2022 FIDE Grand Prix To Start February 3
Image: World Chess.

2022 FIDE Grand Prix To Start February 3

| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

The 2022 FIDE Grand Prix, a series of three tournaments that will qualify two players for the 2022 Candidates Tournament, will start on February 3, 2022. Details were announced on Thursday by World Chess.

While GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi are fighting a battle that is the end of the current world championship cycle, the new cycle is already well underway. The next world championship is tentatively scheduled for early 2023, when the winner of the current match in Dubai will face the winner of the 2022 Candidates Tournament, scheduled for June 2022.

Five players have already qualified for the next Candidates:

  • GM Teimour Radjabov was the first to secure a spot, which he was promised by FIDE after he had withdrawn from the 2020 Candidates early in the pandemic;
  • GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda for winning the 2021 FIDE World Cup;
  • GM Sergey Karjakin as the runner-up of the 2021 FIDE World Cup;
  • GM Alireza Firouzja for winning the 2021 FIDE Grand Swiss;
  • GM Fabiano Caruana as the runner-up of the 2021 FIDE Grand Swiss.

The loser of the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi match will also be automatically qualified for the Candidates, which leaves two spots. The Grand Prix series early next year will provide those spots.

The three GP tournaments are going to be held in a short time frame—between February and April—as was announced earlier this year. Berlin was originally going to be the city for all three events (as the result of a vote by the chess community!) but as it turns out, one of the three events will be in Belgrade:

  • Leg 1: Feb. 3-17, 2022 in Berlin, Germany
  • Leg 2: Feb. 28-March 14, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia
  • Leg 3: March 21-April 4 in Berlin, Germany

The series will feature 24 players, with each player competing in two of the three events. So far, 22 names are known; both the FIDE President and the organizer will soon nominate a player to complete the field.

The players who have qualified are GM Ding Liren, GM Levon Aronian, GM Anish Giri, GM Wesley So, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, GM Alexander Grischuk, GM Richard Rapport, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, GM Leinier Dominguez, GM Nikita Vitiugov, GM Wei Yi, GM Vidit Gujrathi, GM Dmitry Andreikin*, GM Yu Yangyi, GM Sam Shankland, GM Alexei Shirov, GM Vladimir Fedoseev, GM Alexandr Predke, GM Grigoriy Oparin, GM Amin Tabatabaei, GM Etienne Bacrot, and GM Vincent Keymer.

*Andreikin qualifies in the likely event that the 2021 FIDE World Chess Championship runner-up accepts his automatic ticket into the 2022 Candidates and opts out of the Grand Prix Series.

These players qualified via the FIDE World Cup, the FIDE Grand Swiss, or the December 1 FIDE rating list. In order to be eligible for qualifying by rating, a player needed to have participated in the FIDE World Cup or played at least nine rated games elsewhere between January and November 2021. This was the main reason for Ding, who was not at the World Cup, to play his friendly match with GM Lu Shanglei last week.

Update December 20: FIDE has nominated GM Hikaru Nakamura and organizer World Chess has nominated GM Daniil Dubov, so now all 24 names are known.

Each of the three Grand Prix tournaments has a prize fund of 150,000 euros. In order to prevent too many draws, FIDE and World Chess have agreed on a new format. This time, the 16 players are divided into four pools (not later than two weeks before the first round), and each pool will play a double round-robin tournament. The winners of each pool qualify for the semifinals of a knockout stage.

In each GP tournament, every player scores GP points according to their position in the final standings. In case of a tie, the following criteria (in descending order) will be used for the final rankings: number of first places, number of second places, number of actual standard game points scored in the two tournaments played, number of actual wins in standard games in the two tournaments played, drawing of lots.

Place Number of players Prize (euros) Sum of prizes (euros) GP points
4th 4 5,000 20,000 0
3rd 4 7,000 28,000 2
2nd 4 9,000 36,000 4
Semifinalists 2 12,000 24,000 7
Runner-up 1 18,000 18,000 10
Winner 1 24,000 24,000 13
TOTAL 16 150,000

The press release notes that the two events in Berlin will take place in World Chess Club Berlin, "a new custom-designed multifunctional chess space located in the central part of Berlin, on Unter den Linden. World Chess, the pioneer of the format, will make the space a permanent fixture in German and European chess." The club will have a dedicated chess space and shop, restaurant, and bar with signature cocktails, just like in the World Chess cafe that already exists in Moscow.

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