Topalov Quits Grand Slam Final

Topalov Quits Grand Slam Final

SonofPearl
SonofPearl
Aug 9, 2009, 10:41 AM |
15 | Chess Event Coverage

Veselin Topalov (pictured) has pulled out of the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao.  The apparent reason is a financial one, although the prize fund has not yet been confirmed.  It seems the harsher financial climate this year may shoulder some of the blame.

He will be replaced by Lev Aronian, who placed second in the qualifying event that Topalov won (Pearl Springs).

The other qualifiers will be participating as planned.  The double round-robin event runs from the 6-12 September and features:

 Sergey Karjakin   Won in Wijk Aan Zee 
 Alexander Grischuk   Won in Linares
 Alexei Shirov  Won in Sofia (M-Tel)
 Lev Aronian  Runner-up in Nanjing (Pearl Springs) 

 

From the press release:

The Masters Final 2009 will be held in Bilbao from September 6th to 12th

The II Grand Slam Final Chess Masters 2009 will be held in Bilbao from September 6th to September 12th on the same stage that hosted the 2008 Bilbao Masters Final. Therefore, the Bilbao Plaza Nueva (central square), in the heart of the city, will again host the great glass cube that made it possible last year for a tournament of such prestige to be played outdoors for the first time in the public domain.

The Masters Final 2009 is played exclusively by the four winning players of the tournaments that, along with Bilbao, make up the Grand Slam Chess Association and are among the best tournaments in the world: Corus Wijk aan Zee, Holland; Ciudad de Linares, Spain; Mtel Masters, Sofia, Bulgaria; and the Pearl Spring Tournament of Nanjing, China, this year incorporated into the Grand Slam.

The four chess players who will compete in the Bilbao Final are Sergey Karjakin, the winner of Wijk ann Zee, Alexander Grischuk, winner of Ciudad de Linares, Alexei Shirov, winner in Sofia, and Levon Aronian, second-place winner of Nanking – since as Veselin Topalov, winner of Nanking, has refused the invitation to play the Final.

For the Organizing Committee, along with institutions, sponsors and partners, the international economic situation has been a determining factor to decide that, in this Final, the budget and prizes must be tightened up in order to be sensitive to the social effects derived from the crisis. This approach doesn’t meet the expectations of Veselin Topalov, who also has valued the hardness of the Final Masters. The World Championship that he will play is just around the corner, and these factors have led him to refuse the invitation of the Grand Slam.

The organisers have confirmed that all those aspects which contributed to the excellent results achieved in 2008 are all to be expected again this year as well as the great turn-out that was witnessed both locally and internationally. A varied programme of extra events, the “expert’s spot” commentary and analysis area for all audiences to follow, big screens, live internet transmission, the great glass cube and media representatives from every continent are all also to be expected at the event. And, most importantly, the hosting of an elite chess event outside, amongst the greater public.

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