Yesterday, the chess world received stunning news out of Norway. Altibox Norway Chess decided to leave the Grand Chess Tour, a Kasparov’s “brain child”.
Changes in Grand Chess Tour for 2016 and Altibox Norway Chess
The Grand Chess Tour was created with one goal in mind: a circuit of international events, each demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world’s best players. Following the successful inaugural year, the Grand Chess Tour will proceed in 2016, but without the participation of Altibox Norway Chess which will continue as a stand-alone tournament.
“After long and careful consideration, Altibox Norway Chess decided to leave the Grand Chess Tour. A sad, but for us necessary decision, since our views differ from the GCT’s on the future of top class tournaments. We wish all the best for the GCT and hope that our partnership may be renewed in the years to come. Altibox Norway Chess will take place in April this year with the same high standards as the previous events” states Kjell Madland, Chairman of the board at Altibox Norway Chess.
Within 24 hours after this announcement, the new dates for the US Championship was announced, moving from June (the June date was published long ago) to April, which is a direct conflict with the dates of Norway Chess. This means that the top 3 US players, if invited to Norway Chess, must choose between playing the Rex Sinquefield US Championship or Stavanger. To make it even more brutal for Norway Chess, Kasparov will be in St. Louis to participate in a blitz event with the top 3 finishers of the US Championship. So the question is if the American players will not go to Stavanger, will Sinquefield Cup and London Chess Classic lose Magnus?
We will see how this very unfortunate situation will turn out.
Official press release from the St. Louis Chess Club was sent out by Nicole Halpin, Communications Coordinator:
For Immediate Release
Nation’s Chess Capital Welcomes 2016 U.S. Championships
Garry Kasparov to face top three finishers in blitz competition.
SAINT LOUIS (January 7, 2016) – For the eighth consecutive year, the nation’s top 24 chess players will gather in Saint Louis to compete for the titles of U.S. Champion and U.S. Women’s Champion.
The 2016 U.S. Chess Championships, boasting one of the strongest fields of American men and women ever assembled, will be held simultaneously at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) from April 13 through April 29.
The 12-player field of the 2016 U.S. Championship will invite eight players determined by the January 2016 U.S. Chess rating supplement. Offers will also be extended to 2015 U.S. Champion GM Hikaru Nakamura, the 2015 U.S. Open Champion GM Alex Shabalov, 16-year-old IM Akshat Chandra, the 2015 U.S. Junior Closed Champion and one wildcard.
The 2016 U.S. Women’s Championship will feature seven-time U.S. Women’s Champion GM Irina Krush, who seeks to maintain her iron grip over an up-and-coming field of American females. The 12-player round robin will also include 8 players selected by the January 2016 U.S. Chess rating supplement, two wildcards and the U.S. Junior Girls Champion, 15-year-old WIM Ashritha Eswaran, who also appeared in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship.
“We’re excited to assemble America’s best chess players in Saint Louis for the eighth year running,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the CCSCSL. “The top rated American players have all expressed interest in participating in the 2016 U.S. Championships.”
The U.S. Championship will culminate with the top three players competing in a special blitz round robin format against legendary chess champion Garry Kasparov. The round robin matches will take place over two days upon the conclusion of the Championships.