FIDE Grand Prix Venue Chaos
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The venue for the 3rd FIDE Grand Prix of the 2012/13 series has been changed from Lisbon, Portugal to Zug, Switzerland less than a month before it gets underway, and it seems unlikely that the 4th leg will take place in Madrid as originally planned.
The winner and runner-up of the Grand Prix 2012/13 series will qualify for the next Candidates event, to be held in 2014.
Each event features 12 of the 18 players in the series, and each player competes in four events, with his best three finishes counting for his final score. The full regulations can be found here.
We can now definitely substitute Zug for Lisbon (the dates, at least, should stay the same) and rumours suggest that Madrid will be unable to meet its financial obligations as the host for the fourth Grand Prix.
This uncertainty reflects badly on the organisers AGON, and prompted Hikaru Nakamura's manager to publish an open letter recently (before the change from Lisbon to Zug was announced).
"I would like to begin this letter by making it clear that becoming a world champion has been Hikaru’s dream since childhood. To be mentioned with the likes of Botvinnik, Fischer, Kasparov and all the other world champions would be an incredible honor for him or for anyone else who plays our wonderful game.
When FIDE announced its partnership with Agon in organizing the world championship cycle, the news was met with skepticism in some circles. Our team, however, remained optimistic since the situation was now clear. The basic structure was in place with the Grand Prix tournaments, the World Cup, the Candidates Tournament and the Championship Match. The dates were set, the cities were chosen, and all we had to do was prepare, show up and play the best fighting chess (the only chess) Hikaru knows how to play in order to reach his life’s goal.
It is with great disappointment that the chess world has recently learned, indirectly, that Agon is unable to fulfill its obligations in finding the funding for the Lisbon leg of the Grand Prix. Whether or not the funding has been found for further stages of the Grand Prix is unclear as well. FIDE has sent out a press release admitting what has already been rumored and reported by other sources. There is still no official word on when the next event will be held or where it will be staged. Nor has there been a single word mentioned about the remaining events.
Hikaru is a chess professional who takes his craft very seriously. Our schedule is extremely busy with obligations to tournament organizers, sponsors, trainers, family and friends. In order for us to fulfill these obligations successfully, we have to set our schedule and finalize any travel plans months in advance. We are therefore asking FIDE and Agon to guarantee dates and locations for the entire Grand Prix series, and to provide the participants in the next leg of the Grand Prix with details on accommodation as well as other pertinent information no later than March 26th, 2013. Please note that this is only three weeks prior to the scheduled date for the event. If such guarantees cannot be made by the listed date, we will be forced to reconsider our position vis-à-vis the Grand Prix portion of the 2013-14 World Championship Cycle.
Dr. Alexander Ferdkoff
Manager of International Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura"
The current standings in the 2012/13 Grand Prix
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