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The first Women Chess Grand Prix will take place in Istanbul

Koneru, Yifan Hou, and Stefanova top seeded

ataturk masters

As the FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos informed Chessdom.com in an interview several months ago, the Women Grand Prix series is about to start. The second edition of women’s super tournament İş Bank Atatürk Women Masters Tournament is going to be held as the first event of the Women Grand Prix series 2009/2010. The information has been officially confirmed by the organizers FIDE and Global Chess BV. The event will take place from 6th to 20th of March 2009 in İş Bank Art Gallery, İstanbul.

The full list of participants for the first event is:

GM Humpy Koneru 2621

GM Yifan Hou 2571

GM Antoaneta Stefanova 2557

GM Pia Cramling 2548

GM Marie Sebag 2529

GM Maia Chiburdanidze 2516

GM Zhao Xue 2508

GM Zhu Chen 2496

IM Elina Danielian 2496

WGM Shen Yang 2448

WGM Zeinab Mamedjarova 2362

WIM Betül Cemre Yıldız 2214

Average ELO: 2488

Other tournaments known from the circuit are Nanjing in September, and North Urals Cup.

Press release

The Turkish Chess Federation in collaboration with FIDE and Global Chess is organising the first event for the new Women Grand Prix series 2009/2010. The tournament will be held in Istanbul, Turkey beginning on the 6th of March 2009. It will also be the second in a series organised by the Turkish Chess Federation commemorating the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

In conjunction with the tournament, the organisers will show their customary hospitality and will be hosting the FIDE Presidential Board for the 1st Quarter meeting of 2009 from 5-8 March. The sponsor of the event is Türkiye İş Bankası.

The event will be held in Is Sanat Gallery (Is Bankası Art Gallery) on the entrance floor of İş Bank Towers in Istanbul. Opening Ceremony will be held on the 41st floor of Is Bank Towers which is the highest place of Istanbul and Southern Europe. İş Bankası is the corporate sponsor of the Turkish Chess Federation and supports the Turkish Chess in School Curriculum for the last four years.

The Turkish Chess Federation is one of the most active national Federations and has already organised in 2009 the Mediterranean Championships and the Turkish Youth Championships with 996 players.

Turkey has also host some other prestigious FIDE tournaments this year including the World Men’s Team Championship, the World Youth Championships and the world U-16 Olympiad. TCF is granted to host the 2012 World Chess Olympiad Istanbul, during the 79th FIDE Congress in Dresden on 24th November 2008.

The FIDE Women Grand Prix is a new series of elite tournaments which will be organised by FIDE and Global Chess. There will be 6 legs over two years in various countries around the world with three tournaments every year. The next tournament is planned in Nanjing, China at the end of September.

The winner of each tournament will win 6,500 euros out of a prize fund of 40,000 euros and the overall winner of the series will win a further 15,000 euros at the end of the series.

This is the first time that such a series is being organised and is a significant development for the chess world. The introduction of the Grand Prix series means that there will be a World Championship contest annually now from 2010. In that year, the Champion will be determined from the World Championship Knockout which will also be held in Turkey and the following year, 2011, the World Champions will face the Winner of the Grand Prix series 2009/2010 in a match for the title.

This will be one of the strongest women tournaments of all times and it is important to point out that there are three ex-world Champions taking part as well as the highest ranked women players in the world.

FIDE, February 23, 2009

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