World's Top 10 To Play At Norway Chess

World's Top 10 To Play At Norway Chess

PeterDoggers
Feb 17, 2017, 12:00 AM 38,543 Reads 102 Comments Chess event coverage

This week the organizers of the Altibox Norway Chess tournament announced a most spectacular field for the 2017 edition. The current world's top 10 will be playing.

It's the organizers' (and sponsors'!) dream: to have the best players in the world, and only the best players. For this year, the Altibox Norway Chess tournament managed just that.

2017 Altibox Norway Chess | Participants

Rank Fed Name Rating Rank B-Year
1 Carlsen, Magnus 2838 1 1990
2 Caruana, Fabiano 2827 2 1992
3 So, Wesley 2822 3 1993
4 Kramnik, Vladimir 2811 4 1975
5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2796 5 1990
6 Anand, Viswanathan 2786 6 1969
7 Aronian, Levon 2785 7 1982
8 Nakamura, Hikaru 2785 8 1987
9 Karjakin, Sergey 2783 9 1990
10 Giri, Anish 2769 10 1994

A fitting field for celebrating its fifth edition, that would be an understatement. In fact, this list of players begs a comparison with other ultra-strong classical tournaments in chess history. 

A field with all, and only, top-10 players never seems to have occurred. Based on that, Norway Chess will be the strongest tournament ever held, if the current top 10 remains the same. 

The AVRO 1938 tournament had the eight best players of that moment—and no tournament ever repeated that. They were Paul Keres, Reuben Fine (who shared first place), Mikhail Botvinnik, Max Euwe, Samuel Reshevsky, Alexander Alekhine, José Raúl Capablanca and Salo Flohr.

AVRO 1938 | Final Standings

# Name Fed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 Paul Keres Estonia ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½
2 Reuben Fine United States 10 10 11 ½½
3 Mikhail Botvinnik Soviet Union ½½ ½0 ½1 ½½
4 Max Euwe Netherlands ½½ 1 ½1 1 7
5 Samuel Reshevsky United States 1 ½½ ½½ 7
6 Alexander Alekhine France ½½ 0 ½½ ½1 ½1 7
7 José Raúl Capablanca Cuba ½½ ½0 10 ½½ ½0 ½1 6
8 Salo Flohr Czechoslovakia ½½ ½½ ½0 ½0

The Las Palmas 1996 tournament had five of the world's top six players (Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, and Anatoly Karpov), and Vassily Ivanchuk, who was the world number-seven at the time. It was a double round-robin with an average Elo of 2756. 

Las Palmas 1996 | Final Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts SB
1 Kasparov,Gary 2785 2858 ½½ ½½ ½1 ½1 ½1 6.5/10
2 Anand,Viswanathan 2735 2795 ½½ ½0 ½½ 5.5/10
3 Kramnik,Vladimir 2765 2755 ½½ ½1 ½0 ½½ 1 5.0/10 25.25
4 Topalov,Veselin 2750 2758 ½0 ½½ ½1 ½½ 10 5.0/10 24.25
5 Karpov,Anatoly 2775 2683 ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ 4.0/10 20.00
6 Ivanchuk,Vassily 2730 2692 ½0 10 1 ½½ 4.0/10 20.00

A more recent event that should be mentioned is the 2014 Sinquefield Cup. With Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, Veselin Topalov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura, it was by rating the strongest in the history of chess, as measured by actual average Elo ratings of 2802.

Sinquefield Cup 2014 | Final Standings

# Fed Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts Perf
1 Fabiano Caruana  2801 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 3103
2 Magnus Carlsen 2877 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 2822
3 Veselin Topalov 2772 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 5 2807
4 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2768 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 4 2738
5 Levon Aronian 2804 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 4 2731
6 Hikaru Nakamura 2787 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3 2658

Earlier that year the Zurich Chess Challenge was in fact the first-ever Category 23 tournament with an average rating of 2801. That event combined classical and rapid chess.

At the moment the Norway Chess tournament has an average Elo of 2800 exactly. We'll have to wait and see if that will go up; the tournament will be using the June 2017 FIDE ratings.

"The fact that we are the first ones ever to bring together the top 10 players in the world in one tournament shows that Altibox Norway Chess has established itself as the strongest and one of the most important tournaments in the chess world," said the founder of the tournament, Kjell Madland.

"We have, since the tournament’s inception in 2013, wanted to create a unique chess tournament. This shows that we have succeeded."

The 2017 Altibox Norway Chess tournament takes place from June 5 to 17 at the Clarion Energy Hotel and at the Stavanger Concert Hall in Norway.

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