Reports | February 08, 2012 17:33

Norway to hold first super tournament in 2013

Norway to hold first super tournament in 2013

Next year a new super tournament will be organized in Stavanger, Norway. The country's top player Magnus Carlsen will both participate and assist in promoting the event, which will be by far the strongest chess tournament ever held on Norwegian soil. "I always try to win when I play tournaments, but it would be really special to win at home," said Carlsen.

A press conference on Tuesday night in Sandnes, Norway - 'ambassador' of the tournament, Magnus Carlsen, in the middle | Photo Geir Einarsen

Chess is big in Norway, and it's getting even bigger. The FIDE World Cup 2013 will be held in Tromsø, and a year later the Olympiad will be held there as well. But there is more.

On Tuesday night a press conference was held in a hotel in the city of Sandnes, which was attended by about 30 journalists of all the major Norwegian media. Present were Magnus Carlsen, his manager Espen Agdestein, Jeanette Nygård, representative for the Stavanger region, Siv Kristin Heriksytad, webmaster, Kjell Madland, managing director of Jadarhus and Jørn Holmen, marketing manager. At the press conference a brand new super tournament was announced.

The idea is to have a 10-player round robin, similar to the Tal Memorial, in Stavanger, in June 2013.

Stavanger, Norway on Google Maps

Magnus Carlsen is an obvious, first confirmed participant, and nine more world class GMs will be invited. In fact, Carlsen himself will play a role in the invitation process. We spoke to his manager Espen Agdestein, who explained:

Yes, he will be involved in picking the players. He will be there to advice, to help the organizers. You can say he will be some kind of ambassador, assisiting to promote the tournament.

Carlsen himself told Norwegian newspaper VG:

I am fortunate to have some power in the selection. I find it most inspiring to invite as many as possible of the best in the world. I know the players themselves, and hope to persuade them to come. Those I've talked to so far are very positive. Remember, most major tournaments are in the fall.

The initiator is Kjell Madland, managing director of Jadarhus and former general manager of football club Bryne. His interest in chess is easy to explain: Madland's son is a talented chess player.

Jadarhus is a real-estate company in Stavanger, and it will be one of the main sponsors. The other is HTH, a kitchen equipment company. Three municipalities in the Stavanger region have also shown interest in the event. There is even a website already, which will soon be available in English as well:

A budget of 5 million Norwegian kroner (about €650,000 or US $870,000) is available. This comes from the two main sponsors, and part is funded by the Stavanger, Sandnes and Rogaland municipalities.

About half of the budget will be available for the players (prizes, starting fees, accomodation, transport), and half for organization costs. Joran Aulin-Jansson, President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, pointed out to us that the tournament will in fact be part of a bigger festival:

We intend to organize an open tournament alongside the main event. Furthermore, there will be a school tournament with hundreds of children.

Hundreds of amateurs will be able to play chess themselves, while watching ten elite players in Stavanger. It is the intention of the people involved to organize the festival every year. Aulin-Jansson:

If the first edition is successful and all parties are satisfied, organizers, sponsors, players... then we will continue. But at the moment the Norwegians are obviously very positive towards this initiative. We will try our outmost to make this a great tournament for everyone involved. It will be a great benefit for chess.

The tournament is supposed to take place in June, 2013. In recent years, Magnus Carlsen played in another big event in this month: the Kings' Tournament in Bazna, Romania. Aulin-Jansson:

We will certainly do our best to avoid clashes in the calendar. It is not our intention to ruin other tournaments!

At the press conference, Magnus Carlsen was wearing a suit jacket with his sponsor brands on it: Simonsen (one of Norway's leading corporate law firms) and Arctic Securities (an employee owned investment bank). His deal with G-Star ended on December 31st, 2011 but these two Norwegian sponsors prolonged for another two years. Espen Agdestein:

They are even incorporating more 'Magnus' in their company brand. They want to profit even more of the partnership by integrating his profile into their brand. Therefore, we recently had another photo shoot. Simonsen already made things like vouchers, with his photos.

Here's a behind the scenes video of the new photo shoot.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, 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.


Thomas's picture

Different from what you insinuate, I just asked a question or two without speculating about the (Carlsen's?) answer to them. The questions would be: Does he want a strong field that's still relatively easy or convenient for him (which would also make the burden of being favorite heavier!?)? Or does he go for the most challenging field?
Even if the field includes Anand, Kramnik and five other top10 players, choices still have to be made for the three remaining spots, presumably from the top30. Age? Grischuk is now 28, while Nakamura and Radjabov are 24 - is Grischuk old while the other ones are young? The 'young' ones are currently #5 and 6, while Grischuk is #11, but at least the 10-point gap between Grischuk and Nakamura may not be permanent. Playing style? Or (intentionally/deliberately or not) "which opponents are best for Carlsen?".

Peter Doggers of course doesn't have to read regional Norwegian newspapers - secondary and not necessarily 100% reliable sources. What was his actual source? Was he himself present at the press conference (partly held in English?)? Does he have another first-hand source? Or is the article essentially based on a press release by the organizers?
All would be fine, and in any case "organizers will invite the top10" vs. "Carlsen will himself play a role in the invitation process" are rather contradictory statements - unless Carlsen will only become active when "Plan B" is required. The organizers don't need Carlsen to name the current top10 (at most to predict the top10 at the start of the event in about 1 1/2 years) ... .

S3's picture

I see you are starting to retract your lies; i think that is brave.

As for chosing Caruana over Grischuk and/or Svidler..that looks a bit odd since the last two are prolly stronger.
But as you know, Carlsen tends to perform relatively bad against younger players (who are probably less scared and just as practical) so it will be very interesting indeed to see who, outside the top 10, will be invited. I'm already looking forward to drawing conclusions from it:D

rogge's picture

Lies, Sitzkrieg? Whatever, I've referred to reports you haven't seen, that's all. You're a bore, don't get yourself banned on this site too. Bye :)

S3's picture

Please, Mildred, explain to me again how the two of your comments match:

1) Rogge:" uhm, no ( Carlsen has not (at least partial) control of the invitations)"
2) Rogge:"Carlsen might suggest inviting players like Nakamura "

rogge's picture


1) The organisers invite and sign all top 10 players. According to local reports, that's what the organisers want. I don't see how Carlsen controls who's top 10.

2) In case the organisers fail to sign the entire top 10, Carlsen might suggest inviting specific players. This would be Plan B.

Btw, S, S1, S2, S3 - Have your handles been banned here as well, Sitkrieg?

Thomas's picture

1) still assumes that the "local reports" (newspapers but apparently not the organizers themselves) are reliable. It could be a misunderstanding, e.g. if someone at the press conference said "several top 10 players" and a journalist understands "all top 10 players" - and then several sources can even copy each other.
Remember that (Indian?) journalist who was told Nielsen, understood Carlsen and then announced that Magnus would be Anand's official second??

S3's picture

Amazing how you fail to see (or pretend not to see) that 1 & 2 are incompatible.

By the way, to what top 10 are you referring ( ->ratinglist of what period?)
It would be very impressive if they got a complete top 10 list (regardless the measurement date) but also very unlikely so I suppose there will be replacements.
Leading inevitably to your 2nd scenario.

RealityCheck's picture

More power to Norway!! I'm all for it so long as it is not hyped as the World Championship! The money? Chump change compared to what Anand -- Gelfand will earn in Moscow this year.

christos's picture

Anand and Gelfand have been preparing for a year before that match. They have been declining invitations for other tournaments in order to prepare. They have been hiding opening preparation. It is natural that they are compensated more than the participants of any one tournament.

redivivo's picture

"Anand and Gelfand have been preparing for a year before that match. They have been declining invitations for other tournaments in order to prepare"

What invitations did they decline? Anand played the Grand Slam final in October, Tal Memorial in November, London in December and then understandably rested from January's Wijk. Gelfand played Tal Memorial and Wijk, and after Wijk there are no tournaments do decline.

Septimus's picture

This argument about Carlsen chickening out and picking a "weak" set of players is rubbish. I get the feeling that Carlsen is hyper-confident, feels like he is invincible and would like to prove it to be so. Perhaps his revenge mentality (i.e thirst to beat those he has struggled against) outweighs his apprehensions.

S3's picture

Note that there is really no argument, but the mere possibility of such a thing was reason enough for rogge and redivivo to deny the truth and Carlsens involvement in the picking of players.
You'd almost think they went to school in North Korea or something.

Anonymous's picture

Magnus is such a narcissistic person, he has such love for the camera.

Marcel-Duchamp's picture

I think there is no reason to not believe the selection process will be a fair one, at least we are not dealing with FIDE here! It is usually impossible to get all the top 10 players together in one tournament, non the less, there could be at least a top 5 or 10 out of the top 20 etc, this is more realistic. Also, to include up and coming players such as Giri, for example, one would need to choose from other than the immediate top 10. After all, rating is performance based, and is not always the absolute indicator of strength, just observe Caruana, for example. I look forward to a tournament in Norway and will travel there from California to see such a fantastic event!

Bob's picture

If I were to secondguess MC, I might go for:


blub's picture

Funny thing is, how:

MC get a word in the selection (he is helping the organizers as an advisers) turns into.
Carlsen gets to handpicked his opponents.

Everybody has a list of players they would love to see.
I would love to see Grischuk, others will say: NO!
I think Le Quang Liem would also deserve a shot at such a tournament, and so does Andreikin, who has been in a good form lately.
I wouldn't nominate Giri.
I bet some people around here, would also love to include Morozevich.

Bottom line is, no matter who gets picked, some people will be upset that this player or that player is not invited. You can't make everybody equally happy with a selection.


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