Grand expectations for the FIDE Grand Swiss on the Isle of Man

by ChessBase
10/21/2023 – The strongest Swiss event of the year is around the corner. On the scenic Isle of Man, the first round starts on 25 October. The Grand Swiss is a pivotal part of the FIDE World Championship cycle, as the top two players in the final standings of the open event and the women’s event will get spots in next year’s Candidates Tournaments. | Pictured: Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana during the inaugural edition of the Grand Swiss | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

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By Alex Colovic

The strongest Swiss event of the year is around the corner. On the scenic Isle of Man, the first round starts on 25 October, and in the next twelve days we will witness a magnificent chess spectacle full of fierce battles. The Grand Swiss is a pivotal part of the FIDE World Championship cycle. Its democratic nature attracts players from all over the world, giving them a chance to qualify for the Candidates Tournament.

Two coveted spots in the open event and two in the women’s tournament lead to Toronto, where next spring the FIDE Candidates Tournament and the FIDE Women’s Candidates Tournament will take place. This is a chance to write one’s name in chess history, a chance that in the past was available only to a selected few.

FIDE Grand Swiss

In 2019, the Grand Swiss took place at the COMIS Hotel and Golf Resort in Douglas | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

114 players will participate in the open section (see full list).

The list of favourites includes Fabiano Caruana, who has already qualified for Toronto from the World Cup in Baku; Hikaru Nakamura, who will seek a return to the Candidates that went so well for him (except for the last round) last year in Madrid; Alireza Firouzja, the winner of the previous Grand Swiss in Riga; Anish Giri, who desperately wants another shot at the title after his last Candidates appearance in 2020/21 in Yekaterinburg; Gukesh D, who at 17 entered the top 10 and became India’s number one after 37 years of Anand’s domination. These are only the top five on the starting list, but you should check the full list and pick your own favourites!

The Grand Swiss is also a part of the FIDE Circuit, and it adds another twist to the tournament intrigue. The winner of the FIDE Circuit will qualify for the Candidates Tournament, and there is an intense battle underway for the top spot. The current leader of the Circuit, Fabiano Caruana, has already qualified, so second placed Gukesh D and third placed Anish Giri, the two players who have a reasonable chance of winning it, will try to do their best in this event.

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja during the 2021 edition in Riga | Photo: Anna Shtourman

There are 50 registered players in the women’s section (see full list).

Former Candidates and World Champions top the starting list. Aleksandra Goryachkina, the current holder of the World Cup, winner of the Candidates Tournament in 2019 and runner-up of the World Championship match in 2020; 12th Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, winner of the 2021 World Cup; 15th Women’s World Champion Mariya Muzychuk; 16th Women’s World Champion Tan Zhongyi; and World Championship runner-up and World Rapid and Blitz Champion Anna Muzychuk.

Alexandra Kosteniuk, Zhu Jiner

Alexandra Kosteniuk playing white against Zhu Jiner in Riga 2021 | Photo: Anna Shtourman

Both tournaments will have record-breaking prize funds. In the open section the prize fund is $460,000 while in the women’s section it amounts to $140,000.

Fans can follow the Grand Swiss 2023 by watching the live broadcast on FIDE’s YouTube and Twitch channels, with expert commentary by GM David Howell and IM Jovanka Houska.

Get ready for a remarkable display of chess prowess on the Isle of Man, and may the best players win!

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