May 25, 2012 14:05

Meanwhile, FIDE announces new Grand Prix series, contracts to be signed before June 1st

FIDE announces new Grand Prix series, contracts to be signed before June 1st

While the current World Championship cycle is about to reach its climax, the next cycles are well under way. The player who will challenge the winner of the Anand-Gelfand match in a new title match, will be coming from the 8-player Candidates tournament, to be held March 2013 in London. The cycle after that has already started as well, and includes a brand new Grand Prix series, which was announced last week on the FIDE website.

Exactly one week ago FIDE published an announcement concerning the new Grand Prix series.

FIDE and AGON are pleased to announce the full details of the new Grand Prix cycle 2012/2013. Regulations for the Series as well as Players contracts can be found below.

Each player will be assigned to play in four of the six cities and his best three results will be accumulated for his / her overall ranking at the end of the series. The top two overall placed in the Grand Prix will qualify for the Candidates event in 2014. 

This system is the same as the first GP series which was held in 2008-2010 and won by Levon Aronian (second came Teimour Radjabov). 

FIDE Grand Prix Series 2008-2009 | Overall Final Standings

Source: Wikipedia


Who is entitled to play in the second Grand Prix series? A total of 18 players will be selected, and at the moment FIDE gives the following names, who qualify on different criteria.

  • Viswanathan Anand (IND) and Boris Gelfand (ISR), as the current World Champion and Challenger.
  • Peter Svidler (RUS), Alexander Grischuk (RUS), Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR) and Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR), as the top 4 from the last World Cup.
  • One player, rated at least 2700 in the January 2012 FIDE rating list, will be nominated by the FIDE President.
  • Six players may be nominated by AGON and must be rated at least 2700 in the January 2012 rating list or have been a World Chess Champion.
  • Five players (plus reserves) will qualify by rating. For this the average of the July 2011 and January 2012 rating lists will be used.

Cities & dates

The six cities and dates for this second Grand Prix series are:

Chelyabinsk (September 19 – October 3)
Tashkent (November 21 – December 4)

Lisbon (April 10 – April 24)
Madrid (May 22 – June 4)
Berlin (July 3 – July 17)
Paris (September 18 – October 2)

Especially these last four European cities have raised eyebrows. Not that anyone is against having the tournaments there, but one cannot deny that in recent years it has been impossible for FIDE to find sponsors and hold their main events in big, Western cities. (During the previous Grand Prix series, three of the six host cities withdrew, and were replaced by cities in the Caucasus. The six tournaments took place in Baku, Sochi, Elista, Nalchik, Jermuk and Astrakhan.) There is reason to remain skeptical "until the first move has been played".


As it turns out, the players have to sign the contract before June 1st, which is in one week from today. They must also submit the six cities ranked in order or preference of participation, and FIDE and AGON will consider the players’ requests.

Below the announcement article on the FIDE website you can actually download the players' contract (alongside the GP regulations). However, the current version is not the same as last week's, and a new version will actually be put online on Monday, as we were told by Andrew Paulson. The reason is that FIDE and Agon are still in touch with players, managers and even the Association of Chess Professionals, who have expressed certain concerns.

For instance, in the draft that was posted one week ago, there was the following sentence:

If the Series is cancelled by the Organiser, or does not take place due to Force Majeure, and notice in writing of such cancellation or of the Series’ not taking place is given by the Organiser to FIDE and the Players, the parties agree that they shall each be relieved of their respective obligations under this Agreement in relation to the Series without any party having any further liability to the other parties.

From the players' perspective, this meant that they would be running some serious risks. They had to basically agree to four tournaments in a twelve month time span, but there would be no compensation if one or more tournaments would be cancelled. At the same time, their signing of contracts would deprive them of the opportunity to play in other big tournaments, which are often scheduled coinciding with or very close to a GP.

In the meantime, this sentence was changed to:

If the Series does not take place due to Force Majeure, and notice in writing of such cancellation or of the Series’ not taking place is given by the Organiser to FIDE and the Players, the parties agree that they shall all be relieved of their respective obligations under this Agreement in relation to the Series without any party having any further liability to the other parties.

Another concern about the current version was that FIDE/Agon could change the dates with no consequences. This will also be changed for the final version that will be sent to the players and published online on Monday.

Andrew Paulson:

In the past this was not a negotiation; it was an ukase. Now, we are happy to adapt to the concerns of the players. Note, also, that I unilaterally doubled the prize fund for the Grand Prix and that the total now is € 1,440,000*.

In a week from now we'll know which players will have committed themselves and play in the new Grand Prix Series. Let's hope that we'll see a good start in Chelyabinsk and Tashkent and that in a year from now, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin and Paris will be hosting four fantastic events.

*This amount is a correction of a previous incorrect amount given here.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Para's picture

Bad conditions. As usual..

tobbse's picture

...and people grumble. As usual...

Looking forward to 6 great events!
What kind of format will the "8-player Candidates tournament" have?

S3's picture

1,3 million dollar prize fund..not bad at all these days.

S3's picture

euro's even.

redivivo's picture

Topalov and Kramnik refused to sign up last time and I wonder if they will be more interested now. The four western capitals were probably placed last in the series since they are as certain as the last events in the previous Grand Prix, i.e. they look nice on paper but aren't anywhere near certain to ever take place.

noyb's picture


Creemer's picture

Hope floats.

Thomas's picture

Funny that players must be rated at least 2700 in the _January 2012_ rating list rather than the most recent one. This means that local players Vallejo (2705 at the time), Bacrot (2704) and Naiditsch (2702) are eligible for a wildcard - all fell just below 2700 in the meantime, the only local player could be Fressinet. It could also good news for Giri, and the exception for former world champions probably means that a player from Uzbekistan will participate.

Anonymous's picture

+1, Nice observation

redivivo's picture

Also a bit funny that Radjabov (#4 at the moment) isn't one of the 18 players included unless at least three decline to participate.

S3's picture

How is that? He will be invited for sure.

Anonymous's picture

Great observation. Lucky Rustam! But seems so obvious know? Why is FIDE being so accommodating?

jo's picture

No Chucky?

me's picture

Trouble reading?

jo's picture

Lol.. i thought it was just the table ..but on rereading everything it seems even more confusing

h8dgeh0g's picture

FIDE could pick players based on the avg. rating of past couple of years to make it simple. But knowing fide, something as simple as this is never going to happen as it leaves them with not much room for manipulations.

Thomas's picture

This would be rather unfair to players who improved only recently: the main victim of the system may be Caruana rather than Radjabov, and the most privileged player is probably Topalov. Any system can also benefit or hurt players with wild form swings: currently Morozevich and Ivanchuk (qualified via the World Cup) are up while Shirov is down but, like the others, might come back.
The fairest solution might be a qualifying event, e.g. a Swiss event open to players rated 2650 or higher. The World Cup may be considered as such a qualifier.

h8dgeh0g's picture

i am proposing to take *avg* of ratings of past cople of years. you could make avg of last 2 or 3 years. lets say, pick a player and get his past 12 ratings in the list and divide it by 12. it averages the wild swing or fluctuations. if somebody is not on form for last couple of years ought not to participate in the cycle. this system would produce much better result than lets say kamsky participating in the 2011 cycle because he won something 5 years back and *lost* to topalov a year back. overall this system will be much clearer so it would rid of all the bias and fide nonsense.

Anonymous's picture

Good idea. What about calculating each rating using results only against 2700 and above opponents?

redivivo's picture

Since the events will take place so far into the future I think it would have been a good idea to reserve two-three spots for current top players like Nakamura, Radjabov and Caruana, now that as many as 18 will participate in the cycle. They are still improving and could be ranked even higher when the series starts (not particularly soon, and then it will go on for quite some time). With all respect for Kasimdzhanov, Naiditsch, Bacrot and Vallejo a cycle with them but without Nakamura, Radjabov and Caruana would feel less exciting than it could be.

Thomas's picture

Three wildcards remain and could go to the players you mention, then maybe the only one who is really missing is Morozevich - but somehow I don't consider him WCh material: he could do extremely well in one GP event but not in several ones?

I might be wrong about the "significance" of choosing the January 2012 list, it could also be inertia as the GP Series was originally supposed to start already this spring. But the exception for Kasimdzhanov (probably not Khalifman) is pretty obvious and a sign of gratitude for Tashkent.

Anonymous's picture

And probably not Karpov and Korchnoi. :)

Septimus's picture

Finding sponsors at so many venues will be hard.

Thomas's picture

It seems that the money comes from AGON rather than from the organizing countries. Else Lisbon would be really surprising: Portugal has other worries and has never organized a major chess event before - to my knowledge, neither has France.

me's picture

Certain gentlemans by the name of Karpov and Kasparov played half of their 1990 World championship match in France.

nathan's picture

"Local" wildcards would go to Kazim, Bacrot, Vallejo, Bacrot. That leaves 3 wildcards.
Hopefully with some withdrawals, Radjabov, Naka, Caruana, Moro, Nepomniatchi can all make it. Hopefully Judith gets invited too.

nathan's picture

I meant Naiditsch instead of repeating Bacrot.
I dont see Carlsen, Aronian participating as they would make to candidates based on their rating.

bondegnasker's picture

Why must the deadline be June 1st of all dates? If the current WC match goes to tiebreaks, that means Anand and Gelfand have all of May 31th to decide whether they want in or not...

bondegnasker's picture

Why must the deadline be June 1st of all dates? If the current WC match goes to tiebreaks, that means Anand and Gelfand have all of May 31th to decide whether they want in or not...

bondegnasker's picture

Sorry for the double post. The "post" button seems to be a little slow, so I clicked twice.

Anonymous's picture

I believe the loser of the World Championship gets some kind of seeding into the next cycle.

Thomas's picture

Yes, the loser of Anand-Gelfand will play the next candidates event in spring 2013. But this GP Series is part of the second-next (or whatever the correct English term) is.

Zeblakob's picture

And Topalov is back ....

Anonymous's picture

It would really be exciting to see him find his old form.

h8dgeh0g's picture

Keeping the track record of FIDE in mind, there will be many changes in the cycle later on.

redivivo's picture

Indeed, and I wonder how Lisbon came up as a host city. Their highest rated player is in the 2400s while for example an Italian city could mean Caruana as local nominee (instead of being 12th reserve that would also mean that the 2770+ rated Caruana could play the cycle).

Thomas's picture

It could be personal reasons, for example Andrew Paulson's Portuguese girl-friend (just speculating or kidding). Anyway, there's nothing per se wrong with having one event in a country that doesn't have much of a chess tradition, and/or doesn't have a current top100 player. Nor is it unprecedented: Argentina and Mexico had WCh tournaments, Mexico and Brazil co-organised supertournaments.
The wildcard doesn't have to be a local player. And it seems that the events are organized by Agon at locations they chose, rather than by the countries or cities themselves.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

So its well past June 1st. Do we know which players did and did not sign up for the grand prix?

And still, the grand prix series picks two players for the 2014 candidates. Do we know what rules constitute the other players?
Probably 3 from world cup as before
Loser of 2013 wch match

Still leaves 2 places of which one might be a nominee.

Peter Doggers's picture

In fact I asked a FIDE representative today, who told me that the players were given an extension of  a few days due to some amendments to the players' agreement.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

Thanks for that. At least there is some interaction between the players and FIDE which means we will see some news shortly.

Latest articles