Magnus Carlsen To Lead Norway At European Team Championship

Magnus Carlsen To Lead Norway At European Team Championship

Nov 7, 2015, 6:38 AM |
16 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen will be among the players at the European Team Championship, which will start 13 November in Reykjavik, Iceland.

With players like Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Dmitry Jakovenko, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Michael Adams, the 2015 European Team Championship will surely be one of the strongest ever.

This year the competition takes place 13-22 November in Reykjavik, Iceland. It will be a team event played over four boards, with an open and a women's section, so it's similar to an Olympiad.

The playing hall won't be in Harpa, the beautiful concert hall in the harbor known from the Reykjavik Open. However, “the venue where Fischer-Spassky took place” doesn't sound bad either!

We're talking about Laugardalshöll, an indoor sporting arena built in the 1960s and extended 2006. It is used for various sports, such as handball, basketball, volleyball and athletics, and concerts.

In this video from the AP Archive we can see Fischer and Spassky arriving at (and leave for) the Laugardalshöll for their 13th match game in 1972.

Fast forward to 2015, when the first western world champion since Fischer will be the first to play chess in the same venue.

Magnus Carlsen will be leading the Norway team, even though the country isn't sending its best possible squad. OK, Norway's number two Jon Ludvig Hammer is there, but #3 and #3 GM Simen Agdestein and GM Kjetil Lie are not.

The team is completed by three IMs, all younger than Magnus himself: Aryan Tari, Frode Urkedal and Johan Salomon. That means the team won't be competing for the top prizes, and Carlsen will probably face multiple opponents that are weaker than he's used to at super tournaments. will be providing a daily live broadcast on with commentary by GM Simon William and guests. Between 13 and 22 November (except for a rest day on the 18th), tune in from 3pm local time (7am Pacific).

The top seed in Reykjavik is Russia, who will play with GMs Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Peter Svidler, Dmitry Jakovenko and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Next on the list is Ukraine, with Vassily Ivanchuk, Pavel Eljanov, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Alexander Areshchenko and Anton Korobov.

Another clear favorite is Azerbaijan, who are bringing their five best players: Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Arkadij Naiditsch (his first team event for his new federation), Rauf Mamedov and Eltaj Safarli. Other teams to look out for are England, France and especially Armenia, who tend to play very well in team events.

You can find all teams and its players here at Chess-Results.

Seventh seeded Hungary will bring Judit Polgar as their team captain. It will be the first time for her in this role; the chess legend retired from competitive chess a year ago.

Judit Polgar will be the team captain for Hungary.

Iceland, the organizing country, will play with a main team but also with a team of legends: Helgi Olafsson, Johann Hjartarson, Jon Arnason, Margeir Petursson and the now 80-year-old Fridrik Olafsson — a former elite player and ex-FIDE President.

At the time of writing 36 teams have entered the competition. Almost all are coming with five players; there's now a total of 177 participants, including 133 GMs, 31 IMs and 11 FMs.

In the women's section Russia is also the top seed, with GMs Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina, Kateryna Lagno, Russian Champion WGM Aleksandra Goryachkina and IM Anastasia Bodnaruk.

Their biggest rival must be Georgia, a team whose line-up is almost the same as that of Nona chess club, the winners of the European Club Cup last month: Nana Dzagnidze, Bela Khotenashvili, IM Nino Batsiashvili, IM Lela Javakhishvili and IM Meri Arabidze.

The winning team in Skopje — will the Georgian ladies do it again in Reykjavik?

The tournament is organized by the Icelandic Chess Federation under the auspices of the European Chess Union (ECU). Each federation affiliated with the ECU has the right to enter one team of four players and one reserve in the open competition and the same for the women’s competition.

The Championships will both be played over nine rounds according to the Swiss system. The time control will be 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game + 30 second increment for every move played, starting from move one.

The total prize fund is 20.000 EUR, with a 5,000 EUR (U.S. $5,500) first prize in both sections. The first three teams in both sections will receive trophies and medals. will be providing a daily live broadcast on with commentary by GM Simon William and guests. Between 13 and 22 November (except for a rest day on the 18th), tune in from 3pm local time (7am Pacific).
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