FIDE Grand Prix 2012-2013 to start in three days (UPDATE)
After an opening reception on Thursday night, next Friday the first of six Grand Prix tournaments will take off in London's historic Simpson's-in-the-Strand. The FIDE Grand Prix series 2012-2013 will be played over six different cities and both the winner and the runner-up of the overall series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in March 2014.
A rendering of what the playing hall in London will look like | Images courtesy of Agon
Not to be confused with the Grand Slam Masters Final (mentioned last Thursday), the FIDE Grand Prix Series consists of six big tournaments which will be played over different cities between September 2012 and October 2013: London, Tashkent, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin and Paris. Eighteen players compete, with each player playing in four of these six tournaments. Their three best results will be counted for the ﬁnal ranking. Each tournament will have 12 players playing over a schedule of fourteen days.
The winner and second placed player overall of the Grand Prix Series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in March 2014. (Not to be confused with the March 2013 Candidates Tournament which will also take place in London. The winner of this 8-player double round-robin will play the reigning World Champion, Viswanathan Anand, in the World Championship Match currently scheduled for November 2013.)
FIDE Grand Prix 2012-2013: players, cities, dates
|criteria||July 12||20 Sep - 3 Oct||21 Nov - 5 Dec||17 Apr- 1 May||22 May - 4 Jun||3 - 17 Jul||18 Sep - 2 Oct|
Unfortunately World Champion Vishy Anand and the world's top 3 on rating Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik all decided not to participate. (Earlier we posted a statement by Carlsen's manager here.) However, with just about all the other top players present this Grand Prix series is definitely going to be exciting!
From the regulations (in PDF here) we learn that the time control is not the standard FIDE (90 minutes & increment) but the more classical 120 minutes for the ﬁrst 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards. There's also the Corsica/Sofia rule: players will not be allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Players will continue to play if the arbiter does not authorise the draw. A draw claim will be permitted only through the arbiter in case of a triple-repetition, a theoretical draw or the 50-move rule.
The total Grand Prix prize fund for the six tournaments in aggregate is 1.44 million Euro. The prize fund will be split equally between each tournament: 240,000 Euros (170,000 Euros for the tournament and 70,000 Euros towards an accumulated prize fund for the overall series positions, see below).
The prize money for each tournament will be split as follows:
|Placing||Prize (€)||GP points|
The overall winner of the Grand Prix will be the one who scores the most number of cumulative points. The cumulative score will be calculated by totalling the Grand Prix ranking points scored by each player in each tournament. Nine prizes will be awarded from the minimum accumulated prize fund of €420,000 as follows:
First GP: London
The first tournament will start next Friday. The participants are Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Peter Svidler (Russia), Wang Hao (China), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Peter Leko (Hungary), Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Leinier Dominguez Perez (Cuba), Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan).
* UPDATE SEPT 19TH
The organisers have had to effect a last minute replacement as GM Peter Svidler has had to withdraw from this leg due to family reasons. He has been replaced by UK number one player GM Michael Adams.
The playing dates are September 21st - October 3rd with rest days on September 26th and 30th. Venue is the historic Simpson's-in-the-Strand, one of London's oldest traditional English restaurants and also the place where the "Immortal game" between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky was played. The event was originally scheduled to be played in Chelyabinsk but after unresolved issues between FIDE and the Russian Chess Federation led to the decision to transfer the event to London.
The long-term commercial rights for the World Chess Championship Cycle were accorded to Agon, founded by the media entrepreneur Andrew Paulson, by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in February 2012. At the recent FIDE General Assembly in Istanbul this contract was ratified.
As we reported earlier, Paulson has big plans for chess. He is not looking for short-term profits; the contract with FIDE runs for eleven years. Agon is negotiating with commercial brand partners to sponsor the tournaments. The goals are to increase the prize fund to 5.5 million euros and to significantly expand the media coverage of the sport, with interactive broadcast on smartphones, tablets and online supplementing the highlights coverage on global television networks.
Agon hired PR agency Mission PR and the design firm Pentagram to create a new look for the tournaments in the World Championship cycle. Below is a rendering of what the playing hall will look like, which we received from Mission PR:
As you can see in the image, there will be wooden separations between the tables to create a more individual setting for each game. Besides, Pentagram has created a chessboard-themed logo and a tagline (“The Best Mind Wins”) that will appear in and around the games and on potential merchandise.
It must be noted that for London 2012 and Tashkent 2012 these changes will be limited. Only starting from the London Candidates event in March 2013, Agon is planning to come with something really different. (For instance, Pentagram has also designed a playing arena that resembles a boxing ring, allowing fans to watch play from all sides.)
On a final note concerning this first GP event in London: contrary to what was previously implied in a press release, strictly speaking the tournament won't be invite-only, but open to spectators. However, as we were told, space in the playing hall is very limited and so there are only about thirty seats available.
However, most chess fans will be following the tournament online anyway. An official website hasn't been announced yet, but following FIDE's logic of the URLs they've used for previous GP events, we typed london2012.fide.com, hit enter and... there you go.
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