Giri, MVL, Inarkiev Start With Wins At Palma Grand Prix
A group photo at the opening ceremony. | Photo: WorldChess.

Giri, MVL, Inarkiev Start With Wins At Palma Grand Prix

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Nov 16, 2017, 11:28 AM |
28 | Chess Event Coverage

Anish Giri, Ernesto Inarkiev and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave were the winners on the first day of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Teimour Radjabov, who is hoping to qualify for the Candidates' (like MVL), started with a quick draw.

The fourth and final leg of the 2017 FIDE Grand Prix series took off on Thursday in the Iberostar Cristina hotel in Palma de Mallorca. Palma is the capital and largest city of Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It was in Palma where Robert James Fischer started his successful world championship cycle in 1970 by winning the interzonal tournament with a score of 18.5/23. 

(Zoom in to find the exactly location of the hotel.)

The main story for this tournament is the question: which two players will qualify from this Grand Prix to the Candidates' Tournament? They are the last two names to be filled in. So far we have:

2018 Candidates' Tournament | Participants so far

# Rank Fed Name Rating B-Year Method
1 2 Aronian, Levon 2801 1982 World Cup
2 4 Caruana, Fabiano* 2794 1992 Rating
3 5 Kramnik, Vladimir 2794 1975 Wild card
4 7 So, Wesley* 2788 1993 Rating
5 11 Ding, Liren 2772 1992 World Cup
6 12 Karjakin, Sergey 2765 1990 Loser match

*Pending official FIDE announcement, but at this point no other player can overtake them

The fight for the last two qualification spots will go between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (not playing, having played in the first three legs of the GP), Alexander Grischuk (also not playing), Teimour Radjabov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

FIDE Grand Prix 2017 | Standings After Three Legs

Rk. Fed Name Sharjah Moscow Geneva Palma Total
1 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 140 140 60 x 340
2 Grischuk, Alexander 140 71,4 125 x 336,4
3 Radjabov, Teimour x 71,4 170 ? 241,4
4 Ding Liren* 70 170 x ? 240
5 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 140 71,4 x ? 211,4
6 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 70 3 125 x 198
7 Nakamura, Hikaru 70 71,4 x ? 141,4
8 Adams, Michael 70 3 60 x 133
9 Giri, Anish x 71,4 60 ? 131,4
10 Svidler, Peter x 71,4 60 ? 131,4
11 Li Chao 25 x 60 ? 85
12 Jakovenko, Dmitry 70 x 11 ? 81
13 Hou Yifan 7 71,4 2,5 x 80,9
14 Harikrishna, Pentala x 20 60 ? 80
15 Riazantsev, Alexander 1 x 60 ? 61
16 Eljanov, Pavel 25 x 11 ? 36
17 Vallejo, Pons Francisco 25 7 x ? 32
18 Gelfand,Boris x 20 11 ? 31
19 Rapport, Richard 25 x 2,5 ? 27,5
20 Tomashevsky, Evgeny 3 20 x ? 23
21 Aronian, Levon* 7 x 11 ? 18
22 Hammer, Jon Ludvig 3 7 x ? 10
23 Salem, Saleh 3 3 1 x 7
24 Inarkiev, Ernesto x 1 4 ? 5

*Aronian and Ding already qualified via the World Cup

Currently Mamedyarov is leading, and Grischuk is second. Only Radjabov and MVL still have a chance to take one of their places, due to the points system in this Grand Prix:

FIDE Grand Prix 2017 | Prizes & GP points

Placing Prize money (€) GP points Placing Prize money (€) GP points
1 20,000 170 10 5,000 30
2 15,000 140 11 4,250 20
3 12,000 110 12 4,000 10
4 11,000 90 13 3,750 8
5 10,000 80 14 3,500 6
6 9,000 70 15 3,250 4
7 8,000 60 16 3,000 3
8 7,000 50 17 2,750 2
9 6,000 40 18 2,500 1

To finish among the top two,

  • Teimour Radjabov needs to gain 96 points which he can get by finishing either (shared) first, (shared) second, clear third or a two-way tie for third and fourth place. 
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave needs to gain 126 points which he can get by finishing either (shared) first, or clear second.

In case MVL ties for second place with one other player, he'd get 125 GP points which would put him on 336,4—exactly the same as Alexander Grischuk's overall score. The following tiebreak rules are in effect for such a case:

  1. Number of actual game result points scored in the three tournaments;
  2. Number of games played with black in the three tournaments;
  3. Number of wins in all three tournaments;
  4. Number of wins with black in all three tournaments;
  5. Drawing of lot.

Each day Chess.com will provide an update with the situation for the two qualification spots. 

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The opening ceremony was held at the landmark hilltop Bellver Castle, former residence for the Kings of Mallorca built in the 14th century in a Gothic style. | Photo: WorldChess.

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A photo of the technical meeting. | Photo: WorldChess.

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The two World Cup finalists both play: Ding Liren, in time in Palma after flying from St. Louis, together with Tbilisi winner and newly wed Levon Aronian. | Photo: WorldChess.

Palma Grand Prix 2017 | Results Day 1

Bo. No. Fed Title Name Rtg Pt. Resultaat Pt. Fed Title Name Rtg No.
1 10 GM Jakovenko 2721 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Aronian 2801 1
2 2 GM Vachier-Lagrave 2796 0 1 - 0 0 GM Gelfand 2719 11
3 12 GM Eljanov 2707 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Nakamura 2780 3
4 4 GM Ding Liren 2774 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Vallejo 2705 13
5 14 GM Tomashevsky 2702 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Svidler 2763 5
6 6 GM Giri 2762 0 1 - 0 0 GM Rapport 2692 15
7 16 GM Inarkiev 2683 0 1 - 0 0 GM Li Chao 2741 7
8 8 GM Radjabov 2741 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Riazantsev 2651 17
9 18 GM Hammer  2629 0 ½ - ½ 0 GM Harikrishna 2738 9

Before the Palma Grand Prix Maxime Vachier-Lagrave told Chess.com that he estimated his chances to qualify for the Candidates' at "around 30 percent." That number increased a little bit today as the Frenchman started with an excellent game against Boris Gelfand.

The win was largely based on successful opening preparation. Gelfand had used this 8...d5!? in the Accelerated Dragon a few times this year, and held his own against a few strong players. That included Vachier-Lagrave himself, at the Moscow Grand Prix.

Today, White's 14.Rfd1 was new, and his 15.Qh3 seemed to have come as a surprise to Gelfand.

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"It was quite an important game theoretically," said MVL. "Fortunately my helpers found a good idea to answer Boris' setup and the position is just quite unpleasant for him.

"It feels a bit dodgy of course. You play with a pawn down and all the lines really hold by a thread. This time I managed to put him under too much pressure."

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave interviewed by FIDE's Anastasiya Karlovich.

Another winner was Ernesto Inarkiev, the tailender in the overall Grand Prix standings at the moment. He faced Li Chao, who played quite badly today—which is easier to write when you're backed by grandmaster Evgeny Miroshnichenko

"Miro" is commentating for the official broadcast from a studio in Moscow. It is one of the ways Agon, the company that holds the rights to organize events in the world championship cycle, is cutting costs.

Furthermore, the live show's image quality has decreased. Just like during the Geneva Grand Prix, a limited number of cameras in lower quality is used compared to the first two Grand Prixs. All this is understandable if you take into account the financial trouble Agon is in, but what's surprising is that, yet again, the company is publishing the live broadcast for free on Facebook while on the official site viewers need to pay $10 to watch.

Agon's Ilya Merenzon told Chess.com that this is a way to promote the event and that it will only be done for a few rounds, but fans who paid to watch the commentary will not be amused—once again, because the same happened at previous events.

Back to the chess, back to Inarkiev-Li Chao! This Gruenfeld went completely wrong for the Chinese player, especially when Inarkiev found 24.Rd7.

Ernesto Inarkiev interviewed by FIDE's Anastasiya Karlovich.

Anish Giri won the last game that was still underway. The Dutch GM took a principled approach against Richard Rapport's unusual opening setup and castled queenside, which led to a double-edged position. White slowly but surely got the upper hand and Rapport's plan of running with the d-pawn failed tactically. Giri won the endgame flawlessly.

Anish Giri interviewed by FIDE's Anastasiya Karlovich.

The Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix takes place November 16-25 (with a rest day on the 21st) in the Iberostar Cristina hotel in Palma de Mallorca. The prize fund is €130,000 / $152,892. The time control is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.


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