Reports | December 12, 2008 0:27

Grand Prix: Adams also out; Akopian, Alekseev, Eljanov & Kasimdzhanov in

Adams withdraws as wellEngland's top player Michael Adams has followed Magnus Carlsen in withdrawing from the FIDE Grand Prix Series. Nominated players Mohamad Al Modiahki and Yannick Pelletier are also out and the four will be substituted by Vladimir Akopian, Evgeny Alekseev, Pavel Eljanov and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Wrap-up of new GP developments.

Next Sunday is the first round of the third Grand Prix tournament, which will take place 13-29 December in Elista, Kalmykia. When on November 21st the tournament was moved from Doha to Elista, Magnus Carlsen and Michael Adams were the names we mentioned of two players who were "clearly not happy" about it. Now they are the ones who have left the Grand Prix Series.

Adams also out
After Magnus Carlsen decided to withdraw due to his disappointment concerning the sudden change of the current World Championship cycle, Michael Adams is now officially out as well. Today in a brief open letter he gives similar reasons:

I have regretfully withdrawn from the whole Grand Prix series. Some of the reasons I took this decision are the sudden switch of venues at very late notice, the replacement of players whose results thus far will affect the results of the whole Grand Prix both in terms of prize money and World Championship qualification and the fact that when I made my decision the status of some of the future GP events was still unclear.

The changes to the World Championship cycle also concern me as making major changes to a cycle in progress in such a sudden manner is very undesirable. There also seems to be no guarantee that further changes will not be made in a similar manner in the future. The changes are obviously immediately very negative for all Grand Prix participants but also in general it seems to me that the rewards for success in such tough events as the Grand Prix or the World Cup are now much too minimal.


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 but shortly after Doha was hastily moved to Elista, the news came that the organisers of the 4th event, which was scheduled for Montreux, Switzerland, also had to cancel their plans. To make matters worse, top seed Magnus Carlsen as well as England's number one player Michael Adams have withdrawn. Things look pretty grim for the GP Series.

Geoffrey BorgHowever, Geoffrey Borg, CEO of Global Chess and responsible for the Grand Prix Series, is still optimistic. "Things look much better than they did two weeks ago. We have already found a substitute city for Elista in August 2009, which will be Yerevan, and we are about to finalize negotiations with a host city substituting Montreux. This will be announced next week," Borg said in a reaction to ChessVibes.

Karlovy Vary
The 6th and last Grand Prix is scheduled for December 2009 in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Tournament organiser Pavel Matocha will be responsible for this last event and we asked him for a reaction on the current negative publicity surrounding the Grand Prix.

"There's too much bad news regarding the Grand Prix series in a very short period of time. And also the global financial crisis doesn't help us to organise spectaluar chess events. Because of the cancelled Doha and Montreux tournaments, because of Magnus Carlsen's decision to withdraw from the Grand Prix, because of the current financial crisis and because of the Global Chess approach (f.e. I have not got the proposal of contract for organising the event yet!) I can not give a clear answer to your question," Matocha said.

Geoffrey BorgNo contract
After the Doha organisers suddenly backed out last month, FIDE started to demand deposits from organisers of future Grand Prix tournaments. For the Karlovy Vary tournament the deadline is December 31, 2008. Pavel Matocha: "We are not going to pay any deposit by December 31st. First we need to get a proposal of a contract (and only after the contract will be signed we can send money to FIDE or to Global Chess). And secondly, we need to know if there will be a Grand Prix Tournament number 4 and 5..." Commenting on Matocha's point of view, Borg said: "If he wants a contract we'll send it tomorrow."

The 3rd Grand Prix tournament will be held Saturday, December 13 to Monday, December 29 in Elista, Kalmykia. The fourteen participants are Teimour Radjabov, Peter Leko, Dmitry Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Pavel Eljanov, Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Alekseev, Etienne Bacrot, Vugar Gashimov, Ivan Cheparinov, Vladimir Akopian, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Ernesto Inarkiev.

The winner of the Grand Prix Series, in which currently Wang Yue is leading the overall standings, was originally going to play a match against the winner of the 2009 World Cup for the right to challenge the World Champion in 2010. But meanwhile, FIDE has changed the cycle, introducing a Candidates Tournament (the "2010 semi-final Candidates stage"), for which the top two placed Grand Prix participants will qualify.

Alekseev, Eljanov, Kasimdzhanov
Because of these changes Carlsen withdrew, and now Adams is also out. Because of Doha's and Montreux's cancellation, their nominated players Mohamad Al Modiahki (who played in Sochi) and Yannick Pelletier (who didn't play yet) also had to leave the series. From the list of participants in Elista it becomes clear that Evgeny Alekseev, Pavel Eljanov and ex-FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov have entered the Grand Prix.

Geoffrey Borg: "We went back to the original list of reserve players from January 2008. Ruslan Ponomariov was first on that list, but he couldn't make it for Elista on such a short notice and also had other commitments in August. So we just went down the list and that's how we got to Alekseev, Eljanov and Kasimdzhanov." He added that "one of these players might become the nominated player for the April 2009 tournament" but didn't want to reveal whether the new host city is Russian, Ukrainian or Uzbek. To the question what will happen with the game points scored by the opponents of Adams, Al Modiahki and Carlsen, Borg answered: "Point taken. We still need to discuss this."

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.


Manu's picture

The other players should understand that no champion can emerge from this tragedy.
Its hard to ask them , because it s also their work .But i don?Ǭ¥t want to hear Kasimdzhanov or any other participant complaining about any other player in my life .
Magnus is not my favourite GM ,but someone of his talent should be playing for the right to challenge the champion.Same with Adams .
I think FIDE is not so far away from falling this time , or at least reverse the changes.
One more strike might be decisive.
I dont know who im asking this , but our felow Top Grand Master:
Do it.

Manu's picture

@Jacob Aagard:
?Ǭ®Nimzoindian for lazy people?Ǭ® , Congrats on a nice dvd , i still laugh at that remark when i play it.

Manu's picture

It was just a funny expresion , aimed to mobilize some GMs and also to find Trolls .
Sadly the first objective was not achieved yet.

Gonzo's picture

The chessworld had a chance for a change, but they choose for these loosers. Now they have to face this mess.

lol's picture

"but our felow Top Grand Master"

You are not a GM Manu, and you never will be. So what is this "our fellow" talk all about?

Manu's picture

He has a fresh and natural aproach to chess , his dvds are funny (and enriching) to watch.At least to club players like me.
I recomend you the one i mentioned before , Nimzoindian for lazy people (which i am of course).

Mamedyarovfan's picture

It's nice to see a post by GM Jacob Aagard. Not only is he British Champion and an absolutely superb chess author, but he is apparently a nice gentleman too. I hope he comes to play in Ireland sometime if he gets time and good offers.

Indian's picture

I hope Mr Borg can fix this GP mess. Magnus could afford to drop out, but Adams will get little recompense.

Seppe's picture

Well huh, isn?Ǭ¥t anyone critical?

Have the reserve players confirmed their participation?! If FIDE makes a mess out of the chess world, there must mabye exist some solidarity ?!...Carlsen, Aronian and Adams out ...the other players should support this anti-fide protest and not accept to play...till FIDE offers any decent World Championship Tournament.

Akopian, Kasim (??), Alekseev and Eljanov please don?Ǭ¥t play...or did Fide pay you enough money ?? haha


ChessGirl's picture

Seppe, Aronian is not out (at least not yet)

ChessGirl's picture

Of course everybody could see this coming, I guess??? The chess community has always missed that -unity part. OK, if these players don?Ǭ¥t wanna take the money for playing in the Grandd Prix I will, someone will always say. Thus, no wonder this stepping-out-of-the-competition thing is so unfrequent, and because nobody usually stands against FIDE, they just keep doing things their way: there will always be enough players on the reserve list.
I?Ǭ¥m also wondering what kind of quality they are planning to offer with participants Eljanov, Alekseev and Kasimdzhanov come out of the blue and totally unprepared for this tournament... Was Ponomariov the only one concerned about underperforming? How can this whole thing be considered professional at all?

Jacob Aagaard's picture

Why is there a photo of Andrew Borg on the site?

guitarspider's picture

That's a total joke. Either pair of Akopian, Alekseev, Eljanov and Kasimdzhanov is much stronger than Al-Modiahki and Pelletier. And I'm really curious how they're going to resolve the problem with the points of the players who are now out.

James's picture


I doubt he can. Although I doubt that Adams could become Classical World Champion in the current cycle, his chances in a World Cup are definitely higher than in this Candidates tournament.


I agree, such a movement by Adams is very positive for chess. FIDE's forced decision to withdraw Al Modiahki and Pelletier certainly doesn't bode well for the GP Series.


The GP tournaments can no longer be considered professional, in my opinion. I agree entirely that a united movement by the elite chess players is necessary to oust FIDE, but the withdrawal of Carlsen, Adams, Al Modiahki and Pelletier within a week is definitely a step in the right direction. Also, FIDE won't be able to continue replacing the protesting players with reserves, as this will reduce the credibility of the GP.

@guitarspider 'And I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m really curious how they?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re going to resolve the problem with the points of the players who are now out.'

Very poorly.

Geoffrey Borg's picture

Thanks for displaying two of my pictures. Now you have ruined my disguise.


Manu's picture

Great Mickey Adams as always , showing balls.
I can not understand what kind of qualifier would be without this stars , and why they keep pushing it no matter what.
I feel sorry for the organizers and players that keep this charade going.

guncha's picture

I am wondering if Kamsky is still in GP because he is in candidates tournament regardless the results of GP and regardless the outcome of match against Topalov...

John's picture

The other players in Grand Prix should be happy that Carlsen and Adams have left... better chances for them to win! I doubt there will be any more players leaving since that would just make it even easier for the remaining players to win the Grand Prix.

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