Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bumper Time for Chess

Today was a day off for me while I'm on the Gold Coast, so I explored a little. I'll brighten this blog post with some pictures.
Gold Coast beaches, Queensland
There's so much top class chess around it's hard to know where to look. Let's start in Australia. I'm currently in the Gold Coast coaching at the Australian Junior Championships which continue through till Sunday. There are age group prizes for U-18, U-16, U-14, U-12 and all girls only divisions to be decided yet. I'll be blogging more about this here over the next few days.

Then at the weekend there are weekenders happening in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales over the public holiday, Australia Day. Straight after that, the clubs will get into their season in Australia, and for me that means playing (hooray!) the Club Championship at the Melbourne Chess Club.

Some intersting features of the Gold Coast seascapes
In the World of chess the biggest annual round robin of the year, Wijk aan Zee is reaching it's climax with world number 1 Magnus Carlsen and World Champion Vishy Anand in amazing form. The tournament ends on Sunday. Just starting today is the biggest swiss tournament of the year, the Gibraltar Open. There are a number of events at these big chess festivals, but the top section of Gibraltar has 246 players of which 8 are rated over 2700, 44 above 2500 and 104 above 2300! Gibraltar is a 10 round tournament and continues through until 31st January. As Gibraltar ends, so the second strongest swiss of the year starts in Moscow. In fact it has to be said that there isn't usually too much difference in the strength of the fields. Gibraltar definiely has an edge at the top, but the depth of the Moscow field is unreal, with currently 187 registered players above 2300 strength! The tournament runs from 2nd-10th of February.

Overlapping the Moscow open is Aeroflot, the super elite swiss, where you have to be 2400 to be in the top group. The field boasts 7 players above 2700 and 86 players in total with the lowest rated currently at 2411! Of course, there are a number of sections at Aeroflot too, with the b-group being a 130 player swiss ranging from 2549-2065. It has to be said, that not many tournaments have an under 2550 section! Aeroflot starts on February 7th and runs till February 15th.

Phew, that is an amazing amount of top class chess coming up in the next few weeks! It will give us a month to calm down before the London Candidates start!
Feeding the locals on the Gold Coast. Yes that's my arm they're perched on!

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