Press release: Chess Champions League in the Zillertal, Parade of the World Champions

Mayrhofen – Maryhofen will experience a parade of world chess champions in a fortnight: The current World Champion Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion Viswanathan Anand will be competing in the ‘Champions League on the Chess Boards’. With Marija Muzychuk and Anna Ushenina, two former world champions are also expected in the Zillertal.

The 37th European Chess Club Cup and the 26th European Women’s Club Cup – the highest club competitions in chess – will be played. Magnus Carlsen will compete for his Norwegian club Offerspill Chess Club. The Norwegian will play chess professionally in Austria for the first time as World Champion. So far, he has only played in Austria once as a 10-year-old and at a PR event in the Vienna Hofburg. However, he only has outsider chances of winning. Former world champion Anand (IND) is making his first appearance at the board in the squad of Romanian favourites CSU ASE Superbet since he was elected vice-president at the World Chess Federation’s general assembly in Chennai in August. His team also includes D. Gukesh, the 16-year-old talent from India who made a splash at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai recently. Gukesh has achieved the best result on the top board in the hosts’ teenage team with nine points from 11 games, leaving the entire world class present behind. His winning streak of eight games in a row, including a victory over former World Championship finalist Fabiano Caruana, was particularly impressive.

The biggest challenger to Anand’s team is the Czech club Novi Bor, for whom Austria’s number one Markus Ragger will play. Home fans can expect an exciting battle of their idol for the medals. A total of 70 clubs are expected in the open class and 17 in the women’s class. All in all, about 600 people will come to the Europahaus Mayrhofen in the Zillertal. However, clubs from Russia and Belarus are not taking part. They have been banned from all international events by the World Chess Federation and the European Chess Union after the start of the war until further notice. Russian players are allowed to play under a neutral flag.

From Austria, “Schach ohne Grenzen”, Absam, local hero Zell/Zillertal and Feffernitz are represented in the open class. Reigning champion Jenbach, on the other hand, is not fielding a team. The Tyrolean club Schach ohne Grenzen has the best chance of a place in the top 20. Pamhagen, Baden and Zell-Zillertal are also playing in the women’s competition. Pamhagen and Baden, as number five and seven on the seedings list respectively, have realistic chances of winning a medal.

The official live partner of the event is Chess24. The matches will be broadcast live and commented by grandmasters on the Chess24 platform. Pictures will be fed from the tournament hall via cameras. Social media expert Fiona Steil-Antoni will provide interviews and daily summaries and also post reports on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

The 37th European Chess Club Cup and the 26th European Women’s Club Cup will be held in Mayrhofen, Tyrol, from 3 to 10 October 2022, two years late. The 2020 event, intended as a highlight of the 100-year celebrations of the Austrian Chess Federation, has fallen victim to the pandemic.

Tournament director Johann Pöcksteiner and organiser Werner Csrnko are pulling the strings in the background to ensure that the second European Club Cup in Tyrol and Austria, which took place in neighbouring Fügen in 2008, has a perfect ambience. “A total of 87 teams have registered, which is a new record for participants,” Pöcksteiner said, looking optimistically to the coming weeks. (wk, Text: H. Neumayer, Foto: FIDE)