London Candidates puts Classic in doubt
IM Malcolm Pein

London Chess Classic director IM Malcolm Pein says that the staging of the Candidates tournament in London October 24th – November 12th puts the viability of a prospective 4th London Classic in December in doubt.

Do you want the good news or the bad news? The good news is that some more top flight chess is coming to London. Agon, FIDE’s new commercial partner has announced that the Candidates Tournament will take place in London from October 24 – November 12. The bad news is that this development raises serious questions about the 4th London Chess Classic, which would have taken place in December.

Although some players have indicated they would still play the 4th LCC, I am not sure if the public and particularly the media would have the appetite for two elite tournaments in London staged so close together. I recall an earlier time in the Ilyumzhinov dynasty when one of his former commercial partners, Artiom Tarasov, invited me for a cup of tea at his offices in Piccadilly and said he would deliberately organise FIDE events to clash with existing tournaments. This proved to be just an empty threat but here, Nimzowitsch’s maxim that: ‘the threat is stronger than the execution’ does not apply. I will have to consider the effect of FIDE’s move on the Classic which I suspect cannot be held in its current form this year.

There has been some criticism of FIDE’s announcement. Ilya Levitov, the Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation, tweeted: “As FIDE vice-president I apologize to M.Pein and J.C.Fernández (organiser of the Grand Slam Final) that I can’t change the dates of the Candidates tournament. I hope your wonderful tournaments will survive”.


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