Hit by the financial crisis, Tata Steel was forced to decrease its budget for the annual chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. The 76th edition will have two Grandmaster groups instead of three and only twelve players instead of fourteen in the A group. The other big news is that two rounds will be played outside Wijk aan Zee.
“The tournament is one of the most prestigious chess events in the world, has a rich history and is deeply rooted in Wijk aan Zee,” said Dook van den Boer, Director Tata Steel IJmuiden, last Wednesday at a press conference in Wijk aan Zee. “We will continue this tradition. Also next year, chess players and enthusiasts from around the world will follow the events on the tournament website, and players from the Netherlands will visit Wijk aan Zee to play in the many amateur tournaments. Again, for more than two weeks Wijk aan Zee will be the Mecca of chess. To add even more allure and give the chess tournament an even broader stage, the grandmasters of the A group will one day play at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and one day at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven,” announced Van den Boer on Wednesday.
Dook van den Boer (Director Tata Steel in IJmuiden), GM Anish Giri, Jeroen van den Berg (tournament director) and Bert-Jan Woertman (Marketing & Communications Director High Tech Campus Eindhoven). Photo © Vincent Bloothoofd.
“We look forward to be, for one day, not only the museum with the largest collection of old masters, but also the highest number of grandmasters,” said Wim Pijbes, General Director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. “With its fascinating cultural history chess fits well with the Rijksmuseum.”
The players of the Grandmaster group A will play the 4th round at the Rijksmuseum on Wednesday, January 15. The "move" to the Rijksmuseum follows a trend of recent chess events taking place at museums. The 2012 world title match was held in the Tretyakov Museum in Moscow, the 2013 Alekhine Memorial took place at the Louvre in Paris and in the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg while currently the Russian Championship Superfinal is being held at Rukavishnikov's Mansion in Nizhny Novgorod.
“The campus is a place where exceptional spirits feel at home,” said Bert -Jan Woertman, Marketing & Communications Director at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. “Top chess players and people from the campus staff speak the same language. They share a passion for solving complex problems through the logical use of knowledge and creativity. A perfect match for me.”
The players of the Grandmaster group A will play the 9th round at High Tech Campus Eindhoven on Thursday, January 23. At both locations outside Wijk aan Zee, there will be a special chess program for kids that will give them the opportunity to learn more about the game.
There was also less positive news. Hit by the crisis, the organizers had to cut down the top section of the Tata tournament. The Grandmaster group C has been dropped completely, while Grandmaster groups A will have twelve players instead of fourteen. This also means that there will be two more rest days for this group. The structure of the amateur tournaments remains unchanged.
In the presence of Dutch top GM Anish Giri, tournament director Jeroen van den Berg announced 11 of the 12 players of the Grandmaster group A:
||Loek van Wely
The press release also mentions that Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand were invited, but “both preferred some rest after their world title match” in November. It may be noted that Anand did agree to participate in the London Chess Classic in December, which will be a rapid event.
The 76th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will take place from 10 to 26 January 2014. The tournament website is tatasteelchess.com.