Isle of Man International 2017

23 September - 1 October 2017

May 29, 2017

Three enjoyable opens that get a variety of entries including strong grandmasters are Gibraltar, Reykjavik and Isle of Man. The participants for the third of these has just been announced:

1 GM So Wesley United States 2822 Subject to progress in World Cup
2 GM Caruana Fabiano United States 2817 Subject to progress in World Cup
3 GM Kramnik Vladimir Russia 2811 Subject to progress in World Cup
4 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime France 2803 Subject to progress in World Cup
5 GM Nakamura Hikaru United States 2793 Subject to progress in World Cup
6 GM Anand Viswanathan India 2786 Subject to progress in World Cup
7 GM Adams Michael England 2761 Subject to progress in World Cup
8 GM Eljanov Pavel Ukraine 2751 Subject to progress in World Cup
9 GM Gelfand Boris Israel 2724 Subject to progress in World Cup
10 GM Jobava Baadur Georgia 2712 Subject to progress in World Cup
11 GM Vallejo Pons Francisco Spain 2710 Subject to progress in World Cup
12 GM Naiditsch Arkadij Azerbaijan 2702
13 GM Rodshtein Maxim Israel 2701
14 GM Leko Peter Hungary 2699
15 GM Rapport Richard Hungary 2696
16 GM Shirov Alexei Latvia 2693
17 GM Howell David England 2684
18 GM Short Nigel D England 2683
19 GM Movsesian Sergei Armenia 2677
20 GM Jones Gawain C B England 2671
21 GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi India 2670
22 GM Sargissian Gabriel Armenia 2666
23 GM Xiong Jeffery United States 2665 Subject to progress in World Cup
24 GM Fressinet Laurent France 2665 Subject to progress in World Cup
25 GM Riazantsev Alexander Russia 2661
26 GM Granda Zuniga Julio Peru 2658
27 GM Salem A.R. Saleh United Arab Emirates 2652
28 GM Hou Yifan China 2649 Subject to progress in World Cup
29 GM Grandelius Nils Sweden 2641
30 GM Sokolov Ivan Netherlands 2628
31 GM Sethuraman S.P. India 2624
32 GM Hovhannisyan Robert Armenia 2619
33 GM L'Ami Erwin Netherlands 2614
34 GM Hansen Eric Canada 2614
35 GM Bok Benjamin Netherlands 2605
36 GM Ju Wenjun China 2596
37 GM Bogner Sebastian Switzerland 2592
38 GM Aravindh Chithambaram VR. India 2588
39 GM Huschenbeth Niclas Germany 2588
40 GM Bindrich Falko Germany 2582
41 GM Lenderman Aleksandr United States 2578 Subject to progress in World Cup
42 GM Wagner Dennis Germany 2577
43 GM Deac Bogdan-Daniel Romania 2576
44 GM Timman Jan Netherlands 2576
45 GM Svane Rasmus Germany 2573
46 GM Guliyev Namig Azerbaijan 2569
47 GM Brunello Sabino Italy 2563
48 GM Donchenko Alexander Germany 2554
49 GM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan India 2551
50 GM Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag Brazil 2544
51 GM Vishnu Prasanna V. India 2542
52 GM Harika Dronavalli India 2521
53 IM Lampert Jonas Germany 2511
54 GM Perelshteyn Eugene United States 2511
55 GM Zaragatski Ilja Germany 2505

The Canadians who will be there:

9 IM Hambleton Aman Canada 2434
10 GM Hansen Eric Canada 2614
11 IM Piasetski Leon Canada 2300
12 Purewal Sardul Canada 1943

John Saunders at the official site:

Super-GMs Heading for the Isle of Man

Four months might seem a long advance time to be running a trailer for a chess tournament but when the line-up is as special as the one for the Isle of Man International (23 September - 1 October 2017), chess fans are going to want to know about it. You may be used to the Isle of Man line-up being very strong, but this year’s event could be very special indeed.

Georgia on Their Mind - or £50,000?

Note, I write "could be" as the final line-up is partly dependent on what happens in the FIDE World Cup, which is being held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 1 to 25 September 2017. That's a three-day overlap between the two events but the World Cup is run on a knock-out format, so it should only affect the finalists. Other players eliminated from the final could still hot-foot it from Georgia to Douglas and compete for the £50,000 first prize. Note that number in bold. £50,000 was the total prize fund in 2016 – this year it is the first prize (which had been £12,000 in 2016).

So, with that in mind (and I expect the magnitude of the first prize is on a number of players’ minds), here are the stellar names who have confirmed, subject to the World Cup proviso, for the tournament start on 23 September, alongside their current (23 May) unofficial live ratings...

• Wesley So (USA) 2812
• Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) 2807
• Fabiano Caruana (USA) 2807

That's not a bad start, is it? Three of the five players in the world who currently sport a stratospheric 2800+ rating. Only Magnus and Shak missing (and I guess they could be found a board should they wish to join the fun).

Moving on to the 2700+ players, there are three more of the current world top ten, plus six more major names.

• Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) 2794
• Vishy Anand (India) 2785
• Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2784
• Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine) 2738 - last year’s winner
• Mickey Adams (England) 2736
• Boris Gelfand (Israel) 2727
• Paco Vallejo Pons (Spain) 2717
• Baadur Jobava (Georgia) 2709
• Arkady Naiditsch (Azerbaijan) 2700

The star names still keep coming...

• David Howell (England) 2692
• Peter Leko (Hungary) 2690
• Nigel Short (England) 2688
• Maxim Rodshtein (Israel) 2684
• Richard Rapport (Hungary) 2684
• Sergei Movsesian (Armenia) 2674
• Hou Yifan (China) 2666
• Alexei Shirov (Latvia) 2655
... and on and on. There are 64 grandmasters in the field in total.

Tournament chess has been transformed over the past few years. Until very recently, the elite players confined their classical chess activities to exclusive all-play-alls, perhaps fearing to risk their ratings against all-comers in Swiss format tournaments. But now pretty well everyone can be expected to accept invitations to play in open tournaments such as Isle of Man and Gibraltar. The young American super-GMs probably get a lot of credit for changing the culture, particularly Hikaru Nakamura, who has shown time and time again that he’s prepared to duke it out with anyone in a Swiss tournament, and his huge rating usually emerges undamaged from the scrap, if not enhanced. He’s also dispelled the myth about Swisses being a lottery: three straight triumphs in Gibraltar cannot be attributed to luck. And, when it comes to accepting invitations to Swiss tournaments, I guess the size of the prize has had something to do with it.