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2016 World Chess Championship Set For New York's South Street Seaport

2016 World Chess Championship Set For New York's South Street Seaport

The world championship match between GMs Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin will be held in the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan. “There was never any doubt about New York,” said Andrew Murray-Watson, communications director of Agon.

Ending months of speculations, the intended location for the FIDE World Championship has finally been confirmed. It will be New York after all.

The match between reigning world champion Carlsen (25) and challenger Karjakin (26) will be held November 11-30  in the Fulton Market Building in the South Street Seaport in Manhattan. This was announced today by Agon, the company that holds the commercial rights of the world championship cycle.

The actual venue will be the historic Fulton Market building, located on the East River in Lower Manhattan, close to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is one of many restored 19th-century buildings in the area. A five-minute walk from Wall Street, the venue will feature “dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more,” according to the press release. 

The Fulton Market building. | Image courtesy of World Chess.

Ilya Merenzon, chief executive of Agon Limited, said: “We are thrilled to hold the championship in such a fantastic venue — a location that befits the status of chess as one of the world’s fastest growing sports both in terms of participation and commercial appeal.”

New York was announced as the location for the match before the start of the Candidates’ Tournament, and it took Agon five more months to reveal the venue. Meanwhile, rumors had grown that it wouldn't be taking place in New York at all. 

“This had nothing to do with the nationality of the participants," said Murray-Watson.  "Securing a great venue in Manhattan for a month is by definition and long and complicated process.”

A design of the playing hall. | Image courtesy of World Chess.

Similar to what the Masters Final tournament in Bilbao used to have, the players will play in a glass, soundproof room on the second-floor atrium of the Fulton Market.

“We wanted to make the experience as great as possible not only for the players, but also for the spectators,” said Murray-Watson. “At the Candidates’, people had to leave their phones and had to be quiet. This will be different in New York.”

The venue, which has been approved by FIDE, will have a seating area with chessboards where spectators can play their own games or mirror the match as it is played. The playing hall will have room for up to 300 spectators with ticket prices up to U.S. $50. Tickets go on sale on August 17 (more information can be found at nyc2016.fide.com).

Let's hope the actual chess set in New York will be set up correctly. | Image courtesy of World Chess.

Agon will be serving many more chess fans online on its website, where games and live commentary will be provided. Details will be announced at a later stage, but “we will not have the same situation as at the Candidates’,” said Murray-Watson. At that tournament, Agon did not allow other media to relay the games live, which led to outrage in the chess scene.

The match sponsors have not been announced yet. Murray-Watson couldn't go into detail, but confirmed that sponsors have been secured. “We have to abide by their timetable and will announce in two to three weeks.”

A design of the VIP area. | Image courtesy of World Chess.

“I knew about the venue for a while but it's good that it has finally been announced,” Espen Agdestein, the manager of Carlsen, told Chess.com. “The difference with previous matches is that this time it's commercially based, so the announcement is therefore more exciting than usual. The place looks really nice. It will become easier to comment upon it when we've actually seen it; we'll go there in September.” 

“The main thing is that the organization is professionally conducted,” Agdestein added. “It's a big job for Agon. I know that they've been working like crazy for a long time. PR, practicalities around venue, sponsors... Chess needs the attention and the world championship is the biggest thing there is in chess. It's a great chance to really get chess on the map and promote the game.”

“I like it very much. It's a big, famous city,” Kirill Zangalis, the manager of Karjakin, told Chess.com. “It's very good that this time nothing has changed. From the start we wanted to play in New York, and now we are sure. I know this city likes chess a lot, and there are lots of chess fans. It's good for chess that we had matches in Chennai and Moscow, and now New York.”

The terras will have beautiful views of e.g. the Brooklyn Bridge. | Image courtesy of World Chess.

The match will consist of 12 classical games and a possible tiebreak. The exact prize fund has not been announced yet but will be at least one million euros (U.S. $1.11 million). Carlsen is the reigning  world champion; Karjakin is the winner of the Candidates‘ Tournament which was held March 10-30 in Moscow.

New York has been the host city of a chess world championship six times before. The first-ever world championship match, between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort in 1886, was played partly in New York (with St. Louis and New Orleans). The last time was in 1995, when Garry Kasparov won his match for the PCA World Championship against Viswanathan Anand.

2016 World Championship | Schedule

Date DoW Event Holidays
November 10 Thursday Opening Ceremony
November 11 Friday Game 1 Veterans Day
November 12 Saturday Game 2
November 13 Sunday Rest Day
November 14 Monday Game 3
November 15 Tuesday Game 4
November 16 Wednesday Rest Day
November 17 Thursday Game 5
November 18 Friday Game 6
November 19 Saturday Rest Day
November 20 Sunday Game 7
November 21 Monday Game 8
November 22 Tuesday Rest Day
November 23 Wednesday Game 9
November 24 Thursday Game 10 Thanksgiving
November 25 Friday Rest Day Thanksgiving Weekend
November 26 Saturday Game 11 Thanksgiving Weekend
November 27 Sunday Rest Day Thanksgiving Weekend
November 28 Monday Game 12
November 29 Tuesday Rest Day Possible Closing
November 30 Wednesday Tiebreaks/Closing

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