Announcement | November 27, 2012 9:56

Anand, Kramnik, Gelfand, Caruana in Zurich Chess Challenge

The Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich

The World Champion Viswanathan Anand, his most recent challenger Boris Gelfand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and rising star Fabiano Caruana will be competing in the second Zurich Chess Challenge. From 23 February to 1 March 2013 they will face each other in a double round-robin tournament at the Savoy Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. In the first Zurich Chess Challenge, Vladimir Kramnik faced Levon Aronian in a match, in April 2012.

The Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich, where the tournament will be held

After a successful first Zurich Chess Challenge, the match between Aronian and Kramnik in April 2012 (which ended in 3-3), main sponsor Oleg Skvortsov decided to organize a new event. Staged by the Zurich Chess Club, a 4-player double round robin will be held with four of the strongest players in the world: Anand, Caruana, Gelfand and Kramnik. The event will take place 23 February to 1 March 2013 at the Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich.

The games will be played with a classical time control of 2 hours for 40 moves, 1 hour for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes plus a 30-second increment for the remainder of the game. In case of a draw before move 40, an additional exhibition (rapid) game will be played (result not counting).

Main sponsor Oleg Skvortsov of International Gemological Laboratories (Moscow) is a real chess lover. He also made possible the Aronian-Kramnik match and the recent friendly match between Dmitry Andreikin and Ian Nepomniachtchi. IGC is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification, man-made/synthetic diamonds and imitation detection as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation.

The 2013 tournament marks the 60th anniversary of the legendary Zurich 1953 Candidates' Tournament. It was the strongest tournament of the 1950s, with the best grandmasters in the world, with the exception of world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. Sixty years ago the fight for first place was also mainly between four players: Smyslov, Keres, Bronstein and Reshevsky. Smyslov won the tournament, and Bronstein would write a book which is still considered to be one of the best chess books ever written. 

For Kramnik and Gelfand the super tournament in 2013 in Zurich will be a kind of "dress rehearsal" for the highly important London Candidates Tournament a month later, which will select a challenger for the Anand in the next World Championship match. With the participation of the World Champ himself and rising star Fabiano Caruana, the Zurich Chess Challenge promises to be one of the highlights of the upcoming chess year.

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Morley's picture

Looks like a good event, though I would have preferred another top-5 one-on-one match like last year.

Anonymous's picture

They probably chose this format because it gives the same number of rounds but with two games per round.

redivivo's picture

It's less than three weeks between this tournament and the start of the Candidates, so the talk about how much Gelfand and Kramnik are saving preparation and not trying to win will reach fever high long before it even starts. Considering the small field Anand might have decent chances to win his first tournament in five years, even if I'd bet on Caruana.

Morley's picture

I can't wait to see what killer prep Gelfand is saving for the Candidates against the Dutch, because he was clearly hiding it today.

Thomas's picture

Gelfand's score with white against the Dutch this year is now 0.5/5: losses against Nakamura in Wijk aan Zee and Ivanchuk at the world blitz championship, a loss against Simon Williams (Elo 2496) and a draw against van Wely at the European Club Cup - in fairness, he obtained and then blew a completely winning endgame in the last game.

Today the surprise effect may have played a role, apparently it was Kamsky's third-ever Dutch (maybe inspired by Williams?). But Nakamura plays it every now and then, and Williams published a DVD on "the killer Dutch". Maybe not preparing in detail for a pretty uncommon opening is a pragmatic approach which can backfire once in a while?

RealityCheck's picture

Ask any serious chessplayer how winning a few random Super Duper Tournaments stacks-up to winning four World Championship Matches in the last 5 years.

S3's picture

Sad little man, try to enjoy things for once. This will be fun!

redivivo's picture

I think it would be more fun if 2 of the 4 participants weren't playing their most important tournament of the year a couple of weeks later. They could have invited some other top players than those guys, since no one will expect them to make a serious effort in this event.

Anonymous's picture

very good point.

harvey's picture

Finally Anand? Not too early...

RG13's picture

I too think that the World Champion will surprise his critics and actually win this thing.

Sam M's picture

Anand should do himself and us a favor and just stick to playing exhibition games. He has nothing exciting to show against the likes Carlsen, Aronian, Caruana or Sergey these days...

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