Kings tournament returns featuring Karjakin, Ivanchuk, Wei Yi

by ChessBase
8/24/2017 – The annual Romanian event is back (November 24-29) and once again trying out a new format with eight players (four men, and four women) competing in two days of rapid and blitz. The tournament is held in memory of Elisabeta Polihroniade who helmed the event for its first nine years until her death in 2016 at age 80. | Photos: Kings Tournament Facebook page

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11th Kings Tournament

High level chess has been held in Romania each year since 2007 as Turneul Regilor or "Kings Tournament". Originally organized under the auspices of Sports Club Elisabeta Polihroniade, the famed player and chess popularizer in Romania, the tournament now is dedicated to her memory.

This year will mark the return of elite competitors to the field, as World Blitz and Rapid Champions Sergey Karjakin and Vasyl Ivanchuk have accepted invitations to join Chinese Champion Wei Yi and rising Romanian star Bogdan-Daniel Deac for six rounds of rapid and up to 18 rounds of blitz on November 27th and 28th. A parallel tournament will be held for four top women: Anna Muzychuk, Pia Cramling, Elizabeth Paehtz, and a Romanian player to be determind.


The tournament will open on Saturday, November 25th, in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, with a media event featuring a simultaneos exhibition by 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov, a children's tournament, and appearances by all invited grandmasters.

On Sunday the players will travel to Mediaș, in the country's interior, and the home of the competion for most of its ten year history. There the players will compete on Monday in six games of rapid (double round-robin), and on Tuesday for at least twelve (possibly eighteen, to be determined) games of blitz chess.

The combined prize fund is €30,000, with first prize for the men of €10,000, and first prize for the women's tournament of €5,000. The main sponsor is Romgaz, the largest Romanian natural gas producer.

2015 tournament

Elisabeta Polihroniade (center) giving some last minute advice to Constantin Lupulescu in the 2015 edition | Photo: Kings Tournament Facebook page

The Kings Tournament joined the now-defunct Grand Slam Chess Association in 2010 and was, for a few years, a staple of the elite classical chess circuit. The tournament was the strongest event ever held in Romania for several years running, and Magnus Carlsen participated in 2010 and 2011, winning both times.

In 2012, the tournament was scaled back to a four player double round-robin, and moved to Bucharest, where it was won by Ivanchuk. Fabiano Caruana won the 7th edition in 2013.

For 2014 and 2015, the format was changed to a team match with the Romanian team inviting a prominant foreign team: 2014 Olympiad Champions China, and Germany the following year.

In 2016 — the first in memory of Elisabeta Polihroniade — Vladimir Kramnik played an eight game rapid match with Hou Yifan, which he won 5½-2½.


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