More Details Emerge Of Grand Slam Final In Bilbao

More Details Emerge Of Grand Slam Final In Bilbao

| 10 | Chess Event Coverage

The First Grand Slam Final Chess Masters will be taking place between 1-13 September 2008 in Bilbao, Spain.  Just to refresh all our memories, this event, as previously reported, has been conceived as a 'final' tournament pitting the winners of major chess tournaments during the year against one another for ultimate bragging rights and a big fat pay day.

As yet, the full qualification structure is not in place, so some of the entrants have been invited rather than qualified, but nevertheless they have been picked on the basis of their strong form in major events throughout the year.

The participants by right are the three winners of the already established qualifying events:

  • Lev Aronian (winner of Wijk Aan Zee)
  • Vishy Anand (winner of Linares)
  • Vasilly Ivanchuk (winner of M-Tel Masters)

These players are joined by three other invited players:

  • Veselin Topalov (pictured above)
  • Magnus Carlsen
  • Teimour Radjabov

The organisers are certainly making original efforts to make chess more accessible to spectators by placing the players in an "Aquarium" i.e. a giant, soundproofed glass box.  This innovation was first seen earlier this year at the M-Tel Tournament, but in Bilbao the "Aquarium" will be situated outside in The Plaza Nueva in Bilbao, pictured below.

Hopefully the organisers, the Grand Slam Chess Association, have also ensured the glass cube is waterproof, or it may become more like a real aquarium than they would wish!

Another innovation, which is rather more controversial, is the decision to change the scoring system for the event.  Instead of the traditional 1 point for a win, 1/2 for a draw, and 0 for a loss, there will be a new scoring system of 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss as seen in most football (soccer) leagues these days.

It will be interesting to see if this change will reduce the number of draws by rewarding players more for a win, and whether it has an impact on who actually wins the tournament.  Anti-draw offer rules will also be in force.

The time control used will be 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then an extra 60 minutes added to finish the game.

The prizes on offer are:

1st:   150.000 €
2nd:    70.000 €
3rd:    60.000 €
4th:    50.000 €
5th:    40.000 €
6th:    30.000 €

The event will also be Vishy Anand's final preparation before his World Championship match with Vladimir Kramnik is October.

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