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

Hmm, Carlsen can (at least more or less) select his opponents - will be interesting to see whom he invites (and whom not?). Will the tournament have another Norwegian or Scandinavian player, or do they go for the highest possible category?

BTW Carlsen wearing clothing with sponsor logos is nothing new - it already happened in Wijk aan Zee, and not just this year.

rogge's picture

>Hmm, Carlsen can (at least more or less) select his opponents

Umh, no. The strongest possible tournament (all top 10 players) is their goal.

S3's picture

Hmm yes, his manager even confirmed it.

rogge's picture

Since you're an avid reader of Norwegian newspapers, this won't be a surprise to you, Sitzkrieg. I don't have to translate (your Norwegian is brilliant, I'm sure).

"Han er allerede i gang med å overtale konkurrentene til å delta.

- Alle har vært positive så langt. Det optimale er at så mange som mulig i topp fem og topp ti stiller, forteller han.

- Hvem har du snakket konkret med?

- Både Sergej Karjakin og Hikaru Nakamura er ønsker å delta. Men jeg håper at de fleste av topp ti kommer"

Thomas's picture

I had only read the article here: while "similar to Tal Memorial" can be interpreted as 'many players from the top10' this view isn't obligatory - actually having virtually the same field might be considered a bit boring or redundant!? On the other hand, both Carlsen's manager and Carlsen himself are quoted that he will be involved in selecting the field.
Your Carlsen quote (I needed Google translation ...) implies that he wants a very strong field, even if "as many as possible from the top5 and top10" isn't quite the same as "all top10 players". I wouldn't know if the budget, big as it is, suffices to attract the entire top10.
While it may not be unprecedented that one participant can sort of select his opponents (I wouldn't at all be surprised if Topalov had "advised" about the MTel fields), it's new that this is explicitly stated at a very early stage. And while an "ambassador Carlsen" certainly doesn't hurt, strictly spoken he may not be needed - I guess top players first and foremost look at the money offered.

rogge's picture

>as many as possible from the top5 and top10" isn't quite the same as "all top10 players"

It means all top 10, if possible. That's what the organisers want, as read in earlier articles.

redivivo's picture

Shameful coward Carlsen obviously won't invite Volokitin, Sjugirov and McShane, but instead pick top ten players he has been so lucky against!

columbo's picture

no, but he might invite you so you can tell him what kind of coward he is, you know, eyes in eyes ! like real men

S3's picture

He will probably advise to invite Topalov, although Rogge probably does not think so since Topalov is no longer top 10 (12 points less than 10th place!).

I don't think that organizers are really stupid enough to send invitations based only on the top 10 of a daily changing list. And that is why Agdestein's comment matters; Magnus might advise on which players might make the tournament more interesting. It remains to be seen if he will use that for personal gain like redivio so boldly suggests.

S3's picture

Not sure why you are adressing someone else but chessvibes writes:

" 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.

I commend you for the audacity to deny stuff written by cvibes right above your own comment.
And I predict that Giri, Nepomniachi and Karjakin won't be invited. And that is not 'cause of their elo ranking.

redivivo's picture

"And I predict that Giri, Nepomniachi and Karjakin won't be invited. And that is not 'cause of their elo ranking."

Karjakin is one of the two players already mentioned, otherwise players ranked #20-30 might find it hard to get invited to a tournament that aims at getting the players in the top 10.

I guess I shouldn't keep joking about how the shameful coward Carlsen will stop Sjugirov and McShane from attending since it's hard to separate such posts from the serious posts from the group of very engaged posters that like to discuss Carlsen at every possible occasion though :-)

S3's picture

To get back to the point; I guess the above means that you acknowledge the fact that rogge is lying and the fact that Carlsen does have some control over the invitation policy?

redivivo's picture

The only thing I can acknowledge is that I bow down in awe and admiration for your skillful debating technique.

Dude's picture

Peter didn't write that Carlsen wearing clothing is something new.

leo's picture

sounds good

Anthony's picture

Magnus sure seems to attract a fair bit of corporate attention. And although I despise banks, and 'corporate law firms' too, they might as well waste their ill gotten gains on some chess rather than their more common pursuits.

Anonymous's picture

Sounds like Anthony owes some bank some money.

Bardamu's picture


Anthony Migchels's picture

Seems to me they all owe US a lot of money.

steve's picture

i like the banks. they gave me a loan to get an education, which i did, and which i paid back. they were also nice enough to give me a loan to buy a car so that i could get to work more easily, which is now paid back. they also gave me a loan to buy a house, which i am now living in.
those banks are super evil.
just like lawyers, the police, the government, and all the other boogey men out there.

Rodzjer's picture

LOL the bank did not give you that money because it wants you to be a smart guy, or because it wants you to have a house to live in.
It gave you the money, because it can now make some money off you. It doesn't give a damn if/when you start getting into trouble because of all the loans you so happily received. It will come and take your car and your house away, and put you on a list.
Wake up.

Bert de Bruut's picture

You may ask us to wake up, but your comment rather makes me fall asleep....

(.... banks are evil.... ZZZZZ ..... like all companies..... ZZZZZ ..... credit is bad.... ZZZZZ.... like all capitalism.... ZZZZZ)

Anonymous's picture

Of course. Bank is a business and operates for profit. No one is claiming that banks are there for charity. If you come to my dad's humble restaurant, the chances are you wont eat for free. That doesn't make my dad an evil person. When you take out a loan, you agree to pay it back with interest. What do you expect a bank to do if you dont make payments for 6 months?

Anthony Migchels's picture

You're missing the little detail of banking: they create all the money out of nothing the minute they lend it to you.

YOur dad actually works for his money.

Banks don't.

Anthony's picture

hmmmmmm........they printed the money they lent you and had you pay interest over it. Calculate what these loans cost you and realize they never had the money they lent you but printed it the minute you got it.

Then calculate what a mortgage would cost you in interest.

Then calculate what you will be paying in taxes for bailing them out.

Then tell me again banks are so great.

Anonymous's picture

others are not so fortunate steve

columbo's picture

many others

christos's picture

The amount of money mentioned in this article would seem enough to convince the very best players in the world to compete in the tournament. Norway is a rich country of course, so this is not something surprising.

BertjeENkelhaar's picture

First thing comming to my mind was it sounds really unfair that 1 player can choose his opponents. ....

If he dislikes 1 player he can simply advice the organisation not to invite him. Kinda unfair Isnt it. I dont say he will do this. But even the option to do so is already unfair..

What you guys think?

Tarjei's picture

There is no unfairness here.

This is a "private" tournament and an organizer is free to invite whoever they want. After all, it's their money. This is pretty much what Danailov & Co did with MTel, and as Thomas pointed out, he most likely had something to say on the players in the field.

Magnus, as part of the organization crew, will surely have something to say about it. On the other hand, I really don't think it will matter much.

christos's picture

It is not unfair. If Carlsen himself were funding the tournament, wouldn't he get to choose who plays? I think that this is almost the case here, because without him and the commercial revenue that the sponsors expect to get from his participation, they would never consider spending so much money.

S3's picture

In my opinion it's not unfair as long as people (like Rogge) don't desperately hide the fact that one of the players has partial control of the invites.

vay reni's picture

The Magnus Carlsen photoshoot with the proper soundtrack

DarrenL's picture

i can't see how magnus will need the money, he must have earned millions from his 'bourne' movies : )

noyb's picture

Hopefully the other participants will be up and coming strong talents (Radjabov, Nakamura, Karjakin, and Caruana, along with some "usual suspects" like Aronian, Kramnik, Anand, Ivanchuk. Morozevich would be nice! Wait... that's the current top 10... lol!

Thomas's picture

Even if they invite the "current" top10 (which would be current whenever invitations are finalized), they may not have the top10 during the event as things are constantly changing on the rating list. Notably, Le Quang Liem and/or Giri could rise that high in the meantime - seems unlikely but Caruana had just reached 2700 1 1/2 years ago (September 2010 rating list) and was tied for 37th place with ... Morozevich.
As for Carlsen partly selecting his opponents, I wouldn't consider it unfair but just "interesting" - and odd that rogge denies what's clearly written in the report and supported by quotes.

rogge's picture

The organisers want all top 10 players in the tournament. I don't see how Carlsen can select who's in top 10, you tell me.

However, the tournament may fail in signing all the top players (the budget isn't sufficient, I think). As a "Plan B" Carlsen might suggest inviting players like Nakamura, Giri, Nepo or Caruana instead of, say, Gelfand, Grischuk and Svidler. Let's hope so ;)

columbo's picture

would be good to see Nepo among the 9 others, he really deserves a chance to fight the top 10

Thomas's picture

I comment on the article while you bring in various other Norwegian sources which may or may not be 100% accurate - are you perfectly sure that (mainstream, as opposed to chess) journalists didn't misunderstand something? We'd have to ask Peter Doggers why he did mention (supported by two verbal quotes) that Carlsen has a role in selecting the field, but doesn't mention that the aim is to have the entire top10.

I still consider Carlsen's role interesting rather than "wrong". Whom would he rather select: Nakamura, Topalov and Ivanchuk against whom he has a plus score, or Kramnik and Anand where his score is even? And like it or not, Kramnik finished ahead of Carlsen in several of their joint tournaments. Among the "G-stars", Gashimov and/or Gelfand, or Giri against whom he had certain problems? Note that I don't enter speculations or predictions either way.

BTW, (let's not talk about Gelfand, this topic is exhausted) but what's wrong with Svidler (form permitting)? What's wrong with Grischuk, apart from his play in Kazan under quite special circumstances? For what it's worth, he is currently #11 on the live rating list 2.7 points behind Ivanchuk - so it might take just one game by himself or Chucky to re-enter the top10.

redivivo's picture

"like it or not, Kramnik finished ahead of Carlsen in several of their joint tournaments"

Like it or not, Nakamura finished ahead of Carlsen in both Wijk and London last year. And didn't he lost the latest game to Karjakin and still those two were the first to be confirmed, hmmm. Isn't Dortmund Kramnik's tournament by the way, or is it just a coincidence that Kramnik, Leko, van Wely, Svidler and other friends/seconds/players with the same manager have been invited rather than some others. Oh, and Kramnik's client Carlsen of course :-)

S3's picture

Dortmund has a pretty clear invitation policy and there is not a single reason, apart from silly jaleousy, to suggest that Kramnik is in any way involved in picking the participants.

redivivo's picture

The policy has been clear for many years: No Kasparov, Topalov or Anand, but always Kramnik, Leko and some willing cannon fodder. :-)

Thomas's picture

Now that's just nonsense: Anand played Dortmund many times, continuously from 1996-2004 (except the candidates event in 2002) and again in 2007. Maybe then the organizers couldn't afford him any more - and, as long as it lasted, German chess fans could still see Vishy in Mainz. Topalov also played several times, but after Elista the Dortmund organizers may have chosen Kramnik's side in the conflict, fair enough IMO (and Topalov might decline an invitation even if he got one?). This leaves Kasparov: either he was never invited, or he declined, or he made financial demands which the organizers were unwilling or unable to meet, who knows?
Kramnik's other Dortmund victories (years without Anand and/or Topalov) were 1995 ahead of Karpov (world #2 at the time), 2006 ahead of Aronian, 2009 ahead of Carlsen and 2011 ahead of Nakamura.
Not sure either what you mean with "willing cannon fodder": many supertournaments have a local wildcard, and the Aeroflot qualifying spot is an excellent idea - actually these players often did very well in the event.

S3's picture

If I am not mistaken Dortmund 2002 was also a candidates tournament and Kasparov was invited. I think he chickened out. At any rate he was invited.

redivivo's picture

So no Topalov the last six years, no Anand the last four years and no Kasparov the last dozen years he was active, yep, sounds about right. Now imagine if "Carlsen's" tournament would do a Wijk aan Zee and not invite Kramnik, I'm sure some people would get even more excited than they already are by their fantasies about such a thing happening, or Giri and Nepomniachtchi being unfairly stopped from playing.

Thomas's picture

Would you really expect or demand that Dortmund invites Topalov??
For the rest, your comparison is a bit strange - Dortmund has become a six-player event (like many other supertournaments) where three spots are sensibly fixed: Kramnik (even if he didn't have close ties with the organizers they couldn't ignore him with such a long-term record), a German wildcard (fair enough) and the Aeroflot qualifier (excellent IMO). People can argue about the fixed spot for Leko (will he come back this year?) but, like it or not, he was at least a top10 player for many years and he also won Dortmund several times - yes he can or could win tournaments! If you then want some more 2700ers including at least one top5 or top10 player, you do not need to invite the same ones year after year, not even Anand. BTW I think Dortmund was the first supertournament to give (Aeroflot qualifier) Nepomniachtchi a chance, and the first non-Dutch one to invite Giri.

Stavanger will have ten players, doesn't need a weak local wildcard (because a pretty strong Norwegian will participate) and doesn't have a qualifying spot. So it will be a bit harder to explain why any given world-top player isn't invited - even though ten players is still finite, for example the last edition of Tal Memorial didn't have anyone from Azerbaijan.

BTW, does anyone complain that London invites basically the very same players year after year after year??

redivivo's picture

"Would you really expect or demand that Dortmund invites Topalov??"

No, why would I demand that they invite Topalov? They can invite whoever they want, I'm just pointing out that it would be easy to complain about other tournaments not inviting the best players. The Norwegian event won't be played in a long time and it's early to worry too much about Carlsen seeing to it that Nepo or Kramnik will be excluded because the master plan is to invite Carlsen's "clients". Sofia invited Cheparinov, who lost both his games to Topalov, Dortmund has already been mentioned, etc.

It's especially funny when it is stated that Nepo and Giri won't be invited regardless how high their rating is because Carlsen wants to avoid them. I don't doubt that if Stavanger did indeed invite a couple of players like them, ranked around #25 in the world, the complaint would instead be that they invite weaker players than those in the top 10 just so Carlsen can avoid the stronger players.

Thomas's picture

One last time: I didn't complain, I am just pointing out that "things are interesting". Every supertournament can invite a finite number of players (be it 6, 10 or 14). Most supertournaments have a mix of top10 players, other 2700ers (maybe potential top10 players?) and often a local hero. Maybe Kramnik played a role in who gets a Dortmund invitation? It could well be that the Aeroflot qualifying spot was his idea - it isn't that obvious for a German event to invite the winner of a Russian open ... .

New is only that Carlsen has an influence on the Stavanger field AND this is publicly mentioned at a very early stage. Strange is that some Carlsen fans deny this, implying that Carlsen himself and his manager were lying. That's all (as far as I am concerned).

S3's picture

Do you ever get tired of demonstrating your lack of chess knowledge ?

rogge's picture

Do you believe Stavanger won't try to sign Anand and Kramnik? Lol, their goal is the strongest possible tournament ("but we don't want Kramnik and Anand"?). And I'm sure Carlsen would prefer to (try to) win the tournament with both of them present (like in Tal Memorial 2011). Why would Carlsen say "as many top 5 as possible". Do you think he meant as many as possible except for Anand and Kramnik? That doesn't make any sense.

As for Carlsen wanting Topalov (one of his clients) to play in Stavanger - I doubt it. He signed a letter supporting Kramnik during Toiletgate. Aslo, he helped Anand in his preparations before the Sofia-match. Just speculating, of course.

Nothing wrong with Gelfand & Co, did I say that? I'd just prefer to see the youngsters.

Peter Doggers probably hasn't read reports in regional (Stavanger-based) Norwegian newspapers, why would he.

Btw, one report (not cited here) claims 7 top 10 players already expressed a wish to participate. Anyways, I'm off.


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