Announcement | April 20, 2011 21:32

4th Grand Slam Final back to 6 players

The fourth Grand Slam Masters Final will be held from September 25th till October 11th, 2011 and like its first edition, there will be six participants. The tournament, a double round-robin, will again be held in both Bilbao, Spain and a partner city, to be announced. Vishy Anand, Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura have already qualified for the Grand Slam Final.

The dates of the 4th Grand Slam Masters Final were announced today in a press release from the organizers: September 25th-October 11th, 2011. Again, the second half of the tournament will take place in Bilbao, Spain and the first half in a partner city that will be announced soon. Although we don't want to steal a scoop from the organizers, we can reveal that, like last year (when the first part took place in Shanghai, China), there have been serious negotiations with a city outside Europe. After two years with only four participants, the fourth edition will return to the most popular of top tournament formats: a double round robin with six players.

Bilbao 2010

Bilbao 2010, with Kramnik (who won the tournament), Shirov, Carlsen and Anand

So far only two tournaments have been played in this fourth 'Grand Slam season': the Pearl Spring tournament in Nanjing, China and the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Only one more will be played before this year's Grand Slam Final, which is the Kings Tournament in Bazna, Romania (June 10-22, 2011). This means there will be three qualified participants in Bilbao, and three wild-cards. Those players already qualified are Magnus Carlsen (Norway, world’s number two, winner in Nanjing) and Hikaru Nakamura (USA, world's number eight, winner in Wijk aan Zee). In today's press release the organizers also revealed the name of Viswanathan Anand (India, world's number one), who is said to have 'qualified' as the world champion. The winner in Bazna and the two wild cards will be announced later.

Cruise ship

The opening ceremony will take place on the deck of the MSC Opera cruise ship on September 20th at the Bilbao harbour. The ship will weigh anchor immediately for a Chess Theme Cruise. MSC Opera Cruise MSC Cruises and the Bilbao Port Authority are two official partners of this fourth edition of the Grand Slam Masters Final. Together they will offer, through Basque travel agency Romotur, special conditions to those who wish to take part in the Chess Theme Cruise, which will follow the route Bilbao-Gibraltar-Tunisia-Dubrovnik-Venice from September 20th to September 28th.

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


ChessGirl's picture

LOL! The idea of the cruise is very Bilbao style, love it!

Thomas's picture

Do I get this right? Nakamura (and the other players) will have to travel to Bilbao for the opening ceremony - guess their presence is mandatory - then to another location a few time zones away (safe to assume that the other continent won't be Africa ...) then back to Bilbao for the second half of the event.

Creative organizing, but Morelia-Linares (with intercontinental travel in the middle of the event) wasn't exactly popular at least with some world-top players.

Hi's picture

time to give kasparov a wild card !

RealityCheck's picture

Man, Kasparov's irrelevant. He's now a book salesman, a politician, a part time trainer, an under 2000 Elo simul exhibitionist. History.

CAL|Daniel's picture

doesn't defending champion Kramnik qualify?

gg's picture

Aronian won in 2009 but wasn't given a spot in 2010 so I doubt they will change the rules to accomodate Kramnik.

AuN1's picture

They only had 2 spots available after carlsen and anand were automatically seeded into the final. At the very least they could include Kramnik as a wild card, or a Shanghai type tournament to determine the final three participants.

Thomas's picture

"I doubt they will change the rules ..."
Which rules?? Maybe "qualify" was the wrong word from CAL|Daniel, but indeed Kramnik would be a logical wildcard which could already be announced. I also consider Anand a (logical) wildcard rather than a qualifier: noone knew that his match against Topalov was also a Bilbao qualifier, and the organizers hadn't declared that the world champion will always get a Bilbao invitation. As a matter of fact, they might not have invited a WCh Topalov who had declined twice in a row before?
Another story is if Kramnik would even be interested (cf. my comment below): he never played Linares when it was Morelia-Linares ... .

noyb's picture

Kasparov is indeed "history" now, BUT... if he ever chose to play again, you can bet everybody would be scrambling!

brabo's picture

If Fischer would raise from the deaths then I would bet for sure that everybody would be scrambling. LOL

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