Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grand Prix

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño



THREE years ago, Fide created the Grand Prix--a series of six tournaments that would be part of the cycle to select a challenger for the world chess championship for both men and women.

The Grand Prix is a brainchild of Bessel Kok of Global Chess, who challenged unsuccessfully Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, during the last elections in 2006 in Turin, Italy.

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The Grand Prix tournaments offer substantial prizes (30,000 euros for first, 22,500 for second, 20,000 for third, etc.) though much lower for the ladies.

Fide selected 21 of the top men players in the world. Each of the 21 men will play in four of six tournaments.

Each Men tournament is a 14-player, single round-robin format. Grand prix points are then allocated according to each player’s result: 180 points for first place, 150 for second place,130 for third place and down the line.

The winner of the Men Grand Prix was originally scheduled to play a match in 2010 against the winner of the Chess World Cup 2009, with the winner of that match becoming the challenger for the World Chess Championship 2012.

Fide has changed the format. Instead, the winner and the runner-up will join an eight-player Candidates Tournament. This has caused a number of protests, with two players withdrawing (Magnus Carlsen and Michael Adams) and two others being replaced.

Here are the top 3 players on each leg: Wang Yue and Vugar Gashimov tied for 1st followed by Teimour Radjabov in Baku, Azerbaijan; Levon Aronian won in Sochi,Russia while Radjabov was 2nd and Wang Yue 3rd; In Elista, Radjabov ,Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko tied for 1st ; Aronian again won in Nalchik,Russia with Peter Leko 2nd and Grischuk 3rd; Vassily Ivanchuk won in Jermuk,Armenia followed by Aronian and Boris Gelfand.

Finally,the last leg took place in Astrakhan, Russia last May 9-May 25. Pavel Eljanov took clear first place with 8/13.Five players tied for second including Radjabov.

The 2 Grand Prix qualifiers are, therefore, Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov.

They will join the following players to select the challenger to Vishy Anand in 2012: Veselin Topalov (loser of the championship vs Anand this year); Gata Kamsky (loser of the 2009 challenger match); Boris Gelfand (winner of 2009 World Cup); Magnus Carlsen (highest rated player in the world); Vladimir Kramnik (2nd highest rated player in the world).The seeding is based on the average ratings as of July 2009 and January 2010.

The final 8th player will be nominated by the sponsor of the Candidates Tournament.

Eighteen women were selected in the Women‘s Grand Prix and 12 players will play in each leg.

The third Women’s Grand Prix has just concluded in Nalchik, Russia. It was won by Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia. She scored 9 points out of a possible 11. This was Kosintseva‘s 1st participation in the Grand Prix series.

The 1st leg was held in Istanbul and snared by Koneru Humpy and the 2nd was snatched by Xu Yuhua in Nanjing.

After the 3rd Grand Prix,Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue are tied for first in the overall standings. Nana Dzagnidze and Koneru Humpy are tied for third and fourth, Pia Cramling is fifth and Kosintseva is tied for sixth through eighth with Marie Sebag of France and Xu Yuhua of China.

The 4th Grand Prix will take place in Jermuk,Armenia on June 23-July 6, the fifth in Ulan Bataar,Mongolia on July29-August 12 and the final and 6th leg will be in Santiago,Chile on October 27-November 9.

The winner of the Grand Prix series at the end of 2010 will play the Women World Champion in the third quarter of 2011 in a ten-game match for the Women’s World Championship title.

Alexandra Kosteniuk is the current Women Champion.

(boypestano@gmail.com,www.chessmoso.blogspot.com)

Solution to the previous puzzle (problem 108)-Qd4 (White mates in 3 moves). Those who got it right are Markeno Czar Manzanares, Allan Abing, Reynaldo Tolorio, Jhamaika Seville, Windy Padin, Jerty Dorog, Denis Navales, Christian Lumapac, Darius Caesar Lauta, Godfrey Villamor.The winner is Denis Navales.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2010.