Reports | July 21, 2012 19:31

London's historic Simpson's-in-the-Strand to host first Grand Prix


Simpson’s-in-the-Strand will be the venue for the first FIDE Grand Prix, starting September 20th. This was announced (or rather: confirmed) in a separate press release by Agon this week. Simpson is one of London's oldest traditional English restaurants and also the place where the "Immortal game" between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky was played. 


Agon, the company that was recently accorded the commercial rights to the World Chess Championships by FIDE, has announced that the game is to return to Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, the spiritual home of chess in Europe.

Simpson’s will be the setting for the forthcoming Grand Prix event between 20 September and 3 October. The tournament will have a prize fund of 240,000 euros.

The event, the first Grand Prix in the new World Chess Championship Cycle, was originally scheduled to be played in Chelyabinsk in the Russian Ural mountains, but  unresolved issues between FIDE and the Russian Chess Federation led to Agon’s decision to transfer the event to London.

Andrew Paulson, the Chief Executive and Founder of Agon, said: “I am delighted to confirm that Simpson’s-in-the-Strand will be the venue for the September Grand Prix. As possibly the best-known chess venue in the world, it is the perfect place to kick off the new Championship cycle. However, the requirement to transfer the event to London from Chelyabinsk at this relatively late stage means that it will be a smaller, invite-only event.

“Agon’s stewardship of the World Chess Championships really only starts with the London Candidates tournament in March 2013, but I felt compelled to support FIDE when it became apparent that Chelyabinsk wasn’t going to work. ”

CJ de Mooi, the President of the English Chess Federation (ECF), said: “I am delighted to welcome the Agon Chess Grand Prix to London in our Olympic year. The ECF looks forward to a long partnership with Agon, an innovative company that has proven itself on both the world stage and the chess board.”

Simpson’s originally opened in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house and soon became known as the “home of chess” after attracting the patronage of such chess luminaries as Howard Staunton – the first English world chess champion.

Raymond Keene OBE, chess columnist for The Times newspaper and The Spectator magazine and one of the world’s most respected commentators on the sport, said: “I am relishing the return of the World Chess Championships to Simpson’s. It is the home of the immortal game and the Grand Prix in September represents the start of a long journey to restore chess to its rightful place in the public imagination after decades in the media wilderness.”

The announcement of Simpson’s as a venue is indicative of Agon’s ambitions for the World Chess Championships.

Agon will be bringing the World Chess Championships to European capital cities, as part of its commitment to bring a sustainable business model to the sport.

Mr Paulson added: “We will shortly be announcing a number of illustrious and historic venues for the World Chess Championship cycle. We are also in discussions with a number of global companies that want to be associated with the pinnacle of this wonderful game.”

In 2013, the Championship cycle will be hosted by London, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin, Paris and Tromsø.

The press release was distributed by Mission, a global PR company for brands in different markets. It was sent soon after the news about the GP participants was published. Thus, we know the participants of the first Grand Prix in London:

Sergey Karjakin (2779), Hikaru Nakamura (2778), Alexander Grischuk (2763), Veselin Topalov (2752), Wang Hao (2739), Boris Gelfand (2738), Peter Leko (2730), Ruslan Ponomariov (2726), Shakriyar Mamedyarov (2726), Leinier Dominguez Perez (2725), Anish Giri (2696) and Rustam Kazimdzhanov (2690).

The first event of the current World Championship cycle is the Candidates Tournament which will take place in London in March 2013. The winner of this 8-player double round-robin will play the reigning World Champion, Viswanathan Anand, in the World Championship Match in November 2013.

The Grand Prix Series 2012-2013 is part of the next World Championship cycle, just like the World Cup in Tromsø next year. The six GP tournaments will be hosted in London, Tashkent, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Berlin.
Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Niima's picture

So far so good.

noyb's picture

Are ALL monies necessary for hosting/prizes deposited "in the bank"?

TomTom's picture

where is Luke??

valg321's picture

busy making money of the economic crisis

K Kandbiscuitlover's picture

'Raymond Keene OBE, chess columnist for The Times newspaper and The Spectator magazine and one of the world’s most respected commentators on the sport...'

*Cough, cough*
Never met anyone yet who respects him.
A universal loathing.

Excalibur's picture

Luke would get crushed here.

Roger's picture

Agon writes "it will be a smaller, invite-only event."

Apparently this means that spectators will be by invitation only.

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