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Tata Steel Chess 2016 – participants

Theo Henrar (left), Anish Giri (middle) and Jeroen van den Berg (right) at the Tata Steel 2016 press conference

Theo Henrar (left), Anish Giri (middle) and Jeroen van den Berg (right) at the Tata Steel 2016 press conference

The 78th edition of the Tata Steel Chess 2016 will take place from 15 – 31 January 2016.

Live: Tata Steel 2016 live / Tata Steel Challengers 2016 live

World Champion Magnus Carlsen will participate in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2016. To win again he will have to beat 13 other Grandmasters, among which Dutchman Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana and the young up-and-coming talent from China, 16-year-old Wei Yi. Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg announced the names of the Tata Steel Masters 2016 in the presence of Anish Giri today. Theo Henrar, chairman of the directors of Tata Steel Nederland, revealed that the top chess players from the Tata Steel Masters will play a round in Science Center NEMO in Amsterdam on 21 January. Previously it had been made public that they will play a round in the Spoorwegmuseum (Railway Museum) in Utrecht on 27 January.

Scroll down for the full list of participants

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Theo Henrar shared, “It has become a tradition to play two rounds of the Tata Steel Masters on prime locations like the Rijksmuseum or The Rotterdam. By doing so we broaden the appeal of the tournament and the sport of chess. This year the Tata Steel Masters will again play on two popular locations: the Railway Museum in Utrecht and Science Center NEMO in Amsterdam. Both locations appeal to young people. NEMO also fits Tata Steel’s policy to promote technology among young people. Talent development will be one of the main themes of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2016. Chess is a great way for young people to develop themselves. I look forward to the 78th edition of our tournament in January, which will see chess aficionados from all over the world unite around this fascinating sport.”

Tata Steel 2016 participants

Magnus Carlsen 2850

Fabiano Caruana 2787

Ding Liren 2781

Anish Giri 2778

Wesley So 2767

Sergey Karjakin 2766

Michael Adams 2744

Shakhryar Mamedyarov 2743

Wei Yi 2737

David Navara 2730

Hou Yifan 2683

Loek van Wely 2632

With an average rating of 2750 (based on 12 out of 14 participants), the top tournament once again has a strong field of participants. Youth and experience will face off this time. Everybody will look at how Magnus Carlsen will perform, participating for the 12th time in Wijk aan Zee (since 2004 he has only been absent once, in 2014). Many chess lovers will anxiously await the fight between the world champion and one of the players who may succeed him sometime in the future: Wei Yi from China. The 16-year-old prodigy won the Tata Steel Challengers in 2015 in a very impressive way, thus obtaining a slot in this year’s Tata Steel Masters. His fast way to the top seems to be unbounded, since he is already on the threshold of the top 20. Wei Yi’s countrywoman and the world’s strongest femal player, Hou Yifan, will participate in the main tournament for the third time.

This time many fighters will participate in the Tata Steel Masters. Ding Liren managed to win no fewer than 7 of his 13 games during this year’s edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, while Shakhryar Mamedyarov form Azerbaijan will return to Wijk aan Zee after an absence of several years. He is also known as a dangerous and aggressive player. The same goes for one of the favourite players of the chess audience, David Navara from the Czech Republic, who ended in second place right behind Wei Yi in the Tata Steel Challengers in this year’s edition.

Magnus Carlsen can count on several players putting up a fierce fight, but under ‘normal conditions’ he is likely to face the toughest opposition from Fabiano Caruana and Anish Giri, the current Dutch champion. Giri landed a very good (shared) second place in the Tata Steel Masters in 2015. No doubt outsiders for the victory are strong young players Sergey Karjakin and Wesley So. Karjakin won the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in 2009 and has recently won the world cup in Baku, thus obtaining a spot in the Candidate Tournament in 2016. The winner of that tournament will be allowed to challenge world champion Magnus Carlsen.

‘Veterans’ Loek van Wely (43) and Michael Adams (44) will add lustre to the tournament. At a time when chess players start performing at an increasingly younger age, it will be interesting to see how they can use their experience to take on the new generation. Adams is still one of the twenty best players in the world (number 18).

One more player

The 13th player in the Tata Steel Masters will be the best player of the ACP Tour 2015 with a rating below 2750 on 1 December. The 14th player is likely to be announced in several weeks’ time. The participants of the Tata Steel Challengers will be announced in December.

Dutch student championship

In cooperation with the Royal Dutch Chess Association the 78th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will feature a ‘support act’ in Wijk aan Zee. On the day of the opening of the tournament (15 January) the finals of the Dutch Championship for Students (secondary schools) will take place in De Moriaan in Wijk aan Zee. Twelve teams of four students each will battle for the title. The winners will be on the podium with the international grand masters during the opening ceremony at the end of that day, to pick up their prize. Apart from this tournament, Tata Steel will also host special events for young children at various locations. These activities are part of the community programme of Tata Steel, under the “Future Generations” banner.

Steel and chess: creativity and innovation

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament has a long tradition. Starting as an employee tournament, it has grown into an international tournament of world class renown, for which grand masters and amateurs alike will clear their diaries. Tata Steel has chosen for chess, because chess entails strategic thinking and focuses on finding creative solutions for complex issues. Tata Steel has that very same focus. Steelmaking is a high-tech process with a crucial role for innovation. Tata Steel employees are continuously and relentlessly working on finding clever solutions to improve processes and products. That is how Tata Steel is able to provide top products to its customers, allowing them to distinguish themselves in their markets. At the same time Tata Steel contributes to creating a sustainable society through the product and process innovations. Among chess aficionados the tournament in Wijk aan Zee is known as ‘The Wimbledon of Chess’.


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