Thursday, August 7, 2008

Major tournaments in the second half of 2008

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THERE are a lot of significant and great chess events in the second half of 2008. This month, we have the traditional Mainz Chess Festival, Biel and the Sochi Grand Prix.

Taking place in August is the World Juniors and Women Championship.

Towards the end of the year are the Anand vs. Kramnik and Topalov vs. Kamsky matches and the Grand daddy of them all, the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany.

Mainz, Germany is a chess monster of superlatives. It spans over six days from July 28 to Aug. 3 and consists of several events. The Ordix Open is the World’s biggest Rapid Open and the FiNet Open is also the World’s biggest Chess960 Open in two sections, men and women. Another event is the Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship featuring Viswanathan Anand, Alexander Morozevich, Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar.

There are also open tournaments for children under 14 years old.

The 41st edition of the Biel, Switzerland 2008 International Festival will be on July 19 to Aug. 1. In the grandmaster section are Magnus Carlsen (2775, Norway), Evgeny Alekseev (2708, Russia), Etienne Bacrot (2691, France), Lenier Dominguez (2708, Cuba), Alexander Onischuk (2670, US) and Yannick Pelletier (2569, Switzerland). There will also be an Open Master Tournament for those with Elo rating of 2000 and above, a general tournament for Elo 2000 and below, a rapid Open , Blitz Chess and a Youth tournament for children born 1988 and later. There is also a simul exhibition by GM Vladimir Belov of Russia on the 19th.

The Grand Prix is a series of six tournaments held over two years (2008-2009) in leading world cities featuring 21 selected players. Each tournament will have 14 players playing over a schedule of 17 days. The selected players must play in at least four tournaments. The winner of the Grand Prix series at the end of 2009 will play the winner of the World Cup held in 2009 in an eight-game match to become the challenger to the World Champion in a match to be held in the third quarter of 2010.

The Baku leg was competed last April and Sochi, Russia will be on July 30 to Aug. 15. The World Junior Championship for boys and girls will be held in Gaziantep, a city in South Central Turkey. It is a 13-round Swiss and will take place Aug. 2 to 16.

Wesley So and Haridas Pascua will be playing in the World Juniors Championship 2008. So is the world`s youngest GM at 14 and ranked is 18 in the world among Juniors, while Pascua won the bronze in the World Under 16 2007 Olympiad in Singapore and defeated Mark Paragua in the Olympiad eliminations this month.

The World Women’s Championship 2008 is scheduled in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria (Russian Federation), from Aug. 28 to Sept. 18 with a prize fund of $450,000 US. No Pinay has qualified to enter this championship as most of the 12 Asian qualifiers are from China and Vietnam.

The next World Chess Championship will take place from Oct. 11 to 30 in Bonn, Germany, with the reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand and the challenger Vladimir Kramnik playing in a 12-game match. The prize fund, which will be split equally between the players, is approximately $2.1 million.

Anand won his title in September 2007 at the World Championship tournament in Mexico City, while Kramnik was the former champion.

The Veselin Topalov vs Gata Kamsky eight-game match will begin in Lviv (Lvov), Ukraine on Nov. 28, and the prize fund will be $750,000. Fide President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a multi-millionaire, has guaranteed the organizer’s offer with his personal finances. Kamsky is playing Topalov because he won the World Cup last year, while Topalov was seeded into the match by the World Chess Federation after he was originally excluded from the world championship cycle in Mexico City.

The winner of the Topalov vs. Kamsky match will challenge the winner of the Anandv s. Kramnik duel in 2009 for undisputed World champion.

The 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany will be featured in a special article later.

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