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.

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Philip Feeley Philip Feeley 4/26/2015 01:47
I wonder why Kramnik declined.
Steven E DuCharm Steven E DuCharm 4/26/2015 03:59
IMO they should double the number of events and participants if possible
firestorm firestorm 4/25/2015 08:35
Kasparov to win at least 7-3, but the article doesn't say how to enter the competition. Doesn't matter I guess, I never win anyway :)
hpaul hpaul 4/25/2015 06:15
There seems to be confusion about who was and was not invited, and why? The announcement was very clear about that: The top ten players on the FIDE January 2015 rating list were invited. Eight of them accepted. The other two were Kramnik (no.8 on the list) and So (no. 10). These did not accept the invitation. The next player on the January 2015 list (no. 11) is Sergey Karjakin, and I guess he has been invited. If he doesn't accept the next players are Mamedyarov (no. 12) and Vachier-Lagrave (no. 13). I suppose the reason the January list was used is that the invitations were sent out then.

As far as this "new series" of tournaments is concerned, the tournaments are of course already on the chess calendar, and several of these top players have been playing in them already. I'm not so convinced that it's a great improvement to limit these tournaments to the same nine players (plus one invitee). Certaingly, the increased prize fund is great for these players, but there's something to be said for variety in competition. I can see a couple of possible drawbacks to this series: 1. With all these top players committing to each of these tournaments, it may make it more difficult to get them to other great tournaments that typically draw some of the top players, such as Wijk aan Zee, the Chess Olympics, Bundesliga, Zurich, and others, not to mention national championships. And 2. The most interesting games are not necessarily played among the top ten players. I often find more fascinating tactics and strategy in tournaments that include players of different levels. Chess is still a game of error, and with fewer errors in a game, you get less fireworks.
pilotplant pilotplant 4/25/2015 05:02
Why wasn't Wesley So invited?? He is higher on the rating list than Aronian and Kramnik (declined) and currently higher on the live list than Giri. I heard today that the other invite will be Maxime Vachier Lagrave who is quite a bit lower on the rating list.
oputu oputu 4/25/2015 04:54
There's so much chess now I can hardly concentrate on my work! Jeez!
Igor Freiberger Igor Freiberger 4/25/2015 04:10
A very nice circuit of great tournaments. But it does improve on already existing competitions. Additions to chess calendar would be outstanding and I hope they do that for a 2016 tour. The top-10 which are not on list are Kramnik and So. The circuit will probably have MVL or Karjakin as the ninth participant and Hammer (NOR), Robson (USA), and Adams (GBR) closing the lists.

Prediction:
GK 1,5:0,5 NS in rapid
GK 3,5:4,5 NS in blitz
KevinC KevinC 4/25/2015 03:46
That is funny: On that list, the 7 of them are the current top 7 in the world per the live list. The "weak" player on the list is Aronian at number 10. Pretty strong list, and although Ding Liren is now 11th on the list, he was lower when they formed this, and he has not yet proved himself in these types of tournaments. I also don't believe he is as big a name as any of the guys on the chosen list.
Van_Phanel Van_Phanel 4/25/2015 03:08
@kaj_te_briga: Because they aren't good enough (ratingwise).

They simply invited the top-rated players going further down the list whenever one of them declined.

By actually reading the article you might have found this out yourself.
kaj_te_briga kaj_te_briga 4/25/2015 02:18
Why there is no players from China?
Sagar Shah Sagar Shah 4/25/2015 12:56
It will be a 1:1 draw in rapid and Short will win 5:3 in blitz.
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