By IM Michael Rahal (Barcelona, Spain)
The second event of the 2022-2023 Women's Grand Prix Series will kick off in a few days in Munich, the capital of the state of Bavaria. Twelve of the world's top female players will dispute an eleven-round all-play-all with their eyes set on the 15,000 euros first prize plus the valuable WGP points that add up for direct qualification to the 2023-2024 FIDE Women's Candidates.
After Berlin and Hamburg, Munich is the third-largest city in Germany, with a population of more than 1.5 million inhabitants. A global centre for science, technology, business and finance, Munich enjoys a high standard and quality of living and is consistently ranked as one of the world's most liveable cities.
Many multinational companies are located in the city, such as BMW, Siemens or Allianz, along with two research universities and world-renowned technology and science museums like the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum. Its annual Oktoberfest, featuring a beer festival and a travelling carnival, is the world's largest "people's festival ", and attracts considerable tourism in late September.
Photo: Thomas Wolf
Home to one of the Bundesliga's top teams – FC Bayern München, fielding GM's Maghsoodloo, Tabatabaei and Huschenbeth - the event will be held in the centrally located five-star luxury Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski hotel, situated directly in the city centre of Munich, very close to the Opera and Marienplatz.
The tournament's principal sponsor is the Krulich Immobilien Group, a real estate company based in Munich with branches in Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Zwickau. Roman Krulich, a former Munich Youth Champion, has been a long-time supporter and sponsor of chess events.
A strong +2200 club player in his own right, he represented Monaco in the 2008 Dresden Chess Olympiad. As the founder of the Munich Chess Academie and the Munich Chess Foundation, he supports the development of chess in schools, chess for refugees and chess for the elderly.
According to the rules of the series, each of the four WGP events will attract twelve of the sixteen players. The Munich participants, sorted by rating, are:
GM Koneru Humpy (2572 – India)
GM Tan Zhongyi (2530 - China)
GM Maria Muzychuk (2523 – Ukraine)
GM Anna Muzychuk (2522 – Ukraine)
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (2519 - FIDE)
GM Nana Dzagnidze (2517 – Georgia)
GM Harika Dronavalli (2507 – India)
GM Zhansaya Abdumalik (2496 - Kazakhstan)
IM/WGM Alina Kashlinskaya (2491 - Poland)
WGM Zhu Jiner (2486 - China)
GM Elisabeth Paehtz (2464 - Germany)
WGM Dinara Wagner (2413 - Germany)
The first round, scheduled for Thursday, February 2nd, already features some very cool match-ups. As per the rules, players of the same federation must dispute their games at the beginning of the tournament:
Harika Dronavalli vs Koneru Humpy
Maria Muzychuk vs Anna Muzychuk
Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Alina Kashlinskaya
Tan Zhongyi vs Zhu Jiner
Elisabeth Paehtz vs Dinara Wagner
Zhansaya Abdumalik vs Nana Dzagnidze
The total prize fund for each leg will be €80,000, with another €80,000 being distributed among the top 8 finishers in the global Women's Grand Prix Series standings, according to the cumulative points they score across the four events.
Official website: womengrandprix.fide.com/