Coming soon: The Tata Steel Tournament 2024 in Wijk aan Zee

by André Schulz
1/5/2024 – Magnus Carlsen is missing from this year's Tata Steel Chess, but World Champion Ding Liren has returned from his sabbatical. Otherwise, the Masters and Challengers are once again very colourful, with superstars, women and young talented players. The tournament starts in a week's time. | Photo: Tata Steel Chess

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The chess tradition in this Dutch fishing village dates back to 1938. Originally, the chess tournament was organised for the employees of the nearby steelworks. It soon became a tournament of national and then international importance, as the steelworks in Ijmuiden changed hands several times. Hoogovens became Corus and now the plant belongs to the Indian Tata Steel group. The Indians have continued the chess tradition and it is very fitting that there is an incredible chess boom in India with Anand and many young chess stars.

Almost all the world champions have played here. Anand was the record winner for a long time until he was replaced by Magnus Carlsen. The organisers around Jeroen van den Berg have a good hand in the composition of the tournaments. The championship tournaments are embedded in a large number of amateur openings. The amateurs play in the same hall as the top international stars and also form the audience. This adds to the fascination of Wijk aan Zee.

Masters

For many years, the organisers in Wijk aan Zee were even able to run three round-robin tournaments, each with 14 participants in the best times. Now there are only two tournaments, a Masters and a Challengers. Anyone who wins a tournament below the Masters can move up a division the following year. This is how Alexander Donchenko slipped into the Masters 2024 after winning the Challengers last year.

The other players are invited, and once again Jeroen van den Berg's team will ensure a special mix. Some of the absolute top players will be playing, the Dutch top players, but also up-and-coming talents.

This year Magnus Carlsen, who is usually a regular guest, is missing. The Freestyle Chess Tournament in Weissenhaus on the Baltic Sea could play a role. It starts on 9 February, shortly after the end of the Tata Steel tournament. But perhaps Carlsen has little interest in classical tournaments and prefers to play online with short thinking times.

Instead, Ding Liren is back at the chessboard. The reigning World Champion made himself scarce after winning the title. Now he leads the field. Ding is also one of the participants in the Weissenhaus tournament. But he is also well rested.

Ian Nepomniachtchi and Alireza Firouzja, ranked fifth and sixth in the world respectively, will also be playing. Anish Giri, Jorden van Foreest and Max Warmerdam will represent the host nation. Praggnandhaa, Vidit and Gukesh will represent the motherland of chess.

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Parham Maghsoodloo, Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Wei Yi represent the Asian continent. In recent years there have been very few Chinese men in the top tournaments, why? Reigning Women's World Champion Ju Wenjun will be the only woman in the Masters field.

Five players, who start in Wijk, will also be competing in the Candidates Tournament in April: Nepomniachtchi, Firouzja, Praggnandhaa, Vidit and Gukesh.

German chess fans will miss Vincent Keymer. It's hard to imagine that the Dutch chess fans didn't try to get him to participate, even though Keymer's debut at the Masters last year was a very poor one. However, according to rating Praggnanandhaa and Keymer are currently the world's best juniors.

But maybe Keymer does not play because the opening weekend of Wijk clashes with the German Bundesliga. At any rate, Keymer will face Carlsen in the Weissenhaus Chess960 tournament in February.

Challengers

The field for the Challenger is once again a colourful mix of old hands, young international talent, local players and women.

The old hands include Erwin L'Ami and Anton Korobov. Mustafa Yilmaz, Saleh Salem and Jaime Santos are slightly younger, more experienced players. Hans Niemann (USA), Marc'Andria Maurizzi (France), Daniel Dardha (Belgium), Leon Mendonca (India) and Liam Vrolijk (Netherlands) are the young guns. Harika Dronavalli, Divya Deshmukh (India) and Eline Roebers (Netherlands) represent the female gender. Stefan Beukema will ensure an even stronger Dutch presence.

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It will be interesting to see whether Hans Niemann will give another superhuman performance like he did at the Peace Tournament in Zagreb or whether he will play rather inconspicuously like he did afterwards at the London Chess Classic.

Schedule

The Masters and Challengers start on Saturday 13 January. There is a day off on 17 and 25 January. Rounds always start at 14:00 local time, on the last day at 12:00 local time.

The 9th round of the Masters on 23 January will be played at another prominent venue in the Netherlands.

Anish Giri will tell you where:

Schedule and program

  • Fri 12 Jan
    • 18:30 - 23:30
      IJmond Tournament
    • 18:30 - 23:30
      Amateur Weekend three-round event
  • Sat 13 Jan
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      IJmond Tournament
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 1 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Amateur Weekend three-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Sun 14 Jan
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      IJmond Tournament
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 2 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Amateur Weekend three-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Mon 15 Jan
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 3 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Amateur Weekday three-round event
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Cultural Village Tournament
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Tue 16 Jan
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 4 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Amateur Weekday three-round event
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Cultural Village Tournament
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Wed 17 Jan
    • 00:00 - 00:00
      Rest day Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Amateur Weekday three-round event
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Cultural Village Tournament
    • 15:00 - 16:30
      Grandmaster football match at Telstar
    • 15:15 - 17:30
      Youth Simultaneous at Telstar
  • Thu 18 Jan
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 5 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Fri 19 Jan
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Journalists Tournament
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 6 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Sat 20 Jan
    • 11:30 - 16:00
      Tata Steel Chess Festival
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Journalists Tournament
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 7 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Sun 21 Jan
    • 11:30 - 16:00
      Tata Steel Chess Festival
    • 14:00 - 19:00
      Journalists Tournament
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 8 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Mon 22 Jan
    • 00:00 - 00:00
      Rest day Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
  • Tue 23 Jan
    • 13:00 - 20:00
      Chess on Tour
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 9 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live commentary at Chess on Tour
  • Wed 24 Jan
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 10 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Thu 25 Jan
    • 00:00 - 00:00
      Rest day Masters & Challengers
  • Fri 26 Jan
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 11 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Sat 27 Jan
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Round 12 Masters & Challengers
    • 14:00 - 20:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 14:15 - 18:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon
  • Sun 28 Jan
    • 12:00 - 18:00
      Round 13 Masters & Challengers
    • 12:00 - 18:00
      Amateur nine-round event
    • 12:15 - 16:30
      Live Commentary at Café de Zon

Tournament page


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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