Bilbao: bringing together the chess elite

by ChessBase
5/9/2014 – An ambitious chess spectacle is planned for September in the Basque city of Bilbao: the European Chess Club Cup, with around 70 men’s and women’s teams, and the Grand Slam Masters Final, which will bring together the elite of world chess. Special promotional events are planned in Turkey and Norway, and Garry Kasparov has spoken about it in a video interview.

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Bringing together the World Chess Elite

During the month of May the main continental teams will formalize their pre-registration to participate in the European Chess Club Cup. Around 70 men’s and women’s teams are expected. The chess event will attract around a thousand visitors from over thirty European countries to the capital of Biscay (Bizkaia), including players, members of the federation and chess enthusiasts. In order to promote Bilbao and Biscay as a tourist destination, Bilbao Chess 2014 has already made a promotional presentation in Holland, and will do the same in Turkey and Norway over the next few months.

Press release – Bilbao. 08.04.2014

Bilbao Chess 2014, the name representing the simultaneous celebration of both the European Club Cup and the Grand Slam Masters Final, will convert the capital of Biscay into the world chess capital this September.

Both tournaments will take place at the same time between 12th and 21st September and will bring together the elite of world chess. During the official presentation of the event, Gabino Martínez de Arenaza and Nora Sarasola (Directors of the Biscay Regional Government’s Department for the Promotion of the Economy and Tourism, and the municipal association Bilbao Ekintza respectively), announced that around a thousand visitors from over thirty countries, including players, members of the federation and chess enthusiasts, are expected to come to Bilbao. Also present at the event was the commentator Leontxo García, representing the Bilbao E-4 chess club which is organizing both tournaments.

The pre-registration period with the European Chess Union (ECU) for clubs classified by ranking to dispute the XXXI European Chess Club Cup, is open during May. The organization expects around 70 continental clubs – 55 male and 15 female – from a maximum of 80 to register. After this, pre-registered clubs will have until the end of July to formalize and complete their definitive registration.

Amongst the teams that have already confirmed their presence in the European Club is the Sestao Chess Club, the current Spanish champions. With the intention of strengthening their team for the Champions League of this sport, they recently signed one of the great prodigies of world chess: David Antón, a young grand master at just 18 years old, and already the current European runner-up and second in the world Under-18 Championships.

David Antón (above) will be part of the world elite who will appear in September at the Palacio Euskalduna, the venue for both the Cup and the Masters Final. Although the makeup of each team won’t be known until just a few days before the start of the event on September 12th, the ECU predicts that the great majority of the fifty top world ranked grandmasters will be competing. With regard to the women’s competition, the presence of the current best player in the world, Hou Yifan, is assured.

With this expected participation, the organization calculates that Bilbao Chess 2014 will generate an important financial benefit for Bilbao and Biscay with about a thousand visitors predicted to be in the area over nine days.

With this is mind, the event organizers will be programming parallel activities to encourage enthusiasts of this thousand-year old sport of the mind to travel to Bilbao. Children will also have their space. Be Basque, for their part, will make information available to all visitors on the wide range of leisure and tourist activities available in Bilbao and Biscay.

With the idea of maximizing the number of participants and visitors to Bilbao Chess 2014, the Biscay Regional Government, via its Promotion of the Economy and Tourism department, has programmed further promotional presentations of the event. They will take place in Turkey at the beginning of June, and then in Norway, coinciding with the celebration there of the Chess Olympics in the second fortnight of August.

These two promotional visits will complement the one which already took place in January Wijk ann Zee in Holland during the Tata Steel Chess tournament which, with its 76 years of history, is considered the home of chess in Europe.

In this presentation in the Netherlands, Bilbao Chess 2014 had the patronage and support of the ex-world champion Garry Kasparov. Considered by many specialists as the best chess player in history, he is currently presenting himself as a candidate to preside over the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and promised that if he wins, he will come to the Biscay capital in his first official act.

Kasparov on Bilbao Chess 2014


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