London Chess Classic innovates with odd number of participants

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London Chess Classic innovates with odd number of participantsWe always wondered how it is possible that many top chess events follow the system of an all-play-all round-robin with an even number of players. Isn't it plain unfair for those players who have to play one more game with the black pieces? Especially when large amounts of money are involved? This situation is exactly what the London Chess Classic will avoid in December this year, by inviting nine participants.

The odd number of participants is the biggest news in the London Chess Classic's press release which was distributed last night European time.

London Chess Classic 2011 dates confirmed.

For general release on 26th March 2011

The dates for the London Chess Classic 2011 have been confirmed and the tournament will be held from December 3-12 at the Olympia Conference centre in Kensington. The tournament will change format slightly with the addition of one more player, making the UK’s most prestigious tournament even stronger.

Each day, one player will have a day off and will assist the LCC commentary team both at Olympia and in the internet broadcast, making the Classic even more exciting to watch.

There will also be five days of junior coaching, a Grandmaster Open, and weekend tournaments for players of all levels. An innovation this year will be a chess festival with lectures, teaching and film screenings. The prize fund has been increased again and will be in excess of €150,000. The lineup will be announced in May.

Malcolm Pein (IM) Tournament Director.


For many tournaments it wouldn't be easy to simply add a player to the field. One effect of this measure is that such a tournament will last not one, but two rounds longer. You can image what two extra days of renting a huge venue does to a budget.

Besides, what about the player who doesn't play? OK, he has a rest day, and so a regular rest day can be removed from the schedule. This is what has been done at several chess tournaments in the past, but there was always the feeling that the solution wasn't perfect. For instance, the players who had a free round on either the first or the last playing day, had a disadvantage as they had to play all their games in one streak.

Note the excellent solution for this in London: the player who doesn't play will assist the commentary team. A wonderful idea, and possibly the only way to make the commentary at the Classic even better than it already is.

It's good to see that the failed negotiations between Malcolm Pein's Chess Promotions and FIDE don't seem to have an effect on the Classic. The confirmation of a third edition in London came half a day before the World Chess Federation announced on Tuesday the new bidding procedure and regulations for the World Championship Match 2012.

The deadline for receiving bids is 30 June, says FIDE. And, as you might remember from the most recent episode of the Full English Breakfast, Malcolm Pein still hasn't given up the thought of having the match in London...
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