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First FIDE Grand Prix begins in Sharjah -

First FIDE Grand Prix begins in Sharjah -

On Saturday, the first round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Sharjah starts. With this first tournament, of four, the cycle starts for the 2017-2018 World Chess Championship.

The new Grand Prix series consists of four tournaments, to be held in Sharjah, Moscow, Geneva and Palma de Mallorca. These will be responsible for deciding which two players will qualify for the next year's tournament of candidates. The other categories will be chosen according to some criteria: runner-up of the previous match (Sergey Karjakin), World Cup 2017, by Elo and invitations from the organizers. The winner of the tournament will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Champion crown in late 2018.

In a previous report, 24 Grand Prix participants were introduced. Each of them will participate in three of the four tournaments. This week, chess journalist and World Chess correspondent Dylan McClain shared with the names of the six players who will not participate in Sharjah: Anish Giri, Pentala Harikrishna, Peter

Svidler, Ernesto Inarkiev, Boris Gelfand and Teimour Radjabov. This automatically generates the following list of participants. (In a last-minute note, Wei Yi was replaced by Hou Yifan). Sharjah Grand Prix 2017 Participants

Michael Adams



Alexander Grischuk

Ian Nepomniachtchi



Dmitry Jakovenko

Richard Rapport

Hou Yifan

Jon Ludvig Hammer

p> These 18 players will play a nine-round Swiss. This is a big difference from other tournaments, where 14-player round-robins were played, similar to the Wijk aan Zee format. Some participants contributed their opinion to about this change.

Peter Svidler : "I will closely follow the Sharjah tournament with great interest, not only by excellent template of players, but also by the new format.It will be important for me to see how this extreme Swiss system works, particularly at the time of the pairings in the last rounds.

> As a viewer, I am very happy with the format - it gives much visibility to the games (and a greater possibility to be classified) with respect to the previous format and that is certainly a good thing.

Boris Gelfand : "I am happy that the Grand Prix will be celebrated with this fair classification system and add four NEW (!) tournaments to the calendar. Teimour Radjabov : "I think this new format is interesting. We'll see how it works, but I think it can."

be very exciting with all the players fighting for the two qualifying places. In short: it looks great! "

Francisco Vallejo : "In fact, I do not really care about formatting, I want to try to show my best level against strong opponents, that's all that matters to me right now." < The time control for Grand Prix tournaments will be 100 minutes for the first 40 plays, 50 minutes for the next 20 and 15 minutes until the end of the game, with 30 seconds of increase from the first play. The first leg of the Grand Prix will be held between February 18 and 27 in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) and will be based in Sharjah's cultural center and chess club. The first prize is € 20,000, with the total prize pool of € 130,000 for each tournament and € 520,000 for the full Grand Prix.

In 2014, the women's FIDE GP was also held in Sharjah. | Photo by Maria Emelianova.



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