VASILY IVANCHUK (Ukraine), World Number Two and defending champion (Leon 2008 winner). MAGNUS CARLSEN (Norway), World Number Three at 17. ALEXANDER MOROZEVICH (Russia), World Number Four. And the new sensation: WANG YUE, the 21 years old Chinese grand master, World Number Eleven, the best all time Asian player after the World Champion Vishy Anand.

Those are the participants on the XXII Ciudad de Leon Masters Chess Tournament, one of the most prestigious and already consolidated as a classic in the international chess calendar.

One of the most attractive points of our tournament is the broadcasting network, which allows the spectators to “see” the players thinking process: electronic giant boards, headphones for the public, two specialised grand masters commenting (Miguel Illescas and Michael Rahal), both helped by strong chess programmes which calculate hundreds of thousands moves by second. All that structure transforms top chess in a vivid and rapid spectacle: only 20 minutes per player for the whole game, plus 10 seconds increment after each move. Each match is played to the best of four games, and eventual tie-breaks are even faster: five minute games, in order to get thrilling fights.

The venue will also be special this year

One of the best world tournaments deserves the best possible venue, and the one we’ll enjoy this year is really special: the Auditorium, an excellent concert hall which this time will host the silent art from the best world chess players.

According to our media surveys, done on yearly basis by the prestigious company Sofres, the Leon tournament formula fits very well for TV: 1999 = 43 minutes; 2000 = 143 minutes (no other Spanish chess tournament had such a big TV impact during the period 1999-2006); 2001 = 250 minutes; since 2002 until 2004 = around 250 minutes; that figures have been moderately increased since 2005 until 2008.

The impact in the Internet is also significant: more than 20.000 single viewers daily during the 2007 and 2008 editions, following the games live through the Diario de Leon website.

Therefore, the Leon chess formula is very suitable for the 21st century.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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