This year just bring your brains, gentlemen

by ChessBase
3/12/2003 – The 16th Ciudad de León, June 5–9, will not be an Advanced Chess tournament (like the previous five), with the players using computers during the game. This year they will use their brains and nothing else. But at least these are of very high caliber. The participants are Topalov, Ponomariov, Vallejo and Karjakin, with Elos ranging from 2743 to 2547. Details are to be found here...

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16th Chess Tournament

In a press conference at the Newspaper "Marca" in Madrid the organisers of revealed plans for this year's "Ciudad de León" tournament. In the presence of FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov and the world number four player Veselin Topalov, Marcelino Sión Castro announced that this year the 16th Ciudad de León would be held from June 5th to June 9th, 2003, in the city of León, Spain. But it would be an Active Chess tournament and not a computer assisted event as in the past. In the previous five years León had staged Advanced Chess events, of which one was won by Kasparov, three by Anand and the last by Vladimir Kramnik.

Ruslan Ponomariov, who at the press conference said he would never play Advanced Chess with a computer. He also mentioned that he had not played well in Linares because he had been distracted by FIDE negotiations regarding his upcoming match with Garry Kasparov.

Veselin Topalov said the new Rapid Chess system was at least as valid as the previous one. He said that the only thing that would be really odd for him was to play against people with half his age (one of the participants, Karjakin, is just 13).

The participants

GM Veselin Topalov, Elo 2743, Bulgaria. The 4th player in the last rating list, a very attractive player for the chess fans, his aggressive and ultra sharp style is highly appreciated by the chess enthusiasts. He defeated Kasparov several times and drew an advanced chess match with him at the Ciudad de Leon tournament 1998. He is one of the “local heroes” not only because he lives at the neighbour and also beautiful city of Salamanca, specially thanks to his kindness and exquisite behaviour at the board.
GM Ruslan Ponomariov, FIDE World Champion, Elo 2734, Ukraine. Ponomariov is the successor of Viswanathan Anand as World Champion, with only 19 years old he is firmly established as one of the top players of the world, and became the youngest ever World Champion after defeating Vassily Ivanchuk at the final. This is his first attendance to León.
GM Francisco Vallejo, Grandmaster, Elo 2629, Spain. The most promising player of Spain, he is only 20, but he is already reaching the highest levels of chess mastery. Our young Grand Master was World Champion under 18 in 2000, and faced the strongest opposition at the most important tournament of the world, Linares, in 2002 and 2003. He defended the first board of the national team at the Olympiad of Slovenia 2002 proving he is very near to the top.
GM Sergey Karjakin, Elo 2547, Ukraine. The youngest Grand Maser of History, he was only 12 years when he broke the records previously held by Bobby Fischer and Judith Polgar, he is a serious contender for the title of World Champion in a not so far future. He is trainer of the World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov, who describes Karjakin as a “tactical chess genius”

The venue will be, as usual, the building "Edificio de la Junta de Castilla y León". The players will have 20 minutes for the game with 10 seconds increase after each move. The schedule is as follows:

  1. Friday June 6th: First Semi final Topalov vs Karjakin
  2. Saturday June 7th: Second Semi final Ponomariov vs Vallejo
  3. Sunday June 8th: Final

Arbiter: Joaquín Espejo Maqueda.
Press chief: GM Zenón Franco Ocampos.

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