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.

Palma de Mallorca is now looking forward to 9 days of intense chess battles, which will finally determine the two winners of the series – participants of the World Chess Championship semi-final.

The Opening Ceremony was held at the landmark hilltop Bellver Castle, former residence for the Kings of Mallorca built in the 14th century in a Gothic style. At the castle’s unique circular yard guests had a good opportunity to mingle with each other and enjoy modern Spanish guitar music. 

Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, thanked FIDE for the opportunity to host the tournament and welcomed the participants. “Spain is a country with a great Chess tradition and a thousand-year long history of playing chess,” he added. 

Sebastia Nadal, President of the Winter Chess: “It is very rewarding to know that one of the best Spanish chess players of our time, Francisco Vallejo Pons, who was born and who resides here in our islands, could take part in this cycle of the World Chess.” 

In the drawing of colours, the top player of the tournament according to the FIDE rating Levon Aronian chose black pieces for the first round. The pairings are the following: Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia) –  Levon Aronian (Armenia), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) – Boris Gelfand (Israel), Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine) – Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Ding Liren (China) – Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain), Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia) – Peter Svidler (Russia), Anish Giri (Netherlands) – Richard Rapport (Hungary), Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia) – Li Chao (China), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) – Alexander Riazantsev (Russia), Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway) – Harikrishna Pentala (India). 

The Palma Grand Prix is supported by Official Partner EG Capital Advisors, an international asset management company, Kaspersky Lab, World Chess and FIDE Official Cybersecurity Partner, S.T. Dupont, Official Writing Instrument, and Isklar, Official Water.

First round started today at Hotel Iberostar Bahia de Palma, the official partner of the Series. 

Watch it broadcasted at

Photos from the Opening Ceremony by Valeriy Belobeev are available here