Doha Grand Prix cancelled, moved to Elista

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
no dohaNot long after the contracts for the Kamsky-Topalov match were signed, FIDE had another big event to worry about. Yesterday the third Grand Prix tournament, scheduled for 13-29 December in Doha, Qatar was suddenly cancelled. FIDE hastily moved the event to Elista and the participants have been informed this morning.

Two Grand Prix tournaments have been organized thus far, in Baku, Azerbaijan (April-May 2008) and Sochi, Russia (August 2008). Four more events are scheduled: Doha (December 2008), Montreux (April 2009), Elista (August 2009) and Karlovy Vary (December 2009). The winner of the Grand Prix Series, in which currently Wang Yue is leading the overall standings, will play a match against the winner of the 2009 World Cup for the right to challenge the World Champion in 2010.

In the last couple of months, Geoffrey Borg, CEO of Global Chess, has travelled to Doha, Qatar three times to get the third Grand Prix tournament on track. Everything seemed fine, until the organizers suddenly backed out this week.

Update November 22, 12:47 CET: Yesterday we speculated that "the money isn't there, and might have never been," but this was wrong. Geoffrey Borg assured us this morning that 'money was not the issue'. "FIDE will be reviewing why the tournament was cancelled," he added.

According to one of our sources the organizers of the six Grand Prix tournaments weren't asked in advance for deposits and everything was based on good faith; a policy FIDE might well be changing after this disappointing event.

Twelve of the fourteen participants (see below) are playing at the Dresden Olympiad right now, and this morning they were told about the tournament being moved to Elista. Michael Adams and Magnus Carlsen have already stated that they're clearly not happy about it.

The cancellation of Doha will most probably mean that Mohamad Al-Modiahki is out of the Grand Prix. This is the participants list of the 3rd Grand Prix Tournament:


Moving the third tournament to Elista means that FIDE must be looking for a new venue for the 5th Grand Prix tournament, which was scheduled to be held in Elista in August 2009. And they're in a hurry, because after two Grand Prix tournament having been played already, the new host city's nominee player will have to play in Elista next month. As semipatz points out in the comments, the substitute could also start in Montreux, which means he wouldn't be able to drop his weakest result. However, what to do with Al Modiakhi's results in Sochi, or rather, the results of his opponents?
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