

This is not going to "grow" chess. The tournaments involved already are popular. The players involved already have enough money. Missed opportunity. The money would be better spent on a tournament for sub top 10 players.

"The event will be independent of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and is believed to be fronted by chess legend Kasparov."

-> Is this politically motivated? What's next? Another hackneyed attempt to create an alternative chess federation? I can support Kasparov as a replacement for the corrupt FIDE gang, but not this misguided initiative.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 2/4/2015 06:43
there is nothing wrong in the players playing in the elite circuit...... but they should play only the fide candidates/fide world ch., (for after the elite league, they will think of the candidates, wcc....on the lines of PCA candidates, WCC..... they should think of the collapse of GMA, PCA, then Brain games .....with kasparov playing the beaten semi finalist kramnik (however great vladi may be) instead of playing shirov....something like Karpov got a chance to play timman even after losing to short! there is more chaos in chess orgn., than over the chess board.....
kamamura kamamura 2/4/2015 05:44
"So what? What is the significance? I can only think that Kasparov means to challenge Fide. It means something if it leads to an independent candidates cycle and world champion.... otherwise it is just a name for a bunch of tournaments. Probably it will lead to another long conflict between Fide and this new league for dominance."

That would not be a very original stunt from Mr. Kasparov...
johnmk johnmk 2/4/2015 01:54
So what? What is the significance? I can only think that Kasparov means to challenge Fide. It means something if it leads to an independent candidates cycle and world champion.... otherwise it is just a name for a bunch of tournaments. Probably it will lead to another long conflict between Fide and this new league for dominance.
idratherplay960 idratherplay960 2/4/2015 01:15
This is awesome, and I bet it has fide crapping their pants! The 3 events already exist and are some of the most popular tournaments on the calendar, so logistically it should succeed. On top of that there are seemingly countless benefits by the unification in securing the attraction of top-level players and world-wide fans. Imagine where this could lead.
cheat3 cheat3 2/4/2015 12:22
Kasparov for the wild card!
ashperov ashperov 2/4/2015 09:44
If you cannot beat a corrupt organisation, try do what you want anyway
Pionki Pionki 2/4/2015 09:28
This guy is immortal. Long live the King!
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