XXVIII Edition


The Magistral Ciudad de Leon, one of the top classics of the international chess circuit, where some of the current big stars (like Carlsen, Karjakin or Leko) played when they were teenagers, keeps this year its traditional format: four players, the semi-finals being played on Friday and Saturday, and the final on Sunday. After being forced to reduce the budget for some years because of the financial crisis, the sponsors have made a big effort to get four very attractive players (as it happened already in 2014): the French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, one of the strongest young stars; the Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov, former World Champion; the Chinese Yi Wei, 15 years old, a clear candidate to become World Champion in the near future; and the Spanish David Anton, silver medal at the European Championship 2013.

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)

2009 World Junior Champion, three times French Champion (2007, 2011 and 2012), always in the top 15 since 2013. One of the youngest ever GMs (at 14 years and 4 months, in 2005), he is now 24, and a very tough opponent for everyone, including the World Champion Magnus Carlsen (the two games between them in 2014 were drawn). He will play in Leon for the first time, and is the clear favorite.

GM Ruslán Ponomariov (Ukraine)

Campeón del mundo en 2004.

World Champion 2002-2004, beating Ivanchuk in the final (4,5-2,5). The first teenager and youngest person to ever become FIDE World Champion. In 1998, at the age of fourteen, he was awarded the Grandmaster title, making him the youngest ever player at that time to hold the title. Gold medals with Ukraine at the Chess Olympiad 2004 in Calvia (Spain) and Khanty Mansiysk (Russia). Individual gold medal (2nd board) at the Chess Olympiad 2000 in Istanbul.

GM Wey Yi (China)

The Ciudad de Leon tournament has been always bet on the young stars. As it happened with Karjakin and Carlsen when both of them were teenagers, Yi Wei, winner in 2014, will play in Leon for the second time. On 1st March 2013 he won his final GM norm at the Reykjavik Open, becoming, at the age of 13 years, 8 months and 23 days, the youngest grandmaster in the world at that time, and the fourth youngest in history. He won the gold medal with China last year at the Chess Olympiad in Tromso.

GM David Antón Guijarro (Spain)

Silver medal at the European Championship 2014 and the World U-18 Championship 2013, David Anton is a very promising player. He will participate in the Magistral Ciudad de Leon for the first time.



Thursday, 11th JUNE  | 12:30 H

Opening ceremony and drawing of lots at the Diario de Leon headquarters.

16:00 H


Saturday, 13th JUNE  |  SECOND SEMIFINAL
16:00 H


Sunday, 14th JUNE  |  FINAL
16:00 H


If a tie-break is needed, it will be played immediately afterwards (five minute games).


Monday, 15th JUNE
12:30 H

Hotel Conde Luna. Closing ceremony and prize giving.

17:30 H

Simultaneous exhibition by Yi Wei.



1) The tournament dates are June 11-15th, the games will be played on the 12th, 13th and 14th.

2) The XVIII Magistral Ciudad de Leon will be a four player tournament. FIDE Rapid Chess rules will be applied.

3) It will be a knockout system. First semi-final on Friday, the second one on Saturday and the final on Sunday. The two players with a higher Elo will play against the other two in the semi-finals. The highest Elo will choose his opponent. The colours will be decided by the drawing of lots, on Thursday, June 11th.

4) Each match will be played at the best of four games, 20 minutes per player + 10 seconds per move. The tiebreak, if needed, will be a series of blitz games (five minutes per player).

5) The chief arbiter, Joaquin Espejo, will organize the drawing of colours on Thursday, June 11th.