2016 Tata Steel Chess Tournament: Preview

2016 Tata Steel Chess Tournament: Preview

Once again the chess year starts off with one of the most interesting events year-round: the 78th Tata Steel Chess Tournament, held January 15-31 in Wijk aan Zee, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

This historical event offers great excitement as it pairs the very best players in the world with (slightly) lesser known stars, as well as rising super-talents.

Headlining the field is World Champion Magnus Carlsen, last year's winner of the event. 

Magnus Carlsen. 
 
Joining him from the elite ranks include Americans Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So, as well as local favorite Anish Giri.

Anish Giri. 

 

Other notable players include Pavel Eljanov, who made huge headlines last year by advancing to the World Cup Semifinals, Russian Champion Evgeny Tomashevsky, who was the ACP wild card for the event, and the top female player in the world, Hou Yifan.

Lastly (but certainly not least), this will be the super-tournament debut of none other than Chinese wunderkind Wei Yi, whose rating rise over the past few years has mirrored that of Magnus Carlsen.

Chess fans should no doubt look forward to see how Wei Yi fares in his biggest challenge to date, especially his first game against the World Champion himself!

Tata Steel 2016 | Participants, Masters

Name Rating World # Country
Magnus Carlsen 2844 1 Norway
Anish Giri 2798 3 Netherlands
Fabiano Caruana 2787 5 USA
Wesley So 2776 10 USA
Sergey Karjakin 2769 11 Russia
Ding Liren 2766 12 China
Pavel Eljanov 2760 13 Ukraine
Shakhryar Mamedyarov 2747 19 Azerbaijan
Michael Adams 2744 20 Great Britain
David Navara 2730 25 Czech Republic
Evgeny Tomashevsky 2728 26 Russia
Wei Yi 2706 37 China
Hou Yifan 2683 68 China
Loek van Wely 2640 126 Netherlands

In addition to the Masters section the tournament will also feature the Challengers section, which will run concurrently with the main event. The winner of the Challengers will then qualify into next year's Masters event (Wei Yi won quite impressively in 2015).

The participants typically include several locals and other rising talents from around the world, as well as a few experienced legends.

The top seeds are Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Adhiban Baskaran, and Eltaj Safarli, all 2600+ and extremely strong. Representing the youth will be the world's youngest grandmaster, Samuel Sevian, 15, as well as the current youngest Dutch grandmaster, Jorden van Foreest, 16.

Sam Sevian. 

Other qualifiers include Nijat Abasov, who earned his spot by winning the Cultural Village tournament last year. Alexey Dreev, a former world championship candidate, qualified as another ACP wild card.

Benjamin Bok.

Several strong female players will also participate, including GM Ju Wenjun, IM Nino Batsiashvili, and WGM Anne Haast. 

Tata Steel 2016 | Participants, Challengers

Name Country Rating
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu Germany 2679
Adhiban Baskaran India 2653
Eltaj Safarli Azerbaijan 2653
Alexey Dreev Russia 2644
Erwin l’Ami Netherlands 2627
Benjamin Bok Netherlands 2607
Samuel Sevian United States 2578
Mikhail Antipov Russia 2567
Nijat Abasov Azerbaijan 2556
Ju Wenjun China 2548
Jorden van Foreest Netherlands 2541
Nino Batsiashvili Georgia 2485
Miguoël Admiraal Netherlands 2441
Anne Haast Netherlands 2391

The opening ceremony will be held on January 15, and the first round for both sections will take place Saturday, January 16, starting at 4:30 AM PST.

Note that Chess.com will be producing the live broadcast with GM Yasser Seirawan, which will only be available on the tournament website.

For the full schedule of events, please visit here. For more information, as well as photos and videos from previous editions of Tata Steel, visit the tournament's main site.

And look for daily reports here of each round, including photos, games, and quotes from the day's action.

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