Wijk aan Zee: More than chess

by Johannes Fischer
1/10/2017 – The tournament in Wijk aan Zee that starts on Friday, January 13 - the first round begins one day later, January 14, 1.30 pm - promises attractive chess but also offers a lot besides chess. For instance, a football match with the chess stars.

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"In a football match, everything is complicated by the presence of the other team."
Jean-Paul Sartre

Chess players might relate to this insight by the French philosopher. But during the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee the chess players have a chance to test and to show their football skills. As the official tournament page announces, on Wednesday, January 18, "a special football match will take place at second division club Telstar’s stadium in Velsen-Zuid. ... Grandmasters from the Tata Steel Masters and the Tata Steel Challengers will walk onto the field, accompanied by Telstar players, to play a friendly football match. ... The match starts at 13.30 hours and is open to the public free of admission."

Magnus Carlsen (in white) and Loek van Wely (in blue) on
the football field (Photo: Tournament page Wijk aan Zee)

Last year, the grandmasters also fought against and with the Telstar second division players. But World Champion Magnus Carlsen, an ardent football fan, was unimpressed. In February 2016 he visited Hamburg to play a 70-board simul to celebrate the 70th birthday of the German weekly "Die Zeit". In the morning Carlsen prepared for the simul by playing indoors football with chess amateurs from Hamburg and when asked about the football players from Telstar, Carlsen said: "Well, they were not that strong."

Magnus Carlsen in action

Chessplayers and football players

Carlsen's preparation paid off: the World Champion won the simul 68-2. He won 67 games, drew two and lost one.

The famous football star and coach Felix Magath is a great chess fan.
But he lost against Carlsen.

Back to Wijk 2017

Participants of the A-Tournament (Masters)

  Name Country Rating Position
GM Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2840 1
GM So, Wesley USA 2808 4
GM Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2785 8
GM Aronian, Levon ARM 2780 9
GM Giri, Anish NED 2773 10
GM Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2767 11
GM Harikrishna, Pentala IND 2766 12
GM Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2755 15
GM Wojtaszek, Radoslaw POL 2750 18
GM Andreikin, Dmitri RUS 2736 24
GM Wei, Yi CHN 2704 38
GM Rapport, Richard HUN 2702 40
GM Van Wely, Loek NED 2695 49
GM Adhiban, Baskaran IND 2653 102

Participants of the B-Tournament (Challengers)

  Name Country Rating
GM Ragger, Markus AUT 2697
GM Smirin, Ilia ISR 2667
GM Xiong, Jeffery USA 2667
GM Jones, Gawain ENG 2665
GM Grandelius, Nils SWE 2642
GM Lu, Shanglei CHN 2612
GM van Foreest, Jorden NED 2612
GM Bok, Benjamin NED 2608
GM l'Ami, Erwin NED 2605
GM Hansen, Eric CAN 2603
GM Tari, Aryan NOR 2584
GM Dobrov, Vladimir RUS 2499
WGM Tingjie, Lei CHN 2467
IM Guramishvili, Sopiko GEO 2370

Time control
100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves. Then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.


Both groups start on 14 January 2017. All rounds in Wijk aan Zee begin at 1.30pm, except for the last round on 29 January 2017, which begins at 12.00pm. Both rounds on the Chess On Tour days start at 2.00pm.

Saturday, 14. January, 1. Round
Sunday,15. January, 2. Round
Monday, 16. January, 3. Round
Tuesday, 17. January, 4. Round
Wednesday, 18. January, Rest Day
Thursday, 19. January, 5. Round in Rotterdam
Friday, 20. January, 6. Round
Saturday, 21. January, 7. Round
Sunday, 22. January, 8. Round
Monday, 23. January, Rest Day
Tuesday, 24. January, 9. Round
Wednesday, 25. January, 10. Round in Haarlem
Thursday, 26. January, Rest Day
Friday, 27. January, 11. Round
Saturday, 28. January, 12. Round
Sunday, 29. January, 13. Round

Playchess Commentary Schedule

Date Round Round Up (English) Commentary Live Commentary German
14. Jan Round 1 21:30 Yannick Pelletier 13.30 G. Souleidis/D.Kollars
15. Jan Round 2 21:00 Daniel King 13.30 Klaus Bischoff
16. Jan Round 3 21:30 Yannick Pelletier 13.30 Klaus Bischoff
17. Jan Round 4 21:00 Daniel King 13.30 Klaus Bischoff
18. Jan Free Day        
19. Jan Round 5 21:00 Simon Williams 14:00 Klaus Bischoff
20. Jan Round 6 21:00 Daniel King 13.30 O. Reeh/G. Souleidis
21. Jan Round 7 21:00 Simon Williams 13.30 Klaus Bischoff
22. Jan Round 8 21:30 Yannick Pelletier 13.30 Klaus Bischoff
23. Jan Free Day        
24. Jan Round 9 21:30 Yannick Pelletier 13:30 Klaus Bischoff
25. Jan Round 10 21:00 Daniel King 14:00 Klaus Bischoff
26. Jan Free Day        
27. Jan Round 11 21:00 Daniel King 13:30 O. Reeh/K. Müller
28. Jan Round 12 21:30 Yannick Pelletier 13:30 Klaus Bischoff
29. Jan Round 13 21:00 Daniel King 12:00 Klaus Bischoff

Tournament page Tata Steel Chess Tournament...


Tata Steel Festival, Program...

Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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