Zurich Chess Challenge 2015 announced

by Frederic Friedel
3/7/2014 – Good news: after the resounding success of the Category 23 tournament in February this year the sponsor Oleg Skvortsov, on his 45th birthday, has announced that a new Category 22 or 23 super-tournament will take place in mid-February 2015 in the same location. Oleg is not just a successful business man who loves chess, but a seriously strong player. Birthday portrait.

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The world's oldest chess club, the Schach-Gesellschaft Zurich (Switzerland) and the sponsor of the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 Oleg Skvortsov have announced that a fourth super-tournament will be held in mid-February 2015. It will be a Category 22 or 23 event (the format and invitees will be announced in due course). This was announced on Skvortsov's 45th birthday on Thursday.

The main sponsor of the 2014 Chess Challenge, Oleg Skvortsov,
is the owner of the «International Gemological Laboratories», Moscow

As in February this year the event will be organised by the Zurich Chess Club,
headed by Dr Christian Issler, shown above with Oleg Skvortsov

We recall that these super events with an average rating of over 2800 started in February 2012, with a six-game match between Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik (it ended in a fighting 3:3 draw). Okay, it's not so difficult to get a stratospheric rating average with just two players. In 2013 a double round robin with four grandmasters, which was won by 20-year-old Italian GM Fabiano Caruana.

Finally, in February this year, six participants were invited to the Zurich Chess Challenge. They averaged 2800.83 rating points (which rounds to 2801), making the tournament a Category 23, the strongest in chess history. A section with classical time controls was followed by a Rapid tournament, and the final results were as follows:

The event was a tremendous success and a pleasure to attend. It was conducted in great style in the festival hall of the Hotel Savoy in Zurich.

The Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 was the first time we saw scores of chess
fans lined up outside a playing hall, waiting to gain entrance

That's what you call style! One of the visitors was Charles Aznavour, above with Levon Aronian and
Oleg Skvortsov. The legendary singer, now 89, provided the "musical inspiration" for round four...

... and actually executed the ceremonial first move of the game Aronian-Nakamura

Oleg Skvortsov is not just a successful businessman who loves chess. He actually plays the game, at an almost 2400 level, and has faced many of the greatest chess players in the world personally in friendly games.

Buddies and chess partners: Oleg Skvortsov and Vladimir Kramnik

This year Oleg Skvortsov played a game against reigning Women's World Champion Hou Yifan, rated 2629, the second highest for a female in the history of chess. The game was very sharp and Oleg could have gained a nice initiative sacrificing the queen. In the end he lost, but the World Champion said she was not sure about her position after the possible sacrifice.

Oleg Skvortsov and his opponent Hou Yifan. In the middle is wife Natalia Skvortsova...

... a thoroughly charming lady who we discovered was the driving force behind Zurich 2014.
We suspect that the 2015 super-tournament is a 45th birthday present for Oleg!

In Zurich earlier this year Oleg revealed to us that he was planning to publish a book on his games against famous players. We encouraged him to go ahead with this project and will continue to do so.

Perhaps experienced GMs like Ljubomir Ljubojevic and Genna Sosonko can help with commentary

We wish Oleg Skvortsov all the best for his 45th birthday – good health, success in his business, and for selfish reasons even more success in his chess enterprises. See you again in Zurich next year, Oleg!

Photos: Russian Chess Federation, Chess News, Maria Emilianova, Frederic Friedel

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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