Reports | January 30, 2012 22:19

Grand Slam Chess Association confirms Linares 2012, sets dates for Masters Final

Grand Slam Chess Association confirms Linares 2012, sets dates for Masters Final

The Grand Slam Chess Association announced on Sunday that the world famous tournament in Linares, Spain will be held again this year, after it was cancelled in 2011. The Association also communicated the dates for the 5th Grand Slam Masters Final, and requested FIDE to "avoid any conflicts with our schedules".

The following press release was distributed on Sunday to the journalists who were present in the press room in Wijk aan Zee for the Tata Steel tournament:

PRESS RELEASE

The Grand Slam Chess Association (GSCA) had a meeting in Wijk aan Zee on Saturday January 28th. The representatives of four top tournaments (Tata Steel-Wijk aan Zee, Ciudad de Linares, Kings-Bazna and Bilbao (Masters Final) discussed about several matters. The most important ones are the following:

  1. The 75th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will be from 11th up to and including 27th of January. The GSCA warmly congratulated the Organizing Committee on this important achievement.
     
  2. Linares will share the 2012 tournament with a Mexican city, starting most likely at the second half of April. The venue and dates will be concreted soon.
     
  3. Just as in four previous years, Bilbao will also host the 5th edition of the Masters Final, from September 24th to October 13th, with six players, in a double round-robin. Negotiations are being held with several countries to share the tournament, as it happened very successfully in 2010 with Shanghai and 2011 with Sao Paulo.

    Carlsen and Kramnik have been already invited as winners of the Tal Memorial-Moscow 2011 and the London Classics 2011, respectively. The winner of the World Championship Anand-Gelfand will also be invited. The remaining three places will be for the winners of Tata Steel 2012, Linares 2012 and Kings-Bazna 2012. If the same player wins more than one tournament, the highest-ranked second place finisher from one of these tournaments according to the July 2012 list will be awarded a spot. If all the second-place finishers have already earned spots in the 2012 Masters Final by other means, the Organizing Committee will decide who gets the spot by direct invitation.
     

  4. Given that FIDE has not announced yet the dates for the Candidates Tournament, we will send this press release to FIDE today. We expect FIDE will avoid any conflicts with our schedules.

Wijk aan Zee, January 29th 2012

Signed by:

Jeroen Van den Berg -Tata Steel Chess Director
Juan Fernandez - Mayor of Linares
Elisabeta Polihroniade- Kings Bazna Director
Juan Carlos Fernandez - Bilbao Masters Final Director

The information about the future of the Tata Steel tournament is not different from what was expressed by CEO and Managing Director of Tata Steel Europe Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, during the opening ceremony in Wijk aan Zee two weeks ago. The tournament will be held for at least one more year, and considering the fact that it's the 75th jubilee edition, that's no surprise. At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, tournament director Jeroen van den Berg once again said that he didn't know anything yet about the year after.

It's great news to see that the Linares tournament wasn't taken off the calendar for good. It's one of the longest running top tournaments with a wonderful history. The connection with Mexico is not new: in the past there was a cooperation with the city of Morelia, for three years. Apparently a similar concept, where two cities share the organization and finances, will be repeated.

The very same set-up will again be the case for the Grand Slam final as well: the second half will, as always, take place in Bilbao but the other city (in previous years Shanghai and Sao Paulo) is yet to be announced.

And so the calendar for 2012 is, like last year, completey out of balance. Only two elite events (Wijk aan Zee and Bazna) and one more big tournament (the European Championship) are scheduled for the first half of the year, and many more for the second half, such as Biel, Dortmund, the Olympiad, the European Club Cup, the European Team Championship, the Tal Memorial, the London Chess Classic and... the FIDE Candidates tournament. It's understandable that the Grand Slam Chess Association urges FIDE to avoid an overlap with one of their events, but it won't be easy!

Update: On Tuesday morning, January 31st the GSCA distributed an updated version of the press release via email, in which it is confirmed that Levon Aronian qualified for the Grand Slam Masters Final by winning the Tata Steel tournament. Besides, we forgot to mention that because of their planned match (which we mentioned in our Tata round 11 report), Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik will probably not be able to play Linares/Mexico.

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

noyb's picture

Sad (and persistent) state of affairs that tournament organizers and FIDE don't work together and instead set expectations in a vacuum. DUMP FIDE! It's broken, it's been broken, and it will NEVER be fixed.

Yifan is the Queen's picture

Hou Yifan won against Judit Polgar today, why I dont see any articles about Gibraltar's tournament

anonymous's picture

I hope Polgar plays a match with Yifan instead of just deciding that she is too good for her because of the rating difference. They both have very exciting styles!

MJul's picture

"I hope Polgar plays a match with Yifan instead of just deciding that she is too good for her because of the rating difference."

Where can I find a video/interview where she said that?

Peter Doggers's picture

Hope this satisfies! ;-)

columbo's picture

glad to hear that ! Linares is a great tournament

Patrick's picture

I guess the fact that Kramnik announced a match with Aronian for the second half of April means that those two will not play in Linares?!

Peter Doggers's picture

On Tuesday morning, January 31st the GSCA distributed an updated version of the press release via email, in which it is confirmed that Levon Aronian qualified for the Grand Slam Masters Final by winning the Tata Steel tournament. Besides, we forgot to mention that because of their planned match (which we mentioned in our Tata round 11 report), Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik will probably not be able to play Linares/Mexico.

Thomas's picture

This - Aronian (and Kramnik) won't play Linares/Mexico - was also mentioned by a Russian source http://www.regnum.ru/news/sport/1493629.html pointed out by Mark Crowther: "Note that because of this game Aronian was forced to abandon the super tournament in Linares." (Google translation). They also say that the Aronian-Kramnik match will be in Zurich, indeed a European city with quite some chess tradition.

Aronian sort of revealed that their match was Kramnik's idea (and Vlad found the money?). This could in turn mean that Kramnik wasn't aware of/wasn't invited to Linares/Mexico - or that he, as in the past, isn't fond of intercontinental supertournaments.

mishanp's picture

That's an odd source to choose. I guess anything there ultimately comes from Chess-News.ru, that had interviews with Kramnik, Aronian and the sponsor - Oleg Skvortsov: e.g. http://chess-news.ru/node/5905 He said the idea came to him when he met and had dinner with Kramnik during the Tal Memorial. Kramnik suggested Aronian, wrote to him, and Aronian was also keen on the idea. When Aronian was asked about Linares he said:

"In principle if we've already signed documents about the match we'll probably have to turn down Linares. After all, we're serious people: if we sign something then we stick to that."

Thomas's picture

Of course you know much better than I do which Russian source(s) is/are likely to be original and reliable! By itself it doesn't mean much - "any positive number is greater than zero" ... . As I wrote, mine is indirectly taken from Mark Crowther/TWIC.

Chess-news doesn't seem to mention Zurich, at least not in the link you give. Funny that the interviewer sort of suggested another match, a (re)match between Kramnik and Kasparov ... .

As to Linares, personally I am still a bit skeptical. After all, there was a similar announcement about half a year ago, promising "later more" in September 2011 but then without such follow-up.

TopTopic's picture

Topa going to Linares, I guess, which takes Kramnik out of the running there.

redivivo's picture

Kramnik hasn't played Linares since 2004 and I don't think he would have been there even if he didn't have the match against Aronian to think about and Topalov was absent. I wonder about that training match though, just how interesting is a match between players that will want to beat the other guy in the Candidates and not waste any wins on a friendly match with nothing at all at stake?

Thomas's picture

Kramnik has played together with Topalov after their Elista match - several times in Wijk aan Zee, several times at the Amber event. So while they avoid talking to each other, they do not completely avoid playing each other ... .

As I wrote before, Kramnik doesn't like intercontinental events - also about Sao Paulo-Bilbao he said "I would have considered it if it was at the same place or at least on the same continent" (this year the co-organizer isn't known yet).

And regarding the match between him and Aronian, why would any wins be "wasted"? Each game is a new one and the result doesn't depend on what happened the day before, or a few months earlier. Maybe they won't waste their preparation, but even here I doubt that they already started their specific preparation: the candidates event isn't even scheduled yet.

redivivo's picture

"why would any wins be "wasted"? Each game is a new one and the result doesn't depend on what happened the day before, or a few months earlier"

Tell that to Anand and Gelfand, last time I heard the reason they haven't won any tournaments since the last appearance of Halley's comet is that they are saving their victories for some later event.

RealityCheck's picture

The trend toward serious Match Play will grow. It certainly got off to a good start in St. Louis with the Ponomariov-Nakamura match. Now Kramnik-Aronian. And the big one, the world championship Anand-Gelfand. The World championship is still the match to win. It's the match 98.99% of all professional chess players want to be a part of. Dream of winning.

redivivo's picture

"The trend toward serious Match Play will grow"

The trend has been going in the opposite direction for a very long time. Lasker, Capa, Alekhine etc played numerous matches throughout their careers, nowadays the only serious match that ever is played is the title match every second year, and then once in a while an exhibition like Kramnik-Aronian that no one takes particularly seriously even if no rapid was included.

mishanp's picture

Zurich was mentioned here: http://chess-news.ru/node/5885 Though only as the "most likely" venue.

Aztec's picture

I am very happy to read that Mexico will be part of the great Linares tournament once more.
The players that I suppose will be there almost for sure are Carlsen, Ivanchuk and Nakamura. Giri would be a great addition.

Scott's picture

Any news yet on which City in Mexico will host second half of Linares? Thanks for the coverage.

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