The third and final leg of the inaugural Chess Grand Tour, the most prestigious series of chess tournaments in the world, is upon us. Beginning Friday, Dec. 4, and running until Sunday, Dec. 13, the Kensington Olympia will host the 7th London Chess Classic where the Chess Grand Tour winner will be crowned.
The first two events, Norway Chess, Stavanger (Norway) as well as the Sinquefield Cup (St. Louis) were held earlier this year.
The Grand Chess Tour features a total prize fund of more than $1 million contested by a core group of nine elite players: World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Former World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India), Former World Champion Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Fabiano Caruana (USA), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) and Levon Aronian (Armenia).
Additionally each stop in the tour features a wildcard entrant: Jan Ludvig Hammer (Norway) competed in Stavanger, Wesley So (USA) joined in St. Louis while Michael Adams, England’s number one, will play in London.
Each tour event boasts $300,000 in prize money. In addition the top-three players (by tour points) will earn $150,000 in bonus prize funds. Veselin Topalov leads the Chess Grand Tour with 17 points followed closely by Hikaru Nakamura’s 16 points, Levon Aronian with 15 points and World Champion Magnus Carlsen with 14 points. The London Chess Classic promises to be an exciting finale, as all chess fans wonder if Magnus can pull off yet another one of his famous come-from-behind miracle victories.
The first round pairings are: Topalov vs Giri; Grischuk vs Nakamura; Vachier-Lagrave vs Carlsen; Caruana vs Aronian; Anand vs Adams.
Online broadcast video and audio commentary will feature Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade in London, bringing on-site coverage as well as post and pre-match interviews with the players.
Grandmasters Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan will analyze the games in real time offering strategical and tactical insights to the ideas behind the players’ moves from the broadcast studio at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Questions and comments from the audience are encouraged by using #GrandChessTour. Rounds will begin in London at 4 p.m. local time with broadcast commentary starting at 10 a.m. Central Standard Time.
More information about the London Classic, the Grand Chess Tour, the schedule as well as the current standings can be found at www.grandchesstour.com/