Carlsen-Caruana World Chess Championship Venue Set
A rendered image with the design of the playing hall. | Image: World Chess.

Carlsen-Caruana World Chess Championship Venue Set

| 60 | Chess Event Coverage

The venue for the November world chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana will be The College in Holborn, London. This was announced Wednesday by World Chess.

In a live stream on Facebook, World Chess director Ilya Merenzon made the announcement from the World Chess Club bar in Moscow, which was opened in December 2017.

Merenzon revealed that the location will be The College in Holborn, and noted that it used to be part of Central Saint Martins college, a renowned arts and design school where, for instance, Stella McCartney graduated.

"It's kind of filled with a sense of history, art," said Merenzon. "It's historic, it's glamorous... it's really old, so we'll have to fix it up. Now it's mainly used for films. It's a little bit shabby but we'll make sure it's amazing."

Merenzon said that the building has a capacity of about 500 people per day, but the press release speaks of a capacity of 400. 

The building has a theater, which will be used as the actual playing hall.

Merenzon: "There will be a theater setting, a theatric layout. You'll still be able to talk to friends and hopefully there will be a glass wall."

There's no specific website for the building, but it is listed by Location House, a specialist in renting out property for the location of film recordings and events. It mentions a total size of 35,000 square feet (roughly 3,250 square meters) divided over three floors.

"This spectacular building measures 35,000 sq. ft over three floors and is comprised of different sized and styled spaces. It has retained a great number of original features including authentic Victorian furnishings, marble reception areas, and a breathtaking glass-dome roof."

One chess fan was quick to tweet "well, it has toilets," referring to the lack of sufficient bathroom facilities at the venue of the Candidates' Tournament in Berlin.

The location of The College is (very) central London. It's on Southampton Row, just north of the Holborn Underground station, and a short distance from the British Museum.

With his usual bravado, Merenzon claimed in the press release that there are "millions of chess fans in the UK" and that the 2016 match in New York had a total audience "reaching a record-breaking 1.5 billion people."

Numbers provided by World Chess should always be taken with a grain of salt, but the match could definitely be bigger than many recent matches for the world title. If you don't count Gata Kamsky's battle with Anatoly Karpov in 1996, it's the first time an American player has a chance to win the chess crown since Fischer-Spassky, 1972.

Tickets go on sale today on Friday, August 3 at Ticketmaster. Prices will range from 45 pounds ($58.85 / 50.63 euros) to 100 pounds ($130.73 / 112.47 euros). 

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