Zurich Challenge with new time controls

by ChessBase
11/2/2015 – For the Zurich Chess Challenge, in February with world class players, the organisation has implemented a new time control: 40 minutes per game with additional ten seconds for each move, and two games per day. "We think that in the future classical chess needs to become faster." Winning gets you two points, a draw one point, while the blitz round is traditionally scored. Press release.

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5th Zurich Chess Challenge 2016
Promotion of a new time control

Zurich Chess Club

Press Release

From 12 to 15 February 2016 the world chess elite will arrive again in Zurich for the fifth edition of the Zurich Chess Challenge at the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville.

The oldest chess club in the world and its honorable member Oleg Skvortsov suggest a most important innovation for the future of new classical chess with a new time control of 40 minutes per game with additional 10 seconds for each move. We think that in the future classical chess could pass to one hour control for each player. We have come to the conclusion that the game needs to become faster. We preserve the Zurich system of point control but for another format. There are two points for a victory, one point for a draw in new classical chess and 1 point for a victory and 0.5 points for a draw in a blitz. All games of our tournament will be commented live and broadcast worldwide live via Internet on www.zurich-cc.com.

The main sponsor of the Zurich Chess Challenge, Oleg Skvortsov


# Player
1 Viswanathan Anand
No. 3
2 Vladimir Kramnik
No. 4
3 Hikaru Nakamura
No. 5
4 Levon Aronian
No. 7
5 Anish Giri
No. 9
6 Alexei Shirov
No. 51

Ratings according the FIDE November 2015 list – Average: 2773 = Category XXI


Friday February 12 6 p.m. Opening Ceremony, concert, Blitz
Saturday February 13 3 pm first round, 6 pm second round
Sunday February 14 3 pm third round, 6 pm. fourth round
Monday February 15 3 pm. fifth round, 6 pm. blitz, closing

The concert on the first day is by the world renowned cellist Boris Andrianov (the first Russian cellist to become a laureate at the 6th international Rostopovich competition in Paris). Also invited is the Russian classical guitarist Dimitry Illarionov and one of the brightest violinists Alena Baeva. The blitz tournament on the same evening is not counted but used to determine the colors distribution of the new classical games. The final blitz tournament on Monday is with inverted colors of the new classical games. The Closing Ceremony is at 8 p.m. Spectators are welcome, entry free.

Sponsors: Zurich Chess Club (founded 1809, Savoy Chess Corner, "IGC International Gemological Laboratories" (this is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. IGC is the Russsian branch of GCI - a group of gemological laboratories worldwide).

The venue

The tournament takes place in the time-honored Hotel «Savoy Baur en Ville» (Paradeplatz,
Zurich, Switzerland) in the «Festsaal», the venue of many a famous chess event in the past.

The main sponsor, «IGC International Gemological Laboratories», is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. IGC is the Russian branch of GCI, a group of gemological laboratories worldwide.

Co-Sponsors: Savoy Chess Corner, Zurich Chess Club (founded 1809, the oldest existing chess club in the world). Organisation: Schachgesellschaft Zürich (Zurich Chess Club). Contact: media@sgzurich.ch

The Schachgesellschaft Zürich, which was founded in 1809. Its historical development has been retraced by Richard Forster and Christian Rohrer in a series of articles for us:

Innovation and creativity

The Zurich Chess Challenge is now in its fifth year, and is the brainchild of Russian chess patron Oleg Svortsov. This is more than just a tournament, as he has tried to innovate in each edition with ideas to combine world class chess with a format that appeals to the general public. Here is a look at the previous formats and the guiding concepts that drove them, all from Oleg Svortsov's creative mind:


The very first official Zurich Chess Challenge was a match between the top players Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian. It was scheduled for six games played at standard time controls of 40 moves in two hours, followed by 20 moves in one hour, and finally the rest of the game in 15 minutes with a 30-second increment as of move 61. This made plenty of sense since it was viewed as a public training match by the two players in preparation for the forthcoming Candidates.

The touch of innovation came in the addendum to the rules: if a game ended in a draw within three hours or less, an additional Rapid game would be played, not counting for the overall score, but ensuring fans would always enjoy four hours of chess action per round, come what may.

All ChessBase reports on 2012 Zurich Chess Challenge


The following year, the format was expanded to include two more players for a full double round-robin tournament of classical chess with the four elite players Vladimir Kramnik, reigning World Champion Vishy Anand, Fabiano Caruana, and Boris Gelfand, who had just played for the World Championship the year before in 2012.

Once more the idea of guaranteeing chess action for the fans was included, though this time the rules stipulated that if a draw was concluded before move 40, an additional Rapid game would be played, which would not count toward the overall score.

All ChessBase reports on 2013 Zurich Chess Challenge


In 2014, the Zurich Chess Challenge was reformulated quite thoroughly by Oleg Svortsov. That year, instead of four players playing a double round-robin, six were invited, including the new World Champion Magnus Carlsen, as well as top American player Hikaru Nakamura. The previous players from 2013, Anand, Aronian, Caruana, and Gelfand,  were all invited back.

The concept of a rapid in the event of a draw in 40 moves or less was maintained, but two important changes were instituted:

1) The scoring of the classical games was doubled to two points for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss, because on the final day there would be a round-robin rapid event in which the rapid games would be scored normally. I.e. be worth half the effective points as the standard games.

2) This second change was enjoyed greatly, and as a result, tournaments all over began to follow suit: instead of a drawing of lots, in a fairly lackadaisical ceremony involving drawing papers out of a bowl (and variations thereof), a blitz tournament was organized in which the final standings would determine their numbers, and more importantly: who played with more whites!

All ChessBase reports on 2014 Zurich Chess Challenge


The formula in 2014 had been a huge success, and was maintained in 2015 with a slight difference in the lineup. The players were Nakamura, Anand, Caruana, Kramnik, Aronian, and Karjakin.

To say nothing was changed or innovated would be incorrect though. If the main competition was kept intact, another delightful event was conducted simultaneously, a match between legends at the board: Viktor Korchnoi and Wolfgang Uhlmann.

All ChessBase reports on 2014 Zurich Chess Challenge

Although the big name behind the series is Oleg Svortsov, an unsung hero that must not
be overlooked is his wife, Natalia Svortsov, one of the strong forces behind the tournament.


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 there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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