MVL, Aronian, Nakamura Top Seeds In FIDE Grand Prix
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Levon Aronian, and Hikaru Nakamura are the top seeds in the 2017 FIDE Grand Prix Series. The full list of 24 names was announced by Agon yesterday, together with a new sponsor.
The new FIDE Grand Prix Series, which is part of the 2017-2018 world championship cycle, is about to begin. The first of four tournaments will run February 17-28 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Yesterday, Agon finally released the full list of 24 GP participants.
2017 Grand Prix Participants
|1||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave||2796||5||13||Wei Yi||2725||26|
|2||Levon Aronian||2785||7||14||Ernesto Inarkiev||2723||28|
|3||Hikaru Nakamura||2785||8||15||Boris Gelfand||2721||29|
|4||Anish Giri||2769||10||16||Li Chao||2720||30|
|5||Shakhriyar Mamedyarov||2766||11||17||Evgeny Tomashevsky||2711||34|
|6||Ding Liren||2760||12||18||Teimour Radjabov||2710||35|
|7||Pavel Eljanov||2759||13||19||Dmitry Jakovenko||2709||36|
|8||Pentala Harikrishna||2758||14||20||Francisco Vallejo Pons||2709||38|
|9||Michael Adams||2751||16||21||Richard Rapport||2692||50|
|10||Ian Nepomniachtchi||2749||17||22||Alexander Riazantsev||2671||77|
|11||Peter Svidler||2748||18||23||Salem Saleh||2656||99|
|12||Alexander Grischuk||2742||20||24||Jon Ludvig Hammer||2628||128|
Each of these grandmasters will play in three of the four tournaments. The two players with the most points at the end qualify for the Candidates' Tournament in 2018, which will select the challenger for the world championship.
These are the four Grand Prix tournaments, announced by FIDE early December:
- Sharjah, UAE: February 17-28
- Moscow, Russia: May 11–22
- Geneva, Switzerland: July 5-16
- Palma De Mallorca, Spain: November 15-26
Unlike in previous Grand Prix, these four tournaments will be nine-round Swisses, and not round robins. The first prize for each event is €20,000; the total prize fund per GP is €130,000.
This makes the total Grand Prix prize fund €520,000, which is much less than that of the 2008-2010 GP (€1,272,000) or the 2012-2013 GP (€1,440,000) but more than the previous in 2014-2015 (€480,000).
This Grand Prix series was originally intended for 2016-2017. In an interview on the FIDE website posted May 26, 2016, Agon's Ilya Merenzon stated:
"We finalized the dates, and setting up the list of players and we are working with sponsors and organizers right now, so I hope in two weeks we will be able to announce the venues, as well as other issues about the Grand Prix Cycle."
However, this never materialized in 2016 as Agon mainly focused on the Carlsen-Karjakin world championship. The sparse amount of information that has been published by Agon so far suggests that the organizers are getting into time trouble for this Grand Prix Series.
According to the official regulations (still called "Grand Prix 2016-2017" in this PDF), "[t]he assignment of players to tournaments will be announced in a timely manner before the Grand Prix Series begins." However, 10 days before the start of the Sharjah leg, the specific list of 18 participants for that particular event still hasn't been published.
Seven players who had qualified declined their participation in the Grand Prix. Their names are Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Sergey Karjakin and Veselin Topalov.
Caruana and So have good chances to qualify for the candidates by rating, but Anand and Kramnik might have to qualify via World Cup.— Martin Bennedik ( @bennedik) February 6, 2017
The live broadcast of the tournaments will be exclusively at worldchess.com, so pay-per-view, just like the Carlsen-Karjakin match. At the moment it is not clear whether websites will be allowed to transmit the games live or only via a widget. Last week it became clear that Agon has stopped its fight against Chess24 (or rather, its legal entities) and Chessgames regarding the transmission of moves.
@chess24com) February 4, 2017
In addition to the list of players, Agon and FIDE announced a new partner and sponsor for the Grand Prix: Kaspersky Lab, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow. It was founded in 1997 by its current CEO, Eugene Kaspersky. The company develops and sells antivirus, internet security, password management, endpoint security, and other cybersecurity products and services.