The FIDE Grand Prix, Remade

4/27/2016 – The Grand Prix series, which is part of the World Championship cycle, is increasing the number of participants and changing its format. FIDE and Agon have decided to expand the 2016-2017 Grand Prix to 24 players (from previously 16) in nine round Swiss events (from 11 round all-play-all). The total prize fund for the four GP tournaments, scheduled for October 2016 to July 2017, will be 520,000 Euros. Full details.

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The Grand Prix, Remade

The Grand Prix, a series of four tournaments, is an important part of the World Championship cycle. The top two finishers in the Grand Prix are seeded into the Candidates tournament to select a challenger for the World Championship. In the Candidates tournament last month, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, the two Americans, were the two players who qualified by finishing one and two, respectively, in the 2014-2015 Grand Prix.

That Grand Prix had 16 players, each of whom played in three of the four tournaments. The tournaments were round-robins and 11 rounds. The 2016-2017 Grand Prix will expand to 24 players. Each player must have a minimum rating of 2700 and each tournament will be nine rounds, organized as Swiss systems. There will be 18 players in each tournament.

The total prize fund for the four tournaments is 520,000 euros, or 130,000 per tournament. There will also be money to cover travel expenses and hotel rooms will also be provided.

The Grand Prix dates are Oct. 12 to 23, 2016; Feb. 10 to 21, 2017; May 11 to 22, 2017; and July 5 to 16, 2017. Locations have not been announced.

The complete set of regulations is on FIDE’s Web site.

The qualifiers for the Grand Prix will be the World Champion and his opponent in the most recent title match (in this case, Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand); the four semifinalists from the 2015 World Cup (Sergey Karjakin, Peter Svidler, Pavel Eljanov and Anish Giri); eight players based on rating; the highest rated participant in the Association of Chess Professional tournaments who has not already qualified; and nine players invited by FIDE and Agon, based on the regulations of the Grand Prix and proposals from national federations.

Any players who decline to play in the Grand Prix, (and several, like Carlsen, are likely not to play), will be replaced by another player whose rating is over 2700.

The other major change will be in how the tournaments are sponsored. Instead of looking for a major sponsor, or sponsors, for each event, individual sponsors will be recruited for each player. The cost will be 100,000 euros per player, with each player receiving 20,000 euros from his sponsor, 15,000 euros going to each player’s federation, and the balance going to organizing costs and the prize funds.

Players will be required to wear the sponsor’s logo during the tournament, the sponsor’s logo will appear on the player’s table placard, and the sponsor’s logo will also appear on the rating page of the player on this site — World

FIDE, Agon and national federations will be responsible for recruiting sponsors. Players will not need sponsors to participate in the Grand Prix, but players who do not have sponsors will not get the extra 20,000 euros in revenue.

Source: FIDE/World Chess

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Querfeldein Querfeldein 4/30/2016 04:32
The "individual sponsorship" idea is pure wishful thinking. If a top player can attract sponsors willing to come up with €100,000, why would he or she willingly give up 80% of that? And why would a commercial sponsor hand this much money to Fide/AGON? Basically, rather than paying appearance fees, Fide/AGON is now asking for €65,000 from each participant, in return for displaying their sponsors' logos on the Fide/AGON websites. It's a nice scenario for Fide/AGON, for sure, but it's not going to happen, except perhaps as a way to "buy" a place in the tournament for some lesser-rated players, who could become Fide/AGON "nominees".
tsruttamur tsruttamur 4/30/2016 01:43
The change in the system for Grand Prix from round robin to Swiss as well as increased number of players is quite welcome. Incidentally I would like to know what happened to the World Cup format? It is still conducted on" knock out" basis among 128 players. I remember that some few years back there was a proposal to form the 128 players into 8 groups of 16 players each and conduct a Swiss for each Group and then select 16 players from them comprising top two from each group for a Swiss contest among the sixteen. This was suggested mainly on the grounds (1) each participant will have more chances and increased satisfaction rather than the pitfalls associated with the knock out(for example getting eliminated in the earlier rounds)(2)reduction in games and elimination of tie breaks that are in each round in the KO format and therefore savings in the tournament duration and expenditure(3) to remove certain drawbacks like uncertainity in Hotel accommodation etc. When the proposal was put there was much praise for it but unfortunately it was never implemented by FIDE. Why? Now that for Grand Prix there is a change, I feel that it is right time(better even if late than never) to change World Cup format also into Swiss as proposed earlier and mentioned above. I earnestly feel that the matter must be brought to the attention of FIDE and others concerned for the good of the game.
LSI LSI 4/28/2016 12:56
It looks like a step in the right direction, giving more people a shot at the title.
Mjguru Mjguru 4/28/2016 11:42
As Agon is sponsoring the event, will we be able to see the boards and the games live?(ahem candidates ahem)
wowbagger wowbagger 4/27/2016 09:03
I like the overall approach (less perfectionist, more pragmatic) and the idea with the personal sponsors. But I think the amount is too high to be realistic. Remember Karjakin's BMW? They will get a month's rent paid instead of 100'000. I also would appreciate if FIDE gets its usual cut only if they bring a personal sponsor also.
ff2017 ff2017 4/27/2016 08:18
I don't know if the players will like the new swiss system, but certainly as a fan it will be more entertaining. There will be a greater struggle to play for the win rather than more solidly to prevent a loss.
RaoulBertorello RaoulBertorello 4/27/2016 05:18
The new rules are clearly meant to widen the array of players contending for the candidates, which is usually made up of more or less the same guys over the years, and has a low rate of replacement. But a consequence of these new rules is that the 'usual' players from the last editions of the Grand Prix series, who got used to play against each other also in the non-FIDE tournaments, are now forced to get a different attitude towards the tournament format by studying several more playing styles of their increased opponents. That could prove too difficult to do even for the brightest GMs, and this will result in each player relying more on his own overall playing skills, instead of figuring out countermeasures against the playing styles of the same 'usual' opponents. Therefore, who do these new rules damage ? Pretty much everyone of the 'usual' contenders, of course. Then, who do these new rules damage more ? Sadly to say, because I'm his fan, I guess they will damage more people like Caruana. Unless his new coach, former Fide world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov, helps effectively him get a better game vision, that is helps him evaluate more correctly and much, much faster the situations that raise on the board after each move.