Cream of world chess to play in new London tournament

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
LondonFor the first time in 25 years, London will have a chess tournament with the world's best players. From December 10 to 17, 2009 a single round-robin with eight players (five world-class grandmasters and three English players) will be held in the capital of the United Kingdom. The tournament boasts a minimum prize fund of € 100,000 and has applied for membership of the Grand Slam. Initiatior Malcolm Pein: "We're going to focus on the public and the media."
PRESS RELEASE

London Chess Centre is proud to announce the hosting of a world-class chess tournament to be held in London in December, 2009. The event will be an elite eight-player all-play-all in the most prestigious tournament in the capital since former world champion Anatoly Karpov won the Phillips and Drew Masters in 1984.

Since then, despite London hosting three world title contests, there has not been a tournament in which England’s leading players could lock horns with the world’s best on home soil. The December 09 tournament will be the first in a series of events designed to reinvigorate UK chess and promote the game and its undoubted educational benefits in schools and communities.

The tournament will be FIDE Category 19 with an average FIDE rating of 2700 and a minimum prize fund of €100,000. The eight players will comprise of three English and five world-class Grandmasters from abroad. Included in the prize fund will be a €10,000 Brilliant Game award along with prizes for each victory with the White and Black pieces. Matches will be covered live online where fans will be able to vote for Game of the Day.

The tournament has applied for membership of the prestigious annual Grand Slam which culminates in Bilbao and boasts a €400,000 prize fund.

The games will be under classical chess time control; 40 moves in two hours, 20 in the subsequent hour then an additional 15 minutes plus an increment of 30 seconds a move until the end of the game. The tournament will further benefit from the use of Sofia Rules which disallow early draws. Players will receive three points for a win and one for a draw.

The opening ceremony will take place on Thursday, December 10 and will include a blindfold chess display and charity simultaneous. Play will take place daily from Friday, December 11 to Thursday, December 17 inclusive.

The list of players and venue will be announced in April.

IM Malcolm Pein Director London Chess Centre


This morning ChessVibes spoke with Malcolm Pein on the phone.

Firstly, why a single round-robin? "For promotional and business reasons a one week event is better. It's hard to keep media focused on an event for much longer than a week in my opinion."

It's a big difference with other Grand Slam tournaments, especially Corus, which has 13 rounds. Wouldn't it be much easier to qualify for Bilbao in your tournament? "We're going for a 2700 average, so I don't think it will be easy to win it. One could say that the physical effort is less, but it certainly won't be easy. And I'm sure the Grand Slam people would love to have a big city included in their Series. It might be a relatively small affair, but it is in the right place."

Can you say something about the sponsors? "At the moment all I can say is that there's a private individual who wants to bring chess back into the UK. The commercial options are still open but the money is there."

I understand that you cannot speak about players yet, but is it your ambition to have both Adams and Short, or will you prefer to give young talents a chance? "We're trying for both."

Your tournament is already special because there will be a brilliant game prize and extra prizes for wins – is this your way of avoiding short draws? Is the Sofia rule not enough? "Yes, that's correct. People can still make a draw if they want to. In my opinion, every game has to matter. By the way, I can add that there will be a bonus for a win with Black."

You're also going for the "football system" with three points for a win, and one for a draw, as was applied at the first Bilbao Grand Slam Final. However, it has become clear that it makes very little difference to the standings of such a tournament. Why did you decide on this? "It's more interesting for the public – we're going to focus on the public, PR and the media."

What kind of venue are you having in mind? A glass cube? "We would certainly like to because it's a fantastic innovation of Silvio [Danailov - CV]. Actually all of his innovations have been great. But we're not sure if it's possible; it depends on the venue.

And what about the future? Will it be an annual event? "If it is a success then yes, but the plan is to lead to more widespread series of events at both local and international level. We might even bid for the WCC final - not Anand-Topalov but perhaps for 2012."
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