Wijk aan Zee / former Beverwijk (1st 1938, 79th 2017) 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, 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.
In Wijk aan Zee, regularly more than thousand, mostly amateur chess players are engaged. It is definitely a Chess Festival for amateurs and professionals.
was at Wijk in 1999, when Garry Kasparov created his masterpiece against Veselin Topalov:
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.
Gawain 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 qulifies 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 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 played for the 13th time (overall) in 2017.
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 eleven participations between 1998 and 2011), 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.
Bobby Fischer (and Reshevsky, Alekhine, Capablanca, Lasker) never did 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!
Korchnoi 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 win.
This is the second longest major recurring international classical chess tournament in annually tradition still existing.
Wijk aan Zee
Tata Steel Chess Tournament (Wikipedia)
http://www.tatasteelchess.com (Tournament homepage)
http://www.tatasteelchess.com/history (History full stats & facts with all players and games)
http://www.endgame.nl/wijk.htm (Survey by Jan van Reek)
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), Nimzowisch 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 clear runner-up at Wijk aan Zee in 2003
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
Longest winning span at Beverwijk / Wijk aan Zee
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 some other winning spans: Karpov 5 years, Kasparov 3 years (three triumphs in a row, no further entry), Larsen, Topalov, Short 2 years, 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! His best result is shared 4th-8th in 2003.
Biggest winning margin at Beverwijk / Wijk aan Zee
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.