Friday, May 15, 2009

The complicated world championship cycle

THE Fide Grand Prix 2008-2009 is a series of six tournaments which forms part of the qualification for the World Chess Championship 2011. A complete explanation is necessary as the world championship cycle is rather complicated and the fourth leg is now underway.

Twenty-one players were nominated to participate in the Grand Prix. Each player must play in at least four out of the six tournaments. Grand Prix points are then allocated according to each player’s standing in the tournament. Players only count their best three tournament results and the player with the most Grand Prix points is the winner.

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As originally envisioned, the winner of the Grand Prix will play a match in 2010 against the Chess World Cup champion of
2009. The winner will then challenge the world chess champion in 2011.

Last month, Fide announced some major changes which caused the withdrawal of Magnus Carlsen and Michael Adams from the original list. Another participant, Levon Aronian, issued an open letter of protest, but did not withdraw. The influential Association of Chess Professionals also objected to the change, saying, “The system of the world championship cannot be changed once the cycle has started.”

The challenger match (between the Grand Prix winner and the World Cup winner) has been replaced with a candidates’ tournament of eight players. The winner will play the world champion (winner of Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov to be held in April 2010). The eight-player candidates’ tournament will either be a double-round robin or a knockout classical match format with quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

The eight players will be composed of two from the Grand Prix, the winner of World Cup 2009, two from the top rating list, Gata Kamsky, the loser of Anand vs. Topalov, and one nominee by the Fide president.

Three of the six tournaments have been played while the fourth is now on round 7 in Nalchik,Russia. The fifth leg will be played in Yerevan, Armenia on Aug. 1 to 17 late this year.

Here are the results of the first tournament played in Baku, Azerbaijan from April 20 to May 5 last year: 1.) Vugar Gashimov, 2.) Wang Yue, 3.) Carlsen 4.) Mamedyarov Shakriyar, 5.) Alexander Grischuk. 6.) Adams, 7.) Peter Svidler 8.) Teimour Radjabov, 9.) Kamsky, 10.) Sergey Karjakin, 11.) Ivan Cheparinov, 12.) David Navara, 13.) Etienne Bacrot and 14.) Ernesto Inarkiev.

The top three earned 153 points each.

The second Grand Prix was played last year on July 31 to Aug. 14 in Sochi,Russia. The results were 1.) Aronian, 2.) Radjabov, 3.) Wang, 4.) Kamsky, 5.) Svidler, 6.) Dmitry Jakovenko, 7.) Karjakin, 8.) Vassily Ivanchuk, 9.) Gashimov, 10.) Grischuk, 11.) Cheparinov, 12.) Boris Gelfand, 13.) David Navara, 14.) Mohamad Al-Modiakhi.

Aronian earned 180 points and Radjabov 150. Wang and Kamsky had 120 points each.

The third leg was played in Elista, Russia last Dec. 14 to 28,2008 .The final results were: 1.) Radjabov, 2.) Jakovenko,3.) Grischuk, 4.) Gashimov, 5. ) Peter Leko, 6.) Bacrot, 7.) Shakriyar, 8.) Wang, 9.) Rustam Kasimdzhanov, 10.) Ivan
Cheparinov, 11.) Evgeny Alekseev, 12.) Vladimir Akopian, 13.) Ernesto Inarkiev. The top three earned 153 points each.

CONGRATS. Kyle Sevillano (10-Under) and Vic Glysen Derotas (8-Under) emerged champions in their age groups in the National Age-Group Chess Championship in Kalibo,Aklan, which ended yesterday. Jessa Balbona was second in the Girls 18-Under.

The three Cebuanos will be sent to Vietnam for the Asean Championship.

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