All eyes on Lindores Abbey as Carlsen, Anand & co. gather for a two-day rapid

by Sagar Shah
5/25/2019 – The chess world was following the FIDE Grand Prix happening in Moscow. There's the women's candidates tournament coming up and there is also the Norway Chess super tournament that will take place in a few days. Amidst all of these big events, a small town Lindores Abbey in Scotland decided to host one of the strongest rapid tournaments on 25th and 26th of May. How did Lindores decide to hold such a strong event in such a short period? Who are the organizers? How did they manage to get Carlsen, Anand, Ding Liren and Karjakin playing? IM Sagar Shah who is present at the venue brings you an opening report.

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Scarcely any world champion has managed to captivate chess lovers to the extent Carlsen has. The enormously talented Norwegian hasn't been systematically trained within the structures of a major chess-playing nation such as Russia, the Ukraine or China.


The Lindores Abbey Chess Super Stars Tournament is taking place on the 25th and 26th of May 2019 in Scotland. It's a four player double round robin rapid event with a time control of 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment. The tournament has four of the best players in the world taking part — Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Ding Liren and Sergey Karjakin. The tournament is organized by the Lindores Abbey Distillery. This small town in Scotland is well known for Scotch Whisky and has a brewing tradition that goes back nearly 525 years. But why bring chess to the distillery? Well, let's find out!

The Mumbai airport before a long flight from Mumbai to reach to Scotland with a halt in Frankfurt and the final destination being Edinburgh

The road from Edinburgh airport to Lindores Abbey is around an hour, but it is filled such beautiful lush green scenes!

Jim, who picked me up from the airport, dropped me at the Pitcairlie house. There were no chess players in sight, nor organizers and so I decided to explore the place a bit. Here's the result:

I have travelled to many places and lived in many hotels, but the Pitcairlie house beats all of them in terms of beauty!

There arrives the commentator, the ever charismatic Daniel King! He will be commentating on the games along with GM Genna Sosonko.

Daniel King is invited by Helen, the co-founder of the distillery and wife of Drew Mckenzie Smith

Getting the Crème de la crème of chess world together

The four participants of the event Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Sergey Karjakin and Vishy Anand arrived to the venue in vintage cars

To get players like Magnus Carlsen, Vishy Anand, Ding Liren and Sergey Karjakin under one roof is never easy. It all began with an idea from a Russian investor of the Lindores Abbey Distillery to Drew Mckenzie Smith, the founder and custodian of the distillery. There were traces that monks who used to brew the whisky over 500 years ago in the Lindores Abbey also would play chess against each other. In 2017, the tradition of whisky making was restored when the distillery was set up. Now by bringing the best chess players in the world, the Lindores Abbey would like to rekindle its chess tradition as well. 

The co-founder of the distillery and the custodian of the abbey Drew Mckenzie Smith welcomes Magnus Carlsen and his father Henrik

Next to Henrik Carlsen is the tournament director Alexander Bakh. Well known in the chess world as the organizer of the Aeroflot Open, Bakh coordinated with the players and organizers to make this super tournament take place!

Ding Liren is here with his father!

Drew Mckenzie Smith tells us about the unique chess set that has been launched for this super tournament. Mind you, there are only four such chess boards produced!

Vishy Anand reads up a bit on the Lindores Abbey, its history and its chess connection

Mikhail Tal's son (left) gifted Magnus a ruby chess set that his father had received after winning the World Championship in 1960. The chess set is in right hands according to Misha's son! Along with the chess set, Magnus was also gifted the book Checkmate! - The love story of Mikhail Tal and Sally Landau. 

That's what makes Magnus special! It doesn't matter where he is or what he is doing. If he finds something interesting about chess, he absorbs it like a sponge!

This gift is something that Magnus will definitely cherish for years to come!

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Vishy Anand tries to understand the pairings with the help of chief arbiter Andzrej Fillipowicz

A lot of Lindores merchandise is on sale for people who will be visiting the tournament in the next couple of days

The food was pretty delicious!

Some sumptuous open air barbeque 

That's what the world champion eats!

The players enjoyed the food that was served to them!

Ice cream with berries is a perfect way to cap off the dinner 

That's where the games will be taking place! Right inside the distillery!

The four players inside the distillery!

Drew Mckenzie Smith, the man who started the Lindores Abbey distillery, speaks about how this super tournament came about!

There will be three rapid games played on both 25th and 26th of May. The first round takes place at 1.30 p.m. local time (12.30 p.m. UTC), the second one at 3.00 p.m. and third one at 4.30 p.m. on both the days. The time control is 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment. In case there is a tie for the top spot with the same points, a blitz mini-match of 3 minutes + 2 seconds increment will be held.

Who do you think will win this event? Let us know in the comments section below!

Follow the games live

Offical website of Lindores Abbey distillery

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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