For the previous two years an international tournament had been organized in Novgorod, Russia by a cooperation of the PCA and the Beresta Palace Hotel. In 1996, the hotel was forced to seek funding from other sponsors, and as a result had reduced the size and format to what it had been in 1994. Most of the original Novgorod participants from previous events agreed to participate. Vladimir Kramnik (2765), ranked 3rd in the world at the time, participated on behalf of Russia. He had been the number one ranked player at the end of 1995, and though his rating dipped leading up to this event he was considered the heavy favorite to win it. Veselin Topalov (2750), ranked 4th in the world at the time, participated on behalf of Bulgaria. 1996 proved to be a stellar year for Topalov and he was in fine form coming into this tournament. Vassily Ivanchuk (2730), ranked 7th in the world at the time, participated on behalf of Ukraine. He had won Novgorod in 1994 and tied for second with Topalov and Short in 1995, so it was expected he would do well again. Nigel Short (2695), ranked 8th in the world at the time, participated on behalf of England. He had tied for second with Topalov and Ivanchuk in last year's Novgorod event, but at 31 years of age he was the "old man" playing in this event. Boris Gelfand (2655), ranked 16th at the time, participated on behalf of Russia. Judit Polgar (2655), ranked 18th at the time, participated on behalf of Hungary. She started the tournament as the youngest player to compete, at 19 years old, and celebrated her 20th birthday during this event (her fourth round loss to Kramnik). Together, the combined ratings of the six grandmasters made this year's edition of Novgorod a Category XIX event, the first of its kind. Dubbed "Lord Novgorod, the Great" the tournament ran from July 19th to July 31st. True to his form, Topalov made 1996 his first big year, adding this tournament victory to his string of successes. The final standings and crosstable are as follows:
Original collection: Game Collection: Novgorod 1996, by User: suenteus po 147.
1 Topalov ** ½0 ½½ ½½ ½1 11 6
2 Ivanchuk ½1 ** ½½ ½½ 10 01 5½
3 Short ½½ ½½ ** ½1 ½½ ½0 5
4 Gelfand ½½ ½½ ½0 ** ½1 ½0 4½
5 Kramnik ½0 01 ½½ ½0 ** 1½ 4½
6 Polgar 00 10 ½1 ½1 0½ ** 4½
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30
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