1st Grand Slam Final Chess Masters Bilbao

1st Grand Slam Final Chess Masters Bilbao

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage

The lack of a regular and predictable structure for top level chess is no doubt a factor in putting off many potential commercial sponsors to the game.  The organisers of some of the most famous tournaments have been negotiating for two years to link their established chess events into an annual 'Grand Prix'.

Their efforts seem to be bearing fruit, with the first Grand Slam final due to be held in Bilbao, Spain from 1-13 September.  The participants by right are the three winners of the already established qualifying events:

  • Lev Aronian (winner of Wijk Aan Zee)
  • Vishy Anand (winner of Linares)
  • Vasilly Ivanchuk (winner of M-Tel Masters)

These players are joined by three other players who have been given wildcards due to their strong performances this year:

  • Veselin Topalov
  • Magnus Carlsen
  • Teimour Radjabov (pictured), the final confirmed entrant.

Vladimir Kramnik declined to play, perhaps due to his World Championship match with Anand in October, which starts barely a month later.  Anand evidently feels that it will be a useful part of his preparation. 

The total prize fund of this Grand Slam final will be a cool 400,000 euros (approx 620,000 USD or 315,000 GBP) split as follows:

  1. 150,000 euros
  2. 70,000 euros
  3. 60,000 euros
  4. 50,000 euros
  5. 40,000 euros
  6. 30,000 euros

Originally there were plans for a qualifying tournament in Mexico, but the finances have fallen through.  However, there are further plans in place to introduce a qualifying event in Seattle in 2009 and tentative plans for an event in China by 2010.

If this structure can survive and thrive it promises an incredibly strong final every year.  This year's line up is truly mouth watering and should be a feast of exciting chess. 

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