After a two-month break, the Grand Chess Tour is back on the chess calendar, starting in Romania and moving on to India for the first time in tour history.
With just two events left before the London finals, it’s crunch time for those players who still hope to qualify for London.
Thus far, world champion Magnus Carlsen has been dominating the tour and is leading with an impressive 54.5 points, having won two of the four events he played and tying for first in one.
He is followed by world No. 3 and the winner of the 2019 Sinquefield Cup, Ding Liren, with 37.8 points. Both players have already punched their tickets to London, while there is still a tight race for the remaining two places.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is in third place with 36.8 points, with Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin in a tie for fourth place with 25.5.
Who will claim the final two spots is quite unpredictable, as Vachier-Lagrave has already played in all three required rapid and blitz events, while Aronian has only played in one, putting him in optimal position to leapfrog the Frenchman by simply finishing in the middle of the pack in both events.
Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin have only one event left to play and are in a must-win situation. Ian Nepomniachtchi and Viswanathan Anand are also in contention, only a half and a full point behind the pack, respectively. November is going to be an action-packed month.
The penultimate stop of the tour will kick off on Nov. 6 in Bucharest, Romania. The event will be hosted at the prestigious Stejarii Country Club and will feature seven tour players and three wildcards.
The Bucharest Romania field will consist of:
- Fabiano Caruana, USA
- Levon Aronian, Armenia
- Sergey Karjakin, Russia
- Viswanathan Anand, India
- Anish Giri, Netherlands
- Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Azerbaijan
- Wesley So, USA
The three wildcards will be:
- Vladislav Artemiev, Russia
- Le Quang Liem, Vietnam
- Anton Korobov, Ukraine
While the world champion will be skipping this stop, the event promises to be action-packed, as four contenders for the London finals will be battling it out in nine rapid and 18 blitz games in five days. This is not a tournament to be missed.
The rapid rounds 1 to 3 will kick off at 7 a.m. Nov. 6 and will run through Nov. 10. Spectators will be allowed in the playing hall with the purchase of a ticket. In addition to the online English commentary team of Jennifer Shahade, Alejandro Ramirez, Maurice Ashley and Cristian Chirila, online Russian commentary will be provided by Ilya Smirin and Melik Khachiyan. All commentary will be viewable at grandchesstour.org or on the St Louis Chess Club’s Youtube Channel.
Woman Grandmaster Tatev Abrahamyan started playing chess when she was 8 years old and has played in four Olympiads and two World Team Championships. She is considered one of the top players in U.S. Women’s Chess. Abrahamyan is a member of the St. Louis Chess Club, a partner of St. Louis Public Radio.
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