Berkeley International Kicks off the New Year!
By IM David Pruess   
January 2, 2011
robertslide.jpgThe Berkeley International begins on January 2 and round one pairings are already up. IM David Pruess gives more info about the event, the participants and special pay-per-view coverage. 

Starting with two three-hour broadcasts on January second, the entire 10-round 4th Berkeley International Chess Tournament will have live streaming video coverage. This tournament features an all-star field (more on that below), and the broadcasts themselves should be very exciting (see more details below). Most likely, few people will be free to watch every single show live, so all broadcasts will also be saved and available to those buying the coverage package to be viewed (and re-viewed) later at their convenience.

With over 20 foreigners and 10 Grandmasters, the Berkeley International is one of the best opportunities in the U.S. for aspiring players to work towards International Master or International Grandmaster Titles. We will see players like Shankland, Milman, Ravichandran, Collins, Naroditsky, Liou, Troff, and Gurevich face off against strong GMs including:

GM Loek van Wely: won the Dutch Championship 6 years in a row, and is a former member of the world top 10. Recently he has started competing in some of the U.S.'s monster swisses, winning for example the 2010 Chicago Open.

GM Timur Gareev: became a Grandmaster at age 16, and has tied for first in the Uzbek national championship. Since becoming a student at University of Texas Brownsville, he has a number of smashing American successes to his name, like the 2009 and 2010 Copperstate Internationals and the 2010 National Open. An unfettered and imaginative player, Timur is a definite candidate for brilliancy prizes as well as tournament victories.

GM Robert Hess: Hess has fulfilled essentially every accomplishment a young player in this country could hope to achieve and much more, in particular, his completely stunning tie for second place in the 2009 US Championship. A player who tends to be very difficult for first timers to face off against, with the majority of his GM competitors here being of non-US descent, his mysteriousness could end up paying dividends against this tough field.

To see more of the event's field check http://www.chess.com/news_/view/berkeley-international-full-broadcast-coverage-1430 and http://dotq.org/chess/players

And our also-very-exciting lineup of hosts for the broadcasts:

Greg Shahade is an international master, and the most innovative chess organizer in the United States over the past decade, founding the New York Masters tournaments, the US Chess League, and the US Chess School.

Jay is co-founder and CTO of chess.com, and an avid chess fan.

Roger Poehlman is a national master and renowned teacher for the Berkeley Chess School. He will himself be playing some rounds to keep the number of players even.

Vinay Bhat is an International Grandmaster and former columnist for chess.com. As a winner of the Samford Fellowship, he spent two years traveling the world as a chess professional.

Erik is a great chess enthusiast and cofounder and CEO of chess.com.

For each round, the live broadcast will start 1:15 into the round, and go for at least three hours. This is over 30 hours of exciting chess coverage, with celebrity hosts, and chess stars stopping in to give you their candid thoughts in the heat of battle, and answer your questions. For a package price of 40$, this is about 1$ per hour! To purchase the full coverage package, transfer by paypal to the tournament organizer, Arun Sharma. (use the address asharmaATmathDOTberkeleyDOTedu).

The first round will be shown at www.chess.com/tv for FREE for ANYONE. To watch you do not need to purchase the package, or have a premium chess.com membership. Just go to the url and enjoy. Then pick up your computer, dial www.paypal.com, and buy the package to watch the rest of the show! Hurry, as the number of viewers for the broadcasts of rounds 2-10 is strictly limited.