London Chess Classic: win a spot

by ChessBase
9/21/2013 – Like to play in a chess tournament with Kramnik, Anand, Caruana, Nakamura, Gelfand, Adams, Svidler and co.? This is possible for normal chess players of any rating at the London Chess Classic in December: the two highest scorers at the LCC FIDE Open can qualify into the "Super Sixteen" Rapidplay, featuring the World's Elite and the Best of British. The prize fund is €150,000. It's the chance of a lifetime.

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Win your way to the Super Sixteen!

Chess in Schools and Communities has announced a novel way for any chess player, of any rating, to have their dream come true and compete alongside the World’s Elite and the Best of British at the 5th London Chess Classic, running from Saturday 7th December to Sunday 15th December 2013.

This year the LCC FIDE Open will qualify the two highest-scoring players after four rounds into the ‘Super Sixteen’ Rapidplay that features an all-star cast headed by World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the former champion Vladimir Kramnik. If more than two players are tied at the end of round four, the spots will be decided on a rating tie-break (the two players with the highest rating going forward). Anyone transferred will not lose out financially, as the lowest prize in the Super Sixteen is greater than the top prize in the FIDE Open.

Thirteen confirmed participants Kramnik, Caruana, Anand, Nakamura, Gelfand, Adams, Svidler, McShane, Polgar, Short, Sadler, Howell and Jones. Two more qualify from the LCC Open, and one wild card will be nominated.

This means there are now 15 spots accounted for in the Super Sixteen. And we are also announcing today that the final slot will be decided by a ‘Wild card’ selection to be announced by the organisers of the London Chess Classic in late November 2013.

The London Chess Classic FIDE Open is fast becoming one of the must-play Swiss Events on the international calendar – and this year it will have a bumper prize-fund of over £10,000 (!), as well as the guaranteed participation of a minimum of twelve Grandmasters.

The 5th London Chess Classic will again be the largest Chess Festival held in the UK. Apart from the headlining Super Sixteen and the FIDE Open, there will also be a smorgasbord of side events catering for players of all ages and all ratings: a FIDE Weekday Tournament, two Weekend Tournaments, four Rapidplay Tournaments, four Blitz Tournaments and three Grandmaster Simultaneous Displays from past British Champions Julian Hodgson, John Nunn and Jon Speelman.

It promises to be the best chess you’ll play or see all year! The 5th London Chess Classic will run from Saturday 7th December to Sunday 15th December at the Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington.

Kramnik, Caruana, Gelfand, Svidler and Polgar in the London Chess Classic

The 2013 Chess Classic will feature a 16-player field, split into four groups, with the top two from each group qualifying for the quarter final knockout stages. Scoring will be three points for a win, one for a draw, zero for a loss (Sofia Rules will apply regarding draw offers). The total prize fund on offer will be €150,000 – the full breakdown being: 1st €50,000; 2nd €25,000; 3rd-4th €12,500; 5th-8th €6,250; 9th-16th €3,125.

London has become a happy hunting ground for Vladimir Kramnik. Not only has the former World Champion been a regular at the London Chess Classic, winning the 2011 edition, and runner-up twice (behind Magnus Carlsen, the World No. 1, on both occasions), in 2009 and 2012, but in 2000, London was also the venue for his historic world title win over Garry Kasparov. Earlier this month in Tromsø, Kramnik showed he’s still a major force in the game with his easy victory in the four-game FIDE World Cup final over the current Russian champion, Dmitry Andreikin; that will see both qualify for next year’s Candidates’ tournament. And Kramnik’s overall performance in the World Cup, also saw the former World Champion once again reclaiming the World No. 3 spot in the September Fide rating list published this week.

Fabiano Caruana, 21, is the Miami-born, Brooklyn-raised former chess prodigy who beat Bobby Fischer’s record of becoming the youngest American grandmaster. He holds both Italian and American citizenship, and plays under the Italian tricolour. In the last year or so, so, Caruana has burst onto the elite stage with some superb results. Currently, he is ranked World number five on the September 2013 FIDE rating list.

Boris Gelfand, 45, is the Belarus-born Israeli grandmaster who, nearly a quarter-century ago, became a World Top 10 player and qualified for a number of World Championship Candidates events. But just when everyone thought his best days were behind him, he made a dramatic comeback to win the Candidates to challenge Vishy Anand in last year’s World Championship match, where he lost in the play-offs. And his Indian summer continues: this year, he tied for first in the Alekhine Memorial in Paris and St. Petersburg followed by clear first at the Tal Memorial in Moscow.

Peter Svidler, 36, is the erudite and popular St. Petersburg grandmaster, former World Cup winner, and multi-time Candidates qualifier with a record-breaking six Russian championship titles to his name. But he’s not your stereotypical Russian grandmaster, because Svidler is a big cricketing fan who owns a complete set of the cricketer’s almanack Wisden, and once had a letter read out by Henry Blofeld on the BBC’s Test Match Special.

Judit Polgar, 37, from Budapest, Hungary is a phenomenon in the game. At the age of 15, she broke Bobby Fischer’s near 30-year record for becoming the youngest Grandmaster. Polgar is the best woman player of all time and the only woman currently in the world’s Top 100. At her peak she was in the Top 10 and would regularly do battle in Super GM tournaments with the likes of Kasparov, Karpov and Anand.

Top six English players to play in 5th London Chess Classic

Chess in Schools and Communities ihas announced that the six leading English players, Michael Adams, Luke McShane, Nigel Short, Matthew Sadler, David Howell and Gawain Jones have accepted their invitation to play in the 5th London Chess Classic to be staged at the Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington, running from Saturday 7th December to Sunday 15th December.

Life begins at 41 for the UK No. 1, Michael Adams, who was one of the world’s best players in the 1990s. He was a four-time semi-finalist (1993, 1997, 1999 and 2000) in World Championship events, and in 2004 he made it to the final. He was ranked No. 4 in the world in 2001 and 2002, but by 2009 had dropped to No. 50.

Since then, the popular Cornishman has seen a renaissance in his game with a return to elite status; and this summer, he scored the biggest tournament victory of his career by winning the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, ahead of a field that included Vladimir Kramnik, the former world champion and world No. 3, and Fabiano Caruana of Italy, who is ranked fifth.

Luke McShane (above), 29, and Matthew Sadler (below), 39, both follow in that quaint English tradition – much like C.H.O’D Alexander and Jonathan Penrose, who shocked top Soviet stars such as Botvinnik, Bronstein and Tal – by being regarded as the world’s top two amateur players, as they hold down very demanding full-time professional jobs. McShane works in finance in the City, and Sadler in IT in The Netherlands – but while chess is now a “hobby” for both, the English No’s. 2 and 4 respectively still play to a very high standard.

Globe-trotting Nigel Short continues to add further successes to his long list of tournament victories, with this summer seeing the English No. 3 share first prize in the Sigeman Invitational in Malmo, Sweden, and first on tiebreak in the Canadian Open Championship in Ottawa; and, on both occasions, ahead of talented younger rising stars.

Short (above), 48, consistently performs at or close to the elite GM 2700 rating level, as he fights off younger rivals by using his wealth of experience from a glittering career whose peaks include victory at the VAS Amsterdam tournament in 1991, ahead of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, a Candidates match victory over Karpov in 1992 and a world title challenge in 1993 to Kasparov. Short is also in demand as an online commentator for some of the world’s top tournaments -- but we are always glad to see him play!

David Howell (above), 22, and Gawain Jones (below), 25, are, respectively, the English No. 5 and 6, and also the last two winners of the British Championship titles – Howell storming to victory this summer in Torquay, for his second title (which he dedicated to his late father), and Jones, winning last year in North Shields. Both represented England at the very top at junior level, and have now become a regular fixture for their country at Olympiads and European Team Championships.

Adams, McShane, Short, Sadler, Howell and Jones will be cheered on by the patriotic home crowd expected to fill the Kensington Olympia, as they go into battle in the 5th London Chess Classic with the tough elite opposition of World Champion Vishy Anand, World Cup winner Kramnik, Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Boris Gelfand, Peter Svidler and Judit Polgar. The composition of the remainder of the 16-player field will be announced next week.

Chess in Schools and Communities is a charity established two years ago with the aim of introducing chess into primary schools, with particular emphasis on areas of economic disadvantage. The charity already delivers chess to over 200 schools in 38 boroughs across England and Wales, teaching chess as a classroom subject. Participating schools receive chess sets, software, training for teachers and 30 lessons per year from a CSC chess tutor. This innovative approach was recognised with an award from the Sports and Recreation Alliance.


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.

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