Flash Report: Hou Leads Moscow Grand Prix After Round 1
ByEditorsMay 12 — 7:00 PM
Hou Yifan was the sole winner in Round 1 of the second tournament of the 2017 Grand Prix
The 2017 Grand Prix – a four-tournament series to select two players for the 2018 Candidates tournament – resumed on Friday with Round 1 of the second tournament, which is being held in Moscow.
Hou Yifan of China, the only woman in the series, was also the sole winner. She beat Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, gradually outplaying him from a nearly level position arising out of a peculiar variation of the Queen’s Gambit.
While the other games were drawn, several were hard fought and exciting. Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway got a tangible material advantage against Pentala Harikrishna of India, but he was unable to convert and the game was drawn in 92 moves. Three other games — between Anish Giri of the Netherlands and Boris Gelfand of Israel, Ernesto Inarkiev of Russia and Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, and Evgeny Tomashevsky and Peter Svidler, both of Russia — all ended in perpetual checks.
The tournament is being held in the Telegraph building in central Moscow, a landmark building that is steps from the Kremlin. The Telegraph was also the site of the 2016 Candidates tournament.
The Grand Prix is being organized by Agon Limited, the commercial partner of the World Chess Federation, the game’s governing body. Agon has the exclusive commercial rights to organize the cycle of the World Championship.
Each Grand Prix has a prize fund of 130,000 euros. The Grand Prix is being sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, the global cybersecurity company, PhosAgro, a giant Russian fertilizer company, and EG Capital Advisors, a global financial management company.
Twenty-four of the world’s best players are competing in the Grand Prix, with 18 of them participating in each of the tournaments.
The first Grand Prix tournament was held in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, in February. Three players – Alexander Grischuk of Russia, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France – tied for first, with Grischuk winning on tiebreaks.
The third and fourth will be held in Geneva and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.