The 2017 FIDE World Chess Grand Prix Series continued today in Palma de Mallorca with its final, fourth tournament, which will last well until the two winners are announced on November 25.

Grand Prix rounds are played at Hotel Iberostar Bahia de Palma, official partner of the tournament, set right next to an already deserted beach line. Sunny, albeit cold – the off-season location is what players seem to be most pleased about in this tournament.

The first ceremonial move in the game Jakovenko-Aronian was made by Rodrigo Moscardó, General Manager of the Iberostar Spain and the Mediterranean sea, in the presence of Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, players and honorary guests.

Of all players in this last leg of the series, Teimour Rajabov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are the only ones who still have chances to qualify for the Candidates Tournament. As of now, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk are leading in the Grand Prix Series, but have already played their three tournaments out of four.

In the first round Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Ernesto Inarkiev and Anish Giri outplayed their opponents, while 6 other games finished in a draw.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave appeared better prepared in the opening against Boris Gelfand. The two players resumed their theoretical battle in the Accelerated Dragon from the Moscow Grand Prix. Satisfied with the game’s outcome, Vachier-Lagrave could not point out when exactly things went wrong for the Israeli player.

Alexander Riazantsev comfortably equalized with Black pieces against Teimour Rajabov and the players agreed for a draw after 2 hours of play.

Ernesto Inarkiev played a game full of prophylactic moves against Li Chao. Russian player was enjoying a slightly better position and was trying to not let his opponent get active. This strategy worked out well for him. The Chinese player tried to break through by playing 19…c5, however the attempt failed. According to Inarkiev, after 20.Bc5 Black has no Be5 because of 21. de Rd1 22.Rd1 Qc5 23.Rd8 Kg7 24. Qb5!

After 20…f6 Black’s position was lost.

In the longest game of the day, Anish Giri won against Richard Rapport. The Dutch Grandmaster was unsure about his decision to castle long. It turned out that after unexpected 14…b5 White was in trouble. Few moves after, Anish was more optimistic about his position and declined the draw offer of his opponent. Later on, Richard Rapport made few errors and went for a dubious sacrifice, which was proven wrong in the game.

The local hero Francisco Vallejo Pons showed an interesting idea in the opening 3…b5 against Ding Liren and after 8…Bd5 was sure Black got comfortable position. After most of the pieces were traded the game finished in a draw.

Watch the games broadcasted at https://worldchess.com/gp2017/. 

Photos from the First Round by Valeriy Belobeev are available here