Reports | November 22, 2008 4:32

Doha Grand Prix cancelled, moved to Elista

no dohaNot long after the contracts for the Kamsky-Topalov match were signed, FIDE had another big event to worry about. Yesterday the third Grand Prix tournament, scheduled for 13-29 December in Doha, Qatar was suddenly cancelled. FIDE hastily moved the event to Elista and the participants have been informed this morning.

Two Grand Prix tournaments have been organized thus far, in Baku, Azerbaijan (April-May 2008) and Sochi, Russia (August 2008). Four more events are scheduled: Doha (December 2008), Montreux (April 2009), Elista (August 2009) and Karlovy Vary (December 2009). The winner of the Grand Prix Series, in which currently Wang Yue is leading the overall standings, will play a match against the winner of the 2009 World Cup for the right to challenge the World Champion in 2010.

In the last couple of months, Geoffrey Borg, CEO of Global Chess, has travelled to Doha, Qatar three times to get the third Grand Prix tournament on track. Everything seemed fine, until the organizers suddenly backed out this week.

Update November 22, 12:47 CET: Yesterday we speculated that "the money isn't there, and might have never been," but this was wrong. Geoffrey Borg assured us this morning that 'money was not the issue'. "FIDE will be reviewing why the tournament was cancelled," he added.

According to one of our sources the organizers of the six Grand Prix tournaments weren't asked in advance for deposits and everything was based on good faith; a policy FIDE might well be changing after this disappointing event.

Twelve of the fourteen participants (see below) are playing at the Dresden Olympiad right now, and this morning they were told about the tournament being moved to Elista. Michael Adams and Magnus Carlsen have already stated that they're clearly not happy about it.

The cancellation of Doha will most probably mean that Mohamad Al-Modiahki is out of the Grand Prix. This is the participants list of the 3rd Grand Prix Tournament:


Moving the third tournament to Elista means that FIDE must be looking for a new venue for the 5th Grand Prix tournament, which was scheduled to be held in Elista in August 2009. And they're in a hurry, because after two Grand Prix tournament having been played already, the new host city's nominee player will have to play in Elista next month. As semipatz points out in the comments, the substitute could also start in Montreux, which means he wouldn't be able to drop his weakest result. However, what to do with Al Modiakhi's results in Sochi, or rather, the results of his opponents?

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Derek's picture

This cancellation is absolutely disgraceful! There should be punishment.

JM's picture

According to the article, the punishment exists of the exclusion of Al Modiakhi. The right to nominate a participant is a privilege of the organizers. The Quatari organizers nominated him, so he's out. Other than this, how can FIDE punish them? I believe the contract was between FIDE and a private party (the organizers). In case the organizers were backed by the Quatar National Chess Union, other repercussions might be taken.

it's picture

It is hard on Al Modaikhi though- it is not his fault if he wasn't involved in the organising. Also what happens to the other players who played him in the first grand prix, and what happens to the new player having missed a grand prix. It causes complications?

Manu's picture

You call that regulations? .
The system is ugly , hard to see for common people ( in other countries are called consumers , the ones that buy things, and makes sponsors look in your way) , and also this methos is not suited for broadcast.
Not only that , now we see that one can actually call FIDE and say : Hey, i want to host the next stage of this silly race in my house , i promise i will give you money or a contracts needed.
FIDE is now a Guiness record thing , no other institution in the world can be used to make people with money look in the other direction.

Al Aman's picture

India is NOT third world. It's already considered a developing country.

China too.

CAL|Daniel's picture

I don't understand why "The cancellation of Doha will most probably mean that Mohamad Al-Modiahki is out of the Grand Prix."

someone care to explain this to me?

Jean-Michel's picture

The only reason Al-Modiahki was in the Grand Prix was because he was chosen as a wild card by the Doha organizers. If you'll read the other comments, you'll see that more knowledgeable people than I have already explained that more.

semipatz's picture

I wouldn't be so sure Al Modiakhi goes out, considering that he's already played an event. If they do want to bring a new player in to replace him, the new player would only be able to play in three of the remaining four tournaments, which means he wouldn't be able to drop his weakest result. Rough, but not impossible.

JC's picture

Another possibility would be to let the new player play all four tournaments by extending one to 15 players / 14 rounds. Of course that'd have its own drawbacks - both in terms of scheduling, and fairness. Presumably all players are intended to get 26 whites and 26 blacks over their four tournaments. Extending one to 14 rounds would leave a load of players with either 26:27 or 27:26.

Replacing Al Modiahki would already ruin the symmetry even without scheduling changes. Unless the replacement player is rated very similarly, those who played in Sochi would be at an advantage/disadvantage.

It's clear that there's no perfect solution if Al Modiahki is out. If there's agreement that he should be replaced, no-one can expect a totally fair system to result.

Manu's picture

Im not sure if im pointing in the right direction, but : Is this global chess doing?
Is this the making of the pros? everything was only based in good faith?
I hope Besel Kok is not behind this , because is very sad.
The hole sistem of the Prix is weird , but this should have consecuences.
I have an idea, call Danailov ! Ask him how he does it.

me's picture

People, why don't you read the regulations?

If one player drops out (or it's thrown out) he is replaced by different player in each tournament. The replacements of course fight only for prize money, but get no GP points.
So in theory in one of the Grand Prix's Topalov may participate, in the other Anand, in third Kramnik and in fourth Morozevich.

Peter Doggers's picture

Yesterday we speculated that ?¢‚Ǩ?ìthe money isn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t there, and might have never been,?¢‚Ǩ? but this was wrong. Geoffrey Borg assured us this morning that ?¢‚ǨÀúmoney was not the issue?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢. ?¢‚Ǩ?ìFIDE will be reviewing why the tournament was cancelled,?¢‚Ǩ? he added.

guitarspider's picture

This is very sad, I like the GP system. I hope they find an acceptable solution as fast as possible.

IG's picture

It?Ǭ¥s not such a bad measure to have different players substitute the Qatari player in each of the following events, but probably it?Ǭ¥s still not fair for the rest of the players: the ones who played in Socchi would be in advantage if the substitutes are Topalov, Anand, Morozevich, etc. Maybe the solution can be to find weaker substitutes?
And I agree that it?Ǭ¥s not fair for this Muhamad guy, FIDE?Ǭ¥s lousy organization is not his fault. Speaking of which, isn?Ǭ¥t there anybody in the world who can substitute Ilyumzhinov & co.? I know he has a lot of money and everything, but I think this is just too much...

Usurpatoir's picture

Derek wrote: "There should be punishment."
Is there proof that punishment accomplishes anything except for satisfying feelings of revenge? It only grows hatred.

Modiahki ended last in Sochi. This was a disgrace to Qatar. There was no reason for them to continue. Not wishing more disgraces. They don't understand why this was not clear to us.

noyb's picture

Someday the US, Europe, Russia and Asia will wise up and dump FIDE and start another world chess organization. Third-world countries are for the most part meaningless in chess anyhow.

jozef's picture

You are for the most part meaningless also, so....

Manu's picture

@noyb: ?Ǭ®Third-world countries are meaningless...?Ǭ®
Wow man , you made it.The most stupid comment i read this weak.

shy_guest's picture

Is India a 3rd world country ? I seem to have heard of a certain guy called Anand, to mention just him.

China also is considered 3rd world. Ever heard of Hou Yifan & Wang Yue ?

Cuba is a 3rd world country. Capablanca came from there.

There are other small but not 3rd world countries which out of the blue have produced important players - Norway & Holland spring to mind.

shy_guest's picture

The economist and demographer Alfred Sauvy, in an article published in the French magazine L'Observateur, August 14, 1952, coined the term Third World in referring to countries currently called either "developing" or "under-developed".

So I guess India & China are 3rd World.

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