Radjabov completes field in Bilbao

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Levon Aronian, Viswanathan Anand, Vassily Ivanchuk, Magnus Carlsen, Veselin Topalov and Teimour Radjabov will be the six participants of the first Grand Slam Tournament, held 1-13 September 2008 in Bilbao, Spain. This was confirmed today by organizer Juan Carlos Fern?ɬ°ndez.

The first three participants of the Grand Slam Finals were known for a while already, because these are the winners of the Grand Slam 2008 tournaments: Corus, Wijk aan Zee (Aronian), Morelia/Linares (Anand) and M-Tel Masters, Sofia (Ivanchuk). Magnus Carlsen and Veselin Topalov had joined the field as the two wild cards.

The sixth player was supposed to be the winner of the 4th Grand Slam tournament of 2008, which was scheduled for the end of this month in Mexico City. However, for months and months there was nothing but silence, and now it has become clear that the Mexicans had to withdraw due to "financial obstacles".

Today, Bilbao organizer Juan Carlos Fern?ɬ°ndez confirmed on the phone that Teimour Radjabov will be the sixth participant of the first Grand Slam Final. "He finished third in two of the Grand Slam events [Corus and M-Tel Masters - PD] and so he's a logical choice." Alexander Morozevich would also have been a logical choice, but the organizers preferred to reward Radjabov. "Morozevich hasn't played in any Grand Slam event," Fern?ɬ°ndez added.

The Bilbao 2008 participants: Aronian, Anand, Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Topalov and Radjabov



And what about Vladimir Kramnik? "Of course we have invited him, but he has declined the invitation, due to his world championship match against Anand a month later." Anand himself apparently decided that meeting five of the strongest players in the world makes a decent preparation for this match as well.

Answering the question if all contracts have been signed, Fern?ɬ°ndez replied: "Yes, all players have confirmed. Next week we will distribute a press release with all the details."

No doubt these details will include the venue. The Bilbao organizers are seriously considering similar ideas as the "aquarium" at the M-Tel Masters in Sofia.
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