Grand Chess Tour LIVE in Leuven

by ChessBase
6/16/2018 – Tuesday, June 12th, the Grand Chess Tour 2018 starts in Leuven, Belgium, with a combined rapid chess and blitz tournament. Ten world-elite players will compete over five days that will certainly deliver an entertaining spectacle. The prize fund is $ 150,000, with $37,500 for the winner. Live games and commentary from 14:00 CEST (8:00 AM EDT). | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

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Grand Chess Tour 2018

The first event of the 2018 GCT is played in Leuven, Belgium from June 12th to 16th. Unlike in previous years, the players will then move on to Paris for the second leg of the tour the following week.

The first three days are dedicated to rapid chess with rounds beginning at 14:00, 15:30 and 17:00 CEST (UTC+2), followed by blitz rounds on June 15th and 16th starting at 14:00 the first day and 12 Noon the second with rounds every half hour — 18 rounds in all.

The time control uses the US-standard delay, rather than increment, and players receive 25 minutes plus a 10-second delay per move for rapid, and then 5 minutes plus 3-second delay for blitz.

Combined standings

Final results

Blitz games and commentary


Commentary by Yasser Seirawan, Jovanka Houska, Alejandro Ramirez (St. Louis)
Maurice Ashley and Nigel Short (Leuven)

Blitz final standings


Rapid final standings (rapid games use double point scoring)


Round-up shows

IM Robert Ris presents the highlights from the final day of blitz in Leuven.

The players


Name Federation Age
Wesley So USA 24
Hikaru Nakamura USA 30
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 27
Viswanathan Anand India 48
Levon Aronian Armenia 35
Fabiano Caruana USA 25
Sergey Karjakin Russia 28
Alexander Grischuk Russia 34
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan 33
Anish Giri (Wildcard) Netherlands 23

Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik were initially invited, but both opted to decline their spots this year due to heavy scheduling commitments and the requirement that players be available to compete in all tour events throughout the year. Consequently, Sergey Karjakin was invited as a replacement and each tournament will also include a single "wildcard" player, who will not compete for overall tour points. (Kramnik will be the wild card in Paris.)

Aside from Giri, Alexander Grischuk is the only player in Leuven who did not fly in from Stavanger after competing in Norway Chess. So, he should be well rested — provided he doesn't tire himself out first:

In addition to Karjakin, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will be keen to right the ship, following his disappointing joint-last-place finish (with Karjakin) in Norway. 'MVL' has formally adopted the short-hand moniker on his recently reinvigorated personal web site, where he commented:

"This 2018 Norway Chess tournament was no picnic at all. For sure, it is not a glorious result for what was meant to be my first major goal of the year…
Now, I have to quickly move on to something else, and get back into the swing of things."

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in Norway

"Out on a walk after the tournament, with a wink at the animated series Rick & Morty" | Photo:

Grand Chess Tour 2018 — Full schedule

Tournament Format Place Dates Prize fund
Your Next Move Rapid and Blitz Leuven June 12-16 $ 150,000
Paris Rapid and Blitz Paris June 20-24 $ 150,000
Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz St. Louis August 10-16 $ 150,000
Sinquefield Cup Classical St. Louis August 17-28 $ 300,000
London Chess Classic Classical London December (TBD) $ 300,000
GCT winner prizer       $ 150,000
Total prize fund       $ 1,200,000

Scoring system

In the first three events, rapid and blitz scores are combined, with two points for a win in rapid. New this year, if there is a tie for first place, the top two (determined by mathematical tiebreaks if more than two players tie) will play two 10+5 rapid games and then, if necessary, a single 5 vs. 4 minute sudden-death 'Armageddon' game, where the black player has draw odds.

For the overall standings, points will be awarded in the individual tournaments according to the standings. However, the same points will be awarded if there is a tie. The tiebreak mini-match will be to determine the winner of the individual tournament. If a player wins the tournament alone, he will receive two (Sinquefield Cup) or one (Rapid and Blitz Events) extra point in the Grand Chess Tour

Place Sinquefield Cup Rapid & Blitz Events
Combined points
1 18/20 12/13
2 15 10
3 12 8
4 10 7
5 8 6
6 6 5
7 4 4
8 3 3
9 2 2
10 1 1

The Chief Arbiter is Luc Cornet.

Correction June 13: The ages of the players were not exact.
Correction June 16: David Sedgwick is the Chief Arbiter of the GCT as a whole, but he's not present in Leuven.


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