The "WR Chess Masters" in Düsseldorf is the first privately organized super tournament on German soil after almost four years, a clash of the chess elite, moreover one of generations. Ten top grandmasters will fight for the tournament victory and elo points for the world rankings from February 14 to 27 at the Hyatt Regency.
The new generation in chess is already waiting to take over from the established players around Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi. A German is also preparing to play at the top soon. Vincent Keymer, 18 years young, will have the opportunity at the WR Chess Masters to find out whether he is already on par with the best.
Supporting the German chess hope Keymer is one of the intentions of organizer Wadim Rosenstein, whose WR Events GmbH as tournament sponsor is bringing Düsseldorf one of the world's highest-profile chess tournaments of the new year: "I would be very happy if Vincent succeeds in rising to the absolute world class," says Rosenstein. "A world-class player would be an important building block for the reputation and spread of chess in Germany."
Prodigies put to the test
In the field of ten super grandmasters, Keymer will be one of five representatives of the new generation, one of five who were considered wonder boys not long ago. The Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov (18), the Indians Gukesh (16) and Praggnanandhaa (17), and the Russian Andrey Esipenko (20) are also preparing to make the leap into the absolute world class. They face an endurance test against a selection of former (and likely future) World Championship candidates – Levon Aronian (USA), Wesley So (USA), Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland).
The toughest test is represented by Ian Nepomniachtchi, number three in the world, number one in the seedings list in Düsseldorf. For "Nepo", the showdown on the Rhine will probably be a final determination of where he stands. Six weeks before his World Championship match on April 7 in Astana/Kazakhstan against the Chinese Ding Liren, Nepomniachtchi is looking for an encounter with the best possible rivals in Düsseldorf in order to be prepared for the match for the chess crown. At the end of 2021, "Nepo" had lost his first World Championship match against Magnus Carlsen, but qualified confidently for a second attempt the following year at the tournament of World Championship Candidates. This time he wants to make the final step.
The ten participants will play a "round robin" tournament, each playing one game against each other. The player with the most points after nine rounds wins the main prize of 40,000 euros. In the event of a tie at the top, spectators can look forward to a rapid and blitz chess play-off.
Chess metropolis Düsseldorf
All nine rounds will be broadcast live on the Internet with commentary. The cream of chess will not only be on the board in Düsseldorf, but also at the commentary desk. Former World Championship candidate Yasser Seirawan (USA), one of the most popular chess commentators, will guide the audience through the action. At his side will be another grandmaster: Elisabeth Pähtz, for years the top German female player. These two will receive many high-profile personalities from the chess scene as guests during the course of the tournament.
The "WR Chess Masters" is only the beginning. In early summer, also supported by Rosenstein, another top event will take place in the metropolis on the Rhine: The first open World Team Championship of the World Chess Federation FIDE is also to contribute to establishing Düsseldorf as a chess capital.