Alphabetical survey of significant closed supertournament *series* in classical chess in 2018:
2013 (5th) Baden-Baden / Karlsruhe, Grenke Chess (10 players) Grenke Chess Classic + strong Open!
since 1968 (51th) Biel Chess Festival, GMT (6 players/drr) Biel chess tournament + strong Open!
since 1973 (46th) Dortmund Sparkassen (8 players) Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting
since 2009 (10th) London Chess Classic (4 players/k.-o.) London Chess Classic
since 2013 (6th) Saint Louis, Sinquefield Cup (10 players) Sinquefield Cup
since 2014 (5th) Shamkir (Gashimov Mem) (10 players) Shamkir Chess
since 2017 (2nd) Shenzhen Masters, Du Te Cup (6 players/drr) Shenzhen Masters
since 2013 (6th) Stavanger, Altibox Norway Chess (10 players) Norway Chess
since 1938 (80th) Wijk aan Zee, Tata Steel (14 players) Tata Steel Chess Tournament
(from 1938 to 1967 played at Beverwijk, originally known as Hoogovens, later Corus tournament)
Since years, Wijk aan Zee is the longest running closed world elite tournament in classical chess:
Wijk aan Zee Tata Steel, 13 rounds;
Biel Grandmaster Tournament,
10 rounds (6 players drr);
Baden-Baden / Karlsruhe Grenke,
Saint Louis Sinquefield Cup,
Shamkir Gashimov Memorial,
Stavanger area Norway Chess,
all at 9 rounds;
Dortmund, 7 rounds (as of 2018).
> Wijk aan Zee, the Wimbledon of Chess, is the sole all-play-all international supertournament in classical chess to invite regularly more than ten players today! (14 players each in A and B group)
> Wijk aan Zee, the Wimbledon of Chess, is the only all-play-all international supertournament in classical chess still to offer a strong "B-group" as it was a longtime tradition: Wijk aan Zee, TATA Steel Challengers
> Wijk aan Zee, the Wimbledon of Chess, is the only tournament with a complete database, including all games and detailed tournament information about every player who has participated at Beverwijk and Wijk aan Zee in the past eight decades on its Website: http://www.tatasteelchess.com/history
> Biel Chess Festival regularly offers both, a closed invitation tournament (round robin) and an open tournament (swiss system) of high level calibre : the large and strong Open (MTO), sometimes forgotten / outshined by the Invitational (GMT)
> Since recently, GRENKE
Chess Classic in Baden-Baden / Karlsruhe has established a strong closed invitation and open tournament, running parallel, too
Grenke Chess Classic started in Baden-Baden and is played in Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe since 2017, it was pure national in 2014, and not held in 2016. Officially the series is not yet numbered. Prestigious Prequels: Baden-Baden
Further current and annually organized international invitationals of note, but not considered as a chess supertournament (rarely any top ten ranked players participating, Elo average consistently below 2700 and / or no global mix of players), for instance:
Danzhou City, Hainan Province, since 2010 (9th edition in 2018, eight players): Danzhou
Havana et al. (Capablanca Mem), since 1962 (54th edition in 2019, six players/drr) Capablanca Memorial
outstanding world elite series 1962-1971, certain recent editions were stronger than some editions of the tournamants above
Malmö (TePe Sigeman & Co.), 1993 – 2014, and since 2017 (25th edition in 2019, eight players): Malmö (TePe Sigeman & Co)
Poikovsky (Karpov tournament), annually since 2000 (19th edition in 2018, ten players): Poïkovski (tournoi Karpov)
Ljubljana, Portorož, Bled et al. (Vidmar Memorial), unregularly played, 20th edition in 2016: Vidmar Memorial
Zagreb (Tournament of Peace), unregular 1965,
1970, 1975, 1985; 2018: Turnir mira
Offical Site: http://www.turnir-mira.com/en/about/
Reports with historical tournament survey: https://en.chessbase.com/post/tournament-of-peace-in-zagreb-2018;
Switching the format to Rapid & Blitz or Team event:
Barcelona (Magistral Ciutat, former Casino Masters), starting in 1996, international since 2004, held as a team event in 2018:
Memorial), in 2018 held as a Rapid and a Blitz event: Tal Memorial
Former world-class invitation tournaments, currently held as an annual (local) Open:
Hastings International Chess Congress since 1920/21 as Winter chess congress, with first Summer chess congress in 1895 (strong invitation round robin tournament, today as a middle strong international Open): Hastings International Chess Congress
Sarajevo, Bosna since 1957 with a ten-year break (strong invitation round robin tournament, today as a rather regional based Open): Sarajevo (Bosna)
Polonica-Zdrój (Rubinstein Memorial) since 1963 (today as a local event): Rubinstein Memorial
==> Survey of all international chess tournament *series*, past and present:
Tournament *series* - www.chessdiagonals.ch
==> Survey of the most important international Open chess tournament *series*, past and present:
New in 2019
Netanya Masters, Israel (10 players)
(Netanya hosted between 1961 and 1990 an unregular international invitation series)
Official Site: http://imt.chess.org.il/
Zagreb, Croatia Grand Chess Tour (12 players, 8 from the top ten!, all from the top twenty)
(Zagreb hosted many international invitation tournaments before,
strong Singulars and the unregular "Tournament of Peace" series)
Official Site: https://grandchesstour.org/2019-grand-chess-tour/2019-croatia-grand-chess-tour
Three countries, Spain, The Netherlands, and former Yugoslavia organised the most invitation tournament *series* in the modern era of chess since WWII. Tournament series held from there, are summarized under the corresponding sites:
Spain invitationals - www.chessdiagonals.ch
The Netherlands - www.chessdiagonals.ch
Yugoslavia inv. - www.chessdiagonals.ch
Great Britain (international tournament tradition since 1851, especially London) and Belgium (the chess centre of the world in the mid- and late 1980s, especially Brussels) are presented in full history:
Britain series - www.chessdiagonals.ch
(including present series and Open tournaments)
series - www.chessdiagonals.ch
(including present series and Open tournaments)
Three famous international invitation series running in Italy you find under the following link:
Reggio, Rome, Venice - www.chessdiagonals.ch
new including also Argentina (Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata)
Special: Switzerland's most important contributions to the international chess circuit are listed in separate links, regarding the hosting cities (Biel Festival, Basel Open,
and history of Bern all, Geneva all, Lausanne all, Lucerne all, and Lugano Open, Zurich all; including the Chess Olympiads held in Lucerne and in Lugano)
A selection of further invitation tournament overviews from other countries:
ATHENS, Greece. Acropolis Festival 1968, 1977 – 2009
Athens Acropolis Festival, 1968 - 2009, starting as an international invitation tournament in 1968, held again in 1977, then played on a fairly regular annual basis, switching between closed and open tournaments, including sometimes a tournament for women and another subsidiary minor (open) tournament for men.
It was longest running international chess tournament in Greece with in total 24 editions. As said, the format varied across the series, switching several times between closed and open events.
BAD HOMBURG, Germany 1927; 1996, 1997, 1998 (Soccer Score)
1927 Bogoljubov, 2. Réti
1996 Alterman, Gabriel
1997 Dautov, 2.= Svidler
1998 Korchnoi, 2. Svidler, incl. Jussupow, Torre, Larsen, Hort
=> First three-points-per-win scoring in an elite event!
BAD KISSINGEN, Germany 1928; 1980, 1981
1927 1. Bogoljubov, 2. Capablanca, 3./4. Euwe, Rubinstein, 5. Nimzowitsch, etc. (12 players)
1980 Karpov in a Quadrangular
1981 Korchnoi at 9/10
1983 Candidate's match Korchnoi vs Portisch 6-3
BAD NAUHEIM, Germany 1935, 1936; 1937 (held in three cities: Bad Nauheim, Stuttgart, Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
1936 Alekhine, Keres
=> Notable for Keres' first international win
1937 World Champion Euwe above 2./3. Bogoljubov, Alekhine, 4. Sämisch (Quadrangular)
1948 (national) Unzicker
ENGHIEN-LES-BAINS, France (biannually 1995 – 2003)
Enghien-les-Bains, well-to-do suburb of Paris, is a pretty small town with a scenic lake, a famous spa resort plus a casino, about 15 kms from the centre of Paris (direction North-East). The casino is the only one in the vicinity of Paris, located on the shores of the scenic lake of Enghien. Known as the biggest place to gamble near Paris, Enghien-les-Bains casino, which opened in 1901 was recently renovated to provide luxury and comfort to all tourists traveling to the capital of France.
'Le Masters of Enghien-les-Bains', the strongest closed French chess tournament at that time, was organiszed by Francis Gomet and Pierre Carbonnel at the local Casino every two years between 1995 and 2003 as a round robin of ten players.
The winners of the five
Enghien-les-Bains tournaments were:
1995 Igors Rausis, 2./4. Bacrot, Fontaine, Payen, 5. WGM Ekaterina Borulya
This event was the 3rd norm for Etienne Bacrot who thus becomes then the youngest male IM (Judit Polgar was younger but female when achieving their male IM title at age of twelve)
1997 Etienne Bacrot and Viktor Korchnoi, 3. Dorfman, 4./6. Rausis, Nataf, Spraggett
Final GM norm for Bacrot who becomes the then youngest Chess Grandmaster in history
1999 Joel Lautier, 2. Bologan, 3./5. Ponomariov, Tkachiev, Bacrot
2001 Vladimir Akopian (cat.17), ahead of 2. Lautier, 3./5. Bacrot, Bareev, van Wely
2003 Evgeny Bareev (cat.17), ahead of 2. Adams, 3./4. Gelfand, Judit Polgar, 5. Fressinet
Further prominent players participating in the Enghien-les-Bains series include Beliavsky, Grischuk, Radjabov, or Salov.
Bacrot played in the first four tournaments at Enghien-les-Bains. The event was also established to launch and support his international chess career.
Étienne Bacrot is the record Champion of France, <winning the National French Championship eight times so far>: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 in a row, 2008, 2012 (shared) and 2017.
A former chess child prodigy, Bacrot became a Grandmaster in March 1997 at the age of 14 years and 2 months, making him the youngest person to that date to achieve the GM title (later that year in December, Ruslan Ponomariov took his record), when winning on tie-break the 2nd Enghien-les-Bains invitation tournament alongside Viktor Korchnoi. The same year, Bacrot ( born in 1983) and Korchnoi ( born in 1931) also played a friendly match in Albert, France, which Korchnoi won 4-2.
Still, Étienne Bacrot somehow has not fully fulfilled his early promises. His peak ranking was sole no.9 of the world in the consecutive FIDE Elo lists of January, April, July, and October 2005, he had later a higher nominal rating in 2013, but out of the top ten.
GAUSDAL, Norway 2001 – 2008 (International Invitation series)
GAUSDAL CLASSICS, invitation tournament series 2001 – 2008, with two editions in 2003; and independently DRAMMEN SMARTFISCH CHESS MASTERS, invitation tournament in 2004/05.
Gausdal Chess Festival (Norway) was founded in 1970 by Arnold J. Eikrem, and relaunched by Hans Olav Lahlum; starting with an international Open in 1970, followed by very frequent open tournaments (eg. Troll Masters, Peer Gynt, Eikrem Memorial, and Arnold Cup). Thus it happened quite often that several events were held same year!
Finally the Gausdal Classics, with a GM group + IM group(s)) + Open as innovative invitational series from 2001 to 2008 (with two editions in 2003).
Magnus Carlsen had his entry in an invitation tournament at the international level in a closed IM-group of Gausdal Classics in April of 2001, when Hans Olav Lahlum decided to invite him despite being unknown in the chess world at that time and with an Elo rating of just 2064!
Carlsen played the Invitation in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and then won the Gausdal Classics in 2007.
The Drammen Smartfish Chess Masters, also organised by Hans Olav Lahlum, held in December 2004 / January 2005, was the first world elite invitation tournament for Magnus Carlsen, now a Grandmaster already at Elo 2581.
Carlsen beat Shirov (then top ten ranked and top seeded), Korchnoi beat Carlsen, Shirov beat Korchnoi, ten players, including the reigning Woman Champion, Antoaneta Stefanova, in a round robin. Shirov and Heine Nielsen shared the win at 6/9, Carlsen and Stefanova last at 3/9, but both won a game and always fought hard.
Malmö (TePe Sigeman) - www.chessdiagonals.ch (at the bottom, scroll all down)
HANINGE, Sweden 1988 – 1990
This international invitation 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. tournament series starting in 1993. For more, see under the following link (and scroll down):
KARLSBAD, Bohemia, today Czech Republic (held unregular in a numbered series 1907, 1911, 1923, 1929)
Four famous Karlsbad (today: Karlovy Vary) tournaments under the excellent supervision of Victor Tietz:
1923 Alekhine, Bogoljubov, Maroczy
LODZ, Poland (unregular)
Prominent Triangulars, Matches, and Simuls
1906 (Quadrangular) 1. Rubinstein, 2. Chigorin
1907/08 (5th All Russian Master’s) Rubinstein
=> Rubinstein’s Immortal
MALMÖ (TePe Sigeman & Co.), Sweden 1993 – 2014, since 2017
Malmö (TePe Sigeman) - www.chessdiagonals.ch
Ferdinand Hellers (first winner)
Peter Heine Nielsen, Curt Hansen
Ferdinand Hellers, Curt Hansen
Krishnan Sasikiran, Jan Timman
Viktor Korchnoi (oldest winner at 65)
Tiger Hillarp Persson
Igor Miladinović, Joël Lautier
Anish Giri (youngest winner at age of 16)
So, Giri, Tikkanen (three-way-tie)
Boris Gulko, Jan Timman
Rapport, Short, Grandelius (three-way-tie)
Laurent Fressinet (end of first series)
=> Relaunch in 2017, now with TePe as co-sponsor. For more, click on the direct link above.
MONTE CARLO, Monaco 1901 – 1904; 1967 – 1969
1903 Tarrasch, 2. Maroczy
1969 Smyslov & Portisch
Rapid and Blindfold Chess:
Amber series 1992 – 2011,
mainly in Monaco
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (unregular)
1921 (1° Torneo Sudamericano) Grau
1925 (2° Torneo Sudamericano) Palau
1938 (8° Torneo Sudamericano) Alekhine
1954 (UNESCO) Letelier, 2-3. Bernstein, Najdorf
NANJING (Pearl Spring), China 2008 – 2010
Named after the venue, the Mingfa Pearl Spring Hotel, it was the first supertournament in China!
2008 Topalov (Elo number one)
2010 Carlsen (Elo number one)
NETANYA, Israel 1961 – 1990 (unregular); 2019
The most famous tournament of the series was surely the edition in 1968, with Fischer winning.
Revival in 2019 with a Masters, Gelfand won on tie-break, and a strong Open, Antipov as clear first.
NOVGOROD Veliky, Russia 1994 – 1997
Winners: Kasparov (3x*), Ivanchuk (1x*), Topalov (1x).
*Ivanchuk at better tie-break above Kasparov in 1994
Kramnik invited in all four editions, but failed to win
PAKS, Hungary, Marx György Memorial 2004 – 2011
Chess Festival with grandmaster and women gm tournament to commemorate physicist Marx György. 2003 Match, 2012 Open.
Among the winners: Almasi, Harikrishna, Vachier-Lagrave, Wojtaszek, and Korchnoi
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (unregular)
1896 Match: Steinitz vs. Schiffers 6.5 - 4.5
1961 (Chigorin Memorial, Prequel) Taimanov
1993 (Bondarevsky Memorial) Tiviakov
Children and the widow of Igor Bondarevsky (1913-79) guests of honour!
SEMMERING, Austria, 1927; 1937 (Semmering / Baden bei Wien)
1926 Spielman ahead of 2. Alekhine, 3. Vidmar, 4./5. Nimzowitsch, Tartakower
1937 Keres above unbeaten 2. Fine, 3./4. Capablanca, Reshevsky, 5. Flohr
Frequently friendly matches of high calibre!
SOFIA, Bulgaria, M-Tel 2005 – 2009
Winners: Topalov (3x), Ivanchuk (1x), Shirov (1x), all winning outright
World Champions Carlsen, Kramnik, and Anand (twice) played, but failed to win at M-Tel Masters!
SOLINGEN, Germany (unregular)
1974 Polugaevsky, Kavalek (Pachman boycotted)
Fischer (simul exhibition), Spassky (SG Solingen club player), and Korchnoi (friendly match in 1973) visited Solingen, too
WELLINGTON, New Zealand 1978; 1988
1978 1. Quinteros, above 2. Torre, 3.-4. Mascarinas and Sarapu, etc. (14 players)
1988 (Plaza tournament in the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts)
1.-3. Spassky, first on tie-break, Chandler, Gufeld in a three-way-tie, 4./5. Rogers, Zsuzsa Polgar, etc. (12 players)
(In both tournaments, many participants from New Zealand)
WORLD EXPOSITIONS (19th century)
World exhibitions (World fairs) became a new phenomenon in the West in the nineteenth century. Industrialisation, scientific and technical progress were shown and cultural exchange developed.
About a dozen World Fairs were organised during the second half of the 19th century. Seven times a major chess tournament was part of a world exposition:
London 1851, London 1862, Paris 1867, Vienna 1873, Philadelphia 1876, Paris 1878, Paris 1900
The first modern international chess tournament took place during the first world fair, organised in London in 1851 (held under the name THE GREAT EXHIBITION).
The winners of the international invitation chess tournaments part of World Exposition
London 1851 Adolf Anderssen (Germany), tournament in knock-out format
London 1862 Adolf Anderssen (Germany)
Paris 1867 Ignatz von Kolisch (Austro-Hungarian Empire, Slovakia)
Vienna 1873 Wilhelm Steinitz (Bohemia), play-off vs. Joseph Henry Blackburne
Philadelphia 1876 James Mason (Ireland/USA), it was also the 4th American Chess Congress
Paris 1878 Johannes Zukertort (German Empire / Poland), play-off vs. Szymon Winawer
Paris 1900 Emanuel Lasker (German Empire)
No chess events of significance accompanied at the other World Expositions in the 19th century.
Pro memoria – All World Fairs in the nineteenth century:
London 1851, Paris 1855, London 1862, Paris 1867, Vienna 1873, Philadelphia 1876, Paris 1878, Melbourne 1880, Barcelona 1888, Paris 1889, Chicago 1893, Brussels 1897, Paris 1900.
The tradition of world fairs and prominent international chess tournaments continued occasionally in the 20th century – but far less frequently!
Examples are Barcelona 1929 (Cuban Capablanca won undefeated at incredible 13.5/14, two full points ahead of Tartakower, while Colle finished sole third, 15 players, including Vera Menchik), or Liège (Belgium) 1930 (Tartakower won undefeated at 8.5/11, two full points ahead of second place Sultan Khan, followed by Nimzowitsch, Ahues, and Colle as shared third, twelve players).
WORLD EXPOSITION CHESS TOURNAMENTS
World Expositions (second half of 19th century) with a major international invitation chess tournament. A cultural chess review.
If a pdf will be updated, then it changes its URL, that's why these tournament series above should be better linked under the general address (Furthermore (elite)) or directly downloaded as pdf.
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