Baku Grand Prix Officially Opens, GP Series Takes Off

Baku Grand Prix Officially Opens, GP Series Takes Off

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

Today the 2014-2015 FIDE Grand Prix series takes off with its first event, the Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Top seed Fabiano Caruana has black against Sergey Karjakin in the first round. The winner and runner-up of the overall Grand Prix will qualify for the next Candidates’ Tournament.

On Wednesday, the first tournament of the brand new Grand Prix series was officially opened in the Cultural Event Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. The ceremony included a minute of silence in memory of Vugar Gashimov, who passed away in January of this year. It was Gashimov who finished shared first with Wang Yue and Magnus Carlsen in the very first Grand Prix in 2008, also in Baku.

As pointed out by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in his speech, the Cultural Event Center in Baku has a long chess tradition.

“The building has historical importance as two USSR chess championships (1961 and 1972) were organized here," said Ilyumzhinov. "It was World Champion Boris Spassky who won the championship in 1961 and in 1972 Mikhail Tal became the USSR champion. I hope that one of the participants of the Baku Grand Prix will also become a world champion one day,” said Ilyumzhinov.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov officially opened the Baku GP. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE.

The drawing of lots, performed by Chief Arbiter Faik Gasanov, resulted in the following pairing numbers: 1 Dominguez, 2 Tomashevsky, 3 Karjakin, 4 Gelfand, 5 Nakamura, 6 Mamedyarov, 7 Radjabov, 8 Svidler, 9 Andreikin, 10 Caruana, 11 Grischuk and 12 Kasimdzhanov. This leads to the following pairings:

2014 Grand Prix, Baku | Schedule & Pairings

Round 1 15:00 AZST 02.10.14   Round 2 15:00 AZST 03.10.14
Dominguez - Kasimdzhanov   Kasimdzhanov - Radjabov
Tomashevsky - Grischuk   Svidler - Mamedyarov
Karjakin - Caruana   Andreikin - Nakamura
Gelfand - Andreikin   Caruana - Gelfand
Nakamura - Svidler   Grischuk - Karjakin
Mamedyarov - Radjabov   Dominguez - Tomashevsky
Round 3 15:00 AZST 04.10.14   Round 4 15:00 AZST 05.10.14
Tomashevsky - Kasimdzhanov   Kasimdzhanov - Svidler
Karjakin - Dominguez   Andreikin - Radjabov
Gelfand - Grischuk   Caruana - Mamedyarov
Nakamura - Caruana   Grischuk - Nakamura
Mamedyarov  - Andreikin   Dominguez - Gelfand
Radjabov - Svidler   Tomashevsky - Karjakin
Round 5 15:00 AZST 07.10.14   Round 6 15:00 AZST 08.10.14
Karjakin - Kasimdzhanov   Kasimdzhanov - Andreikin
Gelfand - Tomashevsky   Caruana - Svidler
Nakamura - Dominguez   Grischuk - Radjabov
Mamedyarov - Grischuk   Dominguez - Mamedyarov
Radjabov - Caruana   Tomashevsky - Nakamura
Svidler - Andreikin   Karjakin - Gelfand
Round 7 15:00 AZST 09.10.14   Round 8 15:00 AZST 10.10.14
Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov   Kasimdzhanov - Caruana
Nakamura - Karjakin   Grischuk - Andreikin
Mamedyarov - Tomashevsky   Dominguez - Svidler
Radjabov - Dominguez   Tomashevsky - Radjabov
Svidler - Grischuk   Karjakin - Mamedyarov
Andreikin - Caruana   Gelfand - Nakamura
Round 9 15:00 AZST 12.10.14   Round 10 15:00 AZST 13.10.14
Nakamura - Kasimdzhanov   Kasimdzhanov - Grischuk
Mamedyarov - Gelfand   Dominguez - Caruana
Radjabov - Karjakin   Tomashevsky - Andreikin
Svidler - Tomashevsky   Karjakin - Svidler
Andreikin - Dominguez   Gelfand - Radjabov
Caruana - Grischuk   Nakamura - Mamedyarov
Round 11 13:00 AZST 14.10.14        
Mamedyarov - Kasimdzhanov        
Radjabov - Nakamura        
Svidler - Gelfand        
Andreikin - Karjakin        
Caruana - Tomashevsky        
Grischuk - Dominguez        

Top seed Fabiano Caruana picked lot number 10. | Photo © Maria Emelianova courtesy of FIDE.

The games start each day at 15:00 local time which is 12:00 in Amsterdam, 11:00 in London, 06:00 in New York, 03:00 in Los Angeles and 20:00 in Sydney. The last round starts two hours earlier. The tournament website will prodive live commentary by GMs Emil Sutovsky and GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko.

Unlike the previous two Grand Prix series, this time only four tournaments will be held. Each of the 16 participants will play in three tournaments out of four. The winner and second placed player in the overall final standings of the Grand Prix will qualify for the Candidates’ Tournament to be held in the last quarter of 2015 or the first half of 2016.

The following table shows the participants and the three tournaments each player will play.

2014-2015 FIDE Grand Prix| Participants

Names Fed Qualifying Rating Rank Baku 2014 Tashkent 2014 Teheran 2015 Khanty 2015
Caruana, Fabiano ITA Rating List 2801 3 x x x
Grischuk, Alexander RUS Rating List 2789 4 x x x
Nakamura, Hikaru USA Rating List 2782 7 x x x
Karjakin, Sergey RUS Rating List 2777 8 x x x
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA World Cup 2013 2768 9 x x x
Giri, Anish NLD President Nominee 2758 11 x x x
Dominguez, Leinier CUB Rating List 2756 13 x x x
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE Rating List 2756 12 x x x
Gelfand, Boris ISR Rating List 2748 17 x x x
Jakovenko, Dmitri RUS AGON Nominee 2747 18 x x x
Svidler, Peter RUS Rating List 2732 22 x x x
Andreikin, Dmitry RUS World Cup 2013 2722 31 x x x
Radjabov, Teimour AZE AGON Nominee 2717 33 x x x
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam UZB AGON Nominee 2706 43 x x x
Tomashevsky, Evgeny RUS World Cup 2013 2701 46 x x x
Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan IRN AGON Nominee 2591 254 x x x

Compared to the previous Grand Prix, the prize fund went down from €170,000 to €120,000 for each event.

All participants on stage with the Chief Arbiter. | Photo © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE.
The three trophies provided by the Lobortas Jewelry House. | Photo © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE.
The question on everyone's mind: will Caruana continue showing splendid form? | Photo © Anastasiya Karlovich courtesy of FIDE.

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