2019 GCT to Expand to Twelve Full Tour Participants, Eight Events and a $1.75 Million Prize Fund

Saint Louis, MO, January 24, 2019 – The fifth edition of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) will see the tour expand to eight tournaments and increase the number of full tour participants to twelve. The tour will also welcome fourteen event level wildcards in 2019. Tour participants will fight for a record prize fund of $1.75 million as the GCT expands its reach to four continents to include tournaments in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The prize money on offer for the classical tournaments has been increased to $325,000 per event ($90,000 for 1st place and $60,000 for 2nd) while the prize fund for the GCT Finals in London will also be raised to $350,000 ($150,000 for 1st place and $100,000 for 2nd).

The new tournaments will be in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire), Kolkata (India), Bucharest (Romania) and Zagreb (Croatia). Major sponsors already confirmed for the 2019 season include Vivendi SA, Colliers International, Tata Steel India, St Louis Chess Club and Superbet Group. Gameplan Sports have been appointed as the official sponsorship and branding partner of the tour.

Croatia GCT and the Sinquefield Cup will be classical tournaments with five rapid and blitz tournaments to be held in Abidjan, Paris, St Louis, Bucharest and Kolkata. The GCT Finals will once again be held in London as part of the 2019 London Chess Classic.

The twelve full tour participants will play in both classical events as well as in three of the five rapid and blitz tournaments. The classical events will be expanded to eleven-rounds while the rapid and blitz events will all use the GCT’s traditional ten player formats. 

The full schedule for the 2019 regular season (including arrival and departure days) is as follows:
  1. Cote d’Ivoire Rapid & Blitz, May 6 - 13, 2019, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
  2. Croatia GCT (Classical), June 24 - July 9, 2019, Zagreb, Croatia
  3. Paris Rapid & Blitz, July 26 - August 2, 2019, Paris, France
  4. St Louis Rapid & Blitz, August 8 - 15, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
  5. Sinquefield Cup (Classical), August 15 - 30, 2019, St. Louis, Missouri USA
  6. Superbet Rapid & Blitz, November 4 - 11, 2019, Bucharest, Romania
  7. Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz, November 20 - 27, 2019, Kolkata, India
  8. London Chess Classic (GCT Finals), November 30 - December 10, 2019, London UK

Full Tour Participants

The twelve players listed below have been invited to participate as full tour participants of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour. All ratings listed are from the respective ratings lists as at 1 January 2019. 
#NameFEDURS (Rank)FIDE (Rank)Selection Method
1Carlsen, MagnusNOR2859 (1)2835 (1)URS #1
2Nakamura, HikaruUSA2806 (2)2749 (16)Winner 2018 GCT
3Vachier-Lagrave, MaximeFRA2796 (3)2780 (6)Runner-Up 2018 GCT
4Caruana, FabianoUSA2794 (4)2828 (2)3rd Place 2018 GCT
5Mamedyarov, ShakhriyarAZE2792 (5)2817 (3)URS #2
6Ding, LirenCHN2788 (6)2813 (4)URS #3
7Aronian, LevonARM2782 (7)2783 (5)URS #4
8So, WesleyUSA2779 (8)2765 (11)FIDE Ave Rating #3
9Nepomniachtchi, IanRUS2778 (9)2763 (13)GCT Nominee
10Kramnik, VladimirRUS2768 (13)2777 (7)FIDE Ave Rating #1
11Giri, AnishNED2765 (14)2783 (5)FIDE Ave Rating #2
12Anand, ViswanathanIND2761 (16)2773 (8)FIDE Ave Rating #4
GM Sergey Karjakin and GM Yu Yangyi have been selected as the first and second alternates respectively and will be offered full tour contracts if any of the twelve players above decline their invitations.

Grand Chess Tour™ 
The Grand Chess Tour is a circuit of international events, each demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world's best players. The Tour was created in partnership between the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (Sinquefield Cup) and Chess Promotions, Ltd. (London Chess Classic). The legendary Garry Kasparov, one of the world's greatest ambassadors for chess, inspired the Grand Chess Tour and helped solidify the partnership between the organizers. — grandchesstour.org

The Universal Rating System (URS™), is a revolutionary new sport’s rating system designed to assess the relative strength of participants across a wide variety of competitor vs competitor sports or games. The URS™ was developed as the result of a collaborative research project funded by the Grand Chess Tour, the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The system is the product of detailed research conducted over more than two years by some of the world’s leading experts in methods of rating chess players. — universalrating.com

Gameplan Sports Pvt. Ltd.  
Set up in 1998, Gameplan Sports Pvt. Ltd. is one of India’s foremost corporate branding agencies, working primarily in the fields of sports and literature. The company presents innovative and cost-effective ideas that give sponsors maximum exposure. Key activities include marketing and management of international and domestic sponsorship rights in India; marketing and management of Indian and international cricket tournaments, player endorsements, syndicating content in print and electronic media, in-stadia advertising, 3-D signs, event management, event promotions, hospitality and memorabilia. – http://gameplan.co.in/

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