Carlsen, So In Grand Chess Tour; Kramnik Declines

Carlsen, So In Grand Chess Tour; Kramnik Declines

| 57 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So, the world number one and two in the live ratings, will be playing the 2017 Grand Chess Tour. Vladimir Kramnik could not play in all events and therefore had to decline.

In a press release on Tuesday the Grand Chess Tour organizers announced the nine main participants of this season, and the tournaments they will play.

Besides Carlsen and So, they are Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, Sergey Karjakin, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Viswanathan Anand, and Levon Aronian.

These nine players will all compete in the 2017 Sinquefield Cup (July 31-August 12) and the 2017 London Classic (November 29-December 12) where they will be joined by one wildcard in each tournament.

This year there will be three rapid events instead of two; the third will be held in St. Louis right after the Sinquefield Cup. In each of these rapid events, six of the nine players will play:

Paris Rapid
June 21-25
YourNextMove Rapid
June 28-July 2

St. Louis Rapid
August 13-17 

1 Magnus Carlsen Magnus Carlsen Hikaru Nakamura
2 Hikaru Nakamura Ian Nepomniachtchi Fabiano Caruana
3 Fabiano Caruana Wesley So Ian Nepomniachtchi
4 Sergey Karjakin Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Sergey Karjakin
5 Wesley So Vishy Anand Vishy Anand
6 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Levon Aronian Levon Aronian

According to the Grand Chess Tour organizers, all invited players accepted their invitations except for Vladimir Kramnik, who was replaced by Levon Aronian.

Kramnik commented to

"It was just a schedule problem. I have already commitments in the summer and autumn so if would have accepted, I would have played more or less four months in a row with some few days of breaks in between. Just too much."

Kramnik expressed his disappointment about this year's chess calendar:

"It's stupid, since now I have nothing classical for some three months. They must meet somehow, the organizers, and make a decent schedule of tournaments. It's always the same: just a few first-half and more than a full second-half of the year."

Many open tournament organizers would love to welcome Kramnik, who played the Qatar Masters in 2014 and 2015. Another participant in that tournament decided to play an open this spring: Anish Giri. The Dutchman is the top seed in the Reykjavik in April.

Kramnik: "I would have gladly participated in two [of the Grand Chess Tour events], but not four. Since their regulations do not allow this, I have to miss all of them."

Perhaps we'll see Kramnik playing anyway, since each event will also have wildcard players. The wildcards for the first two rapid events, in Paris and Leuven, will be announced "as soon as all recipients of event level wildcards have confirmed their participation," says the press release.

Each event in which a player competes will count toward their Grand Chess Tour score and final tour standings. The Tour has a total prize fund of $1,200,000.

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