The Tata Steel Chess Tournament is all set to begin in Wijk Aan Zee
The first round of Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2020 - Masters and Challengers - will begin at 6 p.m IST in Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands. The two-week long event taking place from the 10th to the 26th of January is featuring all the elite players of the world including Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Wesley So, and Viswanathan Anand. This is the 82nd edition of the popularly hailed "Wimbledon of Chess" which in its 82-year-old tradition has witnessed the participation of all the great players of the past - from Smyslov, Spassky, and Tal to Karpov and Kasparov. In this article we present a brief curtain-raiser to the event.
The 82nd edition of the prestigious Tata Steel Chess Tournament is all set to commence in a couple hours from now. Often dubbed as the "Wimbledon of Chess", the first round of the grand event taking place in Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands will kick off today at 6 p.m IST. Like every year, the tournament will see some of the best chess players in the World fight it out. There are two main playing groups, namely the Tata Steel Masters and the Tata Steel Challengers. World Champion Magnus Carlsen once again leads the field in the Masters group which also includes stars like Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri, Wesley So, and Viswanathan Anand; while in the Challengers category it is the spanish Grandmaster David Anton Guijarro who is starting as the top seed.
Starting from today, for the next two weeks, as the battles between the greatest chess minds of this generation unfold, all eyes will be fixed on Wijk Aan Zee. Theo Henrar, the chairman of the board of Tata Steel Netherlands, echoed similar sentiments when he mentioned about the tradition of the beautiful Dutch coastal town turning into the center of chess universe for a fortnight: "Tata Steel and Chess are inextricably linked, a relationship that goes back 82 years. Working together with the inhabitants of Wijk aan Zee we make sure that the town is the centre of the universe for two weeks once again, or at least of the chess universe."
Players and pairings
As previously mentioned, it is none other than the World Champion Magnus Carlsen himself who leads the Masters group of the event. After having one of the most successful years just behind him - a year where he managed to clinch as many as ten tournament victories and extend his unbeaten streak to a stupendous 107 classical games, what has the prodigious Norwegian in store for 2020? Wijk Aan Zee will perhaps reveal the big answer in the next few days that the entire chess world is so intent upon knowing!
After the drawing of the lots that took place yesterday, Carlsen has been paired up against Anish Giri in the first round. Incidentally, last year he won the event for a record seventh time, by holding Giri to a comfortable draw in the final round.
The pairings for the first round which starts at 6 p.m IST are as follows:
Round 1 pairings Masters
Xiong, Jeffery - Dubov, Daniil
Van Foreest, Jorden - Yu, Yangyi
Carlsen, Magnus - Giri, Anish
Caruana, Fabiano - So, Wesley
Anand, Viswanathan - Artemiev, Vladislav
Vitiugov, Nikita - Duda, Jan-Krzysztof
Firouzja, Alireza - Kovalev, Vladislav
Round 1 pairings Challengers
Saduakassova, Dinara - Mamedov, Rauf
Anton Guijarro, David - Abdusattorov, Nodirbek
Smeets, Jan - Van Foreest, Lucas
Ganguly, Surya Shekhar - Warmerdam, Max
L'Ami, Erwin - Smirnov, Anton
Keymer, Vincent - Eljanov, Pavel
Nihal Sarin - Grandelius, Nils
Format and schedule
The event is a 14-player single round-robin and time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment per move from move 1. If there is a tie for first place the top two after tiebreaks will play a 2-game blitz (5+3) playoff and, if still tied, an Armageddon game.
All rounds in the event start at 13:30 in Wijk aan Zee, except for Sunday (26th January) when the round starts at 12:00. The first round is on 11th of January. Rest days for the Masters and Challengers are scheduled on 15th, 20th, and 23rd of January.
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