Grand Chess Tour Confirms Full Tour Participants for the 2019 Season

by ChessBase
2/13/2019 – After Vladimir Kramnik's announcement to retire from tournament chess the Grand Chess Tour now revealed the names of the 12 players who will be competing as full tour participants in 2019. In an interview with Maurice Ashley, Michael Khodarkovsky, the GCT Spokesperson, talked about the new format of the GCT.

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The Grand Chess Tour 2019

The Grand Chess Tour 2019 is bigger than its previous editions. In addition to the tournaments in Saint Louis (Rapid and Blitz, Sinquefield Cup), Paris (Rapid and Blitz) and the final in London (three formats) four more tournaments were added: Cote d'Ivoire (Rapid and Blitz), Croatia (Classical), Bucharest (Rapid and Blitz), and Kolkata (Rapid and Blitz). The twelve full tour participants will play in both classical events as well as in three of the five rapid and blitz tournaments. The classical events will be expanded to eleven-rounds while the rapid and blitz events will all use the GCT’s traditional ten player formats.

Tour participants will fight for a record prize fund of $1.75 million as the GCT expands its reach to four continents to include tournaments in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The prize money on offer for the classical tournaments has been increased to $325,000 per event ($90,000 for 1st place and $60,000 for 2nd) while the prize fund for the GCT Finals in London will also be raised to $350,000 ($150,000 for 1st place and $100,000 for 2nd).

And this is the list of the twelve full tour participants:

The only player to decline his invitation was GM Vladimir Kramnik after announcing his retirement from professional chess at the end of January 2019. He was replaced by GM Sergey Karjakin who accepted his full tour invitation as the first alternate.

Tournaments and Dates

1. Cote d’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz, May 6 - 13, 2019, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
2. Croatia GCT (Classical), June 24 - July 9, 2019, Zagreb, Croatia
3. Paris Rapid & Blitz, July 26 - August 2, 2019, Paris, France
4. St Louis Rapid & Blitz, August 8 - 15, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
5. Sinquefield Cup (Classical), August 15 - 30, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
6. Superbet Rapid & Blitz, November 4 - 11, 2019, Bucharest, Romania
7. Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz, November 20 - 27, 2019, Kolkata, India
 

The top four players by cumulative score will qualify for the 2019 GCT Finals which will be held during the London Chess Classic in London, UK between November 30 and December 10, 2019.

The process of finalising the allocation of players to individual events has already commenced and further announcements regarding the participant lists for each event as well as the selection of wildcards will be made in due course.

In the following interview Michael Khordakovsky, Spokesperson of the GCT, talks with Maurice Ashley about the changes, the participants, and the new series. 

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TMMM TMMM 2/14/2019 03:43
And maybe we can get Kasparov and/or Kramnik as wildcards in some rapid/blitz events? They really are wildcards, unlike "weaker" players who would basically just lose to all players in this field.
TMMM TMMM 2/14/2019 03:39
It's a pity they could not unify all major chess events in one tour - why is Tata Steel Chess in Wijk aan Zee not joining? (They do include the Tata Steel India Rapid and Blitz in the tour now.)
susiep susiep 2/14/2019 08:44
Shame not to have Grischuk, whose games are so much more dynamic than some of those who made the list.
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