TePe Sigeman & Co. in Malmö (1st 1993, 27th 2022)

Malmö International Grandmaster tournament

#  Hellers  #  Timman  #  Lautier  #  Short  #  Gulko  #  Korchnoi  #  Giri  #  Judit Polgar  #  Hillarp Persson  Ivanchuk  #  Gelfand #  Caruana  #  So  #  Rapport  #  Grandelius

The Swedish Limhamn Chess Club organized the Sigeman Chess Tournament, annually running from 1993 to 2014 at Malmö (the third largest city of Sweden and together with Copenhagen, center of the transnational Øresund Region), with lawyer and chess enthusiast Johan Sigeman as father figure of the event and main sponsor (Advokatbyron Sigeman Wernbro & Co, later Sigeman & Co, the firm has been founded in 1991 and is focused on commercial law).

After a break, Sigeman & Co. Tournament rised again in 2017, and is back on the annual map of the international chess circuit. With the arrival of the new partner TePe, the tournament changes its name to TePe Sigeman & Co. Chess Tournament.

The yearly line-up is a generational and stylistic mix of swedish and international top players in a single round robin.

This international invitation chess tournament has been mostly held at the classical Hipp Theatre in central Malmö. Some editions took place at two stages: in Malmö and in Copenhagen as well.

The 25th anniversary tournament 2019 took place at Malmö Live conference center, and was broadcasted on web tv. There was no edition in 2020 due to the Corona Pandemic situation.

Recent winner in Malmö is the rising US-American star Hans Moke Niemann, he was the seventh seed in a strong eight-player field which had Jorden van Foreest (Elo 2700+), Michael Adams, Alexei Shirov, Saleh Salem and David Navara as the highest-rated participants. Niemann collected three wins and four draws to finish clear first on 5/7 points. On his way to outright victory, the youngster defeated Shirov, Saleh Salem and rising Indian star Arjun Erigaisi.

Official Website: Tepe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament (tepesigemanchess.com).

Tournament History

Near 64 years of age difference: Giri and Korchnoi, the youngest and the oldest winner at Malmö (pictured in 2011, Official Website of Anish Giri)

Sigeman & Co. at Malmö always shows an interesting mix of established players and rising young stars, of familiar faces and new ones, the best Scandinavian players faced the very best of the world:

Smyslov, Spassky, Korchnoi, Portisch, Timman, Miles, Short, Adams, Lautier, Bacrot, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Morozevich, Shirov, Beliavsky, Radjabov, Sutovsky, Eljanov, Navara, Nakamura, So, Giri, Caruana, Leko, Rapport, Judit Polgar, Pia Cramling, plus Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen who played in 2004 and is today World Chess Champion :)

GM Ulf Andersson, GM Stellan Brynell, or renowned GM Yasser Seirawan provided commentary over the years.

Record thrice tournament winners are four players, namely Hellers, Timman, Short and Grandelius with three (co-)wins each.

Viktor Korchnoi played and won once at Malmö (Sigeman & Co.) in 1996, exactly twenty years after his emigration in summer 1976 at Amsterdam (IBM-Tournament), won then joint with Tony Miles, this time the first British born over-the-board chess grandmaster was runner-up to Korchnoi.

Three World Champions played at Malmö - but did all not win: Smyslov, Spassky, and Carlsen.

During the 22 annually played international invitation round-robin tournaments of the first series, in total 93 players have taken part over the years between 1993 and 2014. Sigeman & Co. is one of a few chess tournaments in the world today in old fashion without an explicit tie-breaker and it has no single champion in case of a tie. Chess journalist Antti Parkkinen of Finland provided statistics about the Sigeman & Co. first series history (1993-2014), updated.





1993 to 1999

10 players

2012 to 2013

8 players


4 players (double round-robin)

2014; 2017, 2018

6 players

2001 to 2008

10 players

Since 2019

8 players

2009 to 2011

6 players









Ferdinand Hellers (first winner)


Peter Heine Nielsen, Curt Hansen


Ferdinand Hellers, Curt Hansen


Krishnan Sasikiran, Jan Timman


Ivan Sokolov


Jan Timman


Viktor Korchnoi (oldest winner at 65)


Ivan Cheparinov


Ferdinand Hellers


Tiger Hillarp Persson


Igor Miladinović, Joël Lautier


Nigel Short


Boris Gelfand


Anish Giri (youngest winner at age of 16)


Judit Polgar


So, Giri, Tikkanen (three-way-tie)


Boris Gulko, Jan Timman


Fabiano Caruana


Nigel Short


Rapport, Short, Grandelius (three-way-tie)


Vasily Ivanchuk


Laurent Fressinet (end of first series)

Nils Grandelius
, first on tie-break, and Baduur Jobava shared the win in 2017 (relaunch). Vidit Santosh Gujrahti, first on tie-break, and Grandelius again, won the tournament in 2018. Gawain Jones was the triumphator as clear first in 2019 (now eight players). No tournament in 2020 due to Corona Pandemic. Jorden van Foreest won outright in 2021, rising youngster Hans Niemann won outright in 2022 (eight players).

Other notable players (not winning the tournament)

Selection in no particular order

Vasily Smyslov (joint 2.-6. in 1997)

Loek van Wely

Boris Spassky (joint 7./8. in 1998)

Erwin L'Ami

Magnus Carlsen (3rd in 2004 at the age of 13½)

Luke McShane

Anthony Miles (runner-up to Korchnoi in 1996)

Pavel Eljanov

Ulf Andersson (four times participant)

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Lajos Portisch (10th and last in 2008)

Zoltan Almasi

Peter Leko (runner-up to Caruana in 2012)

David Navara

Alexander Beliavsky (4th in 2004)

Nick de Firmian

Alexander Morozevich (4./5. in 2018)

Emil Sutovsky

Alexei Shirov (4th in 2011, 8th and last in 2022)

Vasilios Kotronias

Hikaru Nakamura (3rd in 2005)

Saleh Salem

Teimour Radjabov (3.-6. in 2001)

Ian Rogers

Oleg Romanishin (3.-6. in 1993)

Nihal Sarin

Etienne Bacrot (6./7. in 2021)

Pentala Harikrishna

Michael Adams (2.-4. in 2022)

Li Chao

and great Scandinavian players: Pia Cramling as well as her husband Juan Manuel Bellón López, Evgeny Agrest, Emanuel Berg, Slavko Cicak, Pontus Carlsson, Lars Karlsson, Tom Wedberg, Johan Hellsten, Stellan Brynell, Axel Smith, Erik Blomqvist, Jon Ludvig Hammer, Leif Johannessen, Kjetil A. Lie, Aryan Tari, Jacob Aagaard, Hannes Stefansson, Johann Hjartarson, Ralf Åkesson, Sune Berg Hansen, Tomi Nybäck, plus Ferdinand Hellers (winner 1993, 1994 joint, and 1997), Curt Hansen (co-winner 1994 and 2004), Peter Heine Nielsen (co-winner 2004), Tiger Hillarp Persson (winner 2008), Hans Tikkanen (co-winner 2011), and Nils Grandelius (co-winner 2013, 2017 & 2018)


Most participations

27 editions (1993 to 2014 in a row, and again since 2017)

Jonny Hector

17 times (never winning)

Jan Timman

11 (three times winning or co-winning)

Nils Grandelius

6+5 (three co-wins)

Tiger Hillarp Persson

9+1 (one win outright)

Curt Hansen

8 (two co-wins)

Emanuel Berg

7 (not winning)

Ivan Sokolov

6 (one win outright)

Pia Cramling

5 (not winning)

Nigel Short

3+2 (three sole or shared first places)



Ferdinand Hellers

3 (sole or shared first at each participation)


Biggest upset

Igor Miladinović (Junior World Chess Champion of 1993 as clear first), winning unbeaten at Malmö in 1998, together with Joël Lautier who lost in their individual game, above luminaries as eg. Ivan Sokolov, Ulf Andersson and Boris Spassky


Double winning at Sigeman & Co. in Malmö (Invitation, round robin) and at Politiken Cup in Copenhagen (Open, swiss system) << the same year within one month >>, both won as clear first! A unique Scandinavian summer :))

Viktor Korchnoi (1996 at age of 65 years)


Thanks to Antti Parkkinen for the statistics, collected by Peter Doggers plus own research.

A boy chess genius

A fine photo of the game between then IM Magnus Carlsen and his future coach and second IGM Peter Heine Nielsen, played in round 6 of the Sigeman tournament in 2004. Magnus won that game. Photo: L. Sabroe, NTB

GM Hellers - unbeaten in 27 games at Sigeman & Co.

Ferdinand Hellers is born in Stockholm, January 28, 1969. IM in 1985. GM in 1988.

Hellers was European Junior Champion in 1984-85, winning the title at Groningen in January 1985. In 1986, Hellers won the bronze medal at the World Junior Championship in Gausdal, Norway. Surprisingly, he never won the Swedish national champion title.

Hellers is co-record winner at the international Sigeman & Co. and a hero of that tournament:

Hellers played in it three times and won all three! In 1993 the inaugural event (ahead of Lars Bo Hansen, followed by shared Rozentalis, Romanishin, Rogers, Petursson), in 1994 (joint with Curt Hansen, ahead of shared Epishin and Almasi, followed by Andersson), and in 1997 (leading finally full 1.5 points ahead of five shared runners-up: Jan Timman, Ivan Sokolov, Curt Hansen, Vasily Smyslov, and Pia Cramling, then 10 players). Hellers remains unbeaten in all of his 27 games!

For the sake of the legality of the things: Short and Timman also realized 3 (sole or shared) wins, but keep in mind that the dutch legend made 11 attempts at Malmö; Short participated four times.

In 1985, Hellers won the pretty strong OHRA Open at Amsterdam as clear first (there was also a parallel closed invitation OHRA tournament with six players, won by Karpov in that year, somehow overshadowing the Open series).

Hellers worked as Vishy Anand's second (assistant) in the Candidate's match against Alexey Dreev in Madras in 1991. Anand remembers:

<“I worked with Ferdinand Hellers. We were playing in junior events together and we got along well.” GM Hellers says: “Anand is a very pleasant person to work with. It’s very tough, but also very rewarding, as he is such a strong player.” Although Dreev had three seconds, Anand won. The match saw many opening novelties from both sides. Says Anand: “Ferdinand was a big help…the key was that we enjoyed the work.” Confesses Hellers: “As a Swede, I found the heat trying. I was very tired at the end.”> (Source: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=14316)

Hellers had been playing for the Swedish national team only at the Chess Olympiads in 1988 & 1990, and at the European Team Chess Championships in 1989 (on board one) & 1992.

In 1993, Hellers won a friendly match against fellow countryman Ulf Andersson with 3.5-2.5, but then soon later already retired from regular competitive chess in his mid-20s. In fact, the Sigeman & Co. tournament in 1997 was his last individual international tournament in classical chess. Afterwards, Hellers played occasionally in the Swedish team league or some exhibition games.

Ferdinand Hellers achieved his peak ranking as no. 47= of the world in 1989 (January-June list).

Photo: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23schacksm2016

Those were the days: Miles & Korchnoi

Anthony Miles and Viktor Korchnoi: Mighty Vic won ahead of Tony at Malmö, Sigeman & Co. 1996. Showing them here twenty years earlier in 1976 as joint winners of the famous IBM tournament in Amsterdam. Minutes after this picture has been taken, Viktor Korchnoi will seek asylum.

Photo: https://twitter.com/dgriffinchess/status/784345558832058368 / http://www.gahetna.nl/

Nigel Short

Nigel Short, enfant terrible, competed again at Malmö in 2017, and 2021. Short was challenged by Indian GM Harika Dronavalli in the edition of 2017 (their game ended in a draw, after she has beaten him at Gibraltar in 2016).

Gawain Jones

In the FIDE Elo list of May 2019, Jones officially surpassed the notorious 2700 Elo for the first time, joining the "2700 club", and maybe more important, he also became for the first time in his chess career the highest ranked chess player from England & UK.

<Five Players from England in the Top 100> in classical chess, as of May 2019 are within just 21 points, pretty close ...

Gawain Jones (*1987), Elo 2702
David Howell (*1990), Elo 2698
Michael Adams (*1971), Elo 2693
Matthew Sadler (*1974), Elo 2688
Luke McShane (*1984), Elo 2681

followed by Nigel Short (*1965),
out of Top Hundred at Elo 2630.

The same month, Gawain Jones got an invitation at the traditional Malmö TePe Sigeman & Co., and finished as sole winner undefeated with 5/7. Congratulations!

GM Grandelius - current Swedish number one player

Nils Grandelius. Photo: Alchetron

Nils Grandelius is born June 3, 1993 in Lund. He became an International Master in 2008 and a Grandmaster in 2010.

In 2008, Grandelius took clear first place in the Olomouc Open in Czech Republic; thanks to this result, he also achieved his first GM norm. In the following year's edition, he placed equal first, placing second on tiebreak, and gained the second GM norm.

He achieved the GM title by earning the third and final norm in the 40th Bosna International Tournament (Open) in Sarajevo, being also the first among juniors.

He won the bronze medal at the 2010 World U-18 Championship, and won the 2011 European U-18 Championship.

In 2012, he placed equal third (fourth on tie-break) in the World Junior Championship in Athens.

Grandelius made a sensation by winning the traditional Abu Dhabi Open 2015. A victory that shows his potential: He took the 22nd Abu Dhabi Masters, edging out on tie-break Martyn Kravtsiv, Baadur Jobava, Alexander Areshchenko and Richard Rapport.

The same year, Nils Grandelius won the Swedish Chess Championship 2015 by defeating Emanuel Berg in a playoff match (they both had tied for first place at 6.5/9).

Grandelius has been playing for the Swedish national team at the Chess Olympiads since 2010 and at the European Team Chess Championships since 2011 in most editions.

He has been trained by Evgenij Agrest since 2013.

He worked as a second of Magnus Carlsen for World Chess Championship 2016.

Three times, Nils Grandelius claimed the Tepe Sigeman & Co. tournament in Malmö.

He placed =1st together with young Rapport and chess-veteran Short in a three way-tie at the Sigeman & Co. tournament already in 2013, and was co-winner again in 2017 together with Baadur Jobava from Georgia, and again in 2018 together with Santosh Gujrathi Vidit from India. 

Together with Ferdinand Hellers, Jan Timman and Nigel Short, Nils Grandelius is now a record thrice (co-)winner at the closed Malmö tournament. 

After the 2018 Malmö TePe Sigeman tournament, Grandelius achieves now his personal peak Elo and the highest nominal Elo rating of any Swedish chess player since FIDE has introduced Elo lists officially, but he is still ranked outside the Top Fifty.

Note, Ulf Andersson, with a lower nominal peak Elo rating than Grandelius, was peak ranked as clear no. 4 of the world in 1983, then with a rating of Elo 2640; Andersson much later made his nominal peak rating of Elo 2641 in the year 2000, then just ranked as no. 40-something.

Gideon Stahlberg was historically peak-ranked no. 3 in Chessmetrics.

Stahlberg, Stoltz, and Lundin were called "The Three Swedish Musketeers". They established their names as world players at the Chess Olympiad in Folkstone 1933 and Warsaw 1935 where Sweden took the Bronze and the Silver medal respectively! 

The Three Musketeers were prominent on international circuit from the 1930 to the early 1960s, certainly the best players, Sweden had to offer then, until the chess world met... Ulf Andersson.

Tournament reports (relaunched series since 2017)

Ingemar Falk, media officer at TePe Sigeman & Co., is also the Chairman of the Rilton Committee, which consists of an investment fund that is maintained to sponsor the traditional Rilton Cup, where this picture is from, annually played before and after New Year (Photo: Lars OA Hedlund)

http://www.malmoschack.com/tepe-sigeman-chess-returns-2-years/ Malmö AS

http://chessbase.in/news/sigeman-intro/ by the tournament's media officer Ingemar Falk

http://en.chessbase.com/post/sigeman-co-tournament-rises-again by Priyadarshan Banjan, club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News & ChessBase India

http://en.chessbase.com/post/jobava-grandelius-win-sigeman-2017 final report by Indian Grandmaster Srinath Narayanan, ChessBase

https://www.chess.com/news/view/grandelius-jobava-win-revived-tepe-sigeman-co-tournament-9777 (2017 thrilling background news by Peter Doggers, Mr. chess.com)

https://www.chess.com/news/view/grandelius-vidit-win-tepe-sigeman-co-tournament (2018 by Peter Doggers)

https://www.chess.com/news/view/gawain-jones-wins-tepe-sigeman-co-chess-tournament (2019 by Peter Doggers)

TePe Sigeman & Co. tournament: media & sponsors

Johan Sigeman, initiator, enthusiast and maecenas (Photo: Fiona Steil-Antoni)

Official Tournament Site


https://twitter.com/hashtag/tepesigeman?src=hash (Twitter)

http://www.tepe.com TePe,
leading producer of interdental brushes, a family-run Swedish company founded in 1965 to develop, manufacture and sell high quality, functional oral hygiene products in cooperation with dental experts

Interview with Joel Eklund, CEO TePe

http://www.sigeman.se/en Sigeman & Co., 
law and advocate firm, founded in 1991. Johan was one of the founders of Sigeman & Co. in 1991. He has a vast experience of commercial law. Today his focus is largely on labor law and dispute resolution as well as commercial contracts and corporate law. He teaches at the University of Lund

Interview with John Sigeman

Sigeman & Co. tournament: general survey & sources

Tiger Hillarp Persson, always an entertaining player, clear first in 2008. (Photo: ChessBase)

History with list of winners:

(Wikipedia survey in french)

(Wikipedia survey in polish)

(Official Website)

Inspirational games:

Hikaru Nakamura vs Krishnan Sasikiran (2005) (chessgames.com)
The funniest game is from Malmö 2005: Nakamura vs. Sasikiran 0-1

Curt Hansen vs Viktor Korchnoi (1996) (chessgames.com)
Korchnoi in action at age of 65

Nigel Short vs Pavel Eljanov (2017) (chessgames.com)
A brilliant effort by both players

Biggest upset:

Igor Miladinović (former Junior World Chess Champion from 1993,
probably the most surprising winner at Malmö, Sigeman & Co. in 1998)

Carlsen at Sigeman & Co. - Top Nordic players above Beliavsky:

(IM Magnus Carlsen achieving his fourth (!) GM norm at Malmö in 2004)

Summary of other selected editions (first series):

http://en.chessbase.com/post/sigeman-giri-wins-with-4-5-5-and-a-2936-performance (2010)

Sigeman: Caruana wins Sigeman with 2852 performance (2012)

http://www.chess.com/news/fressinet-wins-short-sigeman-event-3749 (2014, end of first series)

Report by Peter Doggers with historical summary based on stats from Antti Parkkinen

Chess essentials in brief:

DIE SCHACHWOCHE, Switzerland (1978 - 2003, Yves Kraushaar, Werner Widmer)

THE WEEK IN CHESS, since 1994: http://theweekinchess.com/ by Mark Crowther 

INTE BARA SCHACK, Sweden, http://larsgrahn.blogspot.ch/, and
https://twitter.com/larsgrahn?lang=de by Lars Grahn, legendary Swedish chess journalist

HANINGE, Sweden 1988 – 1990

Big win for Ľubomír Ftáčnik at Haninge International Grandmaster Tournament in 1989, the year of the Velvet Revolution in Czecho-Slovakia. Ľubomír Ftáčnik (born in Bratislava) is a Slovak chess player, notable author, and most important reviser to the Mega Database. Photo: André Schulz, ChessBase

Haninge Internatnioanl Invitation Tournament series strong, but somehow forgotten.

Lev Polugaevsky won the inaugural edition 1988, Lubomir Ftacnik the second tournament 1989, and Yasser Seirawan took the third and last Haninge GM tournament 1990, unbeaten with 8½/11, a full point ahead of Jaan Ehlvest and Anatoly Karpov (each with 7½/11) in a very tough field. 

Viktor Korchnoi in 1988, Vasily Smyslov in 1989, Anatoly Karpov in 1990, plus Andersson, twice runner-up in 1988 (sole), and in 1989 (shared), Sax, Ehlvest, I. Sokolov, Pinter, Sosonko, Van der Wiel, Wilder, Chandler, Agdestein, Arnason, Hellers, Karlsson, Schüssler, Wedberg, Hector, as well as Pia Cramling and Maia Chiburdanidze, all played. 

Ftacnik winning in 1989 – historical coincidence:

The Velvet Revolution (Czech: sametová revoluce) or Gentle Revolution (Slovak: nežná revolúcia) was a non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia, occurring from November 17 to December 29, 1989.

Popular demonstrations against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia combined students and older dissidents. The result was the end of 41 years of a one-party rule in Czechoslovakia, subsequent dismantling of the planned economy, and the conversion to a democratic parliamentary republic.

This tournament series, lasting three years (always played in May) at Haninge near Stockholm was the strongest in Sweden for a long time, followed by the Malmö Sigeman & Co tournaments starting in 1993.

HANINGE survey

Further series in Scandinavia (selection from past and present)

RILTON CUP in Stockholm, Sweden, annually since 1971/72

The Rilton Cup is a famous Open Festival over the New Years holidays.

Young Timman won the premier edition, Sasikiran the 50th Jubilee edition. Smyslov and Korchnoi played, too, among many greats.

FAGERNES FESTIVAL (Open), Norway, annually since 2011

A GM group (swiss), and an Amateur group. Surprising "TeamTalkingChess" as a side event. Organised by renowned Hans Olav Lahlum. Among the winners: Sasikiran, Shankland, Tiviakov, Hillarp Persson.

GAUSDAL CLASSICS, Norway, 2001 – 2008 (in closed GM & IM groups), plus a DRAMMEN Smartfish Masters Invitation Tournament 2004/05

A young Magnus Carlsen played in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and won in 2007. Open Chess Festivals in Gausdal since 1970, eg. Troll Masters, Peer Gynt, Eikrem Memorial, and Arnold Cup.

NORTH SEA CUP in Esbjerg, Denmark, 1976-1988; 1996; 2000-2008

Mostly held as an invitation tournament. Prominent winners include Larsen, Svidler, Short, Jusupov, Vaganian, Dreev, Sutovsky, Ftacnik, Adorjan, Bruzon, Leinier Dominguez, Sasikiran.