February 09, 2012 18:55

Kramnik-Aronian match announced, to be held in Zurich

Kramnik-Aronian match announced, to be held in Zurich

The friendly match between Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian will be held from 21 to 28 April in Zurich, Switzerland and will consist of six games played at classical time control. A first press release was distributed today by the Zurich Chess Club, which organizes the event.

Map by Google

During the 11th round of the Tata Steel tournament, on January 27th in Wijk aan Zee, Vladimir Kramnik suddenly entered the press room. As it turned out, the ex-World Champion was to sign a contract later that evening together with Levon Aronian and a sponsor, for a 6-game match (classical games!) in the last week of April. More details would be announced soon, and today we received a first press release.


Zurich Chess Challenge: Kramnik vs. Aronian

The Zurich Chess Club announces a six-game chess match between Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Levon Aronian (Armenia) from 21 to 28 April 2012. The numbers 2 and 3 of the World ranking will meet in the time-honored Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville at Paradeplatz, the venue of many a famous chess event in the past. Kramnik and Aronian are the winners of the two most prestigious tournaments of the last months. While the 36-year-old Kramnik has gained a convincing victory at the London Chess Classic in December, the 29-year-old Aronian has just won the famous tournament in Wijk aan Zee with an outstanding score.

Both players belong to the hottest candidates in the World championship qualifier later this year. The Zurich Chess Challenge will be the first encounter in the history of chess between two players with a rating above the magical 2800 limit and it is the first ever friendly match at the top level. It is sponsored by Oleg Skvortsov, IGC International Gemological Laboratories and Aspeco N.V., Antwerp.

About IGC International Gemological Laboratories
IGC International Gemological Laboratories is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification, man-made/synthetic diamonds and imitation detection as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. IGC is the Russian branch of GCI - a group of gemological laboratories located wordwide.

About Aspeco N.V.
Aspeco N.V. is a part of the K. Girdharlal Group of companies who are one of the world's leading diamantaires with sales offices around the globe. In Antwerp, Aspeco N.V. is active in selling a large assortment of polished diamonds originating from the group manufacturing. Aspeco N.V. is also procuring rough diamonds from various renowned sources both for trading and for manufacturing purposes.

About the Zurich Chess Club
The Zurich Chess Club is the oldest chess society in the World. In its long history it has staged numerous world class events, regularly attracting the elite of the day. Two years ago it celebrated its 200-year jubilee with a spectacular chess show involving all living World champions. It has not been idle since then as witnessed by the recent simultaneous displays by Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen.

We can add the following details about the match, which were kindly provided by Vladimir Kramnik to us:

  • The time control of the six classical games will be 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20 moves and then 15 minutes to finish the game, with an increment of 30 seconds from move 61.
  • If a game lasts less than three hours, the players will play a rapid game with reversed colours (with 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment on the clock).

This last feature was in fact a suggestion by Kramnik himself. It will be nice for the spectators, but also for the players because the whole idea of the match is that Aronian and Kramnik will get some more practice in a period when there are few tournaments.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


S3's picture

Pretty cool to see two of the strongest players in the world risk their reputation like this, but it's a pitty that Carlsen chickened out!

Bert de Bruut's picture

They risk nothing and nobody chickened out anything, your comment is completely senseless.

Brandon Vasos's picture

Pretty exciting. Is it wrong that I'm looking forward to this more then the world championship match?

123's picture

Me to, I think it's understandable ;)

Abbas's picture

The encounter of two 2800+ is the first time in history.

Alberto's picture


columbo's picture

in a six games against Kramnik, i doubt that Aronian can take the first spot ...

Thomas's picture

If my calculations are correct, Aronian would need to win 4.5-1.5 to become live #1: a win gives him 4.7 points, a draw costs 0.3 points and a loss 5.3 points. But if he really cares about the #1 spot (he said himself that he doesn't) he can throw in a few Bundesliga games before.
And things could get very close if Mexico-Linares actually happens, Carlsen participates and underperforms just a little bit. Possibly the #1 spot could change ownership twice daily (if the games are on the same days but, initially, in different time zones).

columbo's picture

S3 : you are sooooooooooooo pathetic

Anonymous's picture

Bad decision by Aronian to participate in this match (excluding the financial gains). He is already much better than Kramnik now and if he wins he has little to gain in terms of his reputation(apart of course from the prize money, which btw is a perfectly fine reason to risk his reputation). If he loses, which is sth possible, since Kramnik is much more experienced in match-play, he will be seen as not strong enough to compete with Carlsen or Anand.

Anonymous's picture

I think his main reason for Aronian is correcting the disappointment of Kazan by gaining match experience against a great match player. Based on my reading of his interviews, it seems to me that the world Championship is his primary goal. Money and rating are secondary.

Anonymous's picture

On second thoughts Aronian has a hot girlfriend to support...

Al's picture

is this going to be FIDE rated? If so awesome chance for these two to gain rating points, and not go down much if they don't do well. Aronian may be the sharper player today but Kramnik has much more match experience.

I believe it will be a very tough fight but Kramnik will come out the victor.

Let's expect brilliant chess, I can't wait! :-)

paul's picture

exciting..looking forward to the match..but these guys are almost equal so six draws could be the outcome!

lefier's picture

Aronian and Kramnik. Add Carlsen and Anand, and make it a round 'match-robin' with 6 games between each pair of players. Voila: A true World Chess Championship. Something for the chess-history.

Billy Hunt's picture

"A true World Chess Championship." Apart from not being the world chess championship.

classic's picture

Yes, we know that Gelfand is playing the "true world chess championship", don't we?

stevefraser's picture

Professional chess needs a mano a mano WC match for the title to maximally promote our wonderful sport/art to the world (Think Fischer vs Spassky).

nathan's picture

In the live list, Caruana is at #7, one more win in Aeroflot and he will be #6, only behind the fantastic four and Radjabov.

Also McShane is now more than 2700, any idea where he is playing ?

Anonymous's picture

McShane's latest points were accumulated playing for Werder Bremen in Schachbundesliga. He is also on the roster for Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher 1 in 4NLC. They have games scheduled for this weekend, but I don't know whether he is playing in them.

gíz's picture


joseph fuentes's picture

Are we going to see a lot of QGD in this match?

noyb's picture

I think this is great for chess. Reminds me of Kasparov's matches vs. Timman, Huebner and Miles, as well as lots of matches in the 1800's and early 1900's. Too bad there aren't more!

Septimus's picture

Contrary to some of the comments, I believe Aronian has something to prove (or a statement to make). He has not played a serious 6+ game match against such a high quality opponent before. Kramnik's success and experience in match situations is well known, so Aronian will definitely not want to pass up an opportunity to beat one of the best match-players around today. If he beats Kramnik, all the "he is just a rapid/tournament player" noobs will have to STFU.

Thomas's picture

Maybe the opponents weren't (yet) of the same quality as Kramnik, but Aronian already played two six-game candidates matches in 2007: against rising star Carlsen (decided in tiebreaks), then against Shirov.
BTW he also played a six-game rapid match against Kramnik in 2007 (e.g. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=61784 ), winning 4-2 (+3=2-1) so a few decisive games in their upcoming match are at least possible. Aronian has improved in the meantime, maybe Kramnik also has - their ratings back then were 2759(Aronian) vs. 2772(Kramnik).

Septimus's picture

Good info. I missed the previous match against Kramnik, but I deliberately overlooked the match against Carlsen.

Is this rated?

AljechinsCat's picture

Promises interesting games, especially since there will be so much loved "match situations" like a must-win or a simply-draw situation. No deep discussion of the QGA or likeables is to expected, the Kramnik-Leko Brissago match ended this, if one opening doesnt work for one player the whole system is changed.

anonymous's picture

If they have six short draws and then put their hands out for payment it will be VERY bad for chess!

me's picture

it won't be. it's a training match. they have nothing to lose.

Felix Kling's picture

Is it legal to publish a picture of a g00gle maps part? can be quite expensive to use such a graphic!

Zeblakob's picture

I do not understand S3 first comment, I feel that I am dumb :(

Greco's picture

nope. S3 is!!

classic's picture

S3 was a little drunk at the time, I'm afraid.

S3's picture

Don't worry Zeb, you are still above average.

Zeblakob's picture

and what about Septimus? ;)

Szoker's picture

its going to be nice ;)

Anonymous's picture

Classical time control - wow! This is an event to look forward to.

redivivo's picture

It always looks silly when press releases strive to make things look much bigger by making things up. They call this "the first encounter in the history of chess between two players with a rating above the magical 2800 limit and it is the first ever friendly match at the top level".

It is of course not the first encounter ever between two players rated 2800+, not the first match between 2800+ players either (Kasparov-Kramnik, Moscow 2001), and far from the first friendly match ever at top level (too many to mention, but Anand-Ivanchuk, Linares 1992, to take one example from currently active top players). But if you want to sell something it's usually a good idea not to bother too much about the truth.

Rinzou Wilkerson's picture

Looking forward to this match. I think Levon Aronian will win the match 3.5-2.5, winning one game and drawing the rest.

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