Monday, 12 March 2012

Too many big events?

The rise of the Super-GM tournament is now causing problems for players it is supposed to benefit the most. Up until the late 70's most big GM tournaments consisted of a group of very strong GM's (normally a World Champion Candidate or two), some lower level GM's and strong IM's, and some local players to round it all out. In the 1980's this began to change, as tournament organisers tried to create stronger and stronger events. Since then the it is the elite Round-Robins that dominate the scene, with a select group of events for the very top players (usually half or dozen of the top 10 per tournament). While this is good news for these players, in terms of competition and income, it has created a scheduling problem. The 2012 FIDE Candidates tournament has caused angst for the organisers of the London Chess Classic and the Bilbao Masters, as it is scheduled to be held between these two events. As the likely field for each tournament has a significant overlap the fear is that players will be forced to miss one or two of these tournaments. It is of course is now a question of priority. Do the players (and sponsors and spectators) continue to support the existing events, or do they support the World Championship cycle (a cycle that the leading players have asked to be improved on a number of occasions)? Of course they could try and support both, but this may have a detrimental effect on their level of play in each event.

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