Major Upcoming Chess Events

Major Upcoming Chess Events

| 17 | Chess Event Coverage

After a brief lull following the Corus tournament in Wijk Aan Zee in the Netherlands, chess fans face an embarrassment of riches next week as not one, not two, but THREE major events start at pretty much the same time.

One of the biggest and strongest open chess tournaments in the world kicks off in Moscow on the 17th February - the Aeroflot Open.  This orgy of chess actually includes 4 huge open tournaments, but the major event is the A1 Open, a nine-round Swiss where entrants must have a minimum rating of 2550 Elo!  Rounds take place every day from 17 to 25 February. The prize fund is an impressive €70,000, with the winner taking home €21,000 and something that money can't buy - an invite to the Dortmund super-GM tournament in July.

There are currently 69 confirmed entrants including Etienne Bacrot (FRA), Alexei Dreev (RUS), Vadim Milov (SUI), Alexander Onischuk (USA) and Gabriel Sargassian (ARM). Games start at 15:00 hours local time (07:00 EST in the US) each day and live games should be available at the official site

This major event would normally have our undivided attention, but on the same day that Aeroflot starts, so does the long-awaited and much anticipated clash between Veselin Topalov (below left) and Gata Kamsky (below right) in an 8-game match to determine a challenger for Vishy Anand's world championship title.

Despite attempts by Kamsky's team to find funding for an alternative venue, the match is being held in Sofia, Bulgaria, thereby giving home advantage (if that can be said to exist in chess) to Topalov.  The full schedule is:

Feb 16 Opening Ceremony
Feb 17 Game 1
Feb 18 Game 2
Feb 19 Rest Day
Feb 20 Game 3
Feb 21 Game 4
Feb 22 Rest Day
Feb 23 Game 5
Feb 24 Game 6
Feb 25 Rest Day
Feb 26 Game 7
Feb 27 Game 8
Feb 28 Tiebreaks/Closing Ceremony

Eight games hardly seems enough for a match, but it's all we are going to get so we will have to savour every single one of them.  Games start at 15:00 local time (08:00 EST in the US) and the prize fund of $250,000 will be shared equally between the players.

If there is a tie after 8 games, 4 tie-break games will be played, with a time control of 25 minutes plus a 10 second increment. If scores are still level there will be two blitz games, and - if needed - a sudden death 'armageddon' game.  The official website has been a long time coming, but is finally available here.  Topalov is certainly the favourite, but Kamsky is a real threat and it should be an exciting match.

Last but definitely not least, perhaps the most prestigious of all chess tournaments, the 'Wimbledon of Chess' - Linares - starts on 18 February.  As usual, the line-up is a roll call of the most brilliant players in the world.  This year's stars are:

Viswanathan Anand (IND) 2791
Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR) 2779
Magnus Carlsen (NOR) 2776
Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 2761
Levon Aronian (ARM) 2750
Wang Yue (CHN)
Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2733
Leinier Dominguez (CUB) 2717

As usual, the format is a double round robin event.  The official site hasn't yet been updated with this year's details but games usually start at 16:00 local time in Spain (10:00 EST in the US).

Look out for updates on all these events at!

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