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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

London's Simpson's-in-the-Strand to Host Chess Grand Prix

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,
Agon, the company that had bagged the commercial rights to the World Chess Championships by FIDE has announced that Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, London would be the venue for the first Grand Prix chess event between September 20 and October 3 with a prize fund of 240,000 euros.

Andrew Paulson, the Chief Executive and Founder of Agon, said: “I am delighted to confirm that Simpson’s-in-the-Strand will be the venue for the September Grand Prix. As possibly the best-known chess venue in the world, it is the perfect place to kick off the new Championship cycle. However, the requirement to transfer the event to London from Chelyabinsk at this relatively late stage means that it will be a smaller, invite-only event.

“Agon’s stewardship of the World Chess Championships really only starts with the London Candidates tournament in March 2013, but I felt compelled to support FIDE when it became apparent that Chelyabinsk wasn’t going to work. ”

CJ de Mooi, the President of the English Chess Federation (ECF), said: “I am delighted to welcome the Agon Chess Grand Prix to London in our Olympic year. The ECF looks forward to a long partnership with Agon, an innovative company that has proven itself on both the world stage and the chess board.”

Simpson’s originally opened in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house and soon became known as the “home of chess” after attracting the patronage of such chess luminaries as Howard Staunton – the first English world chess champion.

Raymond Keene OBE, chess columnist for The Times newspaper and The Spectator magazine and one of the world’s most respected commentators on the sport, said: “I am relishing the return of the World Chess Championships to Simpson’s. It is the home of the immortal game and the Grand Prix in September represents the start of a long journey to restore chess to its rightful place in the public imagination after decades in the media wilderness.”

The announcement of Simpson’s as a venue is indicative of Agon’s ambitions for the World Chess Championships.

Agon will be bringing the World Chess Championships to European capital cities, as part of its commitment to bring a sustainable business model to the sport.

Mr Paulson added: “We will shortly be announcing a number of illustrious and historic venues for the World Chess Championship cycle. We are also in discussions with a number of global companies that want to be associated with the pinnacle of this wonderful game.”

In 2013, the Championship cycle will be hosted by London, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin, Paris and Tromsø.

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