Reports | August 30, 2013 0:43

Final leg FIDE Grand Prix to start in Paris September 21st

The last leg of the FIDE Grand Prix series 2012-2013 will be held September 21st-October 5th in Paris, France. FIDE had to find replacements for the three players that stepped out from the tournament for personal reasons: Peter Svidler, Sergey Karjakin and Teimour Radjabov. They have been replaced by Laurent Fressinet, Etienne Bacrot and Evgeny Tomashevsky.

Several tournaments of the Grand Prix series were relocated to different cities, but the last one was scheduled for Paris, and will be held in Paris. The venue is quite an interesting choice: it will be the Chapelle de la Villedieu, ten miles west of Versailles. The official website of the tournament is up.

Here's the list of participants and a small biography written by the press officer of the tournament, Alina l'Ami:

  • Bacrot, Etienne: the former child prodigy remains one of the strongest French players and promises to satisfy the locals demands with an honorable spot in the final standings;
  • Caruana, Fabiano: had a meteoric rise in the past year, winning several big tournaments with his versatile playing style; currently he is one of the two players from this tournament (next to Grischuk) with a chance to make it to the Candidates event if he will grab the first place unshared;
  • Dominguez Perez, Leinier: coming from a country where chess is enormously popular, the country of Capablanca, the Cuban player proved his class by winning one of the previous GP editions, the strong Thessaloniki event; he has now the highest rating of his career, 2757;
  • Fressinet, Laurent: in the past few years he established himself as a 2700+ player and recently won the Men's Rapid at SportAccord World Mind Games form Beijing;
  • Gelfand, Boris: has been around on top level chess for more than 25 years – a classical player with a phenomenal weaponry; he recently had a peak in his career when he qualified for the World Championship match against Anand, who only managed to defeat him by winning the tiebreak; the 8th Tal Memorial of this year was also won by Boris, so we shall see if experience will again prevail over the youth impetus;
  • Giri, Anish: for the Dutch prodigy, the GP series is a wonderful launching platform on his way to the very top, because Anish aims for nothing less than his abilities;
  • Grischuk, Alexander: in a shoulder to shoulder combat, Grischuk is the second contender for the final spot in the Candidates event, under the same clause as Caruana: to win unshared in Paris; as a versed player in the Candidates: Mexico (2007) and Kazan (2011) – the Russian time-trouble lover will be an interesting player to be watched;
  • Ivanchuk Vassily: alias “Chucky” is a rather unpredictable and very original player, who, if in his best shape, can literally beat anyone in the world!; needles to mention his provocative but multilateral playing style, with a proverbial memory and always in search of the truth;
  • Nakamura Hikaru: the American proves that he can (!), with his very ambitious and aggressive style;
  • Ponomariov Ruslan: former world champion and one of the youngest GM in the history, the Ukrainian amazes with his branded skills of getting water out of stone, in some of what other people would regard as the most deserted positions;
  • Tomashevsky, Evgeny: is in great shape, as we could see from his amazing fighting skills in the World Cup, where he eliminated Aronian, Morozevich and Kamsky! He only lost against Dmitry Andreikin; had he won, he would have been qualified for the Candidates already!
  • Wang Hao: the strongest Chinese player at the moment, Wang Hao has the fame of being able to upset the top class elite, as he showed to all of us this year in his beautiful wins against Carlsen in Norway and twice Anand (Norway + Wijk Aan Zee).

FIDE Grand Prix 2012-2013 | Leg 5 standings

Name Fed Criteria London 2012 Tashkent 2012 Zug 2013 Thess. 2013 Beijing 2013 (Paris 2013) Best 3 total
Topalov BUL Rating 140   170 45 100   410
Mamedyarov AZE Rating 140 80 20   170   390
Grischuk RUS World Cup 90     85 140 x 315
Caruana ITA FIDE President   80 100 125   x 305
Morozevich RUS AGON   140 75 25 65   280
Karjakin RUS Rating   140 50   65 x 255
Wang Hao CHN AGON 70 140     30 x 240
Ponomariov UKR World Cup   50 100 85   x 235
Leko HUN AGON 80 50 50   100   230
Dominguez CUB AGON 35 20   170   x 225
Nakamura USA Rating 15   140 60   x 215
Kamsky USA Replacement   10 75 125 10   210
Gelfand ISR Match 140 30     30 x 200
Kasimdzhanov UZB AGON 35 80 20 70     185
Giri NED AGON 15   50   65 x 130
Svidler RUS World Cup   50   45   x 95
Ivanchuk UKR World Cup 55     10 30 x 95
Wang Yue CHN Replacement         65   65
Adams ENG Replacement 55           55
Bacrot FRA Replacement       25     25
Radjabov AZE AGON     20     x 20

Veselin Topalov has already secured overall victory in the Grand Prix. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is not certain of his second place yet; Alexander Grischuk can reach 400 points with clear first in the last event and Fabiano Caruana can reach 395 points with clear first. Both need clear first to surpass Mamedyarov. The first two places in the Grand Prix qualify directly for the 2014 Candidates Tournament.

More info on the official website

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.


calvin's picture

Its good that Svidler and Karjakin are not participating. Any conspiracy theories if they happen to lose to Grischuk wont arise now.

Would have preferred to see MVL instead of any of the 3 replacements.

Anonymous's picture

Hi Calvin,
What replacements? Who did you mean?

redivivo's picture

But if they had played and tried their best instead of declining and being replaced by weaker players Grischuk's chances to get the needed sole first would have decreased a lot. So their not playing should improve Grischuk's chances.

Montcalm's picture

It's not in Paris! I live in Paris, and it'll take me 2h to get there. Ridiculous location in a ridiculous place (freezing chapel)...
It's like "we a organize a tourney in NYC, it will be in Long Island !" lol

Frits Fritschy's picture

For the players, it looks like a very inspirational place to me. For the spectators, well, as your past king Henry said, Paris is worth a mass. The real addicts will go there, the rest will follow it on the internet.

Anonymous's picture

Oops sorry, now I read the intro and see which replacements.
So Svidler, Karjakin and Radjabov leave for "personal reasons"...what is that all about?

Remco G's picture

Personal reasons, or in other words, none of your business.

Anonymous's picture

To me it looks bad form by Karjakin and Svidler not to play the tournament they signed up for, when the only reason for them doing that is to help Team Russia to get five players into the Candidates. Both would have been strong contenders to reach at least shared first while their replacements are much weaker and without chances. Mamedyarov didn't get such help in the tournaments he played. What if Russian players withdraw from the last round of Candidates when they face countrymen too? This is just embarrassing. Is it so hard with fair play and do your best without just thinking about collusion?

Bartleby's picture

Mamedyarov did get some embarrassing help in the last cycle. If the Russian conspiracy wanted to maximize Grischuk's chances Karjakin and Svidler would have played and beaten the other players. Think again.
It may be bad form, but it looks like they withdraw because there's nothing in there for them any more.

Anonymous's picture

"Mamedyarov did get some embarrassing help in the last cycle. If the Russian conspiracy wanted to maximize Grischuk's chances Karjakin and Svidler would have played and beaten the other players. Think again"

How did Mamedyarov get embarrassing help? He was the organiser's nominee in Candidates, they paid for his spot just like Khanty aims to pay for a Russian spot this time. It may be embarrassing in a way that these are the rules, but they have nothing to do with getting help by other players.

I don't get the idea at all that since Svidler and Karjakin could help Grischuk more by even throwing games against him, their helping him by refusing to compete with Grischuk in the last event in some way would be OK.

Thomas Oliver's picture

The embarassing or strange part wasn't that Mamedyarov got a wildcard - at least if one accepts that wildcards are OK or unavoidable in order to find a sponsor. Rather ("help" may be the wrong word) it was a bit embarassing how he secured his wildcard - by losing against Radjabov in the final GP event of the first series, in an arguably strange game (the German magazine "Schach" had quoted several GMs smelling a rat). That way, Radjabov didn't need an Azeri wildcard because he qualified via the GP Series, and Mamedyarov was next in line (Gashimov had 'problems' with the Azeri federation).

Anonymous's picture

"he secured his wildcard - by losing against Radjabov in the final GP event"

If that is the case he at least helped himself rather than getting help from others. Bad if true anyway.

jussu's picture

Yes, is it so hard to accept personal reasons without thinking about collusion? Svidler dropped his chance to make it to the candidates, and you're babbling about foul play.

Anonymous's picture

"is it so hard to accept personal reasons without thinking about collusion? Svidler dropped his chance to make it to the candidates"

Svidler dropped his chance to qualify (except via the Khanty wild card if Grischuk wins the last GP) so it is not in any way questionable that he (and Karjakin) suddenly doesn't play? The qualification system is unfair to players in the first tournaments since the last get much weaker this way.

Svidler and Karjakin increase Grischuk's chances by declining to play. That's just how it is. If the situation was the opposite (with Grischuk leading in the club house instead of Mamedyarov), and Svidler with a top result could make Grischuk stay there, and give Svidler himself the Khanty wild card, I'm sure Svidler would play and those "personal reasons" would evaporate immediately. That's what I think.

Anonymous's picture

Svidler is a great guy, by the way, and it is quite understandable if he doesn't want to work his hardest just to make his own chance to reach the Candidates disappear. But still the system isn't all nice and dandy when these situations occur, and it is certainly to Mamedyarov's disadvantage. He did what he could himself by finishing ahead of Grischuk in the tournaments where they both participated, but can't do anything about Grischuk now getting the without comparison weakest event in the series.

Rinji Luyks's picture

Yeah, this system also has its flaws it seems.
Maybe you should clarify in the standings (as does Alina l'Ami on the site) that Grischuk and Caruana have to win the 170 points for sole victory, because their worst result (85, resp. 80 points) will be subtracted in the final standings.

Anonymous's picture

Mexico 2007 was not a Candidates Tournament.

Thomas Oliver's picture

So many players dropping out at short notice is a bit strange - are there financial penalties which the players are willing to accept, or do they have compelling private reasons (not disclosed to the public)? Karjakin accepts some sort of financial penalty: He could still get considerable prize money from the overall GP standings. His current 'improvable' sixth place is worth 30,000 Euros, now several players can overtake him. A plausible reason for both Karjakin and Svidler: They have a pretty busy forthcoming schedule. They will play the Russian championship starting two days after the Paris GP, maybe the European Club Cup four days after the Russian championship, the European Team Championship ten days later, the World Team Championship two weeks thereafter.

But can we PLEASE stop these collusion allegations? They were brought up by some Carlsen fans during and even before the candidates event as some sort of safety net if their hero doesn't win. By their logic, all "Soviet" players were helping Kramnik (now Karjakin!?). Extending this logic, western players might help Caruana - hmm, is Giri Soviet or western?

Only for two players one could suspect collusion IF two criteria were fulfilled: Caruana still playing for the USA, and Sinquefield for sure organizing the next candidates event with a wildcard preference for Caruana, second choice Nakamura.
An analogous situation arose at the previous GP Series, at least with respect to known facts (still speculation if there was collusion) - sponsor SOCAR, players Radjabov and Mamedyarov.

euro-sceptic's picture

The psychology of the conspiracy theory is quite interesting, with people trying to justify or explain a sequence of events that they don't like by choosing to make up or believe in some sinister scheme by an 'outsider' group (i.e. a group to which they don't belong).
It doesn't seem to matter what evidence there is to support (or debunk) the theories, they unfortunately will always surface whenever somebody sees something that they don't like happening.
Conspiracy theorists: if you're going to make one up, at least think it through! As others have pointed out, it would be much easier to ensure a 'Soviet'/Russian winner as many as possible other 'Soviets' took part!

Anonymous's picture

"Conspiracy theorists: if you're going to make one up, at least think it through! As others have pointed out, it would be much easier to ensure a 'Soviet'/Russian winner as many as possible other 'Soviets' took part!"

Do you seriously not see that Svidler and Karjakin de facto increase Grischuk's chances by not playing? Of course they could help him even more by throwing their games against him and win against Caruana, but not score points enough to reach shared first, but that they don't do that doesn't mean that this is unquestionable. They definitely help Grischuk by not playing, then it's another question how serious it is that they indeed improve their team mate's chances (and decrease Mamedyarov's) to reach the Candidates by their actions.

Anonymous's picture

"By their logic, all "Soviet" players were helping Kramnik (now Karjakin!?). Extending this logic, western players might help Caruana"

Svidler and Karjakin are not "Soviet" players, they are in the same Russian team as Grischuk. Understandable that they want to help him get in the Candidates. If he does Svidler can get the sponsor spot by Khanty. One really has to be an ostrich to refuse to see this, and quite naive to extend the logic to "western" players helping each other for some unclear reason as the same thing as Svidler wanting to help himself to the sponsor spot by helping Grischuk.

Thomas Oliver's picture

I referred to the logic of Carlsen fans during the candidates event - before the last round, they suggested that Ivanchuk would throw his game against Kramnik.

I already mentioned that a very busy schedule over the coming months is a likely, plausible and understandable reason why Svidler and Karjakin dropped out of the Paris GP. If any other top player (Nakamura, Ivanchuk, Gelfand) had dropped out for the same reason, there would be no collusion allegations whatsoever [or would people suggest that Nakamura wants to help Caruana?].

Anonymous's picture

"If any other top player (Nakamura, Ivanchuk, Gelfand) had dropped out for the same reason, there would be no collusion allegations whatsoever"

There are only two facts here:

1/ Svidler and Karjakin withdrew

2/ This increases Grischuk's chances

Nothing to debate here, they did what they did and what they did helps Grischuk. What is pointless is to refer to what some alleged Carlsen fan is supposed to have said at some occasion, or saying that if some other player had withdrawn that too would have helped Grischuk. The two simple facts above can't be denied though.

KingTal's picture

So if Svidler and Karjakin play, they increase the chance of Griuschuk winning(what?), if they don´t, then they increase his chances too(what?)... wow.

It seems that someone is just obsessed with Soviet(Russian)conspiracy theories way too much so that the sense of reality got completely lost. Poor guy sees demons everywhere, haha.

Anonymous's picture

"So if Svidler and Karjakin play, they increase the chance of Griuschuk winning(what?), if they don´t, then they increase his chances too(what?)... wow.

It seems that someone is just obsessed with Soviet(Russian)conspiracy theories way too much so that the sense of reality got completely lost. Poor guy sees demons everywhere, haha."

Grischuk must be sole winner of the last GP event to qualify for Candidates instead of Mamedyarov. If two of the strongest opponents suddenly decline to play (as they did) and are replaced by much weaker players that never won a top event it is obvious that Grischuk's chances increase. Did that get too complicated for you?

KingTal's picture

I think you desperately try to deny that Caruana is participating there too and by your logic there is no way of him getting better chances if his "helping" compatriots are missing, since it makes things easier for Caruana too. But nice try nevertheless, use more logic next time.

Anonymous's picture

Of course Svidler and Karjakin not playing increases both Caruana's and Grischuk's chances to get Mamedyarov's current Candidates spot. Maybe they would have played if Grischuk had been the one in Mamedyarov's position and their doing well would have given another Russian spot (as Kramnik secured in World Cup). What I fail to understand is how anyone can say that the absense of S & K does not increase Grischuk's chances, or how agreeing to the obvious fact that it does must equal accusing them of collusion.

KingTal's picture

Dude the point is the guy who sees demons everywhere(Russian conspiracy theorist) says Russians cheat, but when they are not there it still is cheating because they are not there for his sake. Since if you use the logic of that guy the chance is higher for Grischuk if Russians would play in, because for him they cheat. Then I assume you are not the same Anonymous guy who posted after Remco G?

I agree with that Grischuks chance is a tiny bit higher because I don´t believe in this conspiracy bullshit.

hank's picture

@TO: Collusion/cooperation will occur in a national team when stakes are high and the number of national players makes it possible, f.ex. the Candidates for the russians.
Believing otherwise is rather naive in my opinion. Listen to the post mortem interview with Grischuck after his loss to Kramnik in the London Candidates Or read the interview with Karjakin ( about arranging a result with Kurnosov in the last round in WCC.
Of course these kind of "help" within a national team will happen. No surprise really!

Thomas Oliver's picture

I don't know how many times it has been mentioned: Grischuk did NOT say "we play for the same team now"; he said "we analyzed this opening when we played for the same team NAO" - in the French team competition many years ago, the club was named after the sponsor Nahed Ojjeh:

The Karjakin interview also clearly states that his draw against Kurnosov was not (pre-)arranged - such allegations aren't true just because a journalist or anyone else makes such a suggestion!

hank's picture

There is obviously some disagreements as to what Grischuk said in that interview. It would be interesting to see how the other players in that event perceived the Grischuk- and Svidler-games against Kramnik though...
The point about the Karjakin-inteview is not that the game ended up being arranged (which it was probably not), but that an arrangement was even considered by Karjakin, and that such considerations fell natural to an extent that he could boldly admit it in the interview.

Anonymous's picture

In Grischuk vs Kramnik the main thing is that Kramnik had played that endgame many times during his career and never won it. His position was unwinnable this time too, Monokroussos who is a big Kramnik fan even said that it would have been difficult to hold draw for Kramnik. But Grischuk just let his time run out so he had seconds for a dozen moves and naturally started blundering (which supposedly makes it seem more believable that it was a fair game). This was suspicious regardless what he admitted in interview afterwards. The game was theory, and had a position Kramnik and Grischuk said they had analyzed together, long into the endgame. Still Grischuk spent all his time and lost quite needlessly.

Anonymous's picture

It could be added that Grischuk is very strong nationalist, I think he said in interview that he in any question or situation always would support Russia against all others regardless what it concerns. He also said that he has positive view of Stalin since Russia was great and feared under Stalin.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"It would be interesting to see how the other players in that event perceived the Grischuk- and Svidler-games against Kramnik"

It might be equally interesting - or maybe not - how the other players perceived the Grischuk, Svidler, Gelfand (first game) and Radjabov-games against Carlsen, all strange losses one way or another. Evidence for bribery by team Carlsen (with all the extra income from sponsoring, fashion modeling and TV appearances he's probably the richest player) is as strong, weak or non-existing as evidence for Russian collusion. Any player, also world-top players retain the right to play badly, manage their time badly (Grischuk in general, not just against Kramnik) or make blunders.

Anonymous's picture

"Evidence for bribery by team Carlsen - - - is as strong, weak or non-existing as evidence for Russian collusion"

There is a long tradition of Russian collusion though. Not only because players like Karpov and Spassky themselves have talked about frequently agreeing draws with compatriots "on orders". Botvinnik said that other players had been ordered to help him win but that he "refused" it. No one could seriously look at the dozen draws in the opening between Petrosian, Geller and Keres in Curacao 1962 and pretend they did not collude, etc. Karjakin said it crossed his mind to agree draw with Kurnosov before the game mentioned above. There is no long tradition of bribery by Carlsen.

Remco G's picture

The thing is that in Soviet times, chess was a propaganda tool. Fischer vs the Soviets was talked about in Cold War terms. The Soviet government also controlled a lot about the players' lives -- whether they were allowed to go abroad, etc. So they could pressure them and had reason to.

Now, who cares enough about chess to try this sort of thing?

Anonymous's picture

"in Soviet times, chess was a propaganda tool"

Russia under Putin looks more and more like Soviet Union. Russian players have huge state support like the Soviet players, and Sochi Olympiad and coming chess candidates are great propaganda tools. Collapse of Soviet Union was tragedy, Putin says, and tries to restore it best he can.

Remember the recent Universiade, when Russia won six time more golds than any other country. Russia allegedly sent their professional athletes under pretension they were students to gain national pride. When this was criticised Putin said that the critics should take Viagra.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"There is no long tradition of bribery by Carlsen."
Of course not, how many years has he been around? Playing Devil's Advocate rather than seriously suggesting such a possibility: Just like Lance Armstrong was caught many years later, such evidence against Carlsen might pop up in, say, 2025. And also if Carlsen never used bribery before, he could do it in the hitherto singlemost important event of his chess career?

"long tradition of Russian collusion" - you refer to the Soviet Union, right? Even if present-day Russia may retain "elements of the Soviet Union", Russia = Soviet Union is nearly as simplistic as Germany = Nazi regime or Spain = Franco dictatorship.

On the Karjakin-Kurnosov case: Fact is that Karjakin was the nominal favorite in their game. Kurnosov may have had (don't fix me on the numbers) 10% winning chances, 60% drawing chances and a 30% chance to lose. In a similar situation, other strong players (Carlsen, Aronian or any established 2700+ player) might also enter peace negotiations before the game or after a few moves had been played, and some opponents (not Kurnosov) would happily accept a draw.

Anonymous's picture

"Russia = Soviet Union is nearly as simplistic as Germany = Nazi regime"

Germany has a very long tradition of almost 70 years of public cleaning of Nazi politics and views. It would in no way be understood or acceptable if a German top player in public talked about his support for Hitler.

In Russia it is different. When Grischuk voices his support for Stalin in interviews no one sees something wrong in that. Stalin is very popular and almost won big vote for greatest Russian ever in spite of not even being Russian. Putin and Stalin are the most loved politicians ever, without competition. Partly because official history and views in school books don't describe Stalin as German school books describe Hitler. Stalin is big national hero and Father of the country to many, not only Grischuk. Maybe it would be different if Stalin had been pictured as Hitler has been pictured in Germany, but that is another and in itself interesting discussion.

hank's picture

@TO: You don't take the point, which is about cooperation within a national team when stakes are high and several from that team participate in the same event, - obviously facilitating "help" from team-mates.

The Karjakin-interview underlines how naive it is to disregard team-cooperation. Likewise that circumstances in the London-candidates obviously may an example thereof.
And why special Fide-regulations in Candidates for players from the same country...

Anon's picture

hank, do you understand that most of everything is based on corruption and the human race is a disgrace?

Anon's picture

WHY is it called LEG, and not FOOT?
What is the criteria for selecting Appeals Committee which is not made of Arbiters who knows the Rules. Its not understandable to my neighbour your Chess Rules.

Isaac Hunt's picture

If the conspiracists here put the same effort on understanding chess that they do to detect collusion patterns they would each be qualified to the candidates by now.

cak's picture

Nah, they would probably only see false combinations on the chess board, too.

hank's picture

...not according to the 10.000-hours-theory :-)

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