Press release: The Grand Chess Tour is pleased to announce the event level wildcards for the 2017 Grand Chess Tour events in Paris and Leuven.
The GCT Advisory Board considered both the players URS™ [Universal Rating System] standings as well as recent exceptional performances to finalise the selection of these eight wildcards. The board also considered local sponsor preferences while seeking to invite players who will bring a dynamic and exciting element to the respective tournaments in which they will be participating.
The four event level wildcards in each tournament will join the six full tour participants to complete the ten player fields that will fight for the US$150,000 prize fund in each event. The wildcards and full tournament fields for the two tournaments are as follows:
|#||Paris GCT Rapid (Paris, France)
21 - 25 June, 2017
|YourNextMove Rapid (Leuven, Belgium)|
28 June - 2 July, 2017
|TP||Magnus Carlsen (NOR)||Magnus Carlsen (NOR)|
|TP||Hikaru Nakamura (USA)||Wesley So (USA)|
|TP||Wesley So (USA)||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)|
|TP||Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)||Viswanathan Anand (IND)|
|TP||Sergey Karjakin (RUS)||Ian Nepomniachti (RUS)|
|TP||Fabiano Caruana (USA)||Levon ian (ARM)|
|WC||Alexander Grischuk (RUS)||Vladimir Kramnik (RUS)|
|WC||Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE)||Anish Giri (NED)|
|WC||Veselin Topalov (BUL)||Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR)|
|WC||Etienne Bacrot (FRA)||Baadur Jobava (GEO)|
TP = Tour Participant; WC = Wildcard. The event level wildcards for the remaining three events will be announced in due course.
The Grand Chess Tour is a circuit of international events, each demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world's best players. The Tour was created in partnership between the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (Sinquefield Cup) and Chess Promotions, Ltd. (London Chess Classic). The legendary Garry Kasparov, one of the world's greatest ambassadors for chess, inspired the Grand Chess Tour and helped solidify the partnership between the organizers.
The Paris GCT joined the Grand Chess Tour in 2016 thanks to the generous sponsorship of Colliers International, Vivendi and DailyMotion and will once again be the first stop on the 2017 Grand Chess Tour. Paris is a city known for its rich chess history, and the players will wow audiences around the world in one of the strongest rapid and blitz events in the world. Held a stones throw from the river Seine at the beautiful Maison de la Chimie, Paris GCT features a $150,000 prize fund and sets the tone for the season. Will American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura repeat his dominant performance last year?
Spectators may not be familiar with the Brussels suburb of Leuven, but you should be. A college town now, Leuven is a rich piece of European history waiting to be discovered. Your Next Move is a charity focused on chess in education, and by hosting the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour, further spotlights the world's best players. Thanks to Belgian businessman and chess enthusiast Jan Callewaert, Leuven will host the second leg of the GCT. World Champion Magnus Carlsen won last year in fine style, but with $150,000 on the line, you can be sure that all the players will try to top the field.
SAINT LOUIS (March 13, 2017) – For the ninth consecutive year, the nation’s top 24 chess players will gather in Saint Louis to compete for the titles of U.S. Champion and U.S. Women’s Champion, which will be held simultaneously at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) from March 28 through April 10.
The U.S. Chess Championship field features a headline clash between the nation’s top-three players: Grandmasters Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So. These three players have been battling it out on their way to the top of not only American – but world – chess for the past few years. Last year’s reigning champion, GM Caruana, is ranked #3 in the world, while GM Nakamura has won the U.S. Championships four times and recently won the prestigious Tradewise Gibraltar Open for the third time. GM So has seen a recent rapid rise, breaking into the elite “2800 Club” and remaining unbeaten in his last 56 FIDE rated games. Another exciting contender is young talent GM Jeffery Xiong who, in 2016, became the first U.S. player to win the World Junior Championship in almost two decades.
|1||GM Fabiano Caruana||2866||U.S. Champion|
|2||GM Wesley So||2841||Rating|
|3||GM Hikaru Nakamura||2821||Rating|
|4||GM Ray Robson||2719||Rating|
|5||GM Sam Shankland||2717||Rating|
|6||GM Jeffery Xiong||2715||U.S. Junior Champion|
|7||GM Gata Kamsky||2709||Rating|
|8||GM Alex Onischuk||2694||Rating|
|9||GM Daniel Naroditsky||2690||Rating|
|10||GM Var Akobian||2680||Rating|
|11||GM Alex Shabalov||2618||U.S. Open Champion|
|12||GM Yaroslav Zherebukh||2657||Wildcard|
* Invitational rating
The 2017 U.S. Women's Championship field will feature U.S. Women’s reigning champion WIM Nazi Paikidze and seven-time U.S. Women’s Champion WGM Irina Krush, who will seek to win back the title. WIM Paikidze has recently gained world attention with her boycott of the World Championships and will surely bring that same fire to Saint Louis. The Women’s Championship will once again see young talents like 15-year-old WIM Jennifer Yu and 13-year-old Carissa Yip.
|1||GM Irina Krush||2489||Rating|
|2||IM Anna Zatonskih||2487||Rating|
|3||IM Nazi Paikidze||2408||U.S. Women’s Champion|
|4||WGM Tatev Abrahamyan||2402||Rating|
|5||WGM Katerina Nemcova||2397||Rating|
|6||WGM Sabina Foisor||2324||Rating|
|7||WGM Anna Sharevich||2297||Rating|
|8||WFM Jennifer Yu||2283||Rating|
|9||WFM Apurva Virkud||2268||Rating|
|10||WIM Emily Nguyen||2250||U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion|
|11||WFM Carissa Yip||2234||Wildcard|
|12||NM Maggie Feng||2258||Wildcard|
“We are thrilled to once again be the epicenter of this country’s chess talent with the 2017 U.S. and U.S. Women’s Championships,” said Tony Rich, CCSCSL Executive Director. “It’s a true honor to host our nation’s very best and brightest competitors, and we look forward to a fantastic tournament.”
The 2017 U.S. Championships will be streamed live daily on www.uschesschamps.com, featuring play-by-play and analysis from the world-renowned commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Live spectators may view the action in the tournament hall and enjoy additional grandmaster-led commentary on-site by Saint Louis University chess team coach GM Alejandro Ramirez and YouTube sensation, GM Ben Finegold. Additional event, ticketing and hotel information may be found at www.uschesschamps.com.
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.
Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit the Saint Louis Chess Club.