The fifth edition of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) will culminate at the beginning of December in Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington, London. The Tour Finals will be the part of the 11th London Chess Classic (November 29 - December 8) alongside the other festival events.
The schedule of the GCT fifth season includes two classical (Zagreb and Sinquefield Cup) and five rapid and blitz tournaments. Twelve GCT-2019 participants play in both classical events and in three of the five rapid and blitz tournaments.
The four top-scoring players will square off in London in two semi-finals and the final/3rd place play-off matches. Each match will consist of classical, rapid and blitz games and will see the players competing for an enhanced prize fund which totals USD 350,000 this year. The prize fund will be split amongst the four finalists as follows:
1st Place: USD 150,000
2nd Place: USD 100,000
3rd Place: USD 60,000
4th Place: USD 40,000
Total Prize Fund: USD 350,000
With two rapid and blitz tournaments to go (Bucharest, November 4-11 and Kolkata, November 20-27) World Champion Magnus Carlsen (54.5 points) leads the 2019 Grand Chess Tour standings and has already qualified for the Tour Finals. Ding Liren (37.8 points), who is currently second, has very good chances of making a trip to London. Most likely, the Chinese GM will improve his tally picking up some points in one of two remaining tournaments.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (36.8 points) occupies the third position the standings, but it is his final score after five events. In a large group of other potential semi-finalists Levon Aronian (25.5 points), Vishy Anand (24 points) and Wesley So (23.5 points) stand out from competitors as they have two more tournaments to play.
(Image: Grand Chess Tour)
The schedule for the GCT Finals:
Dec 2: Semi-Final – Classical Game 1
Dec 3: Semi-Final – Classical Game 2
Dec 4: Semi-Final – Rapid & Blitz Games
Dec 5: Corporate Day - Pro-Biz Cup
Dec 6: Finals and match for 3rd place – Classical Game 1
Dec 7: Finals and match for 3rd place – Classical Game 2
Dec 8: Finals and match for 3rd place – Rapid & Blitz Games
Dec 9: Prize Giving and Charity Dinner for Chess in Schools & Communities Charity
Each match will consist of 2 classical games, 2 rapid games and 4 blitz games with points allocated to each game within the respective matches as follows:
6 points for a win, 3 points for a draw and 0 points for a loss in the 2 Classic games.
4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw and 0 points for a loss in the 2 Rapid games; and
2 point for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss in the 4 Blitz games.
If tie-breaks are required, they will be contested over two rapid games followed by an Armageddon game if required.