Tomorrow the official opening of the 2013 World Cup will take place as players are making their way to Tromsø, Norway and settling into their accommodations. Players from around the world are gearing up with this two-week long event culminating in the awarding of top prize of US$120,000 and two spots to the World Candidates tournament. Unfortunately, there is already some bad news.
GM Ahmed Adly of Egypt will not be able to make the trip because of obligatory military duties and the refusal of military administration to delay his assignment. The participants will also be mourning the death of GM Igor Kurnosov who was killed after being struck by a vehicle in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Kurnosov had only recently competed in the Biel Open.
There will be an interesting field of competitors: the usual veterans, up-and-coming stars and brand new faces. Only two of the top 30 players is missing from the competition which may make it the strongest knockout qualifier yet. Veselin Topalov has already qualified for the World Candidates and the loser of the Anand-Carlsen match will be automatically seeded into the cycle. Both Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik are required to compete in order to qualify by rating. If they should come in the first two places, then the next player on the rating list will get the slots.
Some intriguing stories are shaping up. There are four women competing in the competition which is the most in recent memory (2007 had none, 2009 had three, 2011 had two). Women’s World Champion Anna Ushenina along with GM Judit Polgar, GM Hou Yifan and WGM Deysi Cori will participate. Deysi’s brother GM Jorge Cori has also qualified. China’s Wei Yi is currently the world’s youngest Grandmaster and will get Ian Nepomaniachtchi in what could be an interesting bout. One of Europe’s top juniors GM-Elect Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland was nominated and will join a cadre of young talent dotting the field.
The diversity of the field shows that chess is beginning to show its true universality. However, Russia still has the most competitors (25) followed by the Ukraine (11), the USA (9) and China (8). Asia is sending a healthy contingent of 23 players as the region continues to make ground on the world stage. Africa’s loss of Adly means that only five players will travel. The continent has never fielded a player to advance to the second round. This year could be different.
Official Website: http://www.chessworldcup2013.com/
Drum Coverage: http://www.thechessdrum.net/
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/assets/files/pgn/wcup13.pgn
Rules and Regulations: http://www.chessworldcup2013.com/