Dates and venues for the 2017 Grand Prix events confirmed

Sharjah, Moscow, Geneva and Palma De MAllorca in Spain will host the four revamped World Chess Grand Prix events in 2017.

The new-look Grand Prix series will be contested by 24 players, rather than 12 as had previously been the case, with 18 players in each tournament. 

The dates are as follows:

Sharjah, UAE: February 17-28
Moscow, Russia: May 11–22
Geneva, Switzerland: July 5-16
Palma De Mallorca, Spain: November 15-26

The prize fund for each Grand Prix will be 130,000 euros and chess fans will be able to view the action exclusively at www.worldchess.com.

Players qualify to the Grad Prix series by rating or by being nominated by Agon Ltd, with one addition coming from the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) or FIDE.

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of World Chess by Agon Limited, said: “The new look Grand Prix series simplifies the previously overcrowded calendar for these events and is designed to increase the commercial footprint of the Championship cycle. The significant change is that now World Chess Championship cycles do not overlap and one begins only after the previous one ends.”

Georgios Makropoulos, FIDE Deputy President, said: “With interest in chess at an all time high, the Grand Prix events will provide a hugely exciting series between the world’s best players that will be watched by an ever-increasing global audience of chess fans.”

Brands will for the first time be able to sponsor the world’s elite chess players as they take part in the Grand Prix series.  

The move is part of a range of changes introduced by Agon, the organizer of the World Chess Championship cycle, to make the top echelons of the sport more accessible for corporate sponsors. 

Traditionally, chess sponsorship was focused around the host city for World Championship “Grand Prix” events. However, the changes made by Agon mean that brands will be able to select specific players to associate with. 

Each sponsor will receive their logo on the player’s jacket, a branded space on worldchess.com and a customised hospitality programme at each Grand Prix event, as well as a range of other benefits. 

The cost of a contract for a two-year Grand Prix cycle will be 100,000 euros, of which 20 per cent goes to the player, 15 per cent to the player’s federation and the rest towards organizing costs.

Agon will work with corporate partners and players to create a customised benefits package, which can include above the line advertising opportunities. 

A full list of qualified players can be found at www.fide.com

Statement in response to the First Circuit Court ruling

We note the ruling by the First Circuit Court in Moscow in the case we brought against Chess24. 

We did not fully expect a judgement in our favour due to the complicated nature of the case and limited time the judge has to consider the case (the average time that a judge in the Moscow Arbitration Court can spend on one case is only 48 minutes). We believe that the court has not properly addressed the documents and arguments and has declined to consider some of them in breach of procedural requirements, all of which has greatly affected the decision.

We will appeal the verdict this month and continue to protect our rights as the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship.  We remain confident of a favourable outcome on appeal.

We have invested heavily to transform the broadcasting of chess and all responsible chess media websites will be able to show the live moves of the forthcoming World Championship Match through our official broadcast widget. 

In addition these affiliate partner websites will financially benefit when any of their viewers upgrades to our premium pay-per-view 360 broadcast of the Match.

We believe that this approach will mean that chess fans all over the world can view the live games for free or, if they chose, pay for a spectacular interactive experience. 

Agon Ltd launches affiliate programme for broadcast of World Championship Match

Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle, today launched its affiliate programme for the broadcast of the forthcoming Championship Match that takes place in November.

The strategy is designed to provide chess enthusiasts around the world with the highest-level user experience for the eagerly awaited Match between reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia. It will also enable chess websites or media organisations to directly profit from the broadcast of the contest.

Affiliate partners, such as chess and media websites, will be supplied with a widget that will show the live representation of the game board in the Championship Match and also includes a cutting edge chess analysis engine which can think up to 16 moves ahead. The widget will be available in a number of different colours and formats and will be available as a free “plug in” for affiliates’ websites.

The widget will also feature a link to the premium service that includes 360° virtual reality broadcast of the Match, numerous other video feeds as well as grandmaster and guest celebrity commentary.

The premium pay-per-view broadcast, that will cost $15 for the whole match, or about the same price as a cinema ticket, will be promoted on the free widget with the host website receiving up to 10% commission for each of its users who upgrades to it.

Chess websites that accept the terms of using the official broadcast widget will decline to add their own commentary and analysis tools to the live representation of the moves. Instead they will financially benefit from the official Agon premium broadcast.

National chess federations will also be given a unique affiliate code for the premium broadcast product. When a chess fan uses this code to purchase the broadcast, a percentage of that sale goes back to the federation.

Ilya Merenzon, the Chief Executive of Agon, said: “Our mandate has always been to increase the commercial prospects for chess as a global sport and to grow its audience size.

“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the sustainable commercial development of the sport we all love

Our affiliate programme is designed to make the Championship Match available for anyone to watch, for free, on their preferred choice of chess website. Secondly, when a user of any website that incorporates our widget chooses to upgrade to our premium pay-per-view broadcast product, that website will directly profit

And by including national chess federations in our affiliate programme, we will be directly ploughing money back into the grassroots of chess around the world.

Any chess or other media organisation that wishes to incorporate the free broadcast widget should request membership in the affiliate program at: agonlimited.com/affiliates.

Agon also reiterated today that it would take legal action against any website that broadcasts the live moves of the Championship games without taking the official broadcast widget.

Mr Merenzon said: “A website that wants to broadcast the live moves for free simply has to request the use of our official widget. But any rogue website that chooses to operate a pirate broadcast of the live moves will be subject to legal action that is in line with our ongoing commitment to professionalise the commercial side of chess for the benefit of players and fans alike.

Spectator and VIP tickets for the World Chess Championship Match are available at: http://www.ticketfly.com/venue/24715

Full details of the Championship Match are available at: http://nyc2016.fide.com/

EG Capital Advisors signs deal with Agon Ltd to become sponsor of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016

EG Capital Advisors, the global holding company which, through its subsidiaries, advises the equivalent of over 3 bln USD of assets and provides retail and institutional clients with investment opportunities in multiple asset classes including publicly listed equity securities, private equity, fixed income and real estate has become the second major sponsor of FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016 in New York.

The deal underlines the growing commercial appeal of chess to international business sponsors.

Michael Stanton, Member of EG Capital Supervisory Board and founding partner, said: “I am very proud that EG Capital is becoming part of the story of chess at a pivotal and exciting time in the sport’s development.”

“EG Capital is a very young and fast growing company and the World Chess Championship is the perfect vehicle for us to increase our brand awareness in key markets around the world. Chess is played and followed avidly by over 600 million people worldwide and I look forward to being able to introduce our business to this incredible audience.”

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chessbrand said: “I am delighted that in EG Capital, an asset manager that shares out commitment to innovation, we have a global partner which shares our vision for the transformation of chess as a global sport.”

EG Capital Advisors provides fixed and customised financial strategies on global and emerging public markets that span major investment classes including equity, fixed-income and multi-asset capabilities. The company also has a thriving private equity business, specialising in pre-IPO finance, small and mid-cap acquisitions and with a particular focus on the fin tech, technology and biotech sectors.

The global business joins PhosAgro, the global fertiliser and nitrates group, as a main sponsor for the eagerly awaited World Chess Championship Match in New York, which is taking place between 11-30 November.

Details of how to watch the contest online are worldchess.com/nyc2016.

About FIDE:

The World Chess Federation or Fédération Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognised by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body responsible for the sport of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organise the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads.

About World Chess by Agon Limited:

Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the FIDE World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

About EG Capital Advisors

EG Capital Advisors is an international holding providing retail and institutional clients with investment capabilities that span multiple assets classes including publicly listed equity securities, private equity, fixed income and real estate. With assets under management of over USD 3 bn, EG Capital Advisors offers fixed and customized investment solutions worldwide and deep expertise in emerging markets.

The World Chess Championship Match 2016 to become the first of any sport to be broadcast in 360° Virtual Reality

The World Chess Championship Match, to take place in New York in November of 2016, is to be broadcast live in 360° Virtual Reality, a global first for any sport.

The VR broadcast of the Match, which will take place between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia, will be exclusively available through Worldchess.com.

Ilya Merenzon, the Chief Executive of World Chess by Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship, said: “We are proud to announce that chess, one of the oldest sports in the world, is creating a global first: a totally new and immersive way of watching a contest that will captivate hundreds of millions of new and existing fans.”

World Chess has teamed up with Livestream to create the unprecedented viewer experience that will place the audience closer to the action than ever before.

As well as the 360° video stream there will be a number of other cameras within the players’ arena to provide multiple angles on the match.

The online broadcast will include commentary in multiple languages, with guest appearances from celebrity chess fans, a chess analysis engine so viewers can gain an insight into the players’ strategic decisions, as well as a host of other features.

“Everything we are doing is designed to enable viewers to get into the minds of the players. This is the first Chess World Championship for the smartphone generation,” Mr Merenzon added.

Livestream, the leading provider of live video services, is the broadcasting partner of the Championship Match.
 
A spokesperson for Livestream said: “We are excited to be the streaming partner for the World Chess Championship at a time when the broadcast and overall presentation of the game is being transformed by Agon."

Chess fans can sign up to receive the VR broadcast by registering at www.worldchess.com. A season pass for the 12 round Championship Match will cost $15, or $1.25 per game. The pay-per-view model with advanced premium features, such as full 360-degree broadcast, is expected to significantly add to the commercial prospects of chess as a global sport and increase its appeal to brand partners.

A basic free live broadcast of the Championship Match will also be available to view. It will include a live representation of the game and will be made available to select broadcasting partners and chess federations that agree to join the World Chess affiliate program.

Mr Merenzon said: “We are investing into the 360-degree broadcast because we believe that it is a major commercial opportunity for a sport which has required additional revenue streams to fulfill its global potential.  

The millions of dollars in extra revenue that our new model will bring into the game will be re-invested in player prize money, events in the World Chess Championship cycle and in grass roots initiatives.

But we also want to ensure that as many people as possible can follow the Match and recognise that not everyone is prepared to pay to follow the Championship Match - that’s why we will offer a free broadcast as well.”

The 360° Virtual Reality broadcast will be available to view by anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer or VR device. 

Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Champion, said: “In my opinion, chess has the potential to reach and engage a much broader audience than what we see today. To succeed with this, innovation, and most of all quality in the production and transmission, are key elements.”

The full information about the Championship Match broadcast and subscription options is available at worldchess.com/nyc2016 starting September 12. 

You can download the press-materials by clicking at the link. 

 

PhosAgro Announces Sponsorship of the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship

Moscow – On the eve of the World Chess Championship match scheduled for 11-30 November in New York City, PhosAgro (Moscow Exchange, LSE: PHOR), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, announces that it has signed a strategic partnership with World Chess by Agon Limited, which holds global commercial rights for the organisation of championship matches of the World Chess Federaton (FIDE). The World Chess Championship Match will take place between Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and Sergey Karjakin (Russia) in New York City.

The contract was signed by PhosAgro CEO and Russian Chess Federation Board of Trustees Member Andrey Guryev and Ilya Merenzon, CEO of Agon Group.

Andrey Guryev said: “Sponsorship of this chess tournament is part of PhosAgro’s long-standing corporate responsibility programme, which supports education, science, medicine, sports and healthy lifestyles.  The Company has a long history of cooperating with chess federations, including as the sponsor of the 2014 World Chess Championship match in Sochi.  

“I personally am a big fan of chess and for me it is a great honour to be able to lead a company that has a tradition of supporting the sport.  Chess is a great way to improve problem solving and strategic thinking skills, which are key for a fast-developing company like PhosAgro to remain competitive in a global market by always thinking several moves ahead. 

“I look forward to a great contest between two of the youngest opponents in the history of chess.” 

Chess, and the World Chess Championship match in particular, are the ideal marketing platform to increase awareness of the PhosAgro brand globally.  Hundreds of millions of the most educated, and therefore most successful, people in the world will follow the match.  This audience, which is important to PhosAgro as a global company with a presence in 100 countries, whose securities trade on the Moscow and London Stock Exchanges, and that has the ambitious goal of expanding its base of investors, partners and clients. 

The Championship Match, which will be held in New York for the first time since 1996, will take place in the South Street Seaport district, a five minute walk from Wall Street, in the historic Fulton Market Building.  The arena will feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more.

Ilya Merenzon said: “I am delighted that PhosAgro has become a strategic partner to chess as we continue to increase the popularity of the sport around the world. Chess is the ultimate battle of minds; a pure strategic contest for the smartphone generation and is associated with attributes such as intelligence, sophistication and discipline.

“World Chess is open for business and offers an unrivalled opportunity for brand partners to be associated with this global sport that is played and admired by countless people around the world.” 

FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016 to be held at the iconic Seaport District

Fulton Market Building

NEW YORK, 9 August 2016: The FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016 is to take place at the Seaport District in Manhattan, New York.

The three week long Championship Match, to be held from November 11th to 30th, will be contested by 25-year-old reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger, 26-year-old Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

The Match arena will be built within the Fulton Market Building, a five minute walk from Wall Street, and will also feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more.

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon Limited, owner of World Chess and the commercial rights holder to the FIDE Chess Championship cycle, said: “We are thrilled to hold the Championship in such a fantastic venue - a location that befits the status of chess as one of the world’s fastest growing sports both in terms of participation and commercial appeal.

“This is going to be the first Championship Match contested by two Grandmasters of the smartphone generation – a battle of two of the finest minds on the planet- and witnessed and enjoyed by countless chess fans who play the game online everyday.”

Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York, said: “I and all New Yorkers welcome the World Chess Championship back to New York City. What better place to be than the city where parks are often populated by chess enthusiasts.”

Agon Limited today also announced a partnership with CAA Premium Experience, which will exclusively present and promote a range of stunning hospitality packages during the Championship.

The partnership of CAA Premium Experience will ensure the Match offers an unprecedented experience for VIPs and corporate brand partners. The Championship program will include VIP opening and closing galas as well as a number of other supporting events throughout New York.

Alan Baum of CAA Premium Experience said: "We are very much looking forward to being an integral part of bringing the World Chess Championship Match to New York City. The World Chess Championship provides us with a unique and exclusive platform through which we will be able to deliver our customers and fans of chess from all over the globe an unparalleled VIP hospitality experience.”

Celebrity fans of the sport include Jay Z, Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Obama. Tobey Maguire recently produced and starred in a Hollywood film “Pawn Sacrifice” about the legendary 1972 Fischer-Spassky Championship match.

“They are all invited to attend”, added Merenzon.

Details of ticket pricing and booking will be made available soon. Anyone interested in attending the Championship match can register their interest at nyc2016.fide.com.

The contest consists of 12 games, with every move avidly followed and analyzed by a global audience of hundreds of millions of chess fans.

The last World Championship match, held in Sochi in Russia in 2014, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.2 billion people.

FIDE and Agon Limited will provide a live broadcast of the Match through it’s worldchess.com website.

Chess is enjoying increased popularity around the world and is the only game that is pre-downloaded on nearly every new smartphone. Hundreds of millions of games are played over the internet every week and in the US more people play chess regularly than golf, according to YouGov, the respected polling organization.

The Championship Match will have a prize fund of over one million euros.

Profiles of the players are available at www.worldchess.com

WorldChess.com to offer copyright free articles to boost chess coverage

Agon, the company that organizes the World Chess Championship cycle, is to offer media organisations around the world free articles from worldchess.com.

The editorial initiative is designed to boost coverage of chess in mainstream media. Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon, said: “Our mandate is to boost the popularity of chess around the world. To that end, we are going to provide copyright free articles from worldchess.com to any media organisation that can’t afford to create their own chess content.

“We want to get back to a situation where regular articles on chess are common to all media websites – not just the remaining few that have the resources to directly employ expert chess writers.”

Initially worldchess.com will provide a copyright-free weekly column from editor Dylan McClain. Dylan is the former chess columnist of the New York Times and one of the best known chess journalists in the world.

His weekly column will provide unique insights into the latest developments in the world of chess. The Huffington Post has signed up to feature McClain’s column with the first appearing last week.

Despite the drop in chess coverage in mainstream media outlets, the sport has never been more popular. Over 600 million people worldwide play chess and hundreds of thousands of games are played online every day.

Media organisations that are interested in publishing the regular column from WorldChess.com should contact Andrew Murray-Watson, Communications Director at Agon at andrewmw@agonlimited.com.

Agon statement regarding the venue for the World Championship Match in New York

While it is not the company’s policy to comment on tittle-tattle and gossip, we note the idle speculation that the city for the World Championship Match in November has yet to be finalised. 

We are delighted to re-confirm that the World Championship Match will take place in New York in November. Any suggestion to the contrary is nonsense. 

The venue and the sponsor line-up will be announced in due course. 

Joint statement concerning Hikaru Nakamura’s failure to attend press conference following Round 6

March 19, 2016 — Moscow, Russia — Following Round 6 of the Candidates Tournament, Hikaru Nakamura, one of the eight competitors in the field, failed to appear at the official press conference for the round. By not appearing, he breached two important Candidates Tournament regulations governing player attendance at press conferences.

As a result he will be fined 10% of his eventual tournament winnings.

Zurab Azmaiparashvili, FIDE Supervisor for the Candidates Tournament, said: “Rules are rules. They are clearly communicated to the players and their teams prior to the start of each tournament. Players are not at liberty to pick and choose which rules they want to follow."

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon, the organiser of the Candidates Tournament, said: “I realize that Mr Nakamura was upset by what had happened in his game. Yet it is following these moments of high drama and controversy that chess fans particularly want to hear from the players involved. We had a very large global audience on worldchess.com that was left disappointed by Mr Nakamura’s failure to abide by the Tournament rules. 

Near the end of his Round 6 match, Mr Nakamura touched his king and in accordance with the laws of chess, he was obliged to then move it. He quickly resigned his match against Levon Aronian as a direct result.

The relevant FIDE regulations concerning players’ media obligations are as follows: 

3. 12. 2 All players are required to make themselves available for post-game press conferences, of not more than 20 minutes duration, immediately after the game. All winners and medalists are obliged to attend the final press conference after the event has ended and to provide an exclusive interview for the FIDE website, if requested by the FIDE Press Officer. Players violating these rules will be subjected to the penalties mentioned in the event regulations.

3. 11. 2 If a player fails to appear at the Players' Meeting, the Opening or Closing Ceremony or any approved function of the Championship such as official receptions, press conferences or interviews, or conducts himself in a manner contrary to the spirit of sportsmanship or the FIDE Code of Ethics, then he shall suffer the following penalty: 5% of his prize money shall be forfeited to the Organisers and a further 5% to FIDE for each breach. In cases of serious misconduct the player may be disqualified from the event and the World Chess Championship cycle. 

For the background on the story go on http://worldchess.com/2016/03/18/jadoube-or-touch-move/

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik supports Agon over live broadcast rights

Vladimir Kramnik, the number two ranked player in the world, and former World Champion, has backed Agon in its efforts to control the live broadcasting rights of games at the Candidates Tournament. 

In an exclusive interview with WorldChess.com, Mr Kramnik, said: “If you want to make chess professional, if you want to help chess to grow, you have to understand very clearly that the organizer of any chess tournament has full transmission rights.

“The chess public, chess professionals and chess lovers depend on the organizers of events – so they have to benefit as well. I fully support this (broadcast) innovation.” He added that chess fans around the world were not being penalized by Agon’s ongoing efforts to control the live transmission of games and moves from World Championship events. 

“There is no problem for the public,” he said. “There is a fantastic internet transmission with great commentary on the official website. No one is suffering form it.

“Because the organizer has invested a lot of money and effort to organize the tournament, morally and legally they have full rights over the live transmission. That is the way football, tennis and other sports have became successful. It is the way chess can jump to a totally different level.”

All video footage as well as the moves from each game in the Candidates are being shown exclusively at WorldChess.com and by approved broadcast partners in certain countries. 

This is a substantial change from the way chess has been broadcasted. Previously it was common practice that all websites were able to receive moves without broadcast limitations, resulting in a diffusion of major tournaments’ audiences and sponsorship values.

The move is designed to enhance and safeguard the viewing experience for chess fans and to protect the commercial future of World Championship events.

*****

The full interview with Vladimir Kramnik can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/embed/TG2FrHBxA5o

To download the raw video file for broadcast please go to: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/eg75xmosr9vkcmt/AABu5gQXvqLZYGPZ-fu4LW--a?dl=0


For further information, please contact:

Andrew Murray-Watson
Communications Director
Mob: +44 7515 695232
Tel: +44 207 564 8909
Email: andrewmw@agonlimited.com
WORLD CHESS by AGON Limited
www.agonlimited.com

About Agon Ltd

Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

Agon Limited became owner of the commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. The company operates the WorldChess.Com website, the official broadcasting platform of the Championship cycle. 

Agon Ltd commences legal action against Chess24, InternetChessClub, Chessgames and Chessbomb for breaching broadcast restrictions

March 12, 2016 -- Agon Ltd, the organizer of the World Chess Championship cycle, has launched legal action against four chess websites for blatantly flouting restrictions on the live broadcasting of the games and moves at the Candidates tournament in Moscow. 

Chess24, InternetChessClub, Chessgames and Chessbomb have all received, or are about to receive, injunctions from Agon Ltd, demanding that they immediately desist on live broadcasting the moves from the games at the Candidates. Chessbomb went as far as to create an app so that people who were viewing the games on the WorldChess website could leak them anonymously.

During the first round of the Candidates Tournament, Agon’s WorldChess.com, which has exclusive rights to broadcast the games, suffered major denial of services attacks designed to crash the website. Throughout the day as these attacks were ongoing, the rogue websites, that are now subject to legal action from Agon, took to social media to promote their live coverage of the Candidates.  

The attacks are illustrated in the graphic below. After the games commenced at 15.00 local time there was an expected surge in visitors to WorldChess.com. The website’s servers successfully managed the demand until just after 16.15 when the first denial of service attack took place. WorldChess.com was hit again at 17.45 as the first round games were drawing towards their exciting conclusions. 

The impact of the attacks meant that hundreds of thousands of chess fans from around the world were unable to view the games. It also meant that those that were able to log onto the website suffered significant latency issues throughout the day. 

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon Ltd, said: “We saw a concerted effort to prevent genuine chess fans from around the world from viewing the first round of the Candidates. We don’t know where the attacks originated yet. Could it have been orchestrated by those with a commercial reason to damage our coverage of the Candidates? We simply don’t know.

“However, we hope that the websites that are profiteering from our investment in chess and damaging the commercial future of our entire sport will comply with their legal obligations and cease their live broadcasting of the Candidates.”

All video footage as well as the moves from each game will be shown exclusively at WorldChess.com and by approved broadcast partners in certain countries. 

This is a substantial change from the way chess has been broadcasted. Previously it was common practice that all websites were able to receive moves without broadcast limitations, resulting in a diffusion of major tournaments’ audiences and sponsorship values.

The move is designed to enhance and safeguard the viewing experience for chess fans and to protect the commercial future of World Championship events.

Mr Merenzon said: “If we are to continue to grow the global appeal of chess for the benefit of all fans of the sport, we need to attract and retain further commercial sponsors. In order to do that we need to control how the World Chess Championship cycle is broadcast globally.

Mr Merenzon added: “This is simply a way to protect commercial value. It takes enormous money and effort to hold major chess events, and live transmission is a product of that effort. Chess fans will be able to follow the action for free from the Candidates tournament at worldchess.com, but they will have to agree to terms and conditions that include not re-transmitting the moves elsewhere.”

More details are available on the Agon website. 

Change in the timing of the release of PGN files

Please note that from Round 2 of the Candidates Tournament, the PGN files of the moves will be released on the official site and WorldChess.com immediately after the conclusion of each game, rather than two hours afterwards. 

This step has been undertaken after consultation with media organisations around the world and we are delighted to take this step so news of the results can be distributed with greater speed.

Live moves and video from Candidates tournament to be shown exclusively by WorldChess.com and approved broadcast partners

Agon Ltd, the organizer of the World Chess Championship cycle, today announced that chess fans will be able to follow all the live action from the Candidates tournament by logging onto WorldChess.com.

All video footage as well as the moves from each game will be shown exclusively at WorldChess.com and by approved broadcast partners in certain countries. 

This is a substantial change from the way chess has been broadcasted. Previously it was common practice that all websites were able to receive moves without broadcast limitations, resulting in a diffusion of major tournaments’ audiences and sponsorship values.

The move is designed to enhance and safeguard the viewing experience for chess fans and to protect the commercial future of World Championship events.

Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon, said: “If we are to continue to grow the global appeal of chess for the benefit of all fans of the sport, we need to attract and retain further commercial sponsors. In order to do that we need to control how the World Chess Championship cycle is broadcast globally.

“This is the reality for all sports. For example, you would not expect the commercial rights holder to top flight football to simply allow any website or broadcaster to screen live games. Controlling who can broadcast live games and the moves from the Candidates is exactly the same principle.”

The same broadcast conditions will apply to the World Championship Match in New York in November and all future events in the Championship cycle.

Mr Merenzon added: “This is simply a way to protect commercial value. It takes enormous money and effort to hold major chess events, and live transmission is a product of that effort. Chess fans will be able to follow the action for free from the Candidates tournament at worldchess.com, but they will have to agree to terms and conditions that include not re-transmitting the moves elsewhere. Same for tournament visitors and journalists.”

Chess fans will be able to follow the action from the Candidates tournament for free at WorldChess.com and in Norway on NRK. Coverage will also include live commentary of the games in progress, press conferences with the players and all the other news from the event.

About Agon Ltd

Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

Agon Limited became owner of the commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. The company operates the WorldChess.Com website, the official broadcasting platform of the Championship cycle. 


The World Chess Championship comes to New York City!

NEW YORK, March 1, 2016: The 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship, the pinnacle of the global sport played by more than 600 million people, is to take place in New York.

The month-long contest will take place in November between Norwegian Magnus Carlsen - the reigning champion and the highest ranked player in history - and the winner of the forthcoming Candidates Tournament, which will take place in Moscow in the next few weeks. 

It is the first time the World Championship match has taken place in New York since 1995 when Gary Kasparov played Vishy Anand in a contest that took place at the top of the World Trade Center. 

The 12 round match will take place between 11-30 November and is expected to attract a global online and TV audience of more than 1 billion fans. The two Grandmasters will compete for a prize fund of at least 1 million euros ($1.1m).

Two American grandmasters, Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana, are competing in the eight-strong Candidates Tournament to win the right to challenge Carlsen in New York. The other six Grandmasters in this year’s Candidates tournament are Peter Svidler and Sergey Karjiakin of Russia, Vishy Anand from India, Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria, Anish Giri from the Netherlands and Levon Aronian from Armenia.

“I and all New Yorkers welcome the World Chess Championship back to New York City. What better place to be than the city where parks are often populated by chess enthusiasts," said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The last American player to compete in the World Championship match was Gata Kamsky, when he played for the World Championship against Anatoly Karpov in 1996.

Prior to that Bobby Fischer was World Champion between 1972 and 1975 after defeating Boris Spassky in a contest that symbolised the Cold War tensions between the US and the Soviet Union.

Chess is becoming increasingly popular around the world and is the only game that is pre-downloaded on nearly every new smartphone. Hundreds of millions of games are played over the internet every week and in the US more people play chess regularly than golf, according to YouGov, the respected polling organisation.

Celebrity fans of the sport include Jay Z, Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Gates. Tobey Maguire recently produced and starred in a Hollywood film about the famous 1972 Fischer-Spassky Championship match.

The last World Championship match, held in Russia in 2014, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience for the whole event topping 1.2bn people. Carlsen, won that contest by defending his title for the first time against ex-world champion Vishy Anand.

The venue in New York that will host the World Championship match is yet to be decided. Agon Ltd, the company that organizes the World Championship on behalf of FIDE, the governing body for chess, is expected to announce details of the chosen venue in the next few months.

According to the organizers, the broadcast of the Championship will feature a studio that made chess broadcasts immensely popular in Norway, where chess is breaking TV audience records. The organizers also plan to make this championship a truly New York experience, creating a venue that will feature retail experience as well as red carpet events. The match will be streamed exclusively on worldchess.com. More information at http://worldchess.com/nyc2016/ 

 

About FIDE:

The World Chess Federation or Fédération Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognised by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body responsible for the sport of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organise the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads. 

About Agon Ltd:

Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

Agon Limited became owner of the commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. The company operates the WorldChess.Com website, the official broadcasting platform of the Championship cycle. 

World Chess Candidates Tournament Official Website is now open

February 18, Moscow, Russia – The website for the World Chess Candidates Tournament 2016 is open: moscow2016.fide.com

The website provides the latest information about the Tournament as well as media accreditation and information for visitors. The website will also serve as a media hub for global media community covering the event by providing official photography, videos and more. The official exclusive broadcast of the Tournament will be hosted by www.worldchess.com

The Candidates Tournament will take place in Moscow’s digital hub, the DI Telegraph space in the historic Central Telegraph building from March 11 to 29, 2016. Eight of the world’s top grandmasters will compete for a chance to face the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen later this year. The €420,000 prize fund is also at stake. Tashir Group is the general partner of the Tournament. 

The Candidates Tournament will be played over 14 rounds and will feature GMs from six countries: Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler (Russia), Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana (the USA), Viswanathan Anand (India), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Anish Giri (the Netherlands). The Tournament website provides background information on each participant, including their historical ratings and statistics. 

The event is organized by Agon Limited, owner of the WORLD CHESS brand as well as the owner of commercial rights to the FIDE Chess Championship cycle. 

About FIDE:

The World Chess Federation or Fédération Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognised by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body responsible for the sport of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organise the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads. 

About Agon Limited:

Agon Limited is the official partner of World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the WORLD CHESS brand as well as of commercial rights to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.

Agon Limited became owner of commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. The company operates worldchess.com website that is the official broadcasting platform of the Championship cycle. 

About Tashir Group:

Tashir is a diversified industrial holding founded in 1999 and comprised of over 200 companies in various sectors of Russian economy, including construction, manufacturing, finance, energy, development, and retail.  The company employs over 45,000 people and has offices in over 25 cities in Russia and former USSR countries. ‘Tashir Group’s founder and president is Samvel Karapetyan. The company is headquartered in Moscow.

Tahir Group’s primary business focus is development and management of commercial real estate projects, including retail. Tashir is a leading developer in Russia and has built over 2.5 million square meters ofcommercial and residential real estate.

Candidates Tournament Announcement

The FIDE World Chess Candidates Tournament 2016 will take place in Moscow’s digital hub, the DI Telegraph space in the historic Central Telegraph building from March 11 to 29, 2016. Eight of the world’s top grandmasters will compete for a chance to face the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen later this year. The €420,000 prize fund is also at stake. Tashir Group is the general partner of the Tournament. 

The Candidates Tournament, considered one of the most important and grueling in the sport, will be played over 14 rounds and will feature GMs from six countries: Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler (Russia), Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana (the USA), Viswanathan Anand (India), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Anish Giri (the Netherlands).

The event is organized by Agon Limited, owner of the WORLD CHESS brand as well as the owner of commercial rights to the FIDE Chess Championship cycle. The tournament’s general partner is Tashir Group, Russia’s largest diversified industrial holding as well as one of the largest developers in the country. The event is also supported by the Russian Chess Federation. 

The choice of the Central Telegraph building, Moscow’s digital hub that is home to many of Russia’s tech start-ups, as the Tournament venue is indicative of the organizers’ ambitions for the World Chess Championship cycle events and plans for taking chess digital, enriching the experience of tens of million of people who follow the game online.

Download the official press release

Statement Regarding 2016 World Chess Championship

Today, Russian Sports New Agency (R-Sport) published an interview with Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation, where he stated that 'talks to hold the 2016 World Chess Championship Match in the US are on hold'. 

Agon, which holds rights to organize the match, would like to inform the media that statement by RCF President is not accurate. The Match will take place in the US on November 9 – November 30, 2016, negotiations with host cities are in the final stage and Agon together with FIDE will announce the host city this month. 

FIDE and AGON Introduce Visual Ratings Interface

FIDE and AGON, World Chess Federation’s commercial partner, continue improving user experience for chess players and fans alike, and introduce the new FIDE ratings interface with players’ portraits and rich interactive graphics. The interface went live this week on www.worldchess.com/ratings, FIDE partner site and official broadcasting platform for the World Chess Championship cycle events. 

Players’ profiles feature ratings of the players and their performance against other top players, as well as interactive rating graphs and timelines that indicate the players’ rating timeline. More data on the players will be added soon, including favorite openings, media coverage and more. Updated ratings will not only help fans to learn more about their favorite player’s performance, but will also give new tools to chess commentators who gain immediate access to interesting data.

FIDE Chess ratings is one of the most popular features realized by the World Chess Federation: it ranks all players based on their performance in rated tournaments. It’s updated monthly. 

FIDE and AGON are working to make chess more visually-appealing and user-friendly. The new ratings interface allows to easily filter players by country, age, sex and other parameters. At the moment, the updated ratings include only top-100 players, but in 2016, the system will include all FIDE-rated chess players. 

Visit www.worldchess.com/ratings