Three of the 18 players in the first Grand Prix notched victories in Round 1.
A report with analysis by grandmaster Sam Shankland will appear later.
The first Grand Prix of 2017 got underway Saturday in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, with 18 of the world’s best players. The top two finishers in the four-tournament series, which will also include competitions in Moscow, Geneva and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, will qualify for the Candidates tournament next year to select a challenger for the World Championship. There are 24 players in the competitions, with each playing three of the four tournaments.
Each Grand Prix has a prize fund of 130,000 euros, with 20,000 euros for first. The series is being organized by Agon, the company that holds the commercial rights to the World Championship, under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, also known as FIDE, the game’s governing body.
The primary sponsors for the Grand Prix are Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity firm; EG Capital Advisors, an institutional money manager with $3 billion under management; S.T. Dupont, a French luxury goods manufacturer; and Isklar, a Norwegian mineral water company.
The games are being broadcast live on WorldChess.com, the official site of the World Championship, which is owned by Agon.
Saturday, three of the nine games ended decisively. Perhaps the least surprising was the victory of Michael Adams of England over Salem Saleh, a representative of the host country. Saleh, the first player from his country to play in the World Championship cycle, is also the third-lowest ranked player among the 24 in the Grand Prix, while Adams, No. 16 in the world, is one of the most experienced. Adams, who had White, gained only a small advantage out of the opening, but then he patiently outmaneuvered Saleh until Saleh began to make some errors. Eventually, the cumulative effect was too much and Saleh lost his queen for a rook and bishop. After that, it was just a matter of time before Adams converted his advantage into a full point.
Ding Liren, China’s top player, who is ranked No. 12, lost to Richard Rapport of Hungary, No. 50, after he blundered in an equal position on move 34, dropping a couple of pawns.
The third victory was scored by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, No. 5, over Li Chao b of China, No. 30. Vachier-Lagrave, who had White, outmaneuvered Li in an endgame in which Vachier-Lagrave’s bishop pair, and the awkward position of Li’s king, proved to be the crucial difference.
Dylan Loeb McClain is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He was a staff editor for The New York Times for 18 years and wrote the paper’s chess column from 2006 to 2014. He is now editor-in-chief of WorldChess.com. He is a FIDE master as well.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players