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Grand Chess Tour Returns With Superbet Chess Classic
Superbet Chess Classic in 2019. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Grand Chess Tour Returns With Superbet Chess Classic

PeterDoggers
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44 | Chess Event Coverage

After the Grand Chess Tour was canceled altogether in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it returns in 2021. The first tournament is the Superbet Chess Classic starting on Saturday.

This standard (classical) tournament is the first top event with a long time control since the FIDE Candidates. In Bucharest, the players will have 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment per move, starting from move one.

Starting on Saturday, June 5, at the Sheraton Bucharest Hotel, 10 players will be fighting for a $325,000 prize fund. World championship participants GM Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi won't be there, but otherwise, we're looking at a stellar participants list.

Superbet Chess Classic 2021 | Participants

# Fed Player Type Rating
1 Fabiano Caruana Full Tour player 2820
2 Levon Aronian Full Tour player 2781
3 Anish Giri Full Tour player 2780
4 Alexander Grischuk Full Tour player 2776
5 Wesley So Full Tour player 2770
6 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Full Tour player 2770
7 Teimour Radjabov Full Tour player 2765
8 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Full Tour player 2760
9 Lupulescu, Constantin Wildcard 2656
10 Bogdan-Daniel Deac Wildcard 2627

Seven players from the world top 10 are playing and we're also seeing half the field of the FIDE Candidates face each other again.

How to watch?
The games of the Superbet Chess Classic can be found here on our live events platform with live commentary by GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Yasser Seirawan, Cristian Chirila, Maurice Ashley, and IM Almira Skripchenko starting at 5:00 a.m. Pacific / 14:00 Central Europe.

Pairings round 1: Mamedyarov-So, Grischuk-Vachier-Lagrave, Deac-Giri, Radjabov-Caruana, and Lupulescu-Aronian.

At the last moment, the tour organizers had to deal with a double substitute. First, GM Ding Liren had to withdraw as a Full Tour player (likely due to the pandemic's travel complications) and was replaced by GM Richard Rapport, who then had to withdraw due to illness. 

Rapport got a logical replacement: the talented young local player GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac. This will be a great chance for the only 19-year-old Romanian grandmaster, who became a GM at 14, to gain experience at the highest level.

Bogdan-Daniel Deac Grand Chess Tour
Bogdan-Daniel Deac. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Nepomniachtchi was changed from a Full Tour player to a wildcard player as he will need time to prepare for his title match. This opened up a wildcard spot for the other Romanian player, the experienced Constantin Lupulescu, 37 years old and a five-time Romanian champion.

The Grand Chess Tour will consist of five tournaments this year—two classical and three rapid and blitz:

  • Superbet Chess Classic Romania: June 3-15, 2021, Bucharest, Romania
  • Paris Rapid & Blitz: June 16-23, 2021, Paris, France
  • Croatia Rapid & Blitz: July 5-12, 2021, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz: August 9-16, 2021, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
  • Sinquefield Cup: August 16–28, 2021, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.

The field for Paris has been announced as well. Interestingly, we'll see 14th world champion GM Vladimir Kramnik play there but only in the blitz segment. GM Etienne Bacrot will take his place in the rapid portion.

Paris Rapid & Blitz 2021 | Participants 

# Fed Player Type Rating
1 Fabiano Caruana Full Tour Player 2820
2 Levon Aronian Full Tour Player 2781
3 Wesley So Full Tour Player 2770
4 Teimour Radjabov Full Tour Player 2765
5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Full Tour Player 2760
6 Richard Rapport Full Tour Player 2763
7 Ian Nepomniachtchi Wildcard 2792
8 Vladimir Kramnik Blitz Wildcard 2753
9 Etienne Bacrot Rapid Wildcard 2678
10 Alireza Firouzja Wildcard 2759
11 Peter Svidler Wildcard 2714

The Grand Chess Tour participants will compete for a total prize fund of $1.275 million, including $325,000 per classical tournament and $150,000 in prizes for rapid and blitz events. In addition, a bonus prize fund totaling $175,000 will be awarded to the top three overall GCT finishers.


Correction: an earlier version of this article erroneously stated that five players from the world top 10 are playing and eight players from the top 12.

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