3 March 2017

Medals, Cake and Camels

Maria Emeljanova’s final picture report from the FIDE Grand Prix leg in Sharjah.

Thus, leg one of the FIDE Grand Prix, carried out to a new format, has already amassed a lot of critical feedback in the mass media. This is justified in part, although there is little doubt that the 2017 system has certain pros to it as well. The main pro is, of course, an increase in the number of players given an opportunity to qualify into the Candidates tournament. Although some spectators labelled the tournament as a boring one, it depends on how you look at it and what you compare it against. It goes without saying that the Women's World Chess Champion, running in parallel in Tehran, showed a higher degree of struggle’s intensity  largely due to it being a knock-out system, but the Sharjah event was also abound with surprises of its own. No one expected that Levon Aronian, for example, would gain only 7 qualification points, that Hou Yifan would lose only one (!) game, whereas Shakhriyar Mamedyarov would still end up sharing first despite his painful loss to Alexander Grischuk.