FIDE Grand Prix Resumes Today; Grand Chess Tour Tomorrow
Images: FIDE/Stejarii Country Club.

FIDE Grand Prix Resumes Today; Grand Chess Tour Tomorrow

| 13 | Chess Event Coverage

A high number of top grandmasters will be sitting behind the chess board this week as both the FIDE Grand Prix (in Hamburg) and the Grand Chess Tour (in Bucharest) resume.

Grand Prix

After Moscow (won by Ian Nepomniachtchi) and Riga (won by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov), the third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix starts today. The event was opened on Monday evening in the Kehrwieder theater in Hamburg, which also serves as the playing hall.

Organizer World Chess has always been fond of industrial areas and the use of (former) warehouses for its venues, and this time it's no different. The Kehrwieder theater is located in Speicherstadt (close to the port of Hamburg), in fact the largest warehouse district in the world.

Kehrwieder theater FIDE Hamburg Grand Prix
The Kehrwieder theater. Photo: FIDE.

Normally hosting musical and shows, the theater is owned by Stage Entertainment, founded in 1998 by the media giant and musical producer Joop van den Ende. His Hamburg theater school is located there as well.

We won't be seeing Chess, the musical this time but an actual tournament, and an important one. The Grand Prix, which starts today, is the first major international chess tournament in Hamburg in 54 years, since the 1965 European Team Championship.

Sixteen of the strongest grandmasters in the world will be playing a knockout tournament with two classical games and a tiebreak each round.

The 2019 FIDE Grand Prix standing halfway in the series. | Image: WorldChess.
The 2019 FIDE Grand Prix standings halfway in the series. | Image: WorldChess.

After Hamburg, the fourth and final Grand Prix will be held in Jerusalem (not Tel Aviv, which was the original plan) in December. The top two finishers in the overall standing will qualify for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament.

These are the participants and first-round pairings for Hamburg:

# Fed Name Rtg - Fed Name Rtg
1 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2777 vs Wei Yi 2724
2 Hikaru Nakamura 2741 vs Veselin Topalov 2736
3 David Navara 2703 vs Nikita Vitiugov 2751
4 Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2728 vs Alexander Grischuk 2764
5 Teimour Radjabov 2767 vs Daniil Dubov 2676
6 Peter Svidler 2719 vs Pentala Harikrishna 2731
7 Dmitry Jakovenko 2691 vs Yu Yangyi 2753
8 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2748 vs Ian Nepomniachtchi 2773

Each participant plays three of the four legs and one of the GP leaders, Mamedyarov, is not playing this one. This means that e.g. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave can overtake him if he reaches the semifinals in Hamburg, which yields three Grand Prix points.

The runner-up at a Grand Prix earns five points, and the winner gets eight points. For each mini-match won without a tiebreak, a player gets an extra point.

The players are competing for a total of 800,000 euros in prizes, with 130,000 euros in each Grand Prix and an additional sum of 280,000 euros for the overall performance in the whole series.

Press conference FIDE Hamburg Grand Prix
The press conference. Photo: FIDE.

At the opening ceremony on Monday evening, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich spoke and shared some news with the chess world. First, he confirmed the rumors that a bid had been made by the United Arab Emirates to host the 2020 world championship (most probably Dubai), but he also mentioned another bid, from Argentina.

Dvorkovich then suggested that the 2020 Olympiad, scheduled for the first two weeks of August, might be moved from Khanty-Mansiysk to Moscow. Instead, Khanty would host the Chess Paralympics.

However, on Tuesday morning, Russian Chess Federation President Andrey Filatov told RIA Novosti that he doesn't want to separate the Olympiad and the Paralympics, and that the dates for the Olympiad could still be changed.

The Hamburg Grand Prix games will start each day at 15:00 CET, which is 9 a.m. Eastern and 6 a.m. Pacific. You can follow them here as part of our live portal.

Grand Chess Tour

A day after Hamburg starts, the next tournament in the Grand Chess Tour takes off as well. The tour makes its next stop in Bucharest, Romania for another rapid and blitz tournament.

The venue is the prestigious Stejarii Country Club in Bucharest, owned by the former tennis player and former coach of Boris Becker and now the wealthiest man in Romania, Ion Tiriac. The club covers 22,000 square meters and includes a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, jacuzzi, squash and tennis courts.

Stejarii Country Club Bucharest
It will be hard to complain about this venue. Photo: Stejarii Country Club.

Sponsored by Fundatia Superbet (the largest Romanian sports betting company), the tournament will see seven full tour participants (Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin, Anish Giri and Viswanathan Anand) and three wildcards (Vladislav ArtemievLe Quang Liem and Anton Korobov).

The tournament will feature nine rounds of rapid followed by 18 rounds of blitz. The prize fund is $150,000.

Grand Chess Tour 2019 standings after Sinquefield Cup
The Grand Chess Tour standings after the Sinquefield Cup.

After Romania there will be one more GCT event: the Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz (Nov. 22-26). After that, it will be known which four players will have qualified for the finals in London (Dec. 2-10).

Magnus Carlsen has already mathematically qualified with two events to go. He is not playing in Bucharest but will be in India, just like the current runner-up in the standings, Ding Liren. Quite a few players still have a chance to reach London as well.

The Superbet Rapid & Blitz will start November 6. Each day the games begin at 15:00 EET, which is 14:00 CET, 8 a.m. Eastern and 5 a.m. Pacific. You can follow them here as part of our live portal.

It's yet another busy month on the chess calendar. For instance, three Speed Chess matches have been confirmed as well: Aronian vs Artemiev (Nov. 14), Nepomniachtchi vs Ding (Nov. 18) and Vachier-Lagrave vs. So (Nov. 19). You can find all upcoming, major events in our calendar.

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