£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.

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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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