Reports | September 30, 2012 21:11

Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Anand, Wang Hao confirmed for 2013 tournament in Norway (UPDATE)

Norway Chess

Besides Magnus Carlsen, four more players have confirmed their participation in the new super tournament in Norway next year: Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand and Wang Hao. This was reported by Norwegian media on Friday.

The website of the new tournament is

As we reported back in February, the chess calendar of 2013 will see a new, super strong chess tournament. It will be held 7-18 May, 2013 in Sandnes and Stavanger. The organizers are aiming high: they hope to hold the strongest tournament ever held, with ten participants.

On Friday Norwegian media reported that five names are known already. Besides Magnus Carlsen himself, confirmed participants are said to be Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand and Wang Hao. The players will be fighting for a € 100,000 first prize.

The tournament will be played over nine rounds. According to Verdens Gang (VG), which happens to be one of Carlsen's co-sponsors, the first five will be held in Sandnes while the last four will be held at different locations in the Rogaland county, including Stavanger. Aftenbladet writes that the total budget for the event is 5 million Norwegian kroner (about 680,000 Euro).

Carlsen himself is involved in picking the players. He gives advice, to help the organizers. In February he said:

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. 

Earlier this month a promo video was created with Carlsen playing against Kristoffer Madland (the Norwegian youth champion) on a big chess board on top of the famous Pulpit Rock, 604 meters above Lysefjorden in Norway.

Chess on Pulpit Rock | Photo courtesy of NorwayChess

Chess is going to be central in the video, along with pictures from the Stavanger region. The filming was done both from a helicopter and on the Pulpit Rock. This event got a lot of attention from the Norwegian media as well. Some links, which includes videos of the film shooting: NRK, VG, Stavanger Aftenblad.

The initiator of the new supertournament 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, in both Norwegian and English:

Besides the new tournament in May, Norway will also host the next World Cup and Olympiad, in 2013 and 2014 respectively, both in Tromsø.

UPDATE: As Jøran Aulin-Jansson points out in the comments, it is only Magnus Carlsen who has signed a contract for this. The players mentioned above have responded very positively, but no contracts have been signed yet. Besides, Magnus does not decide who will participate, he only suggests.

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.


Coco Loco's picture

I suggest you start a rival website - or smth similar - where you shed light on the gross abuses of power/influence of the mainstream (you'd be calling them "lamestream") chess media. AND where you can advertise tournaments with no sponsors, but only after the first pawn (make sure you ban 1.Nf3) has been pushed.

S3's picture

I rather like his posts here as they are usually a nice and well informed addition to the reports of vibes.

S3's picture

"In February the complaints concerned that
Carlsen might see to it that Kramnik and Anand wasn't going to be invited and that he would pick players like Nakamura, Radjabov, Topalov, Ivanchuk just because his aim would be to avoid opponents he had bad results against. I guess this wasn't the case after all?"
Perhaps you have some quotes? I don't think I, or Thomas, have said anything like that about avoiding Kramnik or Aronian. You can't go around them.
As for now it looks like you are just moving the discussion to other people's comments to wiggle your way out.

redivivo's picture

This was how the speculations sounded in February:

"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"

"you are just moving the discussion to other people's comments to wiggle your way out"

Out of what? Questioning the statement that it is now for the first time openly stated that it is Carlsen himself who decides who will be invited?

S3's picture

You are framing. Your first quote is not of me and I bet it's of someone who isn't posting on this topic at all. It has nothing to do with this discussion. Obviously one can still pick "comfortable" opponents while including Kramnik and Aronian as well. Not that I am saying that it will happen, but it's a risk of course.

Thomas's picture

I wrote the first quote back in February, but it was an "open question" i.e. I didn't rule out either answer. I wasn't "complaining", just pointing out that the situation is "interesting" ... .

Also interesting or funny: I would have thought that it is hard to beat the PR strategy of the London Chess Classics - one press release mentioning who is invited, then a series of follow-ups "player 1 has accepted, player 2 has accepted, player 3 has accepted ...". The Norwegians seem to top this: rumors are spread via local newspapers followed by an organizer's statement that they are premature. Does Peter Doggers regularly read Norwegian newspapers, or did someone (who?) give him a hint?

Thomas's picture

I am not bothered about Carlsen earning money, I just wouldn't understand if he gets money for doing basically nothing. Come on, sending a bill (or getting advance payment) just for calling or emailing Kramnik, Aronian, ... "hey, do you want to participate in my event?"

I also don't think that Carlsen is needed to 'persuade' other top players: if conditions (particularly appearance fees and/or prize money) are right, top players will play anywhere [with few exceptions: Armenians won't play in Azerbaijan and vice versa]. For example, London didn't have a super-GM ambassador to attract world-top GMs for a new event ... .

redivivo's picture

"I just wouldn't understand if he gets money for doing basically nothing"

I can't say I care too much if they would just sponsor him without demanding anything in return, or if they pay him whatever they feel like for contacting the top players.

S3's picture

" I can't say I care too much if they would just sponsor him without demanding anything in return, or if they pay him whatever they feel like for contacting the top players. "

Agreed. If he is getting money for doing nothing like a banker than it's his bussiness and if it's anyone's fault it's mainly one of the organisation. But I have mixed feelings when I think of what the Norwegians did at the last Olympiad. Assuming they'd like to see people show up at their own party you'd expect them to be decent enough to send a reasonable team to Istanbul. Perhaps the money for Tromso comes from different private sources but I wonder if it couldn't have been spend wiser.

Tarjei's picture

You are so off that it's getting ridicilous. "What the Norwegians did at the Olympiad". What?

The Norwegian team in the Olympiad is financed by the Federation, while this tournament is financed by sponsorship from private companies. They are not related.

Like has been repeated a zillion times already, the reason the two best players didn't take part in the Olympiad, wasn't related to money.

S3's picture

Im not off you just can't read. I said the money was probably of different sources (though i am sure government funds are always involved) and apart from that somebody mentioned his fee for Tromso earlier above in this thread.
At Istanbul the Norwegians just showed extremely bad manners. Aparently they do have enough money to pay for an ambassador but not enough money for a team. Quite dubious. Your lies about it not being about money don't change that -it's not only that the 2 best players were missing but the numbers 3,4 and so on as well.

Tarjei's picture

I suppose I am trying to talk to a wall, but I will make another attempt.

They are not lies, they are facts. Read interviews with statements both from the federation and from the players. I'll repeat it again:

Norwegian #2 is a busy full time student and couldn't have two weeks off, #3 has a full time job and doesn't play much, #4 is almost retired and became a father just before the Olympiad (can you believe he chose to stay at home?), #5 just recently changed jobs and couldn't get any more off time and #6 is inactive and doesn't play. That left #7 to play 1st board. Got it?

Again, you are mixing up two totally different budgets. The government and sponsorship from various companies is for the 2014 Olympiad, not 2012 Olympiad. That is the federation's responsibility, only.

And it's surely reasonable to pay the World's highest rated player a significant amount to do PR work for the 2014 Olympiad, don't you think?

I've seen enough of your postings to know that no matter how many facts others are able to dig up, you are going to continue your conspiracy theories, so good luck with that!

S3's picture

No conspiracy theory, just stating the obvious. There is plenty of money in Norwegian chess -from both sponsors and government- but they still didn't manage to send a decent team to the Olympiad. That is especially discorteous to the chess community when you consider that Norway hosts the next Olympiad.

As for the pr-work, I don't think it's necessary or reasonable to spend a lot of money on it but I don't care either. I just think it's funny that Thomas gets loads of critique when he just questions what kind of work it exactly is. Just like Carlsens job at this tournament it sounds rather unclear. If you want to host the strongest tournament, do you really need to pay a guy to say who is highest on the rating list?

S3's picture

perhaps Norwegian organisers don't know about that yet Thomas :-)

Chess Fan's picture

He is the crown prince of chess. He should be lauded for organizing such super tournaments using his good offices and connections (Aronian, Kramnik, and the World Champion himself). As Norwegian superstar and the ambassador of one of the sponsors, I would not be surprised if he is paid millions for just being their representative. Free market at its best.

valg321's picture

he's being Magnus Carlsen...that's what he does in return.
Lay off of it man, it doesn't do you any credit

jussu's picture

If they are to hold the strongest tournament of all times, then there is not very much space to hand-pick the participants. I suppose Carlsen't part is mostly to personally persuade the people to come.

Excalibur's picture

Anonymous: Teach him e5 and the Sicilian. The French normally has a locked pawn structure and natural moves are more difficult to find.

Jøran Aulin-Jansson's picture

Dear Peter and others!
Some comments regarding this event:
It is only Magnus Carlsen who has signed contract for this.
The players mentioned above has responded very positivly, but no contracts have been signed yet.
When these contracts has been signed, new players will be invited.
Magnus does not decide who will participate, he suggests, not decides.
Our aim is to organize one of the strongest tournaments in the history of chess.

Best regards

Jøran Aulin-Jansson

S3's picture

Looks like a great event. But why does Carlsen have to suggest players when you want the strongest tournament possible? Why not just look at the rating list?

purplecalx's picture

+1 How's that for clearing thing up. Thanks Joran!

Anonymous's picture

Nice to have you posting here, Jøran.

I hope that Chucky + Moro will be invited (Gelfy!? - but that´s only my wish , I know that he is not too popular aroundhere) also, maybe someone can remember old Kamsky this time ;)

S3's picture

Hehe. I bet Carlsen doesn't mind inviting two of the most unstable players around. I wonder if he will suggest Dominguez though, would be nice compensation for kicking him out of Biel.

RealityCheck's picture

@S3 " I wonder if he will suggest Dominguez"...

That will certainly depend on how well he assimilated Kasparov's method of "Hand-Picking" his opponents.

S3's picture

It would be cool if he used his expertise to suggest interesting players who are not necessarily in top 10. Say Andreikin or Nepo.
But that would require them to let go of the (pretty meaningless) concept of the strongest tournament.

Greco's picture

Lol i knew S3 would be all over this one......

rogge's picture

Yeah, a predictable troll, isn't it.


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