76th Tata Steel Chess Tournament Officially Opened in Wijk aan Zee
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The 76th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament was officially opened on Friday afternoon at the Tata Steel headquarters in IJmuiden, the Netherlands. A spectacular ceremony included a stage performance of actors who recreated the scene of the world famous painting The Night Watch, as a reference to the 4th round that will be held in the Rijksmuseum.
In recent years the opening ceremony was held in a huge white tent that was placed right in the center of Wijk aan Zee, but budget cuts forced the organizers to do without the tent. Therefore, the location of the Tata Steel tournament's opening ceremony was Congress Center of Tata Steel in IJmuiden.
It was Dook van den Boer, Director Strip Products Mainland Europe at Tata Steel Europe,who was the first to address the players, sponsors and friends of the Tata Steel tournament on Friday afternoon. Whereas his speech will be mostly remembered because of the many mispronunciations of players' names ("Caruani", "Gefland"), Van den Boer did what he had really come for: declaring the 76th Tata Steel tournament opened. (Interestingly, in the little booklet with the programme that everyone found on his chair, the dates of the 77th tournament in 2015 could be found on the back page, whereas Van den Boer decided to keep that important detail unmentioned.)
Then the spectacle started. The lights were dimmed, and actors dressed in 17th-century clothing entered the hall, and then the stage. It soon became clear that they were tableau vivant actors who were recreating the iconic image of The Night Watch! With this performance, the organizers were emphasizing their big novelty this year: the 4th round will be held in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and of course its most famous painting is this one by Rembrandt. (The 9th round will also be held elsewhere: at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.)
Then, one by one the participants of the Masters group had to pick one of the twelve actors on stage, who revealed their lot number. As a result, the pairings for tomorrow are Dominguez-Giri, Van Wely-Karjakin, Harikrishna-Aronian, Caruana-Gelfand, Rapport-So and Nakamura-Naiditsch.
More information can be found in our preview article and on the official website. Don't forget that there will be live streaming commentary from Wijk aan Zee which you will be able to follow on Chess.com/TV!
in the front row enjoying Hans Böhm's speeches