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.

Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia) won the Palma leg of the Grand Prix Series, both scored 5 ½ points.

The Grand Prix, a series of four Swiss-style tournaments with 24 participants, was held in Sharjah, UAE, Moscow, Russia, Geneva, Switzerland, and, finally, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, says: “This is the first Grand Prix cycle that was held under a Swiss system, which allowed us to invite 24 players instead of 16. I am glad that the Series was successful and also very happy that for the first time ever it featured a female player, Hou Yifan of China, who did so well! I hope the spectators and players liked the new system and we’ll continue to work with them to make the cycle more interesting for both fans and players. We learned a lot from organizing the Series and can’t wait for the Candidates and the Match: we have a very intense chess year ahead!”

The next stage of the World Chess Championship cycle, the Candidates Tournament, will take place in Berlin, Germany, on March 10—28, 2018. Six other participants of the Candidates include Sergey Karjakin of Russia, the previous World Championship challenger, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Ding Liren of China (the winner and runner-up of the 2017 FIDE World Cup), the wildcard choice Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and two more players who will qualify by rating and who will be announced later this year (current rating scores indicate that the two remaining participants will be Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So, both from the US).

Tickets are now available for purchase here: http://www.ticketmaster.de/artist/fide-world-chess-candidates-tournament-tickets/989876. A 10% discount will be offered on tickets during Christmas sale (December 4, 2017 – January 10, 2018). The Candidates Tournament will be broadcasted exclusively on www.worldchess.com/berlin and on media partners’ sites.

Leading brands continue to support the Championship cycle and will be represented in the Candidates Tournament: EG Capital Advisors, an international asset management company, the Official Partner; Kaspersky Lab as World Chess and FIDE Official Cybersecurity Partner; S.T. Dupont as Official Writing Instrument; and Isklar as Official Water.

Official hashtags of the Tournament are #candidates2018 and #berlinplayschess.

Please see photos from Round 9 and the Award Ceremony by Valeriy Belobeev.