The Wimbledon of Chess
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament, formerly called the Corus Chess Tournament, until and
including 1999 called Hoogovens Chess Tournament ("hoogoven" is Dutch for "blast furnace", literally "high oven"), is held every year, usually in January, in a small town called Wijk
aan Zee, part of the larger Beverwijk (a town and municipality in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands).
From 1938 to 1967, the tournament always took place in
Beverwijk, since 1968 in Wijk aan Zee. There was no tournament in 1945. Traditionally, a pea soup is served for all players as the first course of the concluding banquet, as a memory of the hunger
winters during World War II.
The tournament has been held with several sections on top and huge amateur open, rapid, blitz, youth, senior and female events. In modern times, Wijk aan Zee has featured mostly three (all-play-all) sections
-- labelled "A", "B", and "C" -- with the A-group featuring the world's top players, though grandmasters and seniors also make up most of the B-field and a significant portion of the C-field who is especially suitable for rising juniors. Winning
the "B" or "C" section of the event typically guarantees the winner an invitation to the section above that one in the following edition.
Since 2014, the field is now pooled into two sections: a "Masters" group and a "Challengers" group
(it has become custom to invite a veteran and a lady to participate in the Tata Steel Challengers).
Just for the record: in the years 1993 and 1995, Wijk has been played in a knock-out format with a parallel back-up open for the eliminated players.
Some single days are played externally since 2014, that year in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and on the High Tech Campus Eindhoven. In 2015, the event took place again at three dutch locations: the main chess
tournament in its traditional location of Wijk aan Zee, but also visited Rotterdam and The Hague. In 2016, the Science Center NEMO in Amsterdam and the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht
hosted the so-called Chess On Tour events. The external rounds in 2017 had been played in the De Kuip stadium of soccer club Feyenoord Rotterdam and in the Philharmonic Hall of Haarlem to present
chess as sport and as art.
The custom of the TATA Steel tournament traveling with two of the thirteen rounds to be held in a prestigious venue in other cities than Wijk aan Zee will be continued in 2018: the Grandmasters
of the Masters are playing in the Sound and Vision (Beeld en Geluid) building in Hilversum and in The Academy Building of the University of Groningen. All rounds are open to the public.
The time control (TATA
Steel Masters 2015) is 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds cumulative increment for each move starting from the first move.
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament welcomes about
two thousands of amateur players every year. Wijk aan Zee is definitely a Chess Festival for amateurs and professionals.
It was at Wijk in 1999, when Garry Kasparov created his masterpiece against
event in the series was played in 2001, when nine top ten players participated (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9), Garry Kasparov won the tournament for the third time in a row outright. He participated no longer, but
the level remained always high!
First winner in 1938 were Dutch Philip Bakker and Jilling Van Dijk (in its inception with only four players, and during the early years,
all of the invited participants were coming from the Netherlands). Since 1946 the tournament is international and with the participation of players from the (former) Soviet-Union from 1960 on, it is clearly a super strong event, now regarded as most traditional
chess elite supertournament (because Hastings switched to be an Open).
Recent winner in 2017 is Wesley So: Tata Steel is the third straight supertournament victory for So, after winning
the Sinquefield Cup and London Chess Classic in 2016. So stretches his career-best unbeaten streak to 56 games while showing that winning a strong chess tournament and staying unscathed can be compatible.
Jones from England emerged winner at the Tata Steel (B), co-winner is Markus Ragger from Austria. Jones defeated Ragger in their direct game in the and qualifies for the 2018 Maters (first promotion tie-break rule).
Record winners with five titles at the Hoogovens/Corus/Tata Steel chess tournament in its long history since 1938, are Viswanathan Anand (though three of these were shared wins) and Magnus Carlsen.
Magnus Carlsen launched his chess career as a 13 years young child at Wijk aan Zee as
winner of the "C" group already in 2004, subsequently achieving his first GM norm. In 2006, he was first (alongside with Alexander Motylev) in the "B" group. In 2008 (alongside with Levon Aronian), 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2016, Carlsen won the "A" group. Carlsen
is a regular visitor in Wijk aan Zee and plays for the 14th time (overall) in 2018.
Professor Max Euwe,
Lajos Portisch, Viktor Korchnoi, and Levon Aronian won four
times each (sole or shared) at Beverwijk and Wijk aan Zee respectively.
Garri Kasparov did take part and won three times in a row outright, further thrice-winners
are John Nunn, Jan Hein Donner, and Efim Geller (all shared).
Anatoly Karpov had two wins in four entries. Other World Chess Champions Mikhail
Botvinnik, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, and Vladimir Kramnik (his shared first place with Anand in 1998 remained the only win in twelve participations
between 1998 and 2018), as well as Paul Keres (out of two participations), did win once.
Further famous winners include also Alberic O'Kelly de Galway, Nicolaas Cortlever,
Theo van Scheltinga, Lodewijk Prins, Savielly Tartakower, Jan Hein Donner (twice), Herman Pilnik, Nicolas Rossolimo, Vasja Pirc, Borislav
Milić, Gideon Ståhlberg, Aleksandar Matanović, Friðrik Ólafsson (twice), Bent Larsen (twice), Borislav Ivkov, Petar Trifunović,
Iivo Nei (together with Paul Keres in 1964, titleless Iivo Nei got as a result the IM title by FIDE, but never the GM), Mark Taimanov, Lev Polugaevsky (twice), Walter Browne
(twice), Ljubomir Ljubojević, Gennadi Sosonko (twice), Yasser Seirawan, Jan Timman (twice), Yuri Balashov, Ulf Andersson, Alexander Beliavsky,
Nigel Short (twice), Predrag Nikolić (twice), Zoltán Ribli, Gyula Sax, Boris Gelfand, Valery Salov (twice), Alexey Dreev, Vassily
Ivanchuk, Evgeny Bareev, Péter Lékó, Veselin Topalov (twice), Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, and Hikaru Nakamura.
Vasily Smyslov <could not win> (one particpation in 1972, coming in shared 5th-7th). Two great players at Wijk aan Zee, regularly competing but not winning
are Robert Hübner, taking part nine times between 1971 and 1996, and Alexei Shirov, taking part ten times between 1993 and 2011.
Fischer (and Reshevsky, Alekhine, Capablanca, Lasker) did never take part.
Viktor Korchnoi had to wait for a longtime to be nominated by his Federation, finally he got a spot in 1968
(that was also the first tournament played at Wijk aan Zee) and did win overwhelmingly, starting his personal Hoogovens career with 8/8, eight game wins in a row (!) from round 1 (victory vs. Nikola Padevsky) to round 8 (victory vs. Mikhail
Tal). Viktor Korchnoi finished winning Wijk with 12 out of 15, three full points ahead of shared runner-up competitors Lajos Portisch, Mikhail Tal and Vlastimil Hort. What a premiere performance!
also won his second and last entry for USSR at Wijk aan Zee (Hoogovens) in 1971. He won the tournament again as stateless player in 1984 (shared with Beliavsky) and in 1987 (shared with Short), coming in on a podium place (1st, 2nd or 3rd) in total
seven times out of thirteen entries. As Korchnoi going around 60 (plus) years, he subsequently faced some midfield results and one first-round knock-out elimination. In 1991, two months after his 60th anniversary, Viktor Korchnoi played and
won a Candidate match against Gyula Sax at Wijk aan Zee. Korchnoi's match win is integrated in the official homepage statistics (showing automatically then five victories in the database), of course this separate event does not count as a tournament
This is the second longest major recurring international classical chess tournament in annually tradition still existing.
Wijk aan Zee
Steel Chess Tournament (Wikipedia)
//www.tatasteelchess.com (Tournament homepage)
full stats & facts with all players and games)
//www.endgame.nl/wijk.htm (Survey by Jan van Reek, inactive)
Two five-time winners in Tata Steel Masters in 80th edition in 2018:
World Champion Magnus Carlsen, and former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik as well as Hou Yifan will participate
in the Tata Steel Tournament 2018.
Both Carlsen and Anand have won the Tata Steel Chess Tournament a record five times. They will face Wesley So (title defender from TATA Steel 2017), Fabiano Caruana,
Sergey Karjakin, Shakhryar Mamedyarov, Anish Giri or Gawain Jones who has been promoted from the previous Tata Steel Challengers.
The 80th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament (14 players)
will take place in Wijk aan Zee from 12 – 28 January 2018.
Jeroen van den Berg, director of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament: “The 80th Tata Steel Chess Tournament looks set to become
a beautiful jubilee event."