September 24, 2013 14:10

Kings Tournament & Bilbao are on, but (slightly) weakened

Kings Tournament & Bilbao are on, but weakened

Next month two "Grand Slam" tournaments will take place: the Kings Tournament in Bucharest and the Masters Final in Bilbao. It's great to see these tournaments continuing, but it's clear that both are suffering from the full chess calendar, with (slightly) weaker fields of participants than in previous years.

Late August it was announced that the 7th edition of the Kings Tournament will be held in Bucharest from 6th till 17th October 2013. This year there will be five players: Fabiano Caruana, Ruslan Ponomariov, Wang Hao, Teimour Radjabov and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. 

The last edition, held in November 2012 in Bucharest, was won by Vassily Ivanchuk. After the last round the Ukrainian won the tiebreak rapid match against Veselin Topalov. There were only four participants; the others were Fabiano Caruana and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. In June 2011, Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin shared victory in Bazna/Medias. Carlsen was clear first in 2010 and Ivanchuk won the tournament outright in 2009. No doubt the organizers were trying to have players from the top 5 this year as well, but the full chess calendar spoilt the fun.

Today we also received a press release from the organizers in Bilbao. For a long time it seemed that Mexico City would be co-hosting this traditional tournament, like Sao Paulo and Shanghai had done before. Apparently this didn't work out in the end, so this year it's just Bilbao.

The 6th edition of the Masters Final takes place 7-12 October with four participants: Levon Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Michael Adams. Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand, who played the event many times, are absent for obvious reasons.

The tournament is a double round robin. As always, draw offers are only allowed through the arbiter and the "football score system" will be used again. The venue will be new: the tournament moves from the Alhóndiga to the central atrium of the Mercado del Esanche. The press release also mentions that next year, alongside the Grand Slam Chess Masters Final, Bilbao will also be hosting the European Club Cup.

The Kings Tournament and the Masters Final are both part of what was once the "Grand Slam" of chess, but not much is left of that organization, it seems.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Morley's picture


malper's picture

You call this weak! Come on!

Siniša's picture

No, he call it weakened. There's a difference.

extremophile's picture

well, he call it slightly weakened actually

Thomas's picture

We will actually have "a very strong supertournament" the first half of October, just not at one location and as a comprehensive round robin: the two mentioned events coincide/overlap not just with each other, but also with the Russian championship (Kramnik, Karjakin, Svidler, ...).

I had wondered why Vachier-Lagrave doesn't play at the Paris Grand Prix (along with the other World Cup semifinalist Tomashevsky). I speculate that he doesn't want to play two strong events in a row, even if three others (Caruana, Wang Hao, Ponomariov) play Paris GP and Kings Tournament.

Ivanov's picture

Of course there is the Russian superfinal ( I guess) and also with lineup of practically all 2700, so it is normal to be weak events. Now so many tournaments, chess is growing! I do not see stop until Candidates next year wherever this is.

ShockeR's picture

The organizers should just invite more players than the standard 20 that are playing in practically all events.. Give more chances for others please !

4 and 5 man tournaments are.. ok. But I think at least 6 players double round robin, gives the tournament the "kick" it needs ;)

Just my opinion.

RG13's picture

I agree that more players make the tournaments exciting but I would love to see a quadruple round-robin between four top players. In fact such a format would eliminate more 'luck' than any other.

Anonymous's picture

A triple quadruple round robin between two players would be the best, oh wait, that's the title match.

foo's picture

whats the obvious reason for Anand and Carlsen to be missing?

Morley's picture

They are playing a Rapid 960 Match in November.

Jimbo's picture

They are playing World Championship in November

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