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Edward Scimia

As One Grand Prix Ends, Another Begins

By September 29, 2012

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FIDE seems to have made a commitment to using the Grand Prix system in order to help determine a World Champion, both in open play and in the Women's Championship. In fact, the Grand Prix was in full swing this week for both groups -- though they certainly weren't at the same stage.

In the Women's Grand Prix, Hou Yifan had already wrapped up her victory by winning three events on the tour, which gave her a perfect score (only a player's top three results are counted). That will get her into the 2013 Women's World Championship, where she'll face whoever wins the upcoming Women's World Championship tournament. Humpy Koneru won the final event in the series, which took place in Ankara, to claim second place overall.

Meanwhile, the FIDE Grand Prix is just beginning, and will qualify two players for the 2014 Candidates Tournament that will in turn determine who contests the 2014 World Chess Championship. After eight rounds of the London Grand Prix tournament, it is Boris Gelfand who has stormed to the top, scoring 5.5 points in taking sole possession of the lead. American fans will be disappointed to see that Hikaru Nakamura -- who got off to a reasonable, if not particularly notable start -- is sitting alone in last place, having lost his last three games to stay on 2.5 points. Luckily for Nakamura (and any other player who has a disappointing result), only the top three results for each player count toward their standings in the series. Look back here for an update at the end of the tournament, and remember that this series won't conclude until this time next year, when the final Grand Prix tournament is held in Paris.


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