Interview with Jeroen van den Berg

Director of Corus Chess Tournament

Chessdom: How are preparation for Corus 2008 ongoing?

Jeroen van den Berg: So far so good. We are working on the 70th Anniversary Corus Chess
Tournament and we try to get a very special event. The preparations and
expectations for this special and unique tournament are quite promising.

Chessdom: Can you reveal some of the participant names? Can we expect any
surprises on the list of invited players?

Jeroen van den Berg: We hope to bring as much news as possible in the first week of October,
after the World Championship in Mexico. I am sure that many people will be
surprised, not only concerning the players in the A-group! However, it is
not time yet to publish the names now.

Chessdom: Corus Chess tournament is now member of the Grand Slam Chess
Association
. What kind of benefit can top players and chess fans
expect from this organization?

Jeroen van den Berg: The Corus Chess Tournament will be the first of four Grand Slam events, with
the finals scheduled in September 2008, in Bilbao. We had many meetings to
realize this project. I have always been a modest person and will not shout
here that the Grand Slam will be a huge success. It is better to wait till
2008, but I must say that I am rather optimistic. It looks good and the
tournament organizations involved have worked together very pleasantly.

Chessdom: Other organizations have also announced big events: Global Chess, a
bit shy ACP, there are also various FIDE cycles. How to make a
distinction between these events and create strong brands, and maybe
even more important, how to coordinate the calendar?

Jeroen van den Berg: Yesterday I spoke with Geoffrey Borg of Global Chess, at a chess festival on
the Max Euwe Square in Amsterdam. Geoffrey told me that they are working
hard on their projects and I get the impression that something nice can come
out. Respecting and controlling the calender is a serious item for Global
Chess in all their ambitious plans. I would not be surprised when we will
have a very organized and fine chess calender within two or three years,
with every month a super tournament or match somehere around the world.

Chessdom: The GSCA mentioned on few occasions that you will be going together
toward eliminating quick draws. Does that mean you will implement
Sofia rule?

Jeroen van den Berg: No, we will not. I personally like this rule, but as I already told to the
organizers of Sofia when I was there earlier this year, I believe it is
better when Wijk aan Zee finds an own idea to eliminate quick draws, or to
encourage fighting chess. We are already working on something.
However, I must add that we are in the happy situation that we do not have
three or four games per day, but 21 games instead (three GM-groups with 14
players each). So Linares, Sofia and later Bilbao need it more than us, but
we agree fully that fighting chess is very important for the future of
chess.

Chessdom: Few days ago the Grand Slam Chess Association announced the “Bilbao
Final Masters Tournament 2008″ and number of players. Many have raised
their eyebrows on the clause of two special invitees. How to avoid
possible concerns?

Jeroen van den Berg: Having 6 players in stead of 4 was a special wish of the Bilbao organizers.
I believe it is fair to fulfill this wish, especially in the first grand
slam year. The two wildcards will be given in a fair way, I am sure about
that.

Chessdom: What are your predictions about the incoming World Chess Championship
in Mexico City
?

Jeroen van den Berg: As a director of one of the best tournaments in the world I am always a bit
hesitating to give my opinion here, but I feel that the name of the next
World Champion could start with the letter A….