New million dollar Grand Chess Tour announced

4/25/2015 – Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short were on hand for a press conference that announced the launch of a "Grand Chess Tour" featuring Magnus Carlsen and seven more of the world's very best players. They will compete for a combined prize fund of $1,050,000. It was described as “the biggest announcement in professional international chess since 1988”. Watch the press conference on video.

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Yesterday, Friday, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted a news press conference to announce the establishment of a new international chess circuit that will involve the world's leading professional chess players. You can watch a 25-minute video stream of the entire conference here:

In the press conference you see at the table Tony Rich, the Executive Director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis; Rex Sinquefield, retired American financial executive, who is active in Missouri politics and philanthropic causes and is the main sponsor behind the CCSCSL (and numerous chess events); Garry Kasparov; Nigel Short; Jøran Aulin-Jansson, President of the Norwegian Chess Federation and organizer of the super-strong Norway Chess 2015 event; and Malcolm Pein, organizer of the London Chess Classic. The conference is moderated by Michael Khodarkovsky, President of the Kasparov Chess Foundation.

The concerence starts with the drawing of colours for the Battle of the Legends which starts on Saturday. Garry Kasparov, the 13th World Champion, got the golden pieces in game one (sorry, the white pieces – watch the video to understand), Nigel Short, his 1993 challenger, plays black). It goes on to present the big announcement. You can watch the sometimes quite entertaining video above, but here in a nutshell is what it is all about (press release of the CCSCSL):

Inaugural Grand Chess Tour Unveiled in Saint Louis

SAINT LOUIS (April 24, 2015) – There is a new, gold standard for international chess competition, providing more opportunities for the world’s best chess players to compete on a grand stage. The world’s most prestigious, international chess events are combining efforts to establish a gold standard for the inaugural Grand Chess Tour, an annual competitive circuit for ten of the world’s top grandmasters. The announcement was made today at a press conference held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The Grand Chess Tour is an affiliation between the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (Sinquefield Cup), Tower AS (Norway Chess) and Chess Promotions Ltd. (London Chess Classic), combining the organizational efforts of three elite events into one unified competitive structure. The partnership aims to raise worldwide awareness for each prestigious tournament, as well as for the tour.

The inaugural 2015 Tour will kick off in June as a three-event cycle, beginning with Norway Chess 2015, followed by the Sinquefield Cup in August/September, and finishing with the London Chess Classic in 2015.

Norway Chess 2015 Stavanger, Norway June 15 – June 26, 2015
Sinquefield Cup Saint Louis, USA, August 21 September 3, 2015
London Chess Classic London, England, December 3 December 14, 2015

Based on FIDE's January 2015 rating list, the Grand Chess Tour invited the world’s top-ten international grandmasters, eight of whom agreed to appear in all three international events. A ninth grandmaster, who will also play the entire tour, will be added at a later date. The tenth and final grandmaster will be selected as a wildcard by each organizing host.

Each of the three 2015 Grand Chess Tour events will award individual prize funds of $300,000, with competitors also tallying points toward a tour prize fund of $150,000; the overall tour champion will receive an additional $75,000. The total prize fund for the circuit is $1,050,000.

The participating players are:

Magnus Carlsen Norway
Fabiano Caruana Italy
Alexander Grischuk Russia
Veselin Topalov Bulgaria
Viswanathan Anand India
Levon Aronian Armenia
Anish Giri Netherlands
Hikaru Nakamura USA

“The Grand Chess Tour was created with just one goal in mind: Demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world’s best players,” said Tony Rich. “Featuring the world’s strongest chess professionals fighting for massive prize funds, along with a full spectator experience led by world-class commentary, this circuit sets forth an internationally coordinated effort that casts a shining spotlight on global chess competition.”

“It’s an honor to be among the giants of chess organizers,” said Joran Aulin-Jansson with Tower AS (Norway Chess). “Having the world’s best chess players in one circuit is a great way to fuel excitement for the future of chess.”

“The London Chess Classic is delighted to be part of this new venture which we feel sure will greatly add to the public interest in top flight chess,” said Malcom Pein, Director London Chess Classic. “We look forward to the Grand Chess Tour climaxing in London and to further tournaments joining the GCT in coming years."

Participating tournaments are identified as the gold standard for international event organization, setting the model for player conditions, prize funds and spectator experience. Each of the events will cater to live audiences, as well as offer streaming broadcasts complete with grandmaster commentary.


Reminder: Garry Kasparov vs. Nigel Short match begins today

World chess legends Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short will meet later this month for the first Battle of the Legends exhibition match, to be held in Saint Louis, the Chess Capital of the United States.

In only his fourth command of the pieces since retiring in 2005, Kasparov will once again duel famed English GM Nigel Short in the Battle of the Legends match, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis this weekend, April 25-26, 2015.

Both legends will warm up against 20 players in a simultaneous exhibition today at 4:00 p.m. CDT, where spectators are invited to the CCSCSL to mingle with the live event. Then on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, chess fans from around the world are invited to watch Kasparov’s return to action, live on www.uschesschamps.com, where he’ll duke out ten Rapid and Blitz games with Short in an epic rematch of their meeting at the 1993 World Chess Championship.

Format: two rapid and eight blitz games. Time Control: Rapid - 25 minutes, plus a 10-second delay per move; Blitz - 5 minutes, with a 3-second delay. For example, if the delay is five seconds, the clock waits for five seconds before counting down. Schedule:

Date Time Event
April 24 2:45 PM Opening Ceremony & Chess Tour 2015 Press Conference
4:00 PM Simultaneous Exhibition by Garry & Nigel
April 25 2:00 PM Rapid Round 1, Blitz Rounds 1-4
April 26 2:00 PM Rapid Round 2, Blitz Rounds 5-8
5:00 PM Autograph Session with Garry & Nigel

All times are local to Saint Louis, MO, USA (CDT). The rapid games start at 2:00 p.m. = 21:00h CEST – here is the time in your location.  Both match days for Battle of the Legends will be streamed live on U.S. Chess Champs, featuring world-class commentary from International Grandmasters Maurice Ashley and Alejandro Ramirez, as well as post-game interviews and analysis with Kasparov and Short.

Your predictions: tell us what you think: Will Kasparov whop Short, will the active grandmaster punish the retiree who has been inactive for ten years now, or is it too close to call? Predict a final score for the two rapid and eight blitz games and win a copy of Nigel or Garry's ChessBase DVDs.


Links

The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.