Carlsen Returns To Wijk aan Zee; Caruana Plays Gibraltar

Carlsen Returns To Wijk aan Zee; Caruana Plays Gibraltar

| 36 | Chess Event Coverage

Whether it was a coincidence or not, the Tata Steel Chess Tournament and the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival announced their main participants today.

World champion Magnus Carlsen will return to Wijk aan Zee once again. Meanwhile, the world #2 in the live ratings, Fabiano Caruana, is playing "Gib" this year.

Tata Steel Chess Tournament

This will be the 13th time, Magnus Carlsen will play chess in the small Dutch town of Wijk aan Zee. When he played for the first time, in 2004, he won the C-Group (which has ceased to exist) at age 13. Since then, he only skipped the 2014 edition. He has won the top group five times.

One of his rivals will be Sergey Karjakin, his opponent in the upcoming world championship match and the 2009 winner. This way, no matter the result, the organizers have secured the participation of the new world champion—something the Norway Chess tournament has done as well for 2017.

Levon Aronian will be back as well. Currently enjoying a holiday in Iran, the Armenian number-one can look forward to his tenth participation. He has won four times.

Another big rival for Carlsen will be Wesley So. The American grandmaster of Philippine origin has just won his first super tournament: the 2016 Sinquefield Cup. He also played an important role in the gold-winning Olympic team, U.S.A.

After a slight slump, local hero Anish Giri was back on track and played well at the Tal Memorial last month, during which he also became a father. He finished behind Ian Nepomniachtchi, who thus won his first super tournament as well.

Anish Giri attended today's press conference of Tata Steel Chess.

Two Indian grandmasters will be playing, but five-time world champion Vishy Anand is not one of them. Instead, we'll see Pentala Harikrishna and Baskaran Adhiban. The latter edged out Eltaj Safarli and Alexei Dreev on tiebreak last year in the Challenger's group.

The other participants that have been announced are Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Richard Rapport, Wei Yi, and Loek van Wely.

2017 Tata Steel Masters | Top Participants

# Fed Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2853 1 1990
2 Aronian, Levon 2795 5 1982
3 So, Wesley 2794 6 1993
4 Karjakin, Sergey 2772 9 1990
5 Harikrishna, Pentala 2762 12 1986
6 Giri, Anish 2756 14 1994
7 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2749 16 1990
8 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw 2746 17 1987
9 Rapport, Richard 2729 26 1996
10 Wei Yi 2706 39 1999
11 Adhiban, Baskaran 2689 51 1992
12 Van Wely, Loek 2667 80 1972

A 13th player will be announced in November, and the 14th and last participant will be disclosed in December, when the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) has published its new list of eligible players, rated 2750 or higher.

The 79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place January 13-29 2017 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. As in previous years, two rounds will be played in external locations. On January 19, the fifth round will be held in Feyenoord's football stadium De Kuip in Rotterdam. On January 25, the 10th round will be held in theater De Philharmonie in Haarlem.

Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

That other tournament at the end of January, the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, is getting stronger every year. Unlike Wijk aan Zee, this is an open tournament, but nonetheless three top-10 players will be playing: Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura. The latter has won the last two tournaments in 2015 and 2016 (and also in 2008).

Other returning former winners are Michael Adams and Vassily Ivanchuk. The Ukrainian also likes to play draughts these days, so it's good to see that he hasn't completely given up on chess. Boris Gelfand will be making his debut in Gibraltar this year.

2017 Gibraltar Masters | Top Participants

# Fed Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 Caruana, Fabiano 2813 3 1992
2 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2811 4 1990
3 Nakamura, Hikaru 2787 7 1987
4 Topalov, Veselin 2760 13 1975
5 Adams, Michael 2745 18 1971
6 Gelfand, Boris 2743 20 1968
7 Ivanchuk, Vassily 2722 31 1969
8 Hou Yifan 2649 106 1994

The 15th edition of the tournament will take place January 23-February 2 in the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. There will be amateur events alongside the main tournament, as well as an extensive evening program with e.g. different types of blitz tournaments and master classes.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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