FIDE announces Grand Prix 2014-2015

by ChessBase
8/21/2014 – FIDE has announced the 2014-2015 Grand Prix series with the players invited to participate and the four tournaments that comprise it, reduced from the previous cycle's six. Two players will also qualify for the following 2014-2016 World Championship Candidates. At the top of the list of invitees are Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand, though the players are not confirmed yet.

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The list of the tournaments and locations released are: 

From Until Venue
01 October 15 October Baku, Azerbaijan 
20 October 03 November Tashkent, Uzbekistan 
14 February 28 February Tehran, Iran 
13 May 27 May Moscow, Russia 

The series has also been reduced from six to four tournaments, possibly due to the constricted scheduling, making it harder to secure sponsorship as many budgets are already accounted for. With the locations all taking place in Eastern Europe or Asia, it seems a pity that greater efforts were not make to try to diversify a bit more, to promote chess in places where it is not already the national sport. The exception being Iran, an unusual choice, especially considering Israeli player Boris Gelfand.

Of note also are the dates of the events, with two taking place in succession in October, right before the World Championship match. This may end up excluding both Carlsen and Anand, as they finalize their preparations for an epic encounter in November. These caveats aside, the list of participants is of the highest order and promises some breathtaking chess.

In all, a total of sixteen players will take part, with eleven qualifiers as per regulations (listed below) plus four nominees from the organisers (to be announced) and one nominee by the FIDE President (to be announced).  The eleven original qualifiers who have to confirm their participation by 27 August 2014 are: 

Magnus Carlsen
World Champion

Viswanathan Anand
World Championship match 2013

Vladimir Kramnik,
World Cup winner 2013

Dmitry Andreikin
World Cup runner-up 2013

Evgeny Tomashevsky
World Cup semi-finalist 2013

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
World Cup semi-finalist 2013

Levon Aronian
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Fabiano Caruana
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Alexander Grischuk
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Hikaru Nakamura
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Veselin Topalov
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Sergey Karjakin (reserve)
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Boris Gelfand (reserve)
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (reserve)
Average rating 5/2013 to 4/2014

Each player will play in three tournaments and all his results will be taken into account for the overall final standings of the Grand-Prix. The full regulations of the Grand-Prix 2014-2015 can be downloaded from the FIDE website here.

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