Magnus Carlsen leading Steinitz Memorial tournament

by ChessBase
5/8/2020 – The FIDE has announced a Wilhelm Steinitz memorial tournament in the middle of May - online! World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen will lead the event, including 19 other players, which have been nominated by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Magnus Carlsen, heir to Steinitz, leads memorial to the world’s first chess champion

Press release by FIDE

  • Historic event to remember father of modern chess.
  • Reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen will star.
  • 20 top players compete in two sections.
  • FIDE event held on from May 14.

From its inception in 1886 to Magnus Carlsen today, a mere 16 people have worn the official crown of undisputed World Chess Champion.

Now, to celebrate the legacy of the man who started it all, the chess world is gathering for a unique online tournament in memory of Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900).

The International Chess Federation FIDE and broadcaster have joined forces to hold the first FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial tournament.

It will take place over the Austrian-American legend’s birthday between May 14 and 17 and be a thoroughly modern online event - fitting for a true chess great considered the father of the modern game.

The star performer is Carlsen, the current undisputed World Chess Champion and heir to Steinitz. He will head an impressive line-up of 20 players in the Open and Women’s sections including Russia’s former prodigy Daniil Dubov, and crowd favorite Alexander Grischuk. All the players have been nominated by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich. Other names in the line-up include Svidler, Lagno, Kosteniuk, Le Quang, and Anton Guijarro.

Dvorkovich said:

Steinitz is the first official World Chess Champion, and with him began a long tradition lasting to our day. He was also a revolutionary, who created a whole new school of chess: 'positional play' was a concept that didn't exist before him. His historic 25 game winning streak, or his 32 years undefeated in match play, speak volumes about his caliber as a player. He was also a celebrated author and publicist. All this is his legacy, a legacy to which we pay tribute today.

We are very proud to have Magnus Carlsen taking part in this event, as a worthy heir of this long lineage of champions. Probably Magnus understands better than anyone that the role of a World Champion implies certain responsibilities, and he has always been on the frontline when it comes to giving chess the role it deserves in our society. It is safe to say that Steinitz would have been proud of him.

Magnus Carlsen added:

Organising the FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial is a nice way to commemorate (or honor) the first official World Chess Champion and to highlight the significance of the strong tradition his match against Zukertort started for modern chess history

The Steinitz Memorial will be a double-round robin blitz contest broadcast online in at least six languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Turkish.

Steinitz, who moved to America and was buried in New York, was the dominating chess figure for most of the latter half of the 19th century.

Photo: Austrian National Library

He was crowned the first official World Chess Champion after his match victory against Johannes Zukertort in 1886. Steinitz himself, though, claimed his reign truly commenced with his match victory against Adolf Anderssen at London 1866. Either way, the highly influential writer and chess theoretician’s place in chess history is secure: Steinitz is the original chess champion and the forerunner of today’s great players.

David Llada
+34 623 021 120

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