MVL, Aronian, Nakamura Top Seeds In FIDE Grand Prix

MVL, Aronian, Nakamura Top Seeds In FIDE Grand Prix

| 40 | Chess Event Coverage

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

# Fed Name Elo Rank # Fed Name Elo Rank
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

The live broadcast of the tournaments will be exclusively at, 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.

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.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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