The 2022 FIDE Grand Prix Kicks Off in Berlin
The first leg of the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix Series, organized by World Chess, will begin tomorrow in Berlin. During the next two weeks, sixteen of the world’s best chess players will battle it out for the two final Candidates spots, which is scheduled for June in Madrid.
The venue is the World Chess Club Berlin, located at the City Centre on Unter den Linden, 26-30 and the games will be played from February 4th-17th every afternoon at 3pm. Along with the qualification for the Candidates, the event has a 150.000 euros prize fund, 20.000 euros more than the 2019 series.
The first-round clashes are expected to be fast and furious, with heavy-hitters Andrey Esipenko and Levon Aronian taking on Alexander Grischuk and Vidit Gujrathi respectively. In addition to these great match-ups, the all-American stand-off between Wesley So and Lenier Dominguez will set the pace in pool D.
Full pairings can be found here.
The event opened this morning with an online zoom press conference featuring Arkady Dvorkovich, president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE); Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, organizers of the Grand Prix; Marcus Fenner, General Secretary of the German Chess Federation and Chief Arbiter Ivan Syrovy. Also present in the conference call was elite Grand Master and chess prodigy Vincent Keymer, representing Germany in the series.
In his opening statement, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich said: “We are officially opening the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022, organized by World Chess. The series kicks off in Berlin, a city known for its strong chess culture. We hope that the tournament format changes will make the games even more exciting for all chess fans”.
Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, added: “We are very pleased that the major part of the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022 will take place in Berlin. Chess has a great history here and we are delighted not only to start the important part of the World Chess Championship cycle in Berlin, but also to establish a permanent chess hotspot here at the World Chess Club Berlin. World Chess as the organizer of the Grand Prix has done its utmost to make this tournament safe offline and spectacular online. Hope all chess fans will enjoy it!”
The General Secretary of the German Chess Federation, Marcus Fenner, stated that “we will utilize this tournament to further increase the interest in chess in Germany and specifically the Berlin area, and together with the Berlin Chess Association we have prepared a series of side events which will be developed in the third leg of the series”.
Christian Milde, General Manager of Kaspersky in Central Europe, pinpointed the common ground between chess and cybersecurity: “As official cybersecurity partner of the FIDE World Chess Championship series since 2017, we are delighted to see the start of the new Grand Prix Series in Berlin. Chess and cybersecurity have a lot in common, including sharp minds and strategic thinking excellence. These are also essential skillsets for our work at Kaspersky and part of our commitment to building a safer future for everyone”.
And Keli Callaghan, VP of Marketing at Algorand, declared: “Algorand is honored to be a longtime supporter of World Chess as the organization transforms and modernizes the traditional game by infusing blockchain into various applications. We are thrilled to be supporting the FIDE Grand Prix Series in 2022 and proud to partner with organizations who are harnessing the power of decentralized technology.”
The three-tournament series which will unfold from February to April features twenty-four of the world’s best Grandmasters, who will compete in two of the three events. In order to make the series more exciting and reduce the percentage of draws, FIDE and World Chess have changed the format.
This innovative approach is new for the chess world but very similar to the Super League: the first stage has four pools of four players and the winner of each pool advances to the semifinals and then to the final.
Due to COVID restrictions currently in place, only a limited number of tickets are available. Please note that the 2G+ rule applies to the event, which means that visiting the venue is only possible for those who either have a complete vaccination with EU-certified vaccine or proof of recovery and can additionally present a booster dose certificate or a negative test result.
Leading partners supporting the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022 include: