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Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa, Abdusattorov Join 2024 Grand Chess Tour
Indian stars Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh will play on the 2024 Grand Chess Tour. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa, Abdusattorov Join 2024 Grand Chess Tour

Colin_McGourty
| 50 | Chess Event Coverage

The line-up for the 2024 Grand Chess Tour has been announced, with teenage GMs Gukesh Dommaraju (17), Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (18), and Nodirbek Abdusattorov (19) the three newcomers, replacing GMs Richard Rapport, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, and World Champion Ding Liren. World number-two GM Fabiano Caruana tops the field, while world numbers one and three, GMs Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, are again absent, but can still play as wildcards for individual events.  

If there's been one criticism leveled at the Grand Chess Tour down the years it's been a reluctance to introduce new talent, instead focusing on a small field of the world's top-rated players. That seems to have changed this year, with three teenagers added.   

Title Name FED Rating World rank Age
1 GM Fabiano Caruana 2804 2 31
2 GM Anish Giri 2762 5 29
3 GM Alireza Firouzja 2760 6 20
4 GM Ian Nepomniachtchi 2758 7 33
5 GM Wesley So 2752 8 30
6 GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu 2747 13 18
7 GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2744 15 19
8 GM Gukesh Dommaraju 2743 16 17
9 GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2732 19 33

Of course, it helps to include young players when the prodigies—India's Gukesh and Praggnananadhaa, and Uzbekistan's 2021 World Rapid Champion Abdusattorov—are already knocking on the door of the world top-10.

The players they replaced struggled in 2023. Rapport dropped to world number-28, Duda pulled out of the Sinquefield Cup for health reasons after playing one round, and Ding, despite the career-capping success of winning the world championship title, dropped out of the 2023 Tour after a disappointing event in Bucharest just after winning the crown.

It's not all new, however, with six players back, including tour winner Caruana, runner-up GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and third-placed GM Wesley So, who all got automatic spots.

The final places went to GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alireza Firouzja, and Anish Giri, with the organizers explaining their choice among the players who didn't qualify automatically with: "The remaining six were invited based on a number of factors, including URS rating, FIDE rating, fighting spirit, and sportsmanship."

No less than five of the players will be competing in the upcoming 2024 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament in Toronto, but by the time the Tour starts we'll already know who will challenge Ding in the next world championship match. As in previous years, there are five events, with the nine regular players competing in both classical tournaments ($375,000 prize fund each): the Superbet Romania Classic (June 24-July 6, Bucharest) and the Sinquefield Cup (August 17-31, St. Louis).

They also play in two of the three rapid events ($175,000 prize fund each): the Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz (May 6-13, Warsaw), the SuperUnited Croatia Rapid & Blitz (July 8-15, Zagreb), and the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz (August 10-17). 

Wildcards will fill the remaining spots, with Carlsen playing—and winning—two rapid events in 2023, including posting an incredible perfect 9/9 day of blitz in Zagreb

Wildcards are not to be underestimated! Carlsen completed a perfect 9/9, beating every other opponent on the same day. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

The total prize fund has grown to $1.5 million, with a $100,000 bump in the prizes for overall placement on the Tour. 

Colin_McGourty
Colin McGourty

Colin McGourty led news at Chess24 from its launch until it merged with Chess.com a decade later. An amateur player, he got into chess writing when he set up the website Chess in Translation after previously studying Slavic languages and literature in St. Andrews, Odesa, Oxford, and Krakow.

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