Already Ready for Mexico City 2007!

by ChessBase
10/13/2006 – Is it too early to think about the next world championship? It looks like the website already needs to be updated because as of minutes ago Veselin Topalov won't be there as the defending champ. You can still check out the beta launch of this new site that promises to push chess event planning and coverage to a whole new level.

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Looking ahead to Mexico City 2007

With all eyes on the 2006 world championship match finishing today in Elista, the official website for the 2007 world championship poked its head out of the nest. is still mostly empty, but organizers Jorge Saggiante and Marcel Sisniega have ambitious plans for this beautiful site, as well as ambitious plans for the year leading up the event and the tournament itself.

The world championship will begin on September 12, 2007 in Mexico City, right in the heart of the historic center. They've rented out an entire floor of the massive Sheraton Hotel to provide space for rooms for commentary in different languages, video production facilities, and of course the massive playing hall with room for thousands of spectators. Yes, we said thousands. Did you know Mexico City is one of the two or three largest cities in the world? (Depending how you measure.) Nearly 20 million people live in its urban sprawl.

The site brings a Mexican flavor to the web. Check out the Aztec chess piece!

The site will be fully bilingual in Spanish and English. There isn't much in either language just yet, of course. But we're told they plan to have interactive games and contests, columnists and news, and an emphasis on mainstream instructional and general interest content, especially for kids. Señor Saggiante's great ambition isn't just to host the world chess championship. He is a man on a mission to professionalize the sport and see it flourish at every level in Mexico and beyond. You may remember him as the man behind the Cuernavaca young stars tournament last year.

Organizer Jorge Saggiante and his wife with Veselin Topalov.

Directing the Mexico 2007 operation is Mexican Grandmaster Marcel Sisniega. He's a writer and filmmaker these days, having given up competitive chess quite a while ago. Now Mexico's first GM wants to bring chess to the entire country with this ambitious project. They have scheduled 100 tournaments to take place in Mexico before the world championship begins! They also have a full schedule of exhibitions and lectures, including a gigantic simultaneous exhibition to fill the famous Zocalo (plaza) in the heart of the city.

The website will be covering all these events throughout the 11 months leading up to the beginning of the championship. There will also be many exclusively online events, such as Grandmaster games against the world, quizzes, and contests. The prizes include a trip to Mexico to attend the event! One thing that is already active on the site is a registration page where you can get a username for future activities and sign up to receive the official site newsletter with updates about the content and events.

Profiles of the participants make up some of the content already online.

One of the promises at the site is that of lots of live and post-game video once the event begins. With YouTube and similar sites becoming the norm, it's about time chess got on the Flash video bandwagon. Along with the live coverage and commentary, there will be video wrap-ups with analysis and interviews after every round.

We'll keep you up to date with the latest developments, although we're rather hoping to win that free trip to Mexico City for ourselves... Update: It looks like the first order of business for webmaster Mig Greengard is to swap the player profile of Veselin Topalov with that of new unified world champion Vladimir Kramnik! Ouch!

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