Harikrishna is the only Indian in the FIDE Grand Prix series 2019
Good news for Indian chess fans! Pentala Harikrishna has qualified for the FIDE World Grand Prix series 2019. The Grand Prix 2019 is a series of four events held in four different cities - Moscow (May 16-30), Riga (11-25 July), Hamburg (4-18 November), Tel Aviv (10-24 December). Players have to select three out of these four events and the two highest points scorers will qualify for the next Candidates tournament. The biggest change in the FIDE Grand Prix is that it is now a knock-out event with each leg having 16 participants and four knock-out rounds which will decide a winner. The points system will be announced soon when we will know how the top two players in the entire series will be decided.
Some of the best players in the world including Mamedyarov, Vachier Lagrave, Giri, Grischuk, So, Nakamura, Aronian, Nepomniachtchi, Yu Yangyi and many others have confirmed their participation in the FIDE Grand Prix Series 2019. Good news for Indian fans is that we have our representation at this event in the form of Pentala Harikrishna.
Starting this year, each Grand Prix will be a knockout (or single-elimination) event. It’s a format where the loser of the match-up is immediately eliminated from the tournament, and the winner will play another winner in the next round, until the final match-up, whose winner becomes the Grand Prix Champion of that leg.
There will be four rounds in the Grand Prix. Each consists of two games with the classic time control 100’ for 40 moves (50’/20+15’) and 30 seconds per move. In case of a tie, there is a tie break round, consisting of two games with 25 minutes and 10 seconds per move for each player. If the score is still tied, there are two games with 10 minutes and 10 seconds per move for each player. If it’s still a tie, it’s followed by 2 blitz games of 5 minutes and 3 seconds per move. If the score is tied, then there is an Armageddon game.
For the Armageddon, the player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the color. The player with the white pieces receives 5 minutes; the player with the black pieces receives 4 minutes whereupon; after move 60, both players receive an increment of 2 seconds per move starting from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.
Apart from the qualification to the Candidates, there is also good prize money involved in the FIDE Grand Prix. Each Tournament has a prize fund of €130,000 (Rs.1 crore 5 lakhs). Also, prizes for overall standings in the Series are €280,000 (Rs.2 crore 25 lakh), making the total prize fund of the Series €800,000 (6 crore 45 lakh).
Who will be the two qualifiers?
Assuming that there will similar performance by two players in the Grand Prix series, it is still not clear, how the top two spots would be decided. This, we believe, will be announced in the days to come.