Castilla y León
Castilla y León



León, 4 al 7 de junio de 2009 WEB Oficial
En españolEn Inglés

Documento sin título


Three geniuses and one authentic rock at the Auditorium


The Mozart of chess, an absent-minded genius, a rebel one, and a very tough Chinese grand master will compete on the XXII Ciudad de Leon Masters, one of the world’s best rapid tournaments, June 4-7th. Those descriptions correspond to Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Morozevich and Wang Yue, respectively. Both semi-finals and the final will be played in the most representative venue of Leon (Spain): The Auditorium.

“What I admire the most about Bobby Fischer is his capacity to make apparently easy what is indeed very difficult. I’m modestly trying to imitate him on that”, Carlsen stated on January 17th 2008, a few hours after Fischer passed away, to pay tribute to the most charismatic chess player ever.  

Making easy what’s difficult is precisely the genius’s most distinctive feature. And nobody doubts about the precocious Norwegian deserving to be called a genius. For instance, Magnus knew by heart at the age of five the area, population, flag and capital of all the countries in the world. And, at 13 and three months, he became the youngest grand master at that time. Now, at 18, he is much more matured than in Leon 2005, when he was beaten in the semi-finals by the current World Champion, the Indian Viswanathan Anand. Nobody doubts about the Mozart of chess holding that throne one day. The only mystery is when.

But that doesn’t guarantee at all his victory in Leon 2009, where he will face Morozevich or Wang Yue in the semi-finals (according to the tournament rules, the two first seeded players can only play each other in the final). The Russian is as brilliant as inconsistent but, in fact, his reputation for being a rebel is not limited to his personal behaviour: he doesn’t accept anybody being superior to him at the board. As for the Chinese, just one little detail: he only lost 2% of his games in 2008.

In the other semi-final we’ll see the Ukrainian Ivanchuk. Many experts think he’d be world champion with a more stable nervous system. But it’s right now, reaching his 40th birthday, when he shows the balance which has been translated into a series of brilliant results and the world’s ranking third place. Massively admired because of his genius creativity, appreciated because of his affectionate character and absent-minded tendency, Ivanchuk is the Ciudad de Leon current champion, as he was able to dethrone Anand (seven times winner) after an epic duel last year.

Leon has earned an International prestige along 21 editions (almost all the chess stars have played in Leon during the last 20 years). Now is a good moment to change the venue. The new one is the majestic Auditorium, equipped with the latest technology, which will also be implemented on the games commentary (for the audience and Internet) by grand master Miguel Illescas and international master Michael Rahal.

The Leon organizers maintain that social and professional chess should work as communicating glasses. Even more now, when the latest scientific studies indicate that the frequent practice of chess improves the brain aging, and therefore could be very useful to prevent Alzheimer, not to say what we already know since almost a century ago: chess teaches how to think. The parallel activities are consequent with that idea: a lecture by Ivanchuk, simuls by Morozevich, a lecture class by Illescas, a chess cinema week and a Young Talents tournament. Despite of the big economical crisis, everything will be sponsored by a balanced combination of public bodies and private companies: a clear sign of how solid this tournament is.

Web Site:

Leontxo Garcia.
Communication Officer