The first stage in the new World Chess Championship cycle – the FIDE World Chess Sharjah Grand Prix – was opened tonight at the beautiful Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club, established in 2013.
The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, head of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President, Al Sheikh Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Mualla, Sharjah Cultural & Chess Club Chairman, Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Chess, representatives of the sponsors, Sharjah Chess Club VIP guests, Sharjah Chess Club members and the large number of media.
After the cultural programme, the 18 participants of the first Grand Prix tournament climbed to the stage for the drawing of lots. Top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave picked the white piece.
Thus the round 1 pairings are as follows:
GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime 2796 – GM Li Chao B 2720
GM Tomashevsky Evgeny 2711 – GM Aronian Levon 2785
GM Nakamura Hikaru 2785 – GM Jakovenko Dmitry 2709
GM Vallejo Pons Francisco 2709 – GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766
GM Ding Liren 2760 – GM Rapport Richard 2692
GM Riazantsev Alexander 2671 – GM Eljanov Pavel 2759
GM Adams Michael 2751 – GM Salem A.R. Saleh 2656
GM Hou Yifan 2651 – GM Nepomniachtchi Ian 2749
GM Grischuk Alexander 2742 – GM Hammer Jon Ludvig 2628
The games will start daily from 15:00 local time. The rest day is on 23rd February.