Reports | July 31, 2008 0:12

In Sochi!

Tonight, in about one hour to be exact, the opening ceremony of the 2nd Grand Prix tournament in Sochi, Russia will take place. Get ready for thirteen rounds of top level chess, with Ivanchuk, Radjabov, Svidler, Aronian, Grischuk, Karjakin, Kamsky, Gelfand, Gashimov, Jakovenko, Wang Yue, Cheparinov, Navara and Al Modiahki playing.

I have arrived in Sochi a few hours ago, and I'm writing this from the Radisson SAS Lazurnay Hotel, where the event is held. This is because I will be in charge of the official tournament website again, just like I was during the first Grand Prix Tournament, which was held in Baku April 20 - May 6, and won by Gashimov, Wang Yue and Carlsen.

This is also the reason why there is a slight delay in the coverage of all those great events that are taking place, like Biel and Mainz, because today I travelled from Amsterdam to Sochi. That was quite an experience actually, with that stupid ancle of mine!

But everything went fine, with a stop at Vienna where the friendly chaps Aronian and Cheparinov joined the gentlemen Geurt Gijssen and Genna Sosonko, and cripled yours truly.

So here I am in Sochi, where both the weather and the view of the Black Sea are beautiful. From here I'll cover the event for the official website, but also for ChessVibes of course, and soon more reports on the other events will follow as well. (What to think of the important game Dominguez-Carlsen, a sharp Dragon that's being played at this very moment in Biel? More about that later of course.)

So before we know it, the time has come for already the second tournament in the FIDE Grand Prix Series. The tournament will run July 30 - August 15, with thirteen rounds and two rest days - the standard schedule for all six tournaments. First round tomorrow.

Of the three previous winners Gashimov, Wang Yue and Carlsen, only the Norwegian doesn't compete in Sochi. The big favourite here is Ivanchuk, whose new rating is no less than 37 points higher than second seeded Radjabov, who also played in Baku.

The other players who already participated in the first GP, are Svidler, Grischuk, Karjakin, Kamsky, Cheparinov and Navara. For Aronian, Gelfand, Jakovenko and Al Modiahki, Sochi 2008 will be their first Grand Prix tournament.

The Russian resort city Sochi (population 400,000) is situated in Krasnodar Krai, just north of the southern Russian border. It sprawls along the shores of the Black Sea against the background of the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. The city has been selected to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014.

Expect lots of good stuff, including videos by the Europe-Echecs crew.

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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.


Zenman's picture

It is left for 15 days of madness chess, LOL (;-)

C'est parti pour 15 jours de folie, LOL!!

TC's picture

Can anyone tell me why Al-Modiahki, Mohamad (rating 2556) gets to play in Sochi? It seems quite odd, as he has such a big gap in strength compare to the rest of the participants!!

Silken's picture

Each host city was allowed to nominate one local player. Katar chose Mohamad Al-Modiahki. The other Host City nominees are Navara, Pelletier, Gashimov, Inarkiev and.... the sixth I forgot. Was it Wang Yue?

Steven's picture


Steven_2's picture

Ankylosing spondulitis

Anonymous's picture

If they have internet in Ukraine, be sure to provide your loyal readers with the solution to the Chess Vibes puzzle of 280708--the one with the white rook at f5.
We will even accept the solution in Dutch.

semipatz's picture

Well, xtra, another reason they don't have more rest days is that they have to pay for all the players' hotel rooms for the extra days. In high-level tournaments like this, they stay in quite swank hotels, and it's pricey. So the players end up in really good hotels, but exhausted the whole time...ironic.

Eiae's picture

Tell them to hire you well ahead of time before the next tournament, Peter. Their website is really thin, with next to no information on anything but the participants in the Grand Prix. What are the overall standings, for instance? Or at what hour do the rounds start in Sochi? Such info should be available well ahead of time, in my opinion.

Carlsen is trying to kill the Dragon entirely for Black. There is simply no time for a6-a5-a4-e6 unless you want White to have a good chance of assassinating you on the king-side. Pity Dominguez failed to punish him.

semipatz's picture

I wish they would give these guys more than two rest days. With 13 games and Sofia Rules, they're going to be exhausted, with maybe lots of late draws. Same with the other Grand Prixs.

xtra's picture

yes, one or two more rest days would be good. A lot of rest days must seriously be the key for a competition if what you want is longer hard-fought games. But that probably doesnt compensate for the downside with many restdays, it makes it harder to keep the interest up among the crowd. maybe in a large event like this they could mix it up a bit, have say 5 games per day and thus giving 4 players an extra rest day every day. so in effect it would increase the total amount of rest days with maybe 3-4 per player for a large event like this. but that makes the system less simple which is a downside in itself. still, it might be worth considering.

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