Reports | July 18, 2012 3:36

FIDE/Agon announce Grand Prix 2012-2013 participants

FIDE/AGON Grand Prix

The full list of participants of the new Grand Prix series has been announced on the FIDE website. Besides World Champion Vishy Anand, the world's top three players, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik, have decided not to participate.

Here's Tuesday's press release by FIDE/Agon:

Following a technical clarification, FIDE and AGON issue the revised players allocation.

FIDE and AGON announces full list of players and allocation for FIDE Grand Prix Series 2012/13

The list of players who will participate in the cycle over the next two years is as follows :

1. From World Championship Match 2012
GM Boris Gelfand (ISR)

2. From World Cup 2011
GM Peter Svidler (RUS)
GM Alexander Grischuk (RUS)
GM Vasily Ivanchuk (UKR)
GM Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR)

3. By Average Rating (July 2011 + January 2012)
GM Teimour Radjabov (AZE)
GM Sergey Karjakin (RUS)
GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA)
GM Veselin Topalov (BUL)
GM Shakriyar Mamedyarov (AZE)
GM Vugar Gashimov (AZE)

4. FIDE President Nominee
GM Fabiano Caruana (ITA)

5. AGON Nominees
GM Alexander Morozevich (RUS)
GM Wang Hao (CHN)
GM Peter Leko (HUN)
GM Leinier Dominguez Perez (CUB)
GM Anish Giri (NLD)
GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB)

The allocation of dates and cities is as follows:

FIDE GRAND PRIX       2012   2013      
Name CTY Criteria jul-12 London Tashkent Lisbon Madrid Berlin Paris
        20 Sep - 3 Oct 21 Nov - 5 Dec 17 Apr- 1 May 22 May - 4 Jun 3 - 17 Jul 18 Sep - 2 Oct
Radjabov, Teimour AZE Rating 2788     2788 2788 2788 2788
Karjakin, Sergey RUS Rating 2779 2779 2779 2779     2779
Nakamura, Hikaru USA Rating 2778 2778   2778 2778   2778
Caruana, Fabiano ITA Fide President 2773   2773 2773 2773   2773
Morozevich, Alexander RUS AGON 2770   2770 2770 2770 2770  
Ivanchuk, Vassily UKR World Cup 2769   2769   2769 2769 2769
Grischuk, Alexander RUS World Cup 2763 2763     2763 2763 2763
Topalov, Veselin BUL Rating 2752 2752   2752 2752 2752  
Svidler, Peter RUS World Cup 2749   2749   2749 2749 2749
Wang, Hao CHN AGON 2739 2739 2739 2739     2739
Gelfand, Boris ISR Match 2738 2738 2738     2738 2738
Gashimov, Vugar AZE Rating 2737   2737 2737 2737 2737  
Leko, Peter HUN AGON 2730 2730 2730 2730   2730  
Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR World Cup 2726 2726   2726 2726   2726
Mamedyarov, Shakr. AZE Rating 2726 2726 2726 2726   2726  
Dominguez Perez, Le. CUB AGON 2725 2725 2725   2725   2725
Giri, Anish NLD AGON 2696 2696   2696   2696 2696
Kasimdzhanov, Rustam UZB AGON 2690 2690 2690   2690 2690  
    Average 2746.0 2736.8 2743.8 2749.5 2751.7 2742.3 2751.9
    Players   12 12 12 12 12 12

Kindly note that the date for the first leg in London has moved by one day and arrival will be on the 20th September with the 1st round on the 21st September 2012.

Similarly, the Lisbon event has been rescheduled by one week starting with arrival on the 17th July 2013 and 1st round on the 18th July 2013. [This is a typo and should be April twice – CV ] This is due to a move in the start date of the Candidates in London which will now start on the 20th of March 2013 due to the availability of the playing venue.

Regulations for the Grand Prix can be found here for ease of reference.

Just like the previous series, this Grand Prix does not have the strongest possible line-up. The world's top 3, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik as well as the World Champion, Vishy Anand, decided not to play. Espen Agdestein, manager of Magnus Carlsen, gave us the following statement:

For Magnus it was difficult to participate this time due to a very busy schedule. For 2012, he has long planned to take part in the Final Masters in Sao Paulo/Bilbao and in the London Classic. As these have conflicting dates with the two GP tournaments in 2012 it's impossible to do both.

For the first half of 2013, Magnus plans to participate in the Tata Steel Tournament, the Candidate, Stavanger and the Tal Memorial. Trying to combine these with playing three GP's during the same period will definitely be a too tough schedule.

Magnus is still part of the cycle as he plans to participate in the 2013 Candidate tournament and probably also the 2013 World Cup in Tromsø.

Andrew Paulson of Agon told us that Judit Polgar and Luke McShane were also invited, but that they both had other commitments. He even tried to persuade Garry Kasparov for a sensational comeback to chess, but thus far he didn't manage...

When FIDE announced the details about this Grand Prix series on May 18th, the first tournament was still scheduled to be held in Chelyabinsk. However, early July the Russian Chess Federation refused to sanction this tournament, and the €300,000 in sponsorship that was promised for the event was blocked at the highest levels of government. (See this WhyChess report for more details.) Then Agon decided to move the event to London, to Simpson's-in-the-Strand.

The announcement of the Grand Prix participants went a bit chaotic as well. FIDE first put the press release, given above, online on Monday afternoon, which then had Gata Kamsky instead of Vugar Gashimov, as a result of a misunderstanding (and, as one source told us, a missing contract!). Soon the press release was removed again from the FIDE website, and on Tuesday it re-appeared, with the extra sentence "Following a technical clarification, FIDE and AGON issue the revised players allocation" and with Gashimov's name on it instead of Kamsky's.

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.


redivivo's picture

"what should have been done instead?"

They could contact a player before inviting someone else or publishing the definitive list, there were after all only six players qualified by rating.

"Dominguez recently lost or surrendered his spot in Biel to make room for Carlsen .... apparently I am the only one who found this a bit strange, various other sources (Chessvibes hasn't yet reported) seem to consider it perfectly normal"

It's perfectly normal that a player is replaced if he doesn't participate.

Anonymous's picture

Double standards redivivo. Dominguez was apparently thrown out to make room for Carlsen after Bazna was suddenly canceled. Again quite a non-ethical stand by Carlsen profiting at someone else's expense. But somehow you prefer to make a big deal about this little mistake of FIDE.
Better focus on the good news here.

Btw, obviously all players have been contacted by FIDE before the list was published as can be derived from both regulations tournament choice of the players.

redivivo's picture

My guess is rather that Dominguez, after suddenly being told by FIDE that he was going to play two Grand Prix tournaments in the autumn, thought it better to concentrate on preparing for them than to play also Biel.

Thomas's picture

I guess this is just a guess - if that was the reason, why doesn't the Biel tournament homepage (and other sources copying that information) say so? Instead, they come up with the somewhat cryptic news "Carlsen wants to and will play, Dominguez no longer plays" - no details on how this "deal" was arranged. And Dominguez wasn't simply told by FIDE that he will play two Grand Prix events but accepted his wildcard spot - proof: McShane and Polgar (and Kasparov) declined their spots.

For the FIDE Grand Prix, would you also insist on how badly Kamsky was treated if Carlsen wanted to play but his contract got lost?? The FIDE GP has clear rules on who gets the first 15 spots and who's next in line if some players decline their invitations; apparently they initially violated their own rules to the disadvantage of Gashimov. Hence - while the procedure deserves no beauty prize - Kamsky deserves an excuse or at most some financial compensation, but he wasn't really robbed of anything.

For private events like Biel, it's "by invitation". And generally, once players are invited, accept the invitation and sign a contract they keep their spot. It is at least possible that Biel diverges from such traditions or standards ... .

Anonymous's picture

Come on redivivo, you can do better than this. This lie is too obvious.

redivivo's picture

"Dominguez wasn't simply told by FIDE that he will play two Grand Prix events but accepted his wildcard spot - proof: McShane and Polgar (and Kasparov) declined their spots"

Dominguez was told by FIDE that he will play the first GP events, held this autumn, the players can't refuse once they accepted their spot and he couldn't know in advance which tournaments he would be given.

"For the FIDE Grand Prix, would you also insist on how badly Kamsky was treated if Carlsen wanted to play but his contract got lost??"

I haven't claimed that Kamsky was badly treated, I just quoted what he and others said about the mess. FIDE could have handled it all better though.

"once players are invited, accept the invitation and sign a contract they keep their spot. It is at least possible that Biel diverges from such traditions or standards"

If Dominguez had been forcibly removed against his own wishes this would probably not have gone unnoticed either by him or other players, I don't think that ever happened before. It isn't unusual that players withdraw though, it has happened with Moro at several occasions, Wang Hao, Kramnik, Karpov, etc.

Thomas's picture

There was at least one occasion when a player was forcibly removed against his own wishes: Gashimov (another participant in the GP story) at Reggio Emilia last year - he heard from colleagues that he's no longer part of the field. The fact that Dominguez doesn't talk about no longer playing Biel doesn't necessarily mean that he is happy with the turn of events, and even less that it was his own idea. I mentioned this case on a German blog, Stefan Löffler mentioned earlier today that dominguez gets a Biel 2013 invitation as consolation prize from the organizers, is this it??

It's another story that (other) players asked to be released from their contracts for whichever reason, and organizers complied explicitly stating that a player dropped out at his own request.

I would find it hard to believe that Dominguez cancelled Biel (21 July - 3 August) to prepare for London starting six weeks later. There is the Olympiad in between ending ten days before London - where all London participants will probably play but Svidler who didn't make it on the Russian team. Dominguez is or was used to busy/busier schedules - during the brief period when he and Wang Yue were the best players from North America and China and got invitations to almost all supertournaments.

At least the alternative interpretation seems equally likely: Carlsen invited himself to Biel, more or less "claiming" a spot, and someone else had to step aside.

Anonymous's picture

Regulations are pretty clear about this: Players indicate their prefered GP tournaments in advance, so it's far more likely that Dominguez already knew his schedule.
And besides, the Biel tournament isn't at the same time as any of the GP tournaments anyway!

It is far more likely that Dominguez "withdrawal" from Biel has nothing to do with the GP. The fact that the news of Carlsen participating and Dominguez "retreating" at Biel was announced at the same time points in the direction of a simple trade by the organizers. That would also explain why there is no reason given for Dominguez his leave on the official site.
It would be quite unethical but it's the most logical explanation and it would be nice if some reporters could get more info on both incidents to be sure.

Bartleby's picture

Would Kamsky have been an AGON nominee if he hadn't erroneously been nominated by rating?
If all participants were based on rating, only 3 would be different: Kamsky, Jakovenko, Vitiugov instead of Leko, Giri, Kasimdzhanov. And the 18th spot would be a tie between Caruana and Tomashevsky. So they swapped a couple of Russians for more exciting names. But Leko instead of Kamsky doesn't make sense. I guess this is just an unintended by-product of that unlucky first list.

TRJ's picture

Important question: Is Magnus Carlsen intersted in FIDE / Agon announce Grand Prix 2012-2013 participants? He is busy on 52 weeks a year agreement? mmm.....


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