FIDE Grand Prix in Jerusalem: Nepomniachtchi wins!

by ChessBase
12/22/2019 – A draw in the second game of the Jerusalem Grand Prix Final gave Ian Nepomniachtchi tournament victory and secured him a spot in next year's Candidates Tournament. Wei Yi managed to mix things up with the black pieces, only to get an inferior position which came to a close when a draw by repetition was agreed. The one remaining spot in the Candidates still up for grabs is the organizer's wildcard, and the Russian Chess Federation will more than likely grant it to Kirill Alekseenko. | Photo: Niki Riga

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Nepomniactchi qualifies for the Candidates

Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Wei Yi in the final of the fourth Grand Prix event of the year to get second place in the yearly series. Thus, he joined Alexander Grischuk in getting a spot in next year's Candidates Tournament through this qualifying path.

This means Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will most likely miss out on playing the Candidates for a second cycle in a row, as the Russian Chess Federation — the organizer of the event — announced they will grant the wildcard to a player from their country. Coincidentally, the one other eligible player to get the nomination — Kirill Alekseenko — is Russian, so he is the one expected to get the last spot.

Replay game two of the final with computer analysis. Full report coming shortly.

Latest report: Nepomniachtchi strikes

Live games and commentary

Players receive 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second bonus per move starting from move 1.


Official broadcast with GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko via


# Player Country
1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan
2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France
3 Anish Giri Netherlands
4 Wesley So United States
5 Sergey Karjakin Russia
6 Yu Yangyi China
7 Ian Nepomniachtchi Russia
8 Veselin Topalov Bulgaria
9 Dmitry Jakovenko Russia
10 David Navara Czech Republic
11 Radoslaw Wojtaszek Poland
12 Wei Yi China
13 Pentala Harikrishna India
14 Boris Gelfand Israel
15 Dmitry Andreikin Russia
16 Wang Hao China

The tournament will be played once again in a knockout format, with mini-matches similar to the World Cup, from December 11th to the 23rd. There is one rest day before the final on the 20th of December. The games start at 12 Noon UTC (14:00 CET / 8:00 AM EST).

The venue is the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center.

Venue in Jerusalem

An historic, Vatican-owned guest house and pilgrim centre, built in the 19th century opposite the Old City

Standings after three tournaments

# Player Rating (November) Moscow Riga Hamburg Israel Total
1 Alexander Grischuk 2764 7 3 10   20
2 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2772 0 10 -   10
3 Ian Nepomniachtchi 2773 9 - 0   9
4 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2777 - 8 5   13
5 Radoslaw Wojtaszek 2728 5 - 0   5
6 Wesley So 2760 1 3 -   4
7 Hikaru Nakamura 2741 3 0 0   3
8 Peter Svidler 2719 2 0 2   4
9 Daniil Dubov 2699 2 0 3   5
10 Wei Yi 2724 2 - 0   2
11 Veselin Topalov 2736 - 1 2   3
12 Yu Yangyi 2753 - 1 1   2
13 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 2748 0 1 7   8
14 Sergey Karjakin 2754 0 1 -   1
15 Teimour Radjabov 2776 0 - 0   0
16 Levon Aronian 2772 0 0 -   0
17 Nikita Vitiugov 2751 0 0 0   0
18 Pentala Harikrishna 2731 - 0 0   0
19 David Navara 2703 - 0 1   1
20 Anish Giri 2776 0 0 -   0
21 Dmitry Jakovenko 2691 0 - 0   0

Players in bold are participating in Jerusalem


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TwoZero TwoZero 12/23/2019 12:21
The reason we get so many draws is because the top players are incentivized to do so both by the way Elo is calculated for ratings, and how draws are valued in tournaments.

Why would a player extend themselves to fight every game and risk losing when they can take draws for the same results? One player takes risks and fights every game and goes 1, 0, 1, 0, for a total of 2 points. The next just takes four draws, two shortish, and maybe two hard fought, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, for a total of 2 Points! Why take risks and tire yourself out more for the same results!?

And ratings wise, with everyone drawing with each other it kinda washes out even losing a little bit to lower rated players and gaining a bit drawing to higher rated players. So many Draws over the course of a tournament have much less risk of having a negative effect on your Elo rating. Conversely, depending on who you are playing a loss is harder to recover from, you may win against a lower rated player that may not cover your loss to a higher rated one. So the guy going, 1, 0, 1, 0, will potentially lose more Elo than if he went 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, for the same amount of tournament points with less effort! Why not take draws with incentives like that?
zooogle horch zooogle horch 12/22/2019 11:13
leavenfish:. brilliant idea. its always the money especially in chess when there is no alot to go around.
Leavenfish Leavenfish 12/22/2019 02:51
Lucek7 regarding my 'pay per decisive results proposal'brings up the spectrer of 'pre-arrange results'.

Cheating can happen even now...especially later in the tourney when a 'win' during such a match up would benefit the countryman with the higher score.

On the flip side, right NOW we see late in a tourney situations when neither side really has anything 'to play for' quick, listless draws are the norm.

I think on balance, payout based on WINS promotes decisive results more than any other idea and any possible downsides pale in comparison. You of course could have a first place prize simply to encourage the tournament leaders to keep pushing. That and a small 'appearance fee' to keep professionals from losing their shirt are ways to make the 'payout per wins' more palpable for players.

Me, I don't really mind draws...just tossing this option out for those who think there are too many.
Leavenfish Leavenfish 12/22/2019 02:39
Daniel Miller opines "Levenfish's idea is short sighted. If a draw gets one no more than a win (I think he means 'loss', not win -leavenfish), why would someone try to hold a R v. RB ending? Or if a draw is the best you can do, why not just resign

Two reasons:
(1)The payout is 'zero-sum' if you give up an let someone win, you make your wins count for less $$ - you are taking $$ out of your own pocket.
(2) To get invites to these Super-GM tourneys, you have to keep your rating up. That is one reason we see so many reason the likes of Ulf Anderson and certain modern day players have been happy to draw instead of playing for more and...risking more.
Lucek7 Lucek7 12/19/2019 05:50
@Leavenfish I am against "pay per win". Three players (e.g., from the same federation) may prearrange games: A wins with B, B wins with C, C wins with A, which is more beneficial for them than three draws. Of course, I strongly believe that a vast majority of players are honest, but let's not give them an extra temptation.
Lucek7 Lucek7 12/19/2019 05:44
There are too many draws, because too much depends on the opening preparation. Change any rule of chess, while keeping the start position the same in every game -- and in a few years you have top players well-prepared in opening theory to the new variant of chess. The only ways to get rid of this unpleasant situation is either to allow randomness during the game, or randomness in the initial position. I can't see any ideas for the former (for one reason, it doesn't seem to go along well with the whole tradition of chess), so I promote the latter: choose a random opening position, out of a large database of (presumably equal and not too simplified) positions occurring after 10 or 12 moves. Now, each game is different (while the spirit of chess and typical middlegame positions are preserved).

Look at card games, e.g. bridge. Bridge is exciting partly due to the fact that in each deal we have a different hand.
Daniel Miller Daniel Miller 12/18/2019 11:12
Levenfish's idea is short sighted. If a draw gets one no more than a win, why would someone try to hold a R v. RB ending? Or if a draw is the best you can do, why not just resign. Tournament directors won't know if a move from a slightly worse side is a true blunder or just an attempt to give the opponent money when he has no chance of winning. Chess has draws. I love draws. Draws are part of the game. No changes should be made.
chessgod0 chessgod0 12/18/2019 05:27
A powerful display yesterday combined with today's cool defence and counterattack to secure the draw---Nepomniachtchi has risen to the occasion in a way that MVL has consistently failed to do. I didn't rate him as highly as the other top 10 players, but it's easy to see that was a mistake.

Whatever happens with the Grand Prix, I'd say Nepo has earned his place in the Candidates Tournament.
Masquer Masquer 12/17/2019 09:36
Leavenfish's idea has merit, but I would only award _bonuses_ based on number of wins, so the players playing for those extra wins can be additionally rewarded. Basically, you'd have the main prize fund based on final standings, and also a significant secondary fund rewarding wins regardless of standings.
s8977 s8977 12/17/2019 05:41
very impresive win by nepo. his opening prepation and especially his 25.Rc1! counter human move i like most
chessgod0 chessgod0 12/17/2019 04:34
Big loss for MVL---he's on the ropes now. I'm rooting for him...but may the best man win.
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 12/17/2019 04:01
It seems Leavenfish seems to forget that chess is being played by two persons at once. So far for 'simple economics.'
thesavage4 thesavage4 12/16/2019 11:24
Excellent news: We will now see Nepo and MVL go mano-a-mano for all the marbles.
Leavenfish Leavenfish 12/16/2019 01:55
Too many draws at the top level?

Remember, some of these formats - where one tourney is but a part of a Grand Prix, practically encourage safe play!

You want to have less draws? Pay per WIN.

You have a tourney with, say $100,000 in prize fund then at the end you divy up the prizes based on the number of wins. Draws get you no more than a loss - ZIP.

It is simple economics really: People will behave in their own self interest.
If a bunch of draws and waiting for your moment(s) to unbalance things is currently in their self-interest, simply change what gives rise to those cautious thoughts and you can say goodbye to the 'Draw problem'.

Hey, you could make the time controls slightly quicker even....but the level of play would become far more active because players doing poorly mid-late tourney, that gives them something real to play for each and every time they sit down. AND it's a zero sum game, as you win you decrease the $$ someone else who has won will get for his results.

The traditional formats simply do not encourage decisive results...payouts based on wins will. Everyone can get a small appearance fee so no one leaves totally empy handed.
Masquer Masquer 12/15/2019 03:15
Chess960, Capablanca Random Chess, Seirawan Chess are much better than the other stuff you mentioned after that.
Agt the Walker Agt the Walker 12/15/2019 01:36
Women's Grand Prix in Monaco was definitely more interesting - 4 decisive games out of 6, and shortest game lasted 33 moves. But yeah chess is too drawish at top level, and there is too much reliance on opening preparation. To fix that, pick at least one of: Chess960, Capablanca Random Chess, Seirawan Chess, Hostage Chess, King of the Hill, No Castling, Try Rule, Stalemated = loss, Giving perpetual chess = loss...
Burnsy Burnsy 12/14/2019 06:59
A 8 move draw for Karjakin . And all together a bunch of quick draws today. This is why people get upset with chess. No fighting spirit, they just wanna draw and play a rapid playoff. Today’s GM’s are lacking creativity, imagination and a fighting spirit.
mamago92 mamago92 12/11/2019 08:01
A ruined game!