Upcoming: Staunton Memorial and Zürich
Besides 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:
|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:
|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|
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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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