Christmas Chess

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
ChristmasChristmas is a time for trees, presents, families, holidays, old men in red suits, snow, reindeer, and... chess. For anybody who wants to focus on that last one, here's an overview of all tournaments that are taking place this period.

FIDE Grand Prix, Elista, Kalmykia In case you had missed it. Carlsen is out of the Grand Prix, Adams too, and Al Modiahki and Pelletier as well. Akopian, Alekseev, Eljanov and Kasimdzhanov are in, and all present in Elista together with ten others; Gashimov and Grischuk are leading after nine rounds. Last four rounds on December 25, 26, 27 and 28. It's part of the Grand Prix Series, which consists of six tournaments in total. And yes, it's also part of the World Championship cycle. In one way or another.

Chess Festival, Groningen, The Netherlands A big open (nine rounds, Swiss, an A and a B group) which started last Sunday already and finishes on the 30th, some smaller opens which start on the 26th and this year there's also a 4-game match (the "University of Groningen Challenge") between two Olympiad team members, GMs Jan Smeets and Jan Werle.

XVIII Torneo Internacional, Pamplona, Spain There's an open, but there's also a round-robin group, and both already started. In the Masters section, Vallejo Pons began with two wins; he plays with Delchev, Malahkov, Roiz, Nepomniachtchi, Sasikiran, Salgado Lopez and Caruana.

World Chess Open, L?ɬ©on, Spain A new kid in town. It's another nine-round Swiss, but played in just one weekend: 26-28 December. This is possible because of the rate of play: just 40 minutes plus 3 seconds per move. It looks like organiser GM Romero Holmes managed to collect a big group of old friends, because on the participants list we see names such as Andersson, Beliavsky, Ljubojevic, Kortchnoi, Timman and Jussupow (the whole family!).

Czech Chess Christmas 2008, Litomysl, Czech Republic Despite its name, this one actually starts one day after Christmas: 26 December-2 January a nine-round Swiss will be held. We couldn't find a list of participants yet.

Open de Noel 2008, Vandoevre, France You guessed it correctly: another nine-round Swiss! Top players include Christian Bauer (2592) and Dmitry Svetshkin (2588).

Brugse Meesters, Bruges, Belgium The Royal Chess Club of Bruges celebrates its 75th birthday with an international open, next to its traditional youth tournament. The open takes just five days (December 26-30) to go through the unavoidable nine rounds. Gurevich, Rozentalis and Miroshnichenko are the strongest there.

51st Torneo di Capodanno, Reggio Emilia, Italy Besides several open groups, there's the traditional 10-player round-robin which was won by Zoltan Almasi last year. He defends his title against Ni Hua, Dreev, Gustafsson, Landa, Marin, Leon Hoyos, Cebalo, Shytaj and Ronchetti.

Chess Congress, Hastings, England Still the oldest tournament in the world. This year's congress will take place between December 28 and January 5, with amongst others Berg, Kurnosov, Howell, Neverov, Jones and Conquest.

Rilton Cup, Stockholm, Sweden Another one with a long tradition, running from December 27 to January 5. While top player Berg chose Hastings this year, Andersson might be back from Spain in time to do the traditional commentary. Strongest participants are Kuzubov, Wojtaszek, Safarli, Iljushin and Yevdokimov.

Internasjonale Sjakkfestival, Gj?ɬ?vik, Norway This festival runs December 29-January 7 and has a very special invitation group with Carlsen, Svidler, Nakamura and Lie (instead of Agdestein, who's name had been put in advertisements and posters already before anything was signed). On New Year's Day European Champion Tiviakov will give a clock simultaneous display.

There will surely be many more tournaments taking place these days, but these seem to be the biggest ones. Most of them provide live games so enough chess to finish this year 2008!

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