Reports | August 07, 2009 16:59

Upcoming: Staunton Memorial and Zürich

London & ZurichBesides the 5th FIDE Grand Prix, two more big events will start this upcoming weekend. Tomorrow already is the first round of the Staunton Memorial - this year a Scheveningen-style match between England and Holland and a second, category 9 all-play-all tournament. On Sunday the Jubilee-Open at the Kongresshaus in Zürich starts, with Alexander Morozevich as top seed.

London honours its chess greats

By Steve Giddins

Yes, it's that time of year again! London's premier chess event in recent years returns to action on Saturday 8 August, at its traditional home of Simpsons-in-the-Strand. The 2009 Staunton Memorial tournament continues its recent trend, by getting bigger and better every year. Sponsored once again by Dutch chess lover, Jan Mol, this year the event has been reformatted, and a second international tournament added alongside.

The main event is a Scheveningen-style match between England and Holland. Each side will have five of their top players, competing in a double-round event. The two sides are as follows:

ENGLAND Rating HOLLAND Rating
IGM Michael Adams 2699 IGM Ivan Sokolov 2655
IGM Nigel Short 2684 IGM Loek van Wely 2655
IGM Luke McShane 2620 IGM Jan Smeets 2632
IGM David Howell 2614 IGM Erwin L'Ami 2593
IGM Gawain Jones 2554 IGM Jan Werle 2575
Average rating 2634 Average rating 2622


In recent years, England have been heavily worsted in the team event against the Dutch, but this year, the hosts are fielding their five strongest active players, and enjoy a small superiority in average FIDE ratings. Even so, with only 12 points separating the two teams' averages, an extremely close and hard-fought battle should be in store.

International chess tournaments in London are rather like the capital's buses - you wait for ages for one, then two come along at once. Alongside the Scheveningen event, the Staunton Memorial also sees a second, category 9 all-play-all tournament, the full line-up for which is as follows:

Name Rating
IGM Jan Timman 2569
IGM Victor Korchnoi 2561
IGM Simon Williams 2527
IGM Peter Wells 2498
IGM Nigel Davies 2493
IM Lawrence Trent 2471
IM Willy Hendricks 2444
IGM Alexander Cherniaev 2428
IM Eelke Wiersma 2403
Terry Chapman 2271
Average rating 2463


Naturally, most eyes will be on the legendary Victor Korchnoi, now aged 78, who comes to the event as the reigning Swiss Champion. He won this title just a couple of weeks ago, and is believed to be the oldest player ever to win a national championship. Top seed on rating, however, is the vastly experienced Jan Timman, who showed fine form just last week, in the Dutch Open at Dieren.

The top-rated English player is "Mr Entertainment", Simon Williams, whose play is always a rich source of creativity. He too is in fine form, having triumphed ahead of Korchnoi in the Open section of the aforementioned Swiss Championship. Indeed, he defeated Korchnoi in that event, in a sharp King's Indian Defence, so we can be sure that Korchnoi will be burning with ambitions
of revenge!

Play in the tournament runs from Saturday 8 August until Monday 17 August inclusive, at Simpsons-in-the-Strand. Games start at 14.30 each day, with the exception of the final round, which starts at 12 noon (note that Saturday 15 August will be a rest day in the all-play-all group; there is no rest day in the Scheveningen event). Entry is free to spectators. In addition, in another new development for the tournament, the games will be broadcast live on the internet. Those wishing to follow the games in this fashion will need to register and pay a nominal fee, details of which can be found here.

Furthermore, the tournament website will carry the traditional daily reports by yours truly, in which the highlights of each round's play will be analysed by a combination of myself, my silicon friends, and the carbon-based entity of Tournament Director, IGM Ray Keene. These reports will be available free of charge.

Bob Wade tribute

In addition to Howard Staunton, this year's tournament also honours another great figure in British chess. Bob Wade OBE, the doyen of British chess, died on November 29th 2008. His last tournament was the Howard Staunton Memorial 2008 and following the end of this year's tournament, a service will be held in his memory.  This will be at Simpson's-in-the-Strand on Monday August 17th at 7.00pm.

All are welcome both for the service and to spectate at the last round preceding it. Complimentary refreshments will be served afterwards and anybody wishing to stay on for the tournament's closing dinner can apply to the Staunton Society  treasurer Clive Davey c/o daveylab@talk21.com for tickets, which will cost £80-00 including wine, service and VAT. THERE ARE LIMITED SPACES FOR THE CLOSING DINNER WHICH WILL INCLUDE CHESS GREATS VICTOR KORCHNOI, JAN TIMMAN, NIGEL SHORT, MICHAEL ADAMS, DAVID HOWELL, LUKE MCSHANE, JON SPEELMAN, GAWAIN JONES ETC---SO PLS APPLY EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.



Celebrating 200 Years of the Schachgesellschaft Zürich -- Events Begin on Sunday

PRESS RELEASE

Sunday, 9 August 2009, heralds the start of the events around the 200-year anniversary of the Schachgesellschaft Zürich. The events begin with the Jubilee-Open at the Kongresshaus Zürich. For seven days, some 600 chess enthusiasts -- worldclass players among them -- will compete in the Open for CHF 100,000 in prize money. The celebration will reach its climax on 22/23 August 2009, when the world's most renowned chess champions will launch a simultaneous exhibition and a rapid chess tournament at Zurich Main Station. Credit Suisse is the jubilee events' main sponsor.

The Jubilee-Open, slated for 9 --15 August 2009 at the Kongresshaus Zürich, will bring almost 600 participants from 43 countries together, chess enthusiasts who range from occasional players through to worldclass champions such as Alexander Morozevich. In the Alois Nagler Memorial (Master Tournament) 44 grandmasters und 46 international masters will compete for the CHF 75,000 prize money offered by the Alois Nagler Foundation. In the Accentus (Swiss Chess) Open, the General Tournament, players will vie for the CHF 25,000 Accentus (Swiss Chess) has sponsored as a prize. The event is open to the public, and the top games will be broadcast live over the internet at www.sgzurich2009-live.ch. Chess enthusiasts can register through 8 August 2009 via the designated website at www.sgzurich2009.ch or on the day of the event on site.

Undoubtedly, the high point of the jubilee festivities will be events on 22/23 August 2009. It is on that weekend that the world's best chess players of the last 50 years will assemble at Zurich Main Station and show their magic: Viswanathan Anand, Werner Hug, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Alexander Khalifman, Viktor Korchnoi, Vladimir Kramnik, Judit Polgar, Ruslan Ponomariov, Boris Spassky, Veselin Topalov will all be participating. On Saturday, 22 August 2009, eight of these champions will be playing in a simultaneous exhibition with 200 amateurs. On the next day, Sunday, 23 August 2009, eight of these champions will compete against one another in a rapid chess tournament. Both events are open to the public.

As main sponsor of the jubilee, Credit Suisse continues a solid association with the Schachgesellschaft Zürich, one that, on the occasion of Credit Suisse's recent 150-year anniversary in 2006, brought Kasparov, Karpov, Korchnoi und Judit Polgar to the "Chess Champions Day" in Zurich. Co-sponsor Swiss Re offers further support to the jubilee, as do four additional partners: the City of Zürich (which assumed the patronage of the event), the chess software enterprise Chessbase, the Accentus foundation (Swiss Chess) and the Alois Nagler Foundation.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Chess.com

Comments

Meppie's picture

Ha bit strange that a player of Bosnia represents Holland. Probably some things crossed eachother (invitations and Sokolov going to play for Bosnia).
Stellwagen wasn't available?

nick burrows's picture

It seems you have to pay to watch the live webcast from the Staunton Memorial!? What a joke!

nick burrows's picture

Well ChessGirl - did you pay?
I think it's a joke because quite simply people will not pay, as they get to see the moves for free 12 hours later. It's not the World Championships! In the meantime, by turning away thousands of interested people they have lost the opportunity to establish their event in the eyes of chess fans and made it a less appealing option to potential sponsors who will be interested in the amount of 'traffic' the website of the match attracts. All in exchange for about £50 profit?!

ChessGirl's picture

Well, nick, I agree that it is quite a bummer to pay for watching live broadcast when we never do, but actually I think the general idea is quite fair. I mean, chess is a sport in which the professionals don't receive much money (except maybe Kasparov, Topalov, Anand,... not many more), whereas in other sports the top players earn much more. Sometimes organizers even lose money with the hosting of chess tournaments. I always thought that there must be a way to make this situation better, like asking for money (not too much, something like 50 cents of a euro) for watching the live broadcast, but at the same time make it more interesting for the public, like putting some high-quality video conference or something.

Michael X Tractor's picture

I am sure that the Staunton organiers will be overwhelmed with gratitude to have received your sage advice, Mr Burrows. After all, what do they know? Ray Keene has only organised 50-odd world class chess events, including three world championships, whereas you, of course, have organised.......er, how many was that?

RAY KEENE's picture

THE DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER TO PAY FOR LIVE COVERAGE IS A VERY INTERESTING ONE AND FORMS PART OF THE LARGER DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER TO PAY FOR WEBSITE CONTENT OVERALL IN ANY SPHERE OF REPORTING OR NOT. ULITMATELY I BELIEVE THAT CHARGING WILL HAVE TO COME IN-I CAN THINK OF FEW AREAS WHERE A SERVICE IS PROVIDED WHICH IS OFFERED FREE. IN THAT SENSE THE STAUNTON TOURNAMENT IS PIONEERING WHAT I FEEL MUST BE THE FUTURE TREND IN CHESS AND ALL FORMS OF REPORTING.THERE IS AN INTERESTING ARTICLE ABOUT THIS QUESTION IN TIME MAGAZINE CURRENT ISSUE, AND MANY OTHERS.
IN A FEW YEARS TIME THOSE WHO ARGUED AGAINST CHARGING-AND WE ARE CHARGING AROUND 50P PER DAY WHICH WORKS OUT AT 5P PER GAME EACH DAY-WILL BE SEEN AS THE REACTIONARIES FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE. THE FREE SITES IN THE FUTURE WILL LOOK MISERABLE,AMATEURISH AND BADLY CONSTRUCTED WHEN COMPARED TO THOSE FOR WHICH THE PUBLIC WILL BE PREPARED TO PAY. SORRY FOR THE CAPS-I AM A BIT SHORT SIGHTED!

Thomas's picture

It was a while ago (in 1983 to be precise), but it seems that Raymond Keene is less "keen" on giving due credit to other people:
http://larsgrahn.blogspot.com/2009/08/not-so-keene-on-copyright.html
[pointed out by "The Closet Grandmaster"]

nick burrows's picture

Dearest Mr Tractor,
I am not a sage, and my opinion was not advise for The Staunton Organisers, but a comment on a chess message board. Having organised many tournaments before does not automatically make all of your decisions correct. Many bad decisions have been made by people infinitely more esteemed than Ray Keene.
I'll happily go watch the games of the Fide qualifier for free, while you enjoy your lesser games for £5

nick burrows's picture

@Ray Keene - The reporting is free of charge the next day as it has been since the tournaments conception, and is not what the majority of chess fans are coming to the site for anyway - it is to watch live games of chess. I'll watch with great interest to see if charging to watch chess moves being made catches on, but i very much doubt it will. Most people will i suspect do as i did, and simply leave the site immediately never to return.

ChessGirl's picture

Nick, I'm not sure that Ray Keene was talking about 5 pounds the game, I think that 5p means 5 pence, that is, 0,05 pounds the game. That seems a reasonable enough price although, if I was an organizer, as I already said maybe I would include some video conference or even maybe a raffle of some signed chess boards at the end of the tournament among the people who followed the live broadcast. Of course, if Ray Keene was talking about 5 pounds the game I agree it's a very excessive price, but that's precisely why I think it's 5 pence. As for your question of if I paid, I hardly ever watched chess games live anyway. No one likes to pay for anything, but do you realize how many people are working in chess tournaments "for free"? I mean, you are receiving a product you are not paying for, nor for the organizers' salary, nor for the players' fees, nor for the rental of the venue... Do you think that is fair?

RAY KEENE's picture

I CONFIRM THAT CHESSGIRL IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT-THE CHARGE FOR WATCHING THE GAMES LIVE IS 5 PENCE PER GAME! WE DONT CHARGE THE SPECTATORS BECAUSE THERE IS VERY LITTLE ROOM TO WATCH-THIS YEAR WE HAVE TEN GAMES BEING PLAYED TOGETHER AND ROOM FOR ABOUT 20 SPECTATORS-WE DO THAT AS A SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC.

AS FOR THE COMMENTS BY AND ABOUT LARS GRAHN-THE KORCHNOI V KASPAROV AND RIBLI V SMYSLOV MATCHES WERE PLAYED 26 YEARS AGO AND I MUST SAY I HAVE NO RECOLLECTION AT ALL OF ANY CONTACT WITH LARS GRAHN AFTER THIS LENGTH OF TIME . I WAS NOT WRITING FOR THE TIMES THEN --AS SEEMS TO BE IMPLIED BY LARS GRAHN- AND I CERTAI- NLY WAS NOT THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR WRITING OUT CHEQUES FOR FOTOGRAPHS.

I AM VERY SORRY IF IT TOOK HIM SOME TIME TO GET PAID FOR HIS WORK, IT MAY HAVE BEEN THAT SINCE HE WROTE THE COPYRIGHT CLAUSE ON THE BACK OF HIS FOTOS IT WAS OVERLOOKED- OR IT MAY HAVE BEEN THAT HE DID NOT FOLLOW THE USUAL COURSE OF SUBMITTING INVOICES TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE, OR IT MAY HAVE JUST BEEN A MISUNDERSTANDING-THESE THINGS DO OCCASIONALLY HAPPEN WITHOUT THERE NECESSARILY BEING A WORLD CONSPIRACY TO DEPRIVE DESERVING FOTOGRAPHERS OF THEIR WELL EARNED FEES!

SO IF LARS IS STILL MORTALLY OFFENDED AFTER THE PASAGE OF A QUARTER OF A CENTURY , PLEASE DO ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES FOR THE TARDINESS OF REMUNERATION. IF ANYONE OUT THERE KNOWS HIM, PLS CONVEY HIM MY BEST WISHES. WE ARE ALWAYS ON THE LOOK OUT FOR GOOD FOTOGRAPHERS, SO PERHAPS WE CAN MAKE IT UP TO HIM IN A COMING TOURNAMENT.

Mark Hannon's picture

To Frits in his first post Mr Keene said he has problems with his eyesight hence the capital letters.

As regards the fee for viewing at the moment it hardly looks good value but it is possible it might grow into an attractive pay to view service like Playchess or ICC are clearly offering more than the free alternatives. I find some of the posts pretty ungrateful to the organisers of this tournament and i am looking forward to visiting Simpsons to see the historic Viktor Korchnoi at the Historic venue.

Bartleby's picture

Yes, in a way it is only 5 pence per game. But they only accept 5 pounds notes, and don't give change. You can only buy in for the whole tournament. A 5 pence fee could work, if there would be an easy way to pay, but 5 pounds up front - no.

nick burrows's picture

@Chessgirl

The arbiters and people who work at chess tournaments do it for the love of the game, and usually get their expenses paid. If there was a guarentee that the money went into their pockets i would be more likely to pay, but the truth is that it goes into Ray Keene's pocket - who already does get paid!
I didn't even pay for the World Championship games so for an event of this stature there is zero chance that most people will pay 1 penny.

There is additional commentary or media coverage even; they are just plugging the boards in and asking for money, and is just another avenue of the commercialisation of every aspect of modern life. They are games of chess for Pete's sake, to me they hold no monetary value.

RAY KEENE's picture

SO NICK BURROWS-YOU PRESUMABLY NEVER SPEND ANYTHING ON A CHESS BOOK BECAUSE GAMES OF CHESS HAVE NO MONETARY VALUE-I FIND THIS AN EXTRAORDINARY ASSERTION WHICH IF TRUE CD BE EXTENDED TO THEATRE, OPERA, INDEED ALL THE ARTS. NOT TO MENTION SPORTS! ARE YOU SURE YOU MEANT TO WRITE THAT?

ACTUALLY I DONT GET PAID A PENNY FOR ORGANISING THE STAUNTON MEMORIAL AND ANY FUNDS WE RAISE GO TO COVER THE DIRECT COSTS OF THE LIVE TRANSMISSION WHICH IS AN ADD ON TO THE SERVICE WE PROVIDED FREE LAST YEAR AND CONTINUE TO DO THIS YEAR-NAMELY ALL THE GAMES UP-- AFTER THE ROUND-- ON THE WWW.HOWARDSTAUNTON.COM WEBSITE WITH COMMENTARY TO FOLLOW.

nick burrows's picture

Chess annotations, where somebody has taken the time to explain complex ideas, and the money goes to the author - of course.

Plugging in a chess board and charging to watch the 'bare' moves being drip fed over 6 hours rather than full game with free annotation 6 hours later - an emphatic NO

nick burrows's picture

...and money to any event organised by a man with a littany of dubious financial dealings to his name another emphatic NO

Arne Moll's picture

Of course any tournament organizer can charge whatever money for the live transmission of the moves. That's up to them and if people are willing to pay for it, fine. It's just that if someone in the audience posts the moves on a webpage from their cellphone in real time too, there's absolutely no way - legally and in principle - to prevent or forbid this, making a paid live transmission rather pointless in practice.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Mr. Keene,
I would like to read your comments on other people's allegations, but trying it gives me a splitting headache.
Could you please reserve all caps for license agreements and other things you don't want people to read?

Peter Doggers's picture

Still no need for caps - one can increase the size of letters in a browser manually, e.g. with Ctrl/Command +.

Frits Fritschy's picture

MR. KEENE,
AFTER MARK HANNON'S COMMENT, MY APOLOGIES, BUT I DO HOPE YOU WILL (TO PRESERVE OTHER PEOPLE'S EYESIGHT) FOLLOW PETER DOGGERS' ADVICE.

ejh's picture

It's odd how often Ray invokes lapses of memory to explain what other people might see as lapses of ethics. Particularly odd, since by his own account Ray is a master of memory:

http://www.keeneonchess.com/index.asp?contiene=article&id=32

Mr V J Mirsh's picture

Please, I am very interested to know why I have never seen strong English Grandmasters,and champions of their country(2008) Conquest and Arkell participating in this tournament.
I like very much these players games,but instead I see some smaller rated Grandmasters.
Of course I understand that it is possible that they were invited but declined to play.

My best greetings,
V.J.Mirsh

Mark Hannon's picture

Went down on thursday saw Korchnoi plug away for 60 plus moves and 6 hours, I didn't see him get up from the board total concentration.

Short seems on pretty good form too, he seems to me to have an uncanny knack of making it look like his opponent is playing badly.

Mychess51's picture

I don't think that charging just for live games in tournaments such as these will be the way forward - I have not checked out the site.

What I think will be the way forward is charging for internet live analysis of the games as they happen, that way it is far more interesting and educational. If I want to see a game I can look at a database - if I want to see commentary on a game as it happens that is a different thing - how many live sporting events are broadcast with pictures only and no commentary.

Jeremy Fajemisin's picture

Paying for coverage of the games of elite tournaments seems to me very acceptable if the charge is reasonable. However, due to the hazards of online financial transactions, I think that alternative methods of payment e.g vouchers obtained by cash payment should me made available. Or am I an unduly nervous technophobe?

Jeremy Fajemisin's picture

Please forgive my spelling mistake - "should be made available" was my intention!

Keith Arkell's picture

Thanks for the kind comments Mr Mirsh.A friend drew my attention to your posting.

No I didn't ever receive an invitation to this tournament.Such invites are rarely dished out strictly according to playing strength.
I cannot complain though,because,when you look at the overall picture,though I have no idea why,I think that I do very well with invites.I get simuls regularly,I got to play a match with the highest ever purse in the UK outside of world championship matches(for 5K,v Rowson,organised by Adam Raoof in '96),and many times when an organiser wants one or two English GMs,I get invited.I even remember playing in many of those Watson Farley Williams tournaments organised by Raymond Keene at the end of the '80s.

Furthermore,had I been invited to Simpsons,and had I accepted the invitation,I think that I would almost certainly have done poorly.
I have recently been diagnosed with a medical condition which,while not particularly serious,has had a dramatic impact on the quality of my sleep.The result has been that I have performed at 220 ELO points below my rating,in my last 20 games.
My current medication is excellent though,and I see no reason why I shouldn't now be able to return to my former level of play.

Keith Arkell

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