Let's go: The Grand Chess Tour begins in Paris!

by André Schulz
6/9/2016 – Today, 14 pm local time, the first tournament of the Grand Chess Tour starts in Paris, France. The next four days ten of the world's best players, among them World Champion Magnus Carlsen, will compete in rapid- and in blitz chess. With an illustrious opening party, simuls and an apperance by Carlsen in a Canal Plus talk show the event began well.

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The participants of the Grand Chess Tour in Paris: Wesley So, Veselin Topalov, Anish Giri,
Hikaru Nakamura, Magnus Carlsen, Laurent Fressinet, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,
Vladimir Kramnik, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian

Blitz chess at the opening party

Various simultaneous events gave chess fans a chance to play against the world's best

Hikaru Nakamura at work

Team chess with Garry Kasparov and Veselin Topalov

Team chess with Vladimir Kramnik and Magnus Carlsen

Despite the soccer European Championship 2016 that begins on Friday in France, the chess tournament gathered a lot of public attention. The French TV station Canal Plus had invited Magnus Carlsen and Almira Skripchenko to a popular talk show.

Two chess players at Canal Plus

Magnus Carlsen

Almira Skripchenko

Video at Canal Plus...

Maurice Ashley is in Paris and will commentate the games and events

As will Alejandro Ramirez

The full field for the tournament consists of the following 10 players:

(The ratings and world rankings are taken from the May 2016 FIDE rating list)

Magnus Carlsen (30/11/1990)

Rating: 2851 – World rank: 1

He is a Norwegian chess grandmaster, No. 1 ranked player in the world and reigning World Chess Champion in classical and rapid. His peak rating is 2882, the highest in history. Carlsen was regarded as a chess prodigy as a youngster, and became a Grandmaster in 2004, at the age of 13 years. In 2010, at the age of 19 years, he became the youngest chess player to be ranked FIDE world No. 1. In 2013, Carlsen won the title world chess champion, by defeating Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship 2013.

Fabiano Caruana (30/7/1992)

Rating: 2804 – World rank: 2

He is an Italian-American chess grandmaster, former chess prodigy, and at various times the No. 2 ranked player in the world. On 15 July 2007 Caruana became a grandmaster (GM) at the age of 14 years, 11 months, 20 days—the youngest grandmaster in the history of both Italy and the United States (his US record was beaten in October 2009 by Ray Robson). In October 2014, he achieved an Elo rating of 2844, becoming the third highest rated player in history.

Vladimir Kramnik (25/6/1975)

Rating: 2801– World rank: 3

He is a Russian chess Grandmaster. He was the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and the World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007. He has won three team gold medals at Chess Olympiads. In October 2000, he defeated Garry Kasparov and became the Classical World Chess Champion. Kramnik defeated reigning FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in the World Chess Championship 2006. In 2007, Kramnik lost the title to Viswanathan Anand.

Anish Giri (28/6/1994)

Rating: 2790 – World rank: 4

He is a Russian-born Dutch Grandmaster and former chess prodigy. He achieved the grandmaster title at the age of 14 years and 7 months. Giri is a four-time Dutch Chess Champion (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015) and won the Corus Chess B Group in 2010. He has represented the Netherlands at three Chess Olympiads (Russia, Turkey, Norway).

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (21/10/1990)

Rating: 2788– World rank: 5

Sometimes referred to as MVL, he is a French chess Grandmaster and the 2009 World Junior Chess Champion. He is the No. 1 ranked player in France. Vachier-Lagrave is a three-time French champion (2007, 2011, shared 2012) and four-time winner of the Biel Grandmaster Tournament (2009, 2013, 2014, 2015).

Hikaru Nakamura (9/12/1987)

Rating: 2787 – World rank: 6

He is an American chessgrandmaster. He is a four-time United States Chess Champion, who won the 2011 edition of Tata Steel Group A and represented the United States at five Chess Olympiads, winning two team bronze medals. He has also written a book about bullet chess called Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate. In October 2015, he reached his peak FIDE rating of 2816, which ranked him second in the world. In May 2014, when FIDE began publishing official rapid and blitz chess ratings, Nakamura ranked number one in the world on both lists.

Levon Aronian (6/10/1982)

Rating: 2784 – World rank: 7

He is an Armenianchess Grandmaster. Aronian won the Chess World Cup 2005. He led the Armenian national team to the Gold medals in three Chess Olympics (Turin, Dresden, Istanbul) and at the World Team Chess Championship in 2011. He won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010. He was also World Rapid Chess Champion in 2009, and World Blitz Chess Champion in 2010. Aronian has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000’s.

Wesley So (9/10/1993)

Rating: 2775 – World rank: 10

He is a Filipino chess grandmaster representing the United States. A former chess prodigy, So became the youngest player to pass 2600 Elo rating in October 2008, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen. In February 2015 he entered the World top 10 after tying for second place at the 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. He is a three-time Philippines Chess Champion. In 2015, he won the Bilbao Chess Masters Final.

Veselin Topalov (15/3/1975)

Rating: 2754 – World rank: 16

He is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster. Topalov became the FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 match against Kramnik. He was ranked number one in the world from April 2006 to January 2007. In the World Chess Championship 2010, he was the challenger facing world champion Viswanathan Anand.

Laurent Fressinet (30/11/1981)

Rating: 2692 – World rank: 46

He is a French chess grandmaster. Fressinet is part of the new generation of grandmasters in France who have helped it become 6th in the world by average rating. He was French Champion in 2010 and 2012 and came second in the European Championship in 2012. In 2014 he was one of Magnus Carlsen's seconds for the world title bout against Anand.



9th June - Rapid Day 1

Time (GMT+2) Round
1400 Round 1
1530 Round 2
1700 Round 3
1830 Round 4
2000 Round 5

10th June - Rapid Day 2

Time (GMT+2) Round
1400 Round 6
1530 Round 7
1700 Round 8
1830 Round 9

11th June - Blitz Day 1

Time (GMT+2) Round
1400 Round 1
1430 Round 2
1500 Round 3
1530 Round 4
1600 Round 5
1700 Round 6
1730 Round 7
1800 Round 8
1830 Round 9

12th June - Blitz Day 2

Time (GMT+2) Round
1400 Round 10
1430 Round 11
1500 Round 12
1530 >Round 13
1600 Round 14
1700 Round 15
1730 Round 16
1800 Round 17
1830 Round 18
1900 Playoffs (If Required)
2030 Prize Giving

Tournament page Grand Chess Tour...

Grand Chess Tour on Twitter...

Tournament page Paris...

Tournament page Bruxelles...


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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