Bilbao Grand Slam Final

Prize fund 400,000 Eur, different scoring system

Bilbao chess

The Chess Grand Slam Final in Bilbao will take place on 1-13 September 2008. The field is composed of six players to compete in a 10-games double round-robin. The first three will be the winners of Corus 2008, Morelia – Linares 2008, and Mtel Masters 2008 – GM Levon Aronian, GM Viswanathan Anand and GM Vassily Ivanchuk. GM Magnus Carlsen, who tied first at Corus and finished second in Linares, and GM Veselin Topalov, second from the Mtel Masters, are also invited. The sixth player will be GM Teimour Radjabov, who scored well in all Grand Slam events.

Bilbao and the Grand Slam Chess final

In recent years the image of Bilbao has been gathering brightness and relevancy within the elite chess. From 1998 to 2002, Bilbao has been the venue of several good Opens in Europe and one of the best rapid competitions with the presence of players from more than 30 countries in each of them. In 2004 and 2005 Bilbao organized the Man-Computer World Championship putting great masters of the highest rank against the best computer software. They finished with an undisputed victory of “silicon” over “carbon”: 8.5 – 3.5 in 2004, and 8 – 4 in 2005. Bilbao put an end to the world debate on this matter and, at present, the chess community recognises the supremacy of “machines” over human beings.

In 2006 the picture of Veselin Topalov and Judith Polgar playing a “blindfold” game in the Guggenheim Museum went around the world. In 2007 Bilbao moved a step forward with the emergence of the Blindfold Chess World Cup, which was won by Chinese Bu Xiangzhi against Topalov, Polgar, Karjakin, Carlsen, and Harikrishna.

Bilbao will hold this year the first Grand Slam Chess Final Masters from 2nd through 13th September, which will surely become one of the top tournaments in world history according to the rank of the players and their rating.

For the first time ever in an event of such characteristics, the games will take place in the street, in the Plaza Nueva, right in the centre of Bilbao’s Old Town in a huge soundproof and air-conditioned glass case. In a space located near the “aquarium” the audience will also be able to enjoy comments from Chess Grandmasters like Boris Spassky and Susan Polgar.

Plaza Nueva

Plaza Nueva

This spectacular stage will accommodate a large number of activities connected to chess and addressed to very different people: I International Open “Federación Vizcaína de Ajedrez; Rapid Game Tournament “Villa de Bilbao”; IV Euskadi Championship on Chess Problems Resolution; Activities for children; the Experts’ Space; and the Closing Ceremony.

Besides, at the weekend September 6th and 7th taking the opportunity given by a friendly football match, organised by Athletic Bilbao in San Mamés stadium, there will be an attempt to break the Guinness record for the chess game watched live by the highest number of people, which will be played right in the center of the football ground during the half-time of the match.

Chess Grand Slam schedule

Games from the Chess Grand Slam Final in Bilbao will be played daily 2-6 and 8-12th of September (the 7th is a rest day). The games start at 17:00 CET. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves and another 60 minutes to the end of the game. The scoring system is similar to modern football leagues – 3 points for win, 1 for draw, 0 for loss.

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