Category 23 tournament in Zurich!

by ChessBase
12/24/2013 – It's not official yet, but it looks like that for the first time in chess history we are going to see a category 23 (average 2801) tournament. Six players – Carlsen, Aronian, Nakamura, Caruana, Gelfand and Anand – will play in the classical round robin Zurich Chess Challenge, from January 29 to February 4th 2014 – with a rapid tagged on. In related news due to health reasons chess legend Viktor Korchnoi's plan to return to tournament chess unfortunately failed.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


3rd Zurich Chess Challenge 2014
with Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen

The «Zurich Chess Challenge 2014» will be the first encounter between the newly crowned World Champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, and the former title holder, India’s Viswanathan Anand after their recent match in Chennai. From Wednesday, 29 January to Tuesday, 4 February 2014, they will compete in the 3rd Zurich Chess Challenge along with four other great chess stars: Levon Aronian (Armenia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Fabiano Caruana (Italy) and Boris Gelfand (Israel).

According to the current live ratings – which are expected to be official in the January 1st official FIDE rankings – these six players average 2800.83 points, which rounds to 2801. That makes the event a category 23, and the strongest tournament in chess history.

The main sponsor is Oleg Skvortsov of the «International Gemological Laboratories», Moscow, with the Zurich Chess Club acting as organizer. Skvortsov not only loves chess, but also plays the game and supports chess events. Furthermore, he knows many of the greatest chess players in the world personally and has played a lot of games with them.

The first Zurich Chess Challenge in 2012 was a match between Kramnik and Aronian. The second event in 2013 was a double-round robin with Kramnik, Anand, Caruana and Gelfand.

For the 2014 edition, a blitz tournament will determine the color distribution. A round-robin tournament of five rounds with a classical time control is then followed by a rapid tournament with colors reversed on the last day of play. A won game in the classical tournament counts 2 points, a draw 1 point. Wins in the rapid tournament count 1 point and draws half a point.

All games will be commented by Yannick Pelletier and Werner Hug and broadcast live via Internet.

The venue

The tournament takes place in the time-honored Hotel «Savoy Baur en Ville» (Paradeplatz,
Zurich, Switzerland) in the «Festsaal», the venue of many a famous chess event in the past.

Schedule, rate of play

The event is a six player round robin, with a rate of play of 40 moves in 120 minutes, then 20 moves in 60 minutes and the rest of game in 15 minutes, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61. Special rule: in case of a draw before move 40, an additional rapid game will be played (which does not count for the overall result).

Wed. January 29: 19:00  Opening Ceremony & Blitz
Thu. January 30: 15:00  Round 1
Fri. January 31: 15:00  Round 2
Sat. February 01: 15:00  Round 3
Sun. February 02: 15:00  Round 4
Mon. February 03: 15:00  Round 5
Tue. February 04: 13:00  Rapid Tournament 19:00  Closing Ceremony

In August 2009 there was a spectacular event celebrating the 200th jubilee of the oldest chess club in the world: the Schachgesellschaft Zürich, which was founded in 1809. Attendees included Kasparov, Anand, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kramnik, Spassky, Ponomariov and Topalov. At the time Richard Forster and Christian Rohrer retraced the historical development of the club for us:

Viktor Korchnoi: he's back and he's playing

Two years ago the multiple World Championship challenger Viktor Korchnoi suffered a stroke, and people believed that it was the end of a long chess career. But now the 82-year-old chess legend is playing again, and has in fact registered to participate in the Zürich Christmas Open. This was reported by Dr Christian Issler, the Chairman of the Zurich Chess Club and chief organiser of the 3rd Zurich Chess Challenge. Issler is a good friend of Korchnoi and played against him recently in a small private tournament during a visit to the Swiss Chess Museum. Also present were IM Werner Hug and GMs Yannick Pelletier, Etienne Bacrot and Christian Bauer.

Christian Issler playing Viktor Korchnoi in September at the Swiss Chess Museum

Just over two weeks ago Viktor played in a tournament for seniors in the Casa Güpf in Wolen,
the town in which he lives (above Kortchnoi, Hans Karl, Dragomir Vucenovic and Peter Hohler)

Naturally Viktor easily won the Senior tournament, reports Issler

It is very gratifying to hear that Viktor Korchnoi has now registered to play in the Master section of the Zürich Christmas Open, which will be held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Zürich from December 26-30.

Addendum: Unfortunately Viktor Korchnoi was in the end unable to participate in the tournament, citing health reasons for his withdrawal. Two other titled players, GM Andrei Istratescu and IM Dragos Dumitrache, were involved in a car accident on the way to Zurich and similarly had to withdraw. We are informed that they did not suffer serious injuries.


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register