In a few days FIDE starts the third Grand Prix series 2014-2015 with the first stage to be held in Baku (Azerbaijan) from the 1st until the 15th of October 2014. Back in 2008 it was also the capital of Azerbaijan which hosted the first ever Grand Prix stage and a great deal has changed since then as FIDE has organized 30 Grand Prix tournaments. One only needs to remember that the event six years ago was own by future World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Chinese top player Wang Yue and Vugar Gashimov, one of the leading chess players of Azerbaijan, who tragically passed away in January 2014.
Over eleven rounds, the strongest players in the world will compete in the round robin tournament with the time control of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, with 60 minutes being added at that point and then each player will be allotted 15 minutes after the second time control and an increment of 30 seconds per move will be allowed from move 61 onwards.
After one year of the very entertaining Grand Prix series 2012-2013 everyone is looking forward to see the variety of battles between the players of all styles. For two weeks all eyes will be focused on twelve players including the champion of the last Sinquefield Cup Fabiano Caruano (ITA, number 2 in the World), local heroes Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE, 2nd place in GP series 2012-2013) and Teimour Rajabov (AZE, 2nd place in GP series 2008-2010), former world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB), Boris Gelfand (ISR, the challenger in the World Championship Match 2012), winner of the GP stage in Thessaloniki 2013 Leinier Dominguez (CUB), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, three-time United States Chess Champion).
Almost a half of the tournament is occupied by Russian players including Grand Prix veterans Alexander Grischuk (3rd place in GP series 2008-2010, number 4 in the World), Peter Svidler (seven-time Russian champion), Sergey Karjakin (2nd in Candidates 2014) and newcomers Evgeny Tomashevsky (semi-finalist of the World Cup 2013) and Dmitry Andreikin (finalist of the World Cup 2013).
The prize money offered by host city is 120,000 Euros. The winner of Grand Prix in Baku will get 20,000 Euros.
A very special cup will be prepared for the strongest player in the Grand Prix series 2014-2015. During the opening ceremony in Baku the Classic Jewelry House Lobortas will demonstrate the models of future Big and Small trophies to award the FIDE Grand Prix series winner.
The trophy consists of precious elements and stones of varying size, including silver, gold and diamonds. The Classic Jewelry House Lobortas has experience addressing the FIDE’s needs, having previously created for the FIDE the Large and Small Chess Cups "Caissa" and the cup for the winner of recently finished Women’s Grand Prix series 2013-2014.
The opening ceremony and the games will take place at Cultural Event Center (str. R.Behbudov 3). The building has historical importnace as two USSR chess championships (1961 and 1972) were organized here.
In contrast to the two previous Grand Prix cycles the number of tournaments was decreased from six to four to be held over two years (2014-2015). Each of 16 players of Grand Prix series will play in three tournaments out of four and all his results will be taken into account for the overall final standings of the Grand Prix. The lis of all 16 Grand Prix participants is here
. It includes 11 qualifiers as per regulations, with four more nominees from the organisers and one from the FIDE President.
The winner and second placed player overall of the Grand Prix Series will qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in the last quarter of 2015 or the first half of 2016.