Zurich Chess Challenge 2015 Announced, Carlsen Not Playing

Zurich Chess Challenge 2015 Announced, Carlsen Not Playing

| 75 | Chess Event Coverage

Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Sergey Karjakin and Hikaru Nakamura are the six players who will compete in the 2015 Zurich Chess Challenge.

The tournament will take place February 13-19, 2015 at Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich, Switzerland.

Beating the London Chess Classic and the Tata Steel tournament, the organizers of the 2015 Zurich Chess Challenge have already announced their line-up in a press release on September 16. World Champion Magnus Carlsen won't be playing this year.

The participants will play a single round robin. A blitz tournament on the first day which will determine the pairings.

Five rounds of classical chess will then be played from Saturday, February 14 to Wednesday, February 18, followed by a rapid tournament with reversed colors on the last day (February 19). A won game in the classical tournament will yield two points, draws one point.

Before you think that is just doubling the normal scoring system, note that a win in the rapid tournament counts as one point and a draw as half a point, for the overall standings.

The tournament website is, which at the moment still shows the information of the 2014 edition, won by Magnus Carlsen.

This year the Norwegian won't be defending his title. Oleg Skvortsov, the main sponsor of the event, expressed his disappointment in an interview in Sport-Express:

“In April, when Magnus spoke with students of the Moscow Physicotechnical Institute, he said that he would come to Zurich with a probability of 90 percent. However, after his second place in Stavanger [the Norway Chess tournament - PD] the percent chance of his participation dropped. Carlsen promised to give the final answer immediately after the Olympiad in Tromsø. The answer never came. Mr. Issler [the chairman of the Zurich Chess Club - PD] and I lost our patience.”

However, according to Carlsen's manager Espen Agdestein this version of events is inaccurate. He told Chess24:

“This is just nonsense. I told Skvortsov before the Olympiad that Magnus won't play in Zurich. I haven't heard anything from Skvortsov or anyone else on this after that.”

Skvortsov is the owner of the International “Gemological Laboratories” in Moscow and a passionate chess fan. IGC is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. The tournament is co-sponsored by Savoy Chess Corner and Zurich Chess Club.

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