Hamburg Grand Prix: Opening press conference

by André Schulz
11/5/2019 – German chess fans (especially those in Hamburg) can look forward to a nice chess event in the countries second largest city. Today, the opening press conference took place at the Kehrwieder Theater in the "Speicherstadt" district, the venue of the Hamburg Grand Prix tournament which runs from November 5th to November 17th. | Photos: Nadja Wittmann

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Elite chess returns to Hamburg after decades

ChessBase got a first look at the venue of the third Grand Prix tournament for 2019, as World Chess welcomed global chess fans to Hamburg with the tournament's opening press conference. On the panel were Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, Ulrich Krause as representative of the German Chess Federation, Maxim Vachier-Lagrave as representative of the participating players and, among the sponsors, W. Sean Ford of Algorand (a new sponsor) and Peter Neumann of Kaspersky Germany. Georgios Souleidis moderated for the gathering of about a dozen journalists.

Ilya Merenzon asked about the organizational costs of the tournament, noted that World Chess realized that Hamburg was one of the most expensive cities, and the organization of the tournament in Hamburg was significantly more expensive than other cities in which the company has staged events. On the other hand, it should be worth it; Hamburg is a very beautiful city in which to host a tournament. 

press conference

(L to R) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, W. Sean Ford, Ilya Merenzon, Arkady Dvorkovich, Peter Neumann, Ulrich Krause

World Chess chose Hamburg as the venue because it is a city with a great chess tradition, home to two major chess companies — ChessBase (founded in 1986) and chess24 (founded in 2014) are and because there is a large chess audience in Germany.

Arkady Dvorkovich confirmed this impression, and the FIDE president also spoke about the upcoming World Championship match — news of the host country is imminent. Dvorkovich was able to report that there are two very serious candidates and the selection process is in its final stages.

Peter Neumann, Ulrich Krause

Peter Neumann (Kaspersky), Ulrich Krause

German Chess Federation President Ulrich Krause was pleased on behalf of all German chess fans that this tournament takes place in the heart of Europe — the third major FIDE event after the Candidates Tournament last year in Berlin, and the 2015 World Blitz and Rapid, also in Berlin. FIDE and DSB (as the federation is known in German) have worked closely together to organize a series of side events. At the end of the tournament Germany's youngest grandmaster Vincent Keymer will give a simultaneous exhibition in Hamburg. 

W. Sean Ford and Peter Neumann pointed to the relation between chess as a high-tech sport and the work of their own companies. Algorand deals with the encryption of data via blockchain technology, Kaspersky with the prevention of cybercrime.

Press officer Souleidis prepared an opening question that stunned Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with the number of games that the Frenchman, currently number four in the world rankings, has already played this year: over 280!

Asked how he would prepare for the Grand Prix, Vachier-Lagrave replied, "I tried not to think about chess."

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Sean Ford

The visitors of the tournament can look forward to a fine event. The Theater Kehrwieder in the Hamburg Speicherstadt district is a top-notch location and looks to have been well-designed by World Chess for this tournament.

There are a limited number of spectator seats (tickets via Eventim), which will increase up to 100 as the tournament progresses, as the stage shrinks and shrinks with the number of participants declining after each knockout round.

playing hall

The empty stage area

World Chess staff

Pro tip: Karina and Daria have all the answers

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

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