What's Next? Gibraltar & Zurich!

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 1/27/14, 10:18 AM.

The Tata Steel tournament is over, and the Candidates are more than a month away. But the chess fans don't need to wait long for more exciting games: on Tuesday the Gibraltar Chess Festival starts, and on Wednesday the Zurich Chess Challenge! The following text is largely based on the press releases from the organizers.


The 2014 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress is the 12th edition of the annual tournament in Gibraltar, held in the Caleta Hotel. This edition will be the biggest tournament yet with some 70 grandmasters from all over the world. The number of entries in the Amateur and Challenger events has also risen with a record high of around 130. This year the number of different federations represented is 60.

The playing hall in the Caleta Hotel | Photo © Sophie Triay

The oldest competitor is George Ellison from England who is attending the festival for the first time. He is 81. The youngest, Viviana Galván Cipriani, from Spain, is only 9. There are players from Mongolia who have made the journey: the first ever participants from this nation. Six Chinese are taking part, including 14-year old Wei Yi, already ranked number ten in his country, as well as last year's top female, Zhao Xue.

The 2013 champion, Nikita Vitiugov, whose exceptionally cool nerves under pressure led grandmaster commentator Simon Williams to dub him the 'Iceman', also returns to the Rock, as does Nigel Short, who so nearly won again last year.

Michael Adams, UK number one and world number 13, will have his own ideas about the destination of the £20,000 top prize, as will Vassily Ivanchuk, from the Ukraine, who holds the Gibraltar record score of 9/10, set in 2011.

Former Russian women's champion Natalia Pogonina, who has over 100,000 Twitter followers, makes her second visit.

GM Simen Agdestein of Norway gave a clock simul on Sunday night

All games will be commented live by GMs Simon Williams and Irina Krush and broadcast world wide live via Internet on www.gibraltarchesscongress.com. There you'll also find more information, as well as Masterclasses and interviewsThe festival runs until Thursday, February 6th.

IM Tania Sachdev of India also gave a simul

On Wednesday the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 starts. The venue is the ballroom of the Hotel Savoy. It is the first tournament in the history of chess to reach category 23 with an amazing average rating of 2801. 

The star of the tournament will be the newly crowned World Champion Magnus Carlsen. During his first tournament appearance since winning the world title last November, the 23-year-old Norwegian will compete against his predecessor and former World Champion, Viswanathan Anand of India (number 9 in the world rankings), the Armenian Levon Aronian (2) who just won the Tata Steel tournament for the 4th time, the American Hikura Nakamura (3), the US-Italian Fabiano Caruana (6), as well as the Israeli Boris Gelfand (8).

There will be many famous guests at the tournament as well, including Peter Leko, Jan Timman and Gennadi Sosonko. Further, the Chinese Women's World Champion Hou Yifan will attend and will be playing a clock simulagainst 6 top Swiss juniors on 1 February at 1 p.m. at the Zurich “Zunfthaus zur Saffran”.

For the Zurich Chess Challenge, a blitz tournament will determine the color distribution on the first day. Five rounds of classical chess will then be played from Thursday to Monday (30 January to 3 February), followed by a rapid tournament with reversed colors on the last day (4 February). A won game in the classical tournament counts two points, draws one point. Wins in the rapid tournament count one point and draws half a point. All games will be commented live by GM Yannick Pelletier and IM Werner Hug and broadcast world wide live via Internet on www.zurich-cc.com.

The Zurich Chess Club was founded in 1809 and is the oldest active chess club of the world. With the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 it will continue its long-standing tradition of hosting top-level tournaments, which have included such memorable events as the Candidates’ Tournament in 1953, the simul and rapid tournament of all living world champions at the Zurich main train station in 2009, the Zurich Chess Challenge 2012 with Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik as well as the Zurich Chess Challenge 2013 with the four grandmasters Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand.

The main tournament sponsor is chess enthusiast Oleg Skvortsov from the International Gemological Laboratories of Moscow, Russia.

9439 reads 34 comments
8 votes


  • 3 years ago


    @nonzer0.....If Carlsen and Aronian were the only participants it would be a match and not a tournament.  However, there is a good possibility that the two will be playing each other in the next World Championship so you may get your wish.

  • 3 years ago


    Some venue needs to make a tournament with only Aronian and Carlsen competing, in order to achieve a ridiculous category 24! They could even invite one person out of {Kramnik, Topalov, Caruana, Grischuk, Nakamura}, and it would STILL be a category 24! (just barely though)

  • 3 years ago


    I hope Natalia Pogonina does extremely well in Gibraltar, and I of course am hoping my favorite Boris Gelfand will bounce back from a terrible Tata Steel tournament to take Zurich.  Good luck to the two of them.

    Also looking forward to hearing Irina Krush give commentary in Gibraltar.

  • 3 years ago


    It's gonna be interesting to see how Carlsen will perform.

  • 3 years ago


    I think Aronian could cause an upset for the Carlsen faithfull. Love Carlsen but think he might not be "battle ready" for the tournament

  • 3 years ago


    Oh man.. all that money spent on the Zurich tournament, and they still can't afford the best commentators ? really ? I mean, don't get me wrong, I bet that Yannick and Mr.Hug won't be horrible or anything, but really, with the tournament of this magnitude, you would want the absolute top in commentary too.. I would suggest GM Daniel King and let's say - IM Lawrence Trent or someone like this.. A slight shame I must say.

    Back to the strictly chess topic - I think that Magnus will win.. although Aronian might actually give him hard time in earning 1st prize. I hope it will be an amazing tournament !

    As for Gibraltar.. WOW ! what a great showing ! this will be an amazing open ! can't wait for both ! go go go !

  • 3 years ago


    Hesper, ah yes Aronian and Anand hardly have a chance, i mean they are horrible players and could hardly even draw a game with magnus. (kidding) These guys are amazing! and Magnus won't walk away without a fight! 

  • 3 years ago


    well well well, i can tell the the Zurich chess challenge will be much much much more popular lol. I am excited to see what the players will do, it is almost like the candidates!

  • 3 years ago


    will it be broadcasted at tv here?

  • 3 years ago


    More top games to enjoy while we hide from frigid winter!

  • 3 years ago


    Wow, I'm excited for Magnus' presence in the tournament. Most would probably take a longer break, but he's coming back for more. I wonder if the recent world championship title will affect his performance here. Will the other players be more intimidated? Will Carlsen be more confident? This'll be exciting.

  • 3 years ago


    Magnus understandably will be the favorite in Zurich, but I always go for the underdogs... so I am hoping either Anand or Aronian will come out as the winner...

Back to Top

Post your reply: