2016 Tata Steel Chess Tournament Officially Opened

2016 Tata Steel Chess Tournament Officially Opened

| 27 | Chess Event Coverage

The 78th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament was officially opened today in the Dudok Huis, a building part of the Tata Steel headquarters in Velsen-Noord, The Netherlands.

The tournament was opened by Theo Henrar, Chairman of the Board of Tata Steel Netherlands. After that the opening ceremony was a mixture of cinematographic and live entertainment, with a special role for the players.

The Chairman of the Board addressing the audience.

First, Anish Giri assisted in the prize giving of the national school championships. Master of Ceremonies IM Hans Böhm noted that the Dutch number one was 21, and got married last summer. Then he asked Giri what was the moment he felt “mature.” 

Giri: “It's probably the moment when you learn to turn on the washing machine. For me that moment was yesterday!”

The Dutchman also gave a brief interview for the tournament's official YouTube account. He admitted that Carlsen is the big favorite on paper. “But this tournament is so long and there are so many interesting players. But interesting players are usually interesting because they give a lot of chances to their opponents!”

After an impressive show performed by two jugglers, the drawing of lot was performed by tournament director Jeroen van den Berg. The result was slightly disappointing for second seeded Giri and also for top seed Magnus Carlsen: both have seven black games, and six white.

The same can be said for Sergey Karjakin, Michael Adams, Pavel Eljanov, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Loek van Wely. The lucky ones, who will have an extra white, are Hou Yifan, Wesley So, Ding Liren, David Navara, Fabiano Caruana, Wei Yi and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Carlsen said he was “a little bit” disappointed about the pairings. “But I was the last one to choose so I didn't have  a choice.” And it's not that he's a bad player with the black pieces! “The last tournament I did very well with Black so I hope to do that here as well.”

Top seeds Giri (l.) and Carlsen will both have an extra black. | Photo courtesy Tata Steel Chess.

At the end of the ceremony the players couldn't simply leave the stage. The ones who were paired against each other for the first round left in duos and all had “step through” juggling clubs that were flying through the air.

Some of them were enjoying this last bit more than others. When asked if he was ready, Michael Adams replied: “Can't wait!” Prompted by his enthusiasm the jugglers changed their clubs for knifes (“made of Tata Steel”), but that turned out to be a joke.

Here's a short video with impressions from the opening ceremony courtesy of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament:

Your reported didn't get a chance to speak to many players, but I briefly asked Wei Yi whether he's looking forward to his very first game against Carlsen. “I'm very excited about this game; I will try to play even better than normal!”

If there's one game that fans are looking forward to, it's this one. It will be played in the third round on Monday, and Wei will have the white pieces. “That's important,” he said. “As White he is very dangerous!” To the question whether he will play for a win, he smiled: “Maybe!” 

Wei Yi waas not the only young man excited about Magnus Carlsen's presence. | Photo courtesy Tata Steel Chess

Schedule & Pairings Masters

Round 1 16.01.16 13.30 CET   Round 2 17.01.16 13.30 CET
Hou - Karjakin   Karjakin - Van Wely
So - Giri   Tomashevsky - Mamedyarov
Ding - Adams   Eljanov - Wei
Navara - Carlsen   Carlsen - Caruana
Caruana - Eljanov   Adams - Navara
Wei - Tomashevsky   Giri - Ding
Mamedyarov - Van Wely   Hou - So
Round 3 18.01.16 13.30 CET   Round 4 19.01.16 13.30 CET
So - Karjakin   Karjakin - Tomashevsky
Ding - Hou   Eljanov - Van Wely
Navara - Giri   Carlsen - Mamedyarov
Caruana - Adams   Adams - Wei
Wei - Carlsen   Giri - Caruana
Mamedyarov - Eljanov   Hou - Navara
Van Wely - Tomashevsky   So - Ding
Round 5 21.01.16 13.30 CET   Round 6 22.01.16 13.30 CET
Ding - Karjakin   Karjakin - Eljanov
Navara - So   Carlsen - Tomashevsky
Caruana - Hou   Adams - Van Wely
Wei - Giri   Giri - Mamedyarov
Mamedyarov - Adams   Hou - Wei
Van Wely - Carlsen   So - Caruana
Tomashevsky - Eljanov   Ding - Navara
Round 7 23.01.16 13.30 CET   Round 8 24.01.16 13.30 CET
Navara - Karjakin   Karjakin - Carlsen
Caruana - Ding   Adams - Eljanov
Wei - So   Giri - Tomashevsky
Mamedyarov - Hou   Hou - Van Wely
Van Wely - Giri   So - Mamedyarov
Tomashevsky - Adams   Ding - Wei
Eljanov - Carlsen   Navara - Caruana
Round 9 26.01.16 13.30 CET   Round 10 27.01.16 13.30 CET
Caruana - Karjakin   Karjakin - Adams
Wei - Navara   Giri - Carlsen
Mamedyarov - Ding   Hou - Eljanov
Van Wely - So   So - Tomashevsky
Tomashevsky - Hou   Ding - Van Wely
Eljanov - Giri   Navara - Mamedyarov
Carlsen - Adams   Caruana - Wei
Round 11 29.01.16 13.30 CET   Round 12 30.01.16 13.30 CET
Wei - Karjakin   Karjakin - Giri
Mamedyarov - Caruana   Hou - Adams
Van Wely - Navara   So - Carlsen
Tomashevsky - Ding   Ding - Eljanov
Eljanov - So   Navara - Tomashevsky
Carlsen - Hou   Caruana - Van Wely
Adams - Giri   Wei - Mamedyarov
Round 13 31.01.16 12.00 CET        
Mamedyarov - Karjakin        
Van Wely - Wei        
Tomashevsky - Caruana        
Eljanov - Navara        
Carlsen - Ding        
Adams - So        
Giri - Hou        


You can find the full pairings of the Challengers here.

The 78th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place in Wijk aan Zee from 15 - 31 January 2016. The Tata Steel Masters will also play rounds in Amsterdam (Science Centre Nemo on 21 January) and in Utrecht (Spoorwegmuseum on 27 January). will be producing the live broadcast for the official website, On we'll be providing three recap shows:

  • Wijk aan Zee highlights - with GM Yermolinsky and Friends - Wed, January 20, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Wijk aan Zee highlights - with GM Yermolinsky and Friends - Thu, January 28, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Wijk aan Zee Recap - with GM Yermolinsky and Friends - Sun, January 31, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
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