Wijk aan Zee / former Beverwijk (1st 1938, 80th 2018) TATA STEEL (Corus, Hoogovens)
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.
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament welcomes about two thousands of amateur players every year.
Since 2014, the field is now pooled to two sections: a "Masters" group and a "Challengers" group. And 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 (round 4) and on the High Tech Campus Eindhoven (round 9). In 2015, the event took place again at three locations in the Netherlands: the main tournament in its traditional location of Wijk aan Zee, but also visited Rotterdam (round 5) and The Hague (round 10). In 2016, the Science Center NEMO in Amsterdam (round 5) and the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht (round 11) hosted the so-called Chess On Tour events.
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 is continued in 2017: The "external" rounds will be played in the De Kuip stadium of soccer club Feyenoord Rotterdam (round 5) and in the Philharmonic Hall of Haarlem (round 10) to present chess as sport and as art.
The time control (TATA Steel Masters 2015) is 100 minutes for 40 moves, fo
Browne, Walter Shawn (born 21.01.1949. He died suddenly in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 24, 2015, having just tied for 9th-15th in the National Open). Grandmaster 1970, IM 1969, journalist and commentator.
Browne was born in Sydney, Australia, to an American father and an Australian mother. He came to the US as a three years old child when when his family moved to the New York area, spent 1968-1973 back in Australia and then settled in the US. Browne moved to California in 1973 when he was 24.
Winning the U.S. Junior Championship at the age of seventeen, and at twenty the Australian Championship (for a time he represented both countries). In 1969, he represented Australia at the Asian Zonal tournament in Singapore, earning the International Master title – which earned him the same year an invitation to an international grandmaster tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, he gained the grandmaster title (awarded in 1970) by tying for second through fourth places, with Bruno Parma and Arthur Bisguier, behind reigning World Champion Boris Spassky.
At Rovinj / Zagreb in 1970, Walter Browne played and drew Bobby Fischer in a very entertaining game. Browne had Fischer on the ropes here but Bobby survived in a very entertaining game which was drawn after 94 moves. This game turned out to be their only one, because Fischer stopped playing after becoming World Chess Champion in 1972.
Browne was a dominant presence in American chess in the 1970s and 1980s:
Six-time U.S. Champion 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980 (three-way tie), 1981 (two-way split), and 1983 (three-way tie), U.S. Senior Champion 2005, and U.S. Junior Champion 1966. Australian Champion 1969. Plus Winnipeg 1974 (Pan American Championship), Mannheim 1975 (Internat. FRG Championship)
He won or was equal first in Venice 1971 outright, Wijk aan Zee 1974 outright, Lone Pine (Open) 1974 as clear first, Reykjavik 1978 (GM tournament, ahead of 2./3. Larsen and Miles, followed by 4./5. Hort, Lombardy, 6./7. Polugaevsky, F. Olafsson, 8. Kuzmin, 9. Smejkal, etc.), Santiago de Chile 1981 outright, again Wijk aan Zee (joint with Seirawan) 1980, and…
the 1st Lady’s Cup, Solo (aka Surakarta) / Denpasar, Indonesia 1982: Walter Browne taking the championship trophy, edging out compatriot Henley on the better SB; co-winner IM Ron Henley, who had already one GM norm in his pocket, then made the GM title, achieving exactly the needed 17.5 / 25 points.
This Mammoth Tournament saw 26 participants competing (amongst others Miles, Keene, Hort, Ribli, Csom, Gheorghiu, Kurajica, Matanovic, Hulak, Radulov, Sosonko, Christiansen, Suttles, Bellon Lopez, and then IM Chandler), it is the biggest round robin chess tournament after World War II !!
Winning the New York (Open) 1983 (shared with Alburt, Miles, Shirazi, Kudrin), Gjovik, Norway 1983 (alongside with Adorjan and Nunn, ahead of Miles, Agdestein, Spassky, Ftacnik, and others), Nimzowitsch Memorial 50th anniversary of his death in Naestved, Denmark 1985 (alongside with Larsen and Vaganjan, ahead of Short, Nikolic, Tal, Nikolic, Nunn, Andersson, Ftacnik, and others), Canadian Open, Windsor 1991 as clear first.
Asides from the above results, Walter Browne won sole or shared the National Open (Las Vegas) eleven times, the American Open seven times, the World Open three times, and the traditional U.S. Open Chess Championship twice (1971 alone and 1972 together with Larry Evans).
Browne was a participant in the Olympiads in 1970 & 1972 for Australia; 1974, 1978, 1982, 1984 for the USA. Three-times participant in Interzonals, although he never made it to the Candidates.
Winner of many chess brilliancy prizes. Founder of the World Blitz Chess Association (WBCA, existing from 1988 to 2004). Regular contributor as chess journalist and commentator. Browne was introduced to the US Chess Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 2012, Browne published an autobiography and collection of his best games, The Stress of Chess ... and its Infinite Finesse.
Best ELO: 2585 in 1976. Best ranking: 14= in Jan. 1976, second best ranking: 18 in Jan. 1984.
Walter Browne has been also a professional and successful poker player since the early 1970s.
Judit Polgar as best woman ever at Beverwijk / Wijk aan Zee was clear runner-up in 2003, only half a point and unbeaten behind winner Anand:
1. Anand, 8.5 points
2. Judit Polgar, 8 points
3. Bareev (title defender from Wijk 2002), 7.5
4.-8. Shirov, van Wely, Grischuk, Kramnik (reigning Einstein world champion), Ivanchuk, 7
9.-10. Radjabov, Topalov, 6.5
11.-12. Karpov (former world champion), Ponomariov (reigning FIDE world champion), 6
13. Krasenkow, 4, and 14. Timman, 2.5
The longest winning span at Wijk aan Zee / former Beverwijk is held by Viktor Korchnoi with 19 years (tournament victories between 1968 at his first participation and 1987, four wins), ahead of Max Euwe, 18 years (between 1940 and 1958, four wins), followed by Fridrik Olafsson, 17 years (between 1959 and 1976, two wins), and Viswanathan Anand, 17 years (between 1989 and 2006, with five wins).
They are followed by the trio Donner, Portisch, Polugaevsky (each with a 13 years stretch), and Geller (12 years).
To compare with the winning spans of some other famous chess players: Karpov 5 years, Kasparov 3 years (three triumphs in a row, no further entry), Larsen, Topalov, Short 2 years, or Kramnik only one win so far in eleven participations.
Statistical Rhubarb: Dutchman Loek van Wely (Elo peak rating 2714), played more than twenty times in the A-group at Wijk aan Zee since 1992, but could never win, neither achieve a podium place! Loek's best result is shared 4th-8th in 2003.
In January 1968 (it was the first Hoogovens played at Wijk aan Zee), Viktor Korchnoi finished winning the tournament with 12 out of 15, three full points ahead of shared runner-up competitors Lajos Portisch, Mikhail Tal and Vlastimil Hort.
At his first personal participation at Hoogovens Tournament, Viktor Korchnoi started with a streak of eight consecutive wins, beating in a row GM Padevsky (rd.1), GM GM Matanovic (rd.2), GM Bobotsov (rd.3), GM Ivkov (rd.4), IM (GM later) Hans Ree (rd.5), IM Nikola Karaklajic (Serbia, Yugoslavia), he was selected from the Masters section at Beverwijk Hoogovens in 1967 (rd.6) , GM Rossolimo (rd.7), and GM Tal (rd.8), then drawing to GM Donner in rd.9.
In the last round, Korchnoi who had already won the tournament, drew against IM Kick Langeweg, one of the Dinosaurs of Dutch chess in 16 moves.
Tal (at that time ranked third of the world in chessmetrics), Portisch, Matanovic, Ivkov, Donner, and Rossolimo are all former and / or future winners at Hoogovens, played in Beverwijk (up to 1967), and Wijk aan Zee (since 1968).
At the end of the year in December 1968, Korchnoi took the supertournament of Palma de Mallorca, too, featuring also the World champion Petrosian, his challenger Spassky, and Larsen, the winner from 1967. Korchnoi, clear first and unbeaten, made another fine tournament, as he drew the world champion Petrosian and defeated Spassky, Larsen and Gligoric, amongst others. Thus, in the final round he could grant half a point to Calvo who came in on 18th and last place.