Linares cancelled for second consecutive year

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0 | Chess Event Coverage

For the second year in a row there will be no super tournament in the town of Linares, Spain. The reason is not a lack of financial means, but of proper dates in the chess calendar. This was confirmed to us today by the organizers.

During the final weekend of this year's Tata Steel tournament, the organizers of the Magistral de Ajedrez Torneo Ciudad de Linares visited Wijk aan Zee and had talks with the organizers of the other Grand Slam tournaments. As a result, the Grand Slam Chess Association issued a press release that included good news: after missing out in 2011, there would be a new tournament in 2012. Unfortunately today it became clear that the news was issued prematurely: there will be no "Wimbledon of Chess" in Linares, for the second consecutive year.

Last year, also early April, we had to bring similar bad news when the 2011 edition was cancelled. The organisers had difficulties in finding a venue in another country (which would cover a share of the costs) and couldn't find dates in the chess calendar. Back then, the next edition was planned for March 2012.

But this year the Spaniards didn't yet manage to revive the tournament. Again, the aim was to find a venue to share the costs of the competition, as happened from 2006 to 2008 with the Mexican city of Morelia. Francisco Albalate, technical director of the organizing committee, emphasized to Diario Jaen that the reason was not a lack of financial means, but of proper dates in the chess calendar.

We haven't yet finished our talks with Mexico, and now the lack of dates has been crucial to postpone the event for the second consecutive year.

As Prensa Latina reports, the talks with the desired co-organizer, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, were delayed too much. Now, the organizing committee has run out of time, because the chess calendar is too full for the rest of the year. Today Albalate confirmed independently to us that the tournament is off.

One detail to note is that the winner of Linares 2012 would qualify automatically for the Grand Slam Masters Final, which will be held September-October 2012 in Bilbao and another city, probably Sao Paulo again. This means that one qualification spot will have to be filled differently by the Basque organizers, either by picking the highest ranked second-place finisher or using a wild card.

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